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Chris Stucchio
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Sweet Nothings

 

by Chris Stucchio

 

 

Jim Manson fell in love with Candy the first time he saw her in Shakespeare class in 1990. She had naturally blonde hair, a willowy figure, a pointy nose, and an earthy look. He first approached her on a windy, rainy day after class. 

 

“Can I give you a ride home in my Chevy Cavalier?”

 

“Sure, I’ll take a lift.”

 

When he dropped her off at her studio apartment, which was in a seedy but colorful section of town close to school, Candy gave Jim her phone number, along with a Sex Pistols button that he could pin to his green army jacket. And of course he did, immediately.

 

Candy and Jim dated for almost two months. Among other things, they saw several artsy films at an old theater; she kicked his ass regularly on a regulation-size pool table in a smoky pool hall; he accompanied her to one of her AA meetings; and they went to the school health center where she picked up her birth control pills.  

 

Jim thought the honeymoon would last forever. Then one afternoon, they were at Candy’s apartment, and Candy handed Jim an apple from her fruit bowl, before saying, “Shane gave me a ride on his motorcycle today.” 

 

“Who’s Shane?”

 

“My ex-boyfriend.”

 

“Do you still have feelings for him?”

 

“That’s none of your business. Incidentally, I’m moving in with two guys tomorrow, and I need your help.”

 

Jim finally took a bite of that apple, and something didn’t feel right. At that moment he knew he had just lost a tooth.

Despite that setback, he managed to arrive promptly at her apartment at nine the next morning. They then loaded all of her belongings into her dad’s rundown white van that had several discarded fast food wrappers and an empty bottle of Jack Daniels and drove over to the new place, which was in a trendy section of the city.

 

About ten guys helped them unload everything when they got there. Several of them were wearing preppy sweaters, and a couple of them had on Boston Red Sox baseball hats. One of her new roommates drove a BMW; the other drove a SAAB (Candy made sure to point that out to Jim). The new pad had exposed brick, high ceilings, a loft—it was pretty sweet.

 

Most of the guys there gave Jim dirty looks. A few made comments about his earring and his Dr. Martens. After he had cleaned the two windows in her bedroom with Windex, Candy said, “You’re dismissed.” She didn’t even offer him a slice of pizza from the several that everyone had ordered for lunch.

 

Jim never saw Candy again after that semester, until they invented Facebook. Maybe one of these days he’ll send her a friend request and see where it goes.

 

Except for a tooth, what does he have to lose?

 

 



Little White Lie

 

by

 

Chris Stucchio

 

 

Sitting on a wooden stool at a trendy coffee shop, I start to eavesdrop on a conversation between an intellectual-looking man with a ponytail and a sophisticated-looking brunette in a hot pink sweater. Just as I learn the girl’s friend Rose recently passed the bar exam, a bespectacled young man of Indian or Pakistani descent waves to me in the window with a big smile on his face.

 

He points to a fancy blue mountain bike that's chained to one of the ubiquitous parking meters that valiantly guard our thoroughfare curbs. For a moment, I don't know what he wants. Then everything clicks. He wants to know if the fancy blue mountain bike is mine. It's not, but he looks so hopeful and excited, I’m not sure what to tell him. I hate disappointing people, even strangers I’ll probably never see again.  

 

It would be so easy for me to simply nod my head in that universally understood sign that means yes. It doesn’t cost anything, and no one would get hurt. Sure, technically it would be a lie, but he would feel good, I would feel good for making him feel good, and the world would be a better place because of my altruism. 

 

Then I think of all the bad things that could happen if I say “Yes.” He could come in and ask me crazy questions about the bike. Like, how many gears does it have, how much does it weigh, or how often do I ride it? Then again, he could have one just like it and feel that qualifies us to be friends. No offense to him, but I’m a loner, like Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti western or Clubber Lang in Rocky III.

 

Plus, if he wants to go riding sometime, it would really put a damper on things if I showed up with the bike in my basement—a hybrid Huffy 12-speed I haven’t used since 1990. Worse, the person who owns the fancy blue mountain bike could walk out of the adjacent book store at the exact moment I’m telling him it’s mine. I imagine the disappointing look on his face turning to contempt as he glares at me for a moment before stalking off. I don’t want to be responsible for the guy losing faith in humanity. 

 

I can see he’s starting to become impatient. His motioning back and forth between the bike and me has become more deliberate and theatrical. I decide to go for it and tell the guy what he’s longing to hear by shaking my head up and down and mouthing the words, “Yes, it’s mine.”  He smiles and gives me the universal sign for “cool” by putting two thumbs up, and then strides off as happy as a first-time bride. 

 

Now that I’ve done my good deed for the day, I can go back to writing flash-fiction stories in my black and white composition book.  

 

 

 

Chris Stucchio is a freelance writer and editor living in Buffalo, New York. His flash fiction has been published in Yellow Mama and Pulp Metal Magazine, and his nonfiction writing has been published in the Buffalo News, Buffalo Spree Magazine, and the New York Law Journal. In addition, his one-act play, I Want Candy, was staged at Rust Belt Theatre in Buffalo in January 2007. He can be reached by email at fleawarhol@aol.com.

                                     


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