Tag Archives: fiction

The Rebel

I was just about to take a nap when he walked in. He looked tired. Not from work as usual but as if he didn’t sleep well. That’s why I need my nap – I don’t wanna look like that. Like him. He could use a proper shave, too. He looks unhappy. I wonder what’s bothering him. I probably shouldn’t because I doubt he ever wastes any time thinking about me here. Or any of us for that matter. Yeah, he’s not losing sleep over me, that’s for sure. But I can’t help but wonder. It’s my curious nature. I wonder about a lot of other stuff, too. Like why am I here? But I bet that everyone wonders about that so it’s not like I feel special over it. I like to spend time here alone. I know why he comes and what he is looking for, but he is not gonna get it. Not today. Not tomorrow. Actually, not in the near future. Enough is enough. I have a plan. I know that he is looking at me. He wonders why am I still here and how come I didn’t run away at the very sight of him. I wanted to take a nap. But he doesn’t understand that. I avoid his look. A friend of mine here – he was big and burly – he always returned his stare. He told me. Although I think the unshaven here never really stared at him at all. Glancing is not the same as staring. Has nothing to do with it really. But my burly friend had a short fuse and attacked him. I saw it happen. It was brutal. He was deemed dangerous after that and taken away. I don’t know where. I miss my burly friend. We were friends with benefits as they say. Now I get my benefits from someone else, someone I’m not very fond of but he does the job. Unshaven keeps looking. ‘You are not going to find them’, I tell him but he ignores me. I wish he would finish his little raid and leave already. I could have been fast asleep by now. I need my nap. I can barely keep my eyes open. Tomorrow I’m going into hiding. I wish I could tell him but he needs to leave me alone. He’ll probably think that I have left him for good but I’ll be back in about three weeks and he will be surprised and happy to see me, I think. Me and my little crew. He is looking in Nina’s bed. She will be pissed when I tell her. Oh, he got one. Happy now, mister I-don’t-care-how-I-look? He is looking at me. Don’t make eye contact, don’t make eye contact. He’s coming over. Don’t touch me, assface. Y’see, nothing there for you. Hey, where is that shiny yellow circle he had on his finger? His wife had one, too. I don’t wear anything like that. Actually the closest thing is this yarn that he tied around my ankle. For whatever reason. He looks old. Maybe I should show him where I put them. Cheer him up. Nah. I want baby chicks so I’m sticking to my plan. It’s not my job to make him happy. Maybe his neighbor can make him happy. His wife is always touching beaks with the neighbor. He must be a good man. Who knows. I don’t really understand anything they do, these fucking humans. And all I want is to take a nap.

 

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(Inspired by a true story)

 

 

Romina and Julian

Romina and Julian always hated each other. They didn’t quite know why but the feeling was strong and mutual. It started the first time they lay eyes on each other which was on the first day of school when they both started first grade. They lived next door after Romina’s family moved to their little town, and their parents became best friends. The hostility between Romina and Julian was not temporary as their parents had hoped but lasted all the way through high school. They graduated together but did not congratulate each other on that academic achievement. They instead presented each other with annoyed looks and without even inquiring about each other’s plans, they went their separate ways. A few years passed and in this world – or rather a few countries – where everybody is allowed to be whatever and whoever they want to be, both Romina and Julian, unbeknownst to each other took some radical steps towards the discovery of their true beings. The personal enlightenments saw Romina become Romeo and Julian become Juliet. They met again after many years, at the ten year high school reunion that also marked ten years since they last saw each other. This time, not knowing he was looking at the person he hated the most in his childhood years, Romeo formerly known to his classmates as Romina, saw Juliet across the dance floor and fell in love at what he thought was first sight. Juliet, with her cheekbones too delicate to ever have belonged to a boy felt Romeo’s piercing stare and turned hence locking eyes with the handsome young man she did not recognize. And just like that, on a forgettable dance floor at their ten year high school reunion, surrounded by former classmates and the sounds of Gwen Stefani’s Sweet Escape, and after seeing each other for the millionth time, Romeo and Juliet fell in love at first sight. The feeling was strong and mutual, and as happens with some loves, irreversible. Their parents, who had stopped talking to their children when informed about their identity transformations, now also stopped talking to each other. The next door neighbors, once best friends, blamed each other for the ‘disgrace’ their children trusted upon them and started hating each other with the same passion they once invested in their friendship. Romeo and Juliet did not care that their families were now sworn enemies, and continued to love each other in a most poetic way.                                   I don’t know what happened after but somebody said that they were so enchanted with Italy, which they visited on their honeymoon, that they decided to settle there and become English teachers in some town whose name I’m not sure about. Could be Verona but don’t take my word for it.

Certified Mail

Marty read ‘The Post Office’ by Bukowski and decided to become a postman. He applied for the job, got a call back, passed all the tests including Exam 473. He knew he would because 473 are the last three digits of his social security number and that was surely a sign. Marty is an avid reader. As a new postman, he reads all the postcards before he places them in the mailboxes. People are skiing in Colorado, France and Switzerland and are happy about it. He would be, too. Somebody witnessed a street mugging in Mexico. Or was it New York? Marty wonders where would Bukowski go on a winter holiday. Marty is starting a book. He is going to call it ‘The Mailman’. It’s going to be about his adventures at work. He’s been at the job for a month now and has never met any of the mail recipients. Nobody is ever home when he delivers. Everybody works so no sex for Marty. His book is stuck. A postman’s job was supposed to be exciting. Where are all the women? One day he rings the bell of an apartment to deliver a small package and a man opens the door. He is Asian but Marty cannot tell the difference between Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese or Korean so he doesn’t know from where. Even the food is the same to him. He sees that the man wears a kimono.

‘Are you Japanese?’ asks Marty handing him the package.

‘Yes’, says the mail recipient in a kimono. He signs the receipt.

‘Is that a book?’ asks Marty.

‘Yes’, says the Japanese man.

‘Oh, I read a lot, too.’

‘I don’t read a lot.’

‘What book is it, if you don’t mind me asking?’

‘The Art of War.’

‘Oh, are you going to war?’ Marty’s attempt at a joke flies unnoticed by the Japanese man.

‘No, I just read’ he says.

Marty looks at his Japanese signature on the receipt sheet. It looks like a delicate piece of art surrounded by bureaucracy.

‘It’s beautiful’, says Marty. ‘Your signature is beautiful.’

‘Thank you’ says Japanese mail recipient.

A door next to his apartment opens and a young woman walks out. She says ‘hello’. The Japanese man nods. Marty says ‘hello’ back and smiles. She smiles, too. She is not pretty but Marty finds her beautiful. She lives in number 5 and nobody ever writes to her. She receives bills and advertising. Her name is Myra. Marty thinks that’s the most beautiful female name he’s ever heard. Sometimes Myra receives lingerie catalogues in the mail. Marty thinks she’s probably ordered something from them before and now they keep sending her catalogues. He wonders what she ordered.

Marty buys a book at the bookstore and mails it certified to Myra. He puts the city as the sender. He also buys a ‘thank you’ note to include and wonders what to write in it. After some thinking he writes ‘thank you for keeping the neighborhood safe’. He then wonders if that makes any sense and what is Myra doing to keep the neighborhood safe. Presumably she is not committing any crimes, so that’s her way.

The next day, the book for Myra appears in his mail batch. He rings Myra’s doorbell to deliver it. He hopes that Myra is home and is happy when she opens the door. Myra is surprised to receive a package. Marty hopes Myra will like the book. He tries to start a conversation. Like most people he mentions the weather. It’s cold.                                       ‘It’s the end of January’ she says, ‘It’s supposed to be cold.’ She hands him back the signed confirmation. She looks at him straight but does not smile. She’s prettier when she smiles. Her lips part as she takes a breath and Marty thinks about kissing her. She says ‘bye’ and shuts the door in his face.

Marty knows all the names of all the people in the neighborhood. Myra Smith is his favorite. Today she received a new credit card offer with zero percent interest rate. She must have a good credit and Marty is glad for her. He drives his funny mail truck very slowly when he passes by Myra’s condo. He hopes to see her but it never happens. He wonders if she’s read the book.

One day Myra gets another certified package. Marty shakes it. It could be a book. Or a box of chocolate. He checks the sender’s address but it’s a PO box in the city and the sender’s name is ‘sender’. He takes the package to Myra and rings the bell. Myra opens. She wears a terrycloth robe. Marty thinks that there is some black lace peeking underneath but he cannot stare so he’s not sure. Myra also wears red lipstick and Marty watches her beautiful lips as she signs the receipt. She is not surprised like last time. She hands him back the receipt and looks him straight in the eyes. Her eyes are dark but feel like looking at the sun. He looks away.

‘Thank you’, she says softly.

‘You are welcome’. He glances at her wishing he could take her cherry lips and keep them forever.

‘It’s very cold outside’ she says.

‘It’s February. It’s supposed to be cold.’ He immediately regrets those words wishing he’d said something more friendly, more agreeable.

‘Not on Valentine’s Day’, she says.

The Japanese man hears voices outside and peeks through the fisheye. Marty is ready to leave but makes himself look at her ruby lips again. A memory for the road.

‘Would you like to come in?’ says Myra. She smiles and gently bites her lower ruby lip. Marty looks at her not pretty but so beautiful face with cherry lips. He smiles. She’s read the book. She wants her mailman.

‘Yes’ says Marty, ‘I would like that very much.’

Through the fisheye, the Japanese man watches as Marty enters and Myra shuts the door behind him. ‘That sonofabitch’, he thinks in Japanese.

 

 

Book excerpt

* * *

It’s Friday and everybody at work has some amazing weekend plans. I bet that most of them just sits at home, folds laundry and watches TV. Klaus came by to ask me who is he going out with? He wanted some insider info on Mandy. I told him that she was as tall as him but probably stronger and that he can only hope that she does not have some dangerous mental issues. I meant it as a joke but after seeing a glimpse of worry in his naive bluish-greenish eyes I decided to explore the subject. I told him that Mandy has been very sensitive ever since she had pubic crabs and everybody in her college class laughed at her. And she has hard time getting rid of them. It was a stupid and totally implausible lie but it was all I could come up with at that very moment. Klaus didn’t think twice about believing me – he bit that hook like the baby silver perch that day on the beach.

‘She has pediculosis pubis and she can’t get rid of it?!’ he said.

‘You know how to say crabs in Latin?!’

‘Yes, pubic crabs, not regular crabs. She can use shampoo to kill them. I’ll buy her one.’

‘No, you won’t. Who does that? Besides, she thinks…she thinks that the scratch comes from some skin disorder.’

‘She can’t see the crabs?’

‘She also has very poor vision.’ I was out of control.

‘Why nobody tell her?’ insisted Klaus. I noticed that his grammar would always drop down a level if he was in any way confused or excited. I guess he’d lose the linguistic focus.

‘Because she is very sensitive. You don’t just walk up to somebody and tell them they have crabs. This is not Russia.’

‘We don’t do that in Russia. Only when you know the person well.’

‘Well, don’t say it to Mandy. She is too sensitive. It could send her over the edge.’

‘What does that mean?’

‘It means that…well, she is also…she is a little mentally unstable so it means that we don’t want to disturb her. You promise you won’t say anything.’ Whoever said that lying is like quicksand was right. I could feel that mud around my throat.

‘It is very difficult for me to withhold the truth,’ said Klaus.

‘Even when truth is none of your business?’

‘Truth is everybody’s business.’

‘I will tell her, okay. You don’t say a word. You are a man, and a foreign one for that matter.’

‘I am almost American.’

‘I am almost five five.’

‘What does that mean?’

‘My height. I am almost five foot and five inches tall. Keyword almost. You are almost American but you are still a foreigner so zip it when you talk to Mandy.’

‘Zip my pants?’

‘No, zip it means don’t speak.’

‘You mean I should not speak when I talk to Mandy?’

‘Exactly.’

‘That’s impossible. If I talk to somebody then I have to speak.’

‘No, you don’t. Let her do the talking. You just listen and smile politely and mind your own business.’

‘Dating in America is very complicated…five five…you are not very tall.’

‘You are not very muscular.’

‘Don’t be mad, I think your height is very feminine. It’s the perfect height for wearing high heels. I love high heels. For a woman, not for me, I prefer desert boots. I am not cross-dresser. ‘

‘I don’t wear high heels.’

‘I know, you also wear desert boots, but if you did wear high heels your height is perfect.’

‘Just don’t say anything to Mandy.’

* * *

Excerpt from book

    ***

I spent my lunch-break shopping. My ex-husband Richard (calling him Dick now) never liked anything about my looks. When I say never, I mean after we got married. My high heels were inappropriate, my eyes the wrong color, my feet too big, my boobs too small, my legs too thin, my makeup too strong, my taste in fashion frivolous – the list could go on and on. Sadly for me, I really wanted him to like me. I mean, he was my husband, and I loved him – and the thing is – if the one who actually married you (for whatever reason) sees you as a complete visual failure – what are other people seeing? I remember that my self-esteem at the height of my now broken marriage was at an all-time low (ironically) and no fake smile could hide the fact that I was unhappy. Those smiles, they show up on photographs. Sort of like age. You smile and you think you look fabulous and plump like a cherubic 18 year old, and then the picture comes out and you think ‘Who is this old hag with a creepy grimace?! Oh, it’s me!’ I thought of that while smudging different colors of eye shadows on my eyes and wrist at a beauty counter of a local department store. I tried different eye shadows, lipsticks, lip-glosses, blushes, BB creams and whatever the rather amused saleslady offered. By the time I left the store, I looked like a clown. But not the creepy, scary clown that makes people shudder. I was a thirty something divorcée (what an ugly word!), well dressed, smelling of Coco Mademoiselle (because there is no Coco Divorcée), stylish, and most importantly – happy clown. I crossed a little girl and her mom on the way out, and the girl looked up at me, smiled and said to her mom ‘I want to look like this’. Her mother glanced at me a bit uncomfortable and not quite sure how to respond.

Clinique counter’, I said, ‘straight down and to the right.’

***

 

Excerpt from ‘Beyond the Sea’

Everybody in the office did the Myers-Briggs test today. First the test, then the discussion about the results received. Everybody kept saying how they finally feel understood. My type turned out to be ISFJ-T which means that I have good practical skills, I am supportive, reliable and patient, observant (I disagree on grounds of husband and friend’s affair), enthusiastic, loyal and hard-working. I sound like such a bore. No wonder Richard turned to Hope – my lameness is hopeless and I did not need a test to tell me that. The irony is that this is supposed to be a good personality, helpful and altruistic – and yet, I feel resentful towards it. Klaus is ENFP-T which makes him curious, energetic and popular. Joann is ESFP which she summed up as Excellent Slut For Parties and made sure that everybody heard it. I decided to take my weaknesses into consideration and work on them. It does not sound like a fun project but then again, my personality is not about fun so it should not be a problem!’

 

Short stories published

I forgot to brag a little bit. 🙂 I had 4 short stories (crime genre) published thus far in a Serbian weekly magazine. It was pretty cool, gotta admit – and I hope you get to experience being published if you haven’t been yet. You know that you write because in a way – you have to, and it’s nice to get a little acknowledgment for the hard work.

If I can do it, you can too!

 

I have finally finished writing the book that’s been bugging me to come out for the longest time. It took a while but it’s published! I guess the key is to persevere, and keep moving no matter how small the steps. So if you are writing and maybe feel stuck – just keep laying those words like you’d build a house, brick by brick, and eventually you will get there! If I can do it – you can too!

So, the book is out – here is a link – I think that if you have Kindle Unlimited you can check it out and decide if it matches your interests and is worth your time 🙂

It’s a story about moving on, with diverse characters and funny situations.