by steve passey
i: the plots
I’m a Goddess, God Damnit
Man meets certifiably insane woman. It does not go all that well and ends badly. Calling down all of her divine powers, she curses him, yea verily, she thrice-curses him, but he doesn’t feel all that different. Just bad, like he did when they were together and she’d curse him with her imaginary powers for his imaginary transgressions.
Man meets a really nice woman. Too nice. But when she tells him that her parents died on the same day exactly one year apart he feels so bad about his lustful and wicked intentions that he – nobly – decides not to go out with her. He does text her from time to time, when he’s single, just to, y’know, see how she’s doing.
Smash the Patriarchy
Man meets certifiably insane woman with a therapist’s license and is immediately subjected to a torrent of verbal abuse. He does not cry. Admiring his stoicism in the face of his many, many faults she suggests they continue to see each other. He demurs, and winds up saving, but not reading, the next few weeks of her emails because the subject lines alone frighten him in a way that Zika virus, ISIS, and the new Carbon Tax (all frightening) do not.
Write About ME, You Fucking Canadian Hack
Man meets certifiably insane – but really fuckin’ hot – woman. She loves the homeless, but even though she is an avowed atheist she prays fervently for the deaths of Republicans, Catholics, the entire state of Texas, and eventually, him. He flees, leaving behind some of his modest belongings, but what the homeless are going to do with the DVD for the movie ‘Paul’ and a 1st edition of Northrop Frye’s ‘The Great Code’ I don’t know.
* This story was nominated for, but did not win, a modest literary prize.
Man meets ill-tempered man with a vagina and a wicked backhand. While she immerses herself in petty litigation against the litany of people of have somehow wronged her, he mows her lawn, dodges the backhand, and beats her one-hundred fifty-seven straight times in ‘Words with Friends.’ Tired of this kind of back-sass and his workman-like ability to shrug off physical abuse, she sues.
Nice Truck, Shame About Your Tumor
Man meets super nice girl. She likes beer, sports, cooking and cleaning, and sex. He checks her attributes against his list of qualities a good woman should have: 1) Likes to do it, 2) Not a Psycho. Check, check. But she has a brain tumor, and it has other plans. She is given 30 days to live, and then moves far, far away for experimental treatments. She lives, but has partial amnesia, and forgets a lot of things, like his face and name, but oddly enough, not his old pickup truck.
II: The Edits
I Really Am a Goddess, and Fuck You.
A saintly woman, survivor of many travails, with an excellent sense of style and décor, meets a wannabe author who can generously be described as ‘a project’. Although things start well enough by the end of it he is found sorely wanting, sneaking in some carbs without permission and responding positively to a (female) friend’s Facebook comment. Obviously, he’s no damn good and never will be, just like she always knew. She ditches the lout, even though he cries pitifully, and walks alone into a brighter future with her head held high and her heart singing.
I Am Not Bad Luck, or Fodder for Your Stories
A good woman, artistically inclined and the epitome of decency, meets a guy with a totally skeevy look about him for a few coffees. Like, totally skeevy. Finally, after clutching her car keys in between her fingers during the long, long walk across the parking lot to her vehicle (that she has wisely parked under a streetlamp) she mats it and drives into a brighter future, with her head held high and her heart singing.
You Looked Like a Fucking Mormon to Me
A grounded and very, very aware therapist, excited to begin a new chapter in her life, finds herself with a very, very average author who exhibits all the classical average author traits of narcissism, autism, and patriarchal thinking. He denies it of course, like she knew he would, and refuses to be helped, even though she offers to try – no guarantees. As he spirals downward into an abyss of narcissism, autism, and patriarchal thinking and does not respond to her polite efforts to maintain contact, she walks alone into a brighter future with her head held high and her heart singing.
You Ghosted Me, You Fucker
Smart, savvy woman who doesn’t need anything from anyone meets a wannabe author with not a lot on his resumé. She takes pity on him and buffs his confidence with home-made guacamole and a little tough-love. He might not be able to see it, but she understands how his past decisions, made before he met her, were a deliberate affront to her and proof of her magnanimity in lowering herself to talk to him at all. He needs to write, for her, about her, and he needs a daily regimen of tears, threats, and the occasional ‘Fuck you, asshole!’ in order to… He ghosts her.
With her head held high and her heart singing she walks into a brighter future and forgets him – or sometimes just confuses him with some other losers half-remembered.
*This story was nominated for, but did not win, a modest literary prize, because he’s not a very good writer.
You Fucking Deserved It.
A woman surrounded by idiots has a moment of weakness wherein she takes one in. He needs a lot of work – and a few cuffs around the head if he’s going to be made into anything worthwhile. Furthermore, all the drivers on the road are idiots as are all the people she works with. How come, if her shit is together, his isn’t? How come everyone else is a still a bad driver or a lousy co-worker? People! What a bunch of bastards! She winds up walking alone into a brighter future/her lawyer’s office with her head held high and her heart singing in spite of all the idiots.
Nice Truck, Shame About Your Face
A woman goes to see her doctor and gets some bad news. She has one last fling with a guy who is decent enough – mostly just because he’s available in a sad, lost-puppy-just-looking-for-a-home kind of way. Fling done she moves alone into a brighter future with her head held high and her heart singing, where she cures herself through positive thinking and the help of the much-maligned pharmaceutical industry. Puppy boy? Yeah, he was alright. Nice truck too.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Steve Passey is from Southern Alberta. He is the author of the short-fiction collection Forty-Five Minutes of Unstoppable Rock (Tortoise Books), the Novella Starseed (Seventh Terrace – writing as Stephen Guy) and the poetry collection Alone on the Couch With a Gun in My Mouth (Anxiety Press) along with many other individual things. Tweet to him @SuperHeavy666.