“Irma Likes Her Blessings Elaine Likes Her Humpty” by Paul Beckman


My friend Irma says everything’s a blessing: “I’m sorry about your cat but it’s probably a blessing in disguise.” “Your wallet—well with that horrid picture of you on your license you should count it as a blessing.” “You burned the cake while talking to me on the phone? You don’t need the calories—it’s a blessing.”

And on and on. She ought to count her blessings that all of us girlfriends don’t make fun of her every time she uses the word, but we have talked about approaching her with the concept.

I have to tread a little lighter than the others since I’ve been screwing her husband for a couple of years now. Notice, I don’t say ‘having an affair’ or use the term ‘lovemaking’ or any other term of endearment about what we’re doing. Deep down he and I come from the same gutter rat background and these suburban cookouts, cocktail parties and get-togethers are more than either of us can bear; so, we screw.

Irma ought to count her blessings that I’m the one taking the bite out of his stinger leaving her to plan her seasonal wardrobe and events, her two book clubs, the garden club, and her choir practice.


I still get it on with Elaine but she’s a creature of habit and waits for the evening news to be over on Wednesday (Hump Day) and then excuses herself and showers and puts on something from Victoria’s Secret and calls to me. Every once in a while we come home a little loaded on a weekend and get it on but Elaine always admonishes me that we’re not adding that day to our regular routine. “Consider this a bonus night,” she says, “I want to look forward to Humpty (as she’s taken to calling it) all week so I can give you my everything and I’m sure you feel the same way.”


I went to lunch and then shopping with Irma today and my taking the time to be with her was a blessing as was my willingness to share a Cobb Salad with anchovies, and the third blessing came when I talked her out of buying crotchless panties online and going for the bondage toys instead.

Crotchless panties are my thing with her husband, and I don’t plan on sharing that. Blessings be damned.


“Irma Likes Her Blessings Elaine Likes Her Humpty” first appeared in Spelk Fiction, 2017.

IMAGE: Tamara de Lempicka “The Green Turban”, 1929. Oil on panel. 16 1:8 x 12¾ in. (41 x 32.4 cm.). Private Collection.

Paul Beckman

Paul Beckman’s latest flash collection, Kiss Kiss (Truth Serum Press) was a finalist for the 2019 Indie Book Awards. Some of his stories appeared in Spelk, Connotation Press, Necessary Fiction, Litro, Pank, Playboy, WINK, Jellyfish Review, The Wax Paper, Monkey, and The Lost Balloon. He had a story selected for the 2020 National Flash Fiction Day Anthology Lineup and was shortlisted in the Strands International Flash Fiction Competition. He was nominated for 2021 Best of the Web and Best Micro-Fiction. Paul earned his MFA from Bennington College and has his next collection of connected flash stories coming out with Cervena Barva Press.


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