Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mirrors Mirrors

This week's writing prompt was to write a piece of flash fiction - it should be no more than 600 words and should take no longer than 3 minutes to read aloud. And the requirement for this particular one is a character MUST tell a joke and a character MUST cry. One character can do both.

There Are Mirrors, And Then There Are Mirrors

Janelle sat at the far end of the bar, asked for a dirty martini and tried to look normal. Inside, she felt nowhere near normal. She had just left her weight loss group meeting knowing that she hadn't lost anything in the 8 weeks she'd been going. Nothing. Not one pound. She had deprived, dieted and denied and kept every single ounce.

As she looked at her reflection in the mirror behind the bar, she felt like a total failure. The first martini she'd tasted in 2 long months and she wasn't even enjoying it. Her eyes filled with despair and overflowed. She dabbed at her leaking eyes with her bar napkin while she fished an olive out of her glass.  She wanted to get back to a size 6. She wanted to look like her sister, or Taylor Swift, or anybody. She was tired of shopping for bras online because no one carried an E cup. She was tired of having to have clothes tailored. She wanted to burn her Spanx and eat a real dinner.

The televisions at each end of the bar were both tuned to the food channel. Every guy in the place had his eyes on a TV. Janelle wondered if it was some kind of evil cosmic joke on her, that she goes in there feeling defeated at losing weight, only to find them watch food shows. Men watching cooking? Then she realized that they weren't watching the cooking, they were watching the cook. She heard quiet comments and a few lewd remarks about the host of the show.

"Geez I wish my wife would dress like that when she cooks."
"I just wish my girlfriend would EAT. She nibbles at stinkin' rabbit food and watches every calorie. It's stupid, she looks great like she is."
"Are you kidding, Steve? Your girlfriend is so skinny now that she has to staple her panty hose on to keep 'em from falling down."
Steve groaned and rolled his eyes. "That's an old one, and she's not THAT skinny. Yet."
"Yeah, have you seen Noah's new girlfriend? That girl has curves in ALL the right places."
Everyone nodded, smiling.
"Oooo, look! She's gonna lean forward here...."

The television host leaned forward to put a platter of chicken cacciatore in front of the camera and every eye in the bar was on the neckline of her blouse.

A tall man with waving brown hair sat down next to Janelle and asked her name.

Janelle looked at him, glanced back at the television. The tears, still standing on her lashes, were freshened as she laughed so hard she almost couldn't say it..."Hi, I'm Janelle. Nice to meet you."



  1. love it! wonderfully written and I love the meaning behind this story!

  2. It's fantastic. This line: "She wanted to burn her Spanx and eat a real dinner." THE. BEST. LINE. EVER. I hope they fall in love and he loves her truly, madly and deeply, curves and all.

  3. I love the image of men watching a cooking channel for not just the food porn. The stable the pantyhose line was great.

  4. HA! What a great idea, having a bar full of men watching the chef!

  5. As someone who has been on more than her fair share of diets, I was right there with her. I was rooting her on and hoping that there'd be a happy ending.

    And I LOVE that the guys were trying to see down the chef's shirt. So like guys. And so funny at a bar.

    I hope you write more about Janelle.

  6. Great piece! It should be required reading for every girl over 14! So much truth here.

  7. Ha! That is how men think, and I wish more women could remember that. Nicely done!