I’m tempted to introduce this story by saying something I say entirely too often: “I have no idea where this came from.”
Aside from being repetitive, that claim falls a little short in the honesty department, too. I know where it comes from. I just don’t know why.
Let me explain.
Fiction comes from within. That’s true for any writer, and it’s one of the reasons your fiction says so much about you. When you unleash your imagination and let it bounce around in your head for a while, the stuff that oozes out through your fingertips is a byproduct of the real you.
Or it isn’t. That depends on how brave you’re willing to be when you start storytelling.
Either way, it says a lot about you. The courageous go wheels-off. The cowardly stop short, telling themselves they can’t write that because, geez, they’ll look like freaks.
I’ll let you in on a secret. I’m a freak. So are you. Do you really think you’re successfully hiding it by shying away from your best fiction? Because you aren’t.
Number of people fooled: zero. Zilch. No one.
In the epic words of Elsa, let it go. (Yes, that’s a Frozen reference. Hey, I wanted to hate the film. I really did. I was sick to death of all the hype long before I saw it, but damn if it isn’t a good movie.)
When you write, just let the story flow. It wants to be told. Get out of its fucking way.
With that, on to this week’s story. If you think you know what this little gem says about me, feel free to speculate wildly in the comments.
concerning miss Gloria Morein
and her brief though entirely
hospitable detention of mister
Harvell Devin, sorcerer
On finding her application of lipstick wanting, Gloria huffed. She sat her handbag on the counter top and extracted the necessary means to correct the pigmentation problem.
“He’s such a pain in the ass,” she said before reapplying Zen Orchid.
Harvell was visibly annoyed. His jaw clenched with enough force to crack a nut.
Gloria smacked her lips a couple of times and, satisfied with the repaired state of coloration, popped the cap on and deposited the lipstick in her purse.
“I mean, fucking Fiore, right?” she said. “Do you know what ‘Fiore’ means? I looked it up. Most names mean something and, sue me, I was curious. It means ‘flower’. Do you think he’d be pissed if I called him Daisy or Rose the next time we cross paths?”
She checked her teeth in the mirror, just to make sure there wasn’t any residual greenery lurking post-lunch. The high cost of eating salad.
“Gloria, I love these little chats, I really do, but this is the men’s room. I’m trying to relieve myself. Do you think you could wait for me outside?”
Gloria’s nose wrinkled as she suppressed a giggle. “Harvey, I wouldn’t have taken you for the type to get pee shy–”
“–and I would have been more than happy to talk shop over lunch, but you picked the smallest, busiest cafe in this part of town. It’s not like we can plot the demise of the city’s most powerful evil wizard next to Betty Sue and her panini.”
Giving up, Harvell zipped and joined Gloria at the sink.
“Did you go? I didn’t hear you go,” she said.
He replied with the a world-weary sigh. “No, Gloria, I did not. Like I told you, I can’t with you in here. I’ll just go later.”
“That’s not good for the prostate,” she observed with perhaps too much concern.
“My prostate is fine.”
“Oh? Do you have it checked regularly? I’m guessing you don’t. Do you know how they do a prostate exam? Via the anus, Harvey. Right up the ass. I know, probably not your thing, but you really should ask your doctor to take a peek the next time you see him. A good prostate’s a terrible thing to waste.”
Harvell washed his hands, scrubbing with more force than the job required. He was quite accustom to Gloria’s tendency to prattle. When they first met he thought her conversational volleys might be a psychological strategy, engineered to reveal her subject’s weaknesses and grant her the proverbial upper hand. However, over time he’d come to realize otherwise.
People sometimes refer to one’s ability to withhold certain comments as a conversational filter. Gloria completely lacked this characteristic.
“Thank you for your concern, Gloria.”
The door to the men’s room swung inward, but Harvell caught it with his left foot before it was even halfway ajar.
“Occupied,” he said. The would-be urinater withdrew.
“I think this is my first time in a men’s room,” Gloria said when the door was once again closed. “I expected it to be much messier than the lady’s room, but you guys do okay. The floor’s not sticky or anything.”
“Gloria, can you please focus for a moment? What did you learn about Fiore?”
“And the smell isn’t too bad, either. I mean, it’s not perfume, but I’m not gagging. Speaking of,” she thrust her wrist into his face, waving it below his nose. “What do you think?”
He was overcome with a sharp floral scent, biting and acrid.
“Very nice,” he said. “Something new?”
“Oh, no. I’ve had this for ages. Ages, Harvey, but you know how things go. In style, passé, and then for no reason at all, retro!”
“And Fiore?” he asked again.
“Back from Brazil,” she said, now smelling her own wrist.
“That’s hardly news.”
She rustled through her bag until she found a small vial. On acquisition, she filled the immediate space with a fine mist. Harvell’s nose was again assaulted by an angry bouquet.
“But do you know who’s with him?” she asked.
“I do not,” Harvell said.
“The Lady of Candido Godoi?”
“The very same. And, interestingly enough, another flower!”
Harvell completely missed the botanical correlation. He was lost to internal turmoil.
The Lady of Candido Godoi, here, not just in the country, but in his city. The inexplicably ageless mistress of the so-called Angel of Death. This didn’t bode well for anyone in town who was a fan of life.
“Gloria, if this is true I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’ve got to go.”
The news genuinely troubled Gloria, whose animated smile melted into a frown of utter disappointment.
“What, no tiramisu?” she asked.
But Harvell was already reaching for the door. He slipped the bonds of her social gravity, no easy feat, as another patron of the restaurant entered, passing Harvell and then pausing when he saw Gloria.
“Oh, don’t mind me,” she said with a pout. “By all means, pee. Holding it can hurt your prostate.”