Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Some more "creative" writing

Here's another piece from my recently finished creative writing class at SD City College. The assignment was to write Flash Fiction, a relatively new brand of fiction that is confined to less than 1000 words, sometimes fewer. My attempt comes in at just under 700 words.



disclaimer: This has nothing to do with bicycles! Feel free to stop reading now. . .



Paired

“‘What do you value more, honesty or compassion?’” he read aloud, sure to shade his delivery with deep cynicism.
“What does that even mean?” she chided, wryly.
“Honesty, clearly,” he responded, clicked the corresponding box, and scrolled down to the next question. She sat in his lap in the folding chair at their flimsy card table desk while he filled out the internet dating service’s “compatibility profile” they had finally dared each other to complete. They laughed together, and he snuggled his face against her soft shirt, felt her ribs with his cheek, and absorbed the warmth of the low afternoon sun that shined through the window on her long blond hair.
“Your turn,” he said as he finished. “It’ll never match us to each other- you’re too dumb to land a catch like me.”
“Yeah, hopefully I’ll get someone good looking!” she teased. She bent toward him smiling, kissed him on the forehead, and took the mouse.
After dinner they returned jovially to the office to check the computer generated results. The setting sun dimly lit the small room and the two resumed their cozy pose in the worn chair. Over buttery pasta and a four dollar bottle of pinot they had joked about their potential “e-matches.”
“It makes me sad that people will pay a computer to find what we have,” she had said. Now they furtively anticipated confirmation that their union was Cupid’s handiwork. He opened his “compatibility portfolio”. There were twelve potential matches, but she wasn’t among them. Realistically they both expected this to be the outcome, but the subtle pang of the revelation caused her to shift on his lap none-the-less.
“What do computers know of love?” he proclaimed theatrically.
“Apparently they think you love small hippies,” she jabbed as they scrolled through his matches, each one a slightly varying version of an outdoorsy, creative, brunette. He ran his hand through her blond hair and felt her tense when he squeezed her slender thigh.
“Yeah,” he quipped, “they’ve obviously got me pegged.” Restlessly, she shifted again on his leg, and opened her profile. She smirked proudly at her striking list of prospects. The computer determined that she would be perfectly coupled with tall, dark, handsome business men, one after the next intelligent, educated, and successful.
“What about you?” he pried dramatically, “I guess you’re just slumming down here with me.” His voice wavered, betraying an irritation that she enjoyed.
“I guess I could get used to BMWs and caviar,” she replied, only half joking.
Under the bright, fluorescent bathroom light he stood at the sink, lethargically brushed his teeth, and studied the mirror. He searched for something that resembled tall, or dark, or classically handsome. Sitting on the toilet, painting her freshly filed finger nails, she startled the striking silence by asking, “Does it bother you that I don’t go camping?”
“No,” he said too quickly, irritated by her pretense. Defensively, he fired back, “Would you rather be with someone who could fly you to Rome every weekend?”
Her reply didn’t come quickly. The pause hung in the air like a falling kite. “No, of course not,” she said quietly, “I chose you.”
“Yeah, I chose you too,” he said heavily. He finished at the sink, dried his face, and turned toward the door.
“You like my blond hair”, she probed, “right?”
“Uh huh,” he grunted, annoyed, “and I’m sure you like mine.”
As he walked away she softly replied, “Yeah,” and blew gently on her wet nails.
She was already under the covers when he finally sulked into the dark bedroom. He took off his worn t-shirt, stuffed it in the cramped closet, and got quietly into his side of the big bed. He could smell her lotion, the pillow cases she washed too often, and her long, clean, golden hair. She rolled toward him and said quietly, “Good night, sweetheart. You are my best match, you know.”
“I know, baby. I love you,” he whispered back.
They touched lips requisitely, and then rolled willingly away from one another. Back to back, both pairs of tired eyes stared sleeplessly into the quiet darkness.
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If you finished it, Thanks! As always, comments are more than welcome.

3 comments:

Thom said...

Nice. I think a lot of readers would take the last bit to imply that there was something unsaid and unpleasant happening between them, but really this is a very understandable and very, dare I say, "real" moment in a relationship like this. It's not an "uh oh" moment, it's just a thoughtful moment. The explicit intimacy of the bathroom scene confirms for the reader that the superficial results of the dating profile, even if they reveal some deeper individual issues, do not negate the validity and goodness of the relationship. Very nice work.

Beany said...

I enjoyed this too. You're a very good writer.

I especially related to this since I did meet my husband on the internet. And don't think we could have have found such compatible mates without it.

aj said...

Thank you both for reading and commenting!
I've enjoyed peoples' reaction to the ending. Some people say right away, "ooh, they're going to break up!" or divorce (are they married or not?) and others, like Thom, just see it as a "thoughtful moment." I don't know what it says about the reader, but I like the question.
Again, thanks for your kind reviews.