My submission to the new magazine, which is written, edited and printed within 48 hours, was not brief. Though it didn't make it into the print edition (tear), and is not the polished piece of literature I'd generally like to share due to Longshot's 24 hour submission deadline, I figured 'why deprive the world of these 1000 words related to the issue's theme: COMEBACK.' And so, here it is--just as it was submitted to Longshot.
And P.S. Please do be sure to support Longshot. Find Issue 1 here.
COMEBACK : 3 entries found
1. : A sharp retort.
Derek lacked the social graces that get most people through their daily exposure to other humans. If someone, for instance, was in an elevator with Derek and felt compelled by the silence to ask him ‘how’s the weather today?’ Derek might respond ‘You were just outside. Did you exit the building in a giant, weatherproof bubble or are you just an idiot?” Derek didn’t understand the point of small talk or niceties. He didn’t get that telling someone she looked nice wasn’t just a reiteration of what “she should have been able to see herself if she owned a mirror,” but one of those ‘things’ you say to people who expect you, from time to time, to say something pleasant and uplifting. And so it was that Derek remained, more often than not, single.
In the Spring of the same year that Derek had spent the entire Winter reading ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ in the hopes of maintaining a relationship for more than a single evening, Derek met a woman. Veronica was lovely and patient and had recently lowered her standards. And Derek, fresh off his read and smitten with Veronica’s shapely physique, thought he might apply his new understanding of women and court her.
“I like you,” he told her one day, though he could not imagine that his constant efforts to undo her blouse had not indicated just that many times over. And Veronica, so impressed by Derek’s expression of sentiment, became prematurely excited and replied, “I like you too Derek. I like you so, so much. Your dark eyes. Your brooding expression. Your non-ironic undertaking of the emo lifestyle. Do you mean that you might be interested in taking things between us a step further?” For which Derek was not prepared with an answer from his recent read.
“Next step? I don’t understand. Is that code in Venus for taking our clothes off and moving to the bedroom? That would be great as I’ve got dinner plans at 8 and am on a bit of a tight schedule.”
To which Veronica had absolutely nothing to say. But then she did.
“Goodbye, Derek. And, in case you’re unclear, in Venus, ‘goodbye’ is code for ‘you need serious counseling and to revisit childhood trauma that has made you the totally insane, detached and sad man you are today.’”
2. : A command to return.
It took Veronica 2 hours, several phone calls to her mother, and 1 very long and incoherent message left on her therapist’s answering machine, to realize that she had made a mistake. A mistake that, were she 20, might have been forgivable but, as she was approaching an age at which women no longer share their age, might be a very huge mistake.
So Veronica began the long walk back to Derek’s apartment. And as she walked she practiced what she might say when Derek answered the door.
“When I left before, I was just going to change into something more comfortable. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. I’m back now and ready to go to the bedroom.”
“I’ve made a horrible error. I love you. Or, at least I think I could grow to love you.”
“Listen. I don’t have much longer to get pregnant and my mother thinks I’ll be single forever.”
“Please, for the love of God, won’t you give this another chance?”
Veronica was still figuring out her plan when she arrived to Derek’s and rang the doorbell and discovered that he was no longer home. Because Derek, completely unphased by what had transpired, had already left for dinner.
3. : A bounceback to greatness.
Veronica, feeling simultaneously defeated and yet slightly relieved, decided what she needed was a drink.
Taking a seat by herself at the nearest pub, Veronica ordered a cocktail—a very strong vodka soda which she would order three more of over the next hour and a half.
As Veronica squeezed the lemon into her last beverage, teeter-tottering a little now on her bar stool, she recognized that though her coordination level had decreased severely over the last 90 minutes, she was far happier than when the night had begun. She was independent after all. She earned a decent salary which allowed her to get drunk off of premium liquor brands. And she was almost certain that the bartender had winked at her when she fell off her chair that last time.
It was during this moment of revelation when a man whose name she’d later, in bed, learn was Victor, walked into the bar. He approached Veronica with a charisma generally reserved for men in black and white movies. “You look lovely,” Victor said to Veronica. “It’s not often I find a woman as stunning as you seated next to the trivia video game machine here. Why don’t you come back to my apartment and I’ll tell you more incredible things about yourself.”
The high that Veronica felt in the backseat of the taxicab which drove her and Victor back to his place that night was unmatchable. He spewed out compliments. She drunkenly giggled. And she thought to herself “I have found myself a man who is not afraid to express himself. I have landed the jackpot. I’ve already forgotten about you Derek. I may have children before I’m 45 after all Mother. Take that.” And these feelings stayed with her through the night and well into the morning.
As Victor rolled out of bed the next day and prepared to wow the world with his suave all over again, and Derek, not realizing he’d been forgotten and not really caring one way or another, started out another day in which people would expect him to do things that made no sense to him at all, Veronica paraded home, mascara smeared, ego boosted. She was elated. She felt above it all. She was oblivious but, nonetheless, completely and utterly victorious.