The Canary Yellow Cardigan
A short story by Chris Hinton
Inspired by Puff Daddy
It was an unseasonably cold evening for the month of August. Jenny, 19, shoulder length blond hair, was freezing. She leaned over in the car towards her boyfriend Frankie and whispered, “I’m really cold.” “You know what,” Frankie replied. “It is a little chilly now that you mention it.” They both agreed that the cold weather was especially unusual considering it was full blown summertime in Omaha, Nebraska.
Suddenly Frankie, 20, patchy goatee, remembered something. “Why don’t I go grab your cardigan from the trunk?”
“A cardigan?” Jenny asked curiously. “I don’t own a cardigan. I own several pullover jackets and numerous Love Pink sweatshirts from Victoria’s Secret, but I most certainly do not own a cardigan.”
“Are you sure that you don’t own a cardigan?” Frankie inquired. “I remember seeing a canary yellow cardigan in my trunk a while back.”
“No, I don’t own a cardigan,” Jenny responded rather pointedly.
“Well, if you don’t own a cardigan and I don’t own a cardigan, then I wonder whose cardigan it could be?”
Jenny was visibly upset. “I don’t know whose cardigan it could be. You tell me. But I’m telling you that it’s not mine. I’m severely allergic to cardigans. The fibers cause my throat to swell shut and I could possibly die if I even go near a cardigan. Or are you forgetting this, Frankie?” Frankie did forget. “Frankie,” Jenny continued. “Is there something that you need to tell me?” Frankie turned the radio up and pretended not to hear her just like he’s done a million times before.
Jenny was fuming. Her worse fear – next to her intense fear of spiders hatching eggs in her ears during her sleep – had come true. She couldn’t believe that Frankie had cheated on her, especially with a girl who wore a canary yellow cardigan of all things. Jenny began sobbing uncontrollably.
“Why did you do it?” Jenny blubbered on like some sort of blathering, blubbering whale. “Why did you have to throw away our perfect relationship just because you wanted to get your willy wet with some no good, two-bit, cardigan wearing whore?”
“I didn’t do it, Jenny. I didn’t cheat on you. How many times do I have to tell you that? You accuse me of cheating like every other week, and I have to tell you, it’s starting to get mighty old.”
Jenny did not believe him. She told Frankie those exact words. “I do not believe you.”
“Well, I don’t believe you, you ungrateful accusatory nag of a girlfriend of mine!” Frankie shouted furiously. “I will murder you and bury you face down in that canary yellow cardigan, then you won’t have to worry about your throat swelling shut anymore, now will you?”
Frankie’s unexpected burst of anger shocked even himself. He tried to play it off nonchalantly by french kissing Jenny and telling her that he was just being silly with all of that murder stuff. But Jenny was not in the mood for french kissing, or any kind of kissing for that matter. She turned away from him, so Frankie went about fiddling with the radio, changing stations, and finally settlling on his all time favorite radio station, 92.3 z-92 FM.
Carlos Santana was playing. It was somewhere around the two minute mark of the late 90’s smash hit song “Smooth” featuring Rob Thomas from Matchbox Twenty, when Frankie suddenly had another realization.
“Screw me!” Frankie shouted.
Jenny was hardly interested in Frankie’s sexual advances. “Nice try, but I will not be screwing anyone that cheats on his girlfriend with cardigan sluts. Take me home now, Frankie.”
Frankie turned the radio down to a soft murmur. “No, no. I didn’t mean screw me, as in take me to be your manservant in the back seat of my ’87 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme to the scorching sounds of Carlos Santana’s wicked guitar solo. I meant screw me, as in I just realized whose canary yellow cardigan is in my trunk.”
“Well, whose is it?” Jenny snarled. “Wait, let me guess. Her name is Candy, or Trisha, or some other floozy sounding name like that, right? You know what? I don’t even want to know what her name is. Just take me home NOW, Frankie!”
“Hold on a second. Hear me out, Jenny. I just remembered that the canary yellow cardigan is mine. I’m such an idiot, I had completely forgotten. You know how absentminded I can be sometimes – forgetting birthdays, anniversaries, forgetting your poor grandmother at the Henry Doorly zoo when it was 105 degrees out that one day.”
“Or how about forgetting to feed my dog when I went away to cheer camp for an entire week and nearly starving poor Muggles to death,” Jenny interjected, no longer blubbering like a blathering, blubbering whale.
“Yes, that too. Muggles, your birthday, all of that stuff. I’m a forgetful person. And as we’re talking, I just now remembered that I bought the cardigan after watching a Lakers game a few months ago. They showed a close-up of Puff Daddy wearing this really cool yellow cardigan during the halftime intermission. The color was vibrant, yet incredibly pleasing. He looked so handsome. No homo, but I went to The Gap and bought a canary yellow cardigan the next day so that I could look just like my idol Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs.”
“He’s black,” Jenny noted. “How are you going to look like P. Diddy just because you’re both wearing matching canary yellow cardigans? That’s insane.”
“Look, don’t bring race into this,” Frankie pleaded. “This has nothing to do with African Americans. This is between me and you, and me and you only. I would never cheat on you with some girl named Candy, or Trisha or even with a girl that had a wholesome name such as yours. Jenny Marie, you’re the one I love. Can’t you see that? I’ll throw the damn cardigan away as soon as I get home, I promise. You believe me about the cardigan now, babe, don’t you? Please tell me that you believe in me. You believe in us.”
“Of course I believe you. I found the receipt in my apartment the other day and I knew it was your cardigan all along. I was only testing you. Now come over here, my little manservant, you. Better make it quick, though. We only have about twelve more minutes before Carlos finishes up with that god-awful song of his.”
Jenny took Frankie’s hand into hers and gazed deeply into his eyes. “I’m yours now and forever, Frankie. Two crazy love fools, me and you. But I swear to God if you ever cheat on me, it will be your face buried in the dirt wearing that hideous Puff Daddy wannabe cardigan sweater of yours. Don’t think I won’t do it, either. You kapesh?”
Frankie smiled. “Kapesh.”
The evening was no longer cold in Omaha, Nebraska.