When Amelia Calls

When Amelia Calls

You try to muster enough energy to get off the sofa and get a frozen yogurt. New flavors every week. The whirling churn of the clothes jumbled in the dryer. The neighbors’ clinking glass mobile as it bends and smashes against the house. The marbled eyes of Muffin perched on the fence, batting at the mobile, intense.

Phone rings, you answer, knowing only your sister would call at this inopportune moment.

“Men are so full of shit.”

Say: Thanks. You feel mis-represented.

“You aren’t really a man in the traditional sense.”

Wonder if she means you’re more like a woman. Or if she refers to the familial fact that you were supposed to be born a girl. The doctors said so.

Say: You sound upset. Mean: must we get into this again?

“I’m just tired of this. He was supposed to call, then come over. I could have done a million things. Damn, it’s the same old story. Instead I sit at home and transfer old names into a new address book. I’m not even in touch with half of these people.”

Think: I don’t know how you put up with it, but you do. You have.

Say: What’s in it for you?

“What?” She sounds startled, protective. “Well, I mean, he’s charming. he’s usually very thoughtful.” Emphasis on usually.

You are thinking this is the type of display of wishy-washyness that you’ve become accustomed to. “Amelia, does his wife know?”

She says “of course” a little too quickly.

“Well, you know about his wife.”

Pause.

“I’m not sure what you mean by that.”

This is how our conversations go now that we’re adult.

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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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10 Responses to When Amelia Calls

  1. Andrea says:

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm and sad.

  2. kimberly says:

    intriguing….

  3. Shari says:

    All too familiar and yet the details and style are fantastic! Well done.

  4. Dez says:

    The protagonist has lots of potential in this piece. I like the way the two characters beat around the bush, as we all do. The meaning goes deeper as a result. Lots of nice images in the beginning paragraph as well.

  5. david says:

    WOW.. that’s intense.. for some reason I think that too would be an AMAZING short film.. I guess it’s because you write so well that I can see the visuals, feel the air, smell taste and touch the environment… really it’s just like being there.. I’m kinda glad I can watch it from a distance in my own stream… KUDOS

  6. Don says:

    I agree with David here, this could make a nice short film. You are a great writer and the sibling touch is vibrant and real. I also like how you used the second person touch (you this, you that, etc.) Not easy to do in a story, short or not.

  7. Angela says:

    Have to admit…this was the first time I felt mostly lost while reading one of your stories. The mobile crashing against the house? And then the fact that “his wife knows”….what? That the sister is having an affair? Apologies for being so base-brained today. Dinner partying my way through the weekend has nothing to do with it! šŸ™‚ What was unusual and made me happy was a description of what the narrator was thinking as well as saying. x@

  8. Tom Froehlich says:

    I liked your attempt and what you were trying to get across, but it felt choppy. You other dialogue is soooo smooth.

  9. Rontuaru says:

    I feel like you have backed yourself into a bit of a corner here. I understand you have a certain style and unique way of communicating, but here it feels choppy, fragmented and incomplete. If I have to re-read something 2 or 3 times to get the rhythm of a sentence or the gist of a paragraph then it will frustrate, not grab me. This is a great story conceptually, but for it’s length I think it’s much too fragmented. It calls to mind TV with it’s quick visual bursts in very short sequences: Nice effect occasionally, but I don’t want to watch an entire show like that.

    I think you can use fragmented thoughts strategically, but if you use them too much I’m not going to stick with it. There were places in this story where the meaning of something was not clear and I found myself stuck, trying to figure out if you meant one thing or another. Remember, readers are basically LAZY … we don’t want to have to get inside your head to figure out what you mean, we want you to spell it right out for us!

    I would love to see this re-written using different punctuation and/or sentence structure!

  10. Gloria says:

    he started to tell her the truth, I think, I was squiriming. Too real in how we talk to each other.
    love you Mom

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