Friendship Funny Lesbian

Rose pours hot water into her cup of T and smiles wanly for the benefit of anybody who may be watching…which on this occasion is nobody, then adds a tea spoon of brown sugar and a whiff of milk before walking slowly back to her desk in isle ‘Jacuzzi 66.’ All the isles are named after things which prompt associations of calm, beauty and relaxation such as 'Tropical 44 ' or 'Sunset 22' . This idea was zapped through from marketing and won them much acclaim including several awards. Rose likes the concept almost as much as she likes drinking the unusual T supplied by the Bureau. It was a silky-brown liquid made from the leaves of ceremonial plants and herbs and its smooth, calming effect helps keep Rose's feelings on an even keel. Sometimes, however, she experiences a hormonal spike which inflates her sense of well being beyond ‘euphoria level four'...which is the baseline for Rose. Anything marginally beyond a reading of four will trigger a squadron of clerks-known as ‘The Phew’-to begin tapping furiously on computers as they pretend to qualify and then rectify the alarming, emotional fluctuation. 

  Rose, like everybody else, has been implanted with ‘The Flower’, an item which rolled out hot and fresh from production to marketing and won them both several awards. The Flower can detect a vast spectrum of human emotions and feelings. It also collects and collates them before sending them off in bulk to thousands of computer terminals in The Bureau of Awkward Feelings. When the feelings are isolated, recorded, analysed and a treatment recommended, The Flower is stimulated at exactly the right vibration at the exact position in the chest so the person’s sense of embarrassment or inadequacy or dis-ease can be brought to a close. Pretty much all of this is handled electronically and the whole process takes a mere second or two. The clerks within The Phew and Pre-Phew are, in effect, dead weight and exist to fill The Bureau's quota of human staff within their organisation.

The Flower, it is worth mentioning, also contains a fake memory imprint which triggers the person into thinking she or he has consented to The Flower’s insertion into their chest. The truth is most people fought tooth and nail and had to be either sedated or, in some cases, 'forcebly encouraged' into complying.

  The Bureau maintains that since it took over the management of people’s feelings things have been ticking along sweet and dandy. Coyness it says, is down thirty percent. Tricky, bashful and wary feelings down thirty five. People, it is true, are less prone to awkward feelings yet when The Flower is stimulated it only takes away the uncomfortable feelings without substituting anything in its place. Rose, for example, feels an awkward sense of being lost or out of place as if Earth is not her true home. She has had this feeling ever since she was a little girl. When The Flower is stimulated this feeling is, for a time at least, vibrated into a state of calm and peace. But without the body/mind's somatic knowledge of how to activate a sense of joy she is left in a kind of limbo which is neither awkward nor elated. It’s just, 'eh, you know’ with a shrug of the slumped shoulders.

  Rose has a baseline of four. 

  If Rose records a swing of one point five above or below the baseline of any feeling or emotion, ‘The Phew’ will be alerted and the process of ‘Flowering’ as it is called is put into place. The Phew constitute by far the biggest employee section in The Bureau of Awkward Feelings. 

  Rose does not work in The Phew; Rose works Pre-Phew which means she faux handles the situational alerts which aim at anticipating the onset of awkward feelings by monitoring potentially awkward activities. Common alerts include ‘man asks woman if she’s pregnant,’ ‘man has guess at mother-in-laws age,’ ‘fart in packed elevator,’ and ‘woman with new boyfriend meets ex at swingers party.’ 

  Rose likes the ones which are awkward but a bit subtle and don’t involve scatilogical or sexual references like, ‘child pinches ice cream in playground,’ or 'disharmonious co-workers arrive simultaneously at water cooler' or ‘woman meets another wearing same dress at party.’  

  Rose sighs and looks up at the clock. The large clock in the office has a smiley face on it and beneath the smiley face is the directive to ‘Have a Nice Day.’ The clock has a smiley face on it and it tells you to have a nice day as if telling you to have a nice day will ensure you have a nice day. 

Rose always says ‘either I go or that stupid clock goes.’

  She laughs at this joke but the enthusiasm with which she does so has been in steady decline since 20017. August the tenth, to be exact.

  Rose's feelings regarding the clock are a little complicated. As a rule she tries to keep it simple and endeavours to like pretty much everything within reason. Put simply, working at The Bureau has taught her not to get too jazzed up about things which manifest a cryptic, short lived facination-like other's opinions or pubic lice or monobrows or sleeping in occasionally and missing the bus. Rose has slept in on three occasions yet was late for work only once. As she arrhythmically peddled her bike her flower was buzzing in staccato bursts and she knew that feelings of shame and guilt were being faux worked on by The Phew. Just because The Phew don't have much to do it doesn't mean they can't take an interest in the information which is streaming through their computers. Rose doesn’t like to come under the scrutiny of The Phew because she knows many of them and it feels too intimate and personal-like being under the microscope of ones parents or older siblings.

The mantra at The Bureau is ‘please maintain equanimity at all possible intersections of time and space.’ Rose thinks this is a silly and non-sensical directive and like so much that goes on at The Bureau, makes her tummy hurt and her temples throb. So, when after seven years at The Bureau some fool asks if she has a medical certificate confirming she is not predisposed to spikes in her emotional state, well, she thinks she might either scream, strangle the guy, go mad, leave The Bureau, or perhaps continue to do pretty much nothing at all.

So far she has kept her cool though last Wednesday she did deliberately fart in a packed elevator after lunching on a particularly hot, spicy curry. Apparently the spike in the building’s awkward feelings around lunchtime did not go unnoticed.   

  Rose works at The Bureau of Awkward Feelings and before that she worked at the ‘Office For the Rehabilitation of Look-A-Like Couples', which is a subsidiary concern to The Bureau and operates out of the same building but on a lower floor. Rose secretly likes people who love people who look like themselves. She wonders what all the fuss is about and why people who fall in love with the mirror image of themselves are considered outcasts in society.

  Rose also likes the word ‘doppelganger.’ 

  The official line at The Bureau is that these people are narcissists who constitute a civil nuisance when seen holding hands or kissing in public. It gives many people who love people who look nothing like themselves the 'heebie-jeebies'.

  ‘Heebie-jeebies’ was a word Rose’s Gran had used all the time. ‘This arse about, humid weather’ she might say, 'is giving me the heebie-jeebies. Classic heebie-jeebies feels something like watching a large rodent scurrying along a picket fence whilst your feet are submerged in a bucket of warm, honey-gooped porridge.

  Rose’s Gran-her name was Alice-fell over unconscious one dark, rainy night and, with no around to help her, drowned in a three inch puddle of bubbles and dirty water. 

She had, despite this inglorious finale', lived a remarkable life in more ways than one. For forty years after the untimely death of her husband, Alice consented to a clandestine affair with a woman who could have been her identical twin. Alice and her lover were like the female version of Clark Kent and Superman and were never seen in the same room at the same time. Rose sometimes wondered why her Gran, on the odd but memorable occasion, looked a little different; something not quite right with the shape of her nose or the food she ate or the way she pronounced words like 'bungalow' and 'jalopy.’

  Alice played tennis, badminton, golf, lawn bowls and excelled at them all. She surfed, trekked, skydived and travelled extensively overseas. She was an accomplished academic who taught English at a university level. She was an inventor, a writer of three published novels and five works of short fiction. She was also an adept mountaineer and once climbed mount Vesuvius and was filmed, clad in an ungainly fire-proof suit, dancing amidst the wild eruptions of spark and flame and waving enthusiastically at the crowd who had gathered below the sulphuric precipice to watch her through powerful telescopes. 

She told Rose before she passed of lymphatic cancer her life’s big secret. They held hands as she recounted the shame she first felt for being both a lesbian and in love with a dead ringer...a despised doppelgänger of herself.

Rose was stunned then enthralled to learn the reason her Gran accomplished so much was because there was, in effect, two of her...Beatrice and herself. They met in nineteen fifty eight and for forty years lived in the same quaint apartment with a secret door that led to an elegant, self contained en-suite. This was the sanctuary where either, but usually Beatrice, would flee to when unexpected visitors dropped by. Rose, of course, had been to this apartment many times and smiled knowingly as she recalled the door in question; this door always fascinated Rose, radiating an aura of mystery and quiet occupation being always locked and haunted with dull footsteps, opening and closing doors as well as the odd flushing toilet. Alice casually dismissed it all blaming her long time 'tenants' the rats and possums.

In consideration of the cultural and social taboos of the day, as well as being mindful of The Bureau's edicts concerning look a like couples, they hid their love from the world whilst celebrating a long and passionate companionship which was as exciting as it was awkward; as fulfilling as it was beset by complications and great chunks of time spent apart.

Alice confessed to Rose she was the academic, inventor and writer who liked playing badminton, golf, tennis and lawn bowls. Beatrice was the adventurer and heiress to millions who loved nothing better than trekking through the Himalayan Alps or kayaking down a wild, jungle river. She drove to deserted beaches and surfed huge waves with nothing but seagulls and the oceans roar for her company. She flew to India, Asia, Africa and America in search of adventure and new, exciting experiences. And it was Beatrice, of course, who danced atop the volcano whilst waving-apparently at onlookers-in the hope that one day Alice would see a recording of it and know that the wild, shimmering gestures were really a joyful expression of Beatrice's love for her. Beatrice was the yang to Alices yin and despite being flawlessly alike in appearance, they remained polar opposites in the way they engaged with the world. It was this magnetic tension between difference and uncanny similarity which fuelled their potent attraction and made the time they spent apart broody with a simmering, steamy longing.

What they accomplished was nothing short of miraculous...they took turns playing 'Alice'-a role which proved in the end to be both easy and at times difficult for both, with Beatrice as brilliant understudy assuming her beloved's mannerisms of body and speech with the aplomb of an accomplished actress. Alice, for her part, undertook a regime of diet and exercise so her physique was somewhat akin to that of the superbly fit Beatrice.

While Alice lectured at the university or squirrelled away on a writing project, Beatrice put on a wig and dark glasses and made for the airport, not being of the nature to stay secluded within the apartment as Alice got busy with her life. She disappeared for weeks-sometimes months at a time-chasing waves, adventures and the elusive meaning of life.

When Beatrice returned the two bathed each other in joyful tears and retired to the bedroom for days at a time, only coming out to eat or watch the occasional movie on T.V. Here, inside their clean, white walled apartment with its variety of multicoloured floor tiles, carpets, bench tops and furniture, they could rest and just be without the complications of the strange, duplicitous world outside.

When Alice fell quiet, Rose asked her Gran how many times over the years she, Rose, had personally encountered Beatrice as she took a turn 'playing Alice'. Rose smiled and sighed tenderly before saying, ' once or twice, my dear; once or twice.'


At Alice's funeral an elegant, elderly lady with her face covered in a black-laced shroud, stood just away from the assembled mob as the Celebrate conducted the service. Then, just as Alice's remains were being lowered into the ground, she stepped quickly forward-perhaps at the behest of a broken heart-and carelessly lifted her veil. 

  The mourners, numbering close to one hundred, gasped as the Flowers in their chests buzzed like bee hives whilst back at The Bureau there was a spike in the level of awkward feelings which has not been seen before nor since.   


January 12, 2022 13:21

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Hannah Barrett
02:13 Jan 18, 2022

I LOVED this. You have such an incredibly fluid voice, and your sense of humor was just perfect. This detail literally made me snort out loud: "Common alerts include ‘man asks woman if she’s pregnant,’ ‘man has guess at mother-in-laws age,’ ‘fart in packed elevator,’ and ‘woman with new boyfriend meets ex at swingers party.’" I could totally see, and would absolutely love for this to be part of a longer work.


12:08 Jan 18, 2022

Thanks Hannah, It felt funny to me and glad you have a similar, wacky sense of humour. Cheers!


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Sharon Harris
13:00 Jan 14, 2022

This story is intricate and popping with creativity. It’s so unusual, I want to know more about The Bureau. It reminded me of a company I worked for once… The gran/grannies were amazing, such a clever concept. Well done.


00:48 Jan 15, 2022

Hi and thanks Sharon for your vibrant comment. Bit alarmed, though, you once worked for an organisation like The Bureau. That must have been...interesting! ha, ha.


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