Poisoned Dove

“·Listen [L Look; T Behold], I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. So be as ·clever [wise; shrewd; cunning] as ·snakes [serpents] and as ·innocent [harmless] as doves. 

Matthew 10:16, Expanded Bible

Dearest Rachel –

When I first signed up on the dating app, Jan had helped me put together a profile (although later on, she pointed out that I should not have specified that I was retired, lest too many scammers put that status together with my age, and determine that they had a mark on their hands. I’ve since scrubbed it accordingly, but, well… things happen). She told me at the time not to take it too seriously, that it would be a source of entertainment rather than any serious possibilities.

Boy, she wasn’t kidding. It’s amazing how much fun you can have when you’re willing – and able – to at least pretend to play the sucker.

I’ve gone into some detail about Ruby, in particular, if for no other reason than the fact that I’d actually used her ‘real’ name when referring to her right from the start, because she disappeared from the app almost immediately upon contacting me (and that after showing up in multiple different locations over the course of a few hours of conversation). Since then, she has been surprisingly persistent, disappearing for a week or two, only to pop up with a greeting out of nowhere, dangling the possibility of getting together just when I have a schedule that precludes it. She has also had moments where she seems insistent that she be my one and only, which until we meet is absolutely out of the question. Pictures can be faked or stolen; the proof of a person is in their presence.

Daniel has made it abundantly clear that he is not fond of her in the slightest, and I can’t say that I blame him. Leaving aside the fact that I’m trying to fill your shoes in general, and that the ‘thrum’ of her messages seem to come at times when we’re actually doing stuff together, there are moments when she displays signs that she’s not all that she claims to be… or, more to the point, that she’s every bit the scammer that Naruko likely was.

Last night was one of those moments. After the usual lovely supper with the folks, Daniel and I moved their trash bins to the curb (as part of the weekly custom, since their pickup is this morning), and headed home. Daniel settled in to watch YouTube, while I finished up my letter to you about yesterday’s activity. Before I could finish and send it off, Google Hangouts rang me up.

Yup, it was Ruby, solicitous as ever, right down to the absurd question, “Are you still awake, babe?” I even snarked back about what she would do if I responded in the negative (an obvious impossibility, as you’d need to be awake to text anything, even ‘No’). After a quick bit of banter along those lines, she lowered the boom:

“well Randy there’s something I really wanna discuss with you but I honestly don’t know how you’ll take this but believe me Im serious . ” Yes, that’s verbatim, spelling, capitalization, run-on sentences and all. If you were still here, you’d be telling me to drop her right now just for that.

Of course, if you were still here, I wouldn’t even be on this dating site in the first place.

Anyway, I’ll boil down the walls of text she sent me. A friend of hers is supposedly getting married (“on the 6 of this month” she put it, leaving me to wonder, who gets married on a Wednesday?), and she and several of her friends were going shopping this weekend for clothes and shoes, and would I be so kind to help her out, as she didn’t have the money on her right to buy anything. And of course she doesn’t have anyone else to ask, but she’d be “so happy and super excited” if I could please try and help her out.

I’ll just bet she would, in fact.

But you know what? The thing is, the amounts she’s talking about, while not insubstantial, are fairly trifling. Our investments gain and lose orders of magnitude more than this in the course of a given day. It’s not the money that’s really the problem here, so much as there’s nothing in it for me. And while that last statement may sound selfish, and even predatory, I’m thinking more along the lines of Groucho Marx.

When I invite a woman to dinner, I expect her to look at my face. That’s the price she has to pay.

Otis P. Driftwood (Groucho Marx), A Night at the Opera

I’m actually willing to help Ruby out, but I made it clear that I was not going to be sending her anything impersonally, like through Venmo or PayPal. No, indeed; as I told her, I’m old-fashioned that way. I would drive down to Orland Hills, meet her at a Starbucks (I assume there’s probably a dozen Starbucks in the immediate area – there always are) of her choosing at a time of her choosing, white her a check, and let her go her merry way. I could even do so first thing this morning, as she promptly responded that she and her friends would be going shopping this afternoon (my goodness, whatever happened to the weekend? You’re taking Friday off to do this, even though you’ve already committed your next Wednesday? When do you even work, girl? I did not ask that, by the way), and she would need the money that much sooner.

What I did tell her was that I’d been talking to my friends and family about her, and I would be getting (and to a certain extent, ignoring – but let’s allow this to play out before you judge me on that) their advice about this situation; I asked her to consider what they’d be likely to tell me about this little scheme of hers.

This was her response. She doesn’t tell her friends about her relationships, but instead lets it be a surprise. Bear in mind, she’s already claimed to me that she’s talked to her mom and siblings about ‘us’. Oh, and let’s not forget how you always felt about surprises – this is absolutely the wrong choice of words for her to use with me.

This is a textbook example of someone I don’t want in my life. Assuming she’s even real, who’s to say she wouldn’t… surprise me some day with a relationship she hasn’t told me about, for instance?

However, I’m still playing along at this point, but firmly insistent that I will hand over the money to her when we meet. All she has to do is to name the time and place, and (given an hour to drive there, mind you) I’ll be there for her. This morning, I even located a specific Starbucks for us to meet at in Orland Hills, at a fairly prominent intersection, only asking her for the time.

Silence.

I’ll keep waiting, but I think that’s the end of this discussion (and if she ever comes back, I can mention her ‘surprise relationship’ line to politely shut her down in the future). On the other hand, if she actually does offer a time to meet – which at this point I’d be leery of, simply because of today’s date; what better day to get stood up than on April Fools’ Day? – I have a rejoinder about the shirt I might wear, so she could recognize me:

The red shirt is sending a message: a quote from Margaret Thatcher about running out of other people’s money. I didn’t ever claim to be subtle, but in my defense, Ruby isn’t being particularly subtle, either, so I’d say it was only fair.

Wish me luck, honey. I may have this under control, but I just might need it yet.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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