Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. Those pagans sure know how to party. It’s a time where women can show off their creative fashion sense, and where men can stare at them without any negative consequence. Women don’t just dress as teachers, nurses, and cops…they dress as slutty teachers, nurses and cops. It’s a great event that should be applauded and expanded in the future.
Now that Halloween is here, I want to share my scariest dating story of all time. But proceed with caution. This story is spooky. It’s creepy. It’s ghastly. And it’s all real.
The Girl Who Tried to Kill Me
October 31st, 2001
Los Angeles, CA
It was a chilly Halloween night in Hollywood. My friends and I ended up at a house party somewhere in the hills. We didn’t know a soul, but it didn’t matter. We consumed the candy corn and the alcohol, and stared at the scantily clad women. I struck out with Trinity from The Matrix, but it didn’t stop me from approaching other women dressed in leather. Maybe it was the sugar rush, the alcohol surge, or the sexy costumes, but I felt a rush of adrenalin and confidence. That’s when one young woman caught my eye and gave me a wry smile. She was dressed as a cat…always a hot costume for a woman. I normally don’t like cats, but dress a women like one, and wow!
I approached Cat Woman by the punch bowl. We both filled up our drinks and made small talk. She was definitely attractive, and seemed interested. The biggest con was that her English was, how-do-you-say, not so good. She had recently moved from Amsterdam, and was now living with her grandparents in the boondocks somewhere just outside of L.A. We didn’t have much in common either. But she was dressed as a cat and was really cute. So I got her number, and we set up a date.
A Few Nights Later
Cat Woman and I dined at The Cheesecake factory. At this point in my life, The Cheesecake Factory was one of my favorite date restaurants. The food was delicious and plentiful (that dark bread is amazing!), and they carried an array of fun drinks. Even if the date went bad, at least I was full, and the bill wasn’t too damaging.
On this night, I enjoyed the chicken picatta while I tried to engage in conversation with Cat Woman. The conversation was stilted, and she didn’t get my jokes, but she still looked pretty good and was pleasant enough. Despite the language challenge, there were still a good amount of flirtations—touching of the arm, eye contact, smiling—we spoke the language of love or at least the language of lust.
We drove to her house which was hidden somewhere in the valley. The neighborhood was dark and the houses seemed to be miles apart. We trekked down a dark, windy road and finally made it to her home. I expected to see a creepy old mansion, but instead it was a regular two story house. Everything appeared normal. There were no signs of red rum, or bleeding walls, but something felt a little strange. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was off.
We entered the house and there was grandma and grandpa watching TV. They were really old; probably in their 80’s. They followed Matlock which blasted from the television. They were so focused on the old fashioned TV set that they barely acknowledged my existence.
Cat Woman and I gave them a quick wave, b-lined to her bedroom, and began making out. It was hard to concentrate knowing her ancient grandparents were in the room next to us. I could hear them dissect the case with Matlock, and his voice echoed through the walls. I was distracted, and everything just felt wrong. I had to end our kissing session.
I apologized, but she understood. She had a better idea.
Cat Woman: My grandparents will be out of town next weekend. Do you want to come over? I’ll make you dinner and it will be just the two of us.
That Saturday Night
As I drove back to the outskirts of LA, I spoke to my buddy on my cell phone. He wanted more details, but I didn’t have much. I didn’t know Cat Woman’s last name. I didn’t know where I was. I didn’t know what I was getting into. My friend joked that she could kill me off, and no one would ever know. I chuckled, and tried to respond, but my phone died. I no longer had reception.
As my car crawled up her long driveway, my friend’s warning crept into my head. But I dismissed it quickly. This wasn’t a scary story. There were no black cats. It wasn’t Friday the 13th. This wasn’t Basic Instinct. I was gonna be fine.
I approached the house, and knocked on the thick wooden door, but there was no response. I knocked again, and after a moment, Cat Woman answered the door.
She wore matching gray sweatpants and sweatshirt, and was covered in filth. Her hands were hidden behind yellow rubber gloves, and she wore no make up. It looked like I had interrupted her cleaning the entire house. She did not look good.
Me: I’m sorry. I must be early.
Cat Woman: No, you’re right on time.
I was confused, but I entered and had a seat in the dining room. I glanced around and observed all the basic elements needed for a haunted house…a grandfather clock, a stairwell leading to a dark basement, and the eerie sound of silence.
She handed me a CD which thankfully broke the silence. I slid it into my pocket looking forward to hearing the mix on the ride back home.
It was a nice gesture, but the silence returned. We sat for dinner, and I swallowed extra chewy chicken and undercooked vegetables. We tried to force conversation, but there was not much to say. I tried to rely on our bread and butter, flirting, but it was difficult. She didn’t look so good after her cleaning session, and our chemistry was off.
Finally, she suggested we play a drinking game.
She busted out a bottle of vodka, and a deck of playing cards.
Cat Woman: Whoever has the lower card, does a shot.
Me: You mean like war?
Cat Woman: What’s war?
For the next 35 minutes, we engaged in the most heated game of war that I’ve ever played. I was dubious of this drinking game from the start. In the first 10 minutes, I had consumed 4 shots. This was not a drinking game; it was a drinking clinic. And I was getting killed.
I must’ve been feeling some effects of the alcohol because we actually started talking.
Me: So where are your grandparents this weekend?
Cat Woman: They went to a rock concert in Vegas.
Wait a second. I was supremely skeptical. They were like 90 years-old. Last week, these people could barely move, and now they were in Vegas. Something seemed off.
Her jack beat my 7, and I painfully consumed another shot.
Cat Woman: So…you wanna go swimming?
She nudged her head towards the dark, mysterious backyard. It was 40 degrees out; it was the last thing anyone would want to do.
Me: No. I’m good.
I threw back another shot.
Cat Woman: So…you wanna go see the banana tree? It’s in the backyard too.
What the hell is a banana tree? What is this girl talking about? She seemed really intent in getting me to go to that damn backyard. And now I was feeling a little woozy. Who did this girl think I was?
Cat Woman: So…you wanna go upstairs to my bedroom?
The steps creaked as I wobbled up the stairs. Once we entered the room, we got straight down to business. I was buzzed at this point. I didn’t care about the swimming pool, banana tree, or missing grandparents. I was too busy making out.
We settled down for a moment and had a little pillow talk.
Cat Woman: So…what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I ran through the short list in my head. My rebellious side included stealing a CD from a friend, running with scissors, and swimming directly after I ate. I settled with:
Me: I snuck into a movie once. That was pretty crazy. What about you?
Cat Woman: Well, it’s really stupid, but me and my friends… (giggling)
Cat Woman: Well, me and my friends… (pause) …WE USED TO SMOKE CRACK ALL THE TIME.
I tried to stay calm, but I broke out into a cold sweat. My response made no sense…kind’ve like George Costanza when he met the Bubble Boy and blurted out: “My cousin’s in a bubble.”
Me: I heard that can be really fun.
Cat Woman: It got so bad…we ended up in…what’s it called?
Cat Woman: Yeah, that’s it.
That’s when I noticed it. To the right of the bed, resting peacefully on the floor was a large, shiny hammer. There were no nails; there was nothing to be hung up; just the hammer!
Just at that moment, the grandfather clock rang its mighty gong, and that’s when everything suddenly made sense.
DING…she killed her grandparents for drug money.
DING…they are buried under the banana tree.
DING…I was next.
Cat Woman disappeared into the bathroom, and I figured this would be my chance to make a break for it. I put my shirt back on and started lacing my shoes.
She emerged from the bathroom with a smile.
Cat Woman: Where are you going all of a sudden?
I blurted out several incoherent excuses. My heart pounded against my chest.
Cat Woman: What’s wrong? You look like I’m gonna kill you or something.
I laughed nervously and dressed faster. I couldn’t fix the knot in my damn shoelace. Come on!
Cat Woman: If you’re gonna go now, let me…
That’s when she lunged towards the hammer.
I squeezed my eyes shut in fear. My life was gonna end and shamefully so; a victim of lust. I was gonna be murdered and buried under a banana tree never to be heard from again.
As she stretched her arms towards the side of the bed, my body wouldn’t move. I was frozen. I gritted my teeth, and held my breath.
She popped up from the side of her bed. And in her right hand was:
Her fluffy bunny slippers!
The hammer went untouched, and I exhaled.
The next few moments were a blur. She probably asked me why I had turned pale, and why my eyes were tearing up, but everything went silent for me. The hammer was still beside the bed, but I wasn’t waiting to see what happened next. I finally laced my shoes, and was ready to get the hell out of there.
Cat Woman wore her bunny slippers and opened the front door for me. I gave her an insincere hug, and busted out of the house. I sprinted in the darkness towards my car; towards safety. I locked my doors, and ripped on the ignition, and zipped out of there.
I didn’t breathe until I made it to the freeway 15 minutes down the road. I was back in a familiar place. I was safe and sound. Everything was going to be OK.
That’s when I shook my head, and let out a laugh. What was I thinking? This girl wasn’t going to kill me. She was harmless. Everything was just a coincidence; her decrepit grandparents going to a rock concert; her answering the door wearing sweats and dirty yellow gloves; her trying to get me drunk; her insistence that I see the banana tree again and again; her hammer with no nails and nothing to be hung up. I had flipped out and let my vivid imagination get the best of me. She was a good girl, and I had behaved like a jerk. I really owed Cat Woman an apology, and at least a phone call.
The radio went to commercial, and knocked me out of my trance. I reached for my CD case when I remembered the CD Cat Woman gave me. I lifted it from my pocket and placed it in the player. I was curious to hear the mix she had thoughtfully made for me.
The first 20 seconds was pure static. I skipped a few tracks. Still static. Something seemed off.
That’s when Cat Woman’s voice poured from the speakers.
Cat Woman: I was never going to kill you with the hammer. Your food was poisoned. Good-bye.
My body froze. I no longer had control of my limbs. My throat closed up. I couldn't breathe. The last thing I remember is my car veering against the rail and popping into the air. Then everything went to black.
The Real Ending
OK. Here’s the real ending. My food wasn’t poisoned, and the CD was actually an amazing mix of Tupac and Biggie. I made it home safely and called Cat Woman a few days later. I left a message apologizing for my strange behavior and told her I wasn’t ready to date anyone at the moment.
We never spoke again. She probably remembers me as the crazy, paranoid jerk that didn’t want to see the banana tree, and then left abruptly in the middle of a date.
But I’ll always remember her as the girl who tried to kill me.
Trivia Q&A: October 18
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