CuiousPages - fiction and nonfiction
CuriousPages - fiction and nonfiction
As she recalled Paul’s words now, she was aware of the connection between her own broken-off stiletto heel and Susan’s “sexy” stilettos; it was as though she held that woman’s “sexy” stiletto in her hand, the woman who had destroyed what meagre joy she possessed, had taken it with a few carefully timed glances at Paul and a single look at Mandy herself which seemed tinged with evil—though masked by the veil of that beautiful face; evil that Paul, being a mere man, would never be capable of seeing—she held that broken-off stiletto heel and knew that someone would pay for this crime, and pay for it today.
She became aware of her aching back and had to sit down. The hardware store was not many more steps away. For the moment she forgot about Paul’s words, about Susan’s veil of hated beauty, forgot, even, about the scarlet walrus whose presence standing there on the pavement—in the same red dress that Susan had once worn to the office—had seemed to represent Susan. She forgot about all this and focused on overcoming her aching back for just a few yards more, until, finally, she stepped into the hardware store, whose sign “Heels repaired while you wait” she previously noticed, having passed the store many times. She sat on the single chair in the store, having been told the owner was currently busy and would begin her repair in a few minutes.
She recalled red flashes which seemed to follow her as she made her way to the store. She did not even noticed them at the time but now, as she sat there, that same redness appeared before her and seemed to fill the whole store; it dominated her vision in the way an angry wall of water from a suddenly burst dam might as she looked up and saw the scarlet walrus standing directly in front of her, pointing at her and saying, “I didn’t wear this dress to attract men; I wore it because I like red. So, you’re wrong.”
Mandy’s mouth hung open.
Helen stepped even closer and went on, “And I didn’t like the way yousighed at me. You people are all the same—not me. Your mind is full of poison, and it’s yourself you’re sighing at, not me.”
Mandy said, in disbelief, “Didn’t like the way I sighed at you!” She stood up and, to make room for herself, pushed the walrus back as she got to her feet, telling her, “I’m sighing at myself?—what are you talking about, you deranged hussy?”
“It’s you who’s all the same, not me.”
“No, it’s you who’s all the same; just look at the state of you; do you honestly think men are fooled by this,” pointing at her red dress.
 “There’s nothing wrong with my tits,” said Helen, and she turned to the shop keeper who was stood holding a shoe in his hand as he followed their debate, rapt and somewhat in awe, as by an unexpected entertainment that had suddenly brightened his usually dull day more than he could have possibly hoped for.
“Do you like my tits?” asked Helen.
The shopkeeper’s head tilted to one side as he appraised her assets, then his eyebrows rose as though indicating that Helen’s tits were perfectly acceptable.
“This is ridiculous,” said Mandy and she pushed passed the scarlet walrus. She noticed one of her shoulder straps was broken and realized this must have happened in their previous scuffle. When she pushed past her, she deliberately broke the other, then quickly limped out of the shop, still carrying her broken-off heel.
Helen, holding the front of her dress in place, stepped to the door and shouted along the street, “You will apologize for sighing at me.”
Sally Softly had an unusually large collection of tracksuits. The whole thing started two months ago when she suddenly noticed that Peter, her husband, was behaving strangely. He was not paying enough attention to her, so she (and she was quite within her rights to do this) she complained to him, saying, “You’re a selfish pig; you never think of anyone but yourself.”
For the next few days he watched her out of the corner of his eye, and when she had finally had enough of this, she told him, “Stop looking at me; I know what you’re thinking; don’t think I don’t.”
From then onwards he did not say another word but merely kept looking at her with his face contorted, as if in agony. From this, she deduced he was now trying to trick her into thinking she was ugly. But she was determined to not let him get the better of her, so whenever “doughnut” appeared on her shopping list, she would immediately scribble this out, write a further entry below it, drag herself out of her easy chair and stagger to the nearest sports shop to buy a tracksuit (which was the added item on her shopping list), so that she could use the tracksuit to counteract the side effects of eating doughnuts.
At 17 Misconception Boulevard, Sally was now standing in her living room, wearing one of these tracksuits. She watched her usual exercise‑spot on the carpet, when she recalled Peter looking at her that morning with that look on his face. She reflected (—I’ll teach him to try to trick me into thinking I’m ugly—I’ll do some more exercise. Not that there is any excess weight on me, mind—because there isn’t—but—just in case. Then I’ll be so attractive—even more than I am now, because I’m already quite attractive—I’ll be so attractive, men will flock to me. And when Peter sees all these other men wanting me, he’ll then want me too but I’ll reject him—ha!).
She lay on that spot on the floor and endured ten minutes of absolute agony—throughout which she attempted to pluck up the courage to begin using the tracksuit. She then raised her legs into the air—with much groaning and shuddering—and her feet kicked about wildly above her, like delirious hatchets massacring a roomful of imaginary people. She did this for fifteen whole seconds, then her legs dropped to the floor and she gasped alarmingly.


Fiction and nonfiction by Fletcher Kovich and also classic writers.


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