Eight Stories about Ironing

Iron

Irons are handheld devices used to steam press clothing and eliminate wrinkles. Despite the name, modern irons are made with a stainless steel sole plate, so as to keep irons durable and rust-free. The term “iron” is often used now as a metaphor to describe the process of straightening/leveling out an article or spirit using any tool, spanning from tangible to emotional to metaphysical.

Baba Yaga

In some versions of the folklore surrounding Baba Yaga, she irons out the path behind her so no one can tell where she’s been. I just made this up.

Janet

Janet hated doing laundry but she loved to iron. Any chance she would get, she’d iron. Sometimes as soon as her husband threw off his shirt or tie, she would snatch it up and begin ironing. He hated this and thought it was because she was a frigid bitch with a withered vagina. Her therapist thought the same thing, though he told her that she was trying to gain control over her life by ironing clothes. Perhaps this is all true, even the part about the withered vagina. All Janet knows is that when she irons, all traces of her husband go away. Gone are the scent of his sweat and cologne; gone the cardboard dust aroma from the storage room in the office; gone forever the pine tree he brushes up against on the way to and from the driveway and the smells of his lover’s unwithered vagina.

Iron Age

Philosophers and historians say that time is cyclical. Or it repeats itself. The Dark Age and the Iron Age repeat themselves in one form or another, as do the Inquisition, the witch trials, and the Red Scare. I don’t know about such things. I’m not a philosopher. Or a historian.

Confession

I was taught to iron on an 8×8 inch square of fabric. This did not prepare me for ironing out oddly-shaped clothing with thick collars and obtrusive sleeves. It did not prepare me for bumpy buttons and embossed patterns. Nor was I prepared for burned clothes and burned hands. It also did not prepare me for heartbreaks and hangovers and sucker punches.  I remain unprepared for the fickle hearts of women and the affairs of men. My life is limited to this 8×8 inch of fabric and I still can’t quite get that last crease to go down.

Baba Yaga Again

I heard she kidnaps children, steals their bones and then irons out their skins to hang and dry outside of her chicken leg house. Okay. I made part of that up…

Paul

Paul always did it himself. Started his own company. Self-made millionaire. Business trips on his own coin. Ironed his own clothes at the end of each day. One day, they found him at the front of the hotel, smashed into pavement and surrounded by broken glass. His death was documented, photographed, and he was filed away in the morgue.

The Ghost of Iron

Nobody uses iron anymore. Everything is stainless steel or synthetic or both. Even irons are being replaced by steamers and lifestyles that can afford wrinkles in clothes. But their ghosts still haunt us, clinking on chains made of Jacob Marley. Every year, they come to this very spot, bury their faces in the ground, and howl at the earth.

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4 Comments

Filed under FEATHERTON II, Flash Fiction

4 responses to “Eight Stories about Ironing

  1. taniappleseed

    The format of this entry is fascinating! It reminds me of the poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Bird by Wallace Stevens. I like that Baba Yaga comes up a second time with similar, but obscure details. The progression of stories is piece meal and creates a very interesting mix of components giving the audience a full, but inconclusive feeling at the end. I like it.

  2. soulinmyfist

    I really enjoyed reading this. The one common subject between the stories is iron/ironing. The point of view changes from story to story which doesn’t pose a problem at all. The order of the stories is effective, starting out with the definition of what an iron is, ending with how iron/ironing has become a ghost, and in the middle random bits pulling from supposed folktales and people’s stories. “Confession” is an important piece as it brings it all back to this main character in looking at how ironing has or hasn’t been important in preparing him for life. Very interesting way of looking at the iron…

  3. vicky_luu

    nice change of pace you got here. slightly different style, but i can still hear the author’s voice.

    i like how everything sort of connected, but was also very random. i think my favorite piece was janet, even with her withered vagina, i could imagine a woman ironing furiously to fix things. and, how you used the term ‘iron’ in such a clever manner, kudos to you.

  4. awesomepie

    Glad you enjoyed it. I’d been thinking of this one all week, though I can see some room for improvement. I’m looking forward to revising this one!

    ~ Seamus K.

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