Elena lived in the city. She went to the Cingular Wireless store to get a phone line. Fidel worked there and helped her get one set up. She filled out the paperwork and then changed her mind. He put the paperwork into the shredder but then asked her for her phone number.
“If you want it so bad, then get it out of the shredder,” she said.
She gave him a smile and left.
The next day he called. He had managed to piece her number back together. He asked her out to dinner. She said yes.
Elena went all out and even put on eyeliner for her date with Fidel. He took her to Nick’s Lighthouse restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Fidel ordered a steak with a side of horse radish. Elena ordered shrimp, her favorite.
“I’ve never tried that,” Elena said when the horse radish arrived with dinner.
“Horse radish?” Fidel said. “It’s pretty spicy.”
“I can do spicy,” Elena said.
“Here, try it,” Fidel said.
He took his teaspoon and scooped up a big spoonful. Elena took the teaspoon and put it in her mouth, all of it.
Fidel laughed while Elena tried not to choke. She coughed, and her eyes watered until her eyeliner started to run.
“I got you!” Fidel said. “I am such a jokester!”
It took Elena a while to recover from the horse radish trick. She couldn’t even eat her dinner. Plus she was embarrassed about her make-up.
Fidel took Elena back to her apartment and tried to kiss her good night. The horse radish still burned her palate, so she turned away and said good bye.
Fidel called the next day and sort of apologized.
“I’m a jokester,” he said. “That’s what I do. I thought we were so comfortable together. I was just being myself.”
“Hey, that was not cool,” Elena said.
“It was just a joke!” Fidel said.
“I’m not one of the guys,” Elena said. “You don’t treat a date that way.”
Couldda Wouldda Shouldda
If Elena would’ve given Fidel another chance, she would find out that he was rough around the edges in lots of ways. He didn’t know about treating her special, and she would find herself competing with his friends for Fidel’s attention. Although he would never give her another big scoop of horse radish, he would tell everyone how she almost choked on their first date, laughing all the while. Elena would finally meet a nice guy in the AT&T store and would upgrade to him instead. She would tell Fidel, “Hasta la vista, Baby.”