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Word Count: 749 Use Article For Free Send Article To Friend Print Article

Mr. Thrifty
by Jan Ackerson  
8/25/2008 / Humor


I never intended to be a forty-three-year-old bachelor. I've had several girlfriends, but nothing ever lasted for longthey always leave because of one of my two major flaws: my tendency to blurt out without thinking, and my extreme frugality. I get called stingy a lot, but I prefer thrifty.

Anyway, when my buddy Roger and his wife Kate invited me to a free concert at their church, I only heard the word "free." I checked my calendar while Kate babbled on about someone named Annie who'd be there, too. ("You'll like her, John, she's got a great personality") I recognized the setup, but an evening of free entertainment was worth the inevitable awkwardness of a blind date.

Turns out, Annie really did have a great personality, and green eyes, and hair that floated. We talked for an hour over coffee in the fellowship hall, and for another hour in the parking lot while Roger and Kate alternated between impatience and amusement. When we finally parted, it was with an arrangement that we'd meet the next evening. She was the manager of a fabric store in the city; I'd pick her up at closing time and we'd catch a late movie (a dollar a ticket).

That date was super, too. Annie was even happy to share my popcorn. It was on our third date that everything went south.

We agreed to meet at a café in the city for lunch. I rode the Metro bus in, using my monthly pass. We took an outside tableI've read that people tend to linger over meals eaten outdoors. Maybe, I thought, she wouldn't have time for dessert.

Annie and I were enjoying our third refill of coffee (free) when that blurting problem showed itself. "Look, Annie," I said. "Here comes a gal with a drop-kick dog." Annie's eyes widened, and she looked over her shoulder.

To my astonishment, she jumped out of her chair and hugged the woman, then allowed the little dog to wriggle free and jump into her arms. I couldn't help noticing that the dog's nails were polished pink, and there was a silly pink bow between her ears.

Then, to my further astonishment, Annie whirled back at me, her face pale and her voice low. "You haven't met my friend, John. This is Claire, who very nicely took my appointment at the groomer so I could have lunch with you. And this drop-kick dog" She held the pooch close to my face. "is my Pomeranian, Miss Princess Periwinkle. And you are aa" Annie looked pleadingly at her friend. "Will you take me home, Claire?"

As I watched their retreat, I thought in desperation: Fix this, fix this NOW, before it's too late. Annie could be the oneBut some other part of my brain was calculating cab fare to the suburb where Annie lived. Close to forty bucksI'll fix it tomorrow, I thought, and I paid the bill and rode the bus home.

I thought about Annie constantly.

She didn't return my phone calls for five days.

I should have followed her

I bought a dozen pink roses and had them delivered to Annie's house. $64.00, plus $13.99 for delivery.

No response.

I should have followed her

I sent a bouquet of gourmet caramel apples to her store when I knew she'd be at work. Apples: $199. 92. Delivery: $12.99.

Response: silence.

I should have followed her

After two weeks had passed, I knew what I had to do if I ever wanted to reach Annie.

I made the necessary arrangements and asked Kate to make up a story and drive Annie to my place. Annie wouldn't know my house; she'd never been here. I'd take it from there.

I don't know what story Kate came up with, but it must have been good. I watched as her car pulled up, but Kate stayed inside while Annie walked to the door and rang my doorbell. I disguised my voice and called out "Come in."

When Annie opened the door, she saw me on the living room floor, surrounded by three Pomeranian puppiesI hadn't been able to choose. Have you ever seen a Pomeranian puppy? I tell you, hardly anything's cuter. Oh, yeahthey were a bargain at $950 each.

I should have followed her, all right.

Annie took it all in, then her eyes softened and a grin brightened her face. "Oh, John" She scooped up two of the puppies, and they enthusiastically kissed her pretty cheeks.

Lucky puppies.

Jan is a Christian who has traveled through sorrow and depression, and has found victory and grace. She dedicates all writings to her Heavenly Father. Check out Jan's website at www.1hundred-words.com
Copywrite Jan Ackerson--2006


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