Funny stories in under 500 words.

Nailed



Suzy didn’t groan about taking after her mother’s nail polish habit the same way she groaned about other habits. She loved to paint her nails in the car right before leaving her house. She wouldn’t be handling anything for a sustained period of time, no matter the ride’s length, so this made sense to her. She didn’t really see much else in her mom that was logical, and rebelled as much as possible, so she added her own flair to her mother’s routine. She remembered how her grandmother kept all her nail polish in the refrigerator’s condiment shelves. “If it’s cold, it paints more smoothly,” she was told at a young age. She admired her grandmother’s perfectly squared, evenly painted nails, and so thought that this must be true. So, to ensure she followed in her guiding footsteps Suzy moved her nail polish from the refrigerator to the car every year at Chicago’s first frost.

This routine worked well for most of the season. The nail polish, stashed under the passenger seat in a pencil case, was always glump-free. So today, after thirty minutes of frantically searching her home for her makeup bag, she remembered leaving it in the car the night before. Years ago she’d broken the habit of putting on her makeup while driving as she recognized, after her mother’s consistent commentary, that she always looked uneven, almost clownlike; she also knew that the habit was dangerous. She now cursed herself for breaking her streak.

Having made herself late for work during her search inside the house, she raced to the car. She brushed on the foundation as the car idled to warmth. It was -10 degrees outside so her watering eyes streaked the blush. Through her blurry eyes, she could see that even with her clock set ten minutes ahead she was terribly late. She shoved the car into gear and jammed the accelerator and raced down the street to the stoplight. As she sat, impatiently tapping her foot, waiting for the light to turn green, she shuffled through her make bag, and without a second thought, as it had all previously been habit, she pinched her beautifully long, mother inherited eyelashes between the rubber and metallic curve of the eyelash curler, and there, frozen at the light, she began to cry. The eyelash curler hung glued against the rim of her right eye and not even her warm tears could melt its solidification. The car behind her sat on his horn and startling her, she revved the car into the intersection knowing full well that if any accident occurred now that it would be her fault. But as was logical, she slammed into the curb. Her nail polish bag flew out from under the seat and shattered into a splatter paint of colors on the floor mat.

Suzy never wore makeup the same way again.

This story was written by Janine Macris. Janine taught high school English for many years and now works with K-2 students. She also constantly works on mining her arts: writing, painting, family, sewing, cooking, learning, living, dreaming. She lives in Chicago with her husband, son and bulldog.




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