Story #11 by Matthew Sharpe

photo: Matt Gunther

photo: Matt Gunther

Evelyn had never done this before and she knew it was stupid. She was on her way to her boring, underpaying, shitty job when someone in a nice suit said he wanted to take pictures of her and of course she kept walking. Then he said some interesting things to her about the type of photo shoot it was and the money involved. Life had been pretty grim for her lately, meaning a few years. The guy was wearing a very expensive suit, that helped persuade her. And then he put cash in her hand, enough for several vacations in Mexico without using coupons or frequent flyer miles. So Evelyn got into a limo with the man and rode to the location, a large warehouse. In it, people were dying—of all kinds of things: diseases, old age, bleeding wounds. All she had to do was have her picture taken next to them, one at a time, for eight hours, to be used in a national ad campaign for mid-to-high-priced clothes. The first one was named Nicholas. He had a fractured skull. “Are you going to die?” she asked him, making small talk while the photographer and the lighting people set up the shot and the makeup people worked on them. “Yes.” “How soon?” He shrugged. She said, “Are you married?” She had no idea what she was saying anymore. He shook his head, which caused him to fall off his chair. Evelyn and the two makeup artists rushed to pick him up and put him back in it. “What are you doing after the shoot?” Nicholas asked Evelyn. When the shoot was over, at six o’clock, Evelyn and Nicholas strolled down by the river. That is, she pushed him down to the river in his wheelchair. “Push me over the embankment into the water,” he said. “Absolutely not!” “Relax,” he said, “I was just kidding.” “No you weren’t.” “Well then can I come over?” “And then what?” “Lie in your bed naked with you.” “And have sex?” “Probably not.” “What for then?” “The usual reason.” “Which is?” “I’m dying, you’re dying…” “I’m not dying, I’m the one in the photo shoot who’s not dying.” “Okay, whatever,” Nicholas said. So now Evelyn is carrying on her back up the three flights of stairs to her apartment this guy who weighs around 170 pounds as compared to her 120 and who will die in her bed. Her knees are buckling. He’s cracking jokes and she’s laughing so hard she can’t breathe.

Very short stories r us:

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