Series of Unfortunate Events

                                   Series of Unfortunate Events

The shopping was going dreadfully slow. Stores were too crowded, with rude salespersons, and a false cheery sense of holiday bullshit in the air.

Eddie stepped onto the escalator. “Excuse me?” he heard, and turned around.

“You’re on my coat.” The woman pointed down. She was nearly as tall as Eddie, and wore a floor length coat that reminded Eddie of his grandmother’s velvet curtains. Were they velvet? Something like that.

“Sorry.” He moved his boot leaving a visible imprint: salt and grime and a pattern he hadn’t even noticed was on the bottom of his Frye’s. He turned back around. The businessman next to him scowled. He felt like saying “Screw you, buddy,” but the Alvin & The Chipmunks soundtrack chiming ‘Silver Bells’ caused him to stifle a chuckle.

Macy’s- what a joke, he thought. What’d I come here for anyhow? And then he remembered: he was going to propose. Or, he was supposed to. But now, just the thought of marriage, and all of its loaded expectations, the lack of freedom, and the compromises. It all felt so goddamn heavy.

They reached the 2nd floor: Women’s Lingerie. The woman from the escalator stepped in front of him as he read the floor sign.

“Do you make it a habit?” she said.

He waited for her to finish but she just stood there, hands on her hips. The lingerie mannequin behind her mimicked her stance.

“Huh?” He smiled, repressing another laugh.

“So, you think this is funny?”

Eddie looked around. Run. Run like hell. Get lost in the shopping madness.  But it was the ladies lingerie floor.

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About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, writer, editor, and workshop leader, his poems and fiction are widely published in print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Connotation Press, Metazen, Thrice, Literary Orphans and Housefire. He is Senior Flash editor at JMWW and Lost in Thought magazines and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing. He is a six times Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His collections are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps): Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms) and RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press).
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3 Responses to Series of Unfortunate Events

  1. Tutu Ubuntu says:

    I am intrigued mostly with the character who wears a floor length coat in Macy’s, but little else unless the narrator is implying that Eddie’s got a lingerie fetish. Nice try!

  2. Dez says:

    I couldn’t disagree more with the already mentioned comments. I think this is a great story and whether or not Eddie has a fetish, he is intriguing, insightful and a nice balance of humor and deeper stuff going on. Bravo, Robert.

  3. Rontuaru says:

    I like the contrast between the projected (but false) cheeriness of the setting and the not so cheerful shoppers. I did get briefly confused trying to picture how Eddie would get on an escalator and stand on the hem of a coat that is behind and (presumably) below him. Yes, it could happen, but I spent way too much time trying to work out the logistics of that and lost some of the rhythm of the story.

    (If Eddie was indeed standing on the coat hem of someone behind and below him, then how the heck would he know? Since the woman had to have gotten on the escalator after Eddie, wouldn’t it be HER responsibility to watch what she’s doing? If so, why is she so pissed off at Eddie? And is Eddie standing next to a complete stranger on his escalator step? Really? I can see standing next to someone in an elevator, but I can’t picture two adult strangers, men in particular, sharing an escalator step. Just sayin’. 😉

    I also got a bit lost at the end when the woman was suddenly standing in front of Eddie. How did she get in front of Eddie if she was riding the escalator behind him? The second time through the story I realized they both got off the escalator at the second floor, then she stepped in front of him!

    This story makes me want to know what the heck her problem was. It seems like she was going out of her way to be confrontational and I want to know why!

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