As Bud hurried along, he checked his watch. It wasn’t that he was afraid of being late so much as he was apprehensive about the date. He reached the hotel and saw Natalia sitting on a bench outside. She waved and smiled when she saw him approach.
“You haven’t been waiting long, have you?” Bud asked nervously.
“Oh, no! It’s not even 1:00 yet. It looked like such a nice day, I thought I’d get some fresh air.”
“Good idea. There are a few restaurants in the hotel. I was thinking a more casual place would serve best for lunch. Is that okay?”
“Yes, that’s fine!”
Bud had to admit, despite his nerves, he was ready to eat.
When they entered Marty’s, there were plenty of tables. Bud pointed to one near the windows and Natalia nodded eagerly.
A waiter approached and gave them menus.
“What would you like to drink?”
Both Bud and Natalia ordered Diet Cokes and settled down to viewing the food choices.
“You look very pretty,” Bud observed.
“Thank you! That’s very kind of you.”
Bud was deciding between the double cheese burger or the fish dinner when he became aware of a peculiar odor. It smelled familiar.
“I think I’ll have a shrimp cocktail and the chef salad,” Natalia said.
“Sounds like a good choice.” The waiter returned and Bud went with the fish dinner. “So, you like tennis?”
“I’m not very good at the game, but I do enjoy playing anyway.”
“I’ve never understood how it works,” Bud shrugged.
“I could teach you the rules, if you’d be interested,” she offered.
“You could make watching paint dry interesting,” he thought.
“I know it isn’t exciting like football.”
“I don’t like football any more than I like tennis!”
There it was again…that odor. Bud knew it had to be close by. He was certain it wasn’t Natalia.
“Do you smell something odd?” she asked.
“Yeah! But I’m not sure where it’s coming from.”
Suddenly Bud realized what the smell was–cow manure. He remembered Andy trying to tell him something as Bud had off with his shoes. He felt his face flushing. Bud turned away from the table and checked the bottom of Andy’s shoes. Yep, there it was–a big mess of manure stuck in the grooves of the right shoe.
Natalia realized what was up at the same moment and started to giggle. Bud’s face was bright red now.
“Bud!” He looked up to see Andy running in their direction with a pair of shoes in his hand. “I went to your cabin and found these. I figure it didn’t matter what they looked like as long as they matched.”
“Thank you so much, Andy”.
“I’ll take my shoes.” Andy grinned at Natalia. “Didn’t know a date could stink so bad, did you?”
“Get out of here,” Bud growled. But there was a smile on his face. “Could we just forget this happened?” he asked Natalia.
“Nope, not a chance!” she laughed.