Sewing Lesson – Dalmatia Flemming

Sewing Lesson – Dalmatia Flemming

It was just after 3 pm.  The “Living Room” of the Foogle Corporation was quiet, more like a library at this time of day.  Overstuffed, oversized gray flannel chairs were occupied by small groups of people talking in hushed voices, some of it work related, some of it personal. Others were clustered around the industrial lighting where it was easier to read or work. Some were eating or even napping.  A few lazy dogs wandered through, stopping to curl up on the brightly colored yellow-green area rugs.  In the background was the muffled sound of bouncing ping pong balls.

Raj played a game on his phone while Jason thumbed through the local hipster magazine. Jason always made it a point to read the dating and sex advice column in the back, always good for a laugh and sometimes actually helpful for straight guys like him.

Jason started to laugh quietly.

“What’s so funny?” Raj said without looking up, still focused on his game.

“Listen to this …

‘Dear Sven.  Please help me.  First, let me explain that I live in an older building. Besides 2 small businesses, it contains 5 apartments that share a communal laundry room with only 1 washer and drier.

About 3 weeks ago, I went down to do my laundry to find that someone had abandoned their clothes in the washer.  So I had to unload it in order to use it.  I swear, there must have been 20 bikinis in there!  They had sparkly things on them, sequins I guess; this was what I was unloading!  Meanwhile, in saunters a statuesque woman wearing a bathrobe and apologizing, in a deep Lauren Bacall-type voice, for not tending to her clothes earlier.  She lingered.  This was quite an uncomfortable encounter for me!

About 1 week later, I hear a knock on my door.  I open it and there stands the same statuesque woman wearing a bikini, showing me another bikini which she needs to mend, and asking me if I have a needle and thread.  Asks me, a guy, if I have a needle and thread?  There are 2 other women and a gay guy who live in the building!  I’m sure they all have a needle and thread!  Why not ask them?  And one of the women is a nun!  Nuns are caring, helpful people by nature and a needle and thread would NOT be considered to be excessive personal possessions!

You won’t believe this; about a week after that, I come home to find a small package with my name on it sitting on the ground just outside my front door.  I open it only to find some fabric, some elastic, a pattern for a thong, a needle and thread and an invitation to come over to said woman’s apartment for a sewing lesson!

I am petrified!  I have been crawling in and out of my second story window ever since, which is not easy I might add, to avoid running into this woman!  Sometimes I even stay with friends!

Sven, what should I do?

Signed, Ask Someone Else For A Needle And Thread’”

Raj flopped back into his overstuffed chair laughing.  “Oh man … that’s funny!  It’s a dude.”

“I know!” laughed Jason.

“What did he answer?”

Jason, containing his laughter, read on…

“‘Dear ASEFANAT.  This is NOT about borrowing a needle and thread, fyi.  I agree that there are obvious likelier sources of needles and threads in your building besides you, ASEFANAT.

You mention your presumed caring and helpful neighbor, the nun.  Well ASEFANAT, I think you have ANOTHER caring and helpful neighbor in your building in the form of a statuesque, bikini clad tranni … er, I mean, deep voiced beauty that really CARES that YOU have a properly constructed thong and really wants to HELP YOU construct it! Lucky YOU!  Go get YOUR private lesson!

But I have the feeling you will not follow this advice, ASEFANAT, so I will give you a second, lesser choice.  To diffuse the focus from you, invite all your neighbors to your apartment for a sewing party to be taught by the statuesque, bikini clad, deep voiced beauty.  Perhaps you can all construct something neutral such as pillows instead of bikinis and thongs.  And, heaven forbid, if you will not even follow this lesser advice, here is a pathetic third choice, ASEFANAT … move if you must.’”

CJ approached the laughing men and collapsed into an empty overstuffed chair. “Hey.”  Self-absorbed, he immediately opened his computer bag, pulled out his asthma inhaler and took a few puffs.

“Hey CJ … allergies got you down?” asked Jason.

“Naw … I think it’s stress related” answered CJ.

“Stress? …  Here? …  No way!” laughed Raj.

“…Yeah … well … CJ’s voice trailed off.

“Look at you CJ, all dressed up … got a phone interview or something?” said Jason laughingly.

“Ha ha … dressed up … phone interview … right” said CJ.  No, I just haven’t done laundry in a long time.  Now I’m down to my good clothes.  Those are the only ones that are clean.”  CJ dug into his computer bag, pulled out a tube of Neosporin, a Band Aid and began to nurse the sore on the back of his hand.

“Ouch, what’d ya do there CJ?” ask Raj. “That looks pretty bad.”

“It’s not that bad.  It’s healing.  I was … I … I borrowed Tyler’s bike and I fell off, that’s all.” said CJ.

Jason and Raj glanced at each other simultaneously.

“… Hey, be careful man.  Take care of that.” said Jason.

… “Yeah … well … gotta go … see you guys later.” said CJ.  CJ got up and left.  Jason and Raj locked their gaze and then watched CJ walk away.

… “Hey CJ … CJ” Jason yelled.

CJ stopped and turned, “Yeah?”

Jason motioned for CJ to come back.  … “Don’t forget, tomorrow is Lanyard Lounge Lizard night at Spunky’s, we’re all going.”

… “Oh, yeah.” CJ answered unenthusiastically, then turned and left again.

Jason and Raj locked their gaze again, and then started laughing, trying to keep it quiet.

“Ask Someone Else For A Needle And Thread … it’s CJ,” laughed Jason.

“’Fraid so”, laughed Raj.  “Let’s just hope that his statuesque neighbor doesn’t work at Spunky’s!”


About bbcstudiowrites

This blog is me archiving the BBC Studio Writers Workshop.

Posted on May 26, 2016, in Fiction, Seattle, Short Stories. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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