Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Maffle*

"What are you doing here?"

* to cause to become confused or bewildered - from Worthless Word for the Day


  1. "What are you doing here?" I demanded.

    I thought it was a reasonable question, considering that the man I was asking about it was brushing his teeth naked in my bedroom, and that I’d never seen him before in my life.

    He mumbled something through a mouthful of toothpaste foam. I took it to be, “Brushing my teeth.”

    “I can see that,” I acknowledged. “But why are you doing in my house? In my bedroom? In no clothing?”

    I was suddenly aware that I was also wearing no clothing, and I yanked a sheet up to cover myself.

    The naked stranger stepped into the adjoining bathroom, spit, and then returned, his mouth still ringed by minty green suds. “What do you mean?”

    “Who are you?”

    The man frowned. “Jason,” he said, his tone indicating that he didn’t understand why I was asking.

    “And why are you naked, Jason?”

    “Because last night you and I decided sex would work better that way . . . ?”

    I instinctively clutched my sheets to me. “We had sex?”

    “Yes,” the man confirmed in the same tone.

    “Why did we have sex?”

    “Because it’s what husbands and wives do sometimes . . . ?”

    “Husband and – what are you talking about?”

    “I thought we were talking about sex.”

    My mouth was dry and I felt my heart in my throat. “But why did you say husbands and wives?”

    “What’s wrong Monica?”

    “How do you know my name?”

    His face was now a mirror of my own confused expression. “Monica, what’s going on?”

    I shook my head. My hands and feet were icy cold. The muscles in my arms and legs trembled . “No, not again,” I whispered. “Not again. Not again.”


    “Not again.” I looked at him, my eyes flashing in desperation. “When did we get married?”

    “July third, two-thousand-and-seven. Is this some kind of test?”

    “That’s’ two-and-half-years.” I bit my lip. “It gets longer every time.”

    “What are you talking about?’

    I threw my sheets off, and sprung off the bed. I jerked my dresser drawer open so hard that it crashed to the floor. I scrambled to pull out a bra and some underwear. My eyes were narrow, my mind focused. “Sorry, Jason.”

    “Monica,” he pleaded. “Monica, what’s going on?”

    I kissed him on the cheek as I pulled on my jeans. “I’m sorry, Jason, but I have to go.”

    “Go where?”

    “I can’t tell you.”

    “But –“

    I touched his cheek softly and then pulled a t-shirt on over my head and began pulling a brush through my hair, just to get the tangles out enough that I could pull it into a ponytail. “Jason, I’m sorry, but you’ll never see me again.”


    “If I knew, you might. But I don’t. So you won’t.”


    I didn’t bother with socks. I just shoved my feet into some sneakers, grabbed my purse from the bottom shelf of my nightstand, and headed for the door. I turned around and saw Jason sinking to the bed, naked, toothpaste foam now trying into a light green halo around his lips. He had lost all color. His pupils were dilated.

    I bit my lip and said, “If it makes you feel any better, Jason, you’re not the first guy this has happened to.”

    He said nothing.

    I blew him a kiss and left.

  2. "What are you doing here?" I asked the stuffed sheep Dmitry had given me, which sat upright on its tail with its legs wrapped around the lamp's brass base. Of course, the sheep didn't answer me, it was stuffed. Of course, for that matter, it shouldn't have been able to move either. I carried the sheep back into the sitting room and set it on the shelf next to my Harry Potter books.

    Dmitry held his smartphone in his hand and squinted at a webpage or book he was reading while outside snow skipped across the moor.

    I plopped down in one of the antique chairs whose cushions were lower than was comfortable. I asked, "That sheep keeps moving from his place in the bookcase. Would you have anything to do with that?"

    "Huh," he looked up and blinked at me for a second, "the sheep? No, haven't touched it."

    I shivered. I trusted Dmitry, but that meant that the options left -- out here stranded miles away from the nearest person on the moor -- were unsettling.

  3. C.N. Nevets, I like your take on parallel worlds.

  4. Ah, those moors. Did anything good ever happen out there?