Poor Choice of Words, A

Date Written: 

“Superior Lace Underwire, this is Suzie.”

“Hello, I’m trying to procure some unmentionables for my wife, but I’m not even sure if it’s feasible given her unusual requirements. I’m wondering if you could help.”

“Custom lingerie is our specialty.”

“Excellent. By the way, I’ve always thought the name was devilishly clever.”

“To be honest, I never cared for it. Over the top if you ask me.”

“Shouldn’t that be under?”

“You’re pretty clever yourself.”

“I can’t help it, it runs in the family.”

“I see. Well, I’ll need your wife’s measurements to get a rough idea of what we’re dealing with. Do you know them offhand?

“Actually I’ve written them on my hand, right here.”

“More cleverness?”

“More irony than anything else, I think. I wasn’t even trying.”

“I’ll still need those numbers.”

“You see, that’s where we have a problem. My wife’s measurements are quite extraordinary.”

“You’re a lucky man.”

“Indeed, when I count my blessings I never forget to include my Holly’s ample bosom as one of them.”

“Don’t you mean two?”

“I suppose I could count her breasts separately, but that almost feels like cheating. Besides, ‘bosom’ is singular. And how often do you encounter a woman who’s blessed in one breast, but not the other?”

“I make custom lingerie. You’d be surprised.”

“Indeed. Seems there’s clever enough to go around.”

“Just trying to keep up. So you’re having problems measuring her?”

“No, I managed that with some effort. But I don’t know if I’m converting her measurements to a bra size correctly. I found directions on how to size a woman’s bust, but the first step is to measure her while she’s wearing a comfortably fitting bra. You’d think the second step would be to check the tag on the aforementioned bra and be done with it, but instead it goes into some rather complicated mathematics.”

“Maybe they assume that the bra’s old and has lost its tag.”

“Are comfortable bras usually old and timeworn?”

“Most of mine are.”

“That’s good to know. Regardless, I had to skip that part entirely, since my wife currently has no bras that fit, comfortably or otherwise. I measured her and did the calculations, and she came out as a size four fifty double-Q.”

“Pardon me, sir, did you say size four fifty double-Q?”

“Yes, four five zero. Twenty-two score and ten, if you will.”

“Followed by two Qs?”

“Yes, Qs as in quails. It doesn’t really sound like proper bra size.”

“No, it doesn’t. BCV regulations require me to dock you half a point unless your wife’s torso is twelve feet across.”

“That sounds about right. She’s rather puffy these days.”

“Is that discreet way of saying ‘obese?’”

“Oh no, Holly’s not heavy at all. Quite light in fact. She’s not overweight, just overfilled.”

“Overfilled? What could you possibly fill a person with, much less overfill her?”

“It’s some sort of gas. Whatever it is, it’s quite a bit lighter than air. I had to tether her to measure her.”

“I don’t mean to pry, sir, but how on earth did your wife wind up full of gas and floating?”

“It was a spellcasting mishap, I’m quite chagrined to say. While Holly’s bosom was already quite impressive, she wanted more. I cast the spell, and her bust plumped up nicely. But then her belly began to bulge, and the rest of her body followed suit. A few moments later she was bursting out of her clothes, understandably alarmed. And wasn’t just gaining in volume, but buoyancy as well. She quickly achieved liftoff, and by the time the magick had run its course she was taking up most the living room. It turns out the Abstastathi words for ‘breast’ and ‘woman’ are distressingly similar.”

“That’s all it took?”

“Indeed. I confused heleldelzodeth with heldelelzodeth, and the rest is history.”

“Oh my!”

“Yes, it was quite the spectacular error.”

“No, I mean, I suddenly feel strange. Lightheaded and tingly.”

“Oh dear, did I? No, that’s impossible by phone–”

“What’s happening to me?”

“Try to remain calm.”

“My clothes…so tight…”

“Just try to get somewhere with lots of space.”

“Oh God, the pressure! It’s too much! Help! Call 911! Oh no no, no! Quick, somebody grab me!”

“Hello? Suzie are you still there? Hello? Damn it.”

Author's Note: 

This was my submission to Prose that Blows 5. I won Funniest Story, which is rather nifty.

I think this one sets a personal record for Longest Time to Complete a Story. It was about ten years ago that I first came up with the idea of trying to write an inflation story entirely in dialogue, but I never got very far with it. When the rules for PTB5 were announced, I dug up the fragments I'd written and set about finishing it.

The 750 word constraint was a bit tricky. The text is deliberately and willfully verbose in order to make the back and forth banter work as I'd like. Thus I often take a large number of words to say very little.

Trimming words was both easy and difficult. It was pretty easy to find excessive wordiness, but excessive wordiness is one of the main points of this story.

Unlike the first Prose that Blows contest, in this story I found myself removing whole chunks rather than reworking sentences to use fewer words. I didn't want to break the flow by being terse; there were a few gags that I'd rather exclude if there wasn't room to do them properly.

I'm pleased with the end product. The constraints do show a bit in places, but it gets the job done.

Average: 4.2 (13 votes)