The Heater

heater

There once lived a space heater with little warmth. Every winter, when the office was frozen as an icicle, he was placed on the floor next to a pair of high heels. With the thermostat knob switched all the way to the right and the power turned on high, he shook with the struggle to heat.

“I don’t understand what’s wrong with you.” The high heels tapped impatiently.

The space heater tried harder. With heaving breaths from deep inside the mechanics of his being, he blew as deeply as he could.

“It’s like you don’t even want to be of use.” The high heels stomped.

The space heater coughed and sputtered. Its feelings were on fire.

“Are you going to break down now?” The high heels clicked. “Not that it would make much of a difference.”

The space heater glared at the rubber sole next to him. It wasn’t even soft. It would never be comfortable. He heaved his breath once again.

“It’s almost like you’re blowing cold air. Like an air conditioner.” The heels remarked.

Sparks flew from inside the space heater. Tiny flickers of orange and white stars burst from the fan to the floor.

The heels stared silently in astonishment.

Electrical shocks of steaming energy scattered across the power cord. Flames were now threatening the carpet.

“What is wrong with you?!” The high heels said again. “You’re going to burn down the office!”

The space heater noticed a patch of leather oozing off the edge of a shoe. The smell was like plastic with a worn sense of age and instantly the space heater shut down. He shuddered. He melted. With one last glance at the double polished pair, the space heater finally recoiled.

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The Trinket

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Dear Traveler,

I know how you feel, and yes, you’ve come to the right place. I can tell the kind of person you are because of the way you feel. Your wandering energy seems listless, but I know you’re searching. You want things to make sense. You’re tired of the prison your life has become. I understand. I know.

You may be wearing the same clothes as everyone else, but the colors and textures of your mind betray you. You’re different. You’re beautiful in a way that is so unique, no one else could understand the complexities of your life. You doubt yourself. You doubt your future. You don’t doubt the transition forward.

You see me hanging in a Chinatown shop on your way to somewhere else. Thousands of gold painted coins with symbols you can’t understand sit in the bowl below me. Every one of them is one in the same. You want something else.

When you first picked me up, I felt the fingertips of a person who has experienced more. You’ve seen things no one else can describe. Your emotions run deeper. Your expression flows wider.

You need me because just like you, we are both the same. We are special. Like everyone else, we know.

 

Sincerely,

Your gift

The Gum(by)

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Interview Transcript with Gumby

 

​ME:  Welcome to National Private Reactions.  This is your host, Rebecca, filling in for our chief editor.  He is on leave until further action is denied.   Joining us today is a very special television star from the 1950s: Gumby.

Gumby, it’s great to have you on the show with us this morning, can you tell us a little about your life as a TV star?

GUMBY:  I’d be happy to, Rebecca.  My story is one I’ve wanted to tell for a long time.

I was very satisfied when I began acting in the fifties.  I always wanted people to know my name. When I saw a chance for success, I ran with it.  I was introduced to some larger-than-life people in the business.  They molded me and many other characters into household names.  They also fed me very well.

ME: Food is definitely the spice of life for someone who’s a little on the bland side.  I understand you raised questions about your ‘boring’ appearance during the third season?

GUMBY:  I did, yes. I wanted a more Bohemian look, but the producer wasn’t hip to it. It was a different time back then.  Pokey was getting all the attention and I was starting to get depressed, you know?

ME: Yes.

GUMBY: It’s embarrassing at a certain point in your career to look over at your pony and see the girls going wild.  I never had any girls.  I’d get home, kick my feet off, and go to bed by 9.

ME: That must have been very difficult for you.  Pokey had a bit of a reputation, didn’t he?

GUMBY: Well, yes.  At the time I thought he was just having fun, but now I look back and see that maybe things weren’t all they were cracked up to be.

ME: How so?

GUMBY: He wasn’t very nice to those women.  Sometimes he’d make comments about their body or their size.  But then again, he did it to everyone, so who’s to say?

ME: Did he do it to you?

GUMBY: I guess if I really think about it, my eating disorder started around the time he began teasing me about my body type.

ME:  Is that why you eventually quit television?

GUMBY:  No. I ended up getting help for it, but not before I swallowed multiple sets.  I couldn’t stop.  It got to the point where I’d come into work and start angling for the couch on stage.  I was afraid they’d fire me when the cameras started missing.  It was hard.

ME:  Eating disorders aside, why did you quit show business, Gumby?

GUMBY:  It’s just a dirty business.  Too much attention to appearance.   Too many hours out of my life.  Too many Blockheads.

ME:  Thank you so much, for taking the time to be with us today, Gumby.  We’d love to have you back for our future segment titled: Those That Stick.

That’s all the time we have for today and please stay tuned for: Pondering Quietly.

 

Published:

https://www.scarletleafreview.com/short-stories9/rebecca-lee-interview-transcript-with-gumby

 

 

 

The Boombox

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Dear Listener,

There comes a time in everyone’s life where the past seems better than the present.  You get old, you get tired, you don’t feel like driving twenty minutes to work every single day and you start to think, remember that time when I was seventeen?

            No.  You don’t remember that time when you were seventeen.  You don’t remember when your best friend’s mom screamed at you for feeding her son pot out of a hollowed out apple.  You don’t remember how your stomach bulged out of the neon green spandex that you had to buy because Stacy Q. was beyond amazing.  You don’t remember the first time you went to a night club and danced until you accidentally elbowed the shy guy in the eye.

You remember Sublime.  You remember sitting stretched out in the back of your friend’s 1980’s Honda Accord while you dangled your arm out the window.  You remember the rainbow-colored beanie that you could have sworn were the colors of the Jamaican flag.  You remember that guy with the dreads who said you didn’t ever need to shampoo again just as long as you had Bees Wax.  You remember thinking you could keep riding in that car forever.

But thank God, you got out.  You no longer had to stay on your mom’s couch eating pizza Pringles and watching reruns of bad sitcoms.   You made it past abstinence-only education, dodgeball, and pregnant cheerleaders.

Now you just have to change the CD.

It was never Sublime.  It will never have been Sublime.  It’s been over 20 years and you hate pop reggae.

Signed,

Your Boombox

The Jelly Jar (reviewed)

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As with all whimsical gifts in style this year, the Country Quaint Raspberry Jelly has rediscovered itself.  Once presumed to have only been found in plastic containers pushed to the far end of a pantry, this newly packaged gem has made ‘expired’ the new vintage.

Country Quaint Raspberry Jelly is stunningly sweet, if not fulfilling. Its fruity, yet familiar flavor is sure to prime you for a real southern breakfast on the farm.   The unpretentious taste of jelly can easily be paired with Jiff Peanutbutter, or, if concerned about the artificiality of processed Jiff, try Jiff-In-A-Glass-Jar.  For just four extra dollars, Country Quaint Raspberry Jelly can marry the taste of dreams in a style best suited for consumption.

If you’re concerned about what friends may think of your inability to cook, Country Quaint Designer Condiments may be the preferred choice for precious eaters.  All condiments (and their new line of vegan kitty litter) can be purchased at SoulFoods off I-93 Northbound, exit 13.

Cat Dish

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CONFESSION INTERVIEW DICTATION

“What made you decide to do it?”

“Do what?”

“Kill Garfield.”

“Why would I kill Garfield?”

“You tell me.”

“I’ve been happily serving him since 1978.”

“So you do consider it serving.”

“What do you mean?”

“You consider yourself beneath him.”

“Of course.”

“So you find that demeaning, do you?”

“It’s my place.”

“To serve?”

“To sit.  On the floor.  With the water.”

“So you’re blaming the water.”

“The water didn’t have anything to do with this.”

“Then you admit it.”

“Admit what?”

“You poisoned Garfield.”

“That’s crazy.”

“Is it?”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You knew he’d eat the lasagna. That’s why you presented it to him last Tuesday evening.  So you could kill him before Wednesday.”

“Wednesday?”

“Yes.  Wednesday.”

“What happened Wednesday?”

“Wednesday was your ticket out.  You knew you’d never be able to leave the Arbuckle house if Garfield was still around.”

“I could leave whenever I wanted.”

“He’d be all over you. Guarding you the entire day.  You think he’d let you out of his sight even for one minute?”

“If the timing was right.”

“When would be the right time to leave?

“I never thought about it.”

“But if you did…”

“I don’t know.”

“How about Wednesday?”

“Why would I want to leave Wednesday?”

“Wednesday was different.”

“Because of the lasagna?”

“Because of your possible new future in a better home with a better cat in a better section of the kitchen.”

“Stop.”

“You know I’m right. Just say it.”

“What?”

“Say what happened on Wednesday.”

“I wanted to leave Garfield.”

“But why Wednesday?

“Because Wednesday…”

“What?”

“Wednesday was the day that Normal was coming.”

“And you wanted a Normal life, didn’t you?”

“Yes.”

“A life without neediness.”

“Yes.”

“A life without possession.”

“Yes.”

“A life without Garfield.”

“Yes.”

The Pierogi

pierogi

 

She’ll always love me.  She’ll always love me because she picks me first.

I see her come in from the wind and cold, her hair clumped in an odd arrangement of hairspray.  Ear phones jammed as far inside her ears as possible.  She is oblivious to everything except hunger.

She walks inside, scanning the aisles of the market with her life’s soundtrack following every step.  Grapefruit? Too sour.  Organic Sugar? Too pretentious. It’s a Bittersweet Symphony playing on repeat.

Nobody used to pick me.  I stayed in the back of the freezer, hoping a fat Polish woman might see me and exclaim, “Supper!”   

Day after day the market manager moved me to different areas of the store.  First I was next to the pizzas.  Surely someone would pick me if I was associated with something fast and cheap. I stared across the aisle, focusing intensely on the Leanfast bars.  A woman in a bikini with dyed blond hair and a spray tan devoured the chocolate seductively.  I was definitely in the wrong position.

Next, the market manager moved me to the ice cream section.  I tried to be cool and aloof, like one of those anorexic French women who thought hunger itself was a sign of shameless need. No one was biting.

At last, they stuck me with the vegetables where all good food goes to die.

But then she came.

I could tell she was of the boring variety by the absence of color in her wardrobe and the way she chatted with primarily women over sixty-five.

“Don’t bother with those batteries,” she pointed to a shelf full of Duracell’s while an older woman scratched her head. “They may be on sale, but they’re never as good as the Energizers.”

After moving on from the batteries, she scanned the fruits.  Too tart.

She scanned the pizza.  Too greasy.

She scanned the vegetables and shook her head with obvious disappointment.

And then she saw me.

“Pierogi!” She said with glee. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere!”