BEING SHEILA, fiction by Meg Pokrass

January 13, 2016 by RJ

pokrass phgoto

photo by Eugene Baranov




Dear God, you say, I want to be Sheila. That is, I want to have sex with Sheila’s husband, Timothy, but I don’t want to do Timothy as me, I want to do him as Sheila, because she is gorgeous and rich and lucky, and besides, Timothy would never lust after someone like me, I’m inferior.

The Thing:

The thing is that you don’t believe in God (you never did really) and you don’t really believe that becoming Sheila (aside from Timothy) would solve your main problem, the problem of the dying cat, Stanley. Stanley is dying in your living room of liver failure. The vet says it’s time to have him put to sleep but you aren’t ready to do so. Right now he is sleeping on your lap, and you really love that cat more than you have ever loved a human being. You wish you could marry the cat and die with him.

Being Sheila:

Sheila wears long, light blue dresses (moo-moos?) with plant motifs and has legs up to her ears and buys unusual sandals that must cost a thousand dollars and her hair is like silky perfumed dog hair… sort of like what you see on the head of prize-winning Irish Setters (you’ve seen them at the dog show where you go to visit your doctor who retired and breeds dogs). Red velvet-cake red like Maureen O’Hara’s hair was fifty years ago, impossibly natural looking, and you really dislike people like this. Yes, you do want to make passionate love to her husband but you wonder: Does he get bored with how perfect his wife is?


The cat is the only thing holding you back from really living, from having a real boyfriend again, but his time is done and he will no longer be able to help you with the fear of jumping back in to the world of the broken heart and unreturned calls and unrequited fantasies. Your old boyfriends are all married or gay or gay and married.. and some even have grandchildren, and for the last 15 year you have spent all of your evenings and holidays with Stanley who does not snore, does not make sounds really, but gives you this huge warm kind of love.



Meg Pokrass’ third collection of flash fiction, The Dog Looks Happy Upside Down (Etruscan Press) will be released in 2016. Meg’s stories and poems have appeared in McSweeney’s, Five Points, The Literarian, storySouth, Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, The Rumpus and over 230 print and online literary journals. Her work appears in anthologies such as Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton) and ROADSIDE CURIOSITIES: Stories about American Pop Culture (University of Leipzig Press). Meg co-founded The Flash Fiction Collective reading series in San Francisco and serves as an associate editor for Frederick Barthelme’s New World Writing. Meg teaches flash fiction to university programs and works with students privately by request. See more about her at

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