Archive by Author

a room of her own by typicalquirk

15 Feb

Amy could not help but wonder if she was making a mistake. All of her life she had imagined this day. She had dreamed as a child about the white dress, the cake, and of course the chocolate brown and light blue wedding colours, and of course having the wedding on Valentine’s Day.

Phil was a great guy. Handsome, nice teeth, a financial analyst. Steady. Stable. Everything she thought she wanted. They had been together for eight years.

Last year while working at the government as a receptionist, Amy decided to take a night class to try to finish her English degree she had started in the late 90s. She was nervous to go back.

The only night class that piqued her interest was a feminist literature class. The first essay that she read was Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own.” She drank it up like it was water. It struck her. And yet at the end of the semester, she put the book that contained this essay back on the bookshelf that she shared with Phil and didn’t think about it again.

Until now. Now she couldn’t get the damn essay out of her head. It was teasing her. She shared a one bedroom condo in downtown Toronto with Phil. The location was amazing, the condo was adequate, and the neighbours kept out of her business. But she didn’t have a room of her own. Even her closet was shared with Phil. Her secrets were kept in a box behind the one pair of Jimmy Choo’s she bought herself when she got her bonus last year. Her cubicle at work was her own, but she was only allowed minimal personal effects.

She had thought she was happy, until she was sitting here in this room. This white room where many brides before her sat filled with hope. She didn’t feel hope. She felt her breathing quicken and her heart race. She pulled the notebook she always kept with her out of the bag she had brought with her to change. She ripped out a piece of paper and wrote a note:

Phil

I love you. This will seem cruel, but I really did not know today that this is not what I want. I don’t know what I want, but I will let you know when I figure it out.

All my love, Amy

Of course at this point she did not mean all her love, but that is how she signed every note for the last eight years. She needed to keep some of that love for herself. And she slipped out of her wedding dress, into her yoga pants, and out the door. She was going to find a room of her own.

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margaret by typical quirk

25 Jan

Margaret narrowed her eyes and stared at the spider on the ceiling. She tried to prop herself up in the hospital bed that was placed in the living room of the old, creaky farmhouse. She had arthritis and emphysema along with all of the treats that come along with old age.

Margaret had watery blue eyes and shirt white hair. She looked very small in the hospital bed. Home care nurses were staffed in her house six and a half days a week. The other half day, Sunday mornings, her son Michael looked after her.

Michael wore gold jewelery and had a penchant for pot. He did his best to look after his mother, but they had never been particularly close. This particular Sunday, Michael stepped out to pick up his weekly supply. He usually picked it up later in the day, but his dealer was leaving for Mexico shortly.

Margaret had not been by herself for years. At first, she felt a sense of relief. Silence. Freedom. Then she saw it. The big, hairy spider on the ceiling above her. She shivered. It was nearly impossible for her to get out of bed on her own. She started sweating. Her breathing became more rapid. She wondered when Michael would return.

Forty-five minutes later, Margaret was red from the anxiety. She imagined the spider falling down on her. She kept her mouth tightly closed. Her heart was racing.

An hour later, she could take it no longer. She looked up at the creature and shuddered. She looked over at the broom in the corner about 10 feet away. She could do this. No big deal. She hadn’t been out of bed unassisted in a year, but it wasn’t like she was trying to run a marathon. Just brush the spider off the ceiling and out side.

Margaret took a deep breath. She propped herself up. This was a good start. She slowly lifted her legs over the side of the bed like she did when a nurse was there to help her. But no one was there to help her now. This she had to do on her own. It was starting to seem more like a marathon. Margaret tentatively grabbed onto the padded chair next to the bed. Burning. Her arthritic fingers were absolutely burning. At least she was doing something. She tried to hoist herself up. And she fell. Hard. No matter. Margaret was a stubborn old bat and she was stronger than this spider.

It took Margaret ten minutes to crawl over to the corner where the broom was. Where the hell was Michael? Margaret reached the broom. Now what? How was she going to get up? She tried to balance on the broom. Not a chance. Then she tried to just will herself up. Again nothing. She looked up. The spider looked back at her menacingly. Margaret broke down. She started to cry. She balled herself up in the corner opposite the door. Bawling and shivering. For two more hours, Margaret stayed there until the scheduled nurse Mindy showed up. Mindy was a perky young woman. This was her first gig as a nurse. She was shocked when she saw Margaret on the floor.

Mindy rushed over to Margaret, who had fallen asleep. Mindy gently said “Margaret. It’s Mindy. Wake up! What on earth are you doing on the floor?”

Margaret woke up and looked at Mindy. “See, look up there. There is a spider on the ceiling. I was trying to get it down.” Margaret started to cry again and Mindy took her in her arms.

Mindy looked up, but there was nothing on the ceiling.

one mother of a saturday by typicalquirk

17 Jan

Lindsay Lahann hit the snooze button. It was 11 a.m. and she needed to be at Ambercrombie & Fitch by noon. She hated being the weekend manager, but it was a hell of a lot easier than being a bounty hunter. And if anybody tried to steal, she had them in a half nelson faster than you could say crack whore.

Twenty minutes later, she was ready to make the five block trek to work. She stopped and picked up a non-fat latte at Starfucks as all her Hollywood friends called it. She walked into work wearing sunglasses and last night’s make-up. She was wearing leggings and a scarf, and at thirty-five she carried it off well.

The gum-popping cashier was talking on the phone to her boyfriend. Lindsay made the hurry-it-up motion. Mel covered the phone and said, “Lindsay, stop being such a bitch. You know I only get twenty minutes a week with Carlos on the phone. He’ll be out of jail in a month, so the calls will stop.” Mel resumed her phone conversation and handed Lindsay a letter.

Lindsay knew what it was before she even looked at it. Every Saturday she got a letter from the other Lindsay. Lohan believed that Lahann was her doppleganger. Lohan wanted to take Lahann’s brain and get a plastic surgeon to perform a brain transplant. Everyone in Hollywood knew that Lohan was a little eccentric and a lot coked up, but no one realized her true potential for mayhem.

Lahann sighed and put the letter down. Some Saturdays were worse than others, and this one was a mother. She had to unpack the inventory that the weekday manager conveniently “forgot” about, handle returns, enter the sales for the week, and deal with Mel.

At four o’clock Lindsay was in the back unpacking next season’s treasures when two men in dark suits interrupted her. They said nothing. Lindsay struggled the best she could, but was tasered within seconds. Her bounty hunting skills didn’t come close to these two meat heads and their Army survival skills. They carried her out the back door and threw her into the trunk of a dark sedan.

Lahann woke up a while later in a dentist’s chair with a plastic surgeon who had obviously seen the scalpel a few times himself standing over her with a surgery saw. Lohan was standing right beside her. Lahann tried to scream but was hoarse. Her wrists were restrained with two lovely orange scarves from her store. Lahann was truly terrified for the first time in her life.

Lohan, garish make-up and all, was reaching out to comfort Lahann. “Don’t worry sweetie, it will be over soon.” Lahann shrank back the few inches the scarves would allow her.

Lohan was crazy, but she was right about one thing. They did have a connection. They were the same people, but from parallel universes. When Lohan touched Lahann, there was a bright, pulsing light in the room and then darkness. Instead of the world ending, as scientists had predicted if this were ever to actually take place, something worse happened. It was unimaginably horrible.

There was still technology. Education. Culture. So what was missing? The moment Lohan touched Lahann, all the beauty products, fashionable clothes and make-up disappeared. Vanished. People were going to have to shop at Walmart for clothes and use Ivory soap. Nothing would ever be the same again.

to keep you warm by typicalquirk

10 Jan

Monday

Hammond walked in the door and breathed a sigh of relief. His job as a mailman was not particularly difficult, but the monotony got to him some days. Most days. Especially today. His mind was not focused on work so much but on the fact that today would have been his tenth wedding anniversary. Would have been. If only he would have been more attentive, would have given his all, would have put his relationship first. But that didn’t happen, and he caught Elinor fucking his co-mailman Jeffrey on their bed. Elinor didn’t apologize, just said “Well at least you know now,” and walked out the door.

Hammond grabbed himself a cold one out of the fridge and sat down in the old tattered armchair. He had kept the house, and all of the memories. Elinor had left the majority of her things their three years ago, and Hammond didn’t have the heart to throw them out. The curio cabinet full of ceramic cats stared at him every time he walked into the kitchen. Somehow this made him feel less alone.

Hammond took a sip of beer and opened the drawer in the table next to him. He pulled out the green felt case where he kept his crochet hook. That night before he passed out from the beer and the pain, he crocheted six granny squares.

Wednesday

Elinor got home from work and checked the mail. There was a rather thick envelope. Not again. But of course again. These packages came every couple of weeks. She climbed up the stairs to the apartment she shared with Jeffrey. He wasn’t home yet. She went to her bedroom, sat on the edge of the bed and opened the package. Six granny squares. She tucked them into the night stand, with the other three hundred and fifty, along with the letter that said: When there are four hundred of these, stitch them together and you will have a beautiful quilt. She briefly wondered who was sending them to her, but she had things to do. She had to have supper ready by the time Jeffrey got home; she had to do laundry; she had to watch Oprah that she had recorded. She was busy.

That night, Hammond came home. He took off his uniform, put on an undershirt and boxers and made himself a simple supper of beans and toast. He sat in his tattered chair. Halfway through the second granny square, he had a massive coronary. Dead.

Friday

Mrs. Bennett, the landlady found him two days later when she went to get his rent check. He was never late on the rent, she mused. He was dependable. Groceries on Tuesday, vacuumed Saturday, went to the dentist every six months. It was going to be hard to find a tenant as good as him. Nobody was responsible anymore.

Monday

When Elinor got home there was a thin letter in the mail from Hammond’s attorney.  Elinor sat on the side of her bed, where she always read the mail, and opened the letter:

Dear Ms. Ford,

This letter is to inform you of the passing of your ex-husband Hammond Short. He passed away last week. I was instructed to send you a letter if anything happened to Mr. Short, He wanted you to know that he loved you very much. The granny squares that you have been receiving in the mail are from him. He said he didn’t keep you warm in his marriage, but he wanted to. He wished he would have. He had no other assets, but wanted you to know that he always loved you.

Mrs. Bennett was also wondering if you could come and pick up your ceramic cats at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

Morgan Pruitt, Esquire.

Elinor put the letter away with tears streaming down her cheeks. “You were pathetic,” she whispered. “Pathetic.” She did not have supper ready by the time Jeffrey got home that night.

Wednesday

It was chilly at the cemetery. Hammond’s plot was in a crowded area. Only eight people were at the ceremony. It truly did reflect his life. Lonely. Elinor showed up in a cab shortly after the ceremony was over. She walked over to the casket that had not yet been buried. She was carrying a large duffel bag. She knelt by the grave, opened the bag, and pulled out the incomplete blanket that she had sewn together the previous night. “ You needed fifty more squares Hammond. Fifty. You never finished everything. But you tried.” She placed the multi-coloured blanket over the casket. “To keep you warm.” And she walked away. She had to have dinner ready by six or Jeffrey would be pissed.

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