Each month The Writer’s Digest holds a short story contest. They give you a prompt and a 750 word count, and then the rest, is yours to write. Last month’s prompt was to write a short story about the Strong Man and Bearded Lady, experiencing life as a newly married couple.
I thought I would try my hand at a sci-fi type/mystery short story. After I realized I did not win the contest I tried submitting it to the Alfred Hitchcock magazine and it was rejected. I have decided to post it on my blog because I’m not sure where else it would fit in. Its’ title is SHAVING MY PURPOSE.
I really believed Sam when he told me married life would be different. It was something about his chocolate browns that made me trust every word that came out of his mouth. “Del,” he would say, “Once we’re married you can shave that silly beard and I can stop weight lifting so much.” I had visions of us walking into a restaurant like a normal husband and wife. There would be no awkward glances or long disgusted stares. My facial hair would be gone. Maybe I would see myself as he did, pretty. I was excited when I bought my first pack of disposable razors. I was shaving the ugly beard for my man, the man who looked past my beastly features. The man who told me I was beautiful and that together we could do anything. No more freak shows, no more annoying kids, and best of all, no more traveling. I believed this man. I married this man. I loved everything about him. His muscles were rippled and his smile was captivating. I couldn’t wait for the night we shaved my beard. He promised it would be unforgettable. I wanted to make sure the night would be just as perfect as our wedding. More perfect, I should say, we got hitched at a Vegas chapel. It wasn’t the wedding I always dreamed of. Beard shaving night would be better than my dreams. I purchased all sorts of romantic scents. I spent too much money on body oils and even splurged on a very expensive edible shaving cream. He walked through the front door and called out my name. I adjusted the belt of my silk robe, making sure it wasn’t too tight. I ran a quick brush through my hair, squirted his favorite perfume on the back of my neck, cleared my throat and called out seductively “I’m upstairs, waiting for you.” My heart skipped with each step he took. I still couldn’t believe that I, the bearded lady was married to the most handsome man on earth. I was like a school girl waiting for the cute boy to come onto the playground.The only exception was the boy was coming to see me. In school that never happened. The cute boys made fun of me. They were the first one’s to call me a freak. My mother told me she saw stubble within days of my birth. Her crazy witchdoctor advised her that if she was to shave it I would lose my purpose in life. My mother wasn’t all there. She believed that I was born with a beard for a reason. She scared me and told me never to shave it. As crazy as she was, I should have listened. Sam walked in the bathroom holding a half dozen of roses. He greeted me with a long kiss. “Last kiss before we shave that circus hair.” I started to feel like something wasn’t right. I couldn’t understand then, but now I know, it was intuition. My stomach flipped and my hands dripped with sweat. “Trust me,” he whispered. I handed him the razor and edible shaving cream took a deep breath and closed my eyes. He gently lathered the cream over my cheeks and chin. He licked a bit off of my lip and commented on how good it tasted. I expected him to take his time but instead he was rushing. It was not how I pictured the evening to be. If I had any sense I would have got up and ran. A sinister look spread through his chocolate browns. It wasn’t my Sam. A mad chuckle released from his lips the moment he finished the last stroke. “I did it!” He screamed. I became paralyzed with fear as I watched his muscles expand bigger and his chest pump up two sizes. I grabbed onto my head. It was shrinking. The witchdoctor’s words barreled through my mind. I was losing my purpose. He stole my purpose to strengthen his strength. I’m back at the carnival freak show, where I will stay for the remainder of my life as the Tiny Head Woman. The last I heard he married The Fat Lady. I wonder what he wants with her voice.