The dozenth day brings us “You Can’t Choose Your Friends” by Shane Simmons.
Sandra had some sort of ‘breakdown’ before the festive season. What with Stephen abandoning her just weeks before Christmas in favour of “that slut of a bastarding bitch,” I’ve been lumbered with her for Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, oh, and most of the other days in between.
Sandra is not a happy camper. Stephen, the cad (goes with the name, I’m told) has dumped her for her sister, so of course she’s angry with her sister. (It befuddles me how so many women manage that misdirection of anger…). Sandra’s drunk, belligerent, and pretty much in her element as the victim in this dynamic. Fortunately for story purposes, the first person narrator is pretty much done with it too. Sandra is wearing thin, and something has got to give.
We get an entertaining blow up of the friendship in this scene (you have to love the way Sandra segues into CAPS and finger-pointing at every opportunity), and the two part ways. One senses this will not be the end of the relationship, or of Sandra’s harping, but we’ve gotten things off with a bang. The story grabs us quickly, gives us a good slap in the face, and leaves us bracing for the next bout. There’s also a nice bit of humor here. I don’t know where this one is going, but I’m hungry for the next bite.
This story is a good example of first person that does not immediately identify gender. Some readers seem to want gender spelled out very soon in a story, while others are content to wait. As a discussion starter, what gender did you attribute to the unnamed narrator, and at what point in the story did you do so? I’m curious to see how this breaks out between male and female readers, in particular.