CURVED: A collection of tongue in cheek mini stories


Francesca Bond, Executive Editor

— Juicing —

I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning. I didn’t need to be to class until 10 a.m., but I have a ritual. I wake up at 4 a.m., try not to wake my boyfriend up, and start with some early morning yoga. After I say breathe out my last “Namaste,” it’s time for a run. I live right across from the park– a vast, sprawling green space in the middle of my hectic city. After I run, today it was five miles, I head to my local juicery and grab a smoothie. “I’ll have the wheatgrass shot, and a whey protein shot, and sure why not add in those B-vitamins.” I order it like an elaborate cocktail at a swanky, millennial bar, but I gave up alcohol months ago.

I park far away from my class. I like the extra exercise. After taking the stairs to the fourth floor of the building, I sit down next to a boy I’ve been flirting with. Nothing serious, just makes me feel a little better about myself at 10 a.m. on a Monday. I feel like my friends judge me for it, but I judge them more for ordering pizza logs when we go out.

After I come home from work at the diner, I settle down in my living room to an intense 30-minute kickboxing video. I follow it up with 45 minutes of barre and end with an hour of yoga. “Namaste.”

Finally, my boyfriend is home.

“Hey, I brought you a salad. Noticed you’ve been getting a little chubby lately,” he said.

— Cranky subway thoughts —

I always wear the wrong damn shoes. How do these concrete jungle creatures do it? Navigate their day in a pair of 4-inch heels. I’ve already fallen over onto the grumpy, smelly man next to me three times on this subway ride. No matter how I stand, which part of this slimy pole I hold onto, I cannot stand up straight.

I hate this. I hate New York. I hate my job. I miss my kids. I hate staying at home. I hate traveling. Maybe I’m depressed.

Wow, that man is beautiful. Normally I don’t see a lot of beautiful people, traveling on the subway at 5 a.m. Just a bunch of ugly, half-asleep commuters and hungover partiers, who were probably quite beautiful eight hours ago, but now look like mascara-smeared dolls.

Maybe I should take an “Eat. Pray. Love” year. Remember that book? Julia Roberts, okay she wasn’t exactly Julia Roberts in the book, but you know Julia Roberts divorces her husband, quits her job, and travels the globe trying to find herself. I’ve always thought that “find yourself” bullshit was some cult trap, another scam, like kombucha drinks or hot yoga classes, but maybe there’s some merit to it.

Where would I even go… Julia Roberts went to Italy and befriended gorgeous Italian friends who took her on scooter rides and amazing Italian restaurants. She ate all the pasta in the world and was still thinner than the latest iPhone. Then, she went to a Buddhist meditation temple and found the love of her life: a long-haired, carefree family man who loved traveling and had a boat and an island.

Not sure it would go so well for me as it did for Julia Roberts.

— Dad bods —

Colette was starving. She didn’t eat much. She had an unusual relationship with food, bordering on unhealthy but not as far as an eating disorder. The fear of gaining weight cursed through her body before she ingested anything. Nothing was guilt-free.

The biggest problem with that was that she didn’t crave healthy foods. No, she liked cheese, bread, snacks, muffins, ice cream. Not salad, she would rather not eat at all than consume a bowl of leafy greens, dressed to fool her into thinking they weren’t food for rabbits.

She walked into Wegmans around 3 p.m. She hadn’t eaten anything all day and hadn’t had a real dinner last night, just a bowl of popcorn and some guacamole. As she grazed the hot bar, she found herself entranced by the large sheet pan full of glistening mac and cheese. The yellow, gooey cheese was still bubbling a bit, it looked as though it has just been placed there moments before. She fully intended to buy some sushi, or a salad, or just a bottle of kombucha and a bag of crackers. But this mac and cheese was calling her name.

“Maybe if I just get a little bit, it could be like a dessert…” Colette thought.

Then, a man walked up to the hot bar and plopped a heaping spoonful of the mac and cheese in his paper to-go container. Her mouth was watering as she watched the average sized man with a “dad bod.” Of course, he can eat mac and cheese, she thought. He doesn’t have the same societal pressures of beauty to live up to that I do. Fuck the patriarchy.

— Bedtime Stories —

“Mom… can you please just tell us one more…?” Adrian whispered from his top bunk as I kissed his forehead goodnight after telling him and his brother three bedtime stories.

“Honey, I think you should try to sleep now,” I replied, tired and thinking of all the work I’ve yet to do and messes left for me downstairs to clean up. I have to go to New York in the morning. God, I hate New York. Those subway rides.

But their little angel faces… “Fine, one more. But then you’re really going to sleep.”

The boys’ faces lit up. “Make this one about dinosaurs!” Toby, my effervescent four-year-old exclaimed.

“Once upon a time, in a kingdom far far away, so far in the past there weren’t even kingdoms. Humans weren’t even alive…” I began the story.

“No I want to be in it!” Adrian said, excitedly. Not to be outdone, Toby said: “Yeah me too!”

“Okay. Once upon a time, in a kingdom far far away lived two brave princes. Dinosaurs and humans lived peacefully together. They both ruled over the kingdom, and even went to the same schools toget-“

“No, mom I want to fight the dinosaurs!” Adrian cried out.

“No, we’re not fighting the dinosaurs, they didn’t do anything to you. They’re going to have some pretty hard lives ahead of them, those dinosaurs, so how about we be nice to them,” I told them. Did these boys even learn about dinosaurs yet? Sometimes I wish I could homseschool them, I never know what they’re being taught in that Godforsaken Catholic school my husband insists they attend. Maybe they say something like “and God decided on the eighth day to take away dinosaurs,” instead of some real science.

“I’m going to tell this story now,” Adrian said. “The dinosaurs were running into our castle, the T-Rex was trying to ram into me but I stabbed it with a sword and then—“

“Honey, why so violent? Don’t stab them, what did they do to you?” I ask.

“But, mom,” Adrian said.

“No seriously, what are they teaching them in those schools,” I think to myself.

— Obsessive-compulsive story machine —

“Burying the lede… do you think Meryl Streep knew how cheesy that line was when she said it?” I asked my friends as we picked fallen popcorn off our chests and closed down our recliners. These days the only friends I really have are the ones in my newsroom. No one else seems to understand the crazy hours and extreme stress I’m under.

“I know what the lede for my review would be…’Spoiler alert: sources, sources, sources, that’s the entire script of The Post,’ saved you a ticket.’” Claudia said. She is one of everyone’s favorites. Editors love her, sources love her, she’s hard to not love. It’s like she was born to extract information from people.

I would describe the theater as a little dilapidated, I would call it in a story… dilapidated and… oddly retro, similar to a Chuck E. Cheese. I could probably put it into better words than that. That line would get cut.

Outside, we encounter an unusual amount of homeless people. Even for New York, the number seems high. We are in Brooklyn though and the gentrification is pushing more people to the streets. Avocado toast cafes are driving out these people. I wonder if there’s a new angle there we haven’t taken yet. Obsessive kombucha drinkers, I feel like I could make a story with that.

God, it’s getting cold outside. I should have just gotten an Uber home. This isn’t really the best part of my neighborhood. Oh great, I think those people are shooting heroin. Is it too late for an Uber? Eh, I’ll just save my ten bucks. Uber is too expensive, but also I just read they make less than minimum wage. Who makes all the Uber money? That could be a great story.

As I walk up to the intersection, a man zooms past me. Distracted, I immediately check my pockets, he must have tried to pickpocket me ninja-style.

Oh god he’s running straight for the road.

Oh my god. He just got hit by a bus.

Oh my god, what do people do in these situations?

Fumbling, I snatched my phone out. I dial 911, no not 912, go back, no jesus 991, no time for my stubby fingers and this iPhone to be screwing up. 911. “What’s your emergency?” “Someone just got hit by a bus.” I explain the situation and they dispatch an ambulance.

Look at all the passers-by, are they even dialing? Do they care? Do people in this situation ever care? How many people have died due to the neglect of strangers nearby? I wonder if I could find statistics on that for a story.

How long is this ambulance going to take? Has there been an increase or decrease in response times? I bet that would get a lot of clicks.

Do they always take this long? This would be a whinier story. An opinion piece

Why did this man burst into the street, was he running from something or is this a common form of suicide?

I think I have all my pitches for tomorrow morning’s editorial meeting.

— Negative Nelly does spring break —

It’s spring break and I’m going on staycation, again.

I guess I’ll never understand how my fellow, “poor,” friends can afford spring break trips to tropical places or European cities. They claim they can’t afford the Uber back from the bars, yet a luxury vacation they can? Something’s fishy.

Maybe I’m jealous, I think that’s the root of all complaining, being jealous of the actual event or just jealous of the careless audacity of one to do something I would never dare to do. I would never dare to go on a crazy spring break trip. What if some foreign man who preys on drunk American girls assaults me while I’m drinking? I’ve seen the Natalie Holloway Dateline special. Ain’t no one getting past me.

How can I afford my rent? My minimal groceries? My unfortunate spending habits on clothes to hint at a lifestyle greater than the one I really have? These things race through my mind while my friends just, well, do it.

Okay, fine, I’m jealous. Sue me.

My staycation will involve candles (wild), books, (getting crazier), coffee shops (stop, they can’t handle this) and best of all, homework! Seriously, someone calm down the party over here, I’m gonna get a noise complaint or something.

Scrolling through Instagram, looking at all my poor friends living it up in Aruba. Really, Katy, you can afford to get drunk every night and go parasailing but conveniently forget your wallet every time we get food?

At least I’ll have my cat to keep me company. Something I’ll be saying the rest of my lonely life.

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