Rejection Letters

NOBODY WANTS YOUR FUCKING COUCH

And yet upon graduating college you insist on leaving that lumpy brown heap on the sidewalk, a little going away gift to your neighbors who never once flattened your tires as payback for the red cups we found in our yards every Sunday morning. Well, there’s no trophy for trying on Pleasant Valley Cr. If you’re going to go to the effort, you might want to put in some effort. Here are a few tips that probably won’t help:

  1. Spiff up the sign. Your torn chunk of cardboard and hand-Sharpied “FREE COUCH” does not give the illusion of quality. Instead, conjure your word-processing skills and print out a sign. Take it down to Kinko’s or whatever it’s called now and laminate it. That way when it rains and mold starts to infest the fabric, at least the sign will be saying, Come closer. I am clean and spore-free.
  2. Use correct terminology. What you have there is a loveseat, as evidenced by two, rather than three, ass cushions. I get what’s happening, though. You’re worried prospective takers will interpret the term literally and wonder about the origins of its prominent stains. Okay, on second thought, stick with “couch.”
  3. Try to remove the stains. Though if someone tells you to use baking soda, they are your enemy. I once spilled a carafe of Chianti across one of my cushions and after scrubbing it with a tooth brush and that not-even-fun white powder, I was left with a dark burgundy outline reminiscent of a blood puddle. At least two of my eharmony dates were afraid to sit on it, and though I swore I had not stabbed anyone and had no plans to stab them, they took off without mention of a second date.
  4. Febreze the shit out of it. Your loveseat may look like a petri dish of sexually transmitted infections, bong water, and pizza toppings, but with the magic of chemicals that will give you cancer thirty years from now, it can smell brand new. This will create cognitive dissonance—you learned of it in Psych 101, no? Load that loveseat into some poor sap’s station wagon before he realizes his nose is lying to him.

But here’s the most important thing: when your loveseat is on the sidewalk 98 hours from now because it absolutely will be, take it to the dump so I don’t have to blowtorch it and turn our air quality “hazardous.” In the real world, there are no Resident Advisors to pick up after you. Call a friend with a truck, drop your love seat at the dump, and buy that good pal of yours a bottle of hand-sanitizer and a beer. That’s how we did it in the old days. Because even then, when the STDs were less prevalent and the bong water was less potent, nobody wanted our fucking couches. And nobody wants yours.

**

Kara Vernor’s fiction and essays have appeared in Ninth Letter, The Normal School, The Los Angeles Review, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and elsewhere. She was the recipient of an Elizabeth George Foundation scholarship, and her writing has been included in Wigleaf’s Top 50 Very Short Fictions, The Best Small Fictions 2019, and Golden State 2017: Best New Writing from California. Her fiction chapbook, Because I Wanted to Write You a Pop Song, is available from Split Lip Press.

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