New Short Fiction


Thanks to The Vignette Review!
Issue 11. Vol. 3. January 2018

                                                          Artwork by Jay Urban


By T. M. Spooner

     It was Saturday, and Dana, Sheila’s sister, was coming out for the weekend. Sheila and I lived together in a tiny one-bedroom apartment in the suburbs. It was a joke when compared to the magnificent brownstone where Dana and her husband lived in Lincoln Park. Our apartment was an economy job at best and we did everything we could to save a penny. Since we were both graduate students, we were forced to scrimp.
Last night, before turning in, I had shut the heat off in the apartment. I did it mainly to save money, but I also liked the excuse for cuddling with Sheila in the mornings. Who needed artificial heat when we were under the blankets, cozy and warm?       
As much as I hated to, I slipped out of bed and hurried into the other room to turn on the radiator. It was so cold in the apartment I could see my breath. I hustled back to the bedroom and slid under the covers. Sheila’s back was to me and I scooted up alongside her. Our bodies fit together like that. I think they call it spooning, but for some reason I don’t like the sound of that. I smelled Sheila’s hair, a blend of warm vanilla and lavender, and kissed her freckled shoulder. She was sleeping, or pretending to be.
After allowing the radiator time to work, I got back out of bed and went into the bathroom and turned on the shower. While the water warmed, I sat on the toilet and took a leak. I understand it’s unusual, but it’s what I do, unless I’m somewhere in public with a urinal. I don’t admit this to too many people. Sheila says it just means I’m in touch with my feminine side. I figure it’s more of a sanitation thing, a way to minimize spatter.  
I flushed the toilet and then kicked off the boxers from around my ankles. They were the yellow ones with red jalapeño peppers on them. Sheila had gotten them for me for my birthday last June. Inside the shower, I waited another couple of minutes before getting under the stream, giving the water more time to warm. It takes forever for the water to heat up. Curiously, when the toilet is flushed all the cold-water flows to it, so the shower gets immediately scorching hot. Somehow only cold water is worthy of ushering human waste into the sewer.
I cocked my elbow under the water a time or two until the temperature felt right and I was able to get under it. Now that it was warm, all I could think of was how I would hate to get out. While I was soaping up, the bathroom door opened.
“Who is it?”
“Me, who else?” Sheila said.
        I could hear her on the toilet, trickling. For some reason I liked the sound of that. The hissing, the dribbling finale, and then Sheila squirming, scooting her panties up over her thighs and ass. 
        “When’s Dana coming?” I called out to her.
“The nine-thirty train.”
       The toilet paper roll spun and then she flushed. I got scorched. I knew Sheila. I should have known she’d do it. With a mischievous look on her face, she peeked around the shower curtain.    
       “Got you,” she said giggling.
She got in with me and I hugged her. We stood under the stream for a while. I pulled her so close the water pooled between our bodies. Slick, shiny skin pressed together.
Sheila was like that. She’d scorch you just to get the reaction. One time she had told Dana we had run off to Vegas and gotten married. She had her going for a while. Dana had even called her husband. She really believed we had eloped. Sheila kept them both going with the masquerade for a bit longer. In the end, Sheila blamed me for ruining it because I couldn’t keep a straight face.
“We need to hurry,” Sheila said. “It’s almost nine. Why don’t you warm up the car?”  
I should have gotten my goose down parka from the bedroom closet, but for convenience sake I just grabbed my fall-weight corduroy jacket hanging on the hook by the apartment door. Dumb move since it was freezing outside, even colder than in the apartment. There were patches of ice on the pavement and I tread carefully to the car.
The engine turned over on the third try. It was racing and took a couple of taps on the accelerator for the engine to idle. The seat was like a block of ice. I shivered and blew into my cupped hands. The car windows were covered with frost. I put the defroster on max. I wasn’t about to get out and scrape the windshield if I didn’t have to. All I could think was how much I wished I was still in bed, curled up against Sheila.
By the time Sheila came out, the car was defrosted and warm inside. She got in and the first thing she said was, “it’s frickin broiling in here.”