Will You Marry Me, Pukeface?
Kristen was curious about Robert’s parents, especially since the little he
had told her of them was fascinating, but as they had several years earlier
succumbed to a bad case of airplane crash it was a delicate subject. In his
room one evening, she searched for a way to get him to talk about them.
“Do you remember how we met?” she opened.
“Yeah, it was a story for the ages. I had just ruptured myself, and you
were laughing and looking down your nose at me.”
“True, it wasn’t romantic, but my parents’ first meeting was. They met
at a pool. Mom walked out of the change room in her bathing suit, and my dad
spotted her. He tried to show off on the diving board but ended up slipping and
bouncing off his bum before flopping into the water. Mom laughed and went over
to … You’re not listening to me.”
“Sure I am: your parents met at the university.”
“What did I say after that?”
“Uh, your dad… umm spotted your mom… on a corner, and they went to a
cheap motel room.”
“All right, if you find my family history so boring tell me how your
parents met.” He closed his eyes, laid his head on his shoulder and
pretended to snore. She gave up for the time being and suggested they play a
game of Trivial Pursuit.
He decided not to, but she broke out the game, set it on the desk and handed
him the die. “Roll,” she instructed. He sighed and rolled. She read
the first question: “What are the four letters above Christ’s head on the
“O‑o-p‑s?” Robert quipped.
Kristen snickered and said, “Not quite: it’s I‑N-R‑I.”
She rolled the die and went to geography.
“Uh, it’s a wordy question but the gist is, ‘What country has the city
of Condom?’” Robert said.
“You’re kidding, right?” she asked. He shook his head. “I
have no idea. Where is it?”
“On the Peninsula of Phallicia,” Robert jested.
“And where is that?” asked Kristen with a grin.
“Due north of Sackville,” he answered. She simpered. “It’s in
Robert rolled. Kristen said, “Uh oh. What four-letter verb does the
bible use to indicate sexual intercourse?”
“I don’t suppose it’s fu…” Robert started to say before Kristen
interjected, “Robert! Behave. You know I hate that word. The answer is
“Hey, nowadays it means you can’t have intercourse,” Robert
“I mean k‑n-o‑w, brat,” she clarified.
“Oh. Kristen, do you want to get to know me better?” Robert
begged. “Let’s go to your room and know.”
Kristen responded, “No.”
“I’m confused,” he admitted. “Did you say no or know? Does
know mean yes or no?”
“Robert Owens,” Kristen chided, “you are absolutely
“You take that back or I’ll get Mr. O’Toole to bop you in the
head,” he replied.
“Who’s Mr. O’Toole?” Kristen asked.
“My invisible leprechaun,” he responded to Kristen’s amusement. She
rolled the die. Robert read, “What is by far the largest organ in the
“Let me see that,” she said as she grabbed the card. “Oh. I
thought you were just being perverted again.”
“I’m not a pervert.”
“You, sir, have one-track mind. You can only think with your
“That’s not true,” Robert countered. “I also come and go with
“Mr. Owens, you are unspeakably indecent. It’s your most endearing
“I don’t wanna play this any more.”
“Well, what do you wanna do?”
“I want to know you.”
“I’ll tell you what: tell me how your father proposed, and you may get
halfway to knowing me.”
“Deal. Mom loved to tell that story. It’s funny. Mom was contented on
her own; she had her career, and men were pigs. Dad was happy too; he had a
good career, and women were plentiful. Then they met and everything changed. So,
two people who were perfectly satisfied in their independence were now
completely dependent on someone else for their happiness; it’s sad
“Don’t be so male.”
“Anyway, he proposed in an airplane. You know he was a pilot,
“He rented an expensive plane, and took her up to show off but went too
far showing off. There were a few too many acrobatic maneuvers for her
unaccustomed stomach. Just as he was getting set to ask the question, she turned
white and puffed out her cheeks. What would come first — the question or the
vomit? If the latter, she could well imagine it putting a damper on his
enthusiasm and she might miss her best shot at him. But if the question came
first, how would it look to answer the most profound expression of a man’s love
with a puke? Many men would consider that the definitive rejection. As the
purging began she grabbed a bag next to the seat. When she put her face in it
and spewed forth she saw a small jewelry box in it, which held?”
“The engagement ring.”
“Mom was so embarrassed and upset that she started bawling. Dad was
angry with himself for his overzealousness; he knew it was his fault and
apologized. He thought the moment sufficiently unromantic to proceed with the
question, so he flew back to the airport, his plans shattered. But mom would
not let it end like that. Just before she got out of the plane she took his
hand and looked deep into his eyes and willed him to pop the question. He asked
with a hopeful smile, ‘Will you marry me, puke face?’ ”
“He did not! That would be terrible.”
“I don’t know the exact words he used, but she said yes and went to
kiss him but recalled her barf breath and turned aside at the last minute. He
turned her head back and kissed her on the lips. I’m guessing he didn’t slip
her the tongue.”
“I never thought throwing up could be so romantic.”
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