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Friday Short Story Time: "Jim Is A Man"

Another week, another Friday masterpiece. (Read more stories here, yes?) Not based on any prompt this time, only my own thoughts. I wonder if these stories say anything about me, I do hope not.

Anyway, yes, some fascinating revelations about gender roles here, or possibly just prurient dribble.

Jim Is A Man

By Nick Bryan

A few weeks ago, Jim had woken up after a heavy night of drinking to find a Facebook album of himself dancing dubiously outside a nightclub, then vomiting in a bush. He hadn’t been particularly pleased, as there was also video.

Despite some creative email swearing to the relevant friend, they had not been removed. It was a dark time. Still, suddenly those seemed like simpler times, since this latest photoset was so appalling that Jim took to the telephone.

‘Mate, what the fuck?’

‘Don’t shoot the messenger, Jim.’

‘Shooting you would make it too quick. Take that shit down now.’

‘You’re the one who posed for photos in a dress, dude, and I’m at work now anyway.  I might take them down later.’

‘Oh, cheers.’

‘I assume Christina got you home okay.’

‘Don’t change the fucking subject. Take the photos down.’

More followed, but to no avail. Jim slammed the phone into its base with some emphasis, but it only bleeped sedately. No help there.

Of course, it was his own fault. Yet another reason to stop getting so fucking drunk. And to be honest, it wasn’t the cross-dressing photos he was most worried about; the large bloodstain on one side of his double bed was more unsettling.

In fact, he had only made such a drama out of the Facebook album to forget about that for a while. He hoped to hell the two events weren’t connected; Jim knew women did a lot of bleeding at certain times, but he wouldn’t have tried to emulate that, would he?

There were a few cuts and scrapes on his arms and forehead, presumably from attempts to walk back to his flat and open its doors, but nothing that would produce that kind of blood. Jim decided to call his girlfriend.

It went straight to voicemail. Hopefully he hadn’t killed her. It was definitely time to stop being so pissed. Good thing he didn’t have a job, otherwise he wouldn’t have anywhere near the time to investigate this.

Despite the cringing feelings whenever he glanced at them, Jim forced himself to take a closer look at the Facebook photos. Why would he wear a dress, he furiously questioned himself? It’s not as if he was in touch with his feminine side, and it was an ugly blue one that made him look fat anyway.

Look at his chest hair poking over the top where the cleavage should be. This was shit. He lasted another four pictures before giving up.

But he saw enough to ascertain he’d been pretty drunk. His eyes were glassy, jaw slackening; any more so and he might have suspected his friends of forcing him into the damn dress.

The backdrop was outdoors, too. Had he been parading around in plain sight? Changed clothes in the middle of the street? He hoped there weren’t naked pictures, that’d be the last straw.

His head was killing him, still. He knocked back a pint of water, keeping an eye out for any other worrying stains. They didn’t have pets; perhaps a stray dog had gotten in and he had ripped it in half.

Finally, his mobile rang. It was his girlfriend Christina, allegedly the one to drag him back to his flat last night. This was good news. Well, assuming she was calling to say he hadn’t killed a tramp, ripped open a dog or punched her in the face.

‘Jim, I’ve just seen pictures of you in a dress. What the fuck?’

‘Okay, look, never mind that…’

Never mind? You’re cross-dressing on the internet, but there’s something else?’

So she was surprised. He must’ve changed back into regular clothes before she had arrived to help him home. Never mind that. Bloodstain. ‘As a matter of…’

‘Oh, for christ’s sake. You called Smitty about getting that shit off Facebook yet?’

‘He says he might do it later. Look, I woke up this morning and there was something in my bed…’

‘Something…? I dunno, Jim. You were pretty pissed, you probably shat yourself. Want me to call Smitty, if you can’t get him to do it?’

‘I’ll handle it, alright?’

‘No, don’t worry, I will, you just focus on your hangover, yeah?’

And, unceremoniously, she hung up on him. Jim didn’t care if she wanted to be snotty, but she could’ve let him ask about the damn bloodstain. That was hardly supportive. He made it as far as the hallway, before his annoyance led him to punch the wall.

Something was wrong here: his fist sailed into a conspicuous red patch, halfway up the doorway into his lounge. It had mostly dried overnight, and sailed apart in a burst of sticky goo and flakes. After a brief start with shock, Jim identified it as another bloodstain. It was smaller than the other one, but still a vivid shade of deep red.

Opposite the front door to his flat, too. Head height.

He felt the back of his skull, and his heart sank slightly. It was a patch of his own blood. This was a bad injury, wasn’t it? Maybe he should go to hospital or something. Unusually, since he was normally so manful and decisive, he wasn’t sure.

And as he rubbed his injury, his vision dipped towards the ground. There was a pair of kicked-off high heels next to the door, and not any that he recognised as Christina’s either. He knelt down and took a look; they seemed to be quite squashed, probably from having an excessively wide foot shoved inside. Something was amiss.

So if he’d been walking around his flat in high heels, for some reason beyond understanding, he might have tripped, banged his head on the doorframe, then passed out and bled all over his pillow.

Well, that was fucking stupid. He wondered who he stole the high heels from, probably whoever owned that dress. It would probably be wise to go to hospital soon; it looks like there might a risk of some brain damage.

But first, Jim had a brilliant idea to re-assert his manhood.

‘Hi, Christina, it’s Jim again…’

‘Yeah, I was just gonna call, I think I got the photos taken down, so…’

‘Cool, listen, there’s this huge blood stain on my pillow.’

‘… Really?’

‘Looks like I might have banged my head before going out last night.’

‘I see.’

‘So that might explain all that dress-wearing shit, I reckon.’

‘I guess so.’

He made a mental note to burn those high heels later. Hopefully this really was a good idea, it wasn’t just his injury talking.

Hope you enjoyed the story, it took three drafts and at one point entailed the note “ANIMAL CASTRATION IS THE ANSWER” being made in enormous letters. (It turned out not to be the answer.) Copyright Nick Bryan in 2010, do not steal, email me if you want to steal in an authorised fashion, etcetera.


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