Caught In a Web of Love.
Thursday, May 4th, 2000
I remember the first time I ever saw the irresistable ILOVEYOU virus. I was at a Stuckey's general store on Route 40, about 28 miles outside of Yukon, Oklahoma. I'd been doing volunteer charity work on a late night chicken farm. It was tiring action, and my mouth had grown parched. The commute back to Elk City was long, so I'd need to wet my whistle along the way. With dawn sneaking up behind my Monte Carlo, I hopped the median strip, swerved across the eastbound lane of the freeway, and slid to a halt just inches from pump number two at Stuckey's. I needed leaded gasoline, and lots of it. But first things first.
As soon as I walked in, I knew something rough was gonna go down. This Stuckey's seemed smaller than most, and the usual smell of fried-egg-sandwiches and cigarettes was missing. Instead, I smelled trouble. There was only room for two tables in the eating area, and the Little Debbie's snack shelf was squished into a corner. I couldn't find cheap plastic sunglasses or roll-on deodorant anywhere. Strange indeed. I moved softly towards the soda fountain and helped myself to a 64-bit tank of Mr. Pibb. I took a sip. It hit the spot.
Then I saw her.
She was wearing patent-leather pumps, a form fitting denim mini-skirt and a tank-top with "Betcha Can't Catch the Love Bug" written on the back using a Bedazzler. No socks, tights, or stockings. Her body was sleek, but her lips were sleeker. I grabbed a bag of CornNuts and pretend to look busy. She looked my overalls up and down, gently swinging her shoulders back and forth, back and forth, to the sound of Boz Scaggs coming from the clock radio. She knew that part of me wanted her. As I awkwardly fumbled with my droopy mustache, I knew she was bad news.
"I love you," she said with a bees-knees honeycomb voice, moving toward me with what looked like a standard sized Manila folder in her left hand. "And I have something for you, Frederick."
"I bet you do," I replied with a grizzled snarl, "but I'm not Frederick, and this isn't exactly Prussia, if you know what I mean." I reached for some Johnson's Beef Jerky. If we were going to chew the fat for a while, I wanted something with a nice smokey flavor.
"Prussia?" Her voice was insipid, but I had no idea what that meant. She pulled a love letter from her folder, and offered it to me.
"No thanks, crazy woman," I said confidently.
She hadn't expected that, and for a moment her left tentacle shuddered in confusion. Then her eyes lit up, and she fixated them on my bow tie. "So you're a traveler, eh? Have you been to the East Indies?" She was asking too many questions, and I was starting to get nervous. She had a secret, a dark secret, and I wasn't sure that secret would keep. I was walking in my sleep, backwards toward the candy aisle. She spoke again. "Would you mind giving me the names and addresses of some of your friends?"
"Nothing doing," I yelled as I turned and ran behind a rack of poorly manufactured tee shirts. I knew she was one of those heart-shaped alien viruses that I had heard about from Art Bell, and damn if I wasn't going to do my damnedest to stop her dead in her damn tracks. Damn! Something had to be done. I pulled a "What Would Jesus Do?" tee shirt from the rack, and began winding it up into a makeshift locker-room whip.
To show her that I meant business, I threw down one of my buckskin gloves.
She didn't expect my challenge, that temptress. Aghast, she backed away, dropping the letter into a pool of spilt cheese sauce. I should have stabbed her with my eyebrow pencil then and there, but I couldn't move fast enough. The viscious Love Bug faked left, grabbed a box of Snowballs from a nearby shelf, faked right, smacked me square in the middle of the face with the very same package of economical pastries, and dove over the makeshift cash counter in a single fluid motion. I chased after her, flailing my Christ-whip, but it was too late. There was a flash of light, so I ducked and covered.
Behind the counter, next to a stack of cigarette cartons and seven Whatchamacallit bars, was a single rotary telephone. The headset was off the hook. Beside the phone I saw wisps of smoke and a pile of Bedazzle beads.
"Damn that worm," I said, fists clenched. "She got out!"
7:03 PM |