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Shelly Now

Flash Fiction Magazine 2018

May 27, 2018

Shelly Now

I had finally finished bathing Elaine, putting salve on her sore spots and hooking up her oxygen and IV, when the phone rang. I ignored it, made myself a bologna and Swiss with Dijon and two slices of Bermuda onion and topped it off with a squirt of thousand island and a smattering of bread and butter pickles, grabbed a long neck Bud, and sat down to watch.


Not wanting to wake Elaine, I grabbed the phone mid-ring.

“Yeah,” I said.

“Nice to see you haven’t lost any of your charm, Mirsky,” the caller said.

“Who’s this and whaddayouwant? I gave at the office and I’m on the ‘Do Not Call’ list.”

“Last time I saw you we were lying in bed naked, and you said to me that you could imagine running into me on the street in ten years, and I’d be pushing a baby carriage, and you’d be pushing sixty, and you said we’d find a way to get it on.”

“Really? What did you say?”

“I told you to fuck off and threw your ass out.”

“Rochelle? Is this you?”

“I’m called Shelly now, and it’s me.”

“I’ll be.”

“You are, and I’m calling to take you up on your offer.”

“Which one?”

“Yes, there were so many over the years, weren’t there?”

“What are you looking for—a stick to poke my eyes out?”

“Not a bad idea, but I’ll settle for good old roll in the sack. It’s been a year since my boyfriend died, and I’m horny and my shrink thought I should make up my mind and go out fucking someone I missed.”

“Go out?”

“Right. I’ve got the big C and only a couple of months, and I moved back to town, and I’m staying with Leslie. She’s now called Lee.”

“Well, there’s some complications.”

“I know all about Elaine and that you’re nursing her, and she’s going to kick any minute now, too. It’s like the old days when you had more than one of us on a string, only we were healthy, then. Your kids and grandkids aren’t around, and you put weight on again. I don’t give a rat’s ass.”

“I’m sorry to hear you’re ill,” Mirsky said.

“I’m not ill. I’m dying.”

“Where are you?”

“Parked in your driveway.”

“No way. Not in my house with Elaine in her condition.”

“You used to be up for anything.”

“You used to have some compassion.”

“So? You game or what?”

“Where do you want to meet?”

“I’ve got a van. How about the back seat?”

“Gimme ten.”


“Elaine, I’ve got to go out for a bit. Will you be okay?”

“Sure. Put on the Italian Tenors before you go.”


“Hey there, I’m back.”

“Good. How’s Shelly?”

“What about her?”

“You were just with her in her car.”


“I called her and set this up. You’ve been so good to me, I wanted a special way to thank you.”

“I’m sorry, so very sorry.”

“I want you to be satisfied, so I invited her to stay here. Since we moved my hospital bed into the dining room, you two can take the master upstairs.”

“I feel very weird.”

“Did you feel weird our first couple of years when you were schtupping her on the side?”

“As a matter of fact, I did.”

“You got over that, so you’ll get over this.”

“Is there anything I can do for you?”

“Yeah. Don’t forget to close the door—I remember she’s quite the screamer.”

“Oy. Anything I can do for you?”

“Call the phone number on the nightstand, and tell the man who answers he has your permission.”

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