Tag Archives: humor

Got another one in the rejected-by-McSweeney’s and the 600-words-or-less department. There really shouldn’t have been room for overlap there, since does not do short stories, as I was told this morning when the piece was rejected.

Oh well. This one is funny.

Available on now, assuming, once again, that it will eventually make its way to Amazon and others.


People think they know what it’s like because they’ve lost friends before, but this is different. Straws wasn’t just any old friend. It’s not like I can find him on Facebook now, you know? There’s no way to reach him, ever–no phone number, no address, I don’t even know where he is, really–where he’s from.

I’ll tell you what makes it so bad: it’s that when he was here, it was the single most incredible time of my life. But when that happens, you don’t think it’s just going to end. You don’t think that it’s only going to last a couple weeks. You think it’s forever, that your life’s going to go on being more and more awesome. You feel touched. Blessed. You don’t think at all, not one bit, about how you’re gonna get sad and drunk some night at a bar and your girlfriend’s gonna ask you why you’re crying and you’re going to be stupid enough to tell her everything and say, “Meredith, I’m depressed and feel like life isn’t worth living, because when I was a kid I was friends for a little while with an alien.”

Girlfriends just don’t understand. Sooner or later, I always tell them, and then they get that look–the one that says, “Oh, I get it now. Why you’re single. Why you were hospitalized.”

What? Oh, no, see, there you go, thinking about Hollywood shit, thinking about E.T. and Mac and Me. Well, it wasn’t like that exactly–Straws never made my bike fly across the moon or caused a sudden dance party in a McDonald’s–but it was still a thrill to be near him. Straws was telepathic, and he would share visions with me of other planets he’d visited, and I thought he’d take me to some of them someday, but now even thinking about those things he shared with me is painful. He never took me anywhere. He just left one day. The government didn’t chase him off, either, and he didn’t die from anything; he just showed up one day and left another. I can’t even watch those other movies, because they make me angry. I keep wishing it was something else, something explicable that made Straws leave.

Fucking movies. Everything’s always better in the movies. Let me tell you, it’s painful to live something they made a movie about if your version isn’t as good.

People say I’m needy. That I have too much trouble enjoying things for what they are. I’m even too bitter to read news about the space program. When the Space Shuttle made its last flight, I was ecstatic. I’m so angry about space and all that stuff it ruins my whole day whenever I hear anything about it on the news or whatever.

Whatever’s out there, it can stay out there for all I care. To hell with Straws.

Ok, fine, you’re right. I wish he’d come back. I’d give anything. I really would.

Great, now I’m crying again.

It happened again today. We were on the phone, and you were telling me where you wanted to meet, and I said, “Meet me on the corner of 34th and Madison in twenty minutes,” and then I just hung up without waiting to see if that was okay with you, or if you had any additional thoughts on the matter.

If this seemed rude, I apologize. It’s simply something I do–something I’ve always done. I don’t like saying goodbye, especially on the phone. I’m trying to lower my daily word count and omit the needless words in my life, and I didn’t think the rest of our conversation was going to be interesting. Again, I’m sorry if that seems rude.

Also, if it ever appears to you that I don’t listen to the second half of your sentences, it’s because I already know how most of them are likely to end. Yesterday when you said to me, “I got an A on my …,” I must confess my attention cut you off right there. I assumed you were talking about your Bio test. If you weren’t–if, say, you were saying something like that you’d gotten a scarlet A sewn onto your blouse–well, then, I probably misunderstood, because I wasn’t really listening to that part. If you want me to listen, please structure your sentences in a more suspenseful way.

I also apologize for showing up late to your birthday dinner and then leaving a few moments later. Everyone was far too agreeable, and that one guy was talking at great length about the dream he had the previous night, going way beyond the standard two or three line maximum allowed by modern dialogue. It was horrid, and at any rate I just didn’t think anything interesting was happening in that scene–that scene that was your birthday dinner.

I hope you accept this apology, realizing that I am apologizing not because I mean to change, but because I want you to accept my behavior, even if you find it rude. Because it’s not rude. Not really. I’m just trying to trim the meaningless parts of my life away, and some of them, I’m sorry to say, include pieces of you.