Marly Marbles’ Shingles By Nicholas Olson

August 3, 2015 § 1 Comment

Marly had a bed with shingles on it. Leftovers from the last storm. She collected the shingles in piles and called them sheaves. She had a habit of collecting sheaves in nothing but socks.

She kept the shingles bedbound year-round, as a precaution. Some nights I got her to stay in bed after a storm and talk about the house within the bed. The one the shingles were really for. She said it housed every great thinker the world would ever know. I questioned the square footage and she laughed for me.

On the windblown nights with stormrain refusing to fall, she’d pinch tears and redirect flow with fingers as squeegees. I didn’t mind. I didn’t say much.

She did things like use palimpsest and intaglio in conversational usage. “I feel like I’m just some pseudo-maternal-partner . . . palimpsest to you. Like I’m one in a series. You can’t scrub out what’s been, like, intaglioed.

She’d close her blue eye when angry, as it was the prettier of the two (though not by much), and would send the wrong message.

Validate me. Please.

Validation was when the shingles would come off and both eyes would stay open (or closed) together.

I was her man.

Was she pretty? Verily was she pretty indeed.

Would I spank her? She had in fact been naughty.

There’s a draft coming in, can you close the window? It’s a storm and let me at the sheaves.

Calm down, I’ll just close the window.

Don’t tell me to calm down; the roof might cave in.

It isn’t even drizzling. Will you look, Marly?

Will you look?

Do you love me? Where did that come from?

Don’t dodge the question. Of course I love you.

How do I know? How am I supposed to answer that?

I don’t know. Try.

(Blue eye closed.)

You’re not even trying.

That’s the sad part.

One-eyed Marly in her socks on cold linoleum, collecting shingles. Clattering. Dry heaving in inky weight. Shifting from left to right, both foot and hardened nipple. Words unheard or unheeded. Both.

Sheaf inspection.

The storm’s over.

Marly Marbles opts for a marred shingle, dropping sheaf to wipe and scratch and even scrub.

I love her like that. Just like that. I told her so, too, in case she didn’t know.

Leave it. You can fix it some other time.

One nipple seemingly intaglioed. Released for the next. Scrub stop. Eye(s) up.

She let the shingle shatter on the floor for me and climbed back into bed.

© 2015 Nicholas Olson

Nicholas Olson is a fiction/screen writer with a BA in Cinema Art+Science from Columbia College Chicago. A triple finalist in the 2013 Written Image Screenwriting Competition, he currently resides in the Chicagoland area where he’s crafting his first novel. His work can be seen in The Open End. He can be stalked at

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