Monday, January 12, 2009

I Swear to God

Samantha often swore to God. As in, "I swear to God, his thing was this big!" The statements were lies, always. Over New Year's she lost her voice due to a bad head cold. No more strained stories of lost cell phones that had text messages from Dr. House (I swear to God) or neighbors climbing naked up fire escapes (Seriously, I swear to God).

Everyone suddenly realized how much they actually liked her. The silent Samantha at her desk, Samantha in the ladies room reapplying lip balm, leaving to smoke without anyone noticing.

The week progressed like this until the shock of her voicelessness wore off. It was as if the foul mouthed Samantha had never existed; everyone forgot to wait for the voice to come back. Samantha had obviously recovered, no more tissues or red peeling nostrils. Yet, no voice.

The voice was quite happy. It was hanging out with all of the other lost voices in the bar for lost voices. The voices marveled at her ability to swear, especially to God. Voices are very superstitious. If a voice hiccups, everyone in the vicinity shouts God bless you so the voice's heart won't stop. The others liked her quite a bit and described to her what they thought her body would look like; especially the mouth that the voice came out of. "I'm not from New York. I'm from Connecticut. But, yeah, I went to public school. No, I don't wear lipstick, I swear to God-- no! I don't scream when I..." She was the center of attention.

Samantha went to several doctors. They couldn't explain the loss and wrote more prescriptions for cough syrup with codeine. She texted obsessively. But texts are easy to ignore and the friends that had hung around waiting for the time to ditch her, ditched her.

Meanwhile, the voice was getting on every one's nerves. She really was too much and they were tired of being shocked. The old barmaid had connections to a voice that knew people. Money changed hands and it was arranged that the first available person would get Samantha's voice. The bar folk followed Mucinex purchases on their Black Berries and made bets. They hoped for either a man or a nun.

The voice started to clear her throat. "Hum, HUH!" And again. They giggled in anticipation and drank up. She cleared her throat once more and was gone.

Samantha meanwhile got a promotion at work. She finished everything too quickly and had loads of time left over so she created a foundation where celebrities spoke about Samantha's rare condition. In six months she was able to quit work and go on a book tour.

The voice passed into a 13 year old Haitian boy living in Washington D.C. He was considered clairvoyant and all the neighborhood kids came to ask him about their love lives. He was more than happy to dish.

6 comments:

Adam R. said...

This is amazing, like Kafka crossed with Mary Miller. You should check out Mary Miller's book called Less Shiny.

kfo said...

this is strange and wonderful. your fiction-writing voice is very strong and soothing. compelling and clever. i envy your ability to take a scene or an image and build a plot around it. i am always left with a moldy image going bad for want of a plot! this actually reminds me of http://www.woodyallen.art.pl/eng/kugelmass_episode.php.

Kate said...

Thank you both! I was nervous about posting this because I wrote in an hour and it's the first complete short I've written in SIX years (wtf?).

Your comments gave me some confidence!

Shane Jones said...

nice.

Kate said...

Cool, thanks Shane. Congrats on Light Boxes.

Justin Sirois said...

Subtle and concise. I love this.

Sometimes, when I go to regular ole people bars, I think I'm drinking with voices -- only voices.