Short fiction from Peter Cherches


            I wanted to buy a new strandgallier, as my old and trusty one was on its last legs. The shop my father had bought it from just before I was born, Lindemann’s, was long gone, and I couldn’t think of anywhere nearby that might carry them, so I decided to look online. No luck on Amazon, so I tried Ebay. Surely someone must be selling a strandgallier on Ebay. Even a used one in good to excellent condition would do, but there were none to be found on Ebay, used or new. Then I thought maybe Google Shopping might yield results from some further flung corners of the internet. I typed “strandgallier” in the search box but got no exact match, which is not to say I got no results. The first match was a Strandberg Boden Masvidalien NX 6 Cosmo, an electric guitar. Kind of amusing to see an electric guitar when what you’re looking for is a strandgallier. But an even bigger stretch was the Safavieh BCH1000D Bandelier Bench. Did the search algorithm think my typing was slurred? What good is a search engine that conflates strandgallier with bandelier? And I certainly wasn’t looking for a Stranda Descender Split 22/23 Splitboard. I haven’t the slightest idea what a splitboard is. I just wanted a simple, garden-variety strandgallier.

            Could they be discontinued? It happens all too often. A great product that fits your need to a T (or is it tee or tea?) just goes the way of the dodo. Nobody steps in to make a replacement, perhaps because it’s too much of a niche product.

            I just might need to find a repair shop, I surmised. There are people who can repair anything, right?

            So I searched for “strandgallier repair,” but got no satisfaction. There was a tweet from a cake baker praising the customer service at the Aldi UK in Banbury, where “After delayed mother & baby delivery a poor henpecked CSA helped me find the products I wanted!” Surely, “henpecked” is not the word she was looking for, or was the poor CSA complaining about the trouble and strife while servicing the woman? Maybe “harried” is what she meant to say. And fat lot of good a GORE-TEX repair shop would do me either.

            This was all taking too much time, so I decided to give up, for the time being. My strandgallier may be on its last legs, but it still does the job, albeit with lots of crunching and wheezing sounds. So I guess I’ll just live with the noise until it breaks down completely, and then I’ll worry about repairs. Who knows, it’s been going for almost 67 years, it may even outlive me, in which case my nephew Danny, to whom I’ve bequeathed it in my will, will have to deal with it.

A Dry One

            It was pouring rain, and the gift was getting drenched. The stupid man hadn’t brought an umbrella, even though there was heavy rain in the forecast, and anyone could have seen the dark, ominous clouds just by looking out the window.

            It was an anniversary gift for Delilah, his wife. They had been married 25 years, a milestone, though he couldn’t remember which metal. They’d had their ups and downs, sure, but what couple doesn’t? Michael had his share of affairs over the years, a whole string of them, but they were mere diversions. Delilah, on the other hand, was only unfaithful with one other man, Michael’s cousin William; they had met at Michael and Delilah’s wedding and first slept together the following weekend, when she had snuck out under subterfuge. The affair was still going on, all these years later, and Michael still hadn’t a clue.

            When Michael presented her with the anniversary gift, Delilah was appalled by the soaking piece of crap. What kind of gift was that for a 25th anniversary? Or any anniversary, for that matter.

            So she walked out on Michael and moved in with William, who had a dry one.

These pieces will appear in Things, Peter Cherches’ new chapbook from Bamboo Dart Press, on April 15.

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