My Kindle short story, Communicate, is a bridge work between my novel Meeting Dennis Wilson and the next novel, Switch, which I hope to publish by the end of 2016. It’s a short-story-in-dialogue, a transcript of a July 1976 phone call between 16-year-old Brian and his best friend Margo, following Brian’s latest frustrating date with his girlfriend Christy, where, once again, the couple “took steps” but didn’t go all the way.
Here’s an excerpt from Communicate. Enjoy!
Brian: I just feel like I want to know what to do all the time.
Margo: Well, I don’t think you ever will, Bri. You know? Because people don’t communicate. You know what everyone’s favorite word is? I realized this a couple days ago. “Nothing.” Think about it. “What’s wrong?” “Nothing.” “What are you thinking?” “Nothing.” “What were you gonna say?” “Nothing.” “You know what I mean?” “I guess.”
B: Shut up!
M: Seriously. And I mean… it’s not just you and Christy… or me and Scotty. Think of your parents– think of my mom and dad. They don’t even speak the same language most of the time. Dad doesn’t really speak French… he gets some of it… Mom gets more English than he does French, but still… he’s always… “What’d she say, little girl? What’d your mom say?” And then her: “Qu’est-ce que ta pere a dit?” You know?
B: What’s that?
M: “What did your dad say?”
M: But what I’m saying is, they can’t communicate or know what the other is thinking sometimes and they’re married. Over dumb stuff. Birthday stuff. I was with Dad at the chemist’s in Westport–
M: Drug store. They call it a chemist’s up here. Sorry.
But he’s… you know… “you think your mom’ll like this card?” with the English ones. And then picking out French ones: “This one’s pretty. What’s this one say?” And I said, “Condolences on the death of your dog.” “Oh. Well, what about this one. ‘Bonne fete’… that’s ‘happy birthday,’ right?” “Dad… that’s for a three-year-old. You see all those threes on it?” “Oh.” And then Mom is stubborn like me. She just gets him French ones: “He will learn to read dat.” And so he opens them and nods like he gets it, but then he comes up to me later: “What’s that say, little girl?” And all that’s just over a birthday card! Think of the big things they must get stuck on. Bills, raising me and John-Paul… romantic stuff. I mean, they have Joy Of Sex in English, so Dad can read it… I don’t know what Mom does. Maybe she does just lie there…
Communicate by Max Harrick Shenk
Available as a Kindle short story: 99 cents or FREE to Kindle Unlimited members.