Friday, November 19, 2010

Short Fiction Friday: "Eight Minutes," Part 2

For the previous part, go here.

Once I got past the strange-woman-in-my-apartment panic, I had to admit she didn’t look threatening. She actually looked vaguely like me, with a round face, unkempt kinky hair, and Buddy Holly glasses. She was probably a few years older, though, and had a weary, defeated air about her. She wore an oversized man’s shirt, a sloppy patchwork skirt, and sneakers. There was a pencil poked behind her ear, and she carried a small, worn notebook in one hand. I motioned for her to sit down and cautiously laid the shard of glass on the bedside table.

“There. Happy? I’m only going to ask you one more time: who are you and what are you doing here? I can have the cops here in five minutes, just so you know. You’d better talk faster than that.”

She rolled her eyes again. “I’d be gone before then, not that it would matter. I already told you why I’m here. I don’t owe you any more explanation than that. I don’t even really owe you an explanation at all. Nobody else is getting one. You should count yourself lucky, Cady-me-girl.”

“What do you mean you don’t owe me an explanation? Who’s trespassing on whose property here? And how do you know my name?”

She sighed. “I’m Abby. I’m the writer.”

“I don’t know any writers.” Actually, I was pretty sure that one of the twins had dated a writer once, but I thought she was the one in jail. Or had she killed herself? I could never keep the twins’ lovers straight.

“I mean, the writer. Your writer. I created you, and Zillah, and the twins, and all of this.”

Great, a crazy. Just what I needed at—I checked the alarm clock— four in the morning. What I couldn’t figure out was how she’d gotten in. I triple-bolted the door and locked it with a chain every night; you can’t be too careful in a city like this, and after my sister was assaulted last fall, I wasn't about to take my chances. My windows were well off the ground, and I couldn't see this woman climbing hand-over-hand up a fire escape. Oh well. I’d let the police handle it once I’d gotten her the hell out of here.

“So write yourself into a straightjacket. I'm calling 911.”

She rolled her eyes. “Ever the skeptic. I suppose you're going to want the dramatic make-me-a-Ferrari take-me-to-Prague type of proof, aren't you. You'll have to settle for this: Your name is Cady Huffington. You're twenty-five, left-handed, allergic to latex, and not a real redhead. You have a sister named Trina and parents from whom you are estranged. Your ex-girlfriend Zillah put every picture of the two of you in a shoebox in her closet when she moved out, and she is at this moment trying to decide whether to burn the box or to look through it and cry. You are currently wracked with guilt at the secret crush you've had on the short barista with the pierced lip at Starbucks and wondering if Zillah had somehow guessed. Don't worry, she didn't. Your best friends, Leo and Lucas, are identical twins who are currently hospitalized after a life-threatening car accident. They'll pull through just fine, but one of them is about to be diagnosed with leukemia. If there were time, the other one would agonize about overcoming his fear of surgery so he could donate his bone marrow, but I guess they dodged that bullet, at least. Your dearest dream as a child was to be on the Gong Show, you always put your left sock on first, and you have an endearing habit of mispronouncing the word ‘ricochet.’ Also, you are pregnant after all. Congratulations. There, you satisfied?”

I gaped, not sure what to say. She must have taken my silence for incredulity. “You sure are a hard sell,” she said, with the eye-roll again. “Here. I'll clean up the glass for you.” She thumbed through the notebook for a moment, then took the pencil from behind her ear and erased a few lines. The broken glass on the floor disappeared. “That do it, Miss Doubting Thomas?”

Posted by Silent Five @ 5:53 PM

Word of the Week

gymnosophy [jim-NAH-so-fee]

n. Philosophical, amusing, or nonsensical insights realized when naked, as in the shower or in bed. (recent coinage: att. S. Galasso, 2010)

Victoria and Albert enjoyed a spot of postprandial concupiscence culminating in a night of gymnosophy and coffee and crumpets at dawn.

The Silent Top Five: Bacon-Flavored Desserts

1) Bacon cheesecake.
2) Bacon gumballs.
3) Bacon ice cream.
4) Bacon-orange bars.
5) Bacon apple pie.

Standard Disclaimer

This is all in no way meant to incur copyright-infringement-related wrath. I'm harmless. I promise. Oh, and if you're offended by anything I may post herein, I guarantee I didn't mean to do so (unless, of course, you are a humorless prig. In which case, go right on and be offended, with my blessings.)