A Series of Very Short Fiction Stories
Because I Do What I Want When I Want, Thank you ❤
Prompt Idea #1: “I’m in a bookshop and I really need that book can you get it for me??? Wait you’ve read that book? let’s have an in depth conversation about it.”
My friends know what to expect from me for Christmas. It’s books. Every year. It has been books every year since I was fifteen. A decade of books. It’s kind of a nice legacy, honestly. Maybe one day there’ll be a book called the “Book Lady, Giver of Books,” and it’ll tell the story of a kind woman who educated her loved ones with great literature.
“But that would be a very boring story, wouldn’t it?” I grumble. Really, it isn’t that the story is boring so much as the story wouldn’t have much gusto. It would be some sort of Indie story about loving and giving and caring and self sacrifice. As the Giver of Books, I don’t buy books for myself. I am probably the last woman in town that actually uses my library card for books.
Before I know it, I’ve reached the aisle I was looking for in the back of the store. This is where they keep oddball works, and clearance books. While I’m not looking in the clearance bin today, these are books that maybe only got one run from their publishers because they just knew that the work wouldn’t perform well in the market. I always have to remind people that this is not to say that the work isn’t good. It just means that they are still undiscovered. Better undiscovered than to keep the words inside, in my opinion. But today, my actual mission is to get a book series for my younger sister. A series called “My Boyfriend Merlin.”
I read it quite some time ago, but I found that I liked the love triangle element of it. Really, the love triangle is way overdone. Too many stories are doing it these days, but I felt that “My Boyfriend Merlin” did such a great job of really showing the complications of romance – especially where brothers are concerned. Merlin and Vane caused a good many problems, and it must have been hard for Ryan to choose. Vane was hardly the romantic type.
As I recall silently the difference between Merlin and Vane as potential mates, I find the books in a box set – how rare! – and pull it off of the shelf. Seconds later, though, I accidentally run into the shelf because someone chimes in and I wasn’t expecting it, “Opposites attract – don’t think I’ve read a better story proving it than that.” When I pinpoint the person to whom the voice belongs, I am happily surprised that this girl is very attractive. Very, very attractive. I don’t mind looking at her in the slightest.
Talking to her, even easier – believe it or not – “I’m not sure they’re opposites completely, but I was surprise that she chose Vane. I thought for sure Merlin was her match!”
The girl in her ripped black jeans and her crop top jersey shirt steps closer and takes the book set from me, looking down at the bindings with her thumb caressing the edge of the box. This series must really mean something to her, something that maybe I’m in no place to question. I don’t have any business wanting to know.
It doesn’t stop me from wanting to know, and it certainly doesn’t stop me from asking her out so that I can hear the story behind those deep sighs; “This sounds like a debate best engaged over brunch in a run down diner.” She accepts with a hearty laugh, handling the box back to me and tagging along just behind me.
Prompt Idea #2: “You were trying to reach for a box of cereal and a whole shelf’s-worth of cereal boxes fell on you here let me help”
I hear over the intercom that “Floor Tech needed in aisle three” which is the breakfast and snack section of the store. I’m thinking that someone must have dropped the pudding cups again. The stocker thought it was a good idea to stack on the top shelf, and stupid assholes have been dropping them on the floor all week. It’s irritating.
So I drag my bucket behind me with a bit attitude. I hate this job, honestly, because I’m more or less a swing employee. I show up and I don’t know what department I’m in until I clock in. The only places I’m guaranteed to never work is the pharmacy and the deli. Those a specific jobs that have specific training for which I definitely opted out. But really, I could be stock today, janitorial tomorrow, and cashier the day after. I never really know.
And for some reason this week, I’ve been the janitor kid just hobbling about cleaning up messes. I hate it. Of course, I’m seventeen. I’m genetically programmed to hate work. At least that’s how I feel.
“I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!” A presumably female squeak sounds off as soon as I get half-way to the mess – which is actually a pile of cereal boxes, “I stood on the bottom shelf and there was tilting and falling and boxes!”
This poor person can’t be any more than five feet tall, maybe five foot one if she is lucky. I don’t need my mop and bucket, so I just pop my stuff in front of the Nutella – because let’s be real, we don’t need chocolate spread for our toast. On the floor in a messy blob are at least five brands of cereal just chilling out. Today my tall, lankiness is not a curse. I’m able to start stacking everything up on the shelf without any issue.
I don’t say anything to the short girl because typically they all take off after they make a mess, embarrassed that they have inconvenienced me. Most people know I make just over minimum wage doing a job that is arguably harder to do than a good many other jobs. This one, though, she stays put – even helps by handing me boxes as I put them away. By the time everything is stacked, she even opts to apologize a second time because she must actually feel really bad; “I should have just asked for help. That would have been far less troublesome. I am extremely sorry that you had to come out here and pick these up. As you can tell, I have short girl problems.”
“Sounds like you need a tall boyfriend.” I don’t mean to suggest I could be her tall boyfriend, or that she even wants a boyfriend – so I have to urgently correct myself. And what would an embarrassing flub be without my panicked stutter?
“N-not t-to s-say t-th-that y-you wa-want a b-boy-boyfriend, of c-course. You c-could wa-want a g-girl – a g-girlfriend who is t-tall.”
“A tall boyfriend would be just fine.” She laughs. Well, if she’ll have me – then I guess I can openly admit that she’s incredibly cute. And her laugh is the cure to all ailments.
Prompt Idea #3: “We’re both baristas and sometimes I have trouble reaching for things and I show up to work one day to find a personalized stool with hearts and my name on it i hATE YOU but also thanks”
Week One – The new barista is hilarious. He is shorter than all of the other guys on staff, so he’s been having to ask us all to grab certain coffees from the top shelfs and cabinets. He’s also been standing on his top toes in order to reach the syrups. My buddy Troy has been calling him Hobbit Bob. I am not sure Robert likes it, but he smiles anyway.
Week Two – I took break with Robert after a customer congratulated him on being a “small person” with great customer service. The jerk seemed to think that Robert can’t be short and have a good demeanor. It kind of pissed me off. Actually, it kind of pissed everyone off. We’ve asked the manager to put a sign up at the register telling people not to insult the employees and to be respectful of other patrons – you know, just to hide the fact that we think the jerk – who is a regular – doesn’t feel like we’re calling him out.
Personally, I don’t care. He’s a dick.
Week Three – Robert is still having a rough time. He was hoping to handle a short shift on his own a few nights ago. It went really badly, and he had to file an incident report. He’s taken two days off to recover, but he’s not sure if he wants to come back. At least, that’s what his Facebook says. He’s concerned that with his height he’s better suited for a desk job. I think he lost he his confidence and on a man-to-man level – I can’t let him think he can’t do this job. He’s good and his height shouldn’t make him think he’s not.
Week Four – I bought a two-step stool and decorated with pictures of Robert smiling that I may or may not have downloaded from his Facebook page – this is why people should be more careful with the things that they upload. I put an encourage message on the top step “Size Don’t Matter.” It’s a funny joke because men always worry about the size of something else entirely, and also because he is short. Nobody has told him who brought the stool in because I want it to be a secret. He’ll figure it out when the time is right.
Week Five – So it may or may not – I say that phrase a lot don’t I – have admitted to liking Robert. At first I was just like – Yeah I like him, he’s a Barista Bro. But then at some point I think I accidentally started liking Robert in a – He’s My Short Robert kind of a way. A couple of the gals know, and my buddy Troy knows. Troy wants me to tell Robert because it’s kind of a big deal. I haven’t dated anyone in a few years because it gets complicated explaining to my family why sometimes I date guys and sometimes I date girls. Bisexuality doesn’t make sense to them yet. So I just avoid it – also – that’s a lot of work and I just want to pay bills and be a good barista.
But I also want to be a good boyfriend to Robert.
If he’d have me.
Week Six – Robert gave me a fucking Valentine’ Day card. It says “thanks for the step stool.” And then it has – I fucking shit you not – a HEART SHAPED GIFT CARD that has, in silver sharper – “Will you take a coffee break date with me?” written on it. Are fucking kidding me? This is like that fanfiction crap you see online. I could kill the internet with the cuteness of this relationship with Robert. How even did this happen? I was just trying to be a bro – a proper Barista Bro.
And now I have a short boyfriend that sometimes answers to Hobbit Bob.
This is happiness.
Prompt Idea #4: “You are very tall and I am very short so you run into me all the time and honestly this is getting ridiculous”
A few weeks ago, my gym partner tripped over me while we were running laps, right. Seems like a legit thing to happen since he’s six-foot-two and I am only five-foot-one. That’s a huge difference. This is certainly not an unheard of phenomena. Unfortunately, it’s not happening in gym anymore.
It’s happening in the hallway between classes. It’s happening in classes when we are turning in our work. It even happened at Friday night’s basketball game! He nearly sent my tumbling down through the crowded bleachers! But I think last night was the last straw. He and I were at the store at the same time – buying cards for Christmas and stuff like broke teenagers do – and he somehow trips over me and knocks over an entire stand of greeting cards!
He laughed it off like it was a joke, like it was no big deal. I was furious, though. Or at least I was for the time being. When I complained about it to my older brother he giggled. Apparently that’s how he met his currently girlfriend. They were both at the movies one night trying to get in line for midnight tickets. He accidentally trampled her while she held her friend’s spot in line. They’ve been together for a couple of months now and couldn’t be happier.
Naturally, he is convinced that my tall gym partner is trying to tell me that he likes me without using words. I suppose it’s better than the whole “boys tease girls because they like them” trope – which honestly, shouldn’t even be a trope to begin with since it sends a nasty message. Regardless, I figured that there may be merit to some degree in what was happening. The frequency of these incidents were absolutely obnoxious. Something had to be said.
So I said something yesterday, while we were doing our stretch; “Gym Partner Charlie, this has got to stop. You keep falling over me like I’m so sort of piece of sidewalk jutting out of the ground. It is ridiculous. You need to watch were you’re going.”
I could have stopped there, but I kept going; “Unless, of course, you are tripping over me on purpose as a way to say you’ve fallen for me. In which case, you should probably just ask me out to dinner sometime. I like anything barbecue.”
We have a date next week.
Prompt Idea #5: I’m in art class and I just opened a cupboard to find a tiny person (you) squished inside and you just looked at and said “shh i’m hiding”
10/16/2015 at BSU via Facebook Mobile
So has anyone ever told you that college is a wild ride? If they haven’t, let me be the first person to tell you that it is! Today in my Advanced Mixed Media class we were in the studio to start our projects. A couple of the students were out to get coffee because our professor was – as usual – running quite late.
A group of friends were playing hide-and-seek. Someone that isn’t in our class must have been working in here earlier in the day because a very tall guy – very handsome, by the way, wouldn’t mind seeing his backside again – he shows up and goes to a storage locker. He swings open the door and bends down to pull something out, right. Normal thing to do – you know – if you work in this room a lot. Nobody suspected a thing.
UNTIL HE SCREAMED LIKE GRANDMA AFTER HITTING A DEER WITH THE STATION WAGON! Remember that mom?
Turns out there was a very tiny gal from out classroom his locker. To make it even better – she wouldn’t surrender his supplies unless he answered a riddle! Poor guy didn’t know what to do so he just shrugged his shoulders and left without taking anything with him! I hope he didn’t have anything that he had to turn in tomorrow!
Prompt Idea #6: “We’re on the bus and I’m really not trying to take up your space I’m sorry I just have rlly rlly long legs”
Jeff gets nervous when he has to ride the bus. Firstly, because he’s never rode the bus before – at least not to school. This is his first year. Secondly, he’s in a brand new school district. Jeff knows not a single person. And lastly, he grew five inches this past summer break and he’s all legs. What a terrible way to start the sixth grade. Long legs, gangly arms, taller than everyone else – and it’s first impression on everyone at the school.
So it’s understandable when he panics a tiny bit one on his bus to school. Every seat is already occupied! So he just looks for the tiniest other person on the bus and takes his seat next to what looks to be a kindergartener. The child smiles at him and waves; “Hello! My name is Annabella but my momma calls me Anna. I’m five years old. Are you having a nice first day?” The lines sound almost rehearsed, not that he’s surprised. His mother took a video of him on his first day of pre-school and he recites that same lines four or five times because he knew what he wanted to say to the camera. He knew what he wanted people to remember about it.
Or at least he thought he did; “Hello Anna. My first day isn’t so bad. I hope that I’m not taking up too much space, though.”
The little girl shrugs her shoulders and says, “You look like human spaghetti. It don’t bother me.”
“Yeah, it must be my long legs, huh?” She nods her head happily, and viciously – actually. This Anna child is full of energy and can’t seem to stop smiling for anything.
While that normally wouldn’t be a problem, she proceeds to say: “I wonder if those long legs taste that noodles.”
I hope she’s not a cannibal in the making. Perhaps it’s just a “kids say the darnedest things” moment, like my mom always says…
Prompt Idea #7: “We’re at a concert and I can’t see a thing let me sit on your shoulders, maybe?”
This girl I’ve been talking to all night is pretty cool. She bought these tickets for herself after her boyfriend cheated on her – she moved out with enough money to buy gas and these tickets. She said since then she’s been living in her cousin’s spare room and working as many odd jobs as she can to move into at least a 3-month leased studio apartment until she can get her life figured out a little bit more… I guess she is waiting to hear about a job? I can’t even remember what kind of job.
That’s beside the point, though, because she’s been pretty wonderful all night. Not just to me, but to everyone. She has been spotting people a few bucks when they find themselves short changed for drinks or snacks. In the merch lines she handed someone a twenty and told’m to buy a shirt to remember it by… For someone who has no money to speak of – she sure is getting rid of it a lot.
When I ask her if she can see the screens alright – because we’re on the grass and you can’t see a damn thing from here unless you’re tall enough – she just shrugs her shoulders; “I’m not here to see the band. I’m not here to listen to the band. I’m here to say that I earned it. I’m here for the memories.”
And she’s a short gal, so if there’s anything worth my time – it’s making sure that she can see something from this concert worth remembering. It’s a no brainer when she tells me that her favorite son is being performed. I look at her and start kneeling down, “Get on my shoulders.”
I am thankful that she doesn’t decline my offer, and something tells me that she will be too.
Prompt Idea #8: “You’re afraid that you’ll lose me in big crowds so you always hold my hand but now you just hold my hand when there’s only, like, five people around and I’m getting vry suspicious”
I understand that we want to Six Flags as a group with our friends, and that you panicked because we got lost in the crowd. I understand that we both agreed to hold hands, alright, because if we couldn’t find our friends then we needed to stick together. And I understand that we had a great time and that eventually we kind of gave up finding our group since we liked all the same rides.
But, it’s become a bit of a habit. Okay, so you and I were holding hands all day at the water park so that we didn’t get shoved out of the lines. That made sense. And we held hands again during the summer festival in town. Again, it made sense. It can get busy at the park during festival time.
Yesterday – though – I’m not sure it made sense to hold my hand when we were at the library. There were literally two other patrons in the library. And they were downstairs in the adult computer lab. Nobody was around. When I asked why you were holding my hand – you joked that you didn’t want to lose me in the shelves.
I’m starting to think that you don’t want to lose me at all. Like, you think we’re in a relationship and that you think if I stop letting you hold my hand that it’s going to end this relationship. We’re not in a relationship, though.
So I figure if this hand holding business is going to continue, the least that we can do is make this official. You are my girlfriend and I’m your girlfriend. As long as that sounds good is, why don’t you shoot me a message. We can go out on a proper date Saturday night?
Yours – literally,