Find a Story!
I don’t know what it was I first noticed about her. Dressed plainly enough, she wore simple, form-fitting jeans and a flannel shirt with a green and black checkered pattern. Perhaps it was the clarity of her person, the unembellished form of a woman unconcerned with drab conformity. No, wait; it was nothing so high-concept as that, who am I kidding? I know what it was: her legs.
They were only revealed below the knees, her jeans rolled up just to that sensual spot that lives, too often undiscovered, just behind the bend. There was an elegance to their shape, a smoothness that wound all the way up to her ample, perfect hips. She wasn’t one of those stick-figure girls—no, she had meat on her bones, this one; just enough.
Her hair cascaded in an elegantly sculpted mess, framing her face on both sides with a reddish-brown color that perfectly lit up the hazel in her gleaming, thoughtful eyes. Her nose, a slender wedge that traced a path from her eyes to her lips—oh, her magnificent lips!—was a perfect piece of human sculpture, gracefully twitching and flaring in concert with her startlingly full lips.
Let me tell you about her lips. They wore expressions of every flavor, switching cleanly from one to the next in an orgy of fluidity. Motion and feeling danced together ‘twixt the succulent frame of her mouth, and I could not but admire. When first I saw, they sat pursed in rapt attention, her eyes narrowed in agreement as she listened intently to a short story being read by its author. At its conclusion, her lips shifted into a tender smile, beautiful and ardent, the soft pink flesh alight with gentle warmth, her eyes flashing with intelligence and passion as her expressive lips carved out a delighted and thoughtful critique from the living, pulsing air that surrounded her. To hell with the author and his damned story; this is a reading of her lips.
I ramble, I know. Whatever it was that happened then, I don’t know, not clearly. As a younger man I’d have thought, when she caught me noticing her and smiled, holding my gaze with that rare fierceness only a strong-willed woman can wield, that we’d made a connection, some subtext established, impassioned thoughts exchanged across the distance, carried by the power of a gaze.
But that’s a younger man’s hope, something I stopped chasing long ago. No, I’m content to admire those beautiful legs, eyes and lips from just across the way, and to consider the possibilities of a mind so sharp as hers. From here, everything looks just about perfect. How can it get any better than that?
I don’t know how I forgot about this story; I honestly thought I’d posted it. I wrote this on October 22nd, 2012 during a creative writing class. I’d love to hear what you think about it.
There was a smirk on the bastard’s face as he watched the woman across the table, reviewing what looked like some sort of contract, red pen in hand, occasionally ticking off an item here or making a note there. She wore glasses with a thick, black frame, tipped at the corners with diamonds and gold, though her eyes twinkled at least as brightly as the stones. Glasses tinked here and there in the background as other diners toasted their own affairs; golden-tinged silverware clinked rhythmically on plates of fine china, carving warm flesh into consumable portions while perfectly groomed violinists performed Holst’s “Mars” darkly in the background. Robbie Benz leaned close as he gracefully deposited a pair of wine glasses upon the table, neither the man nor the woman taking notice. With a perfectly rehearsed motion, he conveyed his serving tray to the nameless busboy assisting him, opened the bottle of champagne, and prepared to pour at the discretion of his guests.
He poured the lady’s glass first, filling it just halfway; the man, his eyes narrowed, stopped him with a single finger laid across the top of his own glass, a silent swish of his head from left to right indicating disinterest. The busboy, overeager, piped up in a feigned snobby accent, smiling as he said, “But please sir, surely you wouldn’t make the lady drink alone, for if there’s one thing less satisfying than a glass half full, it’s a glass never filled at all.” Robbie Benz closed his eyes and breathed out; the man turned to the busboy and replied only, “Speak when spoken to, boy. Keep your place and maybe you’ll keep your job.”
This piece emerged from a prompt in my creative writing class, which asked for a story about a man or woman who’s had an affair in a hotel room the night before, only to wake up beside their spouse. The action was to take place entirely inside the hotel room, with no significant back story.
I got through about 3/4 of the writing of this piece while in class and had a decent response to it during the sharing and workshopping session, so I decided I’d go ahead and finish it up. I did that just this evening, along with a little polishing on the first section from the night before, and all in all I’m fairly pleased with it. What I wanted to get at in this piece is the idea that people don’t (usually) cheat merely out of a desire for simple sex or orgasm, but because they have a deep need inside that isn’t being met in their home life. That’s not an indictment of blame, incidentally; sometimes it’s just a matter of how people’s lives evolve, and my take is that mutual understanding and meeting of needs, not blame, guilt and penance, is the more mature way of coping.
I hope you like it; please feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think!
A Night in Memory
Carl awoke with a start, the unexpected warmth of sunlight playing across his eyes through the half-open blinds of the Prudence Hotel and Bakery. He breathed deeply and smiled, reveling in the warm scent of sex that still permeated the room, a remnant of a night spent entwined with the most passionate, intense woman he had ever met. Still afflicted by the hazy, early afternoon sunlight that danced across his face, he closed his eyes for a moment and remembered, with fondness and an emerging desire for round four, the beautiful, vivacious redhead he pictured sleeping quietly beside him. She was everything his wife had never been: adventurous and experimental, open to touch and be touched in ways and places the mother of his children never had, for hour after hour into the night. The way her body responded to his worship of her every sensual part made him feel, for the first time in years, like a powerful, competent lover, like the man he thought he’d forgotten how to be. This new woman, he thought, was a little piece of bliss.
So, this one needs some explanation. In my creative writing class we occasionally do various in-class exercises, and this story grew from one of these in about an hour. In this case, the exercise was to write scene with a character with “the opposite gender, as different from yourself as possible.” As I think you’ll see, this character’s gender is about as different from a typical male human as you’re likely to find here on Earth. As to the quality of the story, well…I guess that’s up to you to decide. I’ve given up judging my own work worthy, I just can’t see it objectively :P.
Out of Respect for the Pump
I tug upward on the collar of my blouse, my cheeks flushed and red with a strangely embarrassed discomfort at the long, salacious glances of the man seated across from me. I close the catch on my purse and press it down, nestled safely in my lap, and hope the mechanic will finish my oil change soon. The man watches every motion, and his hands, stained by some kind of black grease, leave black-smudge fingerprints on the cover of the Car and Driver magazine over which his eyes, furrowed with grey and black smattered caterpillars above, undress me over and again. On most days I’m proud of the body I have, an accomplishment I earn with countless hours sacrificed at the gym, but not today.
I shift in my seat and reach for a magazine, Popular Science, my blouse slipping down again as I do so. His eyes are down my shirt, reveling in the smooth flesh I work so hard to keep clean and smooth and healthy. I think of the dollars spent on moisturizers and personal trainers and form-adoring undergarments, of sweat and tears and aching muscles, and my heart sinks as his tongue slides across chapped lips and chipped teeth. I tug upward on the collar of my blouse again and wince as his gravelly voice catches in my ears: “Nice tat. Know whatcha want, right?”
I wrote the first draft of this story in about 45 minutes during an exercise in a Creative Writing class. The inspiration was surprisingly simple and effective: the professor passed out two envelopes, one containing characters and the other, settings on campus. Students were told to choose two characters and one location at random, then go to the location and write. When I returned, this story is what had emerged. Afterward, I polished it a little, cleaned up all the typos and some of the language, and now it’s ready to join the cult of Damn Short Stories. Okay, I lied; there’s no cult. Dammit.
Rope and Whisper
Vinnie closed his eyes and breathed deeply. The soothing rush of water through Strenger Plaza’s fountain washed over and through him, and he imagined that somehow, it cleansed his soul of the grotesque scene which hung in the air not fifty feet from where he stood. One hand rested on the cold metal rail of the gurney that would convey her body back to his father’s mortuary in the back of the hearse; the other stayed solemnly upon his pounding heart as he silently invoked a godless prayer for her. As the soothing whisper of the fountain calmed his restless heart, he breathed deeply and wished it were just a bit cooler. “Why d’ya think she wanted to be hung, Vinnie?” Arnold Johnson, the lone detective sent to review the crime scene, was a peculiarly ordinary man, so extremely plain of face, body and style that he actually stood out only in how completely noteworthy he was not.
Vinnie exhaled. “It’s hanged, Arnie. She hanged herself.” Vinnie opened his eyes and looked again. She was a beautiful young thing, early twenties, and although he’d seen death many times in the ten years since graduating high school and joining his father’s mortuary business, this one was different. “What’s da fuggin’ difference?” Arnold asked, as he took a long pull from his coffee. He eyeballed Vinnie with disdain, irritated by both his composure and what he thought of as his holier-than-thou ‘Oooh, I can spell and say things all grammatical-like’ attitude. Vinnie’s eyes remained fixed on her sweetly innocent face, which even in death seemed to smile with warmth and welcoming. Her body, still suspended several feet above the ground slowly twisted with the rope as he replied, “The latter means a rope is tied around your neck and you’re dropped to your death. The former means that you have a big dick.”