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Master Plotto Week Seven Winner: Kim Winternheimer

Last week’s Plotto prompt was: “A, husband of B, a very beautiful woman, persuades B to pretend that she is his sister.”

While this seemed a little weird to us, plenty of you seemed to have had first hand experience in the matter, at least judging by the surprisingly nuanced ways you had these women indulging in their husbands’ role playing fantasies.

Not to be outdone by you sickos wildly creative types, this week’s winner, Kim Winternheimer, gave us an entirely plausible world where one might ask a wife to become a sibling. Extra bonus points go to Kim for using Donald Barthleme’s “Concerning the Bodyguard” as a template for her compelling tale.

Concerning the Housewife

Does the housewife scream at the woman who cleans their house? The one who has forgotten to use the correct cleaner on the floor? Will the housewife complain to the cleaning company? Will she fire the woman?

Will the housewife’s husband notice? Or is he more concerned with the state dinner tonight?

How many times does the housewife debate her dress? Will she choose the floor-length gown? Or the slinky number that shows off her figure?

How many hours does the housewife spend inspecting her skin in the bedroom mirror? Does she debate another spa weekend? Does she count surgeries? How many times do the landscaper and pool boy look up when she lounges on the patio on summer afternoons?

How beautiful does the housewife look tonight? How many times does her husband comment on it in the limo? Does he tell her the statesmen and their wives will be jealous?

Will they be jealous?

How long has it been since the housewife has seen her husband at the party? How many hours? Does the housewife care? Does she grab another glass of champagne and move toward the bar? Do gentlemen in tuxedos flirt with her at the party? Brush a little closely to her side? Should she go to the restroom to check her makeup? Could something have slipped out of place since the last time she checked?

What does the housewife think when she finds her husband in the hall? Why does he look so wide-eyed? So nervous?

What is that he’s mumbling to her? An apology?

When does the housewife notice the woman in the plain blue skirt at the far end of the hall? Is she familiar? Does the housewife know this woman? How old is she? Forties? Fifties? Why is she wearing so little makeup?

What is that her husband is saying? Begging at her in hushed tones? Pretend to be his sister?

When the woman arrives how intimately does she place her hand on the housewife’s husband? What does the housewife say? How does she introduce herself? Does she think her husband is having an affair? Is this a powerful woman? How does this woman control a room? Don’t men notice her wide hips and dull eyes?

What does the housewife think when she looks to the side and sees her reflection in the hall mirror? How bad is the lighting? Does she finally decide on that spa appointment?

What does her husband keep mouthing from the woman’s side? Sorry?

Will this cause a scene?

How bad could this make the housewife look?

“And you are?” the woman asks.

“Me?” the housewife replies. “His sister. Very nice to meet you.”

How good of an impression does the housewife leave? How beautiful and gracious does she look in the other woman’s eyes?

Kim Winternheimer lives in Portland, Oregon. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in OPIUM Magazine, Portland Monthly, Ooligan Press, and Independent Magazine, among others. Kim is fiction editor for The Masters Review, an anthology of short stories that showcases emerging authors.

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  1. [...] “Concerning the Housewife” (Tin House, 2012) [...]

  2. [...] Check out Kim’s Week Seven winner here. [...]

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