Monday, May 08, 2006

A quick sampling of two short stories

Excerpt from "Pieces"

Ellen stood inside The Guggenheim and looked at a sculpture of herself. She couldn’t look away. She had only a peripheral interest in art, preferring the effect a painting had on a room to the piece itself, but she was stuck in the city with five hours left before her brother Jordan got home from work. She had been walking up this never-ending spiral for what had seemed twice that long when this sculpture of a woman’s face had stopped her. Her feet hurt and her backpack had become heavier with each new leg of her uphill climb. She shifted her weight and folded her arms. Was this actually her? She tilted her head to the right, mocking her plaster counterpart. Their eyes looked deadly at each other. Their chins snuck away from their thin, frowning lips.


Excerpt from "Echo" They weren’t hungry, so they went to Krispy Kreme for milk and doughnuts. They sat in comfortable silence, relishing their ‘Hot Now’ doughnuts.
“Nothing should be this good.”
Robyn nodded, agreeing. Her mouth was full of melting doughnut. She had never known that doughnuts could melt. She couldn’t stop thinking about it: lonely. Fran was lonely. She saw it now, in Fran’s eyes. Alone.
“I can’t believe you’ve never had these before.”
Robyn put the doughnut down. “I know. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. ‘Hot Now.’ Two little words with so much more meaning now. I throw my hat off to you, Krispy Kreme. You are a goddess. I bow down to you.” She got up and bowed repeatedly. Fran laughed. Robyn swam around in its echo. There was a sweet tinge of loneliness in that laugh.
“You’re a crazy lady. Better finish your doughnut before it’s ‘Cold Now.’”
Robyn stopped mid-bow, laughing. “You’re right. Is that a song request I hear? You say ‘Hot Now,’ and I say ‘Cold Now.’ You like hot sweet juicy doughnuts, and I like ‘em cold and soggy and hard.” She stopped. “No, I guess that doesn’t work. I’ll have to think some more.”
She looked out the window. A red Vibe was idling at the light. A dark blue Commander honked its horn. She winked at the cars and smiled. Lonely.
“So . . . you’re lonely?” Robyn broached the subject cautiously.
“What? Oh. No, not really, darlin’. I’ve got the job to keep me on my toes. The puppy was a bad idea. My life is way too hectic for a self-centered, completely dependent puppy. I mean, yeah. I get lonely sometimes. Who doesn’t? But I don’t think a puppy’s the solution. These doughnuts will probably do the trick, though!”
Robyn looked outside, as a silver Mirage pulled in to the parking lot. She burst into tears. She was the only one who felt this way. She was so alone. She heard her tears hit the floor with a loud bang. She looked up. Someone had dropped a tray. Not her tears. A tray.
“Woah. Are you okay? What did I say? I’m so sorry.”
Fran came over and knelt beside her. She felt Fran’s hand on her back -– it warmed her entire body. She smelled the Head and Shoulders. She wiped her eyes and forced the tears to stop.
“Yeah. Sorry. I gotta get to work. Sorry.”
She smiled and stood up. She stuck her tongue out at Fran, smiled again, and walked out the door and headed to her apartment.

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