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#FlashFiction Repost Part 3

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A Beacon for the Metaphorical Penis

3.
Dee often felt sorry for people that had to sit beside her in traffic. She liked her coffee strong and her music loud. She also liked to sing along and would often nod unashamedly at the unfortunates stuck beside her as they rolled up their car windows.
She loved her little Jetta. The sound system came stock with the car which was, by far, the nicest and most dependable model she ever owned. It was also her first brand new car. She’d made the down payment with last years’ Christmas bonus from her former employer.
Stopped at one of LA’s many traffic lights, Dee sang at top of her lungs, idly wondering how delinquent her payments could get before the dealership sent out the repo-men.
It was still Friday and with her clothes smelling Tide-fresh, Dee felt invigorated on her way to the local grocery store.
As she drifted through the crowded parking lot, a compact space near the front of the store opened up. Dee hooked the wheel left and snagged it. On her way inside, she noted the spot was also close to two Basket Return stalls and smiled at the small stroke of luck.
Inside the store, Dee pushed her cart, feeling dazed by the ridiculous amount of devilish makeup and costumes that cluttered the stores usually neat aisles. But it wasn’t long before her drifting gaze came to stop on the enormous display of Halloween candies.
No, she told herself and moved on.
Dee didn’t need much. Just odds and ends and she was running low on Cup ‘O’ Noodles. She didn’t need candy. There were never trick-or-treaters in her building.
Standing in the slow check-out line, Dee stared at her microwave food products. She was going to get high cholesterol if she didn’t start eating better. And she wanted sugar. Badly. But it made her lazy and Dee had too much to do. As the conveyor belt rolled forward, her sugar craving grew ravenous. Turning to her right, Dee searched the small display of candy bars. They had Reeses. Well, the holiday version shaped like pumpkins.
Dee turned to the check-out clerk mindlessly swiping her items. “Excuse me. Do you have the regular peanut butter cups?”
“There should be a box of them on the third shelf.” The girl gestured to the very spot where the pumpkin shaped confections rested.
Dee smiled. “I don’t mean the jack-o-lanterns. I’m looking for the standard, round cups.”
The clerk’s forehead crumpled. Dee was not surprised. No one understood her aversion.
“I need the flat, even cups. Those lumpy pumpkin things don’t taste the same. The mound-shape throws off the chocolate to peanut butter ratio.” Dee didn’t indulge her sugar addiction as often as she used to. When she did, though, she had to get what she wanted or the splurge was pointless.
All her items were scanned. And still, the check-out girl just stared at her. “I don’t understand. Aren’t they the same chocolate and peanut butter?”
Dee could see that the line behind her had doubled in size. “Yes. They are.” She dug into her wallet. “But they don’t taste the same. I need even distribution. The peanut butter in the holiday shape is too thick. I prefer the regular cups. Do you have any of those?”
Dee noticed more than a few wry smiles on the faces of surrounding customers. Every time she explained this eccentricity of hers, people shook their heads as if it were unbelievable. It wasn’t as if she was asking the Reeses’ company to separate the peanut butter and chocolate, she simply wanted some consistency.
The checker shook her head and took Dee’s payment. “If you don’t see them over there, then we don’t have them. Sorry.”
Dee pushed her basket out to the parking lot, still craving sugar. Her car cheerily chirped when she pressed the key fob. If Dee hadn’t been so hangry, she might have smiled.
After placing her bags in the car, Dee found herself in the middle of another conundrum. Her car was in the exact middle space between two basket returns. And Dee could not decide which one was closest.

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This is a Larry David moment, Dee thought, laughing to herself. It was the type of simple issue that the brilliant writer Larry David — co-creator of Seinfeld which birthed the terms ‘close-talker’, ‘man-hands,’ and ‘chat-and-cut,’ — might write about. The type of silly social awkwardness that made Dee laugh her ass off. She was tempted to take the time to count the steps between the car and return stall.
“This one’s closer.”
Dee turned in the direction of the voice and was dumbstruck. Parked just beside her Jetta, was a king cab pickup; white with barrels of paint and ladders strewn in the back. There was a man standing behind it. He looked to be Dee’s age, with soft brown hair that hung smoothly to the tops of his shoulders and big blue eyes.
“What?” Dee managed to ask, taken aback by the striking masculinity staring back at her.
“This cart return,” he pointed to the right, “is closer than that one.” He shook his head almost like he was embarrassed and Dee nearly fainted.
Damn. He was pretty. Masculine, but beautiful. Like Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise pretty.
He was Jared Leto pretty.
And he was talking to Dee.
“I’m sorry. It’s just… you looked like you couldn’t decide. I figured since most people don’t bother to return the baskets in the first place, that you were probably looking for the most efficient way—” He shut his mouth and walked towards her, reaching.
Dee’s heart sputtered to a stop and picked up again, double-time as Mister Gorgeous came within striking distance. Then he was inches away, passing a hand in front of her. Dee took a deep breath. Oh, he smelled better than he looked.
How the hell is that possible?
“I’ll just take this for you.” He smiled. And she stopped breathing. “You have a nice day.”
She watched him walk through the parking lot, taking her empty basket with him into the store

Part 2: #flashfiction re-post

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2.
A Beacon for the Metaphorical Penis

Beacon might have been the wrong word. A magnet was what Dee considered herself, but men of the wrong kind were an enticement to her. They exuded the pull or lure, an attraction that seemed to trip Dee up every single time. It was as if she was drawn to the jerks against her will, pulled in as if by a magnetic field she had no control over. So she was not a beacon because it was the wrong word—she did not draw them in. She was not the puller, but the pullee. Dickheads were the magnet and she was just the metallic dust they collected.
Dee scowled at the thoughts she was having. There were at least ten other items on her list of problems that she should be concerned about first thing in the morning. Nine of which would drop off her list when she found a job. But her mind kept going back to her blog, pondering the title.
Single cup coffee makers are for light-weights, Dee thought, as she placed the paper filter in the top basket of her twelve-cup coffee-maker and filled it with three round scoops of freshly ground beans. She inhaled deeply, taking in the wonderful scent. Her mind woke up a little more, anticipating the imminent caffeine rush.
She showered while the coffee brewed and didn’t let herself think about anything except what she was doing in the moment. There were too many things she had to get done and if she thought about them in the shower, she’d forget to write them down later.
Clean and freshly dressed, Dee poured herself a large mug of coffee with milk and sat at the cold metal table on her third-floor apartment patio. As always, she kept her laptop to jot down ideas and the days to-do list. She looked over the edge of her mug, sipping and watching employed neighbors scramble into the parking lot and leave for work.
Lucky bastards.
It was barely seven a.m., and Dee had no job to go to, but she still kept her routine of waking early and dressing for the day. She wanted to be ready to go on the off-chance that someone called her for a last minute interview.
The job hunt was not going well. Dee felt as if full-time employment in her chosen field was nearing extinction. There were jobs for writers out there, but they were elusive and hard to catch wind of. Usually by the time she’d heard of an opening, it was already filled. For all her striving over the last three months, all she had to show for it was a dwindling savings account and a growing stack of bills.
Being independent, living in Los Angeles, and building a career in writing had always been Dees dream. But dreaming of doing something was not the same as actually doing it. Dee expected it to be hard, still it was a lot tougher than she expected.
Dee felt herself unwillingly pointed down that reclusive path—the way of the starving artist. The unread writer; that’s what she would be if she didn’t start pursuing work outside her favored spectrum. That feeling was what made her start the blog. It was her way to vent about the frustration she faced in her personal and professional life.
After a breakfast of cup of noodles, Dee took two five dollar bills from her remaining twenty-five dollar food allotment, and headed downstairs to the apartments laundry room with her full hamper and laptop.
Dee had appliance-rich friends who offered the free use of their facilities whenever she needed it, but none of them were home at eight in the morning and she didn’t want to impose. Using someone elses’ washer and dryer was an imposition, no matter what her friends said. Laundry took time. Dee had the soiled clothes and the free hours needed to babysit the machines as they worked. She could live on noodles for the rest of the week, but she had to have clean, non-smelly clothes. The only thing anybody wanted to do with a stinky person was to hold their breath and step away.
Besides, Dee didn’t really want to sit at a friend’s house. The apartment laundry room would give her privacy. Her companions knew how much unemployment bothered her, so they didn’t ask, but their spouses did. And Dee couldn’t endure another awkward silence after she answered, “Nope. Still looking,” to the innocent inquiry of her job status.
Finding a job. Jobs are something given and taken away. They are never lost or found.
The laundry room was in the back of the ground floor of the apartment building. It was the last door at the end of the main hallway, where other corridors crossed and branched off to front doors. It was near the epicenter of the drama. Where most of the younger, single people lived. They were cheaper and almost always occupied. After work hours and on weekends many of the first-floor residents would mingle in the sitting area just outside the laundry room, talking about their busy lives, their education and future prospects. They were sickeningly optimistic.
But it was Friday morning and the valuable, contributing members of society were not home. Dee was content to listen to the gentle swish of machines while taking advantage of the buildings’ free wifi.
She faced many problems for sure. And there was no end in sight. But Dee was an optimist, even when she wasn’t. And she would use the empty time wisely, to her advantage.
She would write.

Flash Fiction

A Beacon for the Metaphorical Penis
Chapter 5

It had been too long since Dee updated her blog. It wasn’t that she was running out of dating advice on how to stay away from the wrong kind of guy–the douche bags, the dickheads–but more that Dee could not get that damned conversation out of her head. The one she’d overheard at the pizza place.

After the two men walked away–to finish their deep conversation sans eavesdropper, she assumed– Dee could not stop wondering over and imagining the details.

But that’s enough of that, Dee thought, and began typing a random list of dating do’s and dont’s into her blog:

DO: take cash, cell phone charger, and a spare toothbrush. As a modern woman, shoot for self-containment.
DON’T: order sticky food that you’ll want to lick off your fingers–for obvious reasons–unless it’s after the third date. DON’T: Order foods with the potential to get stuck at that odd space between two molars,unless you’ve got that toothbrush, because chances are it will. Get stuck. And you’ll spend the rest of the night trying not to look like your sucking your teeth. DO: pay attention to your dates reaction to your food choices. If he’s offended that you’ve order a pizza from the kiddies menu at the steakhouse, he’s too controlling, and you should NOT agree to a second date.

Dee looked over all she’d written after she hit publish and sighed. It was crap. All of it. Sure, it was true, but that didn’t make it good.

She wanted to write something meaningful. Something that would affect the reader. She wanted to write a love story. All the one’s she’d read recently were so predictable. The happily ever after practically guaranteed from the get-go. The obligatory alpha male/billionaire type love interest was practically cookie cutter in that he always corrupted the poor, innocent intern or college student. Oh, and lots of gratuitous sex at the expense of said girls dignity.

Dee wanted her story to be something different. Trouble was, she had no idea what that difference might be. And she was still so curious about the two mens’ conversation at the Corporate Games. She hadn’t even seen the mans face. Only heard his voice. She listened for that voice the remainder of the night. But it had been lost in the terrible eighties music that began blasting from every speaker once the Guitar Hero tournament began.
That night, she’d been so distracted with her longing that she inadvertently agreed to a double- date slash set up! And Dee didn’t do blind dates. Ever. Not even if they guy was “really sweet, and successful,” and one of Steve’s– her best friend Laylas husband.
Once Dee realized the faux pas, she tried to get out of it. She’d even texted Laylas, pretending to have a fever. But Layla simply texted back:
Pop some ibuprofen. You’re not getting out of this!

Flash Fiction Friday

wpid-patrick-harris-this-is-so-going-into-my-blog-gif-funny-humor1.gifThe following is a short scene that was cut from Between Octobers, told from Evan’s point of view . . . . It takes place between Evan and his best friend Marcus, while they’re in a place Evan hardly ever goes–the grocery store.

“I need to grab some rubbers, now that I think of it. Do you mind?” Marcus asked as we walked down the aisle staring at the unnecessarily massive variety of barbecue sauces in the local supermarket. Lily sent us for potato salad and a few other things.
Marcus usually got such things when he was by himself, since I didn’t want to be caught making the purchase. Someone may see and snap a picture, hence the question.
“You’re being a bit presumptuous aren’t you?” There was no way Lily was going to give it up as quickly as he hoped. They only met a few hours before we were sent to market. She and Grace are thick as thieves and where one goes, so goes the other.
“Maybe, but better safe than sorry.”
We rounded the corner of the aisle at the back of the store. I was searching the signs that hung overhead, there was nothing listed anywhere to give indication of where they would keep such things. Not that hanging a giant sign that read ‘we’ve got rubbers here’ was a good idea.
“This way,” Marcus called out. He was a few aisles over, pointing at a sign over aisle seven that read ‘feminine hygiene products’.
“Why would they be down there?” I asked when I got close enough to speak with discretion.
“They always put them near the tampons or diapers.”
“Why?”
“How the hell should I know? I imagine it’s because they all involve the same area of the body.”
As we made our way up the aisle searching, I noticed Marcus wasn’t looking. He was staring back the way we came.
“Did we pass them?”
“Look at that,” He pointed behind him, “that poor fellas’ on rag duty.”
I craned my neck to see around him, but his big head was still in the way. I moved a bit more to the right and saw the poor bloke he was talking about. There was a man standing with a little boy. The gap in years was too wide to make me think they were brothers and the younger bore a strong resemblance to his older counterpart. So it must’ve been a father/son thing.
The man was holding a yellow square of paper. A shopping list, I assumed. He studied it and looked at the small pink and blue boxes in front of him. Then his eyes scanned the paper and back again to the shelves. He moved back and forth for a moment before reaching for a specific box of tampons, he was reading the description on the box and looking back at the list he held.
“What a pussy.” I muttered.
“Call me sexist, but any woman who asks me to do that may as well castrate me. It’s just as emasculating.” Marcus agreed.
We continued to watch the man as he took the box from the shelf and put it in the shopping basket. Then he picked it back up. Too embarrassed to carry it in the hand basket, he quickly passed it to his son. I couldn’t tell how old the lad was, but he was too young to understand what he was holding or why. We stood there, unnerved, as they walked off together.
“Not only is he screwed up for doing it in the first place, he’s not even man enough to do it alone, he’s got drag the tike into it. That borders on abuse.” Marcus shook his head.
“The poor kids gonna remember this one day and he’s going to have all sorts of psychological problems because of it.” I remarked, only half-joking.

Have a great Friday!

quote2

Serial Flash Fiction Post: Chapter 2

Last week, I started my first serial flash fiction story about a thirty-something single woman named Dee. If you missed it, read Chapter 1 here

—————

Title Text

2.
A Beacon for the Metaphorical Penis

Beacon might have been the wrong word. A magnet was what Dee considered herself, but men of the wrong kind were an enticement to her. They exuded the pull or lure, an attraction that seemed to trip Dee up every single time. It was as if she was drawn to the jerks against her will, pulled in as if by a magnetic field she had no control over. So she was not a beacon because it was the wrong word—she did not draw them in. She was not the puller, but the pullee. Dickheads were the magnet and she was just the metallic dust they collected.
Dee scowled at the thoughts she was having. There were at least ten other items on her list of problems that she should be concerned about first thing in the morning. Nine of which would drop off her list when she found a job. But her mind kept going back to her blog, pondering the title.
Single cup coffee makers are for light-weights, Dee thought, as she placed the paper filter in the top basket of her twelve-cup coffee-maker and filled it with three round scoops of freshly ground beans. She inhaled deeply, taking in the wonderful scent. Her mind woke up a little more, anticipating the imminent caffeine rush.
She showered while the coffee brewed and didn’t let herself think about anything except what she was doing in the moment. There were too many things she had to get done and if she thought about them in the shower, she’d forget to write them down later.
Clean and freshly dressed, Dee poured herself a large mug of coffee with milk and sat at the cold metal table on her third-floor apartment patio. As always, she kept her laptop to jot down ideas and the days to-do list. She looked over the edge of her mug, sipping and watching employed neighbors scramble into the parking lot and leave for work.
Lucky bastards.
It was barely seven a.m., and Dee had no job to go to, but she still kept her routine of waking early and dressing for the day. She wanted to be ready to go on the off-chance that someone called her for a last minute interview.
The job hunt was not going well. Dee felt as if full-time employment in her chosen field was nearing extinction. There were jobs for writers out there, but they were elusive and hard to catch wind of. Usually by the time she’d heard of an opening, it was already filled. For all her striving over the last three months, all she had to show for it was a dwindling savings account and a growing stack of bills.
Being independent, living in Los Angeles, and building a career in writing had always been Dees dream. But dreaming of doing something was not the same as actually doing it. Dee expected it to be hard, still it was a lot tougher than she expected.
Dee felt herself unwillingly pointed down that reclusive path—the way of the starving artist. The unread writer; that’s what she would be if she didn’t start pursuing work outside her favored spectrum. That feeling was what made her start the blog. It was her way to vent about the frustration she faced in her personal and professional life.
After a breakfast of cup of noodles, Dee took two five dollar bills from her remaining twenty-five dollar food allotment, and headed downstairs to the apartments laundry room with her full hamper and laptop.
Dee had appliance-rich friends who offered the free use of their facilities whenever she needed it, but none of them were home at eight in the morning and she didn’t want to impose. Using someone elses’ washer and dryer was an imposition, no matter what her friends said. Laundry took time. Dee had the soiled clothes and the free hours needed to babysit the machines as they worked. She could live on noodles for the rest of the week, but she had to have clean, non-smelly clothes. The only thing anybody wanted to do with a stinky person was to hold their breath and step away.
Besides, Dee didn’t really want to sit at a friend’s house. The apartment laundry room would give her privacy. Her companions knew how much unemployment bothered her, so they didn’t ask, but their spouses did. And Dee couldn’t endure another awkward silence after she answered, “Nope. Still looking,” to the innocent inquiry of her job status.
Finding a job. Jobs are something given and taken away. They are never lost or found.
The laundry room was in the back of the ground floor of the apartment building. It was the last door at the end of the main hallway, where other corridors crossed and branched off to front doors. It was near the epicenter of the drama. Where most of the younger, single people lived. They were cheaper and almost always occupied. After work hours and on weekends many of the first-floor residents would mingle in the sitting area just outside the laundry room, talking about their busy lives, their education and future prospects. They were sickeningly optimistic.
But it was Friday morning and the valuable, contributing members of society were not home. Dee was content to listen to the gentle swish of machines while taking advantage of the buildings’ free wifi.
She faced many problems for sure. And there was no end in sight. But Dee was an optimist, even when she wasn’t. And she would wisely use empty time she had to her advantage.
She would write.

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