November 16, 2005

Nat'l Novel Writing Month Short Story Challenge, Day Twelve

Today's suggestion, from Eliza Skinner: "Eliza Skinner, The Most Beautiful Girl In The World"

Eliza Skinner is the most beautiful girl at Humboldt High.

We can't decide: when Eliza gets up for school, does she wake up to ambient ocean noise or does a bird alight on her shoulder and sing her awake?

We come to the conclusion that she wakes to ambient ocean noise, but instead of coming from one of those ambient-noise alarm clocks like the one my stepdad ordered out of the AirMall catalog, it comes from Eliza's mirror, which doubles as a portal to a beach where it's always sunset.

When she rises and looks into the mirror, that's when the bird flies in the window and perches on her shoulder. It sings her favorite song, which we have no idea what it is, but we assume it's something by Cole Porter. None of us can hum a Cole Porter song, we just know it's classy and something that girls like. Does she sing along with the bird? She does, we decide, since we all heard her sing "Against All Odds" by Phil Collins at the Fall Pops Concert last year. It was a duet with Tim DiRisio, who we were all jealous of, even though he is gay. If it were one of us singing the duet with Eliza, we're pretty sure she would have fallen in love with us. But none of us can sing. In fact, two of us are smoking.

Does she take a shower in the morning or at night? We decide in the morning because at night means we wouldn't have the opportunity to think about it in our imaginary reconstruction of Eliza's day. So she goes to take a shower in the morning. It is quiet for a minute while we all think about this.

We are all imagining some variation of a shower like they have in commercials where the water falls from above and sunlight streams in through steam and pebbled glass, though none of us know that pebbled glass is called pebbled glass until Aaron says what it is. Eric asks Aaron if he learned that from his boyfriend Tim DiRisio. Aaron punches Eric and almost falls.

We bid on how much we would pay to have the towel Eliza dries off with after her shower. The bidding starts at a hundred bucks and goes all the way up to Aaron's car. Aaron tells Kevin to bid his own damn car. But we all agree that Kevin's car is worth less than the first bid of a hundred dollars.

Though our hearts tell us Eliza goes to her bedroom and picks clothes from an bottomless closet, never the same thing twice, Eric's meticulously maintained Eliza's Wardrobe data tells us otherwise. Instead we imagine the twenty or so outfits she's worn this year, she has fifty of, each, like Batman.

She dresses in front of the mirror. It gets very quiet again.

Then she puts on makeup. We would not know what this looks like even with a girl we are not in love with, so we move on.

We decide that to get to her car (a midnight-blue 2003 Jetta) she goes through a tunnel, also like Batman.

Kevin asks if it's weird that we keep comparing this girl that we are all in love with to Batman and maybe that just means we're all in love with Batman.

Aaron tells Kevin to shut up, when KARANG, a bee-bee hits him in the shoulder. We turn and see it was fired by Eliza's father, Dr. Skinner, who is leaning out of his bedroom window. Aaron falls from the tree to the street below, smashing his binoculars.

There are sirens. We mix love oaths with swear words as we take off into the night.

Aaron, we're sorry. Eliza, we're not.

Posted by DC at November 16, 2005 12:36 AM
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