My disdain for uniformity has interfered with my weekly blog ritual, yet again. I just don’t care enough about any one subject to consistently write about it. So, I have a new plan–I’m going to post rejected stories or pieces I think are too off-beat to pitch. Not that I’ve even gotten around to pitching anywhere except to Exotic Magazine, but that will soon change as I will be bracing myself for my first pile of rejection letters next month.
Here’s a (mostly) fictionalized story I submitted to Exotic Magazine twice, which got rejected twice. It’s pretty racy, so I don’t see the point of trying to publish it anywhere else. It’s super short and tasteless–two things I love in a story! I wrote it as an exercise in Garrett Cook’s short story workshop. We had to write about doing an innocuous task in a familiar place recognizable to everyone, in the most words possible. I rebelled and didn’t care about word count but still got more verbose than usual. I also thought it would be funny to write about shopping for condoms at Fred Meyer, a Northwest grocery store chain. Keep reading if you like tame sleaze, but not if you expect a deep conclusion.
He Acted Like I Brought Over a Shopping Cart Full of Condoms
The fluorescent lights click and flicker and hum and buzz brighter than a thousand suns in the best scifi anime from the seventies you’ve never heard of. I avert my eyes down to the dust-caked concrete floor, grey and muddied with rain-weathered foot prints. The mannequins mock me with their winter shawls and hats and gloves and endless accessories layered in price tags I can’t afford unless there’s a massive sale at the end of the season so who gives a shit anyway. The earth tones and candy cane prints tell me I’m a weirdo if I don’t comply with this month’s grocery store fashion trends.
I’m a fucking rebel. I walk by the socks. Ankle socks in drab colors. In neon colors. In white. Knee highs. Striped and decorated with aliens and lady bugs and Santa Claus and polka dots. The racks of cheap-yet-overpriced stockings that will last two dinners and one 80s night, if I’m lucky.
I roll through the makeup and remember how I don’t fucking get it. The micro-thin eyeliner pens and glitter eye shadow in gold and silver and pink and purple and blue and and and I don’t know what special gene teaches you to give a fuck about it all, but I’m pretty sure I missed that one.
I slap a set of red-through-purple lipsticks and they roll under a clerk’s feet. She looks up and sneers. “Accident,” I say and walk toward the supplements and pretend that’s what I need.
We’ve never done the dirty. The horizontal party. Played hide the salami. And I do not fucking trust the guy. He’s a pig. He screams lyrics about speed and sluts. But he’s been persistent for years so I figure, fuck it, as long as I got condoms, we cool.
I pass the vitamin d. The fish oil. Super b complex. The feminine hygiene products. Maxi. Kotex. O.B. Vagisil. Then there it is–the tiny array of condoms and lube stare at me. Lifestyles. Astroglide. Magnum. Trojan. Skyn. I just want a small pack for one night of likely very unsatisfying sex.
There’s no small pack. Just boxes of 24. I grab a big box of Ultra Thin Trojan condoms.
When I pull them out in the hotel room, his face turns pale.
“Did you leave the shopping cart outside?” he says.
I grab the box of condoms and place it on the night stand next to the lamp and remote control. We sit on the bed in silence.