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When Cupid's arrow misses the mark // Mime's the word

(ran TP edition)

Warren Weathers, assistant to Property Appraiser Rob Turner, tells this story about a friend who, understandably, prefers to remain completely anonymous:

It was his first week in Tampa, a hot summer in 1981. He went to an art festival, and there were mimes and clowns there. So he gets friendly with this mime. She was wearing the mime makeup, and he's not really sure what she looks like, but he goes home with her. It's one of those old apartments without air conditioning, and it's kind of a sweaty mess, and she only gets some of the makeup off before they go to bed. He wakes up, and he's horrified by what he sees. So he tries to sneak out, but when he picks up his shoe to put it on, a roach runs out. So he screams, and then she wakes up and screams and they're screaming at each other and there's makeup everywhere _ the red and the white and the pancake _ it's like some kind of horror film.

He ran out. He never really knew who she was.

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Baby, come back

Janine, a 31-year-old downtown Tampa office worker who prefers not to reveal her last name, offers this:

We were going out for a real fancy night. He bought me a red dress, and he put on a tuxedo with a red tie to match me. I mean, we were dressed to a T. We had tickets to a club. Right before we were going to leave, he said "I'm going to the store. I'll be right back.' Well, baby went to the store, and baby didn't come right back. I waited for baby until seven o'clock in the morning. I can't tell you what I greeted him with," Janine says, but allows that law enforcement had to intervene at some point that morning.

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First-date blues

Andrea Zelman, an attorney for the city of Tampa:

"It was my very first date in my entire life. I was so excited, because it was with a 16-year-old who had a car. And it was a double date with his younger brother and my best friend Susie. We were so excited. We went to the mall and bought new outfits. We waited and waited. They never showed up. I was sobbing. And I remember saying, even at that tender age: "Is this a bad omen for the rest of my life?' "

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Now, that's getting lucky

Steve, 30, hairstylist at a north Tampa salon.

"Me and my friends were at Green Iguana (bar) last year and I picked up this girl, right? And we were, you know, headin' out, and we got in her car and we got about two blocks down the street. I was wondering why the dash light wouldn't come on. I kept asking, but she didn't have a clue. She was trashed, too.

The car's tail lights also weren't working, and Steve and his newfound date were promptly pulled over by the cops. They said, "You know your lights are out?' and they wanted our driver's license. So I handed them mine. They asked for hers, and she's flipping around, and she said, "Oh, I don't have it. I can't find it.' I said, "That's it right there, ain't it?' It was in her wallet. So the cop's like, "Yes ma'am, I saw it. Give me your driver's license. So why were you scared to give me your license?' She said, "Oh, no reason, I just couldn't find it.' The cop said, "You got any warrants for your arrest?' (She said) "No, I don't think so.'

The police officer ran computer checks on the licenses and returned to the car. She said, "Do I have any warrants?' He's like, "No ma'am, you don't have any warrants. You check clear,' he said to Steve, handing him his license. At that moment Steve looked in the rear view mirror and saw a second police officer walking around the back of the car to the passenger side. "The next thing you know, he snatched her out, pins her against the car, cuffs her, and she goes, "I thought you said I didn't have any warrants.' And he says, "Well, how about several assault and battery charges.' So I'm like, "Ooooh, great.'

While Steve's date was led back to the police cruiser, the other officer gave him a sobriety test. He said, "Man, you're gone. Do you even know this girl?' I'm like, "No, man, I just met her at the bar. I figured I'd take her home and get lucky.' And they said, "Well you got lucky all right, lucky we caught you before you got home.'

The police officer then asked Steve if he could find a ride home. "No, all my friends just left,' Steve replied, missing the officer's hint. And he goes, "You see that phone over there?! You better get your a_ over there and call you a cab!' And at about that time, four more cop cars pulled up, and they hauled her away.

Oh, and the car was her ex-husband's."

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Starting the date with a bloody nose

Tampa rock musician Joe Popp, 31, has a classic lower-middle-class-boy-dates-rich-girl tale that might provide comfort for guys who are chronically unlucky in love:

"This is in 1983. I was a senior in high school. I wanted to take this girl (Holly) to the Billy Squier concert, right? I went to school, then I had to work a little bit in the afternoon, then I got off work and I was in a rush. So I was shaving my face and I cut my nostril, like deep. Just like in Chinatown when Nicholson got his nose flicked by that guy's knife. It was just gushing blood.

"So I stick this rag over my face, and I take my dad's '72 Ranchero _ you know, not a really great date car. It was all beat up. It was his work truck from his muffler shop. I went to go pick her up, and I pulled in with the Ranchero smoking badly."

Holly's parents opened their door to a young man holding a bloody rag to his face with a smoking Ranchero behind him. "They're like, "Oh my God! Are you all right?' I'm like, "Yeah, I'm fine. Is Holly home?' "

"So I'm waiting at the door with the blood gushing out of my face, and I look at the driveway and my dad's car is just leaking oil all over it. And she was a very affluent . . . I mean I went from my neighborhood to her neighborhood. It was just like a very rich neighborhood. The driveway was like pure white, with this oil slick on it."

Popp and his date climbed into the Ranchero. "I go to pull out, and her parents are just looking at the driveway pointing, and like yelling at each other. I just see them out of the window and I leave in a puff of smoke.

"So then we go to the concert. She doesn't know who Billy Squier is _ she was like a horse jumper girl, real rich family, and I was from a lower middle class working schlub family _ and she gets her ears blasted out. She couldn't even hear for like a week. I'm like, "Well, did you have a good time?' She's like, "No, not really.' And, I mean, I had blood just caked all over my face.

"So I go to bring her home, and I try to park in the same spot on the driveway so that I won't leak any more spots on the driveway. And her parents are up waiting for us. They were trying to be really nice. They said, "Next time you come over, can you park on the street?' And I'm like, "Yeah, no problem.' And then she goes, "Oh don't worry, he won't be over again.' And that was it. And then I left in a cloud of smoke. I just felt great that I had a way out of it. Horrible date. I'll never forget it."

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