shooting cupid

this post is what you’ve been waiting to read for the past year and half.

you didn’t know you were waiting for it.

i didn’t know i was destined to write it.

but here it is, in all of it’s not-very-well-edited glory.

 

a few days ago, my older sister, anm, was lamenting over the state of affairs when it comes to romance novels.

apparently they tend to be fraught with clichés, abusive relationships, and poorly developed female characters.

and so i, being the wonderful sister that i am (and feeling the need to do a bit more creative writing around here), promised my sister i would write her a romance story.

 

here’s the thing: i don’t read romances.

in fact, i don’t really know what happens in romances.

i’m pretty sure people do stuff to each other, but i’m not exactly sure what.

 

so i made a list of all the things i’m pretty sure are supposed to happen in a romance:

 

  • plots are optional
  • bosoms heave
  • members quiver
  • there are shudders of pleasure
  • people “get busy” with each other
  • someone has to wear a corset
  • pirates and librarians get natural sexy points
  • and there must be too many descriptions about what people are wearing, how old they are, and what size chest they have

 

 

and that about wraps up what i know about romances.

 

 

oh, by the way, i wrote the first half of this while hopped up on ice cream and whipped cream laced iced coffee.

and i wrote the second half of this while i had a sugar crash.

that might explain a bit.

 

so, here it is.

at long last.

 

 

the pirate and the librarian

a romance of not-very-epic proportions

this very awkward photo was in an impressively short amount of time created using portions of stock photos taken by elrincon and kslyesmith.

 

 

the air conditioning was broken and the library was as hot and sticky as the inside of a freshly baked cinnamon roll.

sasha, 28.36, quit out of facebook and surveyed the empty stacks.

awesome beachside public library’s normal customers were all outside, probably enjoying the fresh sea air and splashing harmoniously with beachside city’s fleet of trained sharks.

sasha would be out there with them soon; the library closed in twenty minutes. for now, though, a few patrons were still taking advantage of the library’s free wi-fi and public restrooms.

sasha sighed and pulled his manly, flowing hair into a bun. he knew it made him look more like the librarian stereotype so many people imagined when they thought of government employees in this particular service industry, but for the moment he didn’t care. anything to get his non-descript brown hair off of his regular-sized neck.

“you awake there?” sasha’s boss, jordan, 48.92, joked. jordan was also librarian, which made sense considering where they worked.

“barely,” sasha admitted. he rubbed his eyes, which is an action people do when they work in very warm environments that make them feel sleepy.

“make the call,” jordan smiled.

jordan was a very nice person to work for, but sasha always felt a little awkward around his boss because he wasn’t sure if jordan was a man or a woman; the name ‘jordan’ was androgynous and so was her paisley and death metal corset wardrobe.

also, jordan’s chest was an average thirty-eight inches around. sasha knew this because jordan had ordered himself a child’s extra-large t-shirt for the awesome beachside public library’s hipster tie-dyeing fundraiser that past winter. sasha had tie-dyed an actual hipster. the whole event had been very classy.

“ladies and gentleman, the library will be closing in fifteen minutes,” sasha intoned in his best young sean connery voice over the loud speaker. “please check out all items at this time.”

fifteen minutes later they let out the last patron, locked the library doors, closed out the check-out registers, shut down the public computers, and turned out the lights. this was all standard procedure.

“got any plans tonight?” a npc co-worker, who will not appear again in the story, asked sasha as they did more boring library-closing work. sasha did not know how old this unimportant character was or what his exact chest size was.

“i thought i’d check out the twilight shark parade,” sasha said. “maybe check out the test launch at the end of the pier. they say the new missiles look just like fireworks when they explode and their toxic waste only destroys jellyfish.”

“that sounded interesting,” sasha’s npc co-worker replied. their conversation was just as normal and boring as the conversations people hold in regular offices. neither sasha nor his unimportant co-worker wore glasses.

“mind locking up?” jordan asked sasha as the last of the staff left the building.

“sure, no problem,” sasha said.

jordan smiled in thanks and left.

sasha’s bosom heaved and the rest of his body followed that forward propulsion as he shuttered the heavy, wrought iron gate with pleasure.

sasha walked down to the pier.

further down, closer to the more popular stretch of the beach, the crowds were out for the twilight race. the sounds of drunk frat boys, screaming sugar-hyped children, and bad disco music could be heard from half a mile away. soon the awkward smells would follow.

“guess i might as well stake out a seat for the missile launch,” sasha said to himself, which wasn’t awkward at all.

he walked down the dock, which, for aesthetic reasons, was a lot longer than most people would have expected. the dock was brown because it was made out of wood. the water was blue. the sky was twilight-colored. sasha’s chest was a regular, manly-sized chest. it heaved in that normal way that chests heave when people breathe.

sitting at the end of the dock, clicking away at a laptop and dangling her bare feet over the still-blue water, was a woman.

she was not a girl and there was no indication that she might be a lady or a dame. sasha didn’t think she was either, anyway. royalty generally hung out farther up the beach in seaside-burg.

her hair was also brownish. like sasha, she was averagely sized by regular, realistic human standards, although she was not the same size as sasha because men and women tend to be built differently. her chest was in proportion and in the correct place on her body. she wore a large, button-down shirt and jeans. the shirt had voluminous sleeves and was buttoned completely appropriately for being out in public. it was not tied up to show her midriff in any way.

sasha felt over-dressed and regretted immediately not sharing what he was wearing earlier with the readers. he was wearing a three-piece suit with a nicely-ironed striped shirt. awesome beachside public library was a business formal work environment.

“do you mind?” the woman said. she sounded mildly irritated, which was probably appropriate for the situation considering the fact that people who end up in romantic entanglements don’t always like each other when they first meet. and because she had been there first.

“sorry,” sasha said. he was only a little over-defensive, which also wasn’t surprising. “don’t mind me. i just wanted to find a spot to watch the missile test.” he didn’t explain himself any further because that would be overdoing it.

“oh, fine,” the woman sighed. she patted the wood plank next to her, which is the universal sign for ‘go ahead and have a seat even though you’re imposing on my space,’ ‘nope, there are no thumbtacks on the sofa,’ and ‘here, kitty kitty, come get a cat treat.’

“i’m sasha, by the way,” our so-far-inoffensive main character introduced himself.

“elliot, 28.37,” the woman said. she smiled, which is an endearing human action.

“it’s nice to meet you, elliot,” sasha said. he smiled, too, so that the readers would know that he had chemistry with elliot and would not be upset if they had relations with each other before the end of the story. it’s never good to surprise the readers with a relationship with a character they dislike or mistrust.

both sasha and elliot had teeth.

“so,” sasha continued after they had finished smiling at each other, “elliot. what do you do, elliot?”

“i’m a pirate,” elliot grinned. nobody was surprised by this because of the title of the story … except for the shark swimming under the pier, but he was only surprised because he hadn’t realized he had swum so far off from the race which was much more interesting than this story.

sasha laughed. he had a nice laugh. it was the kind of laugh that made elliot think of sunshine in rain storms and freshly baked chocolate almond macaroons.

elliot was also glad she had been fully introduced so she could help narrate the story since sasha had been doing such a boring job up until now.

“no, seriously,” she said. “i’m a pirate.” she said this in such a way that everyone knew she was an independent female who should be respected.

“i work at the library,” sasha said. and that was enough character exposé for one day.

two hours later they watched the missile test.

the missile exploded over the sea like a carefully controlled explosion.

“all those poor jellyfish,” elliot sighed. her torrent had finished down-loading and she had put her laptop away because that was the polite thing to do.

“i heard only the ones in two-mile radius actually die,” sasha said. “the ones further out just turn neon pink.”

“you really know how to sweet talk a girl,” elliot said. this was actually a charming, funny line coming from elliot because she wasn’t being sarcastic. “i don’t suppose,” elliot hesitated because she was still debating the thought she was formulating in her head and not because she was going for dramatic effect, “i don’t suppose you’d like to get a night cap with me down at the beer bar?”

“the beer bar?” sasha sat up straighter. “that’s member only.”

“i know,” elliot said. “i’m a member.” this was completely obvious from her original invitation.

“i heard they only serve generic, cheap beers there,” sasha said, awed by elliot’s pirate beer-swigging charm.

“that’s true,” elliot said. “it’s very retro. though they do charge double because they serve everything in mason jars. but if we leave now we can get there in time for half-priced beers.”

“sounds great,” sasha said.

they dropped elliot’s computer off in the trunk of her car which was parked in a perfectly legal spot. then they went to the beer bar where they got busy drinking their beers out of mason jars.

“this is really nice,” sasha said when they were three beers in because it was true and because it was a well-mannered thing to say. “thanks for thinking of this.” he stretched and flexed his manly muscles under his three-piece suit just in case elliot had forgotten they were there.

elliot ignored the ridiculous gesture.

“i’m glad you’re enjoying yourself,” she said tactfully.

at that point, the entire beer bar shook.

two mason jars fell from a shelf and shattered.

the present beer bar patrons and members quivered in their mildly drunken stupor.

“what was that?” elliot asked. “was it an earthquake?”

another tremor shook the room and three more mason glasses broke.

the owners of the beer bar would have to take a special trip out to their local farm supply distributor in the morning to buy new jars.

“it couldn’t have been!” sasha shouted over the rising hubbub of anxious patrons and bartenders talking loudly to each other about the exact same occurrence sasha and elliot were discussing. nobody remembered their inside voices. “we’re by the water! earthquakes don’t happen near the beach because the water pads the tectonic plates as they shift!”

“are you sure?” elliot asked. she looked rightly worried and disbelieving.

another shock wave hit the building, knocking down a non-essential beam.

“trust me!” sasha said. “i’m a librarian!”

they paid the tab, each paying for their own beers and leaving an appropriate tip, and left the slowly collapsing building.

“look!” sasha exclaimed once they were out on the beach. he pointed north where, despite the dark, a greatly oversized, glowing pink jellyfish could be seen lumbering it’s way slowly down the dunes from seaside-burg.

“oh my,” elliot said. “i feel like i should say something inane, like: it’s the end of the beach as we know it. but i have too much self-respect to actually say that. or scream in terror.”

sasha took hold of elliot’s hand and turned to look at her. “i know we only just met,” he said, “but i really don’t know the etiquette of this situation so i’d like to defer to your opinion.”

“hmm…” elliot considered. “well, if we knew each other better or for a longer, more acceptable period of time, i might suggest we resort to carnal relations, but given the circumstances, i think it would be much more beneficial if we just exchange numbers, make plans for the weekend, and then make a run for it.”

“that sounds like a plan,” sasha agreed. “hang on, let me grab my phone and i’ll text you my number.”

elliot and sasha exchanged numbers in the modern way, which meant that they both knew automatically that they had the correct number and nobody was deceiving anybody.

by the time the text went through — sasha’s phone wasn’t the swiftest of technological devices in the best of times and he lived and worked by the beach so there was always sand embedded in the keys — the jellyfish was almost upon them.

“quick!” elliot exclaimed. “down here!”

they ran down the beach and hid under the pier, which was dank and smelled like old seaweed. from above they could hear the shouts of drunk, fleeing beach-goers and the frenzied calls of the fire marshals and police as they got ready to fire bomb the mutated jellyfish.

water lapped at their ankles.

in the night, the water looked black.

it was also chilly and it made sasha’s skin feel clammy.

“this is so romantic,” elliot said. she leaned against sasha’s still-manly chest.

sasha thought their situation over — the jellyfish, the pirated tv shows, the stale beer — and disagreed politely.

“do you want to see a real romantic time?” he asked her, the sounds of the squealing, dying jellyfish punctuating his words.

“sure,” elliot grinned.

pink jellyfish guts started to drip down through the pier.

elliot and sasha moved away, deeper into the ocean.

sasha kissed elliot.

it was a general, requisite romance story kiss, not too passionate, not too not-passionate.

“i’m cold,” elliot said. “do you think we can get out of the water yet?”

“probably,” sasha said. “how about tomorrow i’ll take you to the movies? the terrifying attack of comic sans on western civilization is playing downtown.”

“awesome,” elliot said, holding sasha’s hand.

“it’s a date, then,” sasha smiled. “just let me call my boss, jordan, and let shim know i’m taking a personal day.”

“okay,” elliot smiled back and sasha knew he wanted to see her grin through future maritime attacks and broken mason jars.

he took out his phone and opened it.

“damnit,” sasha cursed. “no signal.”

 

Sharks on Parade

 

the end.