#152 Air

by Christopher James

Sally Moon can hold her breath for ninety seconds in her bra and panties, which is a neat trick; not every woman can do that. When she was younger her parents thought she had something wrong with her lungs and they read somewhere that living by the sea was good for the system, so they packed Sally off to an uncle who lived in New Brighton for six months. The uncle was a deep-sea diving fanatic, and he taught Sally to swim underwater. Back when she was a kid she could go under for three or four minutes without coming up for breath, but now she’s older and she smokes and she can only manage ninety seconds. She says the trick is to be completely relaxed—if you start to panic then you’re done for. For some reason she only feels completely relaxed in her bra and panties.

Sally Moon bought a book on how to be happy and threw it away, disgusted, because it only ever taught her to be content.

When I dated Sally Moon she showed me the breathing trick every time we had sex, which we only did when she was sad. It became something to endure, rather than something to marvel at, and for some reason I think Sally Moon liked that. She thought something about that held the secret to true happiness, but she couldn’t put her finger on what exactly.

Sally Moon put a plastic bag over her head and died smiling.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice provocative hook on that opening line, Christopher! Good luck.

P. Frey

Douglas Campbell said...

Fine piece, Christopher! Great hook, an engaging meditation on breath, life, and happiness, and a wonderful irony in the manner of Sally's death. Well done, sir.

Shona Snowden said...

Great craft in this one.

Len said...

Nice work, Chris.

Nathaniel Tower said...

Fun read. How long can she hold her breath without the panties?

Kyle Hemmings said...

Great piece. Love how it all flows to that last statement about her dying with a smile.

Eric R. Schiller said...

Great opening and closing lines.

Heidi said...

Smooth as silk transition from frolicking fun to dead serious. This is a fabulous piece, not only because Sally Moon is right up there with best character names ever, but because it's downright great writing.
I can picture the band Train doing a song about Sally. She'd fit right in with Virgina, who wears high heels when she exercises.
Loved it.

Jefferson Rose said...

I love the beginning, love the rest, think you should resuscitate her for another story. I want more!

John C. Mannone said...

Cool opening. Ironic ending--finding happiness in suicide. Good luck.

John