Written with the wild and crazy prompts: he didn’t, women and chair, the abyss, the opposite day, alfalfa sprouts and bacon, transient stakes, meditating on dried fruit, automatic alarm clock, unlock, how brave, nothing but the breath of a snorting dog, wanted a mother who baked, miracle, wiggle them up to your waist, going free lance
The last thing Marie heard as she slipped into the abyss was the uneven breathing of her snorting chihuahua, curled close up under her chin between the blanket and the bed spread. When she dared to open her eyes, it was opposite day in the new dimension.
Fashionable women were dressed in loose, comfortable pin-striped suits and wide wing-tipped shoes that didn’t crush their toes or stretch their arches out of shape. All the men were wiggling suntan colored pantyhose up to their waists lest their pale hairy legs look unsightly under their pencil thin straight skirts.
“How brave you all are,” Marie exclaimed as she straightened her necktie. “It takes courage to wear panty hose. She glanced away, quickly, afraid she would be caught in her white lie. She wanted to be liked, she wanted to fit in, and she’d been taught that flattery was the best way to unlock the door to success.
She strode up the sidewalk, wondering where she might apply for a job. She was distracted by the mouthwatering smell of alfalfa sprouts and bacon. She decided she couldn’t job-hunt on an empty stomach. She ducked into the diner and was greeted by a man in a short skirt and apron, who was chewing peppermint gum. “The special today is transient steak and eggs,” he told her as he handed her a menu.
“Sounds good to me,” she agreed, “but first I need a meditation on some dried fruit.”
“Plums?” he asked.
“Apricots and mango,” she replied, slipping him a book of poetry in exchange for the meal.
He didn’t agree, he didn’t refuse, but he sat down at the counter caught up in sticky metaphors. Marie despaired of ever getting her food now as the wait staff all gathered round to read the latest verse.
“If only I’d had a mother who baked,” Marie lamented, “perhaps I could have learned to make my own orange muffins and coconut cookies, and I wouldn’t be out here going freelance on the street, trading words for breakfast.”
And then a miracle happened. The automatic alarm clock sounded bringing Marie back to a dimension of dogs and blankets and warm flannel sheets.
The room was filled with women but only one chair. Everyone stood, not wanting to be thought a slacker. Marie knew she wouldn’t sit either. The women danced in their pajamas, nostalgic and bitter, yet happy to be in each other’s company.
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Photo by Niki Zbrankova at Unsplash