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“Three is the magic number,” said Danforth.
Therese was hedging.
He continued. “C’mon, Baby. She really likes you. I can tell.”
Therese giggled and stared down into her cosmo, then looked casually across the bar at Angie. Danforth was appealing to Therese’s ego. It was solid strategy. But only because there was some kind attraction brewing between her and Angie already. What was it about Angie? Theresa wasn’t normally drawn to women. At least not since the seventh grade. And they weren’t women then.
Angie had sloe eyes. It added woeful little girl quality to her already melancholy demeanor. That might be it. Sylvie Skarheegan had been that way too. A little poutier perhaps, but as a twelve year old, she could be forgiven for less subtle modes of expression. Sylvie and Therese walked home from school together every day that year and occasionally Therese hung out at Sylvie’s for a while afterward. Sylvie's mom had horrible snacks and Therese had been trying to lose weight then. On the afternoon that IT happened, there was a terrible storm. Therese had been wearing a wool skirt that was soaked through. The smell was not far off from dog and a little of the blue dye was bleeding onto her legs. Sylvie offered her a change of clothes and Therese readily accepted.
The girls went into Sylvie’s room and while Sylvie was searching through her drawers, Therese ran an idle finger over the dusty Breyer horses on Sylvie’s shelf. The gray fuzz gathered under her nail and on her fingertip. Suddenly she knew exactly what would happen.
Angie held up a pair of pin-striped Gloria Vanderbilts. “These are from last year," she said, apologetically, "but they're small on me, so they’ll probably fit you.”
“Oh, no way. You are SO much thinner than I am."
Sylvie placed her hands around Therese’s waist.
“See,” she said, “Tiny.”
Therese unbuttoned her skirt. She eased her guilty mind with the most valid of excuses. Afterall, she needed to shed the wet in order to don the dry. But the wet skirt dropped, and so did the lingerie beneath. It was the first time anyone’s hands had been down there—including her own, with the exception of what was absolutely necessary for personal hygiene. Something very important awakened within her that afternoon.
Not two weeks later Madeleine Rasputin moved to town. One day, when Therese skipped outside to meet Sylvie, Madeleine was there as well. Madeleine gesticulated madly, and Sylvie was doubled over in laughter. There was not a trace of pout on her face.
“Oh, hi, Therese,” Sylvie said, casually. “You don’t mind if Madeleine walks with us?”
“No.” said Therese. But she did mind.
Therese placed her empty glass on the bar. “Three.”she said to herself. Then she turned to Danforth. “No I’m afraid three won’t do” she picked up her coat. “Three won’t do at all.”
She spun on her heel and left.
Date Written: October 21, 2004Comments:
Author: Jimson S. Sorghum
Average Vote: 4.5833
10/29/2004 Ewan Snow (5): She really missed out. It could have been terrific.
10/29/2004 TheBuyer (5): Hot.
10/29/2004 Streifenbeuteldachs (5): You should submit this to the New Yorker.
10/29/2004 Will Disney (5): eagerly awaiting part two
10/29/2004 John Slocum (5): Nice work Jumston.
10/29/2004 The Rid (5): Brilliant.
10/29/2004 qualcomm: i'm not so sure here
10/29/2004 John Slocum: Go on...
10/29/2004 qualcomm: i think it's well written, but it just doesn't do much for me. lots and lots of details building up to... not much. a little too mcsweeney for ol' qualcomm's taste. i blame the voters. i'm not sure what i'd give this in a vacuum. all these 5s have acted like a spin cycle on my moral compass.
10/29/2004 Jon Matza: I, Matza, agree w/my main man Sausage. This is very good, but not jumbo jelly.
10/29/2004 Litcube: I also hesitate to four this. It's well written, and I grasp the mood.
10/29/2004 Streifenbeuteldachs: If you think it's a four, don't hold back. Myself, I find an occasional understated short to be a breath of fresh air. We have lots of over-the-top craziness, and it's nice to read something a little more muted (and even poignant).
10/30/2004 Litcube: If you think this is a breath of fresh air, don't hold back. Myself, I hesitate to four this.
10/30/2004 Streifenbeuteldachs: I didn't hold back. I five starred it.
10/30/2004 Jon Matza: It still seemed like you were holding back, though.
10/30/2004 Jon Matza: By the way-how did you know this was Snorghum, Slocum?
10/30/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum: Clearly it was the ponies. Duh.
10/30/2004 Dylan Danko: So, how many people are holding back?
10/30/2004 Dylan Danko: Am i not supposed to four this? Somebody tell me what to do. Summer??? Where are you???
10/30/2004 Litcube: Dylan, when you find out, let me know.
10/30/2004 Ewan Snow: Four is reasonable, Dylan. What I liked about this was how it's sort of an antishort, in that it's a tease. Its subject is typical short fodder, but it has no money shot, which was a surprise. Also there were a number of nice details, like the wet wool skirt, the dusty ponies, etcet. Call me if you have any further questions.
10/30/2004 Litcube (5): I can't take it anymore.
10/30/2004 John Slocum: Flatza: Process of elimination. Also, things in short a guy wouldn't write, or know about, or both. Gyneshort.
10/30/2004 John Slocum: I'm not proud of that last comment.
10/30/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum: If you're afraid of offending me, you needn't be.
10/30/2004 Streifenbeuteldachs: Yeah, I had to look up Gloria Vanderbilts on google. I'm still not exactly sure what they are.
10/30/2004 John Slocum: I was most certainly not afraid of offending you, young lady.
10/30/2004 John Slocum: Strangely enough, Pfineous became offended.
10/30/2004 Benny Maniacs (4): I thought this was well written too. I think you have to give ratings based on the intended tone/genre of the story, and I think the intent of this is ambitious, in that the author is dealing with personal shit in a semi-serious manner, which is always hard to pull off on this site. The result is successful, but maybe a little too precious. The leaning on details makes me think about that NPR stuff that gets read out loud at symphony space. I know I'm being picky here, but I don't see it as a five.
10/31/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum: Wow. I intended for this neither to be personal nor precious (nor ambitious, for that matter). And I'm wondering, based on your comment, Benny, why you didn't just give this a three.I guess because you thought that I had succeeded in making it "precious." Well, uh, thanks. Actually Snow's the most on the mark in terms of what my intent was.
By the way, Gloria Vanderbilt designer jeans were popular in the '80's--the pin-striped variety, in particular, somewhere around '82 or 83.
11/1/2004 Mr. Pony (5): Thoughtful & thorough. 4.5. Nice, how the lewd beginning makes the ending more weighty, somehow.
11/7/2004 Wren (5): material.
11/17/2004 TREE (5): Fuck..I was just getting turned on and WHAM got my pee-pee smacked...great ending
12/24/2004 Shane Mahoney (1): I fail to see how this piece addresses the pressing issue of how we are moving forward in our application of the North American ideal of preservation and the stewardship of our vital natural rezources.