Chapter 40 - Baby in burning building
Two young men walked through New York City’s bustling nighttime streets while discussing the intricacies of the modern dating scene.
Smells of cigarettes, street food, and perfumes of passing pedestrians blended together to form the city’s natural fragrance--Eau de hot garbage.
"If dinner is a Sarlacc pit trap, then where would you take a girl?" Ben asked.
Antonio answered, "Pretend she broke her jaw gossipin’ with her girlfriends and keep her on a liquid diet...Drinks are best. If they don’t drink alcohol, then coffee. If nothin’ else, you can go for a walk somewhere. Just don’t let them stuff their face in front of you, especially on a first date. This ain’t Pacman..."
Ben typed a note into his phone: ’Pacmaning...not...allowed."
Antonio continued. "Second issue, when’s the last time you spoke with her?"
"...Last night. When we confirmed today’s date."
Antonio shook his head with a helpless smile. "You’re courting death..."
Ben’s right eye twitched. Ever since he introduced his cousin to Asian web novels, he’s been picking up random xianxia terms and using them in normal conversation.
Antonio explained. "Bro, you’ve gotta understand that most chicks have the attention spans of toddlers. If you don’t wanna get flaked on, remember this word—confirmation! You need to get confirmation the day of the date, and more than one! It ain’t as simple as it sounds. In general, textin’ and callin’ chicks is like playin’ checkers; There are all kinds of errors you can make where any of them will queen her. That’ll be game over for you.’
Ben released a stressful sigh. "...So is this lead dead?"
Antonio’s face showed a smirk. "Maybe not...I’m gonna teach you how to beat any girl in checkers. You’ll use a favored tactic of the greatest strategists of ancient history..." His smirk distorted into a scheming grin. "Cheat!"
Some would frown upon that word but Ben wasn’t one of them. He loved infinite gold hacks! This was a flavor that matched his appetite! He listened with more focus than in any class since he started college!
Ben’s attitude satisfied Antonio, who believed future prospects with women would improve depending on two characteristics: how eager you were to learn, and how little shame you had! In these characteristics, Ben was a top prospect! Antonio needed to take proper care of this baby Yoda...
Antonio said, "If setting up dates is like a checkers game, then all you gotta do is...flip the board around!"
"I’m not following your metaphor."
Antonio chuckled. "Look, society expects guys to pursue chicks, not the other way around, right? In that scenario, she’s the prize...That puts you at a natural disadvantage! As any good war game vet knows, the defender has the edge, so if you play by the rules, you’ll always be fightin’ an uphill battle. Lucky for us, this battlefield is one of perception; The roles of attacker and defender ain’t set in stone. So all you gotta do is reverse the roles and...become the prize yourself!"
"So I should become a pinata?"
Antonio shrugged. "If you want...Now that I think about it, a pinata doesn’t work a day in its life..."
"So I have to hang from a ceiling while a gang of children beat me into a hate crime victim?"
"...No? Then you can be the candy."
"I’ll only end up in a chubster kid’s stomach!"
"Shut up! You’re ruinin’ my metaphor! Look, my point is, you’ve gotta flip things around so it seems like you ain’t the one chasin’ her, even though you are. If you play it well, you can even make her chase you..."
"Hmm..." Ben didn’t know Antonio was so clever. While his ears filtered out the loud honking cars in the background, he pondered the concept.
Antonio stopped walking and turned to Ben. "She thinks she flaked on you, right? That is, if she even remembers you had a date. I’ll show you a move as an example. Give me your phone..."
Ben handed Antonio his phone and Antonio typed a text message.
On the other side of town, Katie was at her hair salon getting a trim.
*Beep* Her phone emitted a new message alarm. She picked it up and saw the sender. ’Oh, it’s that guy I talked to yesterday, Ben. Wait...didn’t we have a date today? I totally forgot...Oh well, guess I flaked on him. Whatev.’ Then she read the text.
"my bad I couldn’t make it. hope u didn’t wait there long. had emergency. baby in burning building"
Katie raised an eyebrow. ’Is he saying he saved a baby in a burning building?’ She was confused...but intrigued. ’So he flaked on me?’ Now she was even more intrigued. A guy has never flaked on her...
"Baby in burning building? What am I, Superman?!?" Ben yelled.
"Nah, that’s ridiculous...Superman wouldn’t care about a single baby. He’s economical. If you ain’t in a bus or plane, you’re going in the river..." Antonio replied.
"You made me sound crazy!"
Antonio laughed. "It was a line that was both funny and interesting. More important is she won’t know if were kidding or serious. Confusion is the name of the game. If you can keep a chick confused about you, she’ll keep thinking about you, making you the prize. Trust me bro, it’ll work. That’ll hook her."
The two of them gazed at Ben’s phone as it got an alert. It was a text message from Katie...
Ben glanced at Antonio who was still smirking, then he read the message.
"no probs. we can resched. tell me about this baby..."
Ben gasped, before shouting, "BABY IN BURNING BUILDING!" He believed he discovered a hack to the matrix!
"Shut up! You’re scarin’ away the customers!" The hot dog vendor at the side screamed at Ben.
Ben didn’t care. His heartbeat sped up as he repeated the line in his head. He knew what he needed to do now to be popular with women! It was obvious. Even a toddler would get it.
He’d become a superhero!