Doug looked down at his phone, then back up at the hotel entrance as he paced around nervously.
“There’s no way she’s gonna show…” he said to himself as he glanced again at the blonde beauty pictured in his iPhone. “Either that or she’s not even real.”
He was meticulously honest in his own Tindr profile. Maybe too honest, he often wondered. He’d only been on three dates so far since installing the app. All three were massive disappointments, and he had already experienced two complete no-shows.
He glanced at the time again: 7:12. He decided to give her three more minutes to show before giving up completely. He couldn’t believe how stupid he was agreeing to drive three hours to Chicago to meet this phantom stranger. He looked at the hotel booking information online to see if there were any loopholes by which he could cancel the reservation and get his money back.
He sighed heavily at 7:15, pocketed his phone, and moved towards the elevator to get back to his room. Just as he jabbed the button for the 32nd floor he heard a questioning voice. “Doug?”
He spun around and came face to face with the face that he had been staring at on his phone screen non-stop for the past four days. “Anna! You made it after all!” he beamed.
“I am so sorry! I missed my stop on the L and had to double back.” Her hair was a bit darker and several inches shorter than in her profile pic, but this was certainly the same girl. “I’m nearly out of breath!”
“It’s fine! I’m glad you’re here.” He reached out his arms tentatively for a hug which she reciprocated, her head coming up to his chin for the brief, but friendly embrace. Doug figured she must have exaggerated her height in her profile, because she was certainly a quite a bit shorter than the 5′ 7″ she had posted on her profile – much closer to 5 foot than he expected, but he always preferred petite women, so that surprise wasn’t a deal breaker by any means.
“I don’t know about you, but I am starving!” she declared as she broke off the embrace and grabbed his hand. As she pulled him by the arm towards the hotel exit, he noticed a small yin-yang tattoo peeking out on her upper shoulder just above her white camisole. What made this particular tattoo unusual is that it had a dozen or so small icons slowly orbiting around the yin and yang symbols which were rotating at an equal speed. “I could eat a horse right now! What about you?” she asked, looking back up at him over her shoulder.
He pulled his eyes away from her shoulder blade to meet hers and she continued to pull him along. “Yeah! It was a long drive and I only stopped for a late breakfast this morning, so I could go for something. I noticed there’s a Cheesecake Factory across the street.”
“Cheesecake Factory?” she said in a mocking, but flirty way as she pulled him out of the hotel lobby and out among the Chicago skyscrapers. ” Come on! You can get Cheesecake Factory anywhere. You’re in Chicago, dude!”
Two hours and half a Giordano’s deep-dish pizza later, as Doug waited for Anna to return from the restroom, he thought about how perfect the evening had been. The two bantered all night long like they had known each other their whole lives. She was the perfect woman in every way. He hoped he didn’t do something to screw things up.
“Back!” Anna said as she slid into her chair across the table from him. “Notice anything different?”
Doug couldn’t help but notice her hair. It was the exact same style and length as before, but it was now a bright shade of purple. “Wow!”, he fumbled for the right words to express his shock but wouldn’t inadvertently put his foot in his mouth. “You look stunning! Is that a wig?”
Damn. There goes the foot into his mouth.
“Does it look like a wig?” she playfully teased as she ran her fingers through a handful of her hair and pulled on it before getting to the ends.
Doug noticed that her eyebrows also had the same purple coloring, but a quite a bit darker. Same with her lashes. And if he squinted, he could see the fine thin hair on her arms had a slight purple hue to them. This was more than a mere wig. “It looks great, but I’m completely baffled. Unless Giordano’s has the world’s fastest hair colorist on staff in their bathrooms.” He took a quick drink of his beer. “Because it’s either that, a really convincing wig, or it’s magic.”
“Ding. Ding. Ding!” she winked at him.
“Okay, now you’re just fucking with me.”
“I’ll give you a hint. I suspect you’ve been staring at the source of this magic all night long.” she pivoted her torso to reveal part of her back to him and pointed to the weird moving yin/yang tattoo.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Doug said in a flirty semi-sarcastic way. “I see animated tattoos every day where I’m from.”
Anna reached up over her shoulder and pressed down on the side of the tattoo. The rotation paused and she was able to drag it across her skin, over her shoulder and to the front of her torso.
“And I see people’s skin acting like an iPad every day too…” he said dryly while still wide-eyed from this unexpected tattoo relocation.
“It’s not a normal tattoo. It’s from DM.” she countered.
Even though he didn’t live in the big city, Doug had heard the initials before. “Devious Majik.” He had been to the website trying to figure out if the legends about the store and its products were true or merely fabrications. He had not found evidence supporting either theory.
“Devious Majik.” she smiled as she pressed down on the head icon, which, much like a touch screen computer, opened up another menu with various options regarding eyes, mouth, nose, complexion, and hair. She pressed on hair and a color wheel appeared. She dragged her finger towards a pastel blue and then tapped on one of the eyes of the yin/yang symbol and Doug watched in awe as her hair slowly changed color to match.
“Okay, that’s pretty cool.” he stared at her eyebrows as they transitioned from purple to blue. “Does it… um… change the color… uh…” he whispered the last word to her, “…everywhere?”
“If you play your cards right, I just might let you find out…” she said taking a sip of her wine, winking mischievously.