Stupid Break. Who ever heard of such a thing? I don't need an adventure, I need security and safety! Sure, I'd love a vacation, but I have a feeling this thing doesn't want to send me to Cancun.
You're right. That's not my intention at all.
"What are you doing here?" Joe hissed. He seemed to have genuinely thought the voice would stay in the car.
You know, for someone who's so concerned about normality, you sure talk to me out loud a lot.
"Yeah, well, talking to you in my head is weird," he said begrudgingly.
And talking to a voice no one else can hear aloud isn't?
Once again, Joe was duped. But this time, he was saved by the bell.
Or rather, saved by the fact that he had rung the bell, because just then his date opened the door.
"Hey Joseph, you're early!" smiled the woman. Smiled, you may say, is not a verb generally used in place of 'verbalized', but if you saw this woman's smile, you would probably understand. It was bright, bold, and big, and yet not over-bearing. It was the perfect smile, and he was the average man.
It wasn't exactly surprising that he was very suspicious of the whole ordeal, especially after learning that this 'Break' had organized the date, somehow.
So he decided something.
He decided he had a plan.
Instead of saying anything remotely witty, or even endearing, he replied to her simply with, "I know" and a completely straight face. Much to his glee, the corners of her smile flickered like a faulty fluorescent light-bulb.
Norman caught on quick.
Oh, I'm sure that is going to help things.
Who said I wanted to help things?
But the woman was not that easily dissuaded, not by a mile. Her smile was full force again before anyone who hadn't been carefully monitoring it (i.e. Joe) would have noticed it falter, and she invited him to step in briefly while she finished getting ready.
He wouldn't admit it, especially now, but he thought she already looked ready for the red carpet, let alone a date with some average guy. Of course, this only served as a reminder that there was something wrong with the whole situation, and hardened his resolve.
He did step in, but he spent the whole time that he was waiting playing a video game on his cellular phone. He even made his date wait until he was finished his current round before leaving, after she was ready herself. He secretly congratulated himself for his victory when he saw a hint of annoyance cross her features.
Yes Joseph, good job alienating your date.
Joe thought he detected a hint of anger in the Break's voice, and that caused him no small amount of satisfaction as well. No silly voice in his head was going to screw with his life.
He didn't even hold the car door open for her.
* * *
By the end of the night, his date had come right out and admitted that it was the worst she had ever had. Joe hadn't been extraordinarily rude, or even inherently mean, just not the nice, normal guy he usually was. He was detached and uncaring, and above all, boring as sin, and when she told him this, at her door, after the date, he had simply smiled.
Mission accomplished, he had thought.
What a jerk! she had thought, and subsequently slapped him in the face. She may have been a happy-go-lucky person, but this guy was so not worth the trouble. He wasn't even that good looking.
Of course, the slap only caused Joe to smile even more. As far as he was concerned, things were going swimmingly. He said goodnight to his thoroughly upset and confused date, and left for his car with a smug look still on his face.
The Break had been quiet all night, and he had completely ruined any chance of a second date ruining He was almost convinced that he had been imagining the whole "Norman the Break" thing, probably as a result of the mental trauma having a date had caused him. What had he been thinking, going on a date like that?
But it didn't matter any more, because he had taken care of it all. He was home-free.
I am a genius.
You know, I was hoping to bring this up at a better time, but you're sickening, you know that?
Joe blanched, and his knuckles held the steering wheel in a death grip.
You really don't get it, do you? You really don't see what you've done?
At this, Joe got a little indignant. Of course he knew! He had ruined the silly plan to make his life more "interesting."
Of course I do, was his snide reply.
No, you really don't. I should be happy, I suppose, but I can't help but feel bad for you.
Now Joe was curious. Still angry, but now curious as well. What on earth was this thing talking about?
I've read your file, Joseph, I know you. You're a nice guy. Somewhat charming, somewhat interesting, but nice. Girls, when they actually notice you, find you cute.
Flattery will get you nowhere...
The Break ignored this comment.
You spent the entire night pretending to be something you aren't. A bad boy, a bore, something. You were acting. You weren't yourself.
Joe saw where this was going, and didn't like it. Not one bit.
Ohhh no. No no no.
You spent the entire night doing something you wouldn't normally do. You wouldn't even think of such a thing any other day. You had, dare I say it, an adventure.
No. That's not true!
You know it is. I'm telling you, Joseph, it doesn't matter what you do; this will happen. And the more you cooperate, the easier it will be on you, and the quicker it will be over.
Joe's thoughts were a mess now. He couldn't even comprehend what had happened.
That's the spirit! A little dangerous, but along the right lines.
Joe's addled brain took a moment to figure out what the voice was talking about, but he eventually realized that he had just run a red light, and his face was starting to resemble a ghost's.
The siren didn't help things.
Ha! You're being pulled over, Joseph! You could stop, and get a ticket, or you could try to make a getaway, but either way, you're in for an adventure. There's no escaping it, just deciding how much you go along with it.
It's time to make a choice. Are you with me, or against me?