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Flash fiction: Dream Guy March 31, 2011

Posted by thejinx in writing.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I am rightfully shamed.  While going through the archives here to link flash fiction to the portfolio page, I discovered that some short stories from a few years ago never made it here.  Let me now rectify that.

She saw Janet step out of a storefront, her highlighted blonde hair visibly limp against her scalp even from half a block away. That was probably just the result of a long day of work, Beverly thought, as her own raven hair was tied up into a quick and messy tail after a full day at the bakery.

Beverly held up her hand as she threaded between people. “Janet!” Janet glanced over at the call and smiled as Beverly trotted up to her.

“Hey,” Janet greeted as Beverly fell into step beside her and they strode down the sidewalk.

“Well?” Beverly prompted eagerly, brimming with anticipation. “How did it go last night?”

Janet made a face and rolled her eyes. “I don’t even want to talk about it.”

Deflated, Beverly offered a sympathetic noise. “That bad?”

Janet let out a disgusted sigh. “He spent the entire night trying to touch or grab me. I actually had to tell him to back off.”

“Oh, jeez.” Beverly frowned up at Janet, the blonde woman still a few inches taller than her, even in her heels. “Wasn’t this the guy Melina knew?”

“No, it was someone her boyfriend knew.” Janet shook her head. “I swear, I have just about had it with guys.”

“Aw, don’t say that,” Beverly attempted, bumping her elbow against Janet’s. “There are a lot of great guys out there.”

Janet flashed her a wry smile. “Not everyone can be as lucky as you to find your soulmate on your first try.” Beverly half smiled, feeling uncomfortably ashamed of her luck in meeting her longtime boyfriend. She fell silent, glancing around.

As her gaze swung past a fenced-in park on the other side of the street, she turned back to Janet and stated, “Hey, let’s go to Starbucks.”

Janet shrugged, glancing briefly at her watch. “Okay.” Watching for a break in the traffic, the two darted across the street and joined the path winding through the wooded park. She shook her head again. “I just wish I could meet a decent guy who actually cares about having a girlfriend, rather than a one-night stand.”

Beverly frowned. “They haven’t all been that bad. What about Kyle?”

Janet frowned. “Alright, a decent guy who I have something in common with.” She paused as they came across a bronze statue flanking the path. A man with ruggedly good looks leaned forward, his arms outstretched as though to feel rain falling on his palms. His head leaned back with his curly hair swept away from his face and his mouth was parted slightly, enhancing the image. He was dressed in a wide-sleeved shirt buttoned to the collarbone, a vest, and pants tucked into folded-over boots, and the date on the base of the statue was from the 19th century.

Janet chuckled faintly. “Now, why I can’t meet a guy like this?”

Beverly giggled. “Come on, he was probably a pirate. Look at those clothes. All he needs is an eyepatch.”

Janet’s laughter grew. “Yeah, but look at his face. He has ambition, he wants to do something with his life.”

“Like pillage and plunder?”

“I’m serious!” Janet chided, bumping Beverly with her elbow before returning her gaze to the statue. “If a guy ever looked at me like that…” She sighed wistfully.

Beverly murmured, her gaze fixed on the blank eyes of the statue as well. “I guess so. He’s even beckoning you.” Janet chuckled again, and Beverly smiled, pleased with the reaction. “So? Are you going to go to your dream guy?” Janet laughed aloud as Beverly dug in her purse and pulled out the palm-sized camera she took everywhere. “Shall I take a picture of the happy couple?” Janet shook her head as she laughed. “Come on,” Beverly urged, waving the camera around meaningfully, “let him sweep you off your feet!”

Still laughing, Janet said, “Oh, why not? I won’t get a real guy to do it anytime soon, I might as well take what I can get.” Beverly giggled behind her hand as Janet climbed up onto the statue, swinging her legs over one reaching arm and leaning into the other, as though he carried her. His hands even seemed to fold up just enough to cradle her perfectly.

Grinning widely, Beverly held up the camera, centering the image of Janet in the statue’s arms in the LCD screen. “Say cheese!” The camera beeped and the screen went black for a moment as the picture recorded, and Beverly lowered her hand. She started with a gasp and dropped the camera. Its case snapped and the batteries tumbled onto the sidewalk as it crashed into the cement.

Frozen, Beverly didn’t even notice the breaking camera. Her breath was ragged and she blinked wide eyes rapidly, hoping every time she opened them that what she saw wasn’t real. Her knees turned to water as she took a few uneasy steps forward. “J… Janet?” Beverly raised a trembling hand, paused, then tentatively reached out and touched her fingertips to the bronze locks of Janet’s hair. She was utterly immobile the way only a statue could be, frozen in time with one leg stretched out over the statue’s arm, her hands around his neck, and a permanent smile carved into her face. Her skin and clothes even sported the same weathered patina of the original statue.

Beverly’s breath came out in ever hastening gasps, and her voice grew smaller. “Janet?” She ran her hand more firmly over her friend’s arm, but the metal was cool to the touch and entirely inanimate. Frantic, she stumbled back a few paces and glanced in either direction down the path, but the park was unoccupied. She knew she should call for help, but her voice failed her. The statue dragged her eyes back for another long moment. Desperately, she turned and fled, bolting down the path back the way they had come as fast as her feet would carry her, leaving her fallen camera behind.



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