Unbroken

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Copyright – Georgia Koch

It was premiere night and Zoey was nervous. Her new movie, a remake of Jaws, was already getting panned by critics. It’d seemed like a good career move.  Quality roles for actresses of color were rare, plus her character delivered the movie’s iconic line, We’re gonna need a bigger boat.  But, the backlash was swift.  Twitter was bombarded with hatred – racist memes, messages, videos – all targeting her. She hadn’t left her home for days.

The  car stopped.  She wiped her wet eyes and emerged with a luminous smile. The fans were calling her name.

 

For Friday Fictioneers.  

Inspired by the most recent attack on the actress and comedian, Leslie Jones. 

I Hate Romantic Comedies

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“So tell me again why you hate rom-coms so much?”  My guy best friend Wyatt is stretched out on my couch as I lie on the floor, throwing popcorn in my mouth.

“Because,” I begin, “they’re ridiculous.  Each one follows the same formula.  Act One – two people who are absolutely perfect for each other but are too stupid to know it meet, or maybe they already know each other, who knows.  There’s some dumb obstacle to keep them from being together.  Finally, they hook up.  Act Two – bliss, we’re treated to romantic montages of them rolling around in pristine white sheets…”

“Ew!”

I throw a popcorn kernel at him.  “…running through fields of daisies, having long romantic dinners, sunset walks on the beach, then he does something that the airhead female character deems Unforgivable, but really isn’t that big of deal.  Act Three – all of the female character’s friends tell her to take the guy back, which she stubbornly ignores.  Until the male character performs A Declaration of Love so stupidly melodramatic, she can’t ignore it.  It usually ends with them kissing in the rain.  A perfect way to catch pneumonia if you ask me.”

“So, Lil, since you’re a movie expert, what movie should we watch this evening?”  Wyatt and I have a standing Monday night date, a platonic date, mind you, to watch movies and veg out.  It’s my turn to pick.  It’s been the same tradition since we met in college 10 years ago.

“My favorite,  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

He groans.  “Is this another one of your psychological thrillers?”

“No!  It’s a love story.  An imaginative love story.  Not some brainless rom-com.”

I put the movie on and Wyatt sits up to make space on the couch for me.  He moves close, our hands are touching.  My stomach swoops, but I turn to him to make some sarcastic remark, asking him to move over, when he kisses me.   It’s gentle and sweet and perfect and I say nothing when it’s over.  I just lean into him and watch the rest of the movie.  He smells like his favorite spearmint gum and aftershave.  We’re quiet until the end credits roll.

“So, what did you think?” I ask him dreamily.

He sighs, “Meh.”  Then he reaches for me again, presumably for another kiss.  I jump up from the couch.

“What do you mean, meh?  This is my favorite movie!  It’s brilliant.”

“So the two main characters get back together in the end knowing that the relationship is just going to probably lead to another disastrous breakup?”

“It’s profound.  They love each other enough they’re willing to risk it.”

“Whatever, I don’t get it.”  He rubs the space on the sofa where I was just sitting.  “Sit down.”

“Get out!”  I point to the front door.

“Seriously?  You’re throwing me out because of a movie?”

“Not just any movie.  My all-time favorite.

After he leaves I text my girl best friend, Roxy.

Wyatt kissed me.

What!  I have been waiting for you guys to get together since forever.  You’re perfect for each other.

Well, don’t hold your breath, I just threw him out.  He hated Eternal Sunshine.

Lil, you are so ridiculous.  You can’t just dismiss a guy because he has a different taste in movies.

Not just any movie.  The movie

Whatever, Lil.  I have to go.  You’re on my nerves.

I put the phone down and think.  Am I the stupid girl in every romantic comedy ever made?  If people were watching the movie of my life right now, would they be screaming at the screen in frustration?  I text Wyatt.

I’m sorry.  I guess I like, love you or whatever.  Don’t lose your mind.

He doesn’t respond.  I put the phone down again, dejected, and turn on the television.  Only I could manage to piss off my two closest friends on the same night.  Once I settle in for a night of Netflix, I hear loud music coming from outside.  He didn’t.

I run to the window.  Wyatt is holding his ipod speaker over his head, which is playing my favorite song, And I Love Her.  I burst through the front door and fly down the steps, leaping at him, causing him to stumble and drop the speaker on the ground.  He laughs and kisses me again, just as raindrops begin to fall.

“Are we really kissing in the rain?”  I ask, chuckling as droplets splash against our faces.

“Looks that way.”  He smiles at me.

I shrug and lean into him again.

Hope I don’t catch pneumonia. 

 

 

 

 

National

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Carmen couldn’t believe her eyes as she stepped out of her car.  She was at the park for her evening run.  Usually, the place was abandoned except for a few other runners and a couple moms with strollers, but today, it was exploding with visitors.  She watched as dozens of senior citizens, mostly women, wearing bright blue curly wigs and garishly pink blush congregated in the center of the park.  A huge movie screen had been erected.  Some surprisingly limber ladies were doing cartwheels across the grass, others were passing out bags of popcorn, candy and red plastic cups of soda.  Many were screeching a song she didn’t recognize, something about blue rainbows.  She wondered seriously for a moment if she was hallucinating.

“What is going on?” Carmen asked  a passerby, stepping onto the grass.

Five septuagenarians surrounded her, one breathless from cartwheels.

“It’s National Susie Tinselton Day!”

“National who day?”

“Susie Tinselton!  Legendary child cinema star of the 1930’s.”

“Oh, I love old movies!  What was she in?”

“Only one I’m afraid,” piped up another in the group.  “Bright Blue Baby.”

“I’m sorry, I’ve never seen that one.”

“Not surprising…”

“…poor Susie…”

“…she auditioned for every role she could…”

“…but lost out every time to another child actress with same initials…”

“…one that shall not be named…”

“…she was robbed!”  The woman spat those words with a surprising amount of venom considering all of this occurred over 80 years ago.

“…Bright Blue Baby is her masterpiece…”

“…she sang Bright Blue Rainbows and cartwheeled off into the sunset…”

“…you should stay, we’re watching it later…”

“…movie starts at dusk!”

Carmen smiled politely, preparing to decline the invitation.  Then she thought – what did she have to do that night, really?  She hadn’t made a solitary friend since she moved to this new city.  This was the first invitation she’d received all month.  Maybe these women weren’t in the same demographic as the rest of her friends back home, but a friend was a friend.

“Sure, why not!”

She accepted a bag of popcorn and a soda and settled on a blanket with her new buds.  The cartwheeler extended her hand.

“I’m Lucy.”

“Edith.”

“Sandy.”

“Mollie.”

“Margo.”

“Pleased to meet y’all.  I’m Carmen.”

Another confused woman stumbled down the path, looking around like she had just landed on a new planet.

“What is going on?”

“It’s National Susie Tinselton day!”  Carmen exclaimed, to the delight of her new besties.  “Popcorn?”

In honor of NaNoWriMo, I’m going to post a new flash fiction story every Monday in November – each incorporating either the word National, Novel, Writing, or Month.  Original right?  🙂  Thanks for reading.