Excerpt for Missing Rib (half sample) by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


Eating Kimchi and Nodding Politely

You, Me And The Rest Of Us: #NewYorkStories

Missing Rib

By Alex Clermont

Copyright (c) 2013 by Alex Clermont

ISBN: 978-0-9973850-3-8

The author can be contacted at AlexClermontWrites.com

Cover Illustration and Design: Priska Wenger

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


This story is dedicated to my missing rib

… All Five of Them

Table of Contents

Title Page


Missing Rib

About the Author

Also by Alex Clermont

A Note From the Author


Andrew lifted Kara off the sink’s edge, moved her to the closed toilet seat, worked his way around her cumbersome bridal gown, and continued.

Leaning over the sink while carrying Kara’s weight had been cramping Andrew’s butt severely. He had never had an ass cramp before, so his attention shifted as he tried to think of some new position that would allow the flow of blood to continue to his left cheek – stopping the pins and needles numbness that was also spreading to his left thigh. He was grateful for the distraction, however. He needed it to take his mind off the fantastic sex, the stunningly beautiful woman he was having it with, and the impending orgasm he was trying to fight back.

Through whatever signals one can judge these things by, he seemed to be satisfying her. If he didn't come up with a new distraction however, it would soon be over. To remove himself, as much as was possible, from the ass numbing sex, Andrew began to tell himself the story of how he got here – how he found himself between a bride’s legs in a church bathroom on a Saturday morning.

Kara moaned, “Goddamn it” into Andrew’s ear and he forced his mind to go back in time to the night before.


Andrew’s Friday night was one of those nights that had become one too many in the last three months. Smelling sour and sitting naked in his living room chair, Andrew spent all the hours past sunset reading love emails to and from his ex-girlfriend. The sentences that actually contained the word “love” were read aloud in whispers to no one but himself.

He wrote that he "wanted to be with her forever." In reply she said she was "madly in love," and that he was "the most important man in her life." Andrew read these words, and others like them, again and again as he leaned forward on his seat – he chest against the back of the chair, and his eyes too close to the computer monitor.

As he scrolled down the list of messages Andrew let old affections stab at him. Each paragraph pierced his heart, but after the adrenaline faded Andrew was left feeling weak, with a little less life in him than before. The jabs summoned memories of him and her lying in bed, her head on his chest. He was the happiest he had ever been as he ran his fingers through her short red hair and told her that he loved her. She playfully hit his stomach and said, “I was going to say that.”

To friends who asked, Andrew said he was spending his Friday night with a few co-workers from the restaurant. What he actually did was stay in his too-large apartment in Lenox, Atlanta with his face near a screen until he fell asleep. He woke up dehydrated.

"Yo yo yo. What are you up to today?" A phone call at 7:30 am pulled him back into the world. Donald’s voice sounded anxious and his pace was even faster than usual.

With morning phlegm in his throat Andrew slowly answered, "Nothing. Why?"

"I've got a strange but serious request."

"I told you. I like women."

Donald gave a light chuckle. "So you say. This is real though. Remember the wedding I told you about? My cousin's? The one I’ve got family coming in from Florida for? That really important thing?"


"Well, one of the groomsmen is in jail. Some crazy bachelor party shit. I need you to take his place."

"What?" There was a short silence as Andrew waited for more words. He continued, “I only met the man once. Why not an uncle, or another cousin or something?"

"None of our uncles, or other cousins, or somethings are six feet four inches, 260 pounds, and can fit in an expensive, already paid for, tuxedo."

Andrew sighed.

"There'll be an open bar at the reception. Free food too. Better than staying home, making a mess of yourself over Casey."


"Cause I'm your best fucking friend.” Donald cut him off. “Now can I count on you to come?"

"Alright, alright. Just let me know the whens and wheres."


Donald told him the details and Andrew got out of bed to do a favor for a friend.

While brushing his teeth and trimming the edges of his shadow of a beard, Andrew looked at himself in the bathroom mirror. The reflection had dark lines under its eyes. The brown skin on its face sagged slightly and told stories about the sad night of the person looking at it.

Andrew wanted to go back to bed and dream of everything that was dead and gone, but Donald was his best friend. And Donald said there'd be free food. Andrew washed up, brushed his low cut hair and beard, and got dressed. He hoped that his reflection stayed where it was and that he’d look halfway decent for the stranger’s wedding.


Donald stood outside the church and began flagging down Andrew's truck, cigarette in hand, as soon as he saw it approaching. After parking in the lot behind the church, Andrew hopped out. He looked at Donald’s wide-open eyes and fidgety movements and, as if getting ready for a fight, he found himself matching the frenzied mood.

“Okay, where’s the suit? Where do I get dressed?”

“Follow me.”

Donald flicked the cigarette off to the side, and in a hurried pace the two walked into the church through the backdoor. Arriving at the bathroom, Andrew hurried in and practically jumped out of his clothes. He pictured a church full of people waiting for him to walk in. He was to be the temporary centerpiece in someone else’s special day. A day when two people became one and declared to the world that they found the person they wanted to grow old with – for better or for worse. The thought that such a thing was possible made him smile. It chased away some of last night’s foulness, and Andrew was happy for it.

He almost zipped up his dick in surprise when Donald loudly knocked on the door. “I’m almost done! Hold on!” Andrew emerged from the bathroom still a little flustered. “Where now?”

Donald, who had calmed considerably, walked up to Andrew and adjusted his bow tie.

“Who taught you how to tie a tie?”

“Come on let’s go. I’m already a little late.”

Donald looked down.

“Are you not wearing underwear?”

Andrew sighed, “I was rushing.”

“Come on.”

Donald led Andrew on a stroll through a series of rooms till they came to the church’s sanctuary. When Andrew walked in he saw around ten or so people. Some of them were dressed for a wedding, but most were not. They stood around in relaxed stances or they were sitting in the pews near the pulpit, talking in casual tones about things Andrew couldn’t hear. Two toddlers ran past him, both caught in a fit of giggles. The little girl’s hair was a tangled afro, and the boy was wearing shorts and a faded Wu-Tang Clan t-shirt.

Still looking around, Andrew asked in a low mutter, “Donald. What the hell’s going on?”

“A wedding.”

“Well, why does it look like I’m really early?”

“Cause you are. I wanted to make sure you got here, and I didn’t want to take the chance you’d arrive on colored people time.”

Andrew turned to look at Donald. “C.P. time? You woke me up, what, three hours early because of C.P. time? You ruined my sleep, you racist asshole.”

Donald didn’t turn to face Andrew, “Don’t pull that ‘racist’ shit on me. My cousin’s blacker than you, and I’m Native."

“You’re a fuck, and I’m going back to sleep in my car. Wake me when you actually need me.”

“Hey everyone! This is my friend, Andrew McCarthy. The Black man with the Irish name.”

Andrew was bubbling with anger but smiled warmly as everyone turned their heads to notice the newcomer. His size was enough to freeze some of their faces in amazement. The kids, who previously ran by, stopped, looked up, and stared with open-mouthed smiles.

“Isn’t the guy I’m replacing my size?” whispered Andrew.

“One or two inches shorter, he isn’t in shape, and he’s as ugly as sin.”


“And he wore underwear.”

The groom, Donald’s blacker-than-Andrew cousin, walked up to the two of them and shook Andrew’s hand.

“Nice to see you again Andrew. I really appreciate you coming through for us like this.”

“Hey Jeremy. Don’t worry about it. Glad to help. Just let me know what you need me to do.”

“Cool. I’ll give you a quick run through after I introduce you to everyone.”

Andrew shook a few hands, and tried his best to memorize names while not looking tired. Everyone there was related to Donald, but Andrew was a little taken aback by their appearances. The crowd of cousins, aunts, and uncles were a rainbow of shades with dark chocolate brown skin on one end, and on the other an extra light caramel – like coffee with way too much milk. Most were a tanned middle and they all seemed happy to see him, which made Andrew feel happy to be there – however early. They smiled and impressed upon him a feeling of belonging that he hadn't felt in a long time.

He went through a quick catch up of the wedding procedures with everyone. They dismissed his embarrassment when he forgot someone's name; they laughed at his jokes and he laughed at theirs; they patted him on the back and told him some funny family stories (he heard that Donald used to play with dolls and Donald laughed along with him). They were warm in a way that he had never experienced.

Donald fit right along with them. This was why he was Andrew's best friend. He always made Andrew feel like he was part of something bigger – like he wasn’t alone. Andrew was fully aware that this was one of the reasons for their friendship, and he was beginning to see where Donald got this ability.

"What happened to the other guy? What did he do to get himself thrown in jail?" Andrew asked Donald’s Uncle Adam after several rehearsals, and during his first relaxed moments since leaving his bed. Uncle Adam turned and smiled at him like Donald would have. He looked more like Donald than anyone else in the group. He wore his long, straight gray hair in a short ponytail. And like Donald, he had tanned skin, a pointed nose, and kept his sharp-featured face clean of hair. He talked with his hands and leaned back as comfortably as he could in the wooden pew while he answered Andrew's question.

"Clay, that stupid bastard. At the bachelor party last night he starts touching on the strippers. And not stuffing-dollar-bills touching. He's trying to give them a pap smear or something. Squeezing and grabbing and sticking way more than he should. So, one of the girls calls the bouncer."

Jeremy shook his head as Adam told the story. "The bouncer is as thick as a tree trunk, but Clay's drunk and his dick is telling him that he's owed something. He starts a fight with this man who fights for a living and it ends just like you would expect it to. Clay takes a sloppy swing at the guy, who ducks it, and puts him in a headlock that I wanna call a half nelson. Then he drags Clay outside and kicks his ass. Jeremy and Donald try to hold him back, but Clay wants to keep going. The owner calls the police who finally break it up.”

So right now Clay's locked up till tomorrow. He's in a cell with a sore body and a bruised face that looks just as ugly as it did the day before."

Everyone old enough to understand the story surrounded Adam as he talked. The youngest of them, Sarah, asked with a smirk, "So what's the moral of the story Grandpa?"

In Andrew's ear, Donald said, "There's always a moral."

Adam announced, "They're a few. One. Never make decisions based on impulse or alcohol. Two. Your actions have an impact on more lives than just yours. Three. Being a stupid bastard will get you fucked up."

They all laughed. Jeremy's cell phone rang and after looking at the caller ID his chuckling turned into a toothy, child-like grin.

"It's Kara," he said, and stepped away from the half circle around Uncle Adam to pick up the call.

Donald said, “We should be getting ready soon. People will start coming in about three hours, and the minister should be here in a few.” He got up from his seat and everyone followed suit, getting ready to get ready. The women and girls walked off into a room to the right of the podium – a pretty scene of different ages and colors. Andrew noticed Sarah as she looked back at him. He smiled pleasantly, but noticed her smile wasn’t as harmless. She looked at him like he was food. They all looked at him like that, but Sarah looked at him like she was hungry. Still sleepy, he wasn’t sure what to do other than continue smiling. The door closed behind her and Andrew raised an eyebrow as his smile faded.

Jeremy came back with his lips held tightly together. When he finally opened them he told the three men, one teenager and two little boys around him, “We’ve got some problems.” Jeremy paused and pursed his lips. “Kara’s at the beauty salon and her car won’t start, of course. Also, she just told me that she called the caterer and there seems to be a…” He slowly sounded out the word, “mistake with the food. Apparently about the damn tarts. They aren’t trying to fix it, or discount the price. I’ve gotta go to Glendalough Manor and take care of this.” He looked at Donald, “Donny can you bring Kara and Sheryl over here from the…”

Before Jeremy could finish his sentence Donald was shaking his head side to side. Jeremy stopped talking and Donald said, “I have to wait for the minister. Plus the florist is coming from Glendalough soon. He’s finishing the arrangements at the reception hall and we’ve gotta do this place up. I also have to seat and greet early guests.”

Jeremy looked at Uncle Adam who said, “I have to watch over them. Yvonne would kill me if I left to go driving around.” He pointed at the two toddlers and Donald’s fourteen-year-old cousin Gerald. Gerald’s face was wrinkled in protest – as if offended by the idea that he needed looking after. Adam then pointed at the two little boys and said, “I have to get’em dressed and give Malcolm here a quick hair cut. Someone else was supposed to do it this morning but that person’s peeing in front of a group of grown men in a jail cell right now.

“Why not wait for the other guys? They should be here in about twenty. Or just call a taxi service to pick’em up? You’ve got taxis here in Atlanta, right?”

Jeremy said, “They’re terrible. They always come late. Plus Kyle and the rest of’em live on the other side of town. No, we need Kara here A.S.A.P.”

In his peripheral vision Andrew saw Donald look at him. Uncle Adam followed, then Jeremy, then the two children – Gerald was looking out the stained glass windows in an open mouthed daze. Jeremy said, “I don’t really feel comfortable asking but…” His sentence trailed off a he shrugged his shoulders with an apprehensive look on his face.

Andrew slowly said, “Ummm” after reading the request written in Jeremy’s raised eyebrows, “I guess I could pick her up. I don’t have anything to do till the wedding starts anyway.”

Jeremy said, “Great. Thanks again for the help Andrew.” Patting Andrew’s back, Jeremy jogged toward the large main doors at the front of the church. His voice echoed through the large hall as he said, “Donny, let him know where they’re at. And Andrew, gimme a call when you get there, or if you get lost.” Pushing through the large wooden door, the last image they had of Jeremy was of him jumping over a bed of flowers.

After a minute Andrew was off, following Jeremy's hurried manner, though the back door of the church and towards his truck.


Traffic was light. Andrew expected as much on a Saturday morning, so with his windows down he let the early fall winds run across his face as music played low in the background. His mind drifted and he thought about Donald's family. Donald was lucky. Although his parents had died a few years ago, Donald knew them; he grew up with them. Andrew, on the other hand, had no idea what it was like to grow up with a mother. He never had that, and could only guess what it was like to have some all-powerful woman tell you that you were handsome. To let you know that children are mean and single out anyone darker, taller, or in any way different from them. He never knew what it meant for a woman to love you, to tell you that she loved you, and to know that nothing you did could ever change that. Andrew had never experienced love that was forever.

Around Donald's family, though, he felt like he was in an episode of The Cosby Show with the hues on the TV set gone haywire – lots of fun closeness. He liked it, and laughed at himself for indulging in it as he sped towards the hair salon.

Jeremy was right about the taxi service. In Andrew's first few weeks in Atlanta he had to take taxis back and forth to his new job. The taxis would show up late, or not show up at all. He was able to spare someone else that trouble and so, once again, it was Andrew to the rescue.

It took him twenty minutes to get to the salon, and as he put the truck in park he called Jeremy.

Andrew said, "I'm here… Yeah. Should be back just as quick… Okay, see you there.” He smiled. “Don’t worry about it. It’s no big deal.” Putting his cell phone in his tuxedo jacket pocket, Andrew walked towards the salon, getting ready to shout out “Kara” until someone replied. But as soon as he walked through the front door he found himself staring at a beautiful woman sitting in one of the many seats that lined the pastel blue walls of the small shop. She had an oval face with a sharp chin, blemish free gold-tinted brown skin, straightened short hair that was styled close to her head, and an hour glass figure that was obvious even underneath her sweat pants and t-shirt.

She turned her head and looked at Andrew with large almond-shaped eyes. “Are you Andrew?”

He smiled, “That’s me. You Kara?”

She smiled back and stood up, along with the woman next to her, and shook his outstretched hand. “Yeah. Jeremy told me you were coming. This is my maid-of-honor Sheryl.” Sheryl’s eyes were opened wide and fixed on Andrew. Her hair was cut in a short, layered bob that perfectly matched her round, pretty, fair-skinned face. She grabbed Andrew’s hand as soon as Kara let go, and quickly licked her lips without thinking before she smiled.

“Hi. Nice to meet you.” Sheryl said, “How do you know Jeremy?”

“Actually, I’m a friend of Donald’s.”

“Oh…” Her smile dimmed slightly.

Andrew laughed, “No. Not like that. He’s just my friend.”

“Oh, I didn’t think anything.” Her smile brightened again.

Kara was on the verge of laughter when Andrew said, “If you ladies are ready, we should probably get going.”

Kara said, “Good idea,” and they walked out of the shop and climbed into Andrew’s truck. He turned it on and asked, "Do you guys mind if I play a little music?"

"What you got?" asked Sheryl.

Andrew pressed play as he said, "Kurt Elling."

Sheryl said, "Who’s that?"

"A really good jazz singer from Chicago," Kara said. She continued, "Haven't met too many folks here who listen to him."

"You've met one more today," Andrew said as he smiled at Kara.

The sound of “Tanya Jean” was the background music to Kara asking, "So how do you know Donald? You work with him at the school?"

"Oh no.” Andrew shook his head emphatically. “I mean, I love kids, but I don't think I have the patience Donald has. I'd quit the first day I saw a knife. I think he's had nineteen of those days so far. No, I'm a chef. I manage a restaurant in Buckhead."

From the backseat Sheryl smiled broadly and said, "Really? You cook a lot of soul food?" She put emphasis on “soul food” and moved her neck slightly when she said it.

"No," Andrew said. "I mean, I can, but the restaurant serves East African food. That's what I specialize in."

"That's interesting,” Kara said, “I'm actually Ethiopian. Are you from East Africa?"

"Well," he chuckled, "My birth parents are from Uganda, but I didn't really grow up in that environment. I was raised in foster care for most of my childhood."

Kara's looked at him in concern. "Oh."

"It's not as harsh as people think. Also, I had a foster father for four years. A widower who made sure I did well in school. After he died I took his name.” Andrew glanced at her and said, “Don't worry. I'm a fully functional adult."

Kara laughed, "That's good to hear."

Sheryl's smile disappeared and she leaned into the back seat.

“So are you excited about today?" Andrew asked.

Kara looked down, and a thoughtful grin slowly stretched across her lips. "Got past the excited part when Jeremy asked me. Now I just kinda want it to be done.”

Andrew nodded as if he understood.

Kara asked, “Who’d you come with? Anybody I know?"

"I came solo. Been doing the loner thing for a few months."

Andrew's face straightened to a solemn stare towards the road.

Kara said, "Sorry to hear."

"These things happen. The price of being human I guess. Hanging around Donald’s family today actually made me feel a lot better about it."

"Glad to hear. They had that effect on me too. Sheryl is actually Jeremy's Aunt."


Excited to get back in the conversation Sheryl said, "Yeah, but he's like three years older than me." She laughed a little.

Andrew said, "Oh, okay."

Sheryl slowly leaned back into her seat. She raised an eyebrow when Kara asked, "You mind if I ask what happened? With you and your ex I mean. Being in so many failed relationships myself..." her smile widened, "... I'm always interested to hear what happened to others."

"Well, it just fell apart. We both thought we knew what we wanted out of life. Found out she wasn't sure. She had done some soul searching without me and decided to go back to school for an art degree. Then she quit her job at the accounting firm she worked for. Then she quit me."

"Sounds familiar."

"Your ex was a soul searching accountant?"

"No. But like I said, I've heard stories from others. Mine are pretty standard stuff too."

Andrew laughed, "There’s standard stuff? You've been thinking about this for a while haven’t you?"

With a chuckle Kara said, "What other music do you got in here?"

For the remaining minutes Kara and Andrew talked about music, food, politics, and how he met Donald. Andrew told her, "We were at a mutual friend's party and he was the only one there, besides me, who grew up in New York City. We started talking about spots we used to go to, and just kept in touch afterwards. He told me later he was trying to get in my pants.” Kara snorted a little as her laughter filled the car. Andrew laughed at her laughter, and Sheryl smiled, slightly uncomfortable at listening to a conversation she was left out of.

They continued talking until they reached the church. Andrew noticed a few more cars in the lot as he parked. He helped both Kara and Sheryl out of the cream colored truck and together they walked into the church, ending up in a room full of bridesmaids. The women snatched up Kara and started taking off her clothes. Sheryl said, “This is where you leave.” With a smile she pushed Andrew, back first, out of the room and into an empty hallway – closing the door in his face.

Andrew sat on the third step of a staircase opposite the room’s door. He thought about the pleasant conversation that filled his last thirty minutes. It had been a while since Andrew talked to a woman like that. Really, it had only been Casey. In general, Andrew didn’t get women, and they didn’t get him. Kara seemed a little different, and for a few moments he was envious of Jeremy. He then began to think about Casey. The muscles on his face loosened a little, letting the skin on his jaws and cheeks droop as he lost the energy to hold himself together. He got up and walked outside.

The church was big – cathedral like. The many rooms that Andrew and others had to go through (and almost get lost in) attested to that. Built with ancient looking grey stones that were veined with vividly green ivy, the building was impressive. Andrew leaned against its wall – right next to the side door he came out of – and just stared at the horizon for a few seconds.

The tightness of his suit kept his attention and while adjusting his shoulders Donald came out.

“You looking for me?” Andrew asked.

“No. Just came out for a smoke.” Donald pulled out a cigarette from his inside jacket pocket. Before lighting it he looked at Andrew and said, “As you were.”

He took a few puffs in silence till Andrew said, “You should really quit those things. It’s a disgusting habit.”

“So is pining over green eyed red heads.”

“I wasn’t pining over anyone.”

Unconvinced, Donald said, “Okay,” and took another puff. “Thanks again for coming through on this wedding.” He stuck his hand out for a handshake and Andrew responded in kind while nodding his head.

“Of course,” Andrew said.

“I’m trying to get this whole thing perfect. A missing man on the line is small, but it’s big at the same time.”

“Why are you so concerned?”

“Gotta make sure it goes off without a hitch.” Donald opened his arms, as if embracing the air. “Shit, I paid for most of this thing.”

“Really?” Andrew said in shock. “Why?”

“Because Jeremy couldn’t. We aren’t a casino tribe, man. We’re some lower-middle class American Indians. Victims of Andrew Jackson that go to a Christian church to get married.” Donald sighed and took another puff. “I’m really the only one in the family who can pay for a good wedding.” He shook his head. “Ironically enough.”

“What do you… Oh don't worry about that. Laws are changing all the time.”

“Not the law thing, although that too. But I just don’t think I’ll find someone I’d want to spend the rest of my life with.

“You know, for a short while I thought it was you.”

Andrew’s eyes opened a little wider in surprise. Donald remained the same and puffed on his cigarette once again. “But no. Beside the whole gay versus straight thing, I just don’t like you like that. I’d divorce you after a few months.” Andrew smiled and Donald chuckled. “I don’t think there’s a ‘one’ out there for anybody, but it would be nice if there was.” He flicked the cigarette butt into the air then said, “Let’s get back in there.”

Donald opened the door, Andrew followed him inside, and they both made their way to the main hall. There, they stood around the pulpit and looked at the four guests who had come early. A couple just came in through the front and Donald rushed to meet them. After asking if they knew the bride or the groom, he sat them down on the appropriate side.

As Donald walked back towards the pulpit the minister came into the hall and walked to him. Only a few feet away Andrew heard some words, but couldn’t make out the meaning of their conversation until Donald rolled his eyes and said, "Fuck." Donald walked behind the pulpit towards the door the minister had come out of. Andrew met him at the door and, leaving the minister in the main chapel hall, closed it behind them as they walked in.

“… If Jeremy doesn’t have it, and I don’t have it, than Kara should have it. Kara has to have it.”

“Have what?” Andrew said.

“The marriage license. Reverend bureaucrat out there won’t perform the ceremony without it.”

Donald stopped at the door Andrew had been pushed out of earlier and knocked. “Ladies, ladies, ladies! Cover your shame, I’m coming in!” He opened the door and caused a few wails.

“Oh please Jocelyn. No one’s interested. Where’s Kara?”

Andrew stood outside with his head turned towards the end of the hallway to avoid any accidental glances, but he listened as Donald asked, “So where is the marriage certificate?"

“Oh shit!”

“Exactly. Now where is it?”

“It’s… um… It’s… at home. It’s back home in the bedroom somewhere.”

“Kara, somewhere is not a place any more than it’s an elephant. If we don’t have the certificate, this thing is cancelled. We go home, and your expensive wedding cake will be divided up with as much joy as you’ll find in a cancer ward.”

Andrew heard some panicked mumblings from Kara, then, “If I was there I would know. It would come to me... I would know where it is if I could just get there and see the bedroom.”

“I guess that’s what we’ll have to do.” From the corner of his eye Andrew saw Donald wave him to come in. He stepped into the room full of women with faces half covered in makeup. Donald’s older cousin smiled at him with a jacket covering her breasts. He waved at her, a little embarrassed, and said, “Hey Jocelyn.”

“Andrew, I know I’ve been asking you for favors all day. I promise I’ll make it up to you, but for now could you do me another favor and drive this woman to her house. The place isn’t that far and your massive vehicle is the only thing in that parking lot of sedans big enough to take this behemoth dress of hers without wrinkling it beyond repair – saving us time putting it back on. Can you take her?”

Andrew looked at Kara, who was looking at him, “Yeah. I’ll do it.”


After getting directions from Donald, Andrew and Kara were on the road towards her house. She spent the first three minutes apologizing for her absent-mindedness. Andrew laughed the whole thing away and reminded her that there was no pressure. “If people have to wait an extra hour they will. Sixty minutes won’t break this day. People are there because they care about you and they’ll be there when we get back with the license. Everything will go smoothly.”

“You think so?”

“Of course. Don’t let your nerves take over.”

He took his eyes off the road for a moment and looked at her with a wide smile, “Just relax.” He looked at the road again, but could hear her breathing slow down.

“You’re right. I’ll get the thing and we’ll head back to the church. Everything will be fine.”


She smiled, “Goodness, you are so sweet. How’d your ex ever let you go?”

“I guess she felt I wasn’t right for her. Not angry about it though, I just miss her. I miss her an awful lot.”

Thank you for downloading this first half of Missing Rib. To purchase the entire story just visit: https://www.alexclermontwrites.com/missing-rib-by-alex-clermont/. Reviews from Amazon are below:

"Missing Rib by @alexclermont is one of the best short stories I've had the pleasure of reading. The writing is reminiscent of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I spent less than two hours with his characters and I miss them as if they were best friends who moved away. Go read it now!"

"I did not want to read this story. Not only am I openly jaded by self-published material, but I am a fantasy/sci-fi geek. What do I want with a "romantic" short story? Does it involve dragons and a sylph? No? Fogettaboutit.

But then I got sucked in, and by the time I finished my coffee I felt myself wanting to cry. How dare he?! How dare the author make me feel this way with his compelling characters and his surprisingly poignant insight into the complications of finding love?

This story made me reminisce about my past forays into relationships and wonder how far one should go not to hurt their significant other. It also made me wish for a clear idea as to what love is; immediate attraction? Perseverance? Loyalty? Magnetism?

Damn you, Alex Clermont. Until you give me a clear answer in your next story, I shall not forgive you. However, for anyone else out there, give this story a shot if you want to FEEL something. What a change."

"This is a bit of a strange take on the "best-friend's girlfriend seduction" theme, but it is well written and convincing. The protagonist seems lost, almost clueless and yet sympathetic. It is short, and worth the read, to learn what goes through the mind of a man who can fall in love so quickly and seduce a best-friend's bride-to-be."

"I was not sure what to think after the first scene, but then it all comes together. I do not want to write too much about the story, but I will say that anyone who has ever met a special person for a brief moment in their life can relate to this story. I suggest that you buy a copy of Missing Rib and try to get lost in it like I did, earlier this afternoon. It has stayed with me in my mind these past few hours. It has reminded of all those moments, those connections, those people in our life that make us who we are. I think Mr. Claremont has a bright future as an author and I am excited to read more from him."

"A break up can make people do crazy things: forage on foods, sleep all day or falling for the wrong people to get over it. Human nature often makes people crave things they can’t or shouldn’t have, indulging in the forbidden.

Alex Clermont dives into this realm in his short story, looking at what could make someone be unfaithful – even on their wedding day.

Clermont’s story is realistic regardless of how you feel about the actions of the characters. The truth is people are complicated, scared and passionate.

When you pull the layers back to reveal all of those emotions, you get a quick tale like Clermont’s, a sensual piece that does not apologize for doing what feels right. It’s a snippet in Andrew’s life, who looks on at his friend’s family life, craving what he didn’t get to have when he was a child.

But you know what he learned? Nothing is perfect. Not the two live birds pictured on top of the cake, not the big family that loves and makes you laugh and not even the perfect girl who you can’t forget about."

"I really enjoyed this short story by Alex Clermont, so much so that I didn't want it to end. Considering its length there is a lot of drama and emotion expressed by the characters from sadness, hurt, guilt, lust and even a little humour.

Andrew, the central character is a very charming man and your heart feels for him. He is getting over a broken relationship, wondering if he'll ever find that special someone, and for a brief moment feels like he has.

It is a well written story and it grabs you from the first page. It's only a short story, approx 33 pages, but it's so engaging that you want it to last longer. I think this story, if expanded, would may a great novel (hint hint). All the characters in this story, are very likeable and it's easy to relate to the emotions they are experiencing."

"What a great story.

I was drawn into the unfolding drama from page 1 and before I knew it, it was over. I would love to have spent another few hours in the company of the very charming Andrew, but that was not to be, unfortunately.

I really enjoyed the story, it made me think about the situation Andrew found himself in, and how I, as the reader reacted to it. It also had me thinking about how we, as adults, get ourselves into the most impossible situations imaginable, and how we have to live with the consequences of those actions.

I am not sure how the author managed to get me involved with the characters in such a short time, but he did an amazing job of it."

"I'm not a fan of short stories. Never have been, never will be. Missing Rib is the very definition of a short story, yet Alex Clermont somehow managed to engage me to the extent that I couldn't tear my eyes away from the book. I was quite happy to read the book in its entirety in one go."

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