Well that didn’t take long, I’ve broken the rules already! In honor of the occasion, I’ve decided that a new category is in order. This category, “slightly longer Damn Short Stories”, will include stories that are up to two pages in length, Microsoft Word, possibly Narrow margins. Yeah…I still leave a cheat window open a bit :)
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?”
Fuzzy Wuzzy was not, in spite of the rhymes to the contrary, a bear. In fact he was a breed of dog called a “Newfoundland”-though he had no idea what the hell that meant or what land of any kind, new found or not, had to do with being a dog or a bear. As the summer once again crept across the heat-capturing valleys of Southern California he began to feel a little miffed that his fur hadn’t been trimmed in years. Now, we’re not talking dog years, because then we’d be into double digits as far as Fuzzy Wuzzy knew, but by the reckoning of people he was in fact five years old and as near as he could tell, his unfortunate name was the sole reason he had never received so much as a trim.
Fuzzy sat at the end of a long leash looped around the leg of a small chair at a sidewalk cafe. His owner, a singularly annoying woman called Missy, sipped a maple-scented black beverage from a small cup, her pinky finger extended into the air aristocratically. Fuzzy loved his sweet master, for she always snuggled him and fed him and let him sleep at the foot of her bed, where he felt most of the time like he belonged. On occasion she would kick him straight off the bed in her sleep, but Fuzzy always knew that when he awoke sore and disoriented on the floor it was not a fact caused by any meaningful malice by his owner. No, Fuzzy Wuzzy was loved.
So as the sun crept over the buildings across the street and began to warm the front of the sidewalk cafe, Fuzzy began to feel hot. His owner continued to sip the black liquid and in fact asked the waiter to bring her another while she gabbed away to the little pink, glitter-covered rectangle in her hand. Fuzzy had never figured out what was so interesting about this little rectangle that Missy would want to talk to it so much, but talk she did, and Fuzzy just panted away as sweat began to make the fur on his head droop down into his eyes. Continue reading
“Honey, are you ready?” Henry Shinkerman called to his wife. He carefully examined himself in the long oval mirror mounted by the door of their 317th floor apartment. His necktie began in a tidy knot that had tied itself just perfectly, but as always he was left to manually adjust the three buttons at its flared out bottom.
“I’ll be down in time!” The voice of his wife, Joanna, bounced down the stairs and Henry winced. He breathed deeply as he finished buttoning his tie, ensuring it would neither flap nor flip on the way to the car, which in turn would ensure that he wouldn’t hear any complaints about his unkempt appearance. No, today Henry looked absolutely perfect.
“Sweetheart, we have a long way to go, I don’t want to ruin our anniversary!” Henry blinked and checked the time on the clock inside his eyelid: 4:48PM, December 31st 2471. He sighed and reached into his coat pocket, then pulled out two slips of paper. The first was a reservation slip for dinner; the other was a receipt for work he’d recently ordered on the car. A grin crept across his face as he thought about the two new modifications; he couldn’t wait to try them out tonight. He had dropped the car at the shop nearly two weeks ago and Joanna picked it up just this morning.
“I’m ready, do you still love me?” Joanna glided down the stairs, her sculpted legs unmoving in the skin-tight dress that seemed painted over every curve from her sumptuous child-bearing hips to her flawlessly round and gravity-defying breasts. In every sense that one could observe with the eye, she was the perfect woman, and Henry knew in his wallet that she was the best that money could buy. He smiled as she floated down to him, her anti-gravity high-heels never touching the floor. He pulled her close and kissed her with forced affection.
The sound of plates shattering against the wall woke Shay from a sound sleep. Her parents screamed at one another in an incoherent nightmare of accusation and assault, and she pulled the covers up over her head in the hopes that somehow the blanket would deafen the sounds. It was her thirteenth birthday, and she’d hoped tonight would remain peaceful and calm. She breathed heavily as she remembered their last fight, which ended with a trip to the hospital, her father’s arm broken by the impact of a cast iron skillet hurled awkwardly from across the kitchen.
The sounds of screaming broke for a moment, and Shay pulled back the covers to hear what was happening. “Dead silence”, she thought, and then her heart began to thump in her chest as she considered-what if it was silent because someone had died? An uncontrollable swell of tears burst from her eyes as she threw the covers aside and put her feet softly on the cold tile floor.
“Mommy?” she whispered with a tremble. “Daddy?” she called in a near inaudible voice. Shay cried softly to herself, afraid of the screams that had come before, terrified of the silence that had swallowed her now. She was torn in two as she wished alternately for the soothing peace of silence or the comfortable familiarity of angry, bitter screams. All her life her parents had fought like this, and somehow Shay knew it was her fault. She was too strange, too much of a reader and a weirdo, and she shared very few of her parents interests. “If only I were more normal things would be better” she had often thought.
It was Christmas morning and the snow piled slow and unrelenting upon the small house where Izzy shivered under her thin blanket; she was covered but for her porcelain-pale face. Her lone mattress rested flat on the cold tile floor, pressed into the corner furthest from the leaky window on the opposite wall. She wondered what her acquaintances from work were doing right now; were they surrounded by children and cousins and brightly colored paper, with turkey dinners and candied yams cooking in the kitchen? Were they talking on telephones to loved ones who couldn’t make it but called anyway to express their love? She peered around the soulless room and wondered how she had come to be in this empty place, where she knew the telephone would never ring and the door would know not a knock. She knew the answer, but somehow the past seemed almost imaginary.