Name: Cinthia from Brazil
Name Of Main Character You Want And Gender: Mr. Saraiva
Character Description: Full monobrows. He is impatient and grumpy
Special Info: Mr. Saraiva is in love
Here's your story Cinthia. I apologise, because it is weird.
Mr. Saraiva looked at the shitty world, through the shitty window of his shitty living room in his shitty flat. Everyone thought Mr. Saraiva was miserable but they misunderstood. His face just looked sad. It was how he was born, and his thick black monobrow didn’t help. It dipped in the middle so it always looks like his head was frowning. People called him grumpy and impatient, but there was more to it. His mind was always on something else. You see, Mr. Saraiva was in love.
He looked at the reflection of his pasty, bald, middle aged face in the dirt of the window. It almost scared him. Look at all the shitty people out there on shitty Valentine's Day, he thought. He'd spit on the floor if it wasn't his own. Like most single people on this evening, he hid at home while the narrow pavements of London were populated with couples who refused to unlink from each other, causing any stray singleton to have to dodge them and face the danger of oncoming traffic. Three single people had died today from couple related traffic accidents.
Mr. Saraiva thought about his neighbour, Lina. He'd loved her from afar and was too scared to talk to her. Last week he saw her in the reception area of the block of flats, and he smiled at her. She smiled back, but then he forgot to follow up with words, so just stared. He thought she’s probably now worried she lives in a building with a potential murderer.
Mr. Saraiva’s friend advised him to internet date, to get his confidence and experience up, so that when the time came that he saw Lina again, he wouldn’t look at her like he wanted to wear her skin. Mr. Saraiva took the advice and tried. However, it’s tough to internet date when nobody wants to date you. You end up just being someone who sends emails, feeling like a spammer, or one of those PPI assholes. Only Mr. Saraiva's spam was his affection and nobody gave a shit.
He looked around his filthy flat and thought about cleaning it but couldn’t be bothered. He also refused to check his emails or mobile phone today, because he was sick of building up hope that there would be a reply from a potential date, then getting disappointed when the only emails he got were from Nigerian princes asking for his bank account details. Last year he got one text on the whole of Valentine's Day. It was from his mum and it read 'Happy Valentine's Day baby.' He blocked her number for three weeks.
He looked down the corridor at his bedroom and could see his phone by his bed. But what if this time, just this time, there is an email or a call? he thought. No. Stop tricking yourself, he told himself.
He hated Valentine's Day. At the school where he worked, it's all the hormonal teenagers talked about. Who gave you that card? Who left you that chocolate bar on your desk? Mr. Saraiva wanted to warn everyone about the dangers of getting their hopes up, and to tell the girl who got the chocolate bar about sugar being poison. In the week leading up to Valentine's Day he wouldn't even open his fridge. He'd just comfort eat takeaways. He looked at the clock. 7.10pm. Screw it. He thought. I’m going to bed until this shitty day passes. He'd watch TV but it's all Jennifer Aniston films, love islands, love boats, and bang barns.
He lay on the bed he hand’t changed the sheets of for two months and fantasised a whole relationship with Lina. All the great times they’d have and the laughs they’d share. She obviously found him hilarious and interesting and wanted to constantly have sex with him. In his fantasy he was obviously good at it. In reality he'd probably get so excited he'd shoot his load before he removed his trousers.
His phone rang, jerking him out of his totally unrealistic thoughts. He wanted to stick to his principles. He stared at it. There's no harm in looking. Curiosity won. He looked. Sammy. Damn it. He'd raised his expectations to the unrealistic point of thinking somehow Lina got his number from the air or a passing pigeon and would call.
“Hey Sammy,” he said in his gloomy tone.
“Yo, why haven’t you replied to my emails or calls?”
"I never check them on Valentine's Day. I get less disappointed that way.”
“You're a moron,” she said.
“Last night, I ran into that Lina girl whose Facebook profile you always stare at.”
“Yeah?” Mr. Saraiva said, embarrassed. He then worried Sammy was going to say Lina’s got a boyfriend.
“Well, I told her you liked her.”
“You bloody idiot! Why would you do that? I’m not ready for…”
“She said she’d date you.”
Mr. Saraiva sat up. He made a stupid noise because his body and brain had no idea how to react to positive news.
“I asked her if she would go out with you and she said she’d think about. I thought that was a polite way of saying no chance, but then this morning she messaged saying she would.”
"I know. Every other guy on earth must be busy, taken, or aliens have started abducting them all."
"Hey!" he moaned.
“You know, you're a bloody genius. Thank you, thank you, thank you,” he said.
“There is one catch,” Sammy added.
“What? I’m not doing some shitty double date with you and Tim.”
“No. Not that. But knowing how depressed you get on Valentine's, I organised it for tonight.”
“Sorry. You’re normally all over your emails and phone.”
“We have to cancel.”
“You can’t do that?”
“She’s coming to your place for dinner. I told her you’d cook, and a good meal at that.”
“In twenty minutes."
"Good luck.” Sammy hastily hung up.
Mr. Saraiva swore into his duvet and rushed around tidying his shithole of a flat and trying to find anything that resembled a dinner. There’s not enough time to shower and go and get food, and a take away won’t arrive in time for me to put it in a dish to look like I’ve cooked it. Shit! He was so sweaty he had to shower and did so as fast as he could. He looked in the fridge. He had lettuce, milk, cake, and some peanut butter.
Not good enough for a bloody cat. He picked up the phone.
"Hello, do you by any chance have any tables for tonight?"
The person on the other end laughed at him. "It's Valentine's Day. Try to be more organised in future. Show your partner you care."
"I only found out a minute ago you cocky shit." Mr. Saraiva hung up. He hated restaurants on Valentine's Day. Full of smug staff and most couples sat in silence preferring to look at their meal than each other. He didn't have time for a proper internal moan. He dialled more places.
Until finally. "Yes, we do have a table for two."
"Really?" he said. Relieved.
"No. Of course not." They hung up.
Mr. Saraiva made a mental note to write a negative Trip Advisor review on that particular place. He'd say the food was served cold, there was a toe nail in it, and the serving staff had dirt in their fingernails. He'd show them.
Ten minutes left. He didn’t have a dining table so he moved his computer and threw a table cloth over his desk. He set it out, and at least that looked good. The light in the living room flickered and he had no bulbs to change, and there were no candles. Shit, this is going to look like she’s having dinner in a dungeon.
Desperate. He looked for more food in the back of a cupboard he hadn’t opened in over a year.
A dead rat.
He screamed and shut the kitchen, letting the horror sink in. The doorbell sounded.
He opened the door.
She stood there in a lovely purple dress.. Her long brown hair rested on her shoulders.
“Hi,” he said, the heat of panic flushing over his face.
“Hi, it’s nice to meet you properly. I’m Lina.”
“I’m Rudolph Saraiva. Come in.”
At the dining table, Lina was confused by the cake and milk starter. Mr.Saraiva hadn't had time to make a playlist on Spotify so just hit shuffle. Here they were, eating dessert a a starter, to the romantic backdrop of Tupac rapping Brenda's Got A Baby, a song about teen pregnancy in the ghetto.
"Do you always eat cake first?" Lina asked, trying to shut out the hard lyrics.
"Well have you ever been to Morocco, Cyprus, or Dubai?"
"I've been to Cyprus and Dubai, but not Morocco."
Jackpot, Mr. Saraiva thought. “You might not have seen it in Cyprus or Dubai, but it's a huge tradition in Morocco, to eat something sweet before the main course.” He was pleased with himself.
Lina nodded acceptance and took a bite. “Mmm,” she said, trying to be polite. She drank some milk to add moisture to the dry treat, but even that tasted a bit off and seemed to turn it into a kind of cement in her mouth.
“So… how long have you lived here?” she said, trying to unstick her mouth.
“Eight years. Since I was thirty one.”
She looked at him, expecting a question in return. But all he could think about was what to make. He realised he hadn't aided the conversation.
“You? How long have you lived her?”
“Three years. But I’m thinking of moving next Christmas. I’ve always wanted a garden so I can get a dog.” She smiled.
"That's nice," Mr. Saraiva said. He hated dogs. He thought of them as small, angry, demanding, hairy old men.
“So Sammy told me you're a good cook. What's on the menu for main then? Ice cream and bread?” she said, joking.
“I'm messing. I didn't eat lunch because Sammy said you'd told her you'd make some kind of meat dish. She didn't say what though."
Mr. Saraiva smiled. He could feel a layer of sweat cover his skin.
"I’ve have got something special lined up.”
He went to the kitchen.
He looked around, desperate for anything that might help the evening.
Nothing. He was desperate to impress. This was his one chance. He took out the remaining items from the fridge. The milk, lettuce, and the peanut butter. He put a frying pan on the stove, poured some olive oil in, and turned it on. He opened the cupboard which housed the dead rat. The smell made him retch. No, I can't cook that. He thought. But then he'd read articles where rat meat was used in dishes and was described as tasting gamey. He held his nose with one hand, reached into the back of the cupboard, picked it up and placed it on a chopping board.
“Can I help you with anything?” Lina said from the front room.
“No. No. I’ll be out in a minute.”
Can I really do this? What choice do I have? There's nowhere to eat, and she's come here expecting a meaty dinner. If I fail at that, she'll think I'm useless. This is my one chance at happiness. i refuse to fail! She shall have meat!
He chopped the tail and head off. He cut some skin off, and it released a hellish smell. He threw up on the floor. He swept it under the cooker with his shoe. He chucked the rat on the pan and left it to sizzle.
Back in the front room, Lina looked at Mr. Saraiva’s DVD collection while the music had moved onto panpipe covers of romantic songs.
“You have a lot of Steven Seagal films.”
“Yeah. After a hard days work teaching I like to see people get their asses kicked, seeing as I can't hit the kids.” He hoped for a positive reaction, but Lina just nodded. After a moment she chuckled.
"You were joking weren't you?"
"Of course." He wasn't. “Do you like Steven Seagal?” he asked.
“I don’t hate him.” She laughed.
Mr. Saraiva liked her even more. She was so nice. The way he’d imagined her was the way she was, only she still hadn’t leapt on him to have sex yet which was rather disappointing. He'd constantly stood with an open posture in case she did decide she wanted to jump him.
“You never told me what you were cooking.”
“Oh. I'm making, erm… Ostrich. It's tough. Quite gamey.”
“Nice. I've never had game. I don't really like the idea of eating an animal that's been hunted for sport. So lucky it's just gamey rather than game. Otherwise I'd have to go home and get a sandwich.”
Mr. Saraiva laughed nervously. "Hey. If you're unsure of eating ostrich we can always eat your sandwiches instead."
"No, no, I'm looking forward to this."
Mr. Saraiva's sweat was showing through his t-shirt. “It’s in a sauce I’m trying for the first time though.”
“Can you tell me or is it a secret?”
“It’s a milky, nutty kind of sauce. You’ll see.”
Lina smiled. “Sounds delicious. And thanks for inviting me over.”
“You’re welcome. I guess we have Sammy to thank.”
"To Sammy." She raised her glass of milk. "Do you have any wine?"
They clinked glasses. "Sadly not." He hated himself for not having alcohol to aid him on his quest.
“This is really sweet of you though. I thought It’d be another Valentine's Day on my own.”
“Well I hope you like my company enough to prefer it to being alone.”
“How about after dinner we go and get some wine and bring it back here?”
He couldn’t believe it. Did she just say? “I’d love that. I’ll just go and plate up dinner.” He didn't care if it was raw, they were eating now, so he could go and get wine sooner rather than later then get her drunk.
Mr. Saraiva was no expert at reading signals and dating. But he’d watched TV and spoke to people who actually went on dates. He knew what she meant when she suggested getting wine...
Mr. Saraiva was going to get lucky.
The mess on the plate looked like a lumpy, hairy, brownish yoghurt. They had to eat with a spoon, and the thick sauce ran off the woodchip-like pieces of meat.
“So what do you think?” he asked. He looked at her, here in his flat, wanting to drink with him, and thought he'd finally succeeded at life.
Lina chewed, and chewed, and chewed. “It’s tough. I’ll give you that. But the sauce really helps it to go down.” She swallowed a large amount, trying to taste as little of it as possible.
Mr. Saraiva still couldn’t believe how forward she’d been at wanting to drink. His mind turned. We'll eat this crap, then we'll get the wine, and drink, drink, drink. Naked romance will definitely happen, then it'll be all go. Three to six months and she can move in here. We'll save, then we'll get that big house with the garden. But the dog? Fuck that. I'm the only one she's loving. He started imagining the photos they'd have around the house. The two of them riding an elephant on their first holiday. Them at a fancy dress party dressed as Siegfried and Roy. Then their wedding on a beach with a whale jumping at the perfect height in the background to be snapped.
"Rudolph? You ok?" she said.
“Sorry. Yes! Just thinking about how you were saying you wanted a dog earlier. Do you love all animals?”
“Yeah. Which feels weird as I sit here eating ostrich!”
Mr. Saraiva hadn’t touched his plate.
“Actually that's not true. I hate squirrels.”
“What have they done to you?”
“Nothing. It’s because I’m allergic to them. It’s the same as hating someone who wants to kill you, really. The difference in my life, is I know who my potential murderers are."
Mr. Saraiva laughed. "Well I can assure you no squirrels were used in this meal."
She laughed. Nobody ever laughed at his stupid comments.
"I've only ever had one allergic reaction and that was in one of those fried chicken places."
"They were using squirrel meat?" Mr. Saraiva said, shocked.
He took a sip of his milk.
Mr. Saraiva nearly spat it out.
“I’m allergic to them, too,” she said.
Mr. Saraiva was flush with fear. "Did you just break out in a few hives or something?" he asked, praying for just some luck, for once.
“I got really hot and then I was slurring my words. I'd had a lot to drink though so slurring was normal!" She laughed.
Mr. Saraiva was relieved. It would just be a mild reaction.
"I was actually lucky to survive. My throat closed up but thankfully it was so busy someone called an ambulance and I was saved pretty quickly.”
Shitbags! Mr. Saraiva dialled 999 under the table.
Lina went to take another mouthful of rat, but Mr. Saraiva slapped the plate out of her hand. It went all over her.
“What are you doing?” she said, annoyed. She wiped ratty nut milk off her.
"Sorry. I saw a fly. It was going for your breasts which was very inappropriate of it." He stood. "I'll just go get something to clean the mess up with. You sit down."
Lina was confused by the whole thing.
Mr. Saraiva ran into the kitchen and called an ambulance.
Mr. Saraiva would be sleeping alone tonight. Fuck Valentine's Day, he thought.