All Stories, General Fiction

I ♥ Burt by Leah Holbrook Sackett

I am both partial to and particular about angora sweaters. I like to wear them without a bra. I imagine that is what it would feel like to press my breasts against a hairy chest. I am obsessed with hairy chested men, and it all started with Burt Reynolds in Cannonball Run. I was 9 when I saw the movie on TV one Saturday afternoon. I’ve been a Reynolds and hairy chest fanatic ever since. Even when I go out dancing with the girls, I go braless in my angora. Once I braved going braless to work. While I found it liberating, it was also distracting.

A little tip, I also have a thing for hairy hands. Hair on the outset side of the hands with hairy knuckles is a good sign that they would have a hairy chest, but all too often they turn out to be shavers. The worst are men with miniscule hairy chests. The kind with just a little cluster in the middle or the rings around the nipples. I try to get their shirts off early in the game so I can call it quits before the guy gets too hot. I don’t even really get started myself until I see that carpet of chest hair. With today’s trends, I rarely meet a man up to my standards. Recently, I started going for foreigners, immune yet to our American hairless ways. But my heart always remains loyal to Burt Reynolds.

I live with my cat Moliere and my tenacious companion Bipolar Depression. I am medicated, but there is no cure. When I lost my job at the public library due to federal cutbacks, it triggered a depression that left me near comatose on the couch. I ate take out every meal that I bothered to eat, and my garbage piled up until mice appeared. Moliere proved to be a fair mouse catcher. When the depression sets-in, I feel like I am made of paper, an origami Emily. I can be so easily torn. I also wonder things like what would happen if you actually put a butter knife in the toaster. How bad would the jolt be? When my mood shifted, I went out and bought 42 loaves of bread to make toast for everyone in my complex.  I informed all of my neighbors that they were welcome, and to eat the buttered raisin toast while it was still warm, for it was best that way. When the landlord came to my door, I invited him in for toast and coffee. I no longer felt like I was made of paper, but a glowing light that could not be doused even in the darkest night. Others thought I really needed a new job. And I did land a new job as a librarian at Washington University’s Law Library. I am wonderful in my new job, of course, because I am painstakingly precise and efficient (except when depressed). There are long spells of time between the mood swings, and while this is fortunate on the one hand, it adds to a certain level of denial. But for now, I just sweep the hairless lovers and the hairy ones under the rug of a free spirit. And only Moliere has witnessed my howling anger as I break dishes in the kitchen or sleep in the drained bathtub.

I have a fantasy hairy boyfriend. One night imagined him tickling me while I was chewing gum, and it fell out of my mouth and landed in his chest hair. We tried peanut butter, which made a mess. We tried ice, which aroused him. In the end, I had to shave a small patch to remove the gum. I hated that bare patch and tried to avoid it during sex. Then I realized if I did press a breast against that smooth spot it felt like cheating on him, and in a rather exciting way.  In reality I had to try to remove my gum from Moliere. Have you ever got gum stuck in a black cat?

It is exhausting going through the mood swings, but the worst part is the lack of understanding and compassion in our culture. I’m not asking for a lot here, just don’t fear me and call me crazy. Isolation is not good for someone like me, we need a support group. But that is hard to find. Maybe they could just open a Crazies R Us and we could support each other. Of course, two manic people or depressed people together usually does not bode well. It gets a lot worse than excessive take out or toast production.

We had this alcoholic at the library, he snuck sips from the flask in his jacket and fell asleep in the stacks. He was probably homeless, but he dressed nicely and he was hairy. During a Manic phase I found myself spending a lot of time having sex in the stacks with the drunk. I got bored of him, as will happen during a manic state, so I decided to take him in to a swinger’s bar I found online and trade-up. I found one couple interested in me, but not him. So, I dumped him and went home with Audra and Kevin. Kevin wasn’t really my type, hairless, but Audra was something new. New has a short lifespan in Mania and that lasted just a month or more. And then I was back in a full blown depression and disgusted with myself. I pulled on an angora sweater over my bare breasts and crawled into bed. Again, I felt like that shell of a paper Emily, but unfolded and torn, and I was angry with Burt Reynolds. I cried myself to sleep in a sweater that scratched and inflamed.


Leah Holbrook Sackett

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8 thoughts on “I ♥ Burt by Leah Holbrook Sackett”

  1. This pleasing April blossom managed to put Edward D. Wood, Jr. and Burt Reynolds into my mental holding cell at the very same time. It also conjured up disco-era open shirts and gold chains which lay in exposed field of man moss and treasure trails.I blame and praise Ms. Leah for such unsettling images.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed this Laura. The first paragraph made me smile – something about hairy chests and Burt Reynolds. I think you achieve a delicate balance between dark humour and the more serious topic of depression. It’s made me wonder too, about how the writer might find it difficult to find the voice of the opposite sex – would a male writer be able to invent the images you create in the first paragraph? I wonder. The ending works create too. Overall, for me, there is something honest and genuine about the whole piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Leah,
    The skill in the writing takes us one way and then the other. The humour is dark and it compliments the subject matter. When this type of story is done well, like yours, the reader should feel a bit uncomfortable especially if they find the humour amusing. It is fun to make a reader uncomfortable!
    I am very interested to see what else you have for us.


  4. i have an angora sweaterdress and a couple of tiny angora cardigans that literally make me sigh when I put them on xx


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