Ok, You will be reading a short story I wrote for my creative writing class. Why a short story instead of a ancedote about my kids or the cats or the fact that I lost my carkeys again? Why am I not writing a serious minded piece on stuff I find important? Well for a couple of reasons, the most obvious is that I had already written the short story, and time these days is in constant short supply. Posting something already done, and edited to my professor’s standards, is the easy way out, and leaves me some time to study for a test I have tomorrow. Plus we’ve had a lot of serious stuff, important things we’ve been discussing here and at Flying Oskar. That is of course great, and we welcome that input, but every now and then a change of pace is needed. So I thought maybe a bit of fiction would offer that change of pace. Besides, its been a few months since I’ve delved into the world of fiction here. So a short story is what you get, like it or not.
Dressing Mr. Dunwiddy.
Nicole Jamerson walked up to the front door of the house and rang the doorbell. As she waited for someone to answer she absently adjusted her glasses that had, yet again, slid down her nose, then smoothed down the small wrinkles from her skirt. A few moments later, the door was opened by a middle aged woman in a blue sequined gown.“Err, Hello, I am Nicole..”
“I don’t care who you are! Just get your skinny butt in here. I need you to get my husband dressed and out the door.” The woman opened the door wide enough to let Nicole in.
Nicole stepped into the foyer. “He’s not dressed yet?”
“Of course not, that’s your job.”
“But, I’m not,” But by now the woman had started to walk away and was halfway up the stairs that curved upwards from the entrance.
Nicole, paused for a moment, not quite sure what to do next, but realizing she was being left behind, and that she wasn’t going to find out standing there, hurried after the older woman.
Stopping at a door the woman turned to Nicole, who now that she’d had a chance to get a better look at the woman, readjusted her age in her head by at least 20 years. “Surgery,” Nicole thought, “and lots of it.”
The woman nodded in the direction of the door. “He’s in there. And please make sure he wears socks and a damned tie.”
“Naturally! and they better be black.”
“Mrs. Dunwiddy,” Nicole, began. “I am just here to ensure that your husband arrives at the awards ceremony on time and is prepared to give his acceptance speech. The agency said nothing about dressing him too.”
“I can’t help it if the agency neglected to tell you that part of the job! Just get it done and fast. I have a red carpet to walk down.” With that the woman, turned on her stilettoed heel and strode quickly down the hall, the sequins of her gown casting reflective lights along the hallway. Reaching her own room, she entered and slammed the door behind her.
“I see you’ve met my wife.”
Nicole squealed. Turning quickly she saw Mr. Dunwiddy. There stood 72 year old humorist whose books had been on multiple best seller’s lists and had been adapted into three movies. He had abundant silver hair, dancing blue eyes and was wearing only what God had given him at birth.
“Naked, I know. Come on in. I know why you’re here. You are going to try to talk me into going to this award thing, so give it your best shot.” He walked to a large desk and sat down behind it, to Nicole’s relief.
Nicole took a couple tentative steps into the room and tried to focus only on his eyes. “Mr. Dunwiddy, I was sent here by the agency to ensure that you were prepared to attend the awards ceremony, and that you had a prepared acceptance speech, and to provide transportation for you and your wife. Dressing you is not part of my job description.”
“Call me Howard. Just how old are you?
“How old? I’m 29.”
“Damn,” He said, shaking his head. “They get younger every year. My granddaughter is just two years younger then you.”
“Mr. Dunwiddy, err, I mean, Howard, I need for you to get dressed so I can take you and your wife to the awards ceremony.”
“I know. I am just not going to go. I never attend those damned things. They are unbelievably boring, but every year my agent tries to convince me. Every year he fails. Trust me, young lady, I got better ways to spend my evening, like taking a nap in a comfortable chair.”
Nicole pushed her glasses up from where they had slid again. “So you are telling me that every year Mr. Kibble, or an assistant like myself, comes to your house to try and convince you to take your,” she waggled her fingers towards him, “ un-naked self to an public ceremony, where you often are a winner of an award, and every year you turn them down?”
“And just how long have you been doing this?”
“I’ve been naked for five years.”
“Excuse me. What?”
“I had prostate cancer five years ago, and the treatment gave me weird side effects where wearing clothes felt like lead weights on my body. So I stopped wearing them. Then I decided that even after the treatment was over, I was more comfortable this way. Now I only wear clothes when I absolutely have to.”
“What does your wife think?”
“Oh she hates it,” Howard said with a grin. “Which just adds to the pleasure of not wearing clothes.”
“I am guessing that You two don’t like each other very much, do you?”
Howard, picked up a photo of his wife sitting on his desk. “We used to love each other fiercely.” He put the photo down. “But then we had kids, they grew up, and started having kids of their own. Somewhere along the way we just grew apart. Now we just aggravate the shit out of each other.”
Nicole, couldn’t help but smile at that. She took a breath. “So nothing I say can convince you to put clothes on and attend the awards ceremony?”
“Nothing at all.”
“Nope, wasting your time. Elaine can just go without me again.”
“Oh, I do believe she is counting on you not going. Thank you Mr. Dunwiddy for allowing me to try to convince you otherwise. I’ll just go now. It was,” Nicole paused. ”Interesting meeting you.” She was already out into the hall, when she heard. “Wait!” Hiding a smile, she turned back.
“What do you mean she’s counting on my not going.”
Nicole walked back into the room, and sat down, for the first time on one of the leather chairs facing the deck. “Have you ever watched the award shows you are supposed to attend?”
“Hell no! They are nap inducing in person. Why would I subject myself to watch that crap on television? Hell, even the commercials are boring!”
“So you’ve never seen your wife accept an award in your absence?”
“I try to avoid watching her talk in person, why?”
“It has everything with why I think you should go, Mr. Dun, I mean Howard. It’s a very good reason, one that would make the evening quite enjoyable for you, if you choose to attend. One even you can’t deny.” Nicole said, feeling success on the horizon.
“Ok. But I smell a con, but you have me curious, what reason?”
“My wife? What does she have to do with this?”
“She doesn’t want you to go.” Said Nicole, as she pulled a nail file out of her purse and began fine tuning her nails.
“My wife has nagged me for weeks to go this thing!” Howard pointed to a black tux hanging on a stand in one corner. “She took that torture device to the cleaners, accepted invitations for us to three after parties, and has spent a small fortune getting herself presentable. How can you say she doesn’t want me to go? ”
“Of course she does! And if I go I’m stuck in a tux being bored out of my mind and trying not to look it!” Howard looked at Nicole, who by now wasn’t even trying to contain her smile. “Dammit girl, what in the hell are you smug about?”
“Your wife is counting on you Not to go. She only makes such a fuss because she knows you would be suspicious otherwise.” Nicole crossed her legs, and examined her fingernails making sure no snags remained. “She then goes to the awards without you and puts on a big show about how you work so hard that you can’t pull yourself away from your work, blah, blah, blah. Her dramatic, often tearful acceptance of your award almost always goes over the set time limits.” Nicole put her nail file away. “She has the time of her life at these things, because it is her getting all the attention.”
“So, if I go?” Howard started.
“You get to steal her thunder.” Nicole finished.
Howard stared at Nicole for a moment, then burst out laughing. “Ok, young lady, you win. Now get out of my office so I can get dressed. And tell my wife I”ll be down in five minutes.”
“Yes sir.” Said Nicole, as she walked to the door. “And Howard,” She added with a wink. “If you got any, wear the loudest color socks you can find. Your wife will love them.”