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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.
“Pathetic,” the sound of my husband’s voice uttering this word woke me from a deep sleep. “What?” I mumbled back. He could not believe that he heard the alarm clock music blaring from my daughter’s room down the hall and around the corner and I didn’t. At some point during the night he was asked to go sleep in her room (probably because of a nightmare). It’s he who sets the alarm clock, so in situations like this morning he expects me to wake him once it goes off. I do not think this is too much to ask and I would if I heard it the way he heard it. You see, I have a problem. The music of the alarm clock becomes part of my dreams. I have danced many times to the music that was supposed to be waking me up. There is always a situation in my dream happening at the exact moment the alarm clock goes off. For example, I’m at a party talking to some friends, in the midst of our conversation music gets turned on (actually the alarm clock) a friend smiles and says “Let’s Dance.” We be-bop through my dream laughing, grooving and spinning about through random rooms in a house I have never been in. I have also slowed dance with a handsome man (sometimes my husband, sometimes not-Hey I can’t help what I dream can I?). It’s not just the music that makes its way into my dreams it’s the news as well. Last week a male reporter was talking about how a horse in New York City got spooked and ran into a tree and died. The information being told became part of my dream and it haunted me for hours after I woke up. I dreamt of the crash. I’m no psychic and I’m sure the crash I saw in my dream was not the actual scene of the horse’s demise but it still felt very real. Years ago we lived in a small apartment on a busy street. Our walls were thin and there wasn’t much that couldn’t be heard. You would think I would have heard a fire truck’s siren going off across the street. I didn’t. I woke up the next morning went out on my back porch and started talking to the neighbor. It was then that I was told of the fire across the street and how the trucks were there for most of the night extinguishing the flames. What was scarier was my husband slept through it too. I wouldn’t be surprised if I had a dream that night of myself wearing suspenders and big boots standing on a ladder with a hose in my hand. Dreaming to me is like a drug; once I start I don’t want to stop, unless of course it’s a nightmare. I think dreaming is similar to what heaven or hell will be. We are moving about through worlds, dealing with situations, dancing like fools and having conversations with others. But it’s all done on a spiritual level. I like to think if we can live in our dreams than we must exist after death. And thinking like this makes the idea of death a little bit easier to swallow.
|Thirteen Things about Maribeth
I thought it would be fun if I wrote thirteen things I forgot at the store since I wrote “IF ONLY I MADE A LIST” earlier this week.
1…. Saline Solution (I have been wearing my contacts way too long. I have forgotten this about ten out of ten times-I only remember when my eyes start irritating me at night-I promised the optometrist I would take out each night. I really hate breaking a promise so I plan on getting this on my eleventh trip to the store)
2… Toilet Paper (I went to the store for toilet paper because we were out and was forced to use tissues. I did NOT leave the store with toilet paper)
3…Spring Water (I reminded myself twice while in the store to make sure I got myself a gallon of spring water. I walked down the aisle and was distracted by the great sale on juice. I got the juice and forgot the water)
4…Coffee and Coffee Creamer (This really peeves me when I wake up and realize I forgot the coffee again. Hubby isn’t pleased when I beg him to do a coffee run prior to work-but he does anyway. What a guy)
5…Hairspray (Used the last spray while getting ready for work and told myself to pick up another bottle at the store after work. That did not happen)
6…Garbage bags- (Realized when I emptied the refrig of leftovers filling the garbage. Hubby took out garbage and asked me to put another bag in. Light bulb came on-I forgot the bags. He shook his head in disgust)
7…Hand soap (Went to wash hands after changing a diaper and realized I forgot to buy hand soap. Had to use dishwashing liquid)
8…Razors (As I bent down to shave my legs it occurred to me I never bought new disposable razors. And I had already thrown the dull ones away. Hubby would be very disturbed if he knew I was forced to use his)
9…Wet Wipes (Next diaper changing I pulled out wet wipe only to discover it was the last one-Hubby called to remind me to buy wet wipes. Baby wasn’t too happy that I used wet paper towels
10…Lollipops (I promised all three Kiddo’s I would buy them lollipops for their good behavior. Came home without them and their behaviors immediately turned for the worst. I wasn’t too happy with myself. My forgetfulness was the cause for an hour long screaming/crying session)
11…Shampoo (For some reason I bypassed this aisle completely. I lathered baby shampoo on and hoped it would work-wasn’t all that bad)
12…Pledge-(Friday’s are clean night with the hubby. He asked if I wanted to polish the tables or Windex the windows. I burst out in my famous nervous laugh
13. Windex…Hubby was not a happy camper
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