Since I’m behind in the Shorts Project anyway (due to my vacation) I’ve decided that now is the best time to put that endeavor aside and finally finish editing my manuscript. Expect to see snippets of chapters posted in place of shorts until the project is complete or Fall classes start back up at the end of September, whichever comes first.
“There’s always that moment, early in the morning, where I want nothing to do with the coming sun and everything to do with the blankets wrapped around me. I’m not an introvert. I’m not even depressed. I just like my own company that much. Narcissist? Nah. Well, maybe. I prefer, “Self-Expert,” or, “Curator of Personal Tastes.” I know. I know how buzz-wordy that sounds, but hey. Who can cater my likings better than, well, me? Some pricey girl that looks great on my arm, but can’t flip an omelet? No. Some less pricey personal chef who flips omelets with his eyes closed, but won’t do a photo op with me (and why would I want him on my arm?)? No. And don’t get me wrong. I didn’t mean pricey like a whore. Excuse me. Prostitute. I simply meant high maintenance. I digress. My point is that I am my own best company, and in the dull blue of pre-dawn, I am my only company. After that, my corner of the world wakes up to join me in competing to find out who’s best at what. What they don’t realize is that I already know that I’m the best… They don’t know me. They don’t try to know me. They just assume what they’ve got is the best of that particular thing, or that what they think I should do is really what I should do. So, no, I am not a narcissist. I just know what I like, and it happens to be me.”
John straightened his tie and blinked at the now-speechless reporter. The camera men stopped filming and a few crew wandered off.
“Wouldn’t you know best, John?” the reporter quipped.
Smog, fog, rain—Ellen thought of it as her cozy blanket for years. It kept her delightfully secluded even when surrounded by people. “Alone together.” That’s how she’d described city life in one of her calls home. After she finally broke away from her childhood town, it never occurred to Ellen that there was any place else for her. Why would she leave the comforting urban canopy of carcinogens and clouds?
Apparently, “Because I said so,” still worked. When Ellen’s mother called to tell her that Pops passed, she preemptively refused all invitation home. Ellen found herself on a jet, a puddle jumper, and then a bus back Snoreville anyway. The bus stopped in front of the law office where Ellen was destined. The corner where the office and the pharmacy met the main road was the only bus stop. No special treatment.
The welcome from her family was stiff and forced.
As her family filed out of the office, the lawyer grabbed Ellen’s shoulder. “The will instructed me to give you this envelope privately. Go to his old place and open it somewhere peaceful.”
“Oh, Ok.” She stuffed it into her purse.
The bewildered look on her face must have been severe because the lawyer went out in a hurry.
In the breeze and sunshine of her grandfather’s land, she opened the envelope and read:
The address to my safety deposit box is on the back of this page with the password you’ll need to access it. Go. Get the money. It’s yours. You’ve got the courage and love the rest of this family is missing. That part of you always stays the same. Use the money for the rest of your surgeries. Ignore what the family says. It’s your body. I love you, Alvin. Ellen.
She was missing a glove. The young lady of the house was frantic, clutching at her naked arm. As petty as this might seem in summer months, it was actually quite the scandal. When the search began, the house maids scurried more like mice than ladies upending baskets of linens, disheveling neatly made beds, and tossing tasseled pillows into the floors of carriages. From the balcony of the manse, the man of the house, her father, shouted at the help to hurry their searching. After all, a lady without her glove may as well have been a pauper or a common whore. The lady could not leave without it—that pair passed down from lady to lady of the family through generations. Wearing them spoke of dignity, station, and propriety, and of a continuity of physical self that balanced the inconstancy of mind and spirit for which women were so known. As such, she just could not depart without that glove. Oh, and did I mention the hand, member of the glove’s safe, modest keeping, was also missing? From the wrist down to be exact…
I’m thinking that posting a new short to the Shorts Project page daily may not be the most effective way to get reads and feedback for the individual stories. After all, when someone likes the page, I don’t know which story in particular made them like it. The downside I originally saw to posting the shorts one-by-one directly on the blog front is that over time they will scroll down and out of view. Having them there would allow individual likes and comments for stories, though, which is important to me. I really value feedback. So, what would you do? Keep them on a separate page, put them on the main page, or put them on the main page and also keep the Shorts Project page running as a collective archive of the stories? I’m leaning toward choice C.
In the mean time, there’s a new short on the Shorts Page.
“Alright, so, you know that feeling you get when you can’t sleep because you’re looking forward to something the next day?”
“Ok. That feeling is yellow. That’s what yellow is.”
“Ohh, I felt yellow when Mommy and Daddy took me on vacation tomorrow!”
“You mean last week?”
“Yeah. We went to the beach!”
“What color do you think the beach was?”
She shrugged her shoulders. “Next color!”
“Ok, next color. Think of the yummiest dessert you’ve ever eaten.”
“Like chocolate cake. Or fudge. Brownies, caramel, hot chocolate, s’mores! That’s brown.”
“So brown is your favorite color?”
“Well, those foods are some of my favorites, but brown isn’t my favorite color.”
“Which one is?”
“Orange. Orange is what fall smells like, and what the leaves crunching under feet sound like. Now, red, that’s heat, love, anger; it’s all those feelings that are hard to hold back. Green looks like salad tastes, and blue looks like life feels. Think air, breath, water, refreshment, and relaxation.”
“Purple is the feeling of velvet fabric, the sound of jazz music, and the taste of lollipops. So now what color do you think the beach is?”
“All those happy colors at once! I bet that’s what Mommy and Daddy look like, too.”
Twenty years after his burial, there was a knock on the top of the casket. The corpse heard this because his soul had waited there for God to come and take him. After 15 years, he thought maybe he should start waiting for Satan instead. The knock elated him as much as any unclaimed soul in his rotten body could be elated. There was a second knock and a third. The forth was a strike which splintered the wood into odd angles. With one final blow the moonlight trickled in, illuminating too much space around him. His first-dead body had filled the whole casket. His skeleton found it spacious. The soul slithered out of the coffin, climbing the trail of moonlight out of the hole. What he saw beside his coffin appeared human, but too beautiful, and more animal. He watched the pale hands effortlessly lift his skeleton from its rest and toss it onto the grass beside his grave. The pale thing climbed into the coffin and pulled what was left of the casket lid back over him. A shower of dirt followed the movement. Homeless, the spirit floated to the nearest town and found respite in the eaves of a large barn. For 20 more years he hovered, this time having something to watch. In that time, he learned that it had been a vampire who robbed his grave and that not even the undead wanted to claim him. It became obvious that he was meant to do the claiming. The exorcisms began the following week.