This article is part of a special collaboration between Michigan in Color and Groundcover News. Read the rest of the joint issue here.
Truth or Lies is an original column written by Felicia Wilbert. Every short story published under the column is either “truth” (nonfiction) or “lies” (fiction). Readers have to wait until the next issue of Groundcover News, to check if “The unexpected valentine” is truth or lies!
“Good morning! You are currently rocking with K-M Vibes of Manhattan, New York, the station that plays all your favorite hits. DJ Chopper is the greatest, chopping out hits from old to new…”
Jack Harloway, aka DJ Chopper, was a popular upcoming disc jockey. Chopper had won a five-year radio apprenticeship during his last year in college at Musicland University. All throughout school he never participated in any programs or dances, considering everyone teased him about the birthmark on his face. It spanned from the middle of his eyebrows, curving around his eyes and ending at the tip of his nose, shaped like a heart. He did ask Ashley Blake to the prom in high school; however, she shut him down, criticizing the birthmark. He had a crush on his science partner Dapheny Pager in college, but he never acted on his feelings. Ultimately, he never gave up on his DJ career and was ecstatic about his position at the local radio station.
It was his third year working at the station, and he was now working the morning shift. This position was very important to all his co-workers; everyone wanted the morning shift except Chopper. He knew the position came with a lot of public association and appearances. His co-worker, “DJ Head,” was a confident handsome man, popular with the ladies. DJ Head often teased Chopper on and off the radio about talking to women…
“Good day, ladies” — DJ Head, the smooth operator — “smooth with the ladies, playing the smooth sounds of love. Unlike Chopper, always chopping up your smoothness with his uncouth sense for love.” It was Chopper’s turn to speak. “Chopper fans, hop on to this beat!” He played “I Need Love” by LL Cool J.
Being a shy man, the evening shift was perfect for Chopper: he could express himself without being seen. Unfortunately for him, Valentine’s Day was the next holiday on the schedule. The holiday he hated the most. He often remembered the only valentine he ever received in school that read, “Be my Valentine, Scarface. Sike!”
The station decided to hold an auction at the state fair auditorium to raise money for muscular dystrophy. The winner would receive a free movie and dinner date with their favorite DJ. He was worried that once the winner saw the birthmark on his face they would be appalled. DJ Head was an arrogant man, talking about the auction and how the ladies were going to come out and bid for him. On the other hand, Chopper was totally shy, trying to avoid his questions about who was going to bid on him. He wanted to opt out of the auction; however, it was mandatory that each DJ participate in the auction.
One morning two weeks before the auction, Chopper had had enough abuse from his co-worker, and he just told his story on the radio. He expressed how he did not like Valentine’s Day due to the prank that was pulled on him in school. He also stated he was looking for a wife, not a playgirl to break his heart. How he wanted to love one woman and have children in the future.
DJ Head assumed that he had embarrassed Chopper, asking about his birthmark on the radio, and that the women would not like him or bid on him due to his birthmark. The holiday was quickly approaching. It was four days before the auction, and Chopper got off work and went to his car in the parking lot.
He could not believe his eyes — his car was covered in Valentine’s Day cards, even the roof. There was a large card signed by fans and a red bow sitting on the hood, surrounded by other pink, purple and red cards. He gathered all the cards, planning to read them once he got home, where he fixed his dinner and put on the TV.
To his amazement, they were talking about the upcoming auction on the news. Just then, he remembered the cards and retrieved them from his car to read them. Reading the first three cards, he was flattered and blushing — feeling something he had not felt in all his life. The next day at work Head started in on him again, not knowing about the cards, but Chopper began his morning shift thanking all the people who gave him a card. He then admitted that he had given up on Valentine’s Day until he received all the cards, and he was looking forward to the auction.
The morning of the auction arrived too soon. Chopper was thinking, who would bid for him, the man with the birthmark? He never expected anyone to bid on him, but he was getting more bids than DJ Head. Then all of a sudden one person bid five times the previous amount, totaling $3,000.
He could not see through the crowd, wondering who bid all that money for him. Standing on the stage waiting, finally he could see it was Daphney Pager from his science class. He had not stayed in touch with her, assuming she did not care for him. He was relieved it was Daphney, the woman he had a crush on in college and he felt comfortable talking with.
During the date, she asked Chopper why he never called her after graduation. He answered saying that he did not think she cared for him and was embarrassed to be seen with him. She placed her hand over his hand and explained to him it’s not about looks; it’s the love you have in your heart and share. Chopper knew he had found his wife, his Valentine for life. Love finally blossomed that year. From that day, they never separated, getting married the following year on Valentine’s Day.
Felicia Wilbert, Groundcover vendor No. 234 can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.