We’re very excited to have Hannah Liddell write a short short story for WB. Hannah is a Liddell, like me, and the winner of the Darby Shaw Fellowship for Most Dangerous Law Student. She lives in Austin and shares a wall with people who play a band that takes itself a little too seriously.
The Bargain, a short story by Hannah Liddell
Never one to pass up a bargain, Irmadine Boothy stretched her quivering arm to the top shelf in Dollar for Dollar Liquor and brought tumbling down upon her blue curls an economy sized bottle of rum. She promptly crumpled to the floor, dead.
“Code Blue! Code Blue!” shrieked Dollar for Dollar employee, Arnold Pool, who had been observing her efforts several feet away. “It happened again,” he whispered, sadly. Hanky, the manager, flailing his arms and slipping on the polished linoleum, came to an unsteady stop beside Pool. “Why do you keep putting bargain sizes on the top shelf?” he asked, almost whimpering with rage. Pool, a tall man, shrugged, “It’s easier for me to reach.”
Hanky looked up at him, “Well, reach for the door, mister, because you’re fired. That’s two bargain-hunting deaths in one month.”
Once there were two people who sort of knew each other who were talking at a party. They didn’t know each other that well though, so they started talking about what a cool party it was and is this really the line for the bathroom because you’ve got to be kidding. At first the girl was all “What if we don’t have anything to talk about?” on the inside, but was all “I love this Pavement song” on the outside. He said “Oh yea? It’s like my least favorite song in the world. The only thing I like it more than is your shoes.” He saw her cheeks start to turn red and she started to bowl over ready to puke from embarrassment on top of her very own shoes when he yelled “BUT I LIKE THE WIRE!!!” She stood right up and tucked her hair behind her ear and was like “OMG I LIKE THE WIRE TOO.”
I got so nervous at a doctor’s appointment this week that I didn’t realize I was supposed to follow the nurse out of the exam room and sat there for fifteen minutes until someone asked if I was okay. Yea, I’m okay, I just needed some time to myself after finding out my ear piercing was infected. Sorry. Today I accidentally went to a doctor that specializes more in implants than sore throats, which I didn’t realize until I saw everyone that worked there. Big boobs. Huge boobs. Faces that looked like their skin had been taped on to accentuate the new boobs. He did stick a camera down my throat though, which was cool because I’ve never seen that before.
Anyways, I was lucky enough to get diagnosed with tonsillitis and strep throat today! It’s like the time my eye doctor told me I could wear glasses and contacts at the same time if I wanted to (do I want to?). I’m maybe contagious for like 12 more hours so I got to lay in bed all day and eat popsicles and think about:
the top ten things you can do when you are home sick with strep throat and tonsillitis:
1. finish season five of the x-files
2. spill a sunac salad on your bed because you are so startled during an episode of x-files season five
3. hate the woman who shows up at the end of x-files season five because you know she poses a serious threat to scully’s womanly desires
4. pain killaz!!!!!
5. think of as many movie titles about pain killers as you can as you fall asleep at 3pm. NATURAL BORN PAIN KILLERZ. le duh.
6. have a dream involving dogs and 3D glasses.
7. sketch dream. it looks like a hotdog with a nose wearing sunglasses.
8. wonder if you could get in trouble for offering a pain-killer for a popsicle trade on facebook. GO FOR IT ANYWAYS. EAT A D, FB POLICE.
9. wtf, have you heard the new justin timberlake / game / pharrell?? i want to be the girl cruising on the turtle raft
10. ICHI THE PAIN KILLER!
I’m about to take my second dose of whatever it was I was prescribed. Keep your fingers crossed for part 2 of 3D dog dream.
In hell, you wake up every morning and feel like you did a bunch of coke the night before, the kind with that stuff in it that makes your ears rot off. And your ears are rotting off. And all your hell clothes have period stains on them. Because you’re always on your period.
You live with a rotating cast of disgusting 19-year-old boys who sing in a variety of god-awful cover bands. Your current disgusting 19-year-old roommate is in a band called Lamp Basket and they only do Limp Bizkit’s cover of ‘Faith’ and they practice it every day for hours. Your last roommate was in Godsnack and he often had very loud skype sex with his Myspace girlfriend. So they’re all fucking awful and gross – so gross – but somehow they’re always in the one shower in your apartment? Every morning in hell, you wake up from your cocaine non-sleep having to pee, but your roommate is taking a shower. You briefly consider peeing in your kitchen sink, but then the shower turns off. So you wait, thinking roommate’ll come out any second but then he just stays in there and stays in there and stays in there. So that’s your roommate sitch in hell. Oh! You always have to pee really bad and have to wait hours to go.
Everyday in hell, you have the same commute to work. Every single day, you get to the hell train station as the train pulls away, then the demon on the intercom rasps, “All the trains are dead, so you have to walk” and you can hear the daemon gnashing his teeth or whatever it is demons do (moan?). So you start your journey on foot, except in hell people always walk in front of you but only slightly slower than you, and when you try to pass them, they speed up. And on your walk to work in hell, you realize that you forgot to cut your pinky toe nail. Your too-tight shoes are scrunching your feet together and your gross, sharp, long pinkie toe nail is cutting into its neighbor toe. You can tell that your hell socks are getting bloody. And so you make it to your job in hell.
You work at a radio station, and you have misophonia. At this radio station, the DJs over-salivate and you can hear everything that’s going on in their putrid little mouths – it’s all amplified by their mics. They chew bananas and hack their lung mucus into their mics. They sniffle and sneeze and sound cotton-mouthy. And here’s what your job is at the radio station: you and 15 saliva-y hell DJs, who have varying degrees of literacy, sit around in a circle and take turns reading paragraphs from Who Moved My Cheese. For hours. They use mechanical pencils that squeak. They eat all your hummus. They make bad jokes. Their breath smells like cigars. Your boss is the devil, but he’s a real sweetheart.
You make the same hell commute back to your shitty apartment, where, to your surprise, a new 19-year-old pieceofshit has moved in. He has covered the walls in Thomas Kinkade paintings and Anne Geddes photos. He tells you he’s a “self-taught philosopher and psychologist and knows a lot about life”. He also tells you he’s in a reggae Jars of Clay cover band called Jah-Jars of Clay, and he hops in the shower just as you realize you have to pee. You get into your hell bed and realize there are toast crumbs and pubic hairs (neither of which belong to you) all over your sheets. You shake out your sheets and walk into the kitchen to find your roommate eating cottage cheese with his bare hands (all your roommates have done this). Feeling understandably gross, you decide to take a shower which, obviously, is cold, and as you step out you step into a pile of cat litter. The end.
Anyway, I had a day book-ended by horrible transportation issues, but I just had to remind myself that life could get much, much, much, much, much worse. I could have a roommate who plays in Primal Ice Cream. Or I could be suffering from something awful. I am a terrible brat. WILLIAMSBURG PROBLEMS, AM I RITE?
Academically, but sexy
Tacky, but wet
Casually, but slowly
Friendly, but freaky
Formal, but nude
Smart, but approachable
Dieting, but business like
PG, but R
Facebooking, but serious
Underwire, but classic
Double d’s, but discreet
Diabetic, but silky
Anorexic, but ladylike
Steamy, but amiable
Vaginal, but cocky
Judgemental, but specific
Secretive, but secreting
New age, but no age
Collector, but bone collector
Faking it, but meaning it
Rich, but gassy
Absorbent, but wet blankety
Flaky, but drunk
Brazen, but blazin’
chance that one of us is thinking about Nerd rope: 1 in 2
chance that one of us is eating a Nerd rope: 1 in 5
number of Nerd pieces on a Nerd rope: ???
number of hours in a day we spend thinking about snacks: 19
number of hours in a day we sleep: whatever
chance that where we’re sleeping isn’t our house: 1 in 5
days of last month that we stayed up past 4 am: like, 6?
chances of one of those days coinciding with payday: 1 in 3
number of dollars in both our our bank accounts: -45
price of a glass of punch from The Drink, in dollars: 5
number of minutes it takes to drink that glass of punch: 3
number of times we’ve made sangria this summer: 0
amount of sense this makes: 0
ratio of Christie’s tan to mine: 4 to 1
ratio of Christie’s resemblance to Cleopatra after hair color: 1 to 1
percentage of regret I have about cutting all my hair off: 25
number of times cooler my neck is in the summer than yours: 234098
percentage of regret I have after thinking about that: 0
days it will take for my hair to reach my butt: 1460 (really. really.)
number of hours in a day we spend thinking about hair and nail polish: 4
chances that Christie’s nail polish is Nerd-colored: 1 in 2
This is by my coworker and buddy brian.
TSo it’s 6am on my day off and my alarm goes off. I haven’t been woken up by an alarm since I was 15 and putting up black curtains in my bedroom to be “edgy” and secretly practicing Buddhism for 3.5 weeks to be a bad Catholic school boy.
The sound is horribly shrilling and it instills me this feeling not unlike what I imagine pre-historic mammals felt when they suddenly realized they had traipsed into a tar pit. So I spring out of bed and bang my toe and shower and get ready and throw on some un-ironed dress clothes since mother has mandated I “not look shitty” for my little brother’s college graduation.
Now, I could probably write volumes about the mere fact that this brought about a regression of my quater-life crisis anxiety attacks,but I’ll focus instead on the sheer absurdity of the day itself.
My family, comprised of mother, father, younger brother, and one cousin (why?) pull up to my place around 7 and we pile in and head out on the road to the campus. Which my brother claims is “somewhere upstate” but the invitation says is in Westchester county, so we head there and since I’m a Bronx boy, it’s not THAT far away.
Two hours later we are weaving in and out of lanes and pulling into random exits, hopelessly lost. My brother has failed to ascertain which exact campus the ceremony will be at, while my parents are bickering about being late, while my cousin sits in the back and comments on how hungry she is. I, meanwhile, am vainly trying to calm everyone down, and offer up my smart phone (which has lost service, go droid go!) to help us navigate.
Have you ever watched Seinfled? Are you familiar with George Constanza’s parents? If not, here’s a quick little snippet.
Those are my parents. Yeah.
Through some miracle of nature, probably comprised of a mix of frequent swearing, yelling, and good old fashion gas station attendant directions, we end up at the right place. Yay family.
What is it about graduations that brings out the worst in people? Seriously, its shocking how quickly I regressed to my teeny self with my black curtains and Dalai Lama action figurine. Pouting and yelling and such. On a day off no less.
To top it off, the ceremony is beyond boring. I actually loudly mutter “how patronizing” during the valedictorian speech, and I nod off for a good 20 minutes at one point.
And then someone has the bright idea to experience some fine celebratory dining at the Cheesecake Factory afterward. The five of us get stuffed into a booth made for four. I’m the only non-overweight member of my family. I begrudgingly order the Ahi Tartare (stale) and some salad (uninspiring) since the 3,000+ calorie counts listed on the other menu items scare me from ordering anything with the slightest modicum of flavor. It’s almost beach time after all. Which is always preceded by graduation season.
Thank goodness I’m never having children, cuz if I did, I’d sooooo ban graduations in my household. I’d just drop them off at the nearest Chuck E. Cheese (regardless of age) while I go to a bar and quietly enjoy a gimlet or four. Now that’s pomp.