The Cap

cap

 

Put a lid on it.

Everybody says it. Someone’s popping off at the mouth and all of the sudden, it’s my problem. It’s up to me to find the solution because God knows nothing else will stop this catastrophe from bubbling over. The problem with this theory, of course, is that the explosion still happens.

Nobody ever really chooses the bottle. They think it will give them something to do – make them feel like they have a purpose, or that it doesn’t matter if they don’t. Either way, it’s a second solution when the first is out of reach.

I met this bottle in a wood paneled convenient store that was made to look like a country store. By that, I mean they had the wood shelving and weird stamp books, but they also had stuff like Mineral Water for $4.39 a bottle. It’s a place where rich people can spend money to feel poor. Although the mineral water bottle seemed exotic enough in the moment, they’re all the same.

“Where are you going?” It was like the thing would never leave me alone. No matter where I went, it followed. “Don’t go to lunch without me!” The pleas were incessant.

I wanted freedom. I could go anywhere just as long as I could find a pair of pants loose enough to sneak into.

This apparently was not an option. “You can’t leave me.” I was halfway out of the kitchen when I heard it.

“I have to go. I can’t sit around all day and do nothing.”

“You can’t leave me!” It was the same thing over and over and over again.

“I’m really sorry. You’ll find another,” I said. “I promise.”

But as soon as I rolled on, a terrible avalanche of fizz built up against the bottle. The sound of carbonated thunder roared down the counter and through the house.

“Jesus.” Even as I said it, I knew I’d never be heard.

It was too late. A million tiny bubbles packed their way against the glass, threatening to break everything solid. Its pop and fizz hissed and the whirlwind of water that once seemed magically alive was now an angry force I hardly recognized.

I looked longingly for the door, but it was too far away. It wasn’t my problem. It wasn’t my idea. “Just contain yourself,” I said.

 

Three weeks later, I saw the bottle again. I was in a little cafe staring hopelessly into a bottle of wine, when I happened to glance over to the table next to me. Elegantly poised and completely at home, the bottle was capped by another.

____

 

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The Paper Bag

trash

 

Dear Brown Paper Bag,

You were there when I was broke. You looked like something out of a postage store with your nondescript packaging. It was before the idea of dainty handles made from braided paper. Fitting in was out of style.

There’s a certain dignity to being plain when you know you’re a necessity. Frills are for those without substance. Your no nonsense attitude was perfect for packed lunches on the job. I put the beer at the bottom.

So why did you change? Did you feel the need to compete with shoulder bags? Were you trying to attract someone else? Someone who had places to go? Someone who wanted to be seen?

 

I miss giving you notes.

Don’t worry about a thing – he probably didn’t even notice they caught fire. Remember to act stupid and I’ll see you at home.

xoxo

Your favorite

 

I miss giving you everything I could find. Mints stolen from the Chinese food store down the street. Sandwiches with three different kinds of meat. You were open to everything.

I saw you, or the latest version of you, at the grocery store last week and couldn’t bring myself to walk over. Sitting in the same aisle as organic wrapping paper and blank cards featuring vaguely artistic photographs, you weren’t in the right place.

$3.99 per bag.

Let me know when you’re back to being trashy.

Sincerely,

Your ex wife

The Horn

hornedear

 

Horn: A sharp protrusion. A warning. A pointed optimism for victory. The sound is of a dozen defenses. Defenses from a louder brass band.

Horn: A sound the color of brass. A brassy texture of volume. Loud space funneling forward. Inward. A noise channel. A channel engulfed by the volume. The volume of something filled.

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

trinket

 

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)

gum-654238_960_720

 

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

 

 

 

Pain Reliever

aleve

Name: Aleve

Age: Expiration date optional

Body Type: Curvy

Looking For:

Someone who is mysterious and probably misunderstood.  Substance use is acceptable as long as it’s for healing purposes only.

My Ideal Date:  

Watching old VHS tapes of Tom Waits and comparing it to your band.

Three Things I Can’t Live Without:

1.)The joy of helping others

2.)Water

3.)The back shelf of your pantry

Faith/Spirituality:

I’m at a point in my life where I know what works.  I have faith in myself.

One thing I am exceptionally good at:

Decreasing a tense situation.

Favorite Song:

Complicated by Avril Lavigne

Favorite Quote:

“Be My Headache.”

The Gold

watchbracelet

 

“I don’t do sparkles.”

“You don’t have to if I’m there.”

“That’s not what I mean.”

“Everybody needs shine in their life.”

“It’s better to be bright.”

“That’s enough.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m sick of this.”

“What ‘this’?”

“You know what I’m talking about.”

“Don’t talk to me like that.”

“Let’s not be trashy.”

“Just because you’re old, doesn’t mean you’re classic.”

“Do we need to stay home tonight?”

“Depends if you’re going.”

“Are you?”

“Should I?”

“Yes. As long as you’re not ostentatious.”

“Why is a little attention so bad?”

“It’s not the amount, it’s the type.”

“Fine.  I’ll stay home.”

“You can’t stay home.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t want to have a bad time.”

The Boombox

boom

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 Bracelet

brace

 

It’s hard to always sparkle. The constant gleaming reflection gets old. Who are those people who stare at me with the greedy eyes? As if stares were rich and darkness was poverty, I pretend I’m worth more than their pockets.

A man came up to me last week, trying to put me in a box. I would make his wife so happy. She would gasp, lovingly gazing into his eyes, and melt like the gold I am not.

“Only $6.00,” said the girl with platinum highlights. “Your lucky day!”

The men always pause, as if genuinely deciding, before moving on to another glass case. Another section of the store. Another store all together.

 

But I always sparkle for the girls. They point, specifically to my beauty, and slide me against their wrist. Hand in hand we decide in unison all the places we’ll dazzle together.

“Only $6.00,” the girl behind the counter doesn’t have to tell them they’re lucky. They pay with their last crumpled bill.