Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Uncool #6

Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, a blog hop where authors post 500-1000 words of free flash fiction. I am serializing a story, so this post continues with Carson, who is finding out things he doesn’t want to know and trying to figure out what to do next.

This week’s prompts were: I have a frog in my throat, I gave him/her the cold shoulder, I got the short end of the stick, Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, Murphy's Law, Burning the midnight oil, One foot in the grave, or use: haircut, masochist, plate; or feature a dust storm in your story, or use: bottle, robe, box; or use a blow-dryer in some way, or use: Red, grass, lamp, You need coffee or Mummers or Don't they screen these people?” I went with Mummers and Don't they screen these people?

Want to read the story of Carson’s first meeting with the mysterious “Sir”? You can read “Unwrapped” here. The chapters are linked.



Uncool #6

The day I met Marlena Napolini, I had just been kicked to the curb by Asshole Jerk Boyfriend II and was valiantly trying to mount Mario the Magnificent, the big dragon statue on the corner of 33rd and Market. A blocky girl with big dark eyes watched me for about two minutes before she grabbed me by my ears, glared into my glazed eyes, and yelled, “You need coffee!”

Actually, she needed coffee. She’d just gotten off her student job cataloging mummy parts for the Penn Museum of Archaeology only to encounter my drunken ass while walking to her apartment. After fortifying herself with strong coffee at the Landmark Americana Tap and Grill, Lenie let me sleep off my stupor in her bed. The next day I woke up wearing a pair of her pajama pants. After returning my freshly laundered jeans, she drove me over to the condo to help kick out my user jerk leather boyfriend. We’ve been fast friends ever since.

I showed up at Lenie’s door holding two Starbucks coffees and a bag of baked goods.

She eyed me through the crack of her door, just wide enough to show the security chain. “That was fast.” She closed the door, slid back the heavy chain, and opened it so she could grab one of the coffees. “You got me a Peppermint Mocha? Oh my God, you are the best gay boyfriend ever!”

“Actually, you can have both coffees. And I have scones, and some of those snowman cookies.”

“Cookies!” She snatched the bag and led the way to the tiny sitting area. Lenie had moved apartments three times since I’d known her and now lived in a half-decent place off Chestnut Street in University City. She moved rolls of wrapping paper and bags of ribbons off the couch so we could sit.

“I have a gift for you, too.” I pulled a beribboned envelope from my backpack and extended it to her.

“If you’ve given me money, I’ll throw it out the window.”

“No, it’s a real gift. Open it.”

She looked at me suspiciously from beneath precisely cut red bangs that made her blue eyes look like those of an anime character. After prying open the seal, she peeked inside the envelope. Next thing I knew she was throwing her arms around my neck.

“Mummers tickets! The grandstand! Oh gosh, I love the Mummers.”

I wrapped my arms around her body and hugged tight. “I know. You go every year and stand in the cold. So I got you tickets. It might still be cold, but—”

“But now I can sit in the bleachers on my gold-plated ass-warming stadium seat cushion.”

My grin widened, because I’d gotten that for her last Christmas. Lenie couldn’t help it. She was a booster for every outdoor event in the city, from concerts to sports. Her father had season tickets to the Eagles and Lenie had complained about getting a frostbitten butt, which is what had made the cushion a perfect gift.

“This is great! You even followed the rules.” She took another swig of coffee. “Hey, let me get yours.” Lenie came back from her bedroom and thrust a wrapped package into my hands. It was lumpy and the paper had penguins on it.

I tore off the paper to reveal three pairs of thick, soft socks. “Warm,” I said, testing the material.

“Alpaca. Feel how cushy they are? Do you have any idea how cold it gets up in the Andes? This wool is the best, even though it says the socks were made here in the States.”

“I bet you spent too much.” The socks were a great gift. The blue-gray pair would go perfectly with the scarf Sir had sent. My stomach turned.

“Nope. I found a sale. Definitely under the limit. You sure you don’t want this cup of coffee?” She held up the cup.

I shook my head. I didn’t really like coffee, to be honest. Besides, it made me happy to see Lenie enjoy it. She tipped back her head and let the creamy goodness slide down her throat, all the while purring with pleasure. One of the reasons I liked her so much was I knew exactly how to make her happy. I had lots less success at that with the men I’d dated.

“Okay,” she said, pulling her legs up on the couch, “now tell me why you’re here and not nibbling candy cane cock rings with Master Stew.”

Lenie was one of very few people outside of the lifestyle who knew the true nature of my relationship with Stewart. She was also the only one who called him Stew. No one else would have dared, but she didn’t care what he thought about her and she actually gave a fuck about my screwed up life. She even understood the origins of some of Stewart’s rules and why I needed them, like not giving gifts that cost more than $40. As rules went, that was one she liked. Graduate assistants were paid next to nothing. She’d snagged a part-time position at the museum and was in seventh heaven planning exhibits for the mummy collection.

“That’s awful,” she said after I’d told her the outcome of my Christmas Eve adventure. “Don’t they screen these people?”

“For what? Having known my parents?” The open bakery bag had tipped my way, so I reached in for one of the snowman cookies. Stewart hadn’t made any rules about overspending on bakery, so I’d bought a half-dozen.

“I guess not.” The way Lenie lightly bit her lower lip was a sure sign the coffee had reached her brain. Her mind was starting to race. “Do you think this man is dangerous?”

“Reed Bradley.”


“That’s his name,” I said when she looked quizzical.

“You just bit off that snowman’s head.”

I’d decapitated the cookie just above its pretty blue scarf. My bite had even neatly scalloped the edges. “He deserved it.”


All of the Wednesday Briefers have great stories to offer this week, so check them out!

This is where I mention two things:

1) This story WILL be continuing for the next few weeks because the posts are already written and I've scheduled them in advance.

2) I will not be around to answer comments starting this Friday and perhaps for a couple weeks. Heres the blog post explaining that. Because I cant do much blog tweaking from my phone or tablet, I wont be able to add things like a link list or some of the front matter. But the story will go on! If youd be so kind as to leave a comment, though, I will certainly be reading them. And I will answer as soon as Im able.


  1. You just get through the surgery and come back to your friends, family and readers who love you.
    Kathy C

    1. Hi Kathy! I'm! :) Thanks so much for your good wishes. I think they helped because I'm doing so well.