Flash Fiction Challenge #16: The Lady and the Swordsman

Flash Fiction, writing

This week’s challenge at Terrible Minds is 1000 words based on the picture below. This one’s a little lighter than my regulars. Enjoy!

 The Lady and the Swordsman

“This is ridiculous,” Nikki muttered. “The only thing I can find is a mask from Jo’s bedroom.” She held the sparkling mask up to her face.
I laughed. “Well, that, your grandmother’s fur shawl, and that sexy black dress will do it for me.”
Nikki sighed and smirked. “Yeah, I guess I couldlook like you.”
I looked down. I was wearing a silk white blouse—a woman’s blouse, if you want to know—and tight black leggings. The white gloves had been hard to find. All I had left from my youth was the fencing mask in my hands.
“You’re like a pseudo swords-woman,” Nikki laughed and jabbed me in the stomach. “Oh, I like this shirt. I can feel that six pack by just grazing against it.”
I was glad she noticed that I was still working out. Life had become so busy with our four-year-old daughter, Jo, and our recent move that Nikki and I barely had time for each other anymore.
“Why did we even agree to go to this thing?” I asked, adding a bit of a sulk to my expression. “Can’t we just stay here and take advantage of the empty house?”
“I didn’t want to be rude,” Nikki replied, “you know that. I want to make a good impression in our neighbourhood.”
I held up my hands in concession and grabbed my wife by her narrow waist. “I’d rather just rip this dress off you and do it right here in the living room.”
Nikki indicated that the front window was still without curtains. “If you want to make an impression, that’s one way to do it. Let’s go; there’s no backing out of this.”
We had no idea what to expect when we arrived at the house two doors down. The road was lined with vehicles and the driveway could not fit another car.
We held each other’s hand while we waited on the front stoop, laughing nervously. We both looked damned stupid, but the laughter was rejuvenating. We had not done anything like this in years, been silly or adventurous. That’s domesticated life for you, I guess.
The door opened wide. I know that my jaw dropped at the sight before me. These people had gone all out. The taller of the two—I can only assume it was the husband, Bill—was wearing a gigantic teddy bear suit. His wife was wearing lingerie, her breasts almost pouring out of herteddy, and a masquerade mask.
“Look, honey, you fit in,” I whispered deep in her ear before they greeted us.
Nikki stifled her giggle.
“Let me guess!” Gloria, the wife, said in her high pitched voice. “Oh, damn… this is hard…”
“It’s the new neighbours,” Bill said, his voice muffled by the giant bear head he was wearing. “I couldn’t forget a woman like this.”
Oh!” Gloria said and smiled. “Nikki! And…”
“Jason,” I replied. I held out my hand to shake.
Instead, Gloria rushed forwards and pulled me into a tight hug. I could feel her body analyzing my own as she pressed into me. Jesus Christ, the woman actually stroked my mask.
“Mmm, I can’t wait to see what’s under there. I like you already.”
She pulled out of the hug and I glanced at Nikki, who was currently in a similar embrace with the giant teddy bear. Nikki pushed Bill away politely but forcefully and glanced at me. She could not see my expression, but it was one of fear. If she thought that Gloria was going to be a problem in our marriage, I’d be in the doghouse before I’d even done anything. The woman was a Malibu Barbie; definitely not my type, even if I was interested.
All I could see were Nikki’s raised eyebrows above the mask as we were escorted into the living room, where two dozen others had gathered with drinks. I noticed that every face was concealed in one way or another. Whether it was a Bill Clinton mask, or a Freddie Kruger mask, or the china doll mask, each disguise rendered the other guests mysterious to me. Bill passed me a glass of beer. I had to lift my mask to take a sip. I should have taken this into consideration; I knew I would have needed a few good drinks in me to feel comfortable.
“The point is,” Gloria said behind me, “that with the masks, you have to guess who is who by their physique. It’s like a heightening of senses.”
“Really?” Nikki said. “For what, exactly?”
“Of course, silly, for later. We find it gets everyone more aroused.”
I spit the beer in my mouth out on to the floor and immediately apologized. Everyone watched me in silence as I tried to hide my surprise. I lowered the mask and said, “Down the wrong pipe.”
“I can’t wait to find the right pipe,” the petite china doll woman said from across the room.
Now Nikki let out a sarcastic laugh, one that I knew meant, “Get your own man, you filthy whore.”
“I call dibs on him,” china doll continued.
I was so confused despite this blatantly obvious (in hindsight) situation that I could only gape at the guests behind my mask. I glanced at Nikki again, who had set her drink down on a coffee table.
The rest of the room got back to mingling—and doing so in a very touchy-feely manner—and Nikki grabbed my arm. “Can I talk to you?” She pulled me back into the foyer. “They’re swingers!” she hissed with laughter.
That was when I realized. Duh. I guess my lifestyle of raising a naïve child had turned off my radar.
“What do you want to do? Get out of here?”
Nikki laughed. “Hurry, before they see us.” She opened the front door, and while we hurried down the street, she said, “I know of a living room that needs breaking in! Let’s give them something to talk about.”
 © Lindsay Mawson, 2011

12 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge #16: The Lady and the Swordsman

  1. Haha, I love stories like these – light banter and nice description at the beginning, and a kicker of a reveal at the end. Too bad they didn't want to stay at the party to, er, see things through. 😉

    A very 'alive' story, created great atmosphere and had me in the room with the characters. Good stuff.

  2. @Bob, thank you for being a reader! I hope you enjoy the stories as much as I do writing them! Thanks you!

    @Epicurean Inkblot, I considered having them stay, ha ha, but I think it would have been against their nature (what little I could muster in 1000 words), but it would have been funny to write! Thanks for the compliments!

    @Angie, glad to have surprised you 🙂 I am always worried that things meant to be surprising are not obvious by the clues I give, but I guess I did okay! Thanks for commenting!

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