The Battle of the Sexes
Three pieces of flash fiction combine to make make a very short story … in three parts.
The Battle of the Sexes
“It’s not me, it’s you,” she said.
This isn’t the way it was supposed to work. She wasn’t supposed to hurt my feelings. She was supposed to protect my ego and my battered pride. She was supposed to let me down gently.
“I want someone more interesting,” she said.
More interesting? She was telling me I was boring. At least she had the grace to tell me before…
“I’ve met someone else,” she said.
“Actually we’ve been together for a while.”
“You know him.”
“Daniel? But he’s…” Daniel was all sorts of things. He was thick for a start. And he was shorter than me. And he’s one of those people who sweats all the time.
“You have a lot in common,” she said, “only he’s better than you.”
“I’m sorry,” I said.
“It’s a bit late for that now,” she said. Then she left.
“Keep your head down, Martha,” yelled the Sergeant.
“Incoming!” The cry went up from further along the trench.
Sergeant Mary Jones and Private First Class Martha Turner ducked below the parapet as a double entendre went sailing over their heads.
“Why do they keep doing this to us, Sarge?” asked the Private.
“Because they’re men,” said the Sergeant. “Stay down,” she shouted as a barrage of criticism was launched from their own lines.
Not twenty yards from where they crouched, another private fell to a cheap shot.
“She wasn’t even from Essex,” said Martha, turning away in horror.
“Two can play at that game,” said Sergeant Jones. “Hey Tommy,” she yelled, across the mud and blood of no-man’s land. “Why do doctors slap new born babies on the bum?”
“Dunno. Why?” came the distant reply.
“To knock the willies off the smart ones,” said the Sergeant.
“Shot, Sarge,” said Martha.
“What can you tell me about this one, Sister?” It was her first day on the long term acute ward and she knew she had a lot to learn.
“This is Tommy,” said the Sister. “Tommy was a casualty in the last Great Battle of the Sexes, weren’t you, Tommy.”
Tommy’s shoulder twitched but otherwise he didn’t move.
“Poor Tommy didn’t stand a chance,” said the Sister, picking up Tommy’s chart. “Single mother, two sisters; Tommy was mostly raised by his grandmother. All of his primary schoolteachers were women. The only significant male role model throughout his childhood was a P.E. teacher. “
“Poor bastard,” said the nurse. “What happened after he left school?”
“He got a job in the food court at Marks & Spencers. We think he was emasculated by a Deputy Manager.”
“Jesus. Any girlfriends?”
“Only one. She dumped him. Said ‘It’s not me, it’s you.’”