Slapstick Social Customs–Part 3

Here’s another piece from The Fiction Writer’s Workshop, by Novakovich.  The idea behind this one is to practice humor through the use of over-exaggeration, caricature, and slapstick.  Novakovich suggested trying this with familiar social customs.  Here’s the final part in this three part exercise.

The young couple was determined to show their devotion, and they were never so determined as when they were out in public.  In the fall, when they first began to date, they would romp through the leaves together, and dare anyone to tell them they were going too far.  When they received no reprimand for romping, they would collapse into them and begin to kiss, even though the leaves would tickle uncomfortably on their ears and necks.

In winter, they cuddled constantly, claiming it was for warmth to any skeptic who dared raise an eyebrow at their passionate love.  They would remain lip-locked—sometimes up to a quarter of an hour—in the coldest of days.  They would continue to kiss, no matter how chapped and brittle their lips became, and no matter how much snot mixed with their spit.  They were devoted.

In the spring, he would pick flowers and place them in her hair.  She would pluck strawberries from other people’s gardens, and place them on his waiting lips.  They kissed on park benches and—when passersby seemed to care less about their devotion—they would try to get to second base.  Once, they stayed on second base so long a police officer (obviously not understanding their hearts’ devotion) had to break them up.  It had taken the officer five minutes.

But summer was a true test of their love and devotion.  It was too hot to remain lip-locked, let alone to cuddle.  They shared ice-cream, but that didn’t really demonstrate the passion they had for each other.  They tried the beach, but were banned after their first visit for attempting third base in the presence of a Baptist family.

They began to hold hands, and that—truly—was the beginning of their devotion’s demise.  Their palms would get sweaty, that even with the iron grip of their love staying in contact was a feat requiring much skill and practice.  When the sweat was too much, and threatened to force their hands to slip away, they would change sides (and hands) in a fluid motion akin to dancing.  With a new, strong grip found, they would excessively wipe the free sweaty palms on each other’s T-shirts and shorts.

But one day, they weren’t paying enough attention.  Instead of showing their devotion, they were having a conversation.  No one knew who was to blame, or if they both shared the guilt, but their hands slipped apart in the heat.  Hands asunder without warning, the young couple paused in shock, staring first at their empty hands, and then at each other.

That’s when their relationship forever changed.

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