Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pimento Fantasy

If you haven't yet, stop by the NOT and check out Mike Solender's echap-book, The Dog Days of Summer 2010. Many #fridayflash fav's are featured (sorry for the alliteration), and an honorable mention story from my new writing buddy, Jay Thurston. Oh yeah, if you search hard enough, you may even find a 101 word story from moi. 

In other news, Barry Basden of the Camroc Press Review nominated a story of mine for the "Best of the Net Anthology 2010". It's a long shot, but I am so honored to be considered. Thank you Barry.

Here's this week's 3WW and #fridayflash.


Carl stared at the bottom of his martini glass, wondering why his olive wriggled. Air bubbles rose from beneath the olive, as if his glass held carbonated water instead of gin with a whisper of vermouth. He knew better. From some physics formula he learned in his youth but forgot in the five decades since, he understood. Movement forced air bubbles to rise. What the hell moved his olive?


"I'm not your nurse Carl."

"Would you prefer 'bar wench'?"

"Would you prefer coffee?"

"Try it and I won't tip."

Tara scrambled for the remote, pointed it at the tiny box beneath the HD television. "Did hell freeze over Carl? I didn't think you knew the word 'tip'?" Tara laughed. The news anchor's blathering replaced Journey's believing-mantra fading from the jukebox.

Carl shook his head. "With that negative attitude, what do you expect?"

Tara shushed him, turned to grab a rolled up newspaper and swatted at a fly. Carl squinted at her tight shorts, thought about how much he wanted to do her and wished he'd thought even four seconds sooner you can't handle the tip I've got. That would have topped her. He would top her. Carl wanted to gulp his martini, but he forced himself to refrain; today was the only day in the month he could allow himself a martini. Tomorrow, and for the next twenty-eight days, he could only afford happy hour beer, and linger over those until they became piss-warm.

But today he cashed his social security check, and the gin glistened and the condensation dripped and Dan Fogerty warbled about something rising as Carl felt his own something rising that hadn't risen in a very long time, not since the government suspended the contract one month before his pension and he lost his house and lost his wife and lost his confidence, but now, right now, he could savor not only the rot-gut gin but his gut-growing lust for a young girl in tight-ass shorts who should consider him a sugar daddy instead of dismissing him as a lecherous grandfather and what the hell was bursting from the pitted hole of his olive?

Carl rubbed his face with both hands, cleared his throat, clutched the wet stem of his glass. "Tara?"

She swatted at the air, then sighed. "What now Carl?"

"What's in the olives?"

"What, you think this is the capitol grille? Nothing's in the olives. And for what you pay, you're lucky you get any olives."

Carl slammed his fist against the wooden bar. "Watch it Carl," Tara warned, but he ignored her. The vibration against the bar shook his glass; the olive spun.

A tiny girl burst from the pitted hole, arms raised in a celebratory "v". Her curly blonde ringlets floated in the gin as she popped then settled, her red halter top accenting her wee-shapely breasts which settled against the smooth green. Her miniature lips formed an oh, the liquid shimmering from a diffused buzz. "Are you talking?" Carl asked.

Carl lifted his glass to eye-level, the faint pine-y scent of juniper berries tickling his nostrils. She was beautiful, proportioned perfectly, a dream woman... except for the fact she fit inside a Queen's olive. Carl snorted. It could be worse, he thought, a manzanilla olive... wish I were a pimento right about now. Carl gulped, looked around the room and wondered if anyone else saw what he was seeing.

A skinny kid sporting spotty sideburns and raging acne fed dollar bills into the jukebox. Carl heard his damn! I haven't heard the chili peppers in ages. Aggressive chords filled the room, drowning out the buzzing fly and pimento fantasy. Carl returned his attention to his glass.

The olive girl hoisted herself out of the hole and balanced on the olive-edge. She bent her wee knees and sprung, arms swimming in an upward breast-stroke as her feet kicked. Carl marveled at the tiny red dots on her toes. She rose to the surface of his martini. Before olive-bursting girl was able to grasp the glass-lip, Carl's hand shook, plopping her back through the heady liquid and into her hole.

A fly landed on the bar next to Carl's elbow. Before Carl could react, Tara swatted with her newspaper, knocking Carl's drink out of his hand. "Ah!" Carl yelped, startled by the sharp slam of newspaper and the sharper sound of shattering glass. The skinny kid sang with the jukebox, twisting and turning as the olive rolled along the bar and cold gin shocked Carl's crotch and Tara shouted "damn!" and the living pimento crawled out of her hole and Carl heard you're feelings are burning and Tara raised the newspaper and olive thumbelina shook herself and Carl shouted "no!" and the off-key kid droned you're breaking the girl as Tara smashed the bar. To Carl, the smash echoed for a very long time.

"You okay Carl?"

Carl reached into his back pocket, mopped his face with his handkerchief. "Hang on, I'll make you another," Tara said.

"Nah, that's okay. One's enough." He got out his wallet, put a couple dollars on the bar. Tara raised her eyebrows. Carl turned away before he had to explain he planned on skipping tomorrow's happy hour.


Eric J. Krause said...

Everyone needs a sign when they've had too much, be it in a night or a lifetime. I think he just got his. Or maybe I'm wrong and she really did exist. But either way, I think he's taking it as the sign. Good story!

Bukowski's Basement said...

The pacing, the dialogue ... It's all so rich, Peggy. Well done.

Jen Brubacher said...

I think he's had enough! But I was totally engrossed in your dark and weird world, and this girl. What's her story? Great flash.

dan powell said...

The pace from the appearence of the girl on is absolutely gripping. Loved the change of sentence structure in the build up to the end, whipping together the disparate actions up to the peak of the slam of the paper on the bar.

Michael Solender said...

Great stuff Peggy. Congrats on your accolades, thanks for the nod and contributing over at the NOT! btw, Pimento Cheese is like the national dish here!

K said...

Peg. What a clever story! The girl sounded like she was cute but apparently a sign that enuf is enuf.

I love your writing, very clear and natural. I absolutely love it.

K said...

Peg. What a clever story! The girl sounded like she was cute but apparently a sign that enuf is enuf.

I love your writing, very clear and natural. I absolutely love it.

Jay Thurston said...

First of all, thanks dearly for the honorable mention on your blogspot! I appreciate the commendation very much!

Your story has a fantastic soundtrack this time... "Breaking the Girl," what a song to be hallucinating to! The subtle hints of the other two songs were enough to fill the backdrop with familiar sound. Loved the run with his "dirty old man" thoughts... a "lecherous grandfather" indeed. The detail in his olive illusion was well done too.

Colorful tale with vivid characters!

Thanks again Peggy!

ThomG said...

What a fabulous read, Peg. the dialogue is sharp, the pacing is perfect and just an overall great read. I salute you for this.

Marisa Birns said...

Quite a captivating story. Loved the pacing, dialogue, and imagination depicted here.

Congratulations on your story's nomination. Good luck!

Deanna Schrayer said...

Fantabulously funny story Peg! As others have said, the dialogue, the pacing, everything about this, is spot on hilarious. Love the description of "fairy girl".
Thanks for the entertaining read!

Adam Byatt said...

I like how you have interspersed musical themes into the piece. Great sense of the drunken magic.
Adam B @revhappiness

Mike Robertson said...

What they said, Peg. A grinner, a head shaker. And once again, a real story, told briefly and well. Awesome, really.

Timothy P. Remp said...

So, I’m late to the party.

Everyone has already said what the good points are/were. I enjoyed the detail of your story. I enjoyed how each character, including Thumbleina, had real individual personalities and how the music intertwined. The reader hooks are there and done so well.

I was waiting for more a sexual connection between Carl and his little Pimento Fantasy but that’s the old dirty man in me ;)


quin browne said...

Fingers crossed on the nomination... and, this? I loved this! Each detail was perfectly done...

Tony Noland said...

Now THAT is what the DTs can do to you!

Great piece, I could see every detail.

Laurita said...

Great pacing. Loved the description of the olive girl, arms held out in the victory V. Awesome job on this one.

Gracie said...

Well, I'm glad he got the message. Poor little pimiento girl.

What a great story. You drew me in and hauled me right to the end. Really enjoyed it.

vandamir said...

Excellent story. I'm still not sure if he was hallucinating or if she was real & if she was real, the poor thing, escaping her olive prison only to be smashed like a fly. Loved all the layers in this piece - the past, the present, the future blended with the music.

One tiny thing jumped out at me: in the first paragraph you said he studied physics five "centuries" before so I thought the story was going somewhere completely different. I think you meant "decades." :)

pegjet said...

Thank you for the great comments and vandamir, you're right! I meant 'decades' and never noticed. Nice catch, and now fixed.

John Wiswell said...

Poor olive fairy. Sobered out of existence. I'd rather she stuck around swimming and Carl faded away.

Alan W. Davidson said...

Those long sentence-paragraphs work really well at changing the pace and his thought process. Funny story with an important message...hope someone makes this into a short film...who would be the martini girl?

Cathy Olliffe said...

I guess I could be the martini girl, Alan, you know, because I look so much like her.
Peg, I loved this story! So cool... cool on so many levels.. and then the song, too.. a perfect groove for a little chick in an olive.
Easily the grooviest flash of the week, hands down!

ganymeder said...

Id skop happy hour too! Creepy.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Is the tiny pimento lady related to the Absinthe Fairy, I wonder?

Wonderful, vivid descriptions though, and very tight dialogue.

Nice reference to Journey, too!

PJ said...

Somebody has a vivid imagination - not sure if it's you or your mc - or both! Heh heh. Very cute story peg - glad he saw the vision for what it was ;-)

Mark Kerstetter said...

Peggy, this story kicks ass. What a beautiful blend of whimsy and sadness, longing and despair, fantasy and mundane reality. After reading this I don't need another. I'm done. Damn!

Congrats on your nomination, you deserve it.

~Tim said...

I really like the pacing and the mixing in of the music with the action. Nice.

Linda said...

Missed this somehow last week... with the vantage point of your day (night?) job, you nailed this story. A pimento fairy would drive me from the bar. Love how you parallel the band (chili peppers) with the red thingy in the olive (pimento). Details like these makes your stuff stand out.

Congrats on the CPR nod -- mucho deserved. I just 'discovered' them, and will have a couple of my babies there in October. Peace...