Social Shorts

I had cause recently to try my hand at poetry as a mechanism for creatively expressing emotion. Now my only emotion is a feeling of being crap at poetry. It is expressed easily with the following haiku:

sad feelings like a, um
something something syllables
never mind.

But before that sudden drop in range, there were some emotions related to social anxiety which I found room to express in prose. Short stories are more my natural style, after all.

Alexandra the Amazon

Alexandra, the beautiful amazon (on her mother’s side), has sworn to marry any man who can best her in a foot race. So as he walks past her, Hector (a life-long running champion) impetuously breaks into a sprint. She slams into gear and follows him, almost keeping up for the first hundred yards. But she falls behind in the next hundred, and by the finish line Hector’s ahead by ten feet at least. He turns to the panting Alexandra, kneels before her, and reaches for her hand. But she just shakes her head and walks off.

Perplexed, Hector runs to her aide; who produces the scroll upon which her oath was recorded. Conditions include, but are not limited to: race must be held between noon and dusk, on the ancestral Olympian sporting grounds, with at least three signed witnesses, with Alexandra starting one foot ahead on the right of the leading man, and only on alternate Tuesdays.

“Alternate to what?”

“To today, of course.”

So next Tuesday, Hector joined three other youths in the official race for her hand. Alexandra was one foot ahead on the right, and the stars were properly aligned. She took off, and the men were after her like a shot. But when the dust settled, Hector led Alexandra by two yards at the finish line and the others trailed off behind. Again, Hector knelt, and turned, to see Alexandra on the arm of the third place finisher. They turned their backs as Hector leaped towards them, enraged.

The aide rushed over to his side, with a scroll in hand. It was not the oath, but the decrees of the temple of Hera. By the goddess’ word, to be eligible for an Amazonian oath you must have maintained the favor of Hera; this is decided by the ranking woman on the scene (Alexandra, of course). “Sorry bud.” Hector pointed at the couple, at Alexandra hanging off a man who couldn’t even out-run her. The aide showed in his diary, two weeks from now those two were fated to marry – after the traditional ceremonial foot race.

Two weeks later, at that celebration, with the wedding cake at the ready, and with the wedding arch over the finish line, Hector strode resolutely to the gates of the sporting grounds. He would join the race, he would win, and he would make Alexandra face the world with her trickery and false oath. He would have done all that, if the two burly amazon gate-guards didn’t beat him to a pulp first.

Some Dinner Party

“Sorry I’m late.”

“No worries, we’re just glad you’re here”, said the host with a warm smile on her face.

He smiled back, and sat down. As he sat , he saw two glasses by his place. A water glass, and a wine glass.

“Let me fill that up for you”, says the host, and she fills the water glass up to the brim.

“Thank you, may I have some wine too please?”

“Oh no, I don’t really want to pour you wine.”

“Why not? Everyone else has wine.”

“I’m just not feeling it. You don’t need wine though, water is all you really need.”

“Yes, but I’d like some wine too. Please.”

“Of course you should have wine if you want it. I just don’t want to pour it for you. Anyone want to pour wine for this gentleman here?” The guests all turn their heads away. The host continues, “Maybe later someone will pour you a glass.”

“Why wait? Hand me the bottle.”

“Oh no, you can’t pour your own wine. If you’re thirsty then let me pour you some more water…”

The water glass was already full to the brim, and he had not touched it. It spilled out onto the table as the host emptied the carafe into it.

“I have enough water, just give me the fucking wine!”

A hush fell over the table, as shock cascaded across the faces of the guests. The host’s tone turned somber, “I think you should go.”

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