Dave didn't know he was lonely until his friends pointed it out. But when he gives in and tries an online dating site, something catastrophic happens - talk about a bad omen.
The Day Dave Broke the Internet
by Tara Tyler
Sharon smiled encouragingly and pointed for him to look.
His whole body shook and shivered as if he was standing out in a blizzard in his pajamas. Dave could hear the ransackers moving around in there breaking things as they rummaged. He feared they'd catch him peeking and shoot him between the eyes. Trying to soak up some of Sharon's confidence, Dave steadied his nerves, reigning in his terror. He was sure his face was twisted, exposing his fear as he searched for the gumption to even look in the window.
He couldn't stand there and do nothing. He trusted Sharon had his back. He had to, even though he doubted she'd been in an actual situation like this before. At least she seemed to have more training for it. And he didn't want to lose her for being a wuss.
Bracing himself for the worst, he pressed his back against the wall and inched up it. With minimal exposure, he dared to sneak a peek in the window. Two men were stealing the food out of the vending machines. When he saw their faces, he did a double-take. His fear slipped away and he walked in despite Sharon's glare.
"Tariq? Hey man, what's up?"
Sharon followed him in.
Tariq jumped like a spooked rabbit. When he saw his co-worker, his shoulders relaxed a little, but his face stayed apprehensive with his eyes darting from Sharon to his accomplice and back to Dave.
"Dave? Oh, hey man. Nothing. We're just, uh…"
With another glance from Tariq, the other man pulled out a gun and pointed it at Dave and Sharon.
"We don't want any trouble," he said. Tariq's friend shook as he aimed his firearm. He didn't look too confident, which made him even more dangerous.
Dave jumped and threw his hands up over his head. "Neither do we." He definitely didn't want to die over some stale Twinkies and Doritos.
Sharon moved up next to him and trained her gun on the men. How did the situation turn drastic and deadly so fast? His heart raced faster than his brain. He didn't want anyone to get shot, so he tried reasoning with them to calm everyone down.
"Wait. There's no need for violence. We're going to fix things." He knew he was being extremely optimistic, but he needed both sides to believe it.
"Not any time soon. We know what happened. My brother said we should take what we can. Soon there won't be any food around. Sorry, man. It's family."
"It's not as bad as that. They'll get things back up and running soon." Dave wasn't so sure, but he wanted to talk his friend and his nervous looking brother out of their panicky reaction. How many other normally decent people would resort to stealing and worse?
While Tariq considered Dave's rationality, Nathan burst into the cafeteria.
"Hey guys. Guess what!"
Dave grabbed Sharon and dove to the floor under the tables.
Nathan howled in pain.
While they lied on the floor, Dave watched Tariq's brother escaped through a side door with its window broken out.
With a frown at Dave, Tariq ran after him. "Sorry, man."
Tires squealed, and they were gone.