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THE CRUSH CHRONICLES: RICK

THE CRUSH CHRONICLES: RICK

By Janet Manley

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Janet has crushed on just about everything, from boys to rowing coaches to English teachers to ski patrollers to boys with mohawks to Jack Black to Nick Miller. At times, she has worried that her crushability might not have a limit. What next, she has worried, a president? A cardboard cutout of Theo James? A cartoon pirate? Statistically, these crushes have hardly ever been requited. In this space, she walks you through her crushes, poor unsuspecting boy by poor unsuspecting boy, looking for clues as to the cause of their ultimate failure. For each, she has selected a stock photo approximation of her crush; due to the passage of time, these may be more dreamy than the original. The title is capitalized because OMG, YOU GUYS, CRUSHES!

RICK

There comes a time in the life of every crush when you will decide to go for a rollerblading/cycling date. The Object will drive to a predetermined location on the shores of an inland lake with his bicycle on the roof of his car, and you will drive to meet him with your rollerblades, hopefully not driving with your rollerblades on, especially if your car is a manual. That way you will a) not crash on the way there after rolling off the brake pedal, and b) will have an opportunity to seductively apply your rollerblades to your feet while under his gaze (go slow on those buckles, my chipmunks).

You will take off along a bike path, and realize that your story could be one of opposites attract, where one of you is a sensible-looking, mature man on a bicycle, and the other of you is an insane rollerblader, flying down a bitumen path at 30kph on just your feet, pretty much. You will want to impress this male specimen, and so will go to great lengths to demonstrate your speed, unflappability, and use of sun protection (you are both gingers). It will all be crush fuel.

After you have halfway circumnavigated the lake, you will decide it is time for a romantic interlude, and stop for a breather by a sunny jetty.

"Why don't we have a dip!" You'll suggest, coyly removing your rollerblades. Assuming that The Object is right behind you, you will climb a pylon at the far end of the jetty, turn your back to the water, exhale, and then execute a perfect backsomersault into the filthy, polluted water of Lake Burley Griffin. When you rise to the surface and shake the algae from your eyes, you will see that your conquest is standing on the jetty possibly impressed by your gymnastic skill, but most likely repulsed by the brackish cesspit you have just launched your entire body into. You will know: This boy is not coming in after me.

SURELY, THERE IS STILL TIME TO RECOVER THIS DATE, you will think, and climb out of the lake, smelling like a rotting piece of seaweed (inland seaweed, the worst kind of seaweed).

"I can dry off as we finish off the loop!" You will declare nonchalantly, squelching your feet back into your rollerblades.

Conversation will slow to a trickle, much like the runoff from the crotch of your sodden bike shorts, as you continue around the lake, edging closer to free, closer to dry.

When you get back to the cars, you will have built a memory together, if not etched in his mind a permanent association between you and opaque, green water. You will stand around casually, nervously, with the hopeful anticipation of intimacy.

The conversation will spin around in circles and rattle to a near halt, like rollerblades on a rough grade of parking lot. Just when you think all the air has gone out of your date balloon, he will furrow his brow and say, "What's that—in your top?"

You will look down, and in the layer between your sports bra and your running singlet with internal supportive crop top, you will notice the unmistakable relief of a letter C pressed against, and curling around your left breast. Confused, you will look inside your top, pulling it out from your body for a good gander. Something will hit the ground. You will both look down. There, on the asphalt, will be a small, dead fish. A carp.

There will be silence for a moment.

"Was that in your top since..." His voice will trail off.

Your date will lie, lifeless, on the pavement. Nary a flap from its tail will be detected.

Note: The closest stock photo approximation of Rick is, as you can see, a leprechaun. A better likeness can be found in this album cover.

Has a dead fish in your swimmer-top ever ruined a date for you?

Topics: Life
Tags: crushes, boys, date ideas, fish, short stories, true stories, the crush chronicles, rollerblading, there are plenty more fish in the sea

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About the Author
Janet Manley

Janet's desk was moved into the hall for the duration of coursework on Roman numerals in grade four, and she cannot tell one Rocky from another to this day. Her spirit animal is a wombat, and she has not written a novel. Dauntless, Gryffindor, Mockingjay. She tweets @janetmanley

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.