This one is in a slightly different style than usual... I'm trying my hand at the more dialogue-based fics, in the tradition of the inestimable Cousin Mose (go read Happy Anniversary, if you haven't already; it's fantastic).

This is in the far future. It's an experiment, so please let me know what you think!

First Date

Jim stood staring out at the night for a moment. Then he carefully locked the front door and returned to the kitchen, where his wife of seventeen years waited with a cup of coffee and a reproachful expression.

"She's sixteen, you know," Pam told him.

"Yup." Jim walked past her and took down another coffee mug.

Pam tried again. "We knew she'd start dating eventually."

"Oh, I know. I've been preparing for years."

"We swore we wouldn't do this," Pam sighed. "She's going to hate you forever when she finds out what you did."

"No, she won't." Jim was confident. "She'll just get me back."

Pam rolled her eyes. "Right. Of course. She is your daughter."

Jim said nothing; he only grinned.

"Look, I know that kid was obnoxious," Pam groaned, "And I can understand putting the crazy glue in his helmet…"

"So much gel in his hair I'm surprised it doesn't stick already," Jim murmured.

"… but was the toothpaste-and-silly-string thing really necessary?"

Jim leaned back against the counter, smiling into his coffee. "If they really like each other, their relationship will survive," he pronounced, sage and composed. Then he cracked his wicked prankster grin. "Besides, Lily should know better than to go out with some motorcycle-riding punk."

Pam couldn't help it any longer; she burst into hysterical laughter.

Jim sipped at his coffee.

From the night outside, there came the very faint sound of screams…

Remember, I need feedback to know whether my experiments succeed!