“It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.”
Robert Benchley

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Cover art features 16th century woodcut (public domain)
this fictionette did not ask for your help dude
Fri 2016-05-06 23:59:59 (single post)
  • 1,220 words (if poetry, lines) long

Let's pretend it's still Friday the 6th. (I'll make it easy by editing the datestamp on this post. No one'll notice a thing.) *ahem* LOOK! It's the first fictionette of May: "The Spindle's Spell." If you guessed it's a riff on Sleeping Beauty, you're right! I've never run across a retelling that concerned itself with what the sleeping princess dreamed during her enchanted sleep. (I've also never heard anyone comment on whether she snored.)

Everything wound up late today mainly because of my knee. My knee has been giving me trouble for no good reason. I mean, yes, we had scrimmage last night, yes, I had some awkward and or dramatic falls. I took a wheel (maybe my own) to the inside right ankle bone, which made a lot of necessary maneuvers painful, which made me a klutz. But I don't recall any single incident involving my right knee.

You'd think there'd have been something, given the way it kept me up all night complaining at me. When I went to bed, it was sore, but just a little, just in this area about the size of my fingertip on the left side of the joint. A few hours after I'd been asleep, it woke me up yelling that it was stiff and in pain and if I dared bend it just wrong it would scream. And then there was just no good position to try to get back to sleep in.

We think it's nothing serious, just a deep bruise. We're keeping an eye on it. Meanwhile, the plans I had made to run some errands by bicycle were scuttled. Seemed safer to just walk and bus. More conducive to putting the knee through its regular paces under very close observation. But this in turn meant more time walking in the hot sun, which meant I was even more tired when I was done, which meant very long afternoon nap. Good news is, the knee was not noticeably worse after the nap. And it was already noticeably better for walking the stiffness out of it. So that's OK.

So the knee problem led to the walking/bussing rather than biking, and both of them led to an unfortunate encounter at the bus stop. Dude walks up, wheeling his bike, and proceeds to be that aggressively friendly asshole who treats everyone in his vicinity as owing him their attention on demand. He started with the man sitting to my left, grilling him about his shirt and whether it was "tribal" and whether he belonged to a tribe. I think the man said "yes" just to shut him up. Then, upon noticing me massaging my knee, "Hey, hey, is your knee OK? You gonna be OK? I can show you some pressure points that'll help it, it's like acupressure or acupuncture, let me show you--"

"I didn't ask," I tried to shut him up with.

It's never that easy. "Hey, I wasn't suggesting anything sexual, I wasn't going to touch you, I wasn't even flirting, I just want to show you something that will help you, I wouldn't have to touch you to do that, I could just show you on my knee--"

"I want you to leave me completely alone," was my second and final try.

"Ooh, are you going to mace me? Come on, do it! Mace me!"

And so forth while I stared fixedly down the street and away from him. By now I was unfortunately alone with him at the bus stop. I had planned to spend my bus-waiting time on my laptop or darning socks, but at this point I didn't want to give him anything else to comment on. So I just sat there and stared at the approaching traffic and tried to tune dude out. This, by the way, is why we can't have nice things.

Eventually he stopped haranguing me directly and started making up a song on the spot. "I just wanna be friends," he crooned. And then, inexplicably, "Oh, speaking of sabotage, thanks for reminding me--" Sabotage? What?

Anyway, he got on his phone and--it's not like I try to overhear these things, but dude was loud--got into negotiations with someone about a package he's expecting that's addressed in his name but to a place where he no longer works (I wonder why, she said sarcastically). It was a long call, and he was still on the phone when the BOLT showed up and he boarded...

...without his bike.

He just left his bike there, leaning against the side of the bus shelter, not locked up or anything. I think he meant to take it with him on the bus, but between his phone call and his NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO WITHHOLD ATTENTION FROM MEEEEE harassment campaign, he just... forgot it.

I could not make this up. I mean, I could, but the first manuscript critique it got would suggest that the instant karma aspect was just a little too pat, you know? A little too smug. Dude harasses woman who just wants to be left alone; dude loses his bike. This Story Has a Moral! Don't Miss the Moral of the Story!

I do still kinda want to come up with an explanation for "sabotage." There might be some fiction fodder there. I mean, what the heck was in that package he was expecting?