All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Marlene Dietrich by Riham Adly

My promotional Facebook ad campaign is far from ready. An upside down, high resolution, Marlene Dietrich holding my self-published book awaits my intervention.  I hesitate before choosing the rotate option or is it the flip? Marlene looks regal, confident in her fur coat. What would Marlene think of a book starting with:

 She loved lemons and would squirt them on everything, their yellow rind reminding him of her sunshine. Lemons never tasted sweeter. Without her, his heart wouldn’t beat right.

“Todd honey, come take a look at this and tell me what you think.”

He snorts and laughs uncontrollably when he sees Marlene.

“Dietrich would never hold your book or any book for that matter, and certainly, not in her current position.”

I consider the plausibility of that for a moment.

Ignore Todd, don’t listen to Todd, I tell myself. I had the fragility of a Kleenex while he lavished in the fierceness of someone blowing his nose hard into it.  I’d cry my heart out over the news reporting on more war-orphaned children in Yemen and he’d just ask me to pass over the salt.

I look at Marlene again and wonder what she’d make of Todd.

Last month he bled like hell after his prostate surgery. Doctors and nurses would check him up and tell him he bled fine. I would have liked to think that without me Todd’s prostate wouldn’t bleed right.

He’d call our lawyer son every day and report on the color of his pee. “Son, it’s Burgundy red today.”  Our son, who is just as inordinately unaffectionate, would tell him to get a grip and that no one compared his urine to his wine.

Todd’s face would collapse on itself like someone sucking a lemon or someone taking a punch in the guts after his calls to our son, but he’d call again anyway next day and report. “Light Chablis, this time.”

I click on rotate, and consider closely, this upright Marlene, studying the arch of her eyebrow, her not-so-lax-smile, her slapdash look and her fur coat which might or might not have been a dead fox.

Ignore Todd, don’t listen to Todd. I tell myself.

“I think you are right, Todd.”

“I’m always right.” Todd snorts again or is it a reverse-sneeze?

Men in this book are more like fountain pens when they should’ve been rectal thermometers. Someone once said: Fiction must be rooted in fact. I think of those decade old sci-fi movies predicting hologram weddings and virtual honeymoons. Are there really any right now?

I know Marlene pretty well by now.

She just wouldn’t have any of it.

Or perhaps she might.

Or not.

Or she might?

I rotate her again to the right, then to the left, then finally after some careful thought, I press… delete.

Audrey Hepburn will like my book.

“Todd,” I call out for my husband, before he snoozes into one of his afternoon sonorous snoring siestas, “you think maybe Audrey might’ve liked my book?”


Riham Adly

Banner Image: Pixabay – sorry Marlene – I couldn’t resist. DD

2 thoughts on “Marlene Dietrich by Riham Adly”

  1. Hi Riham,
    I totally agree with Dave.
    And I think that is what I really enjoyed about this story. I think every reader in their mind had Todd getting the red card!
    I love when any story takes you into a wee bit of audience participation!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.