You inspired me this week, Gordon. (And, hopefully it’s still Friday somewhere … maybe on Pluto?)
Nerves, by Russell Conover
Ever since she saw the movie “Psycho” last night, she’d been terrified to enter her own shower. The chances of a repeat were slim, but better safe than sorry.
Trembling, she turned on the water and stepped inside. The warm flow soothed away her worries, and she closed her eyes and smiled.
“I know you’re in there,” a raspy voice wheezed.
Screaming, she tangled the curtain and fell flat on her face. Looking up, she saw her husband smirking. “Bit nervous?” he jabbed.
“Better watch your back next time YOU’RE in here,” she muttered. “I’ll be lurking. You’re never safe.”
Her life wasn’t the greatest—dead-end job, dead husband, dead daughter, and a son always into something. On the other side of the ledger, she had a nice place to live and sometimes somebody to get close to, although she had only a few years left to carry on with that sort of thing. And she did have rules: no married men; no divorced guys with reputations for beating wives—no matter how great they seemed, that type always started up on their new girlfriends eventually. Oh, and all guys had to be over fifteen years older than her son.
Is there a bit of a water theme going on this week – just a teensy one?
Here’s my story:
Swallowed, by Emma Baird
They watched the water levels rise, deciding on the sensible option of moving upwards – spending the day carting sofas, book shelves, TVs, the fridge and a small stove upstairs.
The water, however, didn’t look as if it was going to stop rising. They wondered if it might reach the sky – clouds and waves colliding and swallowing up the land.
What’s going to happen to us, he said. She shrugged. The house on the hill had always seemed impregnable.
Maybe we’ll develop gills, he suggested. Evolution was going to have to kick in fast. Water was now lapping at the landing.
Sick of The Daily Dying. Sick of Substituting Self. Sick of Biting the Bullet. Sick of Eating the Bullet. Sick of Living in Rote.
Say, “I am rote!”
“Never!” Me screams inside my groomed Dull Body. “I will never, ever, be Rote!”
Then I peek from Behind the Curtain, and see the outlines of Lives Still Waiting, expecting me to Crack the Monotony in 90 Minutes.
Standing on The Stage Where Truth Speaks As Fiction.
Making Hard Truth Safe.
“I confess…” They Breathe Deep into their Unbreathing.
“We are Sick. With Rote.”
Monotony Cracks a Long Sigh.
Rote Remains Safe.
Perhaps you’re just off to freshen up?
Shower, by Gordon Lawrie
Standing in the shower, Louise sighed. For months, her husband David had acted strangely, spent a lot of evenings out, their sex-life had been non-existent. Eventually she’d followed him several times to a house in the next town where he’d been ‘warmly embraced’ each time by the same negligée-dressed blonde.
David didn’t deny anything when confronted, just promised to sort things.
The shower seemed to be getting hotter – suddenly there was a further gush and she screamed in agony: acid. Louise actually disappeared quite quickly down the drain.
David told the neighbours that she’d gone to visit relatives in Australia.
“Papi, that’s against the law.”
Luis wore a UC Davis baseball cap, but it didn’t provide the ventilation or protection of the straw hat that his family had worn working in these fields for generations. Jorge Villagras opened the power panel that controlled the multiple canals that awaited their water delivery from The Water Gods in charge of the California Aqueduct.
“Oh yes, Mijo?” Jorge pulled up his tablet and through a few commands he opened the canals and hijacked the precious resource to the alfalfa that needed its water now.
“A week is the difference between a crop and dead grass.”
Got to thinking about harvest gold and avocado, and came up with this little gem. 100 words.
Reverse Decortication, by Amy Friedman
“Why did everyone laugh at avocado and harvest gold?”
“You are soooo YOUNG.”
“No need to insult me!”
“Look: Avocado and harvest gold were the most popular decorating colors in the 1970s. Everything – refrigerators, stoves, phones, bakeware and dishes – pretty much only came in those two colors. Ugh.”
“Even cell phones?”
“There weren’t any cell phones in the 1970s!”
“I thought you said there were car phones.”
“Well yeah, but they all came in black and were the size of shoe boxes.”
“So, are harvest gold and avocado a go or no?”
“No. Not if you want your job.”
“I’m quite the ladies’ man.”
“I know a lot about women.”
“You can’t mention their new hair-do or outfit unless it’s complimentary.”
“You can’t ever, repeat ever, mention they look as if they might have gained weight.”
“You never tell a woman she looks like a movie star—particularly a star as she looks in a given film.”
“I’ll bite, why?”
“She might hate that actress—maybe not her looks—but her personality as portrayed in the press, or she might hate the character the actress played in the film.”
“I think you’re onto something.”
Slim and Rusty climbed into the F-250, the bed bursting with rolls of barbed wire and stakes. They’d thrown their sledges back there, too. They’d stuffed pairs of King Ernest gloves in their back pockets. When they got to the fence line, Slim jumped out; Rusty, 25 years older, moved a little slower. You could tell he was stiff. Slim went right to work, except he was stringing only three lines of wire between the posts.
“Hey, Slim, do it right. String four.”
“You want four, do it yourself, old man.”
Rusty felt like the world had passed him by.
Stella had been engaged for five months. Every night after work she updated her folks on the latest decisions. The first calls were exciting. Now, Ginny and Dan braced themselves with increasingly drier martinis.
Dan fluffed the latest bunch of sheer squares.
“Aw, Sweetie, just tell her you like the Light Pink!”
Ginny sniffed. “But they’re ALL light pink.”
The phone rang: “The swatches for the bridesmaid’s chiffon?”
(Ginny dove deep into the well of feigned excitement.)
“They’re lovely: Betty’s-blush, Nearly-nude, Champagne-flush, Meekly-mauve, Penny’s-Peony? Oh crap! I give up.”
“Right?” Stella laughed, “I just want a ‘light pink.’”