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Shirley is a Guy's Name Too

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Shirley McMake woke that Tuesday morning feeling the usual grogginess. He yawned and de-gooped his eyes, rumpled around to find a suitable shirt, and slipped out of his room to the stairs. He stumbled over a few stacks of hardcover books on the carpeted stairs, and because it was dark, thought there was one more stair than there was. Jolting himself down on the first floor, Shirley stretched his arms towards the ceiling and nearly brushed it.
Walking into the kitchen, he pressed the go button on the coffeemaker and ran a hand through his golden hair. Opening the refrigerator, Shirley saw another marker that it was just another typical Tuesday.
Three 1920s style typewriters huddled next to the watermelon Shirley had bought the day before. The typewriters shivered and quivered while Shirley stared at them, pieces of watermelon all over their faces. Annoyed, Shirley shut the door and turned around, leaning his back on the door, his brown furrowed.
The phone jangled on its station, and Shirley jumped.
“Damn,” he muttered and went to it. Picking up--“Hello?” He asked.
“Shirrrleyy?” The sly voice that Shirley knew well droned into his voice and he winced. Not Flo, not this early, not today! Shirley thought as he responded “Hey Flo, hey.”
“So I don’t want to be a freak or anything, but I’ve got a bad case of typewriters in my fridge,” said Flo. “Could you maybe come help me get rid of it?” Shirley could feel her overtly sensual message and winky smiles seeping through the phone line.
“Flo, I’m sorry but I’ve got work and my own case of typewriters in the fridge. So I can’t, not today.” Not ever, you slimy scumbag, added Shirley in his head.
***

Just a typical Tuesday morning, thought Shirley as he was strolling into the building his office was in an hour later. He waved to the clerk on duty and briskly stepped forward into an open elevator. On the next floor a woman with flyaway black curls stepped in, immersed in her newspaper. Looking up, she gasped.

“Oh, oh my, you’re the man. Oh! Pardon me--” Her breathless voice made Shirley concerned, and that intensified when she shuffled closer to him and showed him a picture of his own face in the paper.

“You’re Shirley McMake! I’ve come to see you! This here article talked about how good you are with the typewriters, and I’ve had a bad case for weeks! They keep eating all the watermelon, and they chitter when I run out of it. It’s horrible. I was just headed up to your office to see if you...” The woman muttered on and Shirley stared at her. First Flo, and now this. He glanced at the elevator number, it read fourth floor. Five more to go, he thought.
***

“Excuse me but I was informed that the editorial wouldn’t run for another week. What’s that? Oh, you had empty space to fill? How very kind of you. Well thank you for informing me. Yes, yes, good day.” Shirley hung up with the local newspaper editor and angrily shuffled his papers. Tomorrow he had scheduled four different typewriter-removals across town, and with the printing of the story, business was only about to get busier.

Behind Shirley, at least a dozen typewriters chittered in wire cages behind him, stacked on top of each other. He had just started his business two months previously, and was still working out the kinks of typewriter-disposal.

The phone rang, he picked up only to hear a low voice. “Shirley I’m serious, they are eating me alive over here. You have to come help me.”

Flo’s voice was blurry, like she was intoxicated, but it was still the sultry Flo Shirley knew, so he wasn’t concerned.

“Flo, I’m working right now. You can’t just call me at work. That’s not something people do. Also, it’s barely 9 AM, you shouldn’t be drinking until at least 5 PM. Flo, go get a job or something and stop calling me.”
He slammed the phone down and turned to the black-haired woman sitting patiently by the door. Her eyes were bugging out at Shirley and the typewriters behind him.
“Well? When do you want me to swing by your place?” He asked wearily.
“Oh thank you so much, you are sweetheart. As soon as you could--tomorrow perhaps? I’m free all day--” She laughed lightly, “I’m a housewife.”
“I’ll come by around four then. You understand about my rates?” She nodded and stood, opening her purse and removing an envelope. Placing that on his desk the woman said, “My name is Cindy Inglawson, my address is in the envelope. Thank you once more, so much.”
***

Shirley heard the chittering from his front door as he unlocked it that evening. They had multiplied in number, and Shirley saw this when he entered his front room. A typewriter skidded back into the kitchen, sliding on the linoleum floor.

“You pesks! Get back in the fridge where you belong!” He shouted, waving his arms about.

“About time you got home, I brought my guests and some turkey roast. I figured you’d be hungry.” Flo peeped her red-haired head out from the kitchen and holds up a cooking spoon. “Dinner is almost done, give me fifteen more minutes.”

“How did you get in my house? And how on earth did you justify this in that twisted mind of yours Flo?” Shirley spoke quickly, but smiling, dropping his briefcase by the door. He walked into the kitchen to find nine fully grown typewriters wandering around, munching on watermelon. “Jesus Christ and god almighty. We have an issue here.”

“I told you I had a serious infestation. I figured since you are all over the papers about how awesome you are at getting rid of these things, you could help. But no, you had to be a dick to me when I called your office to make a regular appointment. I’m not mad though. I just want these things out of my house. They never stop eating watermelon!”

Flo threw her hands up in the air, gesticulating wildly, throwing in dramatic looks for effect. It worked for Flo, but for no one else. Shirley smiled wanly and looked her in the eye.

“You are crazy, you know that right?”

“I sure do Shirley, but I think with circumstances like these, we’re all a bit crazy. Here, the roast is done. Sit down.”

With typewriters chittering around them, Flo and Shirley sit down to turkey roast and salad, and toast to the awful epidemic of watermelon-eating typewriters.





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