Dating, by the Book


“If you did that during a zombie apocalypse, we’d all die!  Dammit, Misty, get down!” I hissed, trying to tug the girl I’d been crushing on since third grade back into the trench.

“Ugh, calm down, Jesse!”  Misty took a step out of my reach and continued brushing futilely at the green paint spattered across her cleavage and the low collar of her tight cropped tee shirt.  She continued standing out in the open, unprotected and indifferent to her surroundings like the ultimate noob.  She’d ripped off her goggles and the top of her coveralls the instant one of the snipers had taken her out.  Of course, if she hadn’t insisted on leaving her coveralls unbuttoned to the waist… not that I’d really pressed the issue with her looking like G.I. Barbie.

“It’s a stupid game anyways,” her sharp voice brought me back to the moment.  “Is this paint washable?  Why the hell did one of your lame friends shoot me?  Why the hell did we have to come here?  Next time you take me out, make it something fun.

It occurred to me that the girl standing before me and still looking like my wildest fantasy, only greener, was proof that you couldn’t judge a book by its cover.  I should have known better.

“The Op is still live, Misty, get down before you get – ” well… we’ll call that a real… concrete learning experience… I winced in sympathy as pink paint bloomed on the side of her pigtailed head.  Head-shots hurt.  “You should put your goggles back on.”

Misty’s eyes went very wide, and her lips pressed tightly together.  She crouched down beside me, and slipped the goggles back on, smearing pink down her cheek in the process.

“Show me how to use the gun again,” she said, her voice strained.

“What?  Look, how about we just… go?”  I’d tried to give her a lesson about aiming the gun before we’d started the Op, and she’d shown no interest.  I really had thought she’d have fun.  That it’d be a good chance for me to impress her with my skills.  Instead, she’d grumbled and complained through the first half-hour, decided we should leave and gotten shot right in the boob while trying to drag me toward the exit.

Misty finished tying the top of her coveralls tightly around her waist, grabbed my collar and dragged me close.  “SHOW ME” she hissed, eyes full of rage.

I hastily demonstrated the basics and gave her a hushed explanation of aim.  She stared intently at me throughout, nodded, and rose into a crouch.  “Your stupid friends’ rule is 3 shots?”

“Um… yeah?”

I watched in astonishment as she performed a precision tumble across an open area, came up and shot twice.  Kyle yelped from a tree, and Jim cursed from behind a brick panel.  She shot him twice more and stole his cover.  While Jim stalked toward the exit, she sprang up the nearest wall, surprising Amber in her hidey-hole and nailing her with three shots, ran along the top of the wall and jumped down out of sight.

It was chaos.  I could only track her based on my friends’ curses and yelps.  She was ruthless and, based on the people stalking towards the dead-zone, not averse to shooting people in the face.  Not that I could blame her.

I shot Jim when I found him sneaking up behind her, and she shot him again when she turned around.  We exchanged a grin and finished the rest of the crew off as a team.

When I was sure we’d cleared the field, I cleared my throat.  “Misty, I was wrong.  You would totally save everyone if there was a zombie apocalypse.  That was amazing!”

I had plumbed Misty’s unplumbed depths, and they were Aweome.  The guys were going to be so jealous.

Misty grinned at me and replied, “You’re not too bad yourself,” and shot me three times at close range.  She smirked.  “You said last-man-standing, too, right?  Can we eat now?  Winner gets to choose, and I say Thai.”

As she walked off the field, gun raised in triumph, I knew I was in love.  You really can’t judge a book by its cover.


In case you didn’t guess… no, I have never paint-balled before.  Click the photo above to read more prompt submissions, or submit your own!


A Temporary Trip

 This week on Trifecta’s writing challenge, the word is:

 1usually zombi
 a :  the supernatural power that according to voodoo belief may enter into and reanimate a dead body
 b :  a will-less and speechless human in the West Indies capable only of automatic movement who is held to have died and been supernaturally reanimated
 b :  a person markedly strange in appearance or behavior
2a :  a person held to resemble the so-called walking dead;especially :  automaton

Their rules are simple – 33 to 333 words, use the third definition of the word.  Head on over to submit your own work, or read some other takes on the challenge.  And now I’ve updated mine to put back in all the paragraphs that wordpress apparently decided were unnecessary for my story.  weird.

This photo was taken by Ryan Hyde, and shared on Flikr.  Click on the image to follow the link back to his page and check out some of his other work.

This photo was taken by Ryan Hyde, and shared on Flikr. Click on the image to follow the link back to his page and check out some of his other work.

Jeannie sloshed her drink as she stumbled through the crowd.

He swore as the cold liquid seeped into his shirt. “Jeez, I am so sorry!”  She shouted over the pounding music.

“Hello, Jeannie.” “I’m not Jeannie, I’m –“ She paused and tugged the hem of her skirt down, revealing more cleavage in the process, “SUPER-hic… Supergirl!  Who are you?

“I’m a reaper.” Jeannie tugged the neckline of her costume up. “Great costume,” she slurred disdainfully, taking in his jeans, shabby suit jacket and ancient converse.

“I’m working.  I think a costume would be kind of tacky.”

“Whatever, grim reaper.

“Not the Grim Reaper, just a reaper.”

“Whatever.”  Jeannie stumbled, jostled by the crowd.  When he steadied her she smiled and sloshed more of her drink on his arm with her over enthusiastic salute.  She leaned in, smiling flirtatiously.  “Thanks.  I’m so trashed right now, I’m probably eighty percent zombie, you know?”

He wrinkled his nose at the sickly sweet of her breath.  “I know.”

“Wanna get out of here?  I could use some fresh air.”

“Yes.” Jeannie giggled and grabbed him by the hand.  They wove through the crowded yard under orange and green twinkle lights, through the black streamers hung at the gate, past the incredibly drunk hulk dry heaving in the bushes, past female Woody and a maskless gorilla making out on the front porch and out into the relative quiet of the street.

She wobbled in her heels and swung their clasped hands playfully.  “So, where are we headed?”

“Your place.”

Jeannie giggled and tugged his hand.  “Then we’re going the wrong way, silly.”

He sighed and ran his free hand through his hair, turned back to face her. “Jeannie, don’t you think it’s time we stop pretending?”

She looked out at the rows of cardboard headstones on the lawn, a glossy red boot emerging from the shadows cast by tree and house.

“It’s just so stupid, y’know?” she whispered, completely sober.  “Such a waste.”

“I know.”