Prompt: Can’t Stand Me
What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?

strawberry rhubarb pie

Jerry eventually installed a very sophisticated sound system in the master bedroom shower. Instead of a condom wrapped over a microphone and hidden in an emptied Gillette Men’s Shower Gel container, and clumsily wired through the floor into the basement, Jerry’s new system included a sleek, state-of-the-art, waterproof, auto-conversion, bluetooth console, mounted on the shower wall, which also had an audio system so that Cheryl-Ann could listen while she showered to her favourite country and western tunes, as if she was seated in the front row of the Grand Ole Opry.

Jerry loaded the audio playback with instrumental versions of the songs she loved best, so she could sing along the way she liked, with her silly tremolos and pretend operatic high notes, and so she could talk in that expressive way she had, instead of singing a verse. Sometimes she would just burst out laughing in the middle of a chorus.

Her fans loved that. Who was a more natural talent, a more engaging and charming vocalist, a more humble and down-to-earth performer than Louisa J, the most globally beloved country singer the world had ever seen?

Of course Jerry had to do some mixing and fiddling. He’d learned to mix tracks himself, while visiting David Foster’s Canadian studio, on a trip, Cheryl-Ann thought, to get parts for their old 1956 Dodge Fargo. On that excursion he’d even hired an ambitious young sound technician to handle Cheryl-Ann’s —that is, Louisa J’s —soundtracks exclusively.

There was, surprisingly, only one awkward moment, when Bill and Sarah Pringle hosted a potluck, and Jenny Fingerling, the only person in town with a piano, started praising the extraordinary Louisa J, and the earthy, addictive voice that enhanced and revitalized old country classics.

“Who?” said Cheryl-Ann. She was breaking apart one of Sarah’s buttermilk biscuits, to see if was as light and flaky as her own, since she considered baking to be her only God-given talent, and her strawberry-rhubarb pie always won in the ground-fruit pie division of the baking competition, virtually every year.

“Cheryl-Ann doesn’t bother with the new fangled singers,” Jerry said.

“I like Hank Williams,” she confirmed.

“Well, you—“

“Cheryl-Ann and I are off to Aruba tomorrow!” Jerry announced, to many ooohs and aaahs.

“You sure do cruise a lot,” Sarah said, narrowing her eyes.

“Rewards! We get loyalty rewards,” Cheryl-Ann said cheerfully. “Why, we’ve cruised so often it’s practically free. And they upgrade us too, don’t they Jerry?”

“They sure do, honey,” said Jerry.