All Dolled Up
1278 words long
...and nowhere to go. But there are worse things than being stood up....
Notes from the author:
Author Billy Martin once remarked on his LiveJournal, “Why do people think writers are capable of anything except sitting in a room and writing, usually without benefit of being completely clothed or especially well-groomed?” I really, really resonate with this remark. Between being a stay-at-home writer and a roller derby skater, I have little incentive on a day-to-day basis to put on clean clothes, let alone fancy or formal. There’s a little something of the author in all of her characters; this is what went into Kim. Only Kim can actually apply make-up effectively when she wants to. That’s one she’s got up on me.
(Arguably, a little of the author’s wishful thinking also goes into her characters.)
As I’ve no doubt mentioned before, one of my favorite sources of fantasy story ideas is to literalize a common metaphor or popular idiom. I knew going into this that I’d be making hay of the phrase “all dolled up”; it happened to be one of my writing prompts for this piece. But I didn’t realize until I was nearly done that “pick-up artist” was going to get the SFnal treatment, too.
Kim scowled. “All dolled up,” she muttered, “and nowhere to go.”
“You calling this joint ‘nowhere’?” The bartender pretended to be offended. “I like that. ‘Nowhere.’ Slaving for you day in, day out, where do I get? Nowhere.”
“You know what I mean, Joe.”
“Yeah I do. Stood you up, didn’t he? Not such a stand-up guy, this one.”
“He didn’t have to be. He just had to be a date.” Kim sighed and downed the rest of her usual, a skinny double latte with a shot of creme de menthe. She surveyed herself ruefully. She’d done a damn good job tonight. It had taken her the better part of two hours, and she sparkled. She glowed like a Hollywood goddess. And for what?
She didn’t make this kind of effort often. She preferred not to. Her day-to-day uniform was an aging T-shirt and an ill-fitting pair of jeans, beat-up sneakers, and, if it was cold enough, a decade-old hoodie. Barring outlier events like other people’s weddings and funerals, nothing more formal was ever required of her, not even at work. Especially not at work. She was a software engineer for a company who thought it was still the late 90s. She could walk inp dressed in bubble wrap and duct tape for all they cared. Laziness, so the saying went, was one of a programmer’s great virtues; a programmer will go to great lengths to ensure she needn’t expend more effort than necessary going forward. Kim had meticulously and successfully programmed her life for lazy.
But every once in a while, every other month or two or three, she got what her Ma used to call “a wild hair.” She’d put on her best dress, maybe buy a new one for the occasion, she’d do up her face and her hair, and she’d go out on a blind date....
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for September 9, 2016. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1278 words) from Patreon as an ebook or audiobook depending on their pledge tier.
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