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Darryls wife was perfect. Even lying in bed with designer sheets gathered under her delicate chin, she was everything hed ever wanted. Her strawberry blond hair somehow managed to arrange itself artfully even in sleep, and then there was the promise of her cornflower blue eyes just under the delicate tracery of her lightly fluttering eyelids. He wanted to kiss her, but knew hed wake her. She was a light sleeper.

She was dreaming. The slight movement underneath her eyelids gave her away. Looking in the mirror at his own balding, overweight reflection standing there in tattered boxer briefs, he couldnt help but wonder who she dreamt about. Was it the waiter that poured her wine last week during their anniversary dinner? The prick had certainly smiled enough, while stealing glances into the tasteful expanse of her cleavage Hed thought no one noticed. Shed pretended not to, but her cleavage noticed and it had enough sense to blush. Hed known better than to mention it though. It would only start an argument.

So hed been a little rough in bed that night. Well, more than a little, to tell the truth. In her perfection, shed thought he was just being kinky and got carried away. She even admitted liking it later over breakfast going so far as to shake her bottom at him over his grits and eggs. She had spunk, make no mistake about it. He knew it was only a matter of time before she realized she could do better than his spreading middle and male-pattern baldness. Shed leave him and how close to perfect would he be then? He knew his place in the world. Hed heard it whispered behind his back often enough. He was the lucky stiff whod married up. Shes with that? I know. Can you believe it?

To tell the truth hed never really believed it himself. Some things were just too good to last. There was no other choice, so he held the pillow hard over her perfect face, while a single tear of relief wandered down his stubbled cheek. His perfect wife would be his forever.

Smile if you're stupid,
laugh if you understand.

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The following comments are for "Perfect"
by Bartleby

Well, you know I liked this. Nothing like a little murder to end a story.

Very cleanly written, with just enough to present the story but not too much to clutter it up (I guess that's what you have to do when writing flash). I liked this: "but her cleavage noticed and it had enough sense to blush." Funny.

Only two things to nitpick: 1)"Hed known better than to mention it though. It would only start an argument." To me, the 'It' at the beginning of the second sentence might be better replaced with something like 'Doing so' or 'Saying so'. 2)'To tell the truth' comes up twice. In something this short, it was repetitive. Maybe one of them could be replaced with 'Honestly'?

Other than that, I liked it. Sort of sad, and I didn't see the last paragraph coming. Good job. :)

( Posted by: Elphaba [Member] On: February 15, 2004 )

Elphaba, you mean lady. Giving away the ending in the first line?

Bartleby, I thought this was a good piece of flash fiction. I liked the way you followed his internal logic from its beginning to its conclusion, and the way you portrayed his insecurities. One section caught me.

"The prick had certainly smiled enough, while stealing glances into the tasteful expanse of her cleavage Hed thought no one noticed. Shed pretended not to, but her cleavage noticed and it had enough sense to blush."
Two things. There's no period after "cleavage", which is kinda funny, since the He makes him godly. And the phrase "her cleavage noticed" just seemed a little weird.

Good job. 9/10. (Not that you don't know, now.)

( Posted by: Washer [Member] On: February 16, 2004 )

Faux pas
Eh, I didn't even think about that, although the comments are the first things I read when I come here!

My apologies! :D

( Posted by: Elphaba [Member] On: February 16, 2004 )

Perfect ending to the perfect piece,it is very taut though sometimes full of images.Well done , congrats

( Posted by: RightingIt [Member] On: February 16, 2004 )

This is nice work. Total surprise ending and full of vivid imagery. I like it. A lot.

Comma use is a bit sketchy, but then so is mine. Otherwise, not much at all wrong with this piece.

Good job.

( Posted by: Safiyah [Member] On: February 16, 2004 )

odd one out
I guess I'm the odd one out on this one. I liked it...but I don't think it really flourishes the way most of your writing does. I usually feel transfixed by your words but not here. Somehow...I saw some of this coming, and I felt that the last paragraph was a bit...overdone for your writing. It was great up until that last paragraph. Sorry to be a bit harsh, but I know I've seen you do far better. =D

( Posted by: Darkshine Raven [Member] On: February 17, 2004 )

many thanks
After a rather unpleasant experience in the comment section of another much more visible piece, I want to say thanks to everyone who took the time to critique this little story o' mine.

I wrote this one specifically with a publication in mind, and will be using you guys comments to spruce it up before submitting it.

Special thanks to DS for being a little harsh. I took a second look and I think that maybe you are right. I'm getting out my red pen as soon as I hit return.


( Posted by: Bartleby [Member] On: February 17, 2004 )

Simple and Telling
I liked this bit of fiction a lot, Bartelby, and since you're readying it for publication, wanted to throw in my 2 cents.

The blushing cleavage made sense to me (I thought it was a clever allusion). I also liked the suddent twist at the end. The only flaw I saw was in the tear streaking down his stubbled face, as I thought this was a bit overly-dramatic. Couldn't you allude to his regret in some other way? What if his shoulders shook in a way which could have been silent laughter or stifled sobs, and even he couldn't tell the difference? Or something? Maybe that's overly-dramatic as well.

Overall, a classic yarn. Reminds me of Hawthorn's short story "The Faerie's Handprint".

( Posted by: hazelfaern [Member] On: February 17, 2004 )

i'm with DS
yeah, bart... hmm. doesn't have the shine, somehow, that some of your other pieces do. a little predictable. i think i needed a bit more character development to believe it.

ever on the watch for your stuff, though... keep going.


( Posted by: ark [Member] On: February 17, 2004 )

ark and hazel
Since you ladies both gave such helpful and insightful comments, may I direct you to an older bit of flash that I feel has some promise but was likely posted before either of you were regular on the site. It's entitled Barfly and has been rejected once, but I was given encouraging comments by the editor of the publication that said it had been a close call. Just thought I'd ask for help while I'm feeling motivated towards submissions.

Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to give real constructive feedback.


( Posted by: Bartleby [Member] On: February 17, 2004 )

damn editors...always a close call.sometimes i wonder if they say it to make me feel better...oh well...very good piece bart!

( Posted by: northerain [Member] On: February 18, 2004 )

Bart, I didn't see it comming. I'm still horrified. To me it's a bit unreal, like some unimaginable headline news. My only complaint is the constraint of the flash fiction format didn't allow for the development of the male character, but that's only 'cause I know your talent for personality. If ever you rewrote as a short, or even a longer flash, that's what I'd want to see.

( Posted by: malthis [Member] On: February 18, 2004 )

Do not change this piece in any manner it is perfect as it is....

( Posted by: RightingIt [Member] On: February 18, 2004 )

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