Funny stories in under 500 words.

Fixer-Upper

This funny story was written by Jessye Scott, and Jessye wants you to know about this new important app! Jessye graduated from the Florida State University, where she worked as the poetry editor for The Kudzu Review. Her work has previously been featured in The Quotable, The 2016 Scythe Prize, and WFSU’s Fresh Picked Prose. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.
Our app describes itself as “powerful photo editing software;” this may be over-the-top for $3.99, but the 4.5-star rating will convince you to splurge.

You purchase the app and, while waiting for it to download, finish your $14 bottle of chocolate wine.

Our loading screen is bright pink and has a nice, familiar logo that tested well with key demographics. You might recognize it as Garamond, which you’ve loved ever since a college professor declared it a "sexy font."

Now select the intended picture: one of you and your boyfriend, taken at last year’s company Christmas party. The picture is truly a fixer-upper; your eyes aren’t too squinty and his smile isn’t completely forced, but it’s still a first draft. Love, like many things, is never as pretty in reality.

First step: corrections. Slide the scale between 1 and 10 until you like what you see. Brightness gets a 7. Saturation drops down to a 2. Clarify earns a respectable 5.

Filters come next. Focus on making your skin tanner and your hair blonder. With a filter called “Persephone” you’ll look as though you’ve just returned from a trip to Florida. Raise that shit up to a 9. It gives your boyfriend a faint orange tint, but everything comes with a price.

Soon, you’ll start to see more flaws. Why does your face look so asymmetrical? Is that the hint of a triple chin? This is when you discover our premium features—including noise reducers and blemish removers—all for an additional $1.99.

That’s how they get you, you say, shaking your head and authorizing the purchase.

The noise reducer reminds you of those JCPenney family portraits your mom insisted on every Thanksgiving. You’re not sure what it actually does, but somehow you look prettier. After sliding the scale up and down, you decide to leave it at a glowy 4.

The blemish fixer promises to remove the period-induced red bumps around your chin. It zooms in automatically, highlighting problem areas you hadn’t even noticed, and with a few taps your face is dewy and golden.

When you’ve finished, upload the picture across all social media. Write a simple caption like “happy anniversary, my true love xoxoxo.” Add a heart emoji for emphasis.

Go to your bedroom and crawl into bed, where he’s already sleeping soundly. Your parents still don’t know that you’re living together out of wedlock, but that’s a conversation for another day. Put the phone on your nightstand.

You used to sleep with several night lights; it reminded you of falling asleep during movies. He can’t sleep with any light, so now you do without.

Compromises make you both happy, you think.

But tonight, you turn away and look over at your phone, where the notifications from your social media post are illuminating the screen and your corner of the room. And you’re still thinking about that perfectly edited picture, peacefully drifting away into dreamland, when he begins to snore.




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