Doomed Date Diaries by Bethany Quinn
'You went out with Commander Zlarg of the Ninth Mutant Fleet of Pluu?' Miranda said.
'Uh huh,' I said, already wishing I hadn't mentioned it.
'The Commander Zlarg?' She said in disbelief- or it might have been dismay- it was hard to tell- I was transfixed by the blur of her fingers as they tapped away at a large and scary looking calculator. It was tax return time and Miranda was helping me fill in my form.
'You're joking, right?' She said.
I shrugged. What was the big deal? The guy drank Pinot Grigio and turned up to our date on a skateboard. (As you know, I've been on some pretty dreadful dates lately, but two hours spent with an online gaming Zombie Overlord was definitely a new low point.)
'What was he like?' Miranda asked, briefly looking up from my untidy stack of receipts. At least she'd stopped tutting and rolling her eyes.
His real name was Nathan. He worked in a comic shop. I could smell his trainers from under the table. Thankfully the interaction of the various petrochemical byproducts in his hair severely limited my ability to breath. He didn't want to leave his skateboard by the door so he leant it against my coat instead. I still don't know how I'm going to get the wheel marks out. After explaining his 'other life' Nathan reassured me that he was only an undead Pluuvian mercenary after 7.30pm. Our date started at 8pm. That explained a lot.
I could tell that Miranda was intrigued. She was the only person I knew who'd ran away from the circus to be a financial advisor. Miranda used to be a stilt walker and acrobat in an itinerate troop of touring performers who travelled around the outermost reaches of Scotland in a minibus with a tent strapped to the roof. Every night, during Summer, they entertained a small, mystified crowd that was normally outnumbered ten to one by the cast. When their funding finally dried up she stopped doing back flips in a fairy costume and enrolled in business school.
Nathan and Miranda were strangely perfect for each other.
As she left I gave Miranda Commander Zlarg's telephone number and hoped she'd find a way of limiting my income tax bill in return. I'm not sure that tax really works that way, but maybe it does on Pluu?