I write short stories. I own surprisingly few pairs of shorts. I sometimes short circuit.
"Alana" sounds like "A lotta" = A lotta shorts.

Take the title however you like.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Sponge Cake



"Why do you only ever do half of the dishes?"

Lisa and Ann were the quintessential odd couple. Ann was the neat and tidy one; Lisa, the 'functionally askew' as she liked to call herself. Anne called her a simple, indisputable mess.
So they had their differences.

Ann relaunched the question adding, "And don't tell me it's because you're a hand model."

Lisa was a hand model. On the side. She was mainly an ear, toes and lips model. Everything in between was nicely constructed...though for some reason no one ever wanted to see the whole package. A fact which made Lisa resent her 'working' body parts.

"Well, I am! And I can't overwork myself."

"Doing the entire load of dishes would be overworking yourself?"
Ann was never impressed with Lisa's excuses. And Lisa never ran out.

"And I can't get dishpan hands! For crying out loud - do you want me to default on my half of the rent?"
Lisa had always wanted to be an actress. Or a writer. Anything where her aptitude for dramatics would be welcomed and praised.

"Firstly, I know for a fact that your ears and lips bring in way more than your hands: they're barely getting even the local newspaper jewelry ads anymore. Secondly, WEAR GLOVES!"
Ann gathered her purse and threw a cardigan in it: she was always finding herself cold, even in the middle of a gorgeous summer day like this one.
"And I'm not finishing those dishes!"

Ann had fierce principles.

Lisa watched Ann walk out the door to her job as a window dresser for Saks 5th Avenue. She didn't take even a sideways glance at the dishes. Instead, Lisa reached for the phone.

Samuel asked how she thought their date had gone last night, the first since they'd been back together after a 2 year break-up.

"Sam! Insecurity from you is a bit disconcerting, I have to say."
Lisa was searching for a spoon to eat her cereal with but couldn't seem to find a clean one.
"But it was good."

"Well, firstly I think some concern may be somewhat warranted, not insecurity. And secondly, you were concerned as well so give me a break."

Lisa cradled the phone in the crook of her neck and shoulder, braced herself on the counter and stared menacingly at the dishes. She muttered something about Mary Poppins as Sam continued.

"Also, what is with this 'good'? I personally remember being taught in English class to use 'good' and 'bad' as adjectives as sparingly as possible; to be more expressive and creative!"

Lisa laughed and turned her back on the dishes. She loved this banter. Sam was the one person she could use big words to express deep thoughts with who would understand and fire back with aplomb.

"But I don't use 'good' very often so in this case it created a convoluted, dark potential for a web of subtext and contradiction."

"Well, I try my damnedest not to read into anything you say over the phone. I'd go crazy."

Sam and Lisa both had penchants for physical expression. If you knew them, you'd know that any telephone conversation not only lost something in translation but also something in the way of art, dance, and showmanship.

"Let me phrase it better: I felt our date was wonderful. Seeing you again made my weak. But there was also a sponge cake of tension and many little things unsaid floating in the air..."

"Mmm, sponge cake. So, what you're trying to say is that the scrumptious inner layers of our relationship are as delectable and enticing as fluffy baked goods."

Lisa found herself twisted up in the cord of the phone, the pangs of hunger turning to vicious stabs and the dishes suddenly looking very sad and in need of rescue.

"Hey, I have to go get ready. I have a photo shoot."

"How convenient."

Lisa was untangled and the phone was mid air between the receiver and her ear. She never ended conversations with goodbye.

Sam continued.

"Or completely true and reasonable. Whatever. Are you coming over tonight?"

Lisa hesitated, contemplating whether to hang up and blame the impending misunderstanding on her not hearing Sam, thinking the conversation was over - or just answering. She answered.

"Maybe. I'll call you either way, alright?"

"Fine."

There was that sponge cake: this time it was gorged with the thick bitter syrup of an "I love you", dripping plops over their ears and tongues.

"Bye."
Lisa said quickly, hanging up the phone and pulling gloves out from under the sink.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Recluse.



Thom hadn't always been a recluse.

Thom had loved life once; loved people; places; adventure; laughing; talking; singing; the art and act of being alive.

But somewhere along the line - and Thom couldn't quite remember if it had been the marriage or the secret divorce or maybe it was the great ketchup-in-the-fridge versus ketchup-in-the-cupboard debate - he'd pulled away.
Friends would write to him with the common chatter of emails and community-based website comments: "Just droppin' a HI!"; "What's new?"; "Happy Birthday!" written in obnoxious sparkly glittery swirly flashy script. Family would call and leave messages in cheery voices with just-interested-enough queries into his life, his wife, his job. And for a while he was content to lie. He'd write back equally shallow quips of "HEY! Not much? YOU!?" and "Thanks! Wish you coulda been there, bro!" (why does everyone shout on the Internet?). He would call his family back and chat, chirping generic positives like "It's a wonderful roller coaster! I learn something new about her everyday!" in regards to marriage; he would pick out some inane detail about his job that he could be happy about like "They finally switched back to the Swingline stapler after a year of begging on my part!"

Thom, after a while, just couldn't play that game anymore. He began to feel either guilty or tired or both. He stopped calling back. He stopped logging on. The phone would ring and he would click it straight to voice mail. But just so no one sent the police to find him he would call his friends and family back, when he knew they weren't around. And he'd go on and on about how busy he was and how sorry he was that they couldn't seem to get their schedules synced for a simple chat. The world's going to pot the way they run us ragged, he'd say. We should all move to Jamaica, live at a slower pace and chat and IM and email and phone all the live long day, he'd say.

When Christine moved out (when was that?) he found himself a routine and promptly ground a nice, deep rut in it until he barely needed to be awake to function.

And being so removed, so vegetative, he didn't even mind it.

About Me

My photo
I'm Lanii. I try to Be Good. It doesn't always work. "Call Me Lanii" is sort of about that - my inner and outer triumphs (what?) and struggles. "Alana Shorts" is sort of about that, too: I draw way too much inspiration from the crazy and strange events that actually happen to me and end up writing very little 'fiction'. I usually have my tongue quite thoroughly stuck in my cheek.