Short Story • The Loaner

dreamstime_xs_20793807The Loaner

Sophie finally finds a way to become Awesome and Important.  Unfortunately, it comes at a high price.

In the Land of Opportunity, Sophie Wilkins lived in a shining seaside city called Important.  Many of the residents of Important were simply Awesome, even by their own high standards.  Not every resident could truly be accepted as Awesome, however.  To be recognized as Awesome required a clear sense of Self-Importance, which was difficult to get and maintain.  The criteria were necessarily vague (to keep out the riff-raff), but many citizens sought Self-Importance through physical perfection.  This need to be Awesome was an emptiness Sophie could not seem to assuage, however much she tried.  Nevertheless, she fed the hunger often and well, on a continuing basis.

Today, Sophie was meeting her best friend Winnie at an Important restaurant.  Sophie was looking forward to the outing, since she’d found in Winnie a kindred spirit, another inadequate being in search of relevance.  Sophie arrived a little early in order to soak in the Awesome ambiance.  The restaurant was chic, sophisticated and fashionable—in short, everything that Sophie was not.  Sophie realized that she was a mere mortal, one who dared trespass on the sacred feeding grounds of the Important elite.  It wasn’t money that she lacked, oh no.  Sophie had plenty of that from Daddy.  There was something more obvious that set her apart from her chosen crowd.  It was an absolutely unshakeable sense of Self-Importance that had always been elusive.  Sophie knew if she could only lose the extra weight that haunted her, she would finally feel superior.  And in that way, she would begin to gain some acceptance in this town of wraiths.

While she waited for Winnie at a table next to the restrooms, Sophie sopped up the olive oil on her bread plate with the scrumptious rosemary bread that the waiter had left.  Olive oil was supposed to be very beneficial, health wise. With that in mind, Sophie poured out another large pool of flavorful oil from the pretty, hand-painted bottle in the center of the table.  It was a good thing her friend Winnie was running late so Sophie could ask the waiter to bring more breadsticks.  That way, Winnie wouldn’t realize that Sophie had polished off the whole basket all by herself.

Sophie watched as a designer-clad sylph undulated in her direction.  She was the kind of Awesome goddess, Sophie reflected, whom probably always fit in anywhere she went.  Sophie hated her instantly, so it came as somewhat of a shock when the golden-haired beauty slid into the chair across the table from her.  Sophie was so surprised she almost forgot to wipe her shiny fingers on the white tablecloth.

“Winnie!” Sophie shrieked, oblivious to the somewhat hostile stares of the über-fab that surrounded them.  “What have you done to yourself?  You’ve dropped a ton!”

Winnie giggled, but pretended not to have heard.  She perused her menu with exaggerated interest, wishing to increase Sophie’s curiosity by suspense.

“How did you lose so much weight?  Did you get your stomach stapled?” Sophie hissed in a stage whisper that no one could miss, if they’d been at all interested in what someone like Sophie had to say.   But Winnie only shook her head.

“A spa?” Sophie asked.

“Nope.”

“Have you been in jail?!” Sophie demanded.

Winnie finally laid her menu aside. “Sophie, I’ve turned over a new leaf.  It was horribly expensive but I hired a personal fitness trainer!”

Sophie deflated like a blowfish.  “I was hoping you’d found a new pill,” she said.  “Fitness trainers are too much work.  I think I’ll pass.”

Read more at Luna Station Quarterly – A magazine devoted to speculative fiction.

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Written flights of fancy and adventure from author Suzanne G. Rogers

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