Bloody Mary by Colleen Chen
“Nobody wants to date me,” complained Teresa. “I wish I could just know who my husband was going to be, so I didn’t have to sit around worrying if anyone is ever going to ask me out.”
“Have you heard of Bloody Mary?” her best friend Shelly asked. “She’s a gray-skinned ghoul with glowing red eyes. The legend says that she’ll show you an image of your future husband if you look into the mirror in a dark bathroom at midnight and chant her name thirteen
“Oh—it’s almost midnight now. Let’s do it!”
Shelly shook her head. “I’ve got a boyfriend, and I want him to be my future husband. I don’t want to go jinxing it by calling for Bloody Mary to confirm it or not.”
“I’m going to do it then.” Teresa shut herself in the bathroom. “Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…” she chanted into the pitch darkness.
Suddenly, a light appeared in the mirror, revealing a plump man with a mullet. “Hello, my love,” he said. “I’m Phil.”
“Impossible—I’d never marry you!” said Teresa.
The man looked hurt. “But you called Bloody Mary—and she’s never wrong.”
“She should’ve known how much I hate mullets. I want another future husband prediction!”
The man sighed and disappeared.
“Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…”
A man whose giant beard housed several small birds and a mouse was the next to show up in the mirror. “My beautiful wife to be!” he boomed, so loudly that three birds flew out of his beard, chirping in alarm.
“Ugh—no way,” Teresa said, and the man faded out. “Bloody Mary…” she repeated
A green-skinned alien with three eyes and two antennae made beeping noises at Teresa from the mirror. He held out a piece of green cheese shaped like a heart.
Teresa shrieked. “This is ridiculous! Come on, Bloody Mary—you can do better than this!”
The alien beeped sadly and disappeared. A moment later, a lineup of ten men replaced him, pushing and shoving to be seen in the mirror. But one was too short, one too tall. One was too skinny, one too fat, one too hairy, one too balding. One had bad posture, one had bad skin. Each of them had some sort of major flaw. “No and no and no!” Teresa picked up the soap dish and threw it full-force at the mirror.
The sound of glass breaking brought Shelly running into the bathroom. She switched on the light.
The giant hole in the mirror revealed a small room behind it, packed with men holding flashlights.
“What are you guys doing in my house?” cried Shelly.
The men looked at each other sheepishly, and then Phil spoke. “We’re all clients of a new dating program—it’s called Bloody Mary Speed Dating. The founder has taken advantage of a giant network of underground passageways created by the US government, going underneath each house and up to a space behind every bathroom mirror. The program is for guys like us, who have trouble getting girls to like us. So at midnight all over the country, wherever a girl starts chanting ‘Bloody Mary,’ we get an alert and then it’s first come, first served appearing in her mirror. The next day we run into the girl and it’s supposed to be easy after that.”
Teresa was angry at the attempt to con girls all over the nation into dating unattractive men. Shelly was angry that her bathroom mirror was broken. Their anger dissipated, though, as the exposure of the Bloody Mary Speed Dating Program and its invasion into all American homes dominated the headlines for weeks. Teresa became rich from doing interviews and selling the book and movie rights to her story, and she gave Shelly enough money to completely renovate her bathroom. And she met much better-looking men since she was now rich and semi-famous.
Soon Teresa discovered, however, that having lots of dating options did not guarantee success in romance. All the men who asked her out
now were shallow, self-centered, or gold-digging.
Teresa was sitting glumly in a café some months later when Phil appeared by her side. “Hi Teresa,” he said. “Can I buy you a latte?”
Phil had had his mullet trimmed into a fashionable, masculine hairdo, and by his newly svelte physique it was obvious he had been working out. “Okay,” she said.
One thing led to another, and Phil and Teresa ended up dating. Teresa was surprised to discover that not only was Phil now quite attractive, but he was intelligent, considerate, and he always showed up on time to pick her up. They were married the following summer, and Teresa was blissfully content.
The mysterious founder of the now-defunct Bloody Mary Dating Program, who was never discovered, smiled at another prediction come true. Her eyes glowed red with pleasure.
Colleen Chen lives with her family on a farm in the Brazilian countryside. By day, she cares for chickens and children, and by night she writes. Her work can be found online in Jersey Devil Press, Eschatology, Sliptongue, and others. For more information, see http://www.colleenchen.com
I’ve always been nervous around mirrors in the dark, partially because of the legend of Bloody Mary. When I read that a version of the Bloody Mary story involves seeing your future husband in a mirror at midnight, I liked that idea much better than the grisly alternatives. Seeing horror in a humorous light makes it much easier to coexist with my fears, even though honestly I would be really freaked out to see anyone else’s face in a mirror if I was alone in the bathroom.