“Who are you, and how did you find me?”
I took my time to study the faceless man who had asked the question. He looked like a man but I knew it was not his nature. But faceless applied to both his nature and his looks. I felt a little relieved about that. Too many Concepts that worked closely around humans took human appearance lock, stock and barrel. Sometimes that still got in the way of what I had to do.
“I found you the way any hunter finds his prey – with patience and careful research.” That line was pretty standard for me, just like the small dramatic pause before I added: “As for who I am – I am the one who will end your existence.”
Now that was annoying. Without lips he talked to me and without eyes he claimed to see. But I wouldn’t have to suffer his presence much longer.
That last thought almost amused me, but I had learned a long time ago to stay focused around Concepts.
“So you are the one they call Aim.”
I just nodded and it took it on itself to prolong the inevitable just a little longer.
“Even if you kill me I will be replaced.”
“Yes. But it will take a little time.”
“So you are going to kill me with bad puns? If that is what you are up to, by all means take your time.”
“I intend to.”
A short sentence completed the spell I had readied and the waves of magic rippled out from the small park and engulfed the town.
Animals fell asleep, people turned drowsy enough not to pay time any attention, all clocks stopped.
My prey cringed, almost fell. For this small town it was Time and no one paid it attention anymore. I knew that would hurt it, bring its defenses down enough to give me a small opening.
The Word crawled across my lips and my hands lit up in the burning orange fire I had killed so many Concepts with.
The energy bolts shot forward, engulfed the Time I was facing, lifted it off the ground, and a scream of pain escaped its body.
I fought down the satisfaction and added something to my attack Time had never expected, something that would end its existence. Using one Concept’s power against another was anything but easy on the mind and body. But I needed to do this, so any drawback was acceptable.
The force of Gravity hit Time and warped its body, folded it into a small defenseless package that my attack had no trouble penetrating.
One day I would have to take enough Times to go back and thank Einstein for his brilliant ideas, but right now I had a mistake to correct.
I poured more raw energy into the attack – and more of me hit the abomination I was facing.
It vanished from existence and the blue shadows around the glade receded, but not fast enough. I caught a few of them, drew them inside me. For a moment time around Denvil, New Jersey quite literally stood still – except for me. I used what time I had to topple over and pass out.
Just realizing that I was on my knees and staggering up took a lot of the power I had just gained. I felt almost as drained as I did after I killed my first two or three Concepts. Perhaps I should have taken a break now an then to regain my strength, but that just wasn’t me.
I don’t know how I found my car or how I got the keys into the ignition, but once I did, there was a new setting on my gear shift just marked with a T. I still have no idea how I managed to throw the car into reverse and activate the new setting at the same time, but when I looked out the window the blue shadows were slowly returning to the park.
You won’t see them if you ever visit Denvil, New Jersey – not unless you are a lot more like me than I hope for your sake - but I could see them creeping up to me and spreading around.
A new Time had arrived to take over from its predecessor. I was in no condition to fight another Concept. I had used all my Gravity in the last fight and the Word alone wouldn’t be enough in my weakened state. If I didn’t get out fast enough everything would have been for naught.
My foot found the pedal without a conscious thought and the car sped away through space and time.
I had a mistake to correct and perhaps I had just enough Time to do it.
And no, that wasn’t a bad pun.
Unlike the Concepts – who just mimic human behavior – I cling to figures of speech because it’s in my nature. Unlike them I am human, despite all the powers I have acquired over the years.
They call me Aim, because of my singular purpose to bring them all down. But I still call myself Ty Roberts. I am a human being just like you – and one day you will all thank me for what I am doing.
I fell down on the stool and only dimly noticed that someone moved towards me behind the counter.
“Good evening. Anything I can get you?”
“Coffee,” I mumbled. “Oh, and the menu,” I managed before the person behind the counter moved of. “I could use a bite to eat.”
And boy was that right. Taking out the Vanity of LA had been one of my hardest fights ever, and sticking around long enough to finish two of its replacements hadn’t been much fun either, but I figured it had been worth it.
Concepts are almost always replaced on short notice. That’s just how it works until I can take out some of the big guys. The Hate, The Love, The Greed, The Vanity – you get the picture.
The problem is I couldn’t strap them on - not even the power of the Word was enough for that. Having no idea how to find them was just a small setback by comparison. I would figure it out sooner or later. So I take the fight to the smaller Individual Concepts, in the hope of weakening the big guys – things – enough to force them into the open and reveal a chink in their armor.
So far it hadn’t worked as well as I had once thought, but I wasn’t ready to give up – sooner or later I would find the Universals and bring them down.
All I could do for now was try to weaken the big guys by wiping out all the small guys, forcing the Universals, and the big fat almost-universal Individuals, to devote part of themselves to replace the losses I inflicted on them.
“Here you are, Mister.”
I hardly noticed the hands placing milk and sugar on the counter and just reached for the cup. A sip, a longer sip, a gulp later I reached for the menu. A few more coffees, a meal, some sleep and I would be ready again. At least that was what I thought. And why not?
The only Concepts who would even think about going on the attack against me were Revenge and Hate. And I knew both had their hands full. I didn’t have to be a mage to figure that out – just reading the papers provided all the information I needed.
I finished my coffee, had my cup refilled, made my dinner choice, handed the menu back to the waitress who refilled my cup.
That’s when I noticed the blue shadow the hand reaching for the laminated cardboard threw on the counter. I looked up.
“Anything wrong, Mister?”
"No, ...” I managed to focus on her name-tag. “Nothing wrong... Mary. Just something I forgot to take care of.”
I slammed a few coins on the counter and rushed out of the diner as if every demon in hell was after me – which was almost true, only that the demons after me weren’t born in hell.
Love does not conquer all
“You don’t look too good, Love.”
The Love of Mary Obata – Mary as she had come to think of herself years ago – looked down at herself and noticed the blue-gray mist gently wafting back and forth through her almost transparent body. “I guess I don’t, but at least I am still here.”
“Yes, at least you are alive,” Gravity of Moon’s silver waves whispered and the gentle shine washing around her ears banished the small self-doubts Sacrifice had put in her head with his disparaging remark.
Shapes, sounds, tastes around her agreed with Moon’s Gravity – the green smell of Forest Beauty, the fuzzy warmth of Friendship, the dull-blue pull of Contentment.
But there where others who disagreed – the stab of unfulfilled purpose Sacrifice threw at her, the fiery bonds of Loyalty ringing in Mary’s ears, the red smell of Revenge sneaking down her throat.
“What happened, Mary?” the mists engulfing the assembled Concepts asked.
It took an eternity before anyone found their voice again – a literal eternity, as even the One Time among them was stunned for a length of not-quite-time that any language lacked the words to describe.
The mist had not spoken since the first Individual Concept had sprung to life from its cradle. Neither Light nor Darkness, neither Time nor Space, nor any other True Universal understood the true nature of the mist or what had brought it about. All they knew was that it was the place ideas became reality and dreams took wing.
Even the unspoken language of the Concepts lacked what it took to describe the voice of the mist and all they could agree on afterwards was that everyone heard the... words they expected from one of their own.
Revenge was engulfed in the charcoal red he spoke in.
Forest Beauty was enveloped in the infinite shades of warm green that were her nature.
Time was shattered into a billion fragments, all ringing with a slightly different tune.
And the Love of Mary Obata sank down on her knees and embraced the gentle caress of the disembodied voice filling her almost-body.
“I...” She let her ephemeral tears flow down her drifting-into-nothingness cheeks. “I failed. I abandoned my charge.”
I leaned on the trunk and took a deep breath, but I couldn’t get the image out of my head.
Behind the unassuming waitress I had glimpsed the most beautiful woman I had ever seen in my long life. I knew what she was, but I wanted to be certain. Or perhaps I just wanted to get her image out of my head – the gentle smile, the warm eyes, the perfect skin, the long golden-brown curls, the...
I ripped open the trunk, and bit down hard on my flashlight. I went through the books and stone tablets and texts etched in orichalcum long before man ever started to recall the history now remembered, but nothing revealed anything new to me.
Closing the trunk I grinned. I guess it wasn’t a pleasant sight.
I had learned nothing about my next kill I hadn’t already suspected.
She was a Love. No big deal. After all, she was only one person’s Love. Now don’t get me wrong, I know better than most how strong one person’s Concepts can be, and this was one strong Individual.
But I had a Love to extinguish and there was nothing that could stop me from doing it, not when I had the Word to use against a single-person Individual.
Oh well, I guess I did lose you somewhere in the middle of the road, didn’t I? All this talk about Individual Concepts and Universals?
Guess what, I was just as confused when I first learned the truth. Telling you not just what I did, but letting you in on some part of what brought it all about was why I started this journal, but I guess I got carried away a bit.
So here we go:
Concepts are the embodiment of ideas or... concepts. I guess you figured that out by now. They come in three sizes, or shapes, or whatever. Only two of them are named in the texts I first learned about their existence from, and I never bothered about making up a name for the middle ground, but...
Universals are the Concepts that existed before life ever developed on this planet. Space, Light, Darkness. I think Gravity is one of them too, but I am not so sure about Time.
Individuals are the Concepts that came into being when people (to use the term loosely and no offense to our ancestors a hundred millennia removed) first started thinking about them hard enough. By defining them they gave them shape and form and power. Some of them are a collective creation, like the Greed I killed last year in Wall Street, or the Vanity I took out in LA. The old texts call them Individuals, but that’s not what they really are. You might call them Group Efforts, but that always sounded unwieldy to me so I continue the tradition and call them Individuals. (But Collectives might work... have to think about it some more.)
The other part of Individuals are the Concepts of just one person. Most of them are practically unnoticeably, even to my trained eye. But sometimes they get so strong that they are easy to notice. And in some rare cases they get so strong that some of the... Collective Concepts pale by comparison.
I guess I had found one of them.
And don’t ask me why a mage can always see the shadows turning that distinct shade of dark blue when a strong Concept is around. It’s just how it is.
And there she was – the waitress leaving the back door of the diner.
And right behind her was my next target, gliding around her like a carefree apparition.
I turned invisible with a simple spell and put on my sunglasses. Now I was as blind as a bat, but another little magic shifted my perception to the infrared and the Love I was after turned into a faint purple outline, just as I liked it when going after the human-looking Concepts.
The hunt was on, but it wouldn’t last long.
“So you abandoned your charge. Big revelation. We knew that from the moment you turned up here.”
Mary turned towards Sarcasm and looked straight into the rough glow that stood in for his eyes.
“And if you know that, you must know that I stood up to him once and he couldn’t defeat me. And yet I had to run from him. What I don’t understand is how it happened,” Mary’s soft golden voice asked.
“He took out a Time and used its power to change the past.”
“And you couldn’t prevent that?”
“No,” the chorus of seconds that made up Time sang out. “It is not in my nature. I move forward. If I had stopped him I would no longer be what I am. I could never do that.”
“True.” Mary buried her translucent face in her ephemeral hands.
“No,” the mist said. “You made the choice to become something you never thought was your nature, Mary. Why?”
“Because I know how we can defeat him.”
I knew he was there, following me.
I had recognized him the moment he looked into my eyes. Not his face, but his aura. The cold determination I saw was what every Concept talked about these days.
I knew everyone called him Aim, but I knew nothing more about him – except that he had killed my kind for years now. It couldn’t be helped. He did what he needed to do and we did what we were.
And now he was after me. I smiled as Mary’s love reverberated between her and me. Every fiber of her being was looking forward to seeing her child again after a day of working three different jobs just to make ends meet. Feeling that emotion wasn’t just a good thing to feel, it was what made me who I was. For me it was enough and I knew that no amount of magic could destroy the bond that had created me – what else could I think?
I guess I was wrong.
“It’s nothing personal,” I said as I finished the spell and the waitress... what was her name, Mary or something like that?... fell asleep.
I had never before considered apologizing to a Concept for killing it, but I couldn’t help thinking of her as a beautiful woman.
Told you there were drawbacks to fighting Concepts that took completely human forms.
“Do you know how important I am to this woman?” she asked and I took of my sunglasses and dropped that little see-in-the-dark spell. I knew it was a bad choice, but I had to get a good look at the woman lying in the dark alley to confirm that I had made the right choice.
I mean, I knew how right I was, but boy, was that Concept’s voice compelling. Mind you, she was not compelling enough, but pretty close to it.
“I know how important she thinks you are. And that’s the whole problem.” The Word slipped over my lips without any thought and suddenly I held the fire of destruction in my hand, the weariness of old battles slinking away into the darkness surrounding us. “You are a cage. Doesn’t matter if she gilded the cage herself - you are still a cage to her.”
“How can you be so certain about that?”
Now that was a surprise. Not the question, but her – its – voice. She sounded like a real human being and that was a novelty. Hate sounded red, Vanity looked glittering, Greed was like a black hole, but they all talked like the thing they were.
It was almost like a conversation with a real person, so I humored it. Soon it would make no difference and maybe a little gloating was just what I needed to get my mind back on track.
“I killed my Hate. It was the first Concept I killed and you can not begin to imagine how free I felt after I did it. I built my very own cage, but I broke out of it. I will not deny this woman – or anyone else – the freedom I found.”
I raised my hand and the flame of the Word sprang to full force. I had talked enough, reassured myself of my purpose more than enough to gather the strength I needed.
We both knew her time was up and I unleashed the fire of destruction that was my right to wield as the last true mage.
The flames of my purpose engulfed her, burned her to cinders, finally freed the woman held captive in her – its – grasp. A single idea burned in the fires of true freedom of choice and my job was done.
She just stood there, her angelic smile mocking the power of every part of me I threw at her.
It took me a moment to realize he was as stunned as I was.
He had tried to extinguish me with the most ancient magic left in the dim recesses of mankind’s memory and it hadn’t worked.
“We can’t defeat him, Mary. It’s not our nature to attack a human.”
“Would you rather have him kill more of us, Forest Beauty?”
“We don’t like that any more than you do – we would all like to see and end to his rampage, but no Individual can stand up to the power of the last Word. And we Universals can not interfere in mortal affairs directly. It’s not our place."
“And sooner or later he will meet his end. The Word takes its toll on his body any time he uses it. It is unfortunate what he will do with it, but the more he uses his magic, the sooner he will bring about his own end.”
“Time is right, Mary,” Gravity of Moon whispered. “All we can do is wait.”
“I don’t think you will have that luxury.”
“Why is that, Mary?” the mist asked.
“Because I left a trail for him to follow when I came here. Soon you will have to deal with him.”
After a moment of stunned silence a howl of shapes, smells and colors erupted all around Mary, but the uproar of the Concepts was drowned out by the boisterous laughter of the mist.
I knew he was out there. I could feel his presence, even if I could not see him.
I watched Mary and her son fall asleep huddled together, a smile on both faces, and that should have been everything that mattered to me – but it wasn’t. I should have been happy and content being who I was born to be, but I wasn’t. I couldn’t stop thinking about him, and that was not supposed to happen.
Something was wrong with me. At first I thought it had something to do with the magic he had used against me. I knew next to nothing about spells and magic, but like every Concept I knew about the Word.
Once there had been four Words of Power, but three had been forgotten. Everyone had thought that the fourth one had met the same fate, but everyone had been wrong. The Word wasn’t a Concept, but it gave its wielder the ability to manifest his very essence in a tangible force, and that was close enough to what we Concepts were that the Word – in the hands of someone like Aim – could kill us.
I had felt his essence as he threw it at me and I had felt his determination, his will never to give up, his conviction that he was right. Perhaps that was why he could not harm me – the same emotions were part of me as well, even if they didn’t rule me like they ruled him.
And that was the moment it hit me.
I still couldn’t understand why it hadn’t worked, but that was the past. I should have moved on and looked for other fish to fry, but that just wasn’t me.
Big surprise, huh?
So I did some research and followed that annoying little lady around a bit. Didn’t take me long to figure out what made her so strong. The love of a mother for her child. If anyone should have known better than to write that of as a hackneyed cliché it should have been me, but hey, nobody’s perfect.
Now that I knew what made that Love so strong it was just a matter of deciding how best to deprive her of her strength. Another frontal assault would lead to nothing, so I had to be a bit more sneaky. And if the Word had failed,
simple emotion-affecting spells would just bounce of.
No, I had to get to the heart of the problem and weaken that Love before it ever got so strong. Time travel was a tricky business, but if I wanted to destroy this Love I would have no other choice but to go back and work some magic on mother and child before their love became what she now was.
don’t look at me like I am some kind of monster. I had no intention to harm
anyone except that
beautiful annoying Concept. Okay, so there would be a
little less love in this family, but that’s not the same as having no love.
Look at it this way: I got rid of my own personal Hate, but I can still hate. There’s enough hate in the world that everyone can get his share, but now it’s up to me to decide if I want to hate or not.
Same with love. I intended to give that waitress the same freedom I had found, not destroy her family. If you can’t see the difference – well, you will. once I’ve finished my job.
Again the hunt was on and this time I would not fail.
I fell down on my knees and gasped for air.
I could hear the boy crying upstairs and Mary was tossing and turning, alone in her sleep. I was weak, oh so very weak.
And I could feel him coming after me again.
Outside his car screeched to a halt and his aura nearly overwhelmed me. He was determined to destroy me and this time I couldn’t stop him. But whatever he had done to me, he had not robbed me of what I had learned about him.
I needed help to make use of that knowledge. I needed to go home, but I couldn’t abandon Mary.
I could see the orange flames of the Word lighting up the street outside the window and I knew I had little time.
I don’t know what prompted my decision, but I made it. Perhaps I just knew that I would be of little use to Mary if he killed me and that she had all to gain – and nothing to lose – from my decision. Perhaps it was her determination not to let her love die whatever happened. Perhaps finding a way to make ends meet was part of my nature.
It didn’t matter. I did what no Concept had ever done before. I abandoned my charge and creator.
She was gone, but I could still feel her dwindling presence – and I could see where she had run to. Not in any way you would understand ‘seeing’, unless you have a way to perceive the dimensions of not-quite-Euclidean space. I did, and I could see the trail she had left and drew the last blue shadows of her trail to me and held on to them.
I rushed back to the car and threw open the trunk. She was gone, but she had provided me with an opportunity I had only dreamed of so far.
The ritual I was looking for was buried under a lot of other texts, but it didn’t take long to find.
Raiding a few museums for the ingredients I needed would be easy. Hopping around on top of a pyramid on one foot for six hours while reciting an ancient Babylonian incantation would be a bit more difficult, but I would manage it somehow. (Yes, I know how ridiculous it sounds and next time I meet one of those ancient Babylonians I’ll complain in no uncertain terms ... Yeah, right.)
It didn’t matter. This was the chance I had always hoped for.
The Love may have hoped for safety in numbers - what I was looking forward to was a lively target range.
I arrived and suddenly I knew why the ancient Babylonians had made their rituals ridiculously long and ridiculously complicated – to discourage the unprepared from going places no one could be prepared to go.
The blue-gray mist was pretty much a disappointment.
The fact that it failed to hide the sheer infinity of the place made things a little harder to swallow - infinity is rather difficult to comprehend. But thankfully it is one of the things the human mind can just shut out and easily push into the realm of blissful unawareness.
The Love was a bit of a disappointment too, looking so weak and fragile. I almost pitied her – but soon I would put her out of my misery and there would be one problem less to deal with.
But the rest of the scene...
“Has one of you ever seen his aura up close?” Mary asked.
“Of course not,” the voice of Contentment lazily washed over her.
“Well, I have and there is something he lacks, something that can put an end to his killing-spree.”
The rest of the scene was like Lovecraft on LSD – mind-shattering in psychedelic colors.
There were shapes and sounds and smells and tastes and... other sensations that I can’t even begin to put into words. Sounds swirling around each other at unspeakable angles, colors feeling like nothing I had ever smelled before, tastes scratching my skin like sandpaper.
I’ve seen more than my share of inhuman things, but the Universals were...
... well, they were – for now. Trying to say more would be a waste of inadequate words.
At least the mist was obliging enough to waft up and cover the worst of what I was experiencing. Almost like it was trying to protect me from what nearly shattered my mind.
Now that was a thought I liked even less than the sensations that had just been blocked from my perception.
“He told me he killed his Hate.”
“Yes, he did. I could feel the loss. He was one of the strongest Individuals I have ever born, in his strength very much like you, Mary” the mist replied.
“And everyone calls him Aim. Having met him I can understand why, but there is something I don’t understand.”
“You don’t look too good, Love.”
The Word rolled across my tongue and the bright orange flame obligingly caressed my hand.
“I guess I’ll just start with you and then we’ll see what can be done about your friends. Or rather I will see what can be done about them.”
I looked around, slowly turning to take in each and every one of the things surrounding me. “So stick around, enjoy the show and don’t go anywhere.”
As if there was a place they could go, but I bit down my grin. Last time I got overconfident a simple little Love beat me. That wouldn’t happen again.
“Have you ever asked yourselves how he can do what he does, without one of us lending him strength?”
“He is a mage. Not all rules apply to his ilk. His ability to kill us Concepts proves that.”
“And I think that is where you are all wrong.”
“So you want to kill her?”
It was the mist that had spoken – don’t ask me how I knew it. I just knew. The voice was... it was a chorus, like a million different people singing in complete unison.
“What are you?”
“That is not what I asked.”
“I am a fountain. If you wanted to give me a name in your language you could call me creativity or inspiration. Or – if that’s more to your liking – you could call me the source of Individual Concepts.”
“Yes, that is more to my liking.”
The Word I had used for years to kill them shot from my hands and lit up the blue-gray mist in orange flames. And I drew the ace from my sleeve I had hidden there for a small eternity.
The Concepts had thought I wielded just the power of one Word. They had been wrong.
The Last Word was strong enough to kill almost any Concept, and every time I used it it took a bit of me away. But the... Other Word was a multiplier that could be applied to any magic.
Using it to enhance the Last Word would destroy me in a matter of minutes, but a few minutes were all I needed.
I poured every fiber of my being into the attack, assaulted the mist with all my will and desire to end the rule of the Concepts.
It called itself a fountain of inspiration – I called it the slaver of mankind.
All it did was fuel the emotional blinders that kept people from truly being free. But I would put an end to that.
I could feel the mist burning away under the fires of the Last Word – but slower than I had hoped for. So I poured more of my being into the attack and turned the last shred of my thoughts away from the Concepts surrounding us.
And that was when the mist revealed to me its essence and showed me its true nature.
“Whatever your plan is, it will not work, Mary,” Revenge stated. “Even I can’t attack him directly. Universals do not interfere in mortal affairs. We leave that to them.”
“No, you can not,” Mary agreed. “But the mist can take care of Aim.”
“How can you know that? None of us knows what the mist is.”
“I am an Individual. I was born here. All Individuals know what the mist is.”
“Then why don’t we?” Time asked.
The mist chuckled. “You never asked.”
Have you ever wondered what happens to things you misplace and can't find again, like socks, or pens, or small change?
I have and I still don’t know what happens to that stuff.
Have you ever wondered what happens to dreams you can’t remember when you wake up, or ideas you had and couldn’t recall an hour later, or the designs you had for your life and never realized?
I haven’t, but now I knew what happens to those thoughts and emotions.
They end up in a pool everyone can draw from, and sometimes someone draws so much from it that another Individual is born. The mist was that pool
That didn’t change anything for me, but it allowed the mist an insight into my true being that even I lacked. And that is what it showed me – who I was, who I had become.
I had killed my Hate.
But my Hate had left a gap that I had tried to fill with an equally strong force.
I had looked for some idea... some concept to give my life meaning again and I had found it. But I had never allowed it to manifest the way it was intended to, making it far more a part of me than it was supposed to be.
The mist showed me that and much more. It gave me a chance to finally come to terms with who I had turned myself into and ... become.
I looked up at the swirling mass of black and white shapes locked in a dance of repeating cycles.
“You are Time.”
“I have a mistake to undo. Take me back.”
“I can not do that. It is not my nature.”
“Oh yeah? Well, you know my nature so you can either help me or let me find my own way to do it.”
I guess I can still be pretty convincing and it didn’t take Time long to make up his mind. He sent me back and I undid the biggest mistake I had ever made, right after the old me had left the scene.
I was grateful Time had picked that moment for me – meeting the old me would have turned out to be quite... complicated and rather unpleasant for both of me.
When I returned to the infinity I was relieved to see that color and substance had returned to the Love of Mary Obata.
“Okay, what’s next?”
“Whatever is required of you.” Mary brushed a kiss on my cheek and winked. Before I could ask any more stupid questions she vanished and went back to being who she was supposed to be
The Concepts had called me Aim. I had called myself Ty Roberts.
I guess they knew me better than I did.
Now I am called Determination To Set Things Right and I still command some powerful magic.
But if you meet me one day, remember that it was Love that allowed my life to have true meaning.
Oh, and the Love of Mary Obata and me? Well, me meet once in a while for tea and crumpets and have a little chat.
Hell no, we don’t!
We are Concepts. It’s people like you who create us and the only place we meet is in the realm of dreams and ideas. We don’t go out on a date.
Not unless You make it happen.