Monthly SimLit Short Story Challenge: April 2019


A potted plant, a stack of books–such a simple still life. In an apartment with $20,000 Dekton counters, solid maple cabinets, full spa, home gym, and million dollar views, how was it that Don’s favorite amenity was this simple display?

He made the plan to move in with Mac to escape the complications of living in a desert mansion with his then-girlfriend and her two grown daughters, both hotter than peppers. Too friendly, too complicated. Big mistake. Much drama.

He’d passed Mac a few times in the foyer when leaving her neighbor Lily’s apartment in the city, on his quick exits before Lily’s husband returned. Of course, he couldn’t move in with Lily. Her husband. Duh. But Mac had a spacious apartment across the hall. He could tell, from the way she turned to look at him, that advancing a “relationship” from introduction to move-in status would be piece-of-cake.

For a man like him, fooling an inexperienced woman to believe that he really cared for her required no more effort than taking out the trash and putting a new liner in the can.

A few dates, and he was spending the night. A few nights, and he was ready to suggest the move-in. He took her, sweet nature-loving girl like her, on an island picnic to bring it up.

On the ferry ride over, when he’d planned on reviewing his conversational strategy, he got caught up in watching her. Her broad face opened into a smile as the bay winds rushed past. Those eyes! What was that shining through them?

“You look–” he began, when they sat to rest during their island stroll, “you look like a fresh marsh!” Face-palm. Had he said that?

She giggled. “I’ll take that as a compliment!”

“That’s how I meant it.”

She wasn’t like other girls. Oh, she was different.

“What do you want, babe?” he asked.

“Do you mean, like, really?”

He nodded.

“Like my dream? My dream is, well. My dream has to do with my paintings. One day, I will paint something, and when someone else looks at it, they will feel what I felt when I created it. Does that make sense?”

It did. He wasn’t sure how, or if it were even possible to feel the same thing that someone else felt, at the same time, or at a different time.

His experience had always been that what he felt was different from what anyone else, a woman, especially, ever felt. He could pretend they felt the same thing, but that was about it.

She brought up moving in first, and he balked. It was supposed to be his idea. And now that he really wanted it, he wasn’t so sure he should go through with it. Could it be that simple?

That was three months ago. He stopped seeing Lily, even though she lived across the hall. Not difficult at all. He forgot about the Calientes’ drama. Easy as pie. He watched Mac paint. He worked out. He looked out the window. He got a job in a restaurant.

In some moments, he discovered that what he felt was what she felt.

Maybe he was getting old. Maybe he was a sucker for shining brown eyes. Maybe he was just tired of feeling alone.

Maybe, all these years, he’d been a fool to chase after fast pleasure, other women’s wealth, and adding notches to his belt, when what he’d really wanted, all this time, was to feel what somebody else did, something simple and domestic.

Author’s Note: This short story was written as part of the Monthly SimLit Short Story Challenge, organized by LisaBee at the Sims Forums. Readers are invited to read all the entries, and vote for their top three choices in both categories (novice and veteran), for a total of six votes. Any vote that doesn’t contain three for each category (six total) will not be counted–so if you want to vote, please be sure to read all the stories and vote for three Novice and three Veteran stories! You’re in for a treat with this month’s submissions! Happy reading!

City Tales: Life of Don


He had to admit she was beautiful. Not in the glamour-magazine-cover/swimsuit-edition style of beauty, but in the something real, something warm style.

In the style of beauty that said, “These are my eyebrows! They’re perfect. Just the way they are.  I don’t need lace when I’ve got a cotton T. Why take half a portion when I’m famished? And besides. Your cooking is superior.”

In other words, Mac was down-to-earth. She was a natural beauty.


McKenzie was not Don’s type–at least that’s what everyone who knew Don said, and to his face, as often as they could.

“Congrats, but what were you thinking, dude?”

Most people gave it eight days. Then, after eight days passed, they gave it eight weeks. Now, after eight weeks, they gave it eight months.

He’d been thinking even eight years wouldn’t see it through to its end. This was a long-time type of thing.

They all said that his type was flirty, sexy, hot–the kind of woman you called a “chick.” Not the kind of woman you called… a woman.

He wouldn’t even call her a lady–and for sure, not a girl–because he knew enough to know those were not PC.

Not that he cared about PC. He didn’t give a damn. But he cared about her.


He cared about her enough to marry her.

Yeah. It surprised him, too.


Sure, you could call it a whirlwind.

It was more like an acid trip. Or maybe an endorphin explosion.

He looked out the window of her apartment–their apartment–out over the coastal mountains. It had been a weird, endorphin-thing, acid-trippy thing, with no drugs involved. Just love and sex, which were the two strongest drugs known to man–err, humankind–anyway.


He was still high.

They’d been married two months, and he hadn’t come down yet.


Now and then a brief moment of clarity intruded: He was married. And not to one of the Caliente chicks.

He was living in an apartment, of all things, and he had to ride an elevator to reach their floor.

He was living in the fricking city. In the city. With fog all around. And tugboats. And honking fog horns in the middle of the night. This was about as far from the desert as a dude could get.

And his wife was An Artist.


She said things like “This gruyere has a flowery, fruity note, don’t you think?”

“It’s melted,” he’d say back. “Like melty. You know?”

But that was what he liked about her.


She may not seem like his type, but that’s exactly what made McKenzie his type.

Some nights, they’d be sitting watching “The Bletchley Circle” and McKenzie would start talking about coded messages in shifts of light.


“You know that’s what Seurat was after,” she said one evening. “Every dot of light received by our brain is processed into a seamless whole: we reconstruct it into meaning.”

He watched as she finished the painting the next day.

“I see what you were talking about,” he said. “Like I gotta do the work in my brain to finish it.”

“That’s right,” she replied. “You’re the co-creator. It just dots until you complete the process and turn it into something that signifies.”


“I like that you don’t talk down to me,” he said.

“Why would I?” she replied. “You’re intelligent and perceptive.”

No one had ever called him that before.


Of course, he could be intelligent and perceptive and still be a hunk. What would his wife say? “One did not preclude the other.” Dang! He was getting good!


Easels stood before the windows in McKenzie’s studio. Mac often had two or three paintings going at once, but one or two easels were always empty.

Don found it tempting to paint.


“You should!” McKenzie said, when he told her he was thinking of picking up a brush. “You’ve got an artist’s soul, Don. That’s what first drew me to you!”

“And here I thought it was my abs,” he said.

“Well, they don’t hurt!” she replied, with a wink.


He felt afraid to start painting. He’d reveal how inartistic he truly was.

He stuck to leaving his shirt off when they were hanging around the place.

“Only an artist would slice tomatoes with such care,” Mac said. He was pleased that she noticed the precise angle of each cut.


“You think you’ll ever get bored of me, babe?” he asked her sometimes. They were good together, chemistry-wise and between-the-sheets–he knew that. But it was in the area of conversation and learning that he felt incompetent.

He knew he was smart. Anybody attracted to Mac would have to be smart. But he wasn’t educated, and that was the rub.

Why, she could have any college professor, doctor, psychiatrist, writer, editor, book publisher, art dealer–anybody intelligent that she wanted. Intelligent and educated.

And here she was with him. He hoped his brain was man enough for her.


Author’s Notes: City Tales is back with a new installment, following Don and McKenzie in their fancy apartment across town. It wasn’t my idea to have Don and Mac get together: This was entirely the game and MCCC. While I was playing CT for “My Lovely Landlord,” I received notification of their marriage. Don moved in with McKenzie to the beautiful apartment that MCCC had moved her into. They’re very happy.  I’m writing Don true to how he is in the game, so don’t blame me if he’s nice! And even if somebody is sweet, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he is entirely innocent, especially with Lily Feng as a neighbor!