I am huge fan of short shorts. They amaze and inspire me. I strive to write so direct and passionately that a single page could touch a persons soul. There are so many magical short shorts out there, my favorites being by Anton Chekov and Kim Addnizio. This is another short short that I have been working on, tell me what you think..
There she was, standing in front of the delicious skyscrapers. Snicker doodle, chocolate chip, and sugar cookie mounds devoured every inch of her counter and kitchen table. Kara liked her cookies a particular way – half baked—right on the line of completely raw and an oozing melt. She couldn’t get them right and refused to eat a cookie that wasn’t perfect, even if it took all night this time. She did this often, tried to bake her perfect cookie. She could count on one hand how many times they came out right in one try. She would usually just give up after a dozen cookies. Her husband always laughed at her if she attempted any more than that.
Kara was never a dedicated woman but this time, she wouldn’t let herself stop until she got exactly what she wanted. Thank goodness for the lifetime supply of cookie dough through first grade fundraisers. She did everything half-ass, when cleaning Jackson’s room, she’d kick little Hot Wheels under his bed because she didn’t feel like picking them up and didn’t have a place for them anyway. Maybe that’s why her husband moved out. Or maybe it was it because after they had Jackson her boobs deflated and stomach looked like it had been gnawed on by a wild beast. She didn’t look like the bartenders who served him whiskey on Saturday nights – double d’s and belly rings.
With each batch that came out fully cooked, she’d put more dough in the oven. “Karma is not on my side,” she mumbled. Headlights glared into the dimly lit kitchen. Kara looked at the clock and sighed. It was already eight and she had spent an entire evening with baked goods while Jackson was with his Dad. She should have curled her hair or changed her clothes. The least she could have done was clean up so when he walked in, he would miss home and move back. She took a glimpse at herself in the dark reflection on the microwave. She quickly pulled the Scrunchie from her hair then, shook and fluffed the blonde mess with her fingers as the door opened.
“Sweet,” Jackson’s little voice shouted as he flew to the kitchen, following the scent of sugar. Eyes wide, he looked through the cookies and monitored each one to find exactly what he wanted. Picky, just like his father.
“Cookies for dinner?” Tom chuckled. She tried to ignore him but could feel the heat of embarrassment rising on her face.
Jackson snatched the very top of the chocolate chip Tower of Pisa that was sure to fall into the sink “Only one, Jackson, please go put your school stuff away and pajamas on. Did you have dinner?” He ran off to his room.
“Of course we had dinner,” Tom said. He grabbed a snicker doodle from the kitchen table and sat down. “These are close, nice and gooey,” he said, examining the cookie.
“You look good,” she told him and immediately regretted the bottle of wine she downed during hour two of her cookie cook-off. Diarrhea of the mouth is what her mother called it.
“Yeah, thanks,” he said. They looked at each other for a moment but he didn’t repay the compliment. Of course not, she was in grey jogging pants.
“We should try marriage counseling,” she said. “A girl at work gave me this…”
“I’m seeing someone.” He said it quick, it reminded her of the way she ripped Band-Aids off Jackson’s scraped elbows.
“What does that mean? I didn’t know we were seeing people, I thought this was a trial separation, as in try it out. Jesus, Tom, it’s only been a couple of months.” She couldn’t help but think that there was so much more he was hiding from her in his little apartment across town. He has probably hired a lawyer, she thought, divorce papers on his coffee table.
“I just met her and we’ve been on a couple of dates…”
“A couple of dates?” Her voice was loud and cracked. The lump in her throat grew bigger and she could barely breathe. Jackson peeked around the corner.
“I’ve better go,” he said. “We’ll talk later, this was the wrong time.” She watched him say goodbye to Jackson. He kissed his little head and told him he love him. Tears blurred her vision. She wanted to hear Tom say it again, I love you but to her this time. He didn’t even look at her as he walked toward the door.
“Will there ever be a right time?” She asked, careful not to let out the loud sob that she was holding in.
“Good luck with the cookies,” he said. “Don’t give up.”
A bedtime story and glass of water later, Jackson was asleep. She had forgotten about the cookies that were in the oven, another batch, piled alongside the rest of them. She rummaged through the cabinets, looking for Tupper-Ware containers and trying to figure out what she would do with all the cookies. She found a bottle of Tom’s Jack Daniels hidden in the back. She pulled it out and poured herself a glass. Sip, after silent sip. Kara got up and put another batch of cookies in the oven.