46 comments

Funny American Speculative

Void.

All gone.

I hold my empty red wine glass, eyeing the waiter, feigning interest in the enthusiastic young man standing in front of me. He speaks without ceasing. Not a pause. Not a comma. Not an intake of breath. Just a wall of words emanating from his overly large mouth, a chasm devoid of charm, a wellspring of nothing, a gaping maw. I’m trying to follow him, but he seems to be talking about everything and nothing—all at the same time. But this I do know. Every word, every phrase, and every clause he has relentlessly launched at me in the past ten minutes has been without wit or insight or interest. I look for an opportunity to excuse myself, to disappear, to cease to exist. At this juncture, he is as unavoidable as my attending this wedding. 

“Water,” I finally say, breaking into his dramatic monologue, some story he’s been unspooling in gushes and spurts. Something about whitewater rafting or aqua jogging. In truth, I haven’t been listening to him, wanting instead to liquify and dribble across the floor, like the wine I spilled a half hour ago. I don’t think anyone notices, but I’m inebriated and cannot be entirely sure. Regardless, I am thirsty and I have imbibed too much. I need água. Eau. Aqua pura. I need a glass of water. I abruptly excuse myself, flowing past him in an ugly taffeta bridesmaid’s dress, rustling through the thick crowd of well wishers. I desperately need . . .

Air. Freed from that claustrophobic conversation, I decide what I really need is fresh air. The hotel ballroom is expansive, full of family and friends, festively laughing, dancing, singing. I overhear a snippet of conversation—an older woman airs her grievances about the chicken, which, indeed, was dry, as expected. I look back to ensure that exhausting man isn’t following me, to finish our his conversation that has no end. I quickly locate the door to the balcony, where the denizens of the wedding party gather. The smokers. The introverts. The ones who don’t put on airs. 

You. You are firing up a cigar, a filthy thing. You cough and sputter while the other groomsmen laugh at you, your lungs not used to something that acrid. We’ve met before—the engagement party, the rehearsal dinner, the wedding party’s luncheon. Your eyes smolder, as you see me standing in front of you, wobbly from too many glasses of wine at a dry chicken dinner that lasted far too long. I should have left earlier. I had planned on it, but something kept me here—and here you are. We look at each other, cupid firing quivers of arrows into our hearts and other organs. My face flushes with heat from the wine or from your depthless brown eyes, the color of . . . the color of . . . 

Earth. You leave your band of brothers and come over to be with me, arms folded on the balcony, looking over the dark expanse. You stand right next to me. We are comfortable in our silence, our presence grounding one other, the touch of our shoulders side by side seems unworldly. Why would I be anywhere else on earth than right here with you? That was the longest wedding I’ve ever sat through, he confesses. The priest could have shortened the nuptial blessing by just reading the entire Bible, I reply. We banter like we’ve grown up together. How is it we have inside jokes already? The minutes we talk together feel like decades, as time stretches and warps. I’ve known you for seconds. I’ve known you forever. At one point I pull back to really look at you. Why do you seem so familiar to me? I wonder if you are as gobsmacked as I am. You cannot finish a coherent thought and it makes me laugh. Like me, I think you are on . . . 

Fire. The little blonde storming through the double doors leading to our rencontre des amoureux looks like she’s spitting fire with lightning bolts flashing from her eyes. She’s been looking for you. Oh mon Dieu, cherchez la femme! I must be drunk because my high school French is coming back to me with perfect clarity. Your little friend calls me a name which I don’t process because I don’t care to, happily standing next to you on a lovely April night. I put an arm around you possessively. She calls me a few other choice names. I nod, because they are actually quite clever and fairly accurate. Suddenly, you are animated and fired up as she, unpacking emotional baggage and making a bonfire of pent up shit right before my very eyes. This is indelicate, but I love it. This is high drama. Especially when she launches a verbal tirade against me—pauvre petit moi—expecting me to defend your outrageous flirtations. Did she think I was some sort of . . .

Airhead? Some feckless trollop trolling the low hanging fruit at wedding parties, looking to poach another girl’s beau? Can it, lady, I say. I gesticulate with my wine glass, flinging a lovely bordeaux all over her dress. It looks ghastly. Like blood splatters all over the front of her tasteful white pantsuit. But seriously, who wears a pantsuit under 40, you know what I mean? I nudge you. But your eyes are teary again, and not from smoke. You’ve realize you just cratered your long term relationship with a drunken bridesmaid dressed like Princess Peach. Even I think you’re an idiot. 

“Water,” I ask the bartender, crab walking sideways in from the balcony. I’m getting a fat furry tongue, like I always do whenever I drink too much, another sign I should have left early and cut my losses. No wonder I couldn’t come up with some witty repartee against that little blonde and her drippy boyfriend. I hope the chicken at their wedding is just as dry and tasteless. Here is your water. Would you like a slice of lemon? Lime? the bartender asks. Both, I smile, attempting to be seductive, but I’m drunk and look like I’ve been up all night. I decide to turn off the charm. Can I call you a taxi? An Uber? He’s very nice, but I can manage at this point. It’s a dance I know very well. A short drive home, a very hot shower, some terrifically ugly pajamas, and then I drunkenly fall into the . . . 

Void.


August 26, 2021 01:12

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46 comments

13:05 Aug 26, 2021

I thought it was creative to use the elements as transitions in your story. Water, earth, fire, airhead, and void nicely laid the foundation for each section. From the wedding being way too long to the dry chicken dinner, you captured the setting really well. Great job!

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Deidra Lovegren
16:36 Aug 26, 2021

I just wanted to see if I could do it and throw in as many puns along the way without being obnoxious. Then I decided to just make the main character obnoxious :)

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H L Mc Quaid
07:49 Aug 26, 2021

Great integration of the elements. Think I'd be friends with her if we were ever at the same wedding. 😁

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Deidra Lovegren
16:35 Aug 26, 2021

I am pretending this isn't autobiographical.

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H L Mc Quaid
20:42 Aug 26, 2021

😱😂

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Bruce Friedman
02:44 Aug 26, 2021

Deidra, you have captured brilliantly the vacuity of most weddings. However, weddings today have achieved a new risk level. In addition to being bored to death, you can now be COVIDed to death.

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Deidra Lovegren
16:34 Aug 26, 2021

I've decided that I don't have to attend weddings or baby showers ever again. Funerals are much more fun, and they always have much better food.

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00:50 Sep 10, 2021

*sips water sketchily* i'm not the pissed-off, possessive blonde! you are!

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Deidra Lovegren
01:07 Sep 10, 2021

#catfight

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21:48 Sep 10, 2021

#fightme

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Shea West
13:41 Sep 02, 2021

This was witty and charming! I've catered many a weddings in my life and I can say with certainty I've witnessed interactions just like this. Chicken must always be dry if one is to have a wedding!

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Deidra Lovegren
14:08 Sep 02, 2021

Dry chicken and nauseatingly sweet cake, both requirements!!

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Fiery Red
20:04 Sep 01, 2021

Hey Deidra, what can I say? The story is just perfect. The words flowed off each other so smoothly and also gave us a glimpse of her head in that state. Thanks for sharing!

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Deidra Lovegren
00:42 Sep 02, 2021

Thanks for the great comment :) Woo hooooo

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Fiery Red
05:31 Sep 02, 2021

😄😄😄 I think you are a very jolly person.

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Joan Wright
22:54 Aug 30, 2021

Love this story. The banter is so intellectual. I can see the images quite clearly that you paint with your amazing words. I hope this isn't the only place you display your writing. Loved the addition of French and sophisticated language from a drunk. We'll Done!

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Deidra Lovegren
23:14 Aug 30, 2021

I have thrown a lot of my writings into the Submittable abyss. Any suggestions for other sites? ✍️😀

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Joan Wright
17:56 Aug 31, 2021

I enter lots of contests. The Writer Magazine lists tons. WOW is a great place to enter contests for all women. I learned at a writing conference about the magazine, Mary Jane's Farm. They encourage work from unpublished and new writers. You don't get paid but it appears in the magazine with your byline. They have themes and a limit of 600 words. That's where my last story was published. I'm. more the short story writer, so magazines are best for me. As far as books go, I haven't a clue. Go to the local book store or newspaper stand and buy ...

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Michelle Gregory
19:16 Aug 30, 2021

Haha! I've been there....well done!! Clever and creative and funny as hell.

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Deidra Lovegren
20:18 Aug 30, 2021

Same. And lived to write about it :) ha ha ha

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Andrea Magee
17:50 Aug 30, 2021

Bravo, excellent story.....it was an enjoyable read.

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Deidra Lovegren
20:17 Aug 30, 2021

Hooray for terrible drunken weddings!

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U.R. Smart
15:49 Aug 29, 2021

I liked the integration of the elements, particularly the concept of void (space).

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Deidra Lovegren
17:51 Aug 29, 2021

I actually feel like I live in the void...(high school English teacher, so you know how it goes.)

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L Mack
15:47 Aug 29, 2021

I never would have thought of using all five elements, that was good thinking. Your character rang very true to me, I think I've met a few people like her! I love the image of her rampaging around this wedding causing chaos! Really enjoyed the story, extremely entertaining, thank you :)

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Deidra Lovegren
17:50 Aug 29, 2021

Yep. She is a force of nature. Category 5 disaster :)

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Zesoliyana Will
13:32 Aug 29, 2021

Just no word

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Deidra Lovegren
17:50 Aug 29, 2021

Hopefully a good thing?

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20:30 Aug 28, 2021

This narrative is slick as an eel. Highly enjoyable realism... and I appreciate how the appearance of elemental references make a feint at adhering to the hierarchy suggested by the title, then give up entirely. You set us up with one expectation after another and merrily topple them all down. Great romp.

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Deidra Lovegren
20:34 Aug 28, 2021

Chaos out of order, my specialty :) Thanks for the comment and the read. All the best! Deidra

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Zahra Naazir
13:05 Aug 28, 2021

Oh my! This is just sexy! I love how your paragraphs fall into each other and still hold up each other at the same time. This is raw talent. You are very gifted and I am pretty sure you are in for a win. A great take on the prompt. Great job!

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Deidra Lovegren
15:05 Aug 28, 2021

If sexy means "glorious train wreck," then yes -- absolutely sexy. I'm not sure if this will even longlist -- but I appreciate the good cheer :)

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Liz Redt
04:37 Aug 29, 2021

At least it is glorious! Great Story Well Done!

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Rachel Smith
19:21 Aug 27, 2021

Wow. That was awesome. Very clever the way you moved through the elements to tell the story. Great characterisation and you captured the feel of a stereotypical dull wedding. I loved it. Inspiring.

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Deidra Lovegren
20:37 Aug 28, 2021

YAY -- Thanks for dropping by :) "Stereotypical dull wedding" is almost redundant, as weddings are all. exactly. the. same. Awkwardness in spades. Frozen smiles. A sea of hostilities just under the surface (or above?) Only children have fun at weddings, I'm convinced. Mainly because they can run around unsupervised and eat a trainload of cake...which is the definition of my favorite thing to do on the weekends.

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Your writing just gets better and better! I love the way you described this story, and it was defenetly one of your best in my opinion. Great job! -Breckin N :)

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Deidra Lovegren
13:37 Aug 27, 2021

Lovely comment — thanks 🙏🏻

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Anytime! Also, how are you?

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Deidra Lovegren
01:01 Aug 28, 2021

I’m in Florida 🤪 so….

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Haha! I'm just livin the counrty life in Texas!

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Giulia S.
21:51 Aug 26, 2021

I loved your story! You used the elements in a perfectly balanced way, great job. I enjoyed the story, you can't go wrong with being drunk at a wedding ;D Good job!

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Deidra Lovegren
00:26 Aug 27, 2021

Only way to get through the awfulness of it all...

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Dorsa S.
17:36 Aug 26, 2021

another great story deidra! the elements as the transitions are just perfect, and you have described the wedding wonderfully. and i love the main character so much; their personality is flawless and just as amusing. well done! :)

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Deidra Lovegren
00:27 Aug 27, 2021

She'll be single for life, but loving every minute of it :)

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Beth Connor
16:36 Aug 26, 2021

I love how you weaved in the elements! Thoroughly enjoyed this one.

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Deidra Lovegren
17:09 Aug 26, 2021

Drunks at weddings. Always a meme ;)

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