You could have a big dipper   

Stuck Sunset by Joe Woodhouse



Don't you just love sitting by the window watching the sunset? That orange glow, like a fine glass of Orangina soaking up the sky, what a sight to see at the end of each day. No matter how bad, how mad, how sad, the day has been, a sunset will wash it all away, leaving you with that warm melancholy feeling of whatever will be will be.


'Not when it's been stuck here for two weeks.' Claire said, slouched on the unmade bed, refusing to look at the window by which he sat. Simon was lying in a hammock he'd set up inside not long after the sunset stuck, wearing her favourite pink dressing gown, bought on sale from Matalan, and sipping a glass of red wine, the cheapest kind.


'No, no, no, no, Claire. The fact the sunset has been stuck here for two weeks, every hour, every day, should be seen as a wonderful thing, a rare event, and aren't all events worth celebrating?' He kept on gazing at the stuck sunset, it was his new favourite thing.


'It's an event I didn't buy the ticket for. Can you remember the last time you slept well with that orange glow constantly peeking through? It's driving me crazy, I feel jealous of the countries stuck with the moon, maybe they can actually get some shut eye.' She pulled the duvet over her face and screamed.


'You'll miss it when it becomes unstuck, you'll see. When was the last time you patiently sat and watched the day die? Ah, I bet you never even looked up to acknowledge it. Too busy with work, too busy online.' He sighed.


'Remember the Chinese All You Can Eat you once became obsessed with? You'd go every day for lunch, stuffing your face and calling it the best thing. You tried to drag me along, even though we work in two different towns, and by the time I took the time off to see what was what, you told me you were too stuffed to ever eat another bite. This sunset is just your new All You Can Eat, you'll see, we all get sick eventually.'


Simon stood up, started to pace around the room. He was thinking carefully over what Claire had just said to him. He stopped by her bedside and yanked off the duvet. She squealed as she felt the sun hit her eyes.


'But wouldn't you say overindulgence only matters when it arrives? That passion was always true in the moment, and life is all about being in the moment. And some things we never get sick of, that is also true. Take for example Beelzebub, have you ever grown sick to the stomach at the sight of him?' Beelzebub was the couple's cat, a ginger tabby with a tail that looked a little devilish. During this back and forth discourse over the value and beauty of the stuck sunset, Beelzebub was sat on a pillow unable to express what they thought about it all.


'When he farts, I kind of hate him.' She mumbled, refusing to lose to her boyfriend who'd been reading a little too much Nietzsche since the whole ordeal began. Beelzebub had incidentally parped as she said those foul flatulent words. The couple both held their noses in disgust, then laughed, for that's all it ever really took.


'Let's go for a walk, and I promise not to say any more.'


The world outside hadn't changed all that much since the sunset became stuck. People rarely looked to the sky any more, so it was easy to adjust to a world lacking in bruise coloured hues, time still ticked on by. A few signs outside houses said 'The End Times Have Arrived', but other signs simply said 'Volunteers Required, Apply Inside', so general consensus was mixed. It was hard for couples of the world though, with all the sunset spots taken by enthusiasts of social media sunset photography.


Simon and Claire walked with Beelzebub on a leash, determined to have a nice day together despite everything.


'You used to be able to ride into the sunset, never come back, and mean it.' Claire said as they watched a group of nudist cultists pray to the sun.


'And they used to say 'Hee-yah!' as they did.' Simon replied, wondering if they were praying for the sun to rise, to fall, or to do nothing at all.


'Say that once more with feeling.'


'Hee-yah!'


They sat at the local town's beach, watching Beelzebub play with the seagulls. The sand was soft, the tide was low, and this quiet corner of the beach was devoid of anyone else.


'I remember when we watched our first sunset.' Claire said, kicking the sand from out of her trainers. 'We drunk cola floats and I spilt my vanilla ice cream all over the sea. I tried to scoop it up, but instead you gave me yours. It was at that moment I knew, about me and you.'


'I don't remember.' Simon said sadly.


'It was a long time ago, that's why.'


'But I'm sure to remember this one, I've been staring at it for such a long time.'


'It's certainly prettier when you're standing outside .' She held out her hand and he took it, still staring into the Orangina sky.


And there and then, the sunset became unstuck and finally set. In the darkness they continued to hold hands, watching Beelzebub tear a seagull in two. They'd remember that moment for the rest of their lives.



A writer of objects brought to life, in hopes of understanding himself and others. Joe regularly updates his blog at channelstatic.wordpress.com, and has recently written about his own personal struggles due to his disability for a SICK AF feature at clarrisaexplainsfa.com. Twitter: @joerayw

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