Dagmar Bezhyumanka was a woman on a mission to flush out true love from its hiding place.
She’d exhausted the traditional methods: blind dates, fix-ups, singles’ bars, even hanging out in the produce section of the Jewel-Osco on Sunday mornings in hopes of snagging Mr. Right. No luck. Men in Chicago were more sophisticated than the dim bulbs back home in Lower Slobbovia. These Rico Suave brainiacs already knew how to select a ripe cantaloupe and didn’t need her to explain the difference between jicamas and turnips.
As the years passed and technology progressed, Dagmar joined online dating sites such as e-Harmonica, Bag-A-Bubba, and HookMeUp. When those failed her she tried speed dating, which only served to befuddle the poor woman, who was clearly not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Disappointment, be damned! Dagmar resolved to leave no stone unturned in the quest for her elusive love. Hell, at this point, she would’ve gladly settled for Mr. Close Enough, Mr. Mediocre, or even Mr. Long Shot.
As desperation set-in, Dagmar logged-on to LoveAPrisoner.com.
She knew she was taking a chance and that things could go terribly wrong.
But what if they didn’t? What if… things went terribly right?
Papa used to say, “No guts, no glory;” and with that, she signed-up for the VIP membership and began perusing inmates’ profiles.
She wrote to roughly fifty-five men. Some replied; some didn’t. But no matter, each new day brought with it new possibilities.
The mail carrier became her best friend.
Soon, much sooner than Dagmar expected, it happened. A letter arrived that swept her off her flat feet.
Its sender’s name was Stanley Marek, a swarthy man with a reckless grin and thick, black hair. What really did it for Dagmar was Stanley’s searing, coffee-brown eyes—eyes that could stop a clock at midnight. She wondered how it might feel if those eyes looked at her.
Stanley, in turn, claimed Dagmar as the woman of his dreams: Rubenesque (she had to consult the dictionary), captivatingly handsome, and all woman.
His making reference to her femininity and sexuality caused Dagmar’s stomach to flip. As far as she knew, no one had ever regarded her in such a way.
It turned out that Stanley was doing life without parole for the murder of his wife, whom he’d stabbed twenty-seven times in the face and neck with a salad fork.
Uh-huh…Dagmar made a mental note: Stanley hates Bleu Cheese.
She was taken aback at the gruesomeness of the crime, and even more so at the insane reasoning behind it. Stanley however, convinced her that he’d since found the Lord, repented, and thus, was worthy of a good woman’s love.
An atheist since birth, Dagmar was tempted to inquire as to where he’d ‘found’ this Lord, and why He’d been hiding in the first place. But, who was she to poke fun at a repentant murderer’s belief system? Dagmar kept quiet.
A flurry letters were exchanged, and then came the phone calls. Dagmar found his voice to be as smooth and velvety as warm scotch. It wasn’t long before they just had to meet, and arrangements were made for her to visit the Joliet Correctional Center.
The agreed-upon date was three Saturdays away. Dagmar would be able visit “Her Stanley” for fifteen minutes with nothing between them but a window of bulletproof Plexiglas.
Finally, the big day came and Dagmar was on her way to Joliet. It was an hour’s drive and she was worried. What if the humidity frizzed her Brazilian blowout, sweated-off her make-up, or turned her brand new lettuce-green (Stanley’s favorite color) dress into a rumpled rag?
Fortunately, none of the above befell Dagmar, and she was ushered in to the visitor’s area amid a cacophony of wailing chatter. The air was stale and thick with body heat.
Dagmar felt a twinge of panic, as the guard led her to a booth and chair opposite Stanley. He looked exactly like his picture. Even through filthy Plexiglas, his penetrating gaze felt just as she imagined (feared) it would, leaving her pliable as Silly Putty.
Stanley picked up the receiver and Dagmar picked up hers.
“You’re here.” His lips relaxed into a jagged grin, his eyes glowing in amused curiosity. “Dagmar.”
“Stanley, I —”
“Have you any idea how long it’s been since anyone’s called me by my name?”
Dagmar’s eyes welled-up. “Thank you for liking me.”