I swear, I think Wendig and I are on the same wavelength. Tuesday on the way to work, I thought about a few story angles for a short story I wanted to write about a new character. I already had a name for her: Brandy Alexander. Possibly told in vignettes, the story would chronicle Brandy’s layoff from her job, which would later force her to move in with her parents until she got back on her feet. But how would life as a single woman work if she was living under her parents roof again? By Thursday, I’d already jotted down the path the story would take.
On Friday, Chuck Wendig posted this week’s flash fiction challenge: Write a 1000-word story, but split it up into ten chapters. While the story, Brandy Alexander, is not as vignette-y as I had originally planned, the story is told as I’d envisioned it on Tuesday. It clocks in at 980 words.
Chap 1 – Doomsday
Monday, April 10
Brandy Alexander sits in her boss’ office hearing only fragments of his words.
“pink slip…cuts in all departments… by seniority.”
She blinks twice, trying to focus on his face. He looks uncomfortable, as if he just realized he shit his pants and is still sitting in it.
The last thing she hears him say is “You still have three weeks, so if I were you, I’d use up any accrued personal days.” At least a full sentence registered in her brain that time.
She’ll start hitting the temp agencies tomorrow. Short-term jobs are better than nothing.
Chap 2 The Job Search
Monday, April 17
The hunt is on. Only two weeks left to go until she’s out of a job. There’s not one damn job in human resources. Ain’t that a bitch?
The Dairy Barn’s hiring, no experience necessary. Does she really want to work at a local burger-and-ice cream joint for minimum wage? Sure, there’s a discount on the meals, but she’ll come home every night smelling like stale fries. Thirty years old isn’t supposed to look like this, right?
Brandy circles the job in the newspaper. It can’t hurt to apply. Work nights at The Barn and temp during the day.
Chap 3 The Doctor’s Office
“You can always move in with us.”
Yeah, as an absolute last resort, Brandy thinks. “Mom, I gotta go. They just called me in.”
Her doctor sees her on the examination table and notices her jeans are still on. “No pelvic exam?”
“No way. You got your little tool stuck last time,” she gestures toward the speculum. “So you’re staying clear of this area,” and she motions over her crotch with her hand.
She lies on the table. “Besides, this will be the last time you’ll see me for awhile. Let’s celebrate by keeping away from my cooch.”
Chap 4 Butch Tomboy, the Workout Queen
Monday, May 22
8:30 A.M. Brandy shows up for a three-week light industrial temp assignment.
“Help unpack desks and chairs then assemble them. Report to Tammy Dagneau,” the lady on the phone says. Should be easy enough.
By lunchtime, Brandy is on her way home. One morning working for Tammy, aka Butch Tomboy, is all she can take. When you’re the supervisor of a worksite, it’s apparently necessary to stand around all morning, be bossy with the temps, sneer at their contempt for manual labor and talk about working out with your two minions.
Thank god she still has her weekend job at The Dairy Barn.
Chap 5 Is this the real life?
Sunday, August 13
Her savings is almost gone. Now is the time for the full-on panic attack.
Sunday dinner at her parents’ house. No visible signs that children ever lived here. Her old room is an office. Her brother’s old room is a scrapbooking room.
“When you move in next week, you’ll have to sleep on this,” her mother motions to the loveseat that, until recently, has been in the garage for eight years. Brandy leans in for a whiff. Gross. Rancid mildew. Mental note: buy sprayable deodorizer and a decent air mattress.
Chap 6 Moving Day
Saturday, August 20
Brandy drops her last box on the floor of the scrapbooking room, aka her bedroom. All her furniture and anything she won’t need for the next few months are in a rental storage unit. We’ll be back together soon, my babies.
Any day now, she’ll find a new HR job and Brandy Alexander will be back on top of the world. Until then, keep doing temp jobs. Office work only.
The smell of fried chicken wafts through the house. Bonus to an adult moving back in with the parents: Mom does most of the cooking and laundry.
Chap 7 The Tell-Tale Wand
2:00 A.M., sometime in September.
Her vagina is not happy. It’s been too long. Good thing she has her vibrators. Problem: how to use them without waking her parents. Bean-flicking on the air mattress will be loud.
This looks like a job for Rancid Mildew Loveseat.
Chap 8 Brandy Alexander’s Guide to Noiseless Masturbation
Open the closet door. Stay still for five minutes. Feel around in the dark for the box that holds the large black backpack. Take the backpack out of the box. Stay still for another five minutes. Take small green daypack out of the backpack. Take the Hitachi Wand out of the daypack. Hello, old friend. Plug the wand in. Lie quietly on the loveseat for five minutes. Lay a cushion on the loveseat, lay a towel on the pillow, then put the Wand on top of the towel.
Climb on and have the ride of your life. Just try not to make any noise when the orgasm hits.
Chap 9 Date Night
Wednesday, November 29
Brandy’s got a date with the new guy at The Dairy Barn. A little younger than her at 21 years old, but cute as a button. Problem: what is she supposed to do at the end of the date? Take him back to her parents’ house? She’ll cross that bridge when she gets to it.
They make out in his car before and after pizza. At the end of the date, he’s pissed off because she won’t put out.
Now she’s pissed off. “Oh, so you buy me a couple of slices of pizza and now I gotta let you fuck me? My pussy’s worth more than that!”
He drives her home, still stewing. She gets out of the car without even looking at him. Tomorrow at work is going to be awkward.
Chap 10 The Comeback
Monday, February 12
Victory at last! Thanks to her diligent efforts, she’s going back to work at the first place she worked at out of college. She now works as an HR generalist, bringing in almost twice the salary she made at her last job.
As soon as she gets her first paycheck, she’ll start looking for a place. It’s a good thing she moved in with her parents when she still had money in savings. Now she’ll have money for deposits, a moving truck, and a few new items to spruce up her new place.