pages Mental Health

by Peter Clarke

Published in Issue No. 177 ~ February, 2012

One day an eighteen-year-old girl slept in past noon. She was unrealistically attractive and naked. She had lots of unrealistically attractive eighteen-year-old girl friends and they sometimes were naked, too.

She rolled over and snuggled up warm in her pile of kaleidoscopic blankets. Ah, her legs and pert breasts, etc.

This was her mental health morning. She wasn’t going to answer her phone even for her mother. She wasn’t going to move an inch for anybody.

So, when someone knocked at the door of her tiny studio room, she just ignored it and snuggled up even more into her blankets. Ah, her thighs and soft bottom, etc. The knock came again and she just snuggled up even more. Mmm.

Then there was a third knock and a yell: “Maintenance man!”

“Ohhh, go awaaayy,” she mumbled. Her flowing hair. Her ruby lips.


By the time the maintenance man started jangling his keys, the naked girl began to wonder if maybe she should cut short her mental health morning and possibly put on a shirt. And maybe some pants.

She had a distinct longing for her slimming black panties and the bra that strapped up so snug and precautionary.

But it was already too late.

The maintenance man suddenly barged into the room.


Her beauteous form in bed. Think petit. Waist size preciously slender. That whole feminine mystique thing fully concaved all the way down to the itsy-bitsy emanation of these toes. And just so fully hiding beneath five bulbous layers of kaleidoscopic blanket fluff, she played dead—

—As the sound of keys jangling moved past her bed and into the bathroom.

It was like the sound of a prison warden. The next sounds were like the sounds of a plumber, but the girl still felt like they were prison warden sounds because, as far as she could reason, she was quite held-hostage.

She was naked. And wouldn’t he just love to see her so.

Also, this was all made twice as embarrassing because the abominable man in there obviously thought for certain that he was alone. Tugging at toilet pipes, or whatever he was doing, soon he began to sing, “Maintenance man, maintenance man, fix these pipes as best I can.”

He sang that for an hour and thirty-two minutes.

Traumatized, the naked girl didn’t dare flinch the entire time.

Ah, her gritted teeth and shattered mental health, etc.

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Peter Clarke holds a BA in Psychology from Western Washington University and recently completed his JD from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. His short fiction has appeared in Hobart, Elimae, Locus Novus, Denver Syntax, Pure Francis, The Legendary, Curbside Splendor and elsewhere. Native to Port Angeles, Washington, he currently lives in Sacramento, California.