Valentine Plans Gone Wrong
-by Norman Williams-
Alan was 17 years old and had not yet the courage to speak to her. His neck was sore from watching her walk from the pencil sharpener to her desk in the back of the room. Her last name was Zumwalt and his was Aaron. He had a lot of opportunity to watch her walk. Well, she did not exactly walk. She floated, and his heart fluttered. On Sundays, she played the piano for worship service. He saw her walk even on Sundays when he remembered to sit in the right pew. He always remembered. Her hair was long and black and he had never seen it in a ponytail or pigtails. It was iridescent like the grackles feeding behind the tiller in the garden. Almost blue. Like 10w40 Pennzoil. But her song was nicer. Sometimes she sang solos on Sunday nights, and if she had on those white boots he pretended she was singing to him. He had never even called her (it was long before e-mail and Twitter). He tried to return her smile once, but it folded in fear and slid off his chin.
Christmas had come and gone. He had let it slide. Not even a card. But Valentine’s Day was tomorrow. He would go by the Rexall Pharmacy and buy her the biggest box of chocolates in the store. Shaped like a heart and bright red with a wide white bow. It would smell like chocolate. Dark chocolate. He would drive by her house on his way to school the next morning and slip the surprise in her car seat just under the steering wheel. Her car was never locked. A simple card penciled in his handwriting. Well, printed. “From Alan to Susie”. She would discover the Valentine about the time he got to school. He scooted the big red heart under his bed just under his fluttering heart and slept fitfully.
His sister had a Yorkshire Terrier named No Lead. No Lead was not allowed in his room. Alan smelled bacon, his favorite food. Mom was preparing bacon for breakfast as a special Valentine for him. But wait! He also smelled chocolate. He grabbed his socks and spun across the bed and his already socked feet missed the hard wood and hit the crinkle. Red crinkle. He grabbed the heart shaped box and little black tissues fell out and chocolate slobbery wads squished. His mom came running from the bacon and shrieked, “No Lead!! What have you done?”
He buried his head with what pillow he had left after completing his tantrum and sobbed. It has been 54 years, and he still has not called her. Some days he still smells chocolate and sees red, but no white boots. Alan still does not have a dog.
-by Emily Akin-
Valentine’s Day—the day of greeting cards, hearts, flowers, and candy. Every guy gets his sweetheart something special, a virtual key to her heart. Why, then, would anyone give a Valentine gift as a practical joke? It happened.
Many years ago, a certain young man bought a box of standard Valentine chocolates. He and a friend hatched a diabolical plan. They pre-heated the oven to a low temperature. Next, they unwrapped the box, carefully, so as to keep the wrapping intact. Then, the candy box went in the oven just long enough to melt the tops. Whether they cooled it naturally or in the refrigerator, I do not know. I just know that, once the process was over, the candy looked much the same—but different.
Imagine the face of the young lady who opened that beautiful box of candy. Lots of chocolates that looked—moldy. She wondered why her sweetheart’s friend wanted to be there when she opened her candy. Usually, you don’t have a third wheel around for that. All parties had a good laugh out of it, though. And there was another genuine Valentine gift waiting in the wings.
(Names, place, and date redacted to protect the identity of the perpetrators).