Thursday, March 22, 2012

What Are You Wearing? - Flash Fiction


One of those days, spilled coffee and the bathroom drain clogged and she's wrestling with the vacuum cleaner bag when the phone rings. It's the Governor; she recognizes his voice, and when he pauses she begins to reply, then realizes that it's an automated message and bangs the receiver down. The cleaner bag bursts and releases a storm of dust and dog hair, which sticks to her sweat soaked face and neck and the phone rings again. This time she listens before saying hello and hears ringing and voices in the background, a boiler room operation drumming up business or donations and she hangs up while congratulating herself on dodging that particular bullet. She stands with hands on hips, wondering how one cleans up a mess from a vacuum cleaner without said cleaner, the phone rings yet again and she doesn't answer it so much as wring its plastic neck, gripping the receiver like a vise and wincing as it strikes her ear. A husky male voice says

"Hey babe what are you wearing..."

...and it's too much, she smashes the phone on the kitchen counter, over and over, the slime ball, the pervert, as if it weren't enough that she was tired and angry and dirty and sweaty, now she feels her stomach balling up with fear and the call can't be traced anyway now that she's killed the messenger. The calendar on the wall is askew and as she carefully straightens it by matching it to its clean shadow, she sees that tonight is her husband's office party and she should be getting ready. It's the last straw, she pours herself a drink and walks into the living room to properly prepare herself.

He walks in at six o'clock and she lights into him before he can take his coat off, not just haranguing him for forgetting to remind her of the party but carefully listing everything he has ever done in their twelve years of marriage that angered or irritated her.

It's a very long list.
He clears his throat several times. He has a cold.

"I tried to call you earlier. I wanted to know what you were wearing..."
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30 comments:

  1. Just one of those days...lol. :) Very funny, Li. (pssst..what ARE you wearing?)


    Twitted and other sharing around.

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    1. Thanks for sharing :-) Jeans, t-shirt, sweatshirt.

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  2. Replies
    1. :-) Nice to see you. Hope it gave you a good laugh!

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  3. Replies
    1. Inspired by several automated phone calls and a broken vacuum. :-)

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  4. lol Great twist at the end. I could totally empathize with the vacuum cleaner wrestling.

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    1. Glad to know I'm not alone in struggling with the Hoover :-)

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  5. Oh dear, well a bad day can do that to you can't it. Ha ha loved the way you wrote this. I miss my robbie the robot vacuum cleaner, he use to come out every day and do it all by himself, that is until he exploded >_< (teach me to get cheap chinese copy cat one won't it).

    I enjoyed reading this very much. ^_^

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    1. I thought about getting one of those one time - but I was afraid it might not do a good job. I guess there's something to be said for being meticulous :-)

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  6. Beautiful execution. It just goes to show that the rote pleasantries of "Hi, how are you?" are more than just a formulaic way to get a phone conversation started.

    Also, now I'm even more happy with my robot vacuum cleaner. He doesn't use bags and he never complains if I tell him the living room needs a do-over.

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    1. There's also the "Hi it's me" greeting from someone I barely know...I always feel embarrassed that I DON'T know who it is, even though it's not my fault.

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  7. Quickly paced and well-delivered, Li. Only note I'd make is to nix the double-spaces at the end. I thought I'd finished the story and was going to a postscript, then realized I was consuming the twist.

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    1. Thank you John. I'll fix it :-))

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  8. Fast paced and enjoyable. Bad days do get to you.

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    1. Yes, they can sort of snowball into a day from hell :-)

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  9. Wonder if she'd like a glass of water to swallow the foot she has stuck firmly in her mouth. Classic miscommunication.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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    1. She'd certainly like a hot shower! (And I happen to know he's a very forgiving man.)

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  10. Oh nooo!!! Didja ever have one of those days.....? :)

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    1. Oh yeah. And I'm famous for blurting out the wrong thing too!

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  11. I really like the "she doesn't answer it so much as wring its plastic neck" line.

    She needs caller ID!

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    1. Caller ID is a great invention. Unfortunately, I don't have it... but then, I seldom answer the phone anyway.

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  12. Hi there, new blog stalker here! Just wanted to say that I loved this story! I'm just getting into the idea of flash fiction and I'm coming to realise just how much thought it takes to tell a whole story in just a few paragraphs. Well done, I look forward to reading more!

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    1. Reading stalkers welcome, and thanks! Writing flash is fun, and it's also a great way to hone editing skills for longer works :-)

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  13. I love the twist at the end.

    Great flash fiction! :)

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  14. haha, I've had days like that, my poor husband. What a great story and as always, you have such twisty endings and I love the way you deliver them. :)

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