This is the beginning of a new story, tentatively titled He Floats.
copyright 2011 Giselle Little
Sandra Kay stood at the crest of Mount Carson, her boots deep in a snowdrift. The valley lay beneath a gorgeous autumn sky. She took deep lungfuls of the crisp, slightly thin air. She could smell a hint of snow arriving. It snowed here often, so often it seemed a bit odd that it wasn’t snowing right now. There was another element she could sense in the air…almost a perfume? A funny thing, so late in the season.
There would be something strange about the coming snow. Sandra wasn’t sure how she knew this, but she didn’t question it.
She stretched her lithe, 22 year old frame, feeling the weight of the pack on her back and shoulders. Behind her, she could hear her hiking partner, the snowdrift crunching and thumping at her arrival.
Sandra thought she had been hiking with a girl friend from high school, and was a bit surprised to see Mr. Petty arrive instead. He nodded as she handed him the water bottle. He drank deeply but quickly, and handed her the bottle back. He had no pack on his back, and no clothing on.
I wonder how he could possibly be comfortable like that, Sandra thought to herself. She wondered again if this was all a dream, but it all felt too vivid. She stared out at the vista of their small town below. Too much detail in those rooftops. She could almost count the shingles.
She turned back to Mr. Petty and admired his naked body. He was lean, not overly muscular, a very nice frame for a man his age. No point in hiding everything after all, Sandra thought to herself. If he wants to go hiking in the nude, it’s his right.
In a moment the snow arrived and when it touched her shoulders, Sandra realized she was naked as well. She expected the normal stinging freeze and cold roll of melted flakes, but this snow was softer than any substance she had ever felt against her skin. It piled on to her body and flowed around her backpack to form a shining hooded kimono of gentle lace. She tugged at the long sleeves and they widened into the full butterfly sleeve she preferred.
She turned to see the snow had gathered on Mr. Petty’s body in a different configuration. A lacy veil covered his head and his upper chest was covered in dotted swiss lace. His garment fell in large folds to the ground. Sandra quickly rushed behind him and fixed the sash behind him, tugging the lace so the bow would be fuller. Mr. Petty still hadn’t said a word, but he seemed as nervous as any of the young brides-to-be that Sandra served at work.
The snow smelled heavily of magnolias. Either that, or Mr. Petty did. He swayed nervously as Sandra pulled his skirts out from the sides.
“You look beautiful, don’t fret,” she whispered, as she often did at work. She took his face in her hands and watched as tiny tendril curls popped out from either side of the lace veil.
Then she turned and reached into her pack. “Lips?” she said authoritatively.
Mr. Petty leaned toward her, his back straight, bending from the hips, arms out, fingers spread apart. He pursed his lips and puckered as she withdrew a lipstick from her pack.
The lipstick exploded with a loud bang, leaving Sandra staring at her bedroom ceiling.
In the days that passed, Sandra found it difficult to stop herself imagining Mr. Petty in his full lace bridal gown. His house was only a short distance from hers, and Juliet Passion was on the corner across from the alley. When she dressed the mannequins in the window, she pretended they were Mr. Petty.
One day when she got home, she got out her colored pencils and drew the image that haunted her. Mr. Petty leaning toward her, pursing his lips, his full-skirted gown gathered around him.
And finally, she got to paint those offered lips.
If the dream came back, she would have welcomed it, but instead she got the usual waiting room dreams, the dreams with crickets, and one with a fantastical flying elephant that must have been the size of a blimp. But not a trace of Mount Carson, not a flake of magical snow.
Weeks passed, and she drew many sketches of Mr. Petty. And finally, her dreamself rewarded her patience.
Sandra sat in Juliet Passion, gowned in satin with exquisite beadwork, flipping through one of the large books of bridesmaid’s gowns. She could feel those same butterflies, the ones that every bride must feel. Behind her stood Mr. Petty.
“You look beautiful, don’t fret,” he whispered assuringly.
“But I need a bridesmaid! Would you help?” she fumbled with her hairpiece, a huge tiara with a blusher veil attached.
“You need a man.” Mr. Petty removed his suit jacket.
Sandra ignored him and turned back to the big book. “Something like this one,” she said, laying her finger on the picture of a very short peach dress with ruffled short sleeves. When she turned back to him, he was wearing it.
Mr. Petty was outraged. “I can’t do this! Look!” He hiked the dress up to his hips, displaying his genitals boldly.
A crystal box appeared in Sandra’s lap. Without thinking, she reached forward and grabbed him there, detaching his male parts and placing them in the box.
The lid snapped shut with a ring of finality. She looked down to see his longish prick squirm around in the box, whining like a newborn pup. His testicles scurried after it.
Mr. Petty pouted and smoothed his skirts down. She looked up at him and wrinkled her nose. “It’s all wrong. Your dress needs more oomph.”
“Oomph?” he sounded miffed.
“A lot more oomph!” she insisted, and was happy to see the dress shorten its hemline and open its neckline, exposing a sweet décolletage. He twirled in surprise, and his skirt lifted, lighter than air.
She smiled and approached him, popping a full straw sunhat on his head and tying the peach streamer sashes around his chin.
“And now,” she said, holding a lipstick like a maestro’s baton. “Lips?”
But just before her crowning success, Mr. Petty broke away and scurried over to the crystal box, clawing it open.
A gentle clockwork chime began to play and a tiny ballerina popped up in the box. She pirouetted and sang happily with the chiming tune. “See the pretty girl in the mirror there? Who can that attractive girl be? Such a pretty face such a pretty smile such a pretty–”
A pink pearl necklace floated out of the box and coiled around Mr. Petty’s throat. Two pink pearls shaped like hearts attached themselves to his earlobes.
The box was empty, except for the tiny spring-operated ballerina, who took a dainty curtsey, clutching a bouquet of roses. The box snapped shut as Mr. Petty dropped it on the ground.
He ran around the bridal shop, but was hemmed in by racks of dresses. He quickly found himself in a corner, and Sandra finally closed in on him, pointing her lipstick at him.
At last, she thought to herself. At last I will have some satisfaction.
“Not from a dream,” said Mr. Petty sadly. His sunhat bobbed as he shook his head. Then he vanished, leaving Sandra with the heady scent of magnolias.