It’s Day Two of NaNoWriMo, and the first day I pulled a name or challenge from my jar! The name pulled… MooMa Cow Art Gallery. My immediate reaction was it had to include The Far Side –obviously. And, it was a date gone wrong. This is a short piece that definitely will need some work in the future, but it was a fun little thing to dabble with while my head was more into what was happening with Kyle and Markus from Day 1!
Challenge: MooMa Cow Art Gallery
Murray stood outside of a small café, checking his watch. Cassie had texted him twenty minutes before to let him know that she was running a little late, but he was still paranoid that she was going to stand him up. He’d been astonished that she’d agreed to go on the date with him to begin with. She was completely out of his league. A solid 7 while he barely ranked a 4. Maybe a 5 after a fresh haircut. As it was, he was in sore need of a trim, but he didn’t think he looked too bad in his cleanest khakis and the argyle sweater his mother had given him for his last birthday.
He looked up and a relieved smile crossed his face as Cassie appeared from the crowd, waving. He barely registered anything else about her, aside from the big smile that seemed legitimately glad to see him.
“I’m so sorry,” she panted, pressing her finger tips into her side as if to relieve a pain. “My cat escaped from my apartment when my bag got caught in the door and I had to chase her all over the building. The little asshole.”
“It’s no problem. I’ve got all the time in the world today,” he assured her. “Would you like to go in for coffee first?”
“First?” She repeated.
“I thought we could go down the block and check out the MooMa,” he suggested.
“Yeah. It’s a pop-up Far Side museum, of sorts,” he explained. “I’m surprised you didn’t know about it.”
“Oh, uh,” Cassie looked slightly startled, “yeah, okay. That could be fun. Why don’t we go wander around that, and then get coffee?”
“Great,” Murray grinned. He didn’t want to seem forward by offering his hand, so he shoved them into his pocket instead. “It’s just this way.” He cocked his head to the side and the two of them mad etheir way down the sidewalk.
The MooMa Cow Art Museum was set up in a small retail space. As the pair wandered around the “museum”, Murray became aware that Cassie didn’t seem to be enjoying the experience as much as he thought she would. She seemed amused by some of the comics, and paged appreciatively through some of the books of memorabilia cards and such. She even poked around in the small gift shop for a few minutes, but he could tell it was purely out of politeness.
Afterwards, they wandered back down to the café. Murray tried to pull her out of her shell, asking what her favorite part had been.
“I guess some of the comics were amusing,” Cassie offered. “And the scrapbooks were interesting.” She cleared her throat and adjusted the strap of her bag on her shoulder. “Do you go to pop-ups like that often?”
“I like to find out-of-the-box things to try,” Murray answered. “But they’re more fun when I have someone to go with.”
At the café, they each ordered coffees. Murray went ahead and optimistically ordered a slice of pie too. Cassie demurred at the offer of food, but did let him pay for her latte. They slid into opposite sides of a booth and waited for one of the servers to bring over their drinks and the pie.
Cassie steered the conversation, complimenting Murray’s sweater. Admitting it had been a birthday gift led to Cassie sharing an amusing anecdote about her last birthday when her father had fallen off a boat into a lake (he was fine). Murray enjoyed his pie while they both sipped their coffees.
“Okay, Murray, I have to ask this,” Cassie said, as they finally finished and seemed to be running out things to say. “Why take me to the MooMa?”
Murray frowned at her. “What do you mean? You like Far Side.”
She furrowed her brow at him, confused. “I know what it is, abut I wouldn’t call myself a fan.”
“What?” He felt his heart sinking. “But, you were wearing that t-shirt a few months back. When I ran into you in the parking lot at the library.”
Cassie’s face flushed. “Oh my gosh, you’re right. I totally forgot all about that.” She pressed a hand to her face, embarrassed. “That wasn’t my shirt, Murray. I borrowed it because I had spilled an entire pot of Spaghetti-Os on me while I was watching my niblings. It’s my brother-in-law that’s the Far Side fan.”
“Oh.” His face burned. “I’m so sorry. I should have asked.”
“It’s okay,” she assured him. She reached across the table, putting a hand on his. “I had fun anyway –and hey, now I have something to tell my sister to check out on their next date night.” She smiled at him. “Maybe we could go see a movie next week? Maybe the new Marvel flick? You’re an Iron Man fan, right?”
He nodded dumbly, but felt his heart rise that she had noticed something he was into, during their brief past encounters. “Yeah. I’d like that a lot.”
“Great.” She squeezed his hand before pulling away from him. “Text me and we’ll set it up. I better get going. I had…and interesting time with you today.” Murray nodded, watching her walk out of the café. It hadn’t been exactly what he expected, but…hey, he had a second date!