Friday, March 1, 2013

Today's Story: "Closing Time"


I went to an estate sale Wednesday, filled with fine china, crystal, bad art, and very costly tchotchkes.  And bought only three small metal frames, of no special value, for a dollar apiece.  Then Marianne and I went out to lunch at the Chestnut Grill, where I wrote two short-shorts to fill two of the frames. 

The third frame I kept as was, because the repop photo within, of an elegant and brooding woman, inspired the following flash fiction:

Closing Time

Granted, we’re none of us getting any younger.  Still.  Look at me.  Eyes, mouth, breasts, all pleasant to behold and in good working order.  So why am I still in the bar at 1 a.m.?  When I came here, I thought that if I were approached by someone nice enough, I’d give him my number, no more.  An hour later, I threw in a kiss.  By midnight, I was all the way up to a night of passion he’d never forget.  Now?  Buddy, I’ll make you suffer as no man has suffered before. 

At last, I see you heading this way, ambition in your eyes. 

“Hello,” I’ll say, “My name is Jeannie.  You’d know what that meant if you’d read the Arabian Nights.”

-- Michael Swanwick, 2/27/13



David Stone said...

But... I read the Arabian nights (the actual AR cortex, not the BS padded edition compiled by Richard Burton) and I don't know what it means. Am I going to have to revisit everything I read in my twenties?

Michael Swanwick said...

Read Jeannie's name aloud and it will make sense.

David Stone said...

Eh, sorry you even had to write that. I'm going to go jump off a building now.

Michael Swanwick said...

No, no . . . I knew it was going to catch some of the readers off guard. Unfortunately, I liked the story and there was no graceful work-around, so there it was.

Unknown said...

So for better or worse, I got it fairly quickly, definitely on the second read.

You could even get it if you only saw the Thief of Bagdad (1940 )

Wayne Z