I don’t write fiction much these days because it comes out as a garbled mess, as evidenced below:
Norm Reddick was from Nebraska but he died in South Carolina, where no one should die…or live, for that matter.
It was July 5, 2019, about a year before corona-virus fucked us all over. Norm would have done fine with quarantine and isolation, because he was one seriously solitary dude. He died alone, in his kitchen, where by all accounts he was making mac and cheese and Vienna Sausages (a meal fit for a king, if you ask me, but no one asked me). When a neighbor noticed, three weeks later, an odd smell emanating from Norm’s place (in the middle of July, in South Carolina, where the mercury hovered at 98 degrees that entire week), she said to her friend Curly Cue Wilson, “It smells like that time my grandmother died and we drove up for a visit and the smell hit us as soon as we climbed out of the car. Lord Jesus.” She called 911, and they hauled Norm Reddick out on a gurney, covered by a sheet. The neighbor—Judith McLaren—shook her head and said to Curly Cue Wilson, “That’s a shame. Norm Reddick was halfway handsome. If he’d bothered to comb his hair once and while, he couldve been someone’s sweet dream.”
Curly Cue nodded but kept silent, and not just because she was a selective mute. She was thinking of Norm Reddick and how Judith was right. Even with his unkempt hair, Curly Cue thought Norm Reddick was a strikingly handsome man.He had been her sweet dream, and now he was gone. But had he lived, would he have ever noticed Curly Cue ?(real name of Ramona Piddle, but called Curly Cue on account of her pig-like nose and her affinity of all thing porcine, not including Norm Reddick who, if anything, had resembled a deformed whooping crane…but all things being equal, a deformed whooping crane that, even without minimal effort, met Curly’s definition of attractive).
“Well, that’s that,” Judith said and brushed her hands together as if ridding them of dirt. “Time to get back to our own miserable lives, eh, Curly?”
Curly nodded her assent, and later, dreamed that she and Norm were at Morrison’s cafeteria together, eating trout almondine and drinkng sweet tea. A waiter, who was missing an arm and had a spectacular gold tooth, approached them and ask, “Is everything to your liking?”
That was one clue she was dreaming; waiters never came to your table at Morrison’s or any other cafeteria. Curly wasn’t even sure why there waiters there, except they could carry the trays of the old people who couldn’t manage it. The other clue she was dreaming was that she talked freely and effortlessly. She often sounded like Lynn Redgrave in dreams, and that was okay with her.
“We’re fine, thanks,” Curly said in her dream.
The waiter smiled. Norm Reddick cleared his throat, and the waiter’s smile slipped. “Actually,” Norm Reddick said, “this fish is cold.”
“You’re eating it, sir,” the waiter said. “With gusto, I might add.”
“I’m also going to die soon,” Norm Reddick said, “so could you be a pal and heat it up again? Just nuke it, that’d be fine. You don’t need to fool with oven.”
“It would be my singular pleasure, sir,” the waiter said with a certain note in his voice that told Curly heating up Norm Reddick’s trout almondine woud actually not be a singular pleasure. And then Curly began to cry, because Norm Reddick said he was going to die…and her dream-self knew it.
When she woke up, she was still crying.