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Do what you do: the Man and his Muse

Do what you do: the Man and his Muse

Every once in a while I doodle on a writing prompt and it becomes a piece of flash fiction, and that is what happened this morning. Without further ado, I give you the result of the timed free-writing I did today:


If Donatella Versace ever needed a double, this one would have worked. She had the fake hourglass figure, the stringy, flat, blonde hair, the bulbous lips, and sunken eyes penciled over high cheek bones. He checked his wallet. After he paid for the drinks, he might have just enough to persuade her.

He gulped down his drink, wiped his beard, and shuffled out to the men’s room, pushing through the crass Karaoke songs in Singlish, the cigarette smoke, the stink of cheap whisky, beer, and wine. She walked past him, almost colliding.

For a moment, he thought she would come undone, her breasts bounce on the floor, each going its separate way, her ass tumble out and rock slowly in its place, her lips splatter on the floor in a pink splotch. But her lipstick held back her lips, her bustier did an admirable job of keeping together her middle, and stockings and stays did the rest. She stayed within her skin and righted herself on her teetering heels.

Back on his seat, he waved for the check, and she came, holding the small black folder with her claw-like nails. ย The sight of them prompted him to look at his own gnarled hands, yellow, blue, and green paint cracked under his nails.

When he asked her, she smiled, and said in her nasal, Texan drawl, aren’t you too old to be doing such things?

I’ll never be too old to do what I do, he said.

Afterwards, when he had taken off her breasts, her lips, her ass, her heels, she talked to him of her husband back home who had married again, of her kids who must have grown up by now, of how terrified she was of growing old.

The studio loft smelled of her, her perfume, and turpentine. His hands worked as she talked, and there they were, the swollen body parts she had stuck on herself to become more of a woman, hanging on sticks on his canvas, sailing on strings. ย Behind her, from the window, ย the lights of the Singapore skyline went out one by one, and the faint gray outline of tall buildings appeared against the dark of dawn.

Do me a favor, he said, come back often.

I will, she said. I love that you do what you do.

And so they came together, the man and his muse.


Bite-sized Short Stories

For those who’ve already read my other pieces, ย please help me spread the word about A-Z Stories of Life and Death, my book of short short stories. If this is your first encounter with my work, and if you like it, please check out my book as well!

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • indigo bunting says:

    Oh, fantastic. I love this one.

  • Anna Tan says:

    Wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Heh.
    Nice one. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Would you be entering the Writer’s Digest short story competitions?

  • mish says:

    Beautiful , intense writing … do I detect a hint of melancholy woven into the story … ?

  • Nice, very cool little flash piece. You never cease to impress me.

  • When will the book be available? I can do an announcement on my blog!

    • Damyanti says:

      Should be next week. Am planning to upload today/ tomorrow. I’m not doing a regular launch date, but instead a soft launch with guest posts and interviews spread out through September. Am traveling this month, so book promotion takes a back seat …Le Sigh. Thanks for the offer, really appreciate it, and will let you know as soon as the book is out!

  • Damyanti says:

    That’s music to my ears…you missed reading my stories ๐Ÿ™‚

    I do people-watch a lot, but I don’t think I’ve seen this pair anywhere. They just plopped out of my head right on to the blog page, no idea how, or from where!

  • PencilGirl says:

    I’ve missed reading your stories.. This one was beautiful. A little sad, but I don’t know why.. At least they found each other, right?
    Do you spend a lot of time people watching? Because each of your characters is so real. I can almost see them, right in front of me.. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Two needy people finding something they want from each other. Liked your description of how he imagined she’d fall apart and how she held together. This flash makes me pity them both.

    It occurs to me that based on the variety of what you write, you could do other publications on all sorts of A-Z’s to do with the human condition.

  • Arlee Bird says:

    A very peculiar set of people. You come up with some doozies.

    Tossing It Out