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A Short Story by

Framen Stewart
Framen Stewart – Chatter

This is for all the happy couples out there.

Framen Stewart – Chatter

“Chatter” (A Short Story) is copyright © 2010 C. Framen Stewart. All rights reserved.

You (the reader) do not have permission to redistribute this eBook by any means. You
may not alter the text, offer it for sale (resale), or post this eBook and its contents on
and/or off the internet. All rights remain with the author. This eBook, offered to those
who wish to read it for their own personal leisure. The readers are free to print this
document out for an easier reading experience in their own personal usage. No rights are
granted, implied, or inferred to the reader.

This eBook is a work of fiction; names, characters, places, and incidents either are
products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

This is an electronic document of the author’s and is unpublished at this time. You may
contact the author via email at, or you may also find
him at his website:

You can also find him at the following websites listed:

Images: (Cover) Attribution (CC-By-Anna Marie-Grace), 2000. Used under a Creative

Commons License. Some Rights Reserved.
Fonts: Title=The Gingerbread House by Chris Hansen; Interior=Constantia

Framen Stewart – Chatter

“Congratulations No-No! This should be the best day of your life,” the young,
sultry voice of Angela Norrell rang out in the lofty vestibule of Saint Mary’s church. Nolan
Norrell turned to face the singsong tones of his older sister as she walked toward him. “Or
at least the best night anyway,” Angela nudged Nolan at his elbow as she past by him on
her way to a nearby mirror. She turned and gave him a sly wink. “Oh, the carnal
pleasantries of matrimony are going to rock your little world tonight little bro,” Angela
said after winking. The pungent smell of acrid cigarette smoke rolling from her mouth
accompanied her words to the thin, young man. Nolan wrinkled his nose at the scent and
waved his hand in a visible protest to the odor.
“You’re smoking again? I thought you had quit. I’ve asked you not to call me that,”
Nolan said, his tone flat and dry in the echoing room.
“Yeah, I’m smoking again. What of it,” she asked in a quick, terse voice. Nolan
could see his sister’s sensitivity to the subject and grunted. He decided not to pursue the
topic with her. “You try being a Deputy Sheriff in this one-horse-town and not light-up
every once in a while. It helps in dealing with the stress,” she said in a firm, daunting
He brushed off a piece of lint from his black suit sleeve. “We’re not kids any longer
Ang, and you know how much I’ve always hated that nickname you call me.” He spied a
piece of dust, located at the hem of his suit jacket. He pried it free and flicked his soiled
fingers in order to move the clinging object into a nearby dustbin.
Angela checked her appearance in the full-length mirror hanging upon a cracked
wall. “Yeah, I know, No-No, I know,” she chided him, her voice condescending and
somehow lilting at the same time. A devilish grin birthed itself upon her thick cheeks.
The rosiness deepened within her pinkish flesh. Nolan saw it reflected in the glass of the
mirror and frowned. His forehead wrinkled to the satisfaction he saw upon her face for
her goading. He shook his head in disbelief at his sister’s continued spite toward him. He
thought that she would always be this way. “From cradle to the grave,” he continued in
thought, “She will never change.”
Framen Stewart – Chatter

“What have I done to deserve you,” Nolan asked, in an attempt to dismiss his
sister’s behavior.
“I don’t know, but I’d say that it must’ve been something spectacular, stupendous
even. Now, you’re getting to marry Nora Statham as well. You must live a charmed life
brother-dear, she’s the belle of county,” Angela replied, her gaze never veered from the
dusty mirror that was before her. She primped and preened herself, attempting to make
the reflection give her what she wanted. Nolan marveled for a moment at the ritual.
“Yeah, charmed, is that what they’re calling it these days,” Nolan asked. He hoped
that his sister would not respond to his pensive pity party that his nerves were juggling.
“Wow, this place is older than Moses isn’t it,” Angela asked, a look of revulsion
upon her face. “Remind me Nolan, when I get married, I’m going to Vegas, where the
civilized folks go,” she stated, brushing the fabric of her dress. She adjusted the strapless
garment to cover her heaving breasts better. She breathed in a heavy fashion to check if
the adjustment kept her bosom from toppling out of the tight clothing. “There, that
should keep the girls in place,” she said with pride. She shook her upper body for
verification. Her plump form jiggled in a repetitive motion.
“You’re never getting married, remember? All men are women haters at heart.
We’re too easily freaked out by the secrets that you keep. Scum of the earth, blah—blah—
blah. Do you remember that little drunken tirade,” Nolan stated with guile to Angela. His
voice edged closer to panic as he spoke. Angela could sense Nolan’s nerves fraying as he
awaited the church organ to intone his signal to head toward wedded bliss.
“He’s scared,” Angela thought, and smiled.
Angela peered at her reflection and caught a glance of Nolan standing a few paces
behind her. Straightening his bow tie and edging his vantage point over her right
shoulder, Nolan grimaced at his lack of real estate in the room’s only mirror. She moved
aside, turning to face him as she did.
“You’re right Nolan, I’m NEVER getting married. Why bother with formalities like
this in today’s world? I mean, for what purpose would it be for; so some young stud or
feeble, geriatric man could lay claim to me? I’m more than a piece of property or
Framen Stewart – Chatter

possession for any man dear brother,” Angela snorted. Her expression appeared staunch,
unwavering in her own convictions. Nolan took note and turned his gaze from his sister.
“I know, I know how you feel about all this Ang, I do. But, for crissakes, could you
at least play nice with your feelings about marriage today? Please, for me,” Nolan asked.
His eyes refused to meet hers for a moment. Angela felt awkward in her fervor over the
subject matter. “This is his wedding day after all,” she thought and smiled.
“Alright, I’ll play nice No-No, for you. You know, you really shouldn’t take his
name in vain. Especially in a church, or so I’m told. It’ll invoke some bad mojo,” Angela
stated, her hand pointing toward the ceiling of the vestibule as she did so. She grinned at
Nolan, her teeth a yellowing grill between brazen, lipstick-coated lips.
“Smart ass,” Nolan said.
“Always,” Angela replied with a creasing smile.
The deep, bellowing sounds of the church organ boomed throughout the small
building. Nolan could hear the rustling of people within the main hall. The creaking of
old wooden pews seemed as if it were part of the music to Nolan. A knock upon the
doorjamb of the vestibule caught Nolan’s attention.
“Yes,” Nolan said in a louder voice than he intended.
“Mr. Norrell, it’s time to begin the ceremony,” a scratchy male voice stated in a
businesslike fashion. A wrinkled face appeared around the edge of the main hall’s
doorway. Gray-white hair sat in a thick stack atop an older man’s head.
“Okay Father Mahoney, we’re ready,” Nolan said.
Nolan gawked for a moment at the lush, colorful robes of the priest. He had always
wondered what it would have been like for him to wear such entrapments of a holy office.
“Alright then, let’s get to the alter son,” Father Mahoney said before turning to
leave the foyer.
Nolan and Angela both moved toward the entryway to the church, Angela arrived
before Nolan. She stopped, turned, and looked at her brother. She brushed off the
shoulders of his jacket, smiled, and cooed in Nolan’s ear, “Now I’ll have two family
members I can call No-No; Nolan and Nora Norrell. For your sake, I hope that she doesn’t
Framen Stewart – Chatter

snore little brother. You know that you’re such a light sleeper.” Angela pulled away,
winked at him, and walked down the aisle, toward her seat amidst their family.
Nolan stood transfixed by a single thought generated by the simple statement of
his sister. “Snore,” he whispered in the form of a question. His eyes glazed over as he
peered inward to see people seated for the wedding ceremony. This was something that
he had never considered before. The idea brought into clear focus how much he did not
know about his bride to be. Nolan began to think about all the things that were unknown
about the woman whom he would soon call wife. His heart began to rattle within his
chest to his uncertainties springing up within him.
“We’ve never even slept together,” Nolan whispered. “How could I know if she
snores, or anything else,” he continued.
He thought on all of the times that he wanted, wished, and prayed that they would
have sex with each other prior to, and during their engagement. Alternatively, if they had
possibly spent the night with one another, even if there was no sex involved, he thought
that he would have known more about his future wife. However, Nora’s stalwart, Catholic
values always superseded any desires that Nolan might have held in lust or love for the
woman. As his mind whirled with the memories, he thought Nora had kept him at bay
well in the past fourteen months. “She’s a master, with a leashed dog in the park of
desire,” Nolan mumbled. He stood, watching as a few latecomers to the ceremony entered
the church to grope for seating in the rear of the congregation. He did not recognize any
of the new witnesses, and for a moment stood, immobile in thought.
He looked downward, lost in the thoughts of his past year of chaste life. His eyes
caught a glimpse of something bright green on a nearby table. Nolan tilted his head to
view it clearly. He grinned and then chuckled to see a ballpoint pen from the local
Murphy’s Bar & Grill lying upon a decorative table in the foyer. The advertisement made
him smile with fond memories of the place he used to frequent.

Framen Stewart – Chatter

Nolan recalled how his best friend, Charles, had once told him that he was crazy,
“You two haven’t slept with one another yet? Dear God! I’m a complete paranoid, you
know this, but for crissakes, even I tap the ass of a girl I’ve seen more than a dozen times.
Although, those times are few, and very far between mind you.” The two men, seated at a
small table inside Murphy’s, had met for drinks one weekend during the early months of
Nolan and Nora’s new relationship. The men’s tradition of doing so, lessened by the
progressive seriousness of the others growing bonds. Nolan thought about how he missed
that tradition.
“I know, Peter Hill, at work, thinks that I’m a dumbass as well. He thinks that I
should leave her, or at least find some side-girl to hump while I’m seeing Nora. I wouldn’t
do that, and I told Pete to piss-off and mind his own business. I don’t even know why I
talk to that guy. He’s an idiot,” Nolan had said while sipping a large mug of golden beer.
“Yeah, well, I agree with you there,” Charles had said.
“Come on Chuck, look at her will you? She’s so sweet, loving, caring and so much
more. I know that I wanted to marry her two months into our relationship. I love her for
crying-out-loud,” Nolan said, while pulling his wallet out and opening it to a picture of
Nora. Charles nodded and turned his head.
“Yeah, I know man. She’s a great girl, but dammit man! No, I can’t look at her. Put
that away, will you? She’s just so sexy that it hurts me when I do, you know? She just
oozes sex appeal. I’m a nerd, a techno-geek man, I’d be lucky to sniff the perfume a
woman like that as she walked by me. You my friend have hit the lottery with this one.
But, it’s a lottery that isn’t paying out dividends until you get married. Brother, I wish you
well, but I’d go stark raving mad if a woman like that kept me at arm’s length for as long
as she has you,” Charles said. He finished his beer with a deep, gasping gulp. He thumped
the glass mug upon the wooden table.
“The fact that you two haven’t spent a whole night together leads me to believe
that she’s hiding something my friend,” Charles said with an edge of seriousness.
Charles adjusted his thick eyeglasses and continued as the alcohol pooling inside
him took effect, “That’s one of the many troubles that I’ve found with women Nolan. They
Framen Stewart – Chatter

don’t disclose everything to you. They like their secrets. A very surreptitious gender they
are. Ah, but they want you to disclose everything, don’t they? Have you ever really
thought about it man? Maybe she’s not sleeping with you, sexually or just to cuddle all
night long, because there’s something that she doesn’t want you to know until she has the
rights to your life. Your balls in a sling, if you will. You’re an up-and-coming lawyer, she a
newly graduated doctor. Lots to gain in a union like this, you know?”
“Yeah, there is,” Nolan said. His eyes rolled to the thought of what Charles was
saying to him.
Charles’s face lit up with a thin, wicked grin of mischief. “Or, or maybe, just maybe
now, she was a man until recently, and doesn’t want you to find out until the wedding
night that the twig and giggle-berries have been removed,” Charles said in a matter-of-
fact manner. He then winked at Nolan and snorted back a stifled laugh. Spittle shot from
the corners of his mouth as he bit back gusts of jocular breath. The two looked at one
another for a moment, their eyes laughing ahead of them. Nolan snorted, and the two
guffawed over the absurdity of Charles’s inebriated statement for minutes following.


As Nolan’s mind raced, a hand pressed against his shoulder. A deep, soothing voice
followed, “You alright Nolan?” Nolan turned in a jerking motion to see his long-time
friend, and best man, Charles Haney, staring at him. A look of concern wore on the man’s
face like a mask upon a clown. To Nolan, Charles was the most worried man who ever
lived. He knew Charles to be paranoid and untrusting of almost everyone that the two
men knew in common. Charles’s thinning hair tousled over the top of his large cranium
in the breeze of the air-conditioning within the building. Nolan saw Charles move the
flailing flap of hair back down atop his head before he answered him.
Framen Stewart – Chatter

“Yeah, I’m, ah,” Nolan paused, “I’m okay, yeah, okay,” Nolan said. Perspiration
began to appear upon his shaven upper lip. He dabbed at the moisture with a
handkerchief he removed from his breast pocket. The fabric clung to the stout, close-
shaved mustache stubble as he waved it over his mouth. The feeling of his upper lip
pulled by the clinging fabric made Nolan shiver in a visible way.
“If you’re getting cold feet, well now is as good of a time as any,” Charles said. “You
can still back out if you want. Although, I can’t think of any good reason that you would
want to do so,” he continued. “I saw Nora a few minutes ago. Damn, she looks great.
You’re one lucky bastard.”
Nolan regained his composure and replaced his kerchief within his pocket. It sat in
a crumpled heap within the confines of the pocket. Charles made an effort to straighten it
for Nolan. Nolan moved Charles’s hand away from him in a dismissive wave. Nolan
stiffened his posture and brushed at his buttoned jacket with his hands.
“No, no Chuck, I’m fine, I’m fine. Angela just brought to light how much I don’t
know about Nora,” Nolan replied. “It’s, ah, it’s nothing really,” Nolan continued. His eyes
shifted back-and-forth in an unsure gesture.
Charles straightened his stance with his friend’s and said, “Ha, what is there to
know man? Nora is great my-man, I don’t have to tell you this, you know it. She’s smart; a
doctor. She’s kind, loving, caring and not to mention the most beautiful woman that
you’re ever going to get. That is, if we’re being honest here buddy. You are twenty-three
now, and you’re not getting any younger. To top it all off, she loves you,” Charles said
while patting Nolan upon the upper back.
Nolan gave a slight smile to his friend’s reassurances.
“Yeah, you’re right Chuck,” Nolan said and staggered forward a step toward the
front of the auditorium.
“That-a-boy,” Chuck said, “Now let’s take our places before Mahoney gives us any
baloney about it.” Charles’s hand pressed hard into Nolan’s back, and the two walked
toward the church pulpit. As people on both sides of the aisle turned to look at the groom
and groomsman on their ascension to the podium area, Nolan began to feel queasy.
Framen Stewart – Chatter

Insecurities within his mind chipped away at his ignorance of Nora. He felt his mind slip
as feelings of indecision, and vague ambiguities bloomed inside him. His brow began to
bead-up with sweat. He began to hear the people within the congregation begin to speak
to him. Each statement echoed in a distorted, wavering tone as he passed by them on his
walk toward the altar. He noted that the different people all shared the same, singular
“She’s going to rip your heart out and step on it,” Mrs. Emma Sandusky, Nolan’s
fifth-grade schoolteacher, hissed at him as he caught a glimpse of her seated to his left.
“Yeah, then she’ll do some real damage to you,” Mr. Earl E. Statham, Nora’s uncle,
crowed from his right.
“It’s just the stress,” Nolan whimpered under his breath, “The stress of getting
married.” His eyes moved forward, toward his immediate family.
“She’ll cut you up into little pieces son,” Nicolas Norrell, his father growled as they
reached the forward pews. He saw his mother, Mary, gasp-out in a tear-struck expression
next to his father, “Why does she have to gut my baby boy? He is such a good boy.” He
saw his father’s hands console his mother in a loose hug upon her shoulders.
He then saw Angela, seated beside his father. She held up one finger, and ran it
along the width of her neck, smiling during the gesture. Her eyes rolled back into her
head, showing the whites in their blood-veined marbling glow.
Nolan’s head turned away from his family as he advanced toward the podium. He
slipped upon the first step upward, but made adjustments to right himself and avoid a
fall. Nolan heard a short gasp from the onlookers. He turned to see Charles with a broad
smile upon his face. Charles had one arm cinched around Nolan’s to stop him from
hitting the carpeted floor. The surreal episode of the spectator’s jeering comments
appeared to be over. “They all had the same voice,” Nolan whispered.
“You okay,” Charles asked through feigned grin.
“Um, yeah, I think I’m okay, thanks,” Nolan whispered.
“Stand up straight piss-ant,” Nolan heard in his left ear.
Framen Stewart – Chatter

He thought that it was one of the bride’s maids, talking through her teeth. He
planted his feet upon the floor and locked his knees below him. He turned at an angle as
Father Mahoney assumed his place, between him and the maid-of-honor. Nolan took a
deep breath, held it, and then let it escape his lips in an audible, low gush. Charles stood
beside him as the organ began to blast out its tune of The Grand Entrance overhead. The
wooden beams and banisters within the building rattled to the cacophony of sound. All
heads turned away from the pulpit and toward the rear entryway of the hall.
Everyone in the room stood. The moan of the pews creaked to the relief of the
weight they held. Nolan felt his hands trickle with sweat. He wiped them upon his slacks
for relief. As the triumphant song creased the air around him, he caught his first glimpse
of a thin, tall figure in a white dress striding into his view at a slow, calculated gait. His
rapid breathing halted as the vision of Nora, his bride, glided through the arched
entryway and into the aisle between the pews. The shining, white fabric wrapped around
her svelte body in tight, shimmering ribbons, danced in slow motion. She appeared to
hover over the ground as she moved toward the pulpit with the bridal procession. Nolan
realized that he was still holding his breath and released it in an exuberant wheeze. He
could feel Charles and Father Mahoney both staring at him. He closed his eyes for a
moment, and then opened them. He focused upon the white apparition walking toward
him in the aisle.
In seeing Nora’s veiled face, Nolan relaxed. He could envision a pallid expression
upon her pristine face. Content for the first time during the stressful wedding day, Nolan
surveyed the crowd before him. All eyes were following Nora as she performed her
smooth pace behind the flower girl, Bessie Kilpatrick. Nolan noticed how disinterested
the four-year-old looked as she performed her duties. He marveled at all of the people
within the room whom he considered his family now.
To his right, beside his father, he caught sight of a hand waving to him. He could
see Angela’s hand attempting to gain his attention by waving. He acknowledged her with
a nod of his head and a gentle smile. As he looked in her direction, she moved her head to
Framen Stewart – Chatter

one side, both hands supporting the side of her face, feigning sleep. He then witnessed
her lipstick mouth gapping open in a repetitive movement that mimicked snoring.
Nolan’s face contorted, as a sharp pain winnowed deep within his head to the
taunt. Angela’s reminder of what he was yet to know about Nora made his thoughts
tumble within him. Nolan felt uneasy; his stomach grew taut to a burning sensation
careening up his throat. He clinched his jaws, turning from his sister and facing Nora as
she climbed the steps of the pulpit. He swallowed in a deep pull within his esophagus.
The bile burned on its descent toward his stomach. He bit back the sting and smiled as he
and Nora faced Father Mahoney together.
“Dearly beloved,” Nolan heard the priest say.


Whatever reservations resided within Nolan, left him as he grasped Nora’s hand
and peered through the shear, white veil she wore. The wedding continued, vows were
exchanged, promises made, bargains dealt, a new life conjoined with another.
The festivities that followed the marriage procession went well, and according to
the Statham’s family plan. Marriage expenses reached as far as the family savings would
carry the event. Nora’s parents, Winston and Carolyn, welcomed Nolan into their hearts
and family. The Norrell and Statham clans intermingled, forming a large party of
newfound relatives inside the Saint Mary’s Catholic Recreation Center. The small
building, next to the church, bounced with music and talk. Nolan became lost in the joy
that he felt in his choice to marry Nora.
“I am one lucky man,” Nolan thought as he watched Nora dancing with Winston.
She leaned her head on his shoulder to the onlooker’s awes and applause. The song
playing was about daughters becoming women, and one day leaving their fathers for a life
Framen Stewart – Chatter

with yet another man. Nolan attempted to grasp the song’s title, but the wine he had
consumed during the celebration would not allow him to do so.
“Sounds like a shitty country song,” Nolan heard in his ears. He hiccupped and
turned to see no one standing beside him. He shrugged the statement away, lifted his
filled wine glass and enjoyed the wedding celebration with his family.
The reception went on into the evening. Father Mahoney paraded by the couple’s
table, gave his blessings, and departed for surroundings that were more mundane. Soon,
others present did the same. By midnight, the cleanup of the recreation center was well
under way. Nolan and Nora Norrell exited the building after saying their farewells to their
family. They both entered into a rented limousine, and made their way to the nearby
Wharton Hotel.
“Bye baby bro. Bed him well my new sister, bed him well,” Angela said as she
watched from her car, parked in the Saint Mary’s church parking lot. She lit a cigarette
and swallowed its fumes in a deep puff.


The couple enjoyed their wedding night. They thrived on all of the luxuries and
pleasures that came with it. Nolan stood before an ornate bathroom mirror in the hotel
room, excited and exhausted. With the door closed behind him, he thought about the day
in fond retrospection. A chuckle rumbled within him as he recalled how his nerves took
control of him earlier in the day. His mind replayed all the reservations and fears in a
movie set on fast-forward. He paused and started it again at will.
“Man, I was a mess,” he thought,” But, oh-my-God was she worth the wait.” Nolan
ran his hands through his thick, black hair atop his head. “I can’t wait to tell Chuck that
she is all woman,” he whispered at his reflection in the mirror. He smiled.
Framen Stewart – Chatter

Nolan turned on the hot water to the sink and cupped his hands beneath the flow.
As the water began to warm his skin, he turned his head to a voice in the outer room. He
thought that it sounded like a woman speaking to him.
“Nora,” he asked himself, “I thought that she was asleep.”
“What did you say babe,” Nolan asked in a loud voice from within the bathroom.
He did not receive a reply.
“She probably can’t hear me,” he said.
He splashed the water from the facet upon his face, rubbing it around his eyes and
mouth. He jostled open the doorknob with his wet hands. He grabbed a towel to wipe
dry, turned off the faucet, and exited the bathroom with the towel in-hand. Light spilled
into the darkened room in a sharp wedge upon the floor and adjacent wall. He stepped
around the edge of the bathroom’s partitioning wall to see a pile of sheets wrapped
around Nora. She laid upon the king-size bed, curled into a fetal position, her back
toward him and unmoving.
“I’m sorry honey, did you say something? I thought that I heard you say something
when I was in the bathroom,” Nolan asked aloud. There was no reply from the sleeping
Perplexed, he walked around the edge of the bed to see his new bride’s face. The
somber expression upon her face, caught in the glow of the digital alarm clock, made
Nolan breathe a slight sigh of awe. “Aw, she’s asleep. It must have been someone in the
next room talking,” he mumbled in a dismissive manner.
“Look at her, she is so lovely,” Nolan thought.
He sat with gentle ease upon her side of the bed. The coils bent to his weight as he
positioned himself. The slow rise and fall of her uncovered chest captivated Nolan in its
slow parade of movement. Placing his hand upon her naked back, he rubbed her skin in a
circular motion. She moaned in satisfaction and moved her head upon her pillow to the
sensation. Her eyes remained closed and fluttering in deep sleep behind their lids. Nolan
pulled the blanket over her shoulder and looked at the clock.
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“It’s only four in the morning,” he whispered. “Our flight leaves at three in the
afternoon. Plenty of time to get some sleep, and make love with her again,” Nolan
He stood up and ventured to his side of the bed, nearest the bathroom. Slipping off
his thick robe, he entered the bed. Nolan moved his naked body behind Nora’s, spooning
her as he cupped one of her firm breasts in his hand. The warmth and smell of her skin
and hair rekindled his desires. He halted his thoughts and felt his tiredness from the day’s
events wash over him. Nolan began to drift into sleep holding his new wife.
“Well, at least she doesn’t snore,” he thought as slumber claimed him for itself.


Lost in the world of dreams, Nolan churned through years of marital bliss with his
new bride. He saw into the distance of time, further than any dream that he could
remember. Their new home, both spacious and luxurious, would do well for their family
of four children that he envisioned. “Two boys and two girls,” his dream-self said as he
floated over the home.
“One day, there will be lots of grand children as well,” he thought. He did not see
the number of them, but felt more than twelve. All of these children would venture out to
become successful, and loving their families.
Both his and Nora’s jobs would bring them the fortune and stability that he felt
that the family would need. He smiled at the thought that one day he would become a
district court judge, and Nora would become a pediatrician with her own practice—
“You sonofabitch! You filthy, lying sonofabitch!” A strong voice shouted out in the
nighttime. Nolan’s eyes shot open as if they were shutters ripped from their hinges in a
hurricane. His pulse quickened, his breathing gurgled in a spastic pattern. “What the
hell,” he blurted aloud.
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His eyes darted in the darkness. He blinked repeatedly to try to focus them faster
in the dim light within the hotel room.
“Did you hear that Nora,” he asked just above a whisper. There was no reply to his
query. Nolan leaned and peered at Nora in the glow of the alarm clock. She was still
“Six-thirty,” he whispered. Nora mumbled something in her sleep. Nolan tried to
make sense of it in his mind and failed. The fragment he heard, sounded to him like, “I
don’t, I don’t like it,” but he could not be sure at the volume that she had spoken. Nora’s
hair plumed over her face, he could barely make out her lips through the tangled mess.
He rubbed her arm and said, “It’s okay babe. It’s just a dream.” He laid his head back
upon his pillow and attempted to drift back into the dream world he had left a moment
Nolan was unsure as to whether the voice he heard while he was asleep was that of
his wife, or from his own dreaming imagination. “It has to be hers; I’ve not heard it before
tonight. Maybe I’m still dealing with the stress that I felt earlier,” Nolan thought before
fading again into sleep upon his thick pillow.


A field of vibrant flowers greeted him upon his return to dreaming. The saccharine
air wafted about him on gentle gusts. Clouds drifted by overhead in the resemblance of
modeled cotton balls against azure blue. Upon a hill before him, their home sparkled in
the afternoon sunlight before dusk.
“This is a different setting,” Nolan said. He noted that it was the same house as
before, just in a very new location. This setting was much more to his liking.
He walked through the field, not knowing or caring what type flowers were around
him. He thought they were wonderful, and he could smell their pungent odor, mixed with
Framen Stewart – Chatter

food cooking from within the house ahead. He trod up the hill, and entered the gated
fence at the front of the home. He stopped to wonder if there was such as house in their
hometown. He thought not, and continued into the two-story, Victorian-styled building.
The screen door clapped shut behind him. The aroma coming from inside the
house made him drool with anticipated hunger. He heard an old, hand-crank record
player singing a scratchy, olden tune from one of the rooms on the second floor. The
sound of children playing in the backyard spilled into the open widows that he could see
down a long corridor before him. He moved down the thin corridor toward the kitchen.
The sweet smell of fresh-cooked foods beat against the inside of his lungs. He felt his
stomach lurch to his own wanton desire for it.
As he entered the kitchen, he saw Nora, her back turned to him, at the kitchen
sink. Her blonde hair danced on the wind that cascaded through the open windows. He
snuck up from behind her and slid his hands around her tiny waist. He heard her sweet
laughter waver in the room around them.
“Mmm, that smells delicious dear,” Nolan said.
“Why thank you dear,” Nora said.
As Nolan held Nora’s body from behind, he peered past her shoulder into the
backyard. He saw four children, running and playing with one another. He smiled at the
sight. Inside his dream-self, he felt a rush of warmth run through him. Nolan strained his
eyes to obtain a better look at the faces of the children. The first child that he witnessed
was, Nadine. He did not know how he knew her name, but he felt it come to him as he
saw her blonde hair flowing behind her as she ran.
Nolan felt his hold upon Nora spasm as he saw the girls blurred facial features. He
could hear her, he could hear all four of them, but as he looked upon each face, none of
them held any features. No eyes and no nose met his gaze. He could see wide mouths in
the normal position that they were in on every person whom he had ever met. The odd
appearance took Nolan by surprise. He heard the sounds of the children’s laughing fade
away, as if someone was turning the volume knob down on a radio. His head swam as he
thought that he had become instantly deaf.
Framen Stewart – Chatter

Nolan loosed his hold of Nora and backed away from the window. He bumped into
a kitchen chair behind him. He did not hear a report from the item falling to the floor. He
staggered to one side, away from the table and chairs.
Nolan felt the urge to vomit as Nora turned to face him. In a slow, painful
moment, he saw a wide, gaping mouth open upon the lower portion of her otherwise
blank face. The opening appeared to grow comically large, exposing sharpened teeth as it
fell open and closed in concerned conversation. Her voice he could hear and the speech
rang inside his head with authority throughout his ears.
“I ought to gut you! You sick, twisted pervert,” boomed from the grotesque mouth
of the figure of Nora.
“Look at what you’ve done to those kids,” she yelled.
Nolan held up his hands as if to protect himself. He felt that he could say nothing,
nor do anything to get away from this hideous thing standing paces from him. He
ventured a glance over his shoulder. The corridor he had walked down earlier became
longer. A foreshortened perspective forced itself upon him. His mind felt a disembodied
vertigo that spun his dream world around like a tilt-a-whirl at a carnival.
Finally, his nausea made him puke upon the floor in front of him. As his stomach
wretched, the bright green bile washed over his tongue, burning the roof of his mouth.
Nolan peered toward Nora, the living mouth, to see it grow wider and larger upon her
featureless face. He felt his bladder lose its hold.
“Sheeeeyit! You lazy, good-for-nothing, limp-dick muthafucker! I’m going to kill
you!” Nolan awoke with an exasperated breath, his eyes wider than the muscles would
allow. He sat upright with such force that he felt the bed’s coils jiggle with the force he
exerted. He looked down at his bare crotch to see no puddle of pooling urine lying
beneath him. His gaze moved toward Nora to see that her body was now facing toward
him. Lying upon her left side, with her legs outstretched below her. Both of her arms
pulled tight to her upper body, between her exposed breasts, and folded onto one
Framen Stewart – Chatter

“Wh-What,” Nolan exclaimed, attempting to catch his breath. His hand rushed to
his chest. He could feel the heart throbbing from within. His ribs ached from his gasping
for air. He looked down at Nora’s face. Her pristine face was still poised to whatever
peaceful dream she was having. A low-volume muttering escaped her lips as she slept.
Nolan tried again to make out what she was jabbering, but was unsuccessful apart from
making out the word monkey. He shook his head to clear his mind. He forced his eyes
into a squint, looking over the heaping of blankets atop his wife. The clock reported the
time to be ten-fifteen in the morning. He could see the sunlight forcing its way in-
between the edges of the curtains.
“Well, she doesn’t snore, but she sure talks in her sleep,” Nolan said. His face
soured to the notion, and he recalled how he felt from the previous day in not knowing
everything that he would like to know about Nora.
“Thanks Ang. I just hope that she doesn’t scream anymore. That scares the holy
bejezus out of me,” Nolan thought. He leaned onto one elbow and propped himself up
beside his wife. With his free hand, he shook her in a careful way upon her upper arm.
She stirred only a fraction. Nolan did so again, this time speaking her name to awaken


“Nora? Hon, hey, wake up will you please,” Nolan asked in a kind, hushed tone. He
began to rub her arm harder awaiting her to open her eyes. As her pale-blue eyes cracked
open, he reached toward the nightstand and turned on the bedside lamp. The sharp burst
of light exploded into the room.
“Jesus Nolan, what is it,” Nora said in a groggy, sleep-drunk voice. Nolan thought
that the rough quality to it made her sound even sexier. He forced the thought aside to
talk with her.
Framen Stewart – Chatter

“Nora, babe, I don’t know how to tell you this, but you talk in your sleep,” Nolan
said, his tone flat and accusatory.
Nora raised an eyebrow as she moved her disheveled hair from in front of her face.
To Nolan, her eyes appeared gray in the warm light cast by the lamp.
“I what? Are you serious? You’re waking me up to tell me that I talk in my sleep,”
Nora asked. Her raised eyebrow leaned into an adjacent line with her other to form an
agitated furrow upon her unblemished brow. She remained unmoving in her position
upon the bed.
Nolan became nervous and tilted his head to one side as he looked into her gaze.
“Yeah, Look, I’m sorry, but that’s twice now that you’ve not only talked, but yelled very
loudly while you were asleep,” Nolan said. His eyes moved away from hers in his
embarrassment over bringing up the subject.
Nora looked at him in disbelief. She pulled the blanket over her exposed chest and
rolled onto her back. “I can’t believe this,” she sighed. “I don’t talk in my sleep.”
“Look-it, I know that this is all new for you honey, but,” Nolan felt his reservations
boiling over inside him, “but, I-ah, well, you kind of scared me by yelling so loud you
know,” Nolan stuttered the words from his mouth. His eyes darted to hers and then away
as he tried to gauge her reactions.
“Pfff, well, I don’t know what you heard honey, but it wasn’t me doing any yelling.
Can we go back to sleep now, please? We have a flight to catch to São Paulo later today,
remember,” Nora asked. Nora faced away from Nolan and pulled the covers tighter
around her body.
“Sure, sure, I’m sorry,” Nolan said in a diffident croon. He reached for the toggle on
the lamp to douse the lamp.
“Imagine, a girl like me, scaring a big, strong man like you. You’re a piece of work
you are Mister Norrell,” Nora said through her clinched teeth.
“Good night,” Nolan said.
“Good morning, you mean,” Nora said.
Framen Stewart – Chatter

Nolan became aware that he was holding his body upright when he awoke. He
removed his forearm from the pillow beneath him. He found himself in a posted position
upon his right arm. His upper body held up as if he were crawling somewhere. His skin
rolled from its reddened hue to become white once again as his weight shifted to his left
arm. For an unknown reason, he leaned back down onto the pillow with his right arm
after realizing where it was. It made him feel safe, secure in not hearing something, but
what he could not recall.
He felt something hard below the weight of his arm, below the pillow. He removed
his taut arm from atop the pillow, this time further away. His sinewy muscles relaxed as
the pressure from his leaning gave way to the foam within. The pillow returned to its
more normal shape before his widening eyes. He looked upon it with an almost
humorous confusion.
The hair upon his arm glistened with sweat as he looked down upon it. It felt
numb and distant to him. “My skin is not my own,” he muttered. His voice seemed to be
coming from outside of his own head, not from his throat. Drool ran from his lower lip as
he spoke. A string of spittle clung to his chin and ran into the pool below him. He could
not make sense out of what he was saying. He looked down at the large, soft pillow, now
devoid of the depression he had left upon it. Moisture from his body covered the entire
topside of the white fabric. The wrinkles in the cloth communicated to him, but it was
not clear as to what they were saying. He blinked twice to see if the communiqué would
reveal itself to him. It did not.
He shook his head, his neck cracked at the exercise.
Nolan’s mind felt cloudy, as if there was a hand within it pressing downward, atop
his brain. His eyes felt heavy, laden with a weight that they could no longer hold up.
Sweat poured down his face and he moved a hand to it to wipe it away. A clear, wisp of
sound from the friction of flesh upon stubble startled him. He moved himself into a
seated position at the edge of the bed. He breathed in a deep breath and held it.
Nolan peered over his shoulder to see a large lump of blankets and sheets piled
upon the bed. He released his breath and pushed upon the tallest portion of the lump.
Framen Stewart – Chatter

Nolan felt the soft tissue of a fleshy buttock give to the pressure he exerted upon it. Nora
did not move.
“Ah,” he groaned. At first, he could not tell if it was from satisfaction or
discouragement, but he thought the former. A sated grin broke across his face as tears
welled within his bloodshot eyes.
A knock at the door awakened him further. He stood and walked toward the door,
wiping his eyes upon the hair and skin of his arms. Nolan reached for the lock and
unbolted it. Opening the door, he saw a shocked expression upon a hotel house cleaner’s
face greeting him. Nolan gazed at the woman’s round face with an expression of humor
upon his own. She peered downward and then up at his face once again. He saw her
nametag tell him that her name was Roselyn.
“Hello Roselyn, we are not checking out now,” Nolan said through the best smile
that he could manage.
“I’m sorry sir. I did not mean to disturb you,” Roselyn said with a sheepish grin.
Her eyes shot south over Nolan, and then back to his face.
“I tell you what—why don’t you leave a set of sheets here—and we’ll turn the room
for you,” Nolan said.
Roselyn nodded her head and handed Nolan the sheets in a pile. As she made the
exchange, she turned her head to one side.
“Thank you sir,” Roselyn said, before pushing her cart to the next room. Nolan
shut the door behind him and then walked to his side of the bed. He sat down, picked up
the phone receiver, and called the front desk.
“Yes, this is Mister Norrell, in room two-thirty-four. I would like to stay for three
more nights please,” Nolan said. He heard the reply from the desk clerk and stated, “Yes,
there’s been a slight change in our plans. Thank you very much,” Nolan said and hung up
the receiver to the bedside phone.
He stood and clothed his naked body, dressing casually for his flight to Brazil. He
then packed his clothing into his suitcase. He grabbed the set of plane tickets and
passports seated atop the armoire, kissed the top of the pillow, and exited the room.
Framen Stewart – Chatter

“Goodbye my Nora,” Nolan said as the door closed behind him. “Now, let’s head to
Brazil shall we,” he continued. There was a spring in his step as he walked down the
“You better have booked first class, or so help me God—I’ll do the same thing to
you that I did to her,” a voice resonated from within his head.
“Sure did dear,” Nolan grinned at his response to himself.

-The End-

Author’s note: This idea came to me via, dumb luck. I am certain that every man who
has ever taken wedding vows has felt a smidgen of what Nolan felt in this tale. I bet most
women feel it as well. However, I am almost positive it is different for that gender for
many reasons. Most women, I have found, are elated about their nuptials, some to the
point of tears over their joy. I chose to go with the easy target in this story, the groom.

There is an anxiety in promising (most times, swearing) yourself to another human. Some
feel the weight of the responsibilities; others may feel their freedoms slipping through
their grasp. That pressure is somewhat overwhelming for most men. If you do not believe
me, look at a groom the next time you are attending a wedding, prior to the ceremony.
The cold sweat, the look of losing something precious and dear to them (usually their
manhood), the constant pacing to-and-fro (wondering if one woman over another, or
many is the right move for them or not), it is somewhat amusing to me.

Where does the dumb luck come in? A friend of mine twitted a tweet recently about his
new wife nagging at him while he slept; chattering at him in her subconscious slumber. I
thought about how strange it would be for a young couple to wed and have such a
problem. Then, I shook the idea around some, and decided to have the husband’s stress
cause him to snap, and become schizophrenic, albeit homicidally.

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