Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sparkly & Stinky - #fridayflash

'Me and My Pink Shoes' photographed by Isabelle Ste-Marie.
Isabelle is an outstanding photographer whose work can be seen here.
Please take a moment and visit her blog – you won't be sorry, I promise!

Radio’s playing R.E.M.’s Losing My Religion, coffee doused with double sugar and Coffee Mate Vanilla Caramel is steaming in the Timmy Ho-Ho’s travel mug, Cover Girl Natural Beige is hiding her bumpy bits, Soap & Glory’s Sexy Mother Pucker is tingling on her lips and, so far, nothing is staining June’s new faux linen summer dress.

She is wearing her J-Lo Glow perfume and her favourite pale pink flats, the ones with the bows and the sparkles.

The sun is shining and June is off to work at the real estate office where she sits at the front desk, answering the phone, rearranging the photo board and fending off passes from pasty-faced middle aged losers in shiny-elbowed suits and downwardly spiraling sales careers.

She sniffs.

What is that smell?

She wrinkles her natural beige nose and looks around the car to see if there are any dead animals putrefacating on any of the seats.

She lifts her underarms. She smells the collar of her dress. She checks her breath. Everything seems fine. She thinks maybe she has just driven by a swamp.

At work, she notices the smell again. When no one is looking, she takes off one of her sparkly shoes and sniffs. Her face turns the colour of pistachio ice cream and she retches.

She thinks, this won’t do.

Luckily, she has an extra pair of shoes in her desk drawer, so she puts them on. The gaseous green fog that emanates from the bright pink sparkly flats is enough to make a wild hog hold its snout.

June decides to take the shoes out to the trunk of her car so they won’t kill everyone in the office but she sees customers coming up the sidewalk, so she shoves the stinky shoes in her desk drawer and slams it shut, just as the Haskells open the door and ask to speak to Mr. Fitzsimmons, the broker.

“Was someone eating Limburger cheese?” Mrs. Haskell asks.

“Er,” says June, because she can’t think of anything to say that won’t indict herself, or the people she is thinking of blaming. “Mr. Fitzsimmons has a digestion problem,” she is tempted to say, “but don’t mention it because, you know, he is sensitive.” She imagines herself whispering this last part.

She is spared this lie because Mr. Fitzsimmons has heard them arrive. He greets them with a florid smile and a hearty handshake, then escorts them to his little paneled room, decorated with all the hundreds of dead fish he has caught and stuffed over the years.

He waits until the Haskells are well ahead of him, then he turns to June and says, “For God’s sake, what smells? Open a window!”

Mortified, June does as she is told and then the phone rings, and then rings again. The other agents arrive and soon the day is in full swing, always especially busy on a Friday with agents lining up their weekend open houses and appointments.

She forgets all about the stinky shoes in her desk drawer.

In fact, she doesn’t think about them again until she arrives for work on Monday morning, when she opens the door and is literally bowled over, on her pretty butt, no exaggeration, by an overpowering, overwhelming, over-everything, stench.

Mr. Fitzsimmons, coming up the sidewalk, watches June scramble to her feet, run at full tilt to her car and then drive away. 

"Crazy woman," he thinks.

He hopes she comes back to the office soon. He has heard from the public works department that the sewer line has backed up. He is hoping June can meet clients at the front door and steer them to a temporary office across town. 


  1. Poor June. I don't think she will be showing her face any time soon.
    This was a fun read thanks Cathy.

    Pamela Jo

  2. those are powerful stinky shoes! LOL Like the line about the sewer line backing up. LOL

  3. Lol. "And why did you leave your last place of employment without giving notice?"



    Good one Cathy! :D

  4. That was funny, this line made me laugh out loud "She thinks maybe she has just driven by a swamp."

    Poor June and those shoes were so pretty! ;D

  5. I don't think nose plugs will solve this problem. Time to check about other career choices!

  6. OKay - the shoes were too fun and distracting for me to notice much else ;D

  7. I love the driving mundane rhythms of the first 3 paragraphs. They were breathless to read and yet as I say revealed only mundanities, which worked really rather well to sucker the reader into the character & tone.

    marc nash

  8. I use that same lip gloss!!! Don't wear sparkly shoes though - mine just have zombies on them ;-)

    Fun stuff, Cathy :-)

  9. hahah. Agree with ClareKirk. Really funny.

  10. Nice details. You gave the brand names of everything but the shoes -- but I guess there won't be a stampede of women wanting a pair just like them.

  11. I do believe there's a pair of those pink flats in the closet by our front door...

    That was a fun story. June would be a great character is a longer story.

  12. I loved how you built this up. Poor June!

  13. You're a crack-up! I especially liked the shiny elbows and looking to blame lines :)

  14. Poor June. On the bright side, maybe it was a good excuse for her to go home and soak her feet. Maybe get a pedicure.? :) Fun story, Cathy. Love the photo.

  15. Oh, poor, poor June! Bless her heart I feel for her.
    Cathy, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the voice in this! Thanks for a fun read!

  16. Ha! Nice one Cathy. Methinks she needs some odour eaters...

  17. Nice one Cath-star... nice read and nobody / nothing died in this one! (LQTM) It was a pretty funny piece, and I do hope June comes back to work after she hears that it was the sewers and not her little pink shoes that stunk up the office that bad. Maybe she should just keep a little baby powder in the drawer for future emergencies? :)

  18. The voice is superb. Stinky shoes! I can smell them.
    Ann Best’s Blog

  19. Funniest part for me:

    "or the people she is thinking of blaming. " -Loved that.

  20. This is so funny because my daughter just bought a pair of really cute shoes that are absolutely retched

  21. Cathy, I'm not a fan of feet and this awesomely written flash didn't help ... Fun stuff here as usual. ;)

  22. There are some olfactory attacks that simply clear the sinuses, and stinky feet is one of them. Funny.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  23. I can smell it from here. Too good for words and thank you very much for the morning giggles.

  24. What a great story to a pretty but not as interesting picture. (the photographer is very talented, though!)

    You made this even more enjoyable by using the present tense, Cathy. Well done!

  25. In fact, she doesn’t think about them again until she arrives for work on Monday morning, when she ope looks around the car to see if there are any dead animals putrefacating on any of the seats.


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