Once again the fine folks at the fine podcast Tele-Friends were the first to publish a short story of mine (yeah, it’s still publishing, according to the government). I wasn’t content just to read the thing, so I made a little audio landscape for each of the three stories they’ve played so far. I’d encourage you to listen to them in their native habitat, but if you hate clicking, this one is embedded below.
That’s it!” Dennis announced, gesturing wide as if the crew had stuck around. As if there were anyone there besides the two of them. “I’m retiring!”
He toasted with the obligatory bottle of set vodka, decked in the uniform of his profession: shower shoes and not a stitch else. Rita had always marveled at the little line of sandals just past the camera’s periphery, like they belonged to a group of Japanese schoolgirls, not adults occasionally pretending to be Japanese schoolgirls.
“Yeah, OK,” she said, trying to squirm away from his oily embrace before he planted a wet kiss atop her shaking head.
“We’ll get a house with a white fence around the yard!” Dennis continued, full of reverie and reverence. “We’ll start going to summer camps! To church!”
“Be serious,” Rita laughed.
“Let’s get married!” he gasped.
“Let’s not,” she said, slipping through his arms. “You know what that’d do for your career.”
“I just told you: I quit.”
“Babe. Be serious. We can’t live off old DVDs forever.”
“You don’t know,” he protested. “I’m huge overseas. In Eastern Europe, I’m an unstoppable force. I’m like a T. rex in Latvia.”
“Look, this doesn’t change anything.”
“It changes everything!” Dennis’s smile was still broad, but it was beginning to twitch at the edges.
“What, are you going to join the PTA? Throw on your fanciest sweatpants for Bring-Your-Daughter-To-Work Day?”
Dennis plopped down on the scotchgarded couch, mouth in his hands. “It’s a girl?”
“You can’t just retire. Your fans’ll need a better story than, you know –” Rita sighed, looking for the words. “We should talk tonight. We’ll celebrate. But let’s not make any big decisions right now.”
“I have a suit,” he said, mostly to himself. “From the award show.”
“I’m just saying, you’ve got a good thing going. No need to change everything right away,” Rita said, his hair in her hands. “Be grateful for what you’ve got.”
She kissed him goodbye. He filled the nearly five minutes of silence that followed with a pill washed down with vodka and waiting for his coworkers to return. Heavyset money men and schoolgirls. Just like Bring-Your-Daughter-To-Work Day.