A Simple Story

This is a story.  It is not a very good story, but it is not very long, either, so you will not have to endure it for too long a time.  It is a story about a girl, fourteen, and a boy, twelve.  The boy and the girl, as you may guess if you have read any literature written within the past ten years, were lovers.  This may sound disgusting to you, but probably not.  We, in the twenty-first century, are used to it.  The boy falls out of love with the girl, of course, he doesn’t really even know what love is, but he has something of a strong passion, for a twelve year old, and the girl kills herself.  The story is about the girl, really.  The boy only figures in as a kind of foil.  You will see what I mean.  I hope you enjoy the story, although I am sure that you probably won’t.

There once was a girl, as I have said.  I’ll name her now, call her Francine, it’s not such a common name that many will be offended and want to have their own reexamined once it is said, but it is not so uncommon as to seem frivolous or flippant.  Francine, then.  When our story begins Francine has just come back from school, where she met a boy, lets call him Tom, that being a very American, wholesome name, having the effect of causing the reader to reanalyze, perhaps, a portion of his American, or wholesome, values.  Francine liked the boy, thought he was cute.  Although he was younger than her, it was only by a year and a half.  They were at the same middle school, it was nearing the end of the year, and, while Francine had noticed Tom often, she had never spoken to him before.

Let me pause here, to mention the fact that, although the literary style I am employing is a bit trite, it makes the progression of the story flow in an almost uninterruptedly pure and unadulterated style.  There is little to be lost in this method, besides for the obvious.

Francine and Tom share a bit of a romance.  There was sex, because this is an early twenty-first century story, and sex is almost a given.  But the sex does not come for a couple of days.  Tom is young, and unsure of himself.  Francine, though older, is, let’s face it, only fourteen, and while she is no Lolita, she is no Madonna either, if you know what I mean (some of the younger readers of this story might not understand that reference.  Explain it to them, oh children of the nineties).  Francine and Tom had passionate sex at Francine’s house, in her bed, in fact, four days after they began going out.

Going out is what they called it, not going steady or dating, going out.  We’re going out.  Going out for a pizza, going out for a walk in the park, going out to have sex.  That is what it was.  Francine was in love with Tom’s hairless, pure, passionately wonderful body.  Because this is a ‘post-modern’ story, Tom can have passionate sex when he is twelve years old.  Come on, stranger things have happened.  The funniest part, for Francine, is that when she loses her Virginity to a boy almost two years younger than herself (had she lived, she would have always had a thing for younger men), her mother is cooking, downstairs (the passionately interested reader – I am sure there are not many, but there must be one or two – is probably wondering what this homey, nineteenfifties-type woman is doing in the pages of this passionately modern story.  I admit, she is a mistake, but I cannot get rid of her.  She exists.  She will not go away).  They eat dinner, together, afterwards, Mother, Francine, and Tom.  There is no father.  Mother is divorced.  Let us not worry about what mother does for a living; this is only a short story, not a novel, and elements are allowed to be left unexplained.

They have sex, again.  One time is necessary, the second is optional, but is given preferential treatment.  A third time would be overdoing it, so he breaks up with her before they have the chance.

Francine is heartbroken.  She reminds Tom of the passionate sex.  He seems to be engrossed in a video game.  She does not understand.  She reminds Tom of his love for her.  He hangs up the phone.

She decides to shoot herself.  There is no gun.  Instead, she cuts her hands, with scissors, from school, in the bathroom.  It is a slow death.  She watches the blood oozing out of her hands, and thinks of her love for Tom, the young boy who is, just now, almost done with the second to last level of the video game he has been obsessively into, just as he was obsessively into her, for three days.  She loses consciousness, without a thought of her mother.  Her only thought is that Tom will join her, some day.  Tom never does.

If you are surprised at the ending of this story, you shouldn’t be.  All modern stories end in death and despair.  At least the good ones do, and we don’t really care much about the others.  The trashy stories that line the shelves of any reputable book conglomerate may end happily, but, come on, who are they kidding?  The good stuff ends in death.  This trend goes all the way back to Hemingway, who didn’t even know how to end a novel without killing off all his main characters.  It got so real for him that the only thing he knew how to do, in the end, was blow his own head off.

What can I do?  I just want to write good literature.

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Bezalel Stern exists. Follow him @ twitter.com/bezalelstern. Read more at bezalelstern.tumblr.com.