There Are So Many Things To Do Whilst Waiting for Her to Call
A Short Story by Lukas Sherman
Written using the suggestion "Pride"
Originally featured on 10-09-2007
As part of our series "A Funny Thing Happened To Me on the Way to the Fall"

There are so many things to do whilst waiting for her to call.

Clean the bathroom.

Sweep the front steps.

Buy some groceries.

Cook dinner, even if you’re not hungry.

Go for a walk.

Study for that test.

Throw away those lingerie magazines in the Boston folder.

Make something for your mom.

Contemplate drinking alone.


Pay bills (and try not to overdraw your account again).

Put everything she’s given you in a shoebox.

Do 50 sit ups

Do 50 push ups.

Drink some cough syrup.

Punch something. (Wait. Scratch that.)

There are so many things to do, but never enough.


Wash the dishes.

Sweep the back steps.

Listen to music.

Go mail bills.

Read Bukowski; he makes your women problems seem minor.

Make lists.

Erase her messages and texts.

Set goals.

If she hasn’t called by 10:00, it’s the cigarettes.

10:30, the whiskey

50 more sit ups.

50 more push ups.

Hold off on that mix tape you were making her.

Figure out where you went wrong.

Put that song on repeat.

Lay out clothes for tomorrow (you’ll probably see her at work).

Change the pillowcases that still smell like her.

Write something self-pitying and trite.


Don’t think this is familiar.

Contemplate the cruelty of objects.

Enjoy that the word of the day is plangent (having an expressive and especially plaintive quality, Latin).

Have a cigarette on the steps.

Miss your friends back east (they’d take you out for a beer).

Miss your church.

Miss your shrink.


Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

50 last sit ups.

50 last push ups.

Lie on the floor and stare at the moon-like ceiling.

Put the dishes away.

Drink some water.

Brush your teeth.


Give up.

And call her.

Because, hey, looks like you’ve lost anyway chump

Read More By Lukas Sherman

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Portland Fiction Project

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