Flashing #55: Romantic Comedy

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I wrote this in 15 minutes. I’m sure it shows.

I hate most romantic comedies. They’re insulting. 95% of them have the following plot: Big city girl (or guy) gets forced to live in a small town. She (or he) has trouble fitting in at first but they eventually begin to fall in love with small town life. She (or he) meets a guy (or girl) who at first is the embodiment of everything they hate about small towns but eventually the guy (or girl) wins her (or him) over with his rugged good lucks (or overt cuteness). They have a moment but then she (or he) has to go back to his (or her) city. There’s a montage set to a Bruce Springsteen song and the movie ends with the girl (or guy) moving back to the small town.

So I decide to make a real ending to the above movie. And now I’m going to bed. More Flashing at the main page.


Harold uses his grease-covered shirt to wipe the sweat from his eyes. His left hand fumbles his wrench and it drops below the four-color, coming dangerously close to the reels, before hitting the ground beneath the press with a clang. He drops down to the floor and reaches his hand below the metal walkway in an attempt to reclaim his wrench, holding his hand out against the side of the press to keep his balance. His loose sleeve gets sucked up by the giant reels and pulls his arm into the behemoth. He screams out for help, but Bobby’s at the other end of the press checking the color levels of the latest sheet and Jimmy’s out back smoking one of his Backwoods cigars. He tries to fight off the reels that seem intent on sucking his entire arm into the machine, praying to God for a miracle, when someone hits the emergency switch, causing the press to come to an abrupt halt, Harold’s elbow centimeters from being crushed.

Harold tries to pull his shirt out from the press but the giant mass of rubber and metal refuses to budge. He hears the unmistakable click-clack of high heels on concrete and smiles, knowing full well who his savior is. “Well I’ll be damned, Zoe,” he says, not seeing the owner of the heels, “Before we get all weepy can you be a doll and hit the reverse button?”

The reels lurch back, spitting Harold’s shirt out in the process. Harold turns to see Zoe standing behind him, her face filled with the spit and vinegar he’s grown to love but missed dearly over the past couple of months. “You saved my life, honey. Jeanie’s gonna wanna hug you for that.”

“Or hit me.”

The old friends laugh as Harold slowly pulls himself off the floor, flexing his shoulder and making sure all the parts still work. “Could be. Can never tell with that girl.”

“Well, if she had any sense she’d hit me. I’m sure she’d do anything to get a worthless slob like you out of her life.”

Harold stops flexing his shoulder and stares, dumbfounded, at Zoe – a girl he thought he knew. “Well that was pretty mean, Zoe.”

“Sorry if I hurt your fucking feelings, Harold. But the thought of having to live another day in this shithole while corporate sorted out another lawsuit makes me want to punch myself in the vagina until I spontaneously impregnate myself and then punch myself some more in order to abort the putrid fetus.”

Harold doesn’t know how to respond. Luckily for him Jimmy turns the corner, cigar ash covering his novelty t-shirt that reads, “Free Mustache Rides.”

“Well I’ll be damned! If it ain’t Ms. Big City coming back down to see us regular folk. What’s the matter, sweetheart, missed us?”

Zoe sneers at Jimmy, wanting to make some comment about his shirt and his choice of pronouns and sexual harassment but she bottles it all up and gets right down to business. “Where’s Sam?” she asks.

“He’s over at the die-cutter today. He’s gonna be mighty to happy to see you, I’m thinking.”

“Thank God we don’t pay to you to think,” Zoe responds as she turns and walks over to the finishing room. She walks in and shrugs off Phil and Johnny and Tony and Greg and Bill and John and Philly and Bob and Jim and Sammy and Chris and Poncho (the token Mexican, as she calls him) before making her way to Sam at the die-cutting machine.

“Oh!” Sam says as he quickly tries to fix up his fantastic black mane, “You’re back?” His perfectly-cut jaw forms a smile that accentuates his deep blue eyes.

Zoe walks right up to Sam and slaps him as hard as her frail hands can slap him. She breaks two nails in the process, but it’s worth it as far as she’s concerned.

“How many times do I have to tell you to stop sending me stuff? The flowers, the letters, the chocolates – what the fuck do you think I am? Do you think I’m some horny high school girl oozing over your rugged good lucks, wishing you’d drive by my condo so I can sneak out the window and let you fingerbang me at Lover’s Point?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Stop it. Stop trying to get in touch with me. Take a fucking hint – we fucked! Awesome! You were incredibly mediocre at best! Honestly, I’ve had more orgasmic experiences eating at shitty Indian restaurants than I had in your bedroom.”

“I really thought we…”

“I know what you thought, but I also know you’re an idiot. What did you think I’d do – give up my career and my salary and my incredibly AWESOME life so that I can move down to this Podunk town, marry you, and help you raise you’re two kids – one of which is most likely retarded? Are you really that fucking stupid?”

Sam just stares at Zoe, waiting for the punchline.

“If I get one more anything from you I’m going to come down here with an army of lawyers, sue you for sexual harassment, and have the state take your kids away. And then I’m going to fuck your retarded son while you watch just to prove a point. Are we clear?”

Sam cracks a smile, trying to force some humor into this ultimatum.

“You’re smiling. Of course. I have to go so, in conclusion,” Zoe kicks Sam in the balls as hard as she can. Sam drops to the ground, the smile effectively wiped from his face. All the Billies and Bobbies and Jimmies clutch their own balls in empathy for Sam. Zoe just looks at them and shakes her head. “You fucking monkeys.”

She walks towards the exit. The people in the shop listen to the click-clack of her heels for the last time.


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