20 minutes into the date, Clark’s nerves settled down to make way for a new emotion. He wasn’t nervous anymore. He sipped his beer, and drummed his fingers against the table with equal parts annoyance and boredom. Victoria continued talking about her job, seemingly not noticing his new mood.
Clark had tags like “explorer” and “traveler” in his profile, and he matched with Victoria on those. He also mentioned that he’d been to alternate universes; as a joke. When he and Victoria first matched up, the conversation quickly turned to other universes and Clark thought it was fun they had a common interest. He did not expect her to make up a whole career that involved her regularly traveling to other universes. Nor did he expect her to spend the first 20 minutes of their date talking about those other universes in great, fictional detail. But one obvious became the last straw. He wanted to like her, but he could not let her lies pile up anymore.
“You found the freaking fountain of youth on an alternate Earth?” he asked. He did little to hide his condescending tone. “What are you doing here instead of being stupid rich?” Victoria shook her head; her violet ponytail bobbed with the motion.
“I found A fountain of youth, they show up on different Earths from time to time,” she added a smile. “And I’m here because I like pizza and I think you’re cute,” she said. “Sharp Development handles all my expenses, so I guess you could say I am stupid rich. Money’s not a concern, anyway.”
“Alright, hold on,” Clark said. “I think you’re pretty cute too, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a grip on reality. I’m on board to pretend all you want, but I need to know you understand you’re just pretending too,” he said. Victoria tilted her head in confusion.
“Pretending about what? What did I miss?” she asked.
“I’ve never ever heard of a company named Sharp Development. If they’re as big as you’re claiming the name would sound at least a little familiar. But the big thing is alternate universes. I mean, c’mon, you know they don’t exist, right?”
“Oooh,” Victoria shook her head. “I’m so dumb,” she giggled to herself, then bonked her own head playfully. At the exact moment she did, Clark noticed a quick flash of gold in her eyes. It happened fast enough that he wasn’t sure of what he saw; he dismissed it as a stray reflection. “Sorry,” she said. “I keep forgetting to check.”
“Check what?” Clark asked.
“Your profile said you’ve traveled to different universes,” Victoria replied. “I took it for granted instead of actually checking. But, now I see you were lying about that.”
“I wasn’t lying, it’s a joke because other universes don’t exist; if they did I think the world would know. On the other hand…,” he added. “I think you’re taking the joke far enough to be considered, ‘lying’.”
“Oh wow,” Victoria said. She made a distinct effort to lean back in her seat away from him. And, she shook her head again. “You know, I get where you’re coming from. But, you could’ve tried a little harder not to sound like you’re flat out accusing me of lying.”
“I am,” he said with a nod. It took Victoria a moment to recover, but once she did she relaxed completely and even gave Clark a smile.
“I think we’re both comfortable calling this done now,” she said as she stood. “I hope you have a good life,” she added. Then, she turned around and walked out of the restaurant. Clark chuckled to himself as he noted that she used the door. That botched date was on a Friday night.
At mid-afternoon the next day a woman dressed in all white appeared on Clark’s television; on every channel. As well as his phone, tablet, and every computer monitor in his home.
“My name is Dana Sharp, owner of Sharp Development. I am announcing that after meeting with the leaders of the world, I now own this Earth. Welcome to the multi-verse!”