Imps of Perversity

By Liz Betz

These stories are alike; each protagonist has inner thoughts that they wouldn’t necessarily want to reveal.

Found Money

Arlene borrows her sister’s jacket, sticks her hand in the pocket and finds…what everyone loves; found money. She counts the bills. Twenty dollars. Finders keepers!
This doesn’t belong to you! Her conscientious earworm, always ready to preach, whispers – It’s your sister’s money. Arlene counters; roles reversed, if her sister had found her money, she’d have no trouble spending it.
You don’t know that.
I know my sister; she would spend this immediately.
So, be the bigger person on this. Do you really need the money?
No. But if I did, she’d help me out. I could pretend she’s given me this.
You could?
Maybe not.

Author notes – Italics separate one half of the inner argument and also creates a certain rhythm to the character’s thoughts. To orient the reader to the form being used, I referred to the ‘earworm’ and called it conscientious, in other words- her conscience.

A Little Bit

Sharla wonders if being a little bit bored could be compared to being a little bit pregnant. They are the same in one way; eventually something will pop.
She should write that down, if she can find her journal. Where did she leave it? Oh, right. She hid it; between the mattress and box spring where her mother would never look. But doesn’t her mother flip the mattress sometimes when she cleans? Sharla should not write a little bit pregnant even to compare it to boredom. Her mother is famous for her ‘little bit crazy’ reactions.
Sharla brings out her journal.

Author notes – The repeated use of ‘a little bit’ starting with the title is a choice, I made, because it seems to fits with the ‘skipping rope’ thought train of the character Sharla. I believe she’s ‘a little bit’ of a perverse imp.


The senior manor is cramped and Catherine’s husband often stumbles on the strategically placed furniture. Furthermore, he doesn’t like any of their fellow residences and also complains he can’t even fart in private. He is extremely gassy and when he dies shortly after their move, at age seventy-seven, Catherine believes she should have known.
It is said he had a good run even if he didn’t reach a ripe old age. Riper than you would believe, she wants to reply but instead stifles her witticism. Then she thinks of something – does the end have an odor? She dares not to smell the air.

Author notes – Ripe old age brought to mind other uses of ‘ripe’ and the plot to Odor was conceived. Catherine’s observations and skewed viewpoint turn on her during this story which seems fair play under the circumstances. I definitely wanted ‘ripe old age’ at the end of a sentence (for the subtle emphasis that can produce) and it took several rewrites to achieve a sentence that was readable.

About the author:

Liz Betz is a retired rancher who loves to write fiction. Her pastime seems to help her days go by, her brain to stay active and sometimes keeps her out of trouble. An overactive imagination is a wonderful thing to harness, but left alone…Her publication credits are many and varied as she explores the fictional world of mostly somewhat older but not necessarily mature characters.

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