I've Got a Receipt (I-I)

Or, Crushed Velvet Lingerie

As the sunlit sanity of the waking world burns the night to ash,
embrace the unbound madness of your wildest dreams,
laugh into the endless abyss of your darkest fantasies,
and rage against the coming dawn.

PulpBusters is a presentation of Pocket Theater of the Absurd! Original tales of the weird and strange from the mind and madness of “Amoral Crackpot” Steve Arviso.

Tonight’s tale...


I’VE GOT A RECEIPT
I-I: Crushed Velvet Lingerie

The depressing ambiance of a cramped, sweatbox of an apartment with a tacky, out-of-date decor. CASSIE sits at a coffee table, a gift bag in front of her. MOM and SISTER sit side-by-side, perhaps too close, across from Cassie.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) As Cassie sat in the living room of a one-bedroom apartment her mother shared with Cassie’s younger sister sometime next Tuesday, it never occurred to her that an ancient evil slumbered beneath the local mall. Imagine her surprise when she found exactly that later in the afternoon.

Cassie opens the bag, pulls out and holds up oversized, crushed velvet lingerie.

CASSIE: What the shit is this?

NARRATOR: (voice-over) The lingerie looked like crushed velvet, but felt like a mistake. Her mother and sister, meanwhile, looked on at this like two ham-faced potato people.

MOM:  (whining) You don’t like it. (to SISTER, still whining) She doesn’t like it.

SISTER: I told you she wouldn’t like it.

CASSIE: Explain.

MOM: Well, Sweetie. Your sister and I know how down you’ve been ever since you broke up with What’s-his-face.

CASSIE: Jordan. And we didn’t break up. We’re just... on a break.

MOM: Honey, you know I usually support you and your sister’s delusions. But maybe it’s time to accept that Jordan’s not coming back.

SISTER: Was Jordan the one that moved to Oregon to grow pot?

MOM: No, Sweetie. Jordan’s the one who wandered off to smoke pot by the railroad tracks and be one with nature.

CASSIE: That was Duncan.

SISTER: Wait. So, which one was Jordan?

CASSIE: He moved to Texas to start a gourmet hot dog food truck.

SISTER: Makes sense.

MOM: Cassie-Honey. It’s time for you to bait that hook and catch you another fish.

SISTER: Yeah. That’s why we got you a few things to make you feel sexy again.

CASSIE:(deeply concerned) Oh, no. You mean there’s more?

Mom holds up vouchers.

MOM: Mother-Daughters Day at the spa!

CASSIE: (nonplussed) Huh. That’s... not a terrible gift, actually.

SISTER: Right?

CASSIE: But why is this lingerie so big? There’s no way it’d ever... Wait. (to SISTER) Was this your lingerie?

SISTER: Mom found it in our closet. She said it wouldn’t do me any good.

CASSIE: Sounds like Mom.

MOM: Look. If you don’t like it, you can exchange it at the Boulder Holders down at The Garden. I still have the receipt.

CASSIE: The Garden? I thought they closed that hellhole years ago.

SISTER: Right?

MOM: Hellhole? You two used to love that mall.

CASSIE: What? No, we didn’t.

MOM: Both of you used to beg me to drop you off there every morning during the summer.

SISTER: We didn’t have air conditioning!

CASSIE: Yeah. It was either this sweatbox, or middle-aged managers leering at us.

MOM: That’s awful!

SISTER:(shrugs) Life’s full of difficult choices.

CASSIE: You taught us that, Mom.

MOM: Are you telling me you chose being grossly uncomfortable just so you wouldn’t be hot all day at home?

SISTER: Every time.

CASSIE: (to SISTER) At least we weren’t hot.

SISTER: (to CASSIE) Not until we got home.

MOM: (defeated, annoyed) Yeah, yeah. Do you want the receipt, or not?

To be continued...

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The chill of night brings with it a still darkness,
brings with it an alluring promise of peace.
Till the light of day warms your cold bones,
may your eyes never rest,
and may those little slices of death never come.

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YOU ARE NOT ALONE
PULPBUSTERS
Steve Arviso
2021