Playboy: Flash Fiction

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Via The Red Dress Club: Flash Fiction can be fun. Write a 300 word piece using this word for inspiration: LIFE. Constructive criticism is encouraged. But bear in mind this is one of my first forays into fiction & not my forte. 

 

“Sex makes the world go round,” my dad says when I catch him looking at a Playboy magazine. “It’s just part of life,” he shrugs. But he isn’t supposed to look at that stuff; he’s my dad. Embarrassed, I retreat to my friend Jamie’s house down the block.

“What’s wrong?” she asks as I push through her front door. I look past her to see her dad sleeping on his worn La-Z-Boy chair in the living room, his mouth hanging open. I whisper, “My dad was reading Playboy.”

“So?” Jamie laughs. “My dad does, too.” A loud snore comes from the khaki chair and I notice her dad’s bare, calloused feet propped up.

“Have you ever even looked at one?” she smirks. I blush and shake my head, “But everyone knows what’s inside,” I say. I may be 11, but I’m not stupid. I hear things.

Jamie grabs my hand and we tiptoe over to the cabinets behind her dad’s chair. After deftly sliding a magazine from the stack inside, she motions for me to do the same. I do so with my heart thundering, then we run with them back to Jamie’s room, where we close the door and turn on Madonna to muffle our voices.

Sprawling out on our stomachs on her bedroom floor, we open the magazines. My left elbow digs into the carpet as I turn the pages. Naked women, lots of them. More heat rises to my face. I think about my stupid empty training bra. 

“Do you think we’ll look like this one day soon? You know, with big boobs and hair down there?” I ask Jamie.

“I dunno,” she sighs, “I hope so.”

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  • http://twobearsfarm.blogspot.com Varunner7

    You take me back, Erin.  I remember at my cousins’ house – they took me in the garage to where their dad hid their Playboy collection.  It was so unsettling.

    • Anonymous

      Lisa,

      Hey, at least it was only Playboy—-pretty tame considering some of the other things out there! Giggle. But I know that feeling. ;-)

  • AwaywegoNancy

    Wow, Erin. I love this. It all starts with that impossible ideal.

    The pacing, dialogue, and the detail of thoae calloused feet? Spot on.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Nancy. It was tough—I was lots more detailed, but had to cut it way down b/c of the word limit (which was hard for me, especially towards the end—-I wound up just kinda cutting it off. did it seem too abrupt?).

      • http://twitter.com/AwayWeGoNancy AwayWeGoNancy

        No. The ending is what I liked the best. Because it was like unwrapping a present with life-long consequences. Now they’ve seen what they are “supposed” to look like. The juxtaposition of the training bra and the Playboy image was powerful.

  • http://twitter.com/PeriwinklePapi Sara Mooradian

    Erin – Loved this paragraph and this part: “More heat rises to my face. I think about my stupid empty training bra.” Captures the whole embarrassment and curiosity too. 

    • Anonymous

      Sara,

      Thank you so much! Happy you stopped by and left me with some thoughts. This was a tough one with the word limit! ;-)

  • Anonymous

    I used to sneak and smoke in our garage, looking through the tons of boxes that were there is where I first saw them. Although irritated by the perfect figures before me and knowing I would never look like that, I often found the jokes. I would read every one of them, trying to figure out what they meant. Eventually my smoking and re4ading something in a Playboy was the norm. I do have to say they do have some of the best writing and information in their magazines.

    • Anonymous

      Angel,

      My hubs gets Playboy and I have to say the jokes are REALLY good! I sneak a peek when I can! ;-)

  • Heather O

    Love it. :-)

    • Anonymous

      Heather,

      i love YOU! ;-) it makes me so happy when you stop by. seriously! xoxoxoxoxo

  • http://twitter.com/galitbreen Galit Breen

    Erin! you did it- 300 words of 11 year old angst! 

    My favorite parts are- the first line because it’s -ahem- a grabber and the great words you chose like deftly, thundering, sprawling. 

    Well done, GF! XO

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, Galit. Yours was much, much better and more descriptive. I had to cut mine waaaaay down. It’s funny how fast the words accumulate, isn’t it? Tough for me to make every word count b/c I am a wordy gal to begin with! xo

  • Erin

    This was great!!! Definitely captured the whole “in between” time for girls and curiosity! It’s hard with only 300 words but you did awesome!

    • Anonymous

      Erin,

      Yes, 300 words was SO HARD! Ack! And to think mostly flash fiction is 50-100 words? OMG!

  • Erin

    This was great!!! Definitely captured the whole “in between” time for girls and curiosity! It’s hard with only 300 words but you did awesome!

  • Leighvslaundry

    You could have written this abuut me and my childhood friend Andrea…except we were looking at Hustler and ended up making out in her closet.

    • Anonymous

      Leigh,

      I love you. This is some fiction mixed w/ some non-fiction. And since there was a 300 word limit and my family reads my blog, I couldn’t add too much else in there. A-hem.

  • http://twitter.com/MidwestMomments Jennifer Barr

    “I think about my stupid empty training bra.” LOVE that line! (I could totally relate.) I would have died if I’d caught my dad with Playboy – eek!!

    • Anonymous

      Jennifer,

      Ah yes, that may have been an element of non-fiction in this piece, LOL! I loathed that stupid thing and the fact that I had nothing to put in it. But all the other girls were wearing bras long before I was…so I finally had something. HA!

  • http://profiles.google.com/twonormalmoms Ally Wilson

    Fiction or not, the best part is that nearly all of us can relate to sneaking peaks at those magazines either at home or at a friends house. Even if the dads tried to hide them, we knew where they were! You really captured that sort of awe and envy, yet totally embarrassed, state that were in as pre-teens. And there was always a friend or two that seemed so much more comfortable with it all.

    • Anonymous

      Ally,

      So funny! I was NEVER the one more comfortable with anything, especially this stuff! HAHAHA. My hubs doesn’t hide his (yet), but he needs to start. My girls don’t need to start asking questions about that stuff at age 5 1/2!!! ;-)

  • http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com Lance

    I have three daughters – 15,7, and 6 and a very modern, forward thinking wife. Sometimes, these conversations take place in front of me. They went bra ha (as my kdis call them) shopping yesterday without me, thank goodness.

    You made me uncomfortable and resigned but in good ways. I like the honesty of the voices. Well done, Erin.

    • Anonymous

      Lance,

      Thanks so very much! I am about to have three daughters as well–I have twins that are 5 1/2 and am expecting another baby girl in October. I can only imagine the kinds of discussions that will be going on in our house in a few short years!
      ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/alyciestok Alycia Estok

    A perfectly captured moment and the feeling I left with was that I read a piece of life not just a mere 300 words. Well done!

    • Anonymous

      How are you, Alycia? I’ve been a terrible friend. Too caught up in my own junk. I love seeing your smiling face here and I hope you are well. I MISS YOU!

  • http://www.jewishsinglemaltwhiskysociety.com/ Joshua (Yossi)

    A nice snippet, Erin!  You captured a fun moment there.

    • Anonymous

      Josh,

      Just make sure you hide yours when those girls get to be a little older—-you never know when they’ll be snooping around your stash! HAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAA

  • http://profiles.google.com/randomblogette Random Blogette

    I love this, especially the last 2 lines. Too bad they will be scarred when they realize that not all bodies will look like that! Like I said on twitter, I found my dad’s Penthouse magazines. I was scarred for life. Those are raunchy compared to Playboy. I wish they were Playboy mags!

    • Anonymous

      Jayme,

      Yes, I suppose it’s a good thing they were Playboy, and not something like Hustler, which I have actually never seen? Oy! I guess I should be happy that my hubs just gets Playboy??

  • http://www.chickennoodlegravy.com Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy

    You captured so well that feeling from youth where you just know you’re doing something wrong, and you thrill in the knowledge!! I sometimes miss the days of innocence and then the days where bits and pieces of my innocence were lost. This brought back some memories for me! Nice work in creating a perfect scene of a child that’s just on the verge of beginning her journey to adulthood. 

    Stopping by from TRDC. 

    • Anonymous

      Katie,

      Thanks so much! I just stopped by your place and read your This Girl/That Girl post and LOVED it! I tweeted it out, but I don’t know if you are on Twitter or not? If you are, what is your handle? SOOOOO good! ;-)

  • http://withjustabitofmagic.com Jackie

    Innocence at it’s finest. I think that this is something so many kids do… more than we probably think.
    I can’t imagine walking in and seeing my dad looking at a Playboy magazine! Talk about embarrassment!

    • Anonymous

      Jackie,

      Yes—totally embarrassing! Kinda like walking in on your parents during sex (which would be a whole other post, not that I would / could ever write that here! Yikes!). ;-)

  • http://moveovermarypoppins.com/ CDG

    This is a Wonder Years moment. True and funny and uncomfortable and poignant.

    • Anonymous

      CDG,

      Oh yes, the Wonder Years. Kevin and Winnie, le sigh. I Loved the Arnold Family and that show was a staple of my adolescence. I’m honored by the fact that this made you think of that! ;-) Thank you for stopping by to read!

  • http://www.bronxtoboulder.blogspot.com Melanie

    So authentic!  You’ve captured one of society’s common images well.  The girls’ voices were true to form.  Brought me back to my own adolescent years.  Oh, and I loved the image of Jamie’s Dad sleeping in his big chair, feet propped up! 

    Well done for one of your first forays into fiction. 

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, Melanie!
      This post took me waaaay back. It was fun to write, but hard w/ the word limit! ;-)

  • http://viewsfromnature.com Carrie

    Simple yet true. You captured a snippet of most girls adolescence :) I think you did a pretty good job for a foray into fiction :)

    • Anonymous

      Carrie,

      Thank you so much! Good to know you don’t think I was the only one doing things like this—HA HA!

  • Terri Sonoda

    Oh my Gosh.  My sister and I actually did this, way WAY back when she was about 8 and I was 11 or 12, or so.   Only it was called “Little Playboy on the Prairie”  or something prehistoric like that.   
    j/k….wine-induced silliness tonight

    • Anonymous

      Terri,

      Little Playboy on the Prairie? LMAO! Have some wine for me, please?!?! xoxox

  • Cheryl

    I got busted looking at a playboy in the aisle of a CVS when i was probably 8. I guess I just wanted to know what boobs looked like!

    Anyway, I loved this. It read so very, very true.

    • Anonymous

      Cheryl,

      OMG! Did they not hide them back when we were kids? I don’t remember…I thought they were kept by the cashier up high somewhere, out of public view. And you had to ask for them. Which meant I never saw one. ;-)

  • Anonymous

    I read Hustler at a sleepver when I was about that age and I felt so uncomfortable.  This was well written – it felt like you (generic you) were there.

  • http://www.euro-millions.net/ Tina Modotti

    My best friend’s brother had the most brilliant idea – he hid his dirty mags in his mother’s room, as he knew she’d never expect them there!

  • http://www.bellebeanchicagodog.com/ Liz

    I LOVE how you ended this!! Big boobs, hair down there and wishes that you’d look like that!