The Fairies’ Tails
This tale begins, dear Reader, in the same way as so many tales that have come before, once upon a time. But I must inform you that while this tale does have a happy ending, of sorts, I assure you, you will not like it. You probably shouldn’t even read this story at all if you are a fan of the typical fairy tale fare, where the princess wins the love of her beloved prince, or where the hero returns victorious from his righteous journey. Indeed, it might come as a deeply disturbing revelation that the world of fantasy is really just as dark a place as the world you find yourself living in today. You have been warned.
Once upon a time (you see, I told you), two blorglops were walking together in search of their morning sustenance.
I pause the narrative here for the possibility that you find yourself thinking that you have no idea in the least about anything in the way of the blorglop. If you find you are already familiar with the concept, you may immediately skip to the next paragraph… but for those of you who are still reading this , a blorglop is a sharply intelligent creature that, even though nobody has ever seen one, has been around since the beginning of time. They group together in little families, much like you and yours, and subsist on a diet primarily made up of … you know what, I don’t think it really matters. Just think of them as of those dreadful little hobbit creatures except covered from head to toe in fur and possessing sharper teeth.
The two blorglops, one bigger than the other, as one was the father and the other his son, walked on all fours with their noses to the ground, which is how they search for their food, because as everyone knows, blorglops have a most impressive sense of smell. The young blorglop looked to his father and asked, “Blogosk oporfolo cskint apoly” (sorry, I suppose i should translate) “father, could you tell me again the story of how the fairy’s lost their tails?”
“I’ve told you that story a thousand times. Don’t you ever get tired of it.” The older blorglop stood upright and then plopped down onto his large backside with a thud that shook the bush he had sat down next to.
The young blorglop sat down next to the bush as well, imitating the exact motion his father had made moments before. He was slightly disappointed when he failed to make the bush shake as his father had. After getting over his slight disheartening, he turned to his father. “No, Father. I love that story. I will never grow tired of it. Oh, please tell it to me again.”
“Oh, very well. It all happened a long time ago, in the very land we live in today. Fairy’s looked very much then like they do today, tiny humans, but with wings that could carry them about, and skin that would sparkle and glow when they were happy or excited. There was just one slight difference. Fairies had long slender tails, much like that of common house mice, but they were covered in fine white hair that was so soft to the touch that you would think you were feeling the most expensive of materials.
“One morning the king of the fairy’s was out taking his usual morning flight, when he came upon a blorglop laying on the ground clutching his stomach. Although our kind are normally nice and round, this particular blorglop was unsettlingly thin. The King of the fairy’s had never seen one of our kind before, as we are excellent at staying hidden, so he implored, “Tell me creature, what are you?”
““Oh, Sir,” said the emaciated one, “I am a blorglop, and a very hungry one at that.”
“The king ordered two of his stewards, who had accompanied him on his morning flight, to go and pick some of the choicest berries from the bushes of the fairy people. They flew away and returned in no-time with great big strawberries, and blueberries the size of your eyes, and all manner of sweet fruits too magnificent to recite. The hungry blorglop ate quickly, the juices running down his chin in rivulets. When finished, the thankful blorglop turned to the Fairy King, “who are you that has been so kind to such a pitiful creature as myself?”
"“He is none other than the King of all the Fairies,” one of the king’s stewards answered for him.
““The blorglop seemed puzzled. He scratched his fuzzy head with his juice covered claws before asking, “He’s the king?”
““Of all the fairy people?”
“The king came forward, “I am the same. Tell me, creature, why do you seem so perplexed?”
“The blorglop thought for a moment and then responded, “Your tail. It is just … so plain.”
“Our king has one of the most splendid tails in all the land,” the steward stammered out in defense of his king.
“”Oh, please. I mean no offense,” the blorglop said, realizing he had offended at least the steward, if not the KIng himself. “It’s just, if i had a tail as fantastic as yours and access to the bounty of fruits you seem to have at your fingertips, well …” The blorglop reached out and plucked the king from air. Instantly the stewards jumped to defend their king, but something in the way the blorglop handled him caused the king to tell his men to stand down. The blorglop brought his finger to his chin where the juice had run down and then ran it along the length of the king’s tail. In the places where the blorglop’s finger had touched, there was left a fine red streak. The blorglop brought his finger to his chin again, and repeated the action, but this time there was a streak of blue that seemed to wrap itself around the streak of red.
“As he released the king from his grip, the king pulled his tail forward to get a better look and was very pleased with what he saw. “I thank you sir blorglop, this is a thought that has never occured to me. Please, visit us whenever you would like.
““Indeed, I shall,” responded the blorglop, smiling wide.
“With that, the King and his stewards flew home. Once there, the first thing the king did was order his artisans to gather berries and fruits of all colors and create all of the different colors they possibly could. He was pleased when they brought him swaths of deep crimson red, emerald green, burning orange, bright yellow, deep purple, and many more. The next step was for them to come up with a color scheme that would be worthy of a king. It took the artisans a month, but they finally brought a design to the king that left him speechless. “This is what I want,” he declared. “This is a tail, worthy of a king.”
“The king’s brother, who had already been racked with jealousy since the day he learned that his brother was to take the throne someday, had been watching all of the planning going on since the day it began. He started to have great misgivings about letting the king carry on with his plan, but he knew that once the king got an idea in his head, he would be powerless to stop it. Still, he felt he had to try. He brought his worries to the king one morning, but the king only scoffed at him.
“How can this possibly pose any conceivable threat at all?”
“I don’t know,” the king’s brother responded, “there is just something that doesn’t seem right about all of this.”
“The king not only ignored his brother, but also decided that there must be a grand unveiling. He had his stewards gather up the entirety of the fairy people and bring them to the king’s palace. Once everyone had been assembled, the king appeared on the stage at the top of the palace steps with a cloth covering his tail. “Thank you for coming fellow fairy folk. I am so pleased to see you all bright and shining today.” Indeed they were all bright and shining, based on the fact of their skin, mentioned earlier, and indeed they were all very excited. “As fairy folk, we have always been leaps and bounds ahead in the area of creativity, and I have discovered a new and most excellent mode for us to express our creativity going ahead.”
“He pulled the cloth away to an audible gasp. The fairies were amazed at the sight of the kings new tail. The base of his tail was a mixture of dark colors that gradually lightened as the eye followed upward, turning to many bright colors that spun around and around separating into thin, delicate tendrils that traveled under and over each other in a playful dance and then seemingly exploded into new and brighter colors as they reached the end of the appendage.
“The crowd was silent for a few moments, until a huge uproar exploded in favor of the king’s new tail. The king looked on as his admirers kept the applause alive. From the side of the stage, the king's brother came to him and whispered in his ear.
“Please brother. You must listen to me. Stop this madness now, or this will not end well. Tell them that this was a one time thing, not to be emulated. Please, brother, listen to me.”
“The king ignored his brother’s warning and instead turned to speak to him. “Do you hear how they love me? I shall give the people something more to cheer for. I shall be the greatest king that ever lived.” The king put his hands in the air to indicate that the applause must come to an end, that he had something further to say. The crowd slowly quieted. “Furthermore, colors, the very same as have been made to create what you see before you, shall be supplied so that all of my people may express themselves in like fashion. We shall be the envy of all other fairy kingdoms. We shall be remembered forever."
“The king’s brother stepped in front of the king, and put his own arms up. The crowd quieted again. “Please, I, as the king’s brother, love my people just as much as he. I want us to be envied, and to be remembered, but this is not the way. Please, I have tried to tell the king that I do not feel right about this, I can't put my finger on why it is, but if this goes on, I just know it will end badly. Please -”
“Before he could finish, he was roughly seized by the arms and dragged across the stage to be thrown down before the king.
“Brother,” the king began looking into the eyes of his sibling. “I have tried to be kind, I have tried to be loving to you, but you have betrayed me in this. You have not just hurt me as a brother, but you have betrayed me as a subject, and I cannot allow that to pass.” He turned to his guards. “Take him away. Throw him in the dungeon until I deem him worthy to be released.”
“As the guards dragged his brother away, the king shed a tear, for he truly did love his sibling. He grieved for a few days, but his heart was helped when he would see his subjects going about their daily business with tails colored with the most
exquisitely beautiful colors his artisans could produce.
“There were those, however, that sided with the king’s brother, and refused to color their tails. The king was not a fool, and he could see that this was causing a rift in the kingdom, but he also knew that he could not back down in this. As the days progressed, roughly half of the kingdom was made up of colored tails, and the other half still refused. The non-colored tails were starting to be persecuted against. They were beaten, or kicked out of their own family bush, and forced to find a life elsewhere.
“One day, when the violence in the land was becoming unbearable, one of the king’s stewards brought him the news that there were rumbles of an uprising. “Your brother's followers sir, have demanded his release,and have sent word that they are ready to start a war if their demands are not answered.
“The kings tail was still as colorful as ever, but his mind had become clouded with dark thoughts. He had always wanted to be loved, and the fact that half the kingdom was now against him, made him harsh and quick to judgement. “If they are whispering war, I will shout it from the rooftops. Prepare my troops, for tomorrow, we put an end to this impudence once and for all.
“With the troops prepared, the king slept uneasily, but not so uneasily that he noticed a stirring in his land during the small hours of early morning. He awoke to the horrified screaming of his people. They cried out to him for help. The king went to the window expecting to see his land crawling with the fighting non-colored tails, but instead, the only thing he saw was a blorglop holding a bucket filled to the brim with his colored-tail subjects. The blorglop poured the bucketful of screaming, crying fairies into a giant basket affixed to a wheeled cart which appeared to close to full. The king, horrified, was further disheartened to realize that it was the same blorglop that he had fed so many days before. The king flew as quick as he could to confront the blorglop.
“Why are you doing this?” The king yelled. “I saved you, I fed you.”
“And for that I am eternally grateful and will allow you to live in return, but you see, I am a blorglop, and as a blorglop, my diet primarily consists of your fairy folk. Normally, my kind go out every morning and quietly go about sniffing out your kind to provide us with sustenance. We are very secretive and as such, have been able to exist outside of your knowledge. The problem is, you see, and the reason I was starving that day you found me, is that I have lost my sense of smell. I hadn’t been able find a thing to eat in days, and had given up and accepted my lot. Then you came along, and so graciously provided me with what I could not provide for myself. Now, of course, I knew that that one meal would not last long at all, so I came up with an idea that would help me eat in the future. So, as you can see, with all the colored tails sticking out like sore thumbs, I don’t have to be able to sniff you out to find you, and I now have enough to last me as long as I am alive.”
“When the blorglop stopped talking, the king hung his head low. He realized that his brother had been right. The whole thing was a set up, and in his desire to be loved by his people, he doomed them to a most miserable fate. Without another word, the king flew to the cage, and to the blorglop’s surprise, threw himself in to be with his people, and suffer the same fate as them.
“After that day, the king’s brother became the new king of the remaining fairies, and in an effort to make sure that this never happened again, he decreed that all fairy’s must lose their tail at birth, and that, my son, is how the fairies lost their tails.”
"The young blorglop, with a look of concentration on his face reached into the bush and pulled out a screaming fairy. The fairy’s scream was muffled as the young blorglop pushed the fairy into his mouth, and stopped altogether as it was replaced with the sounds of popping flesh and crunching bones. The young blorglop attempted to ask his father why the fairy’s thought that not having tails would make them safer, but instead accidently shot a spray of fairy juice out onto the ground.
“Son, haven’t I taught you not to speak with your mouth full?” Even though he hadn’t technically heard what his son was asking, he was able to intuit what his question must have been, as he had asked it every time he was told the story. “The answer to that question is very simple. You see son, fairies are extremely stupid”
So that, dear reader, is my tale in full. You may now be wondering, what do we learn from this? The moral, my friend, if there indeed is one to be found, must be to not follow some thick headed leader who thinks he has all the answers. He may or may not have your best intentions in mind. Above all, think for yourself, and follow no man blindly. Not even me.
Later that Night
His phone lights up. Half asleep, he looks at it. A text from Theresa.
“This can’t be,” he thinks. “Something is wrong.” The phone stirs again. Antother text.
I need to feel you inside of me.
He shoots out of bed and looks out the window. The dirt over her shallow grave has been disturbed. There is a soft knock at his bedroom door. It opens slowly.
Love is Exhausting
Love is cyclical, constantly evovling and revolving around an object capable of killing or sustaining
Prometheus Had it Good
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
I remained too much inside my head and ended up losing my mind.
-Edgar Allan Poe
When you come to, you are staring at a wall with one of those alphabet posters hanging a little askew. A Doctor is sitting at his desk to your right. you can tell he is a doctor, mostly because he is wearing a white jacket and a has a stethoscope hanging off of his shoulders. You turn your head toward him without consciously trying to, and hear yourself utter the words, “are you sure?” You keep staring at him, but you cannot for your life figure out why.
“Do you have any questions?” he asks you.
Um, yes, you think. For one, who are you, and for that matter, who the hell am I? You have no idea how you got into this office, or where you were before you got here Instead, you hear your tiny voice tell him “no,” and then you get up and walk out the door. What the hell is wrong with me, you wonder as you try to turn back and ask your questions, but you keep moving on, as if being compelled by some unseen force.. You enter the elevator, then blink, and all of a sudden you're walking out onto the streets of an enormous city, and you realize that you have no idea what city it is. You find it odd that you have absolutely no memory of actually riding the elevator or even of walking through the lobby that led to the door to get outside. You're also still wondering what the hell you were asking the doctor if he were sure about.
You have another lapse in consciousness, and come to, driving a car. You have no idea where you're going, but your hands and feet seem to have a pretty good idea as they are practically moving on their own. What the hell is going on, you try to scream out , but instead, you remain completely silent as your hand reaches over to turn on the stereo. A song about brown leaves and grey skies comes on and now you are pulling out a cigarette and shoving it into your mouth. You didn’t even know you were a smoker. You certainly weren’t craving it at all.
Another lapse, and now you're walking into someone’s messy apartment. “Honey, I’m home,” you yell out involuntarily. As you are wondering who this honey you mentioned could be, you begin walking across the living room. You're starting to hear noise coming from the bedroom. It sounds like grunting, and … oh, that’s definitely a lady in there with the grunter. You're thinking you should probably turn right back around and give them some privacy, but as is apparently the normal for today, your body ignores your wishes, and you walk right into the very room the noises are coming from. On the bed in front of you, are two people you have never seen before tangled together and writhing to the tempo of their moans. They don’t even notice you standing there watching them. You feel very awkward and really want to apologize for walking in on them, but instead, you stand there for a few more moments, unnoticed before finally turning around, and shutting the door behind you.
Then, you are in the living room, staring at pictures of the woman from the bedroom, except fully clothed, with a man that is not the man from the bedroom. You catch the reflection of your face in the glass, and wouldn't you know it, it's the same face as the man in the picture that you have absolutely no recollection of ever taking. You hear a high pitched scream of pleasure coming from the bedroom. You put the photo back and …
...there is another leap in time and you are now walking on the sidewalk. To your left you see a sign that that suggests you are now at Central Park. How the hell did I get here, you wonder. The next thing you know, you are walking a path in with trees all around you. You see a bridge ahead, and you realize it is starting to get dark. I should turn around you think. Even though you feel a sinking dread, deep in the pit of your stomach, you continue on unhindered. As you enter the shadow of the bridge, a figure appears on the other side. Turn around! You scream in your mind, but your body shows no sign of paying attention to you.
Instead, you hear yourself whimper, “Who are you?”
The figure doesn’t answer, but you see he is holding a revolver in his right hand, and it is aiming at you. Run, goddamnit!Turn your stupid ass around and get the fuck out of here! Your body continues ignoring you. What the fuck is wrong with you!
Just when you feel that the dread is becoming unbearable, there is a loud bang, followed by a flash from the muzzle of the man’s gun. You feel the bullet tear into you, and it stops to reside somewhere in you gut. You cover the wound with both hands, as blood pours out over them. You fall to your knees, and then the world turns as you hit your side. The man who shot you turns and walks away, as if this was just one last chore he needed to take care of before heading home.
Hey, you try to scream out. Why did you do this? Who are you? Who am I? Why the fuck am I here? Yet with all the screaming you are doing in your mind, you remain silent.. As you lay there with your life flowing out of you, you begin to wonder what you did to deserve this. If your body won’t listen to anything you are telling it to do, why do you have to be the one feeling the pain. This isn’t fair. You didn’t ask for any of this. You didn’t ask to be born just to die alone and in darkness under a bridge.
They say that your life is supposed to flash before your eyes when you are about to die, but you have no memories of anything before waking up in that damn doctor’s office. As you think this, your world goes black. You hear music come out of nowhere, as if an unembodied band has begun to play out the end of your life. That’s when you see something appear out of the blackness. It’s… words.
A short film by Alec Grafton
You have absolutely no idea what to make of this. As you try to understand, the words disappear and you are left in the darkness. You realize that you may be dead, but you are still conscious. Is this Hell? Is this what the afterlife is? Is this the fate everyone must eventually resign themselves to? Is this the inevitable end that comes to all living things? You are left in the darkness, contemplating your existence, and what this all means. Time continues to move on, but you have no idea how long it has been. An hour, a day, a week. Time is a lost concept to you in the black void.
When you come to, you are staring at a wall with one of those alphabet posters hanging a little askew.
Tim was woken by the screams of his girlfriend’s son for what seemed like the thousandth time that night. In actuality it was four, but what the hell was this kid’s problem? It had been two years since Tim had moved in and the kid had started sleeping on his own. It’s not like he was afraid of the dark, as he had a nightlight that nearly lit up the whole damn room. Tim looked at his soundly sleeping girlfriend, a little jealous of her ability to sleep through the racket, and nudged her in the small of her back.
“He’s doing it again,” he intoned in a way that he hoped would get the point across that it was her turn to deal with him this time.
“He just wants some attention.” she started snoring as soon as she stopped speaking.
He nudged her in the back again, maybe a little harder than he meant to. He had a way of letting his strength get out of control when he was irritated. She flipped around to look him in the eyes.
“You know he needs some male attention. He just needs you to go in there and show him how to be a man. Do you think that is something I am capable of doing? And hey,” she gave a sly smile while reaching over, cupping her hand under his balls, and rubbing gently “maybe i’ll make it worth your while. Maybe while your gone, I might lose my panties, and need your help to find them.”
Tim exhaled. She flipped back over, knowing she had won.
“Alright, but you better be awake when I get back.” He grunted as he sloughed off the blanket and stepped out of bed. He knew she’d be asleep when he returned, just like he knew that wouldn’t stop him from getting what he wanted.
“I can already feel them slipping off,” he heard her say sleepily as he walked into the hallway.
Ben had no idea what was taking so long for someone to come. He had been screaming for over ten minutes, and felt his throat starting to get a little scratchy. He was sitting in up in his bed, with his back against the headboard and his blanket pulled up to his nose. He eyes were pinned to the closet. The door was open wide enough for him to see the darkness within, that even the nightlight wouldn't touch. What was worse, was that he knew it had been closed. His mother had seen to it herself when she tucked him in. He had woken several times earlier that night because of a nightmare he had been having. Tim came in to check on him those times, and the door had still been closed. It was the last time he woke up. That was the time that it wasn't the nightmare, but instead the small steady creak of the door opening on its own. But Ben, knew that that wasn't true, because doors don't open on their own. Someone opened it, or rather, something. Please come, please come, please come, was the only thing going through his frightened little mind as he let out another piercing scream.
The Skin Slipper:
It could hear the child screaming above him. That was okay; it was very patient. It had, afterall, waited this long to make it's move. It had been waiting, watching, planning. It couldn't remember when it had emerged from the darkness of where it came from, and into the different darkness of the corner it had been hiding in. What it did remember, was that the child was already out there when it arrived. He had his own space, with things that all belonged to him. There were no greater, more ferocious beings, unseen by the child floating around, waiting to devour him. No, this place was very different than the darkness that it had come from. This place was better.
It watched as the child played in the light with his stiff figures, shaped to resemble smaller versions of the kind of being the child and the others were. The child would spend a long time staring at his strange flat pictures that had been bound together, or putting color onto things with little sticks. When the light went away, It witnessed the one the child called mommy, coming in and kissing the child on the cheek as she covered him up, and stroked the top of his head. She made a stange but comforting noise, that made the child close his eyes, most of the time, until the light came back. It wished that the mommy would make that noise for it instead. It longed to be touched. It began to feel anger toward the child, and this was when it decided that everything that was the child's would belong to it. All it had to do was wait, and remain unseen.
There were times that it was sure child may had seen it, or at least sensed that it was there. But the mommy and the Tim didn't ever seem to believe. It was such an excellent hider that they never did see it when they checked to placate the child, even when it was right under their nose. The mommy was usually pretty good at closing off the space where the boy stayed from the space that held his garments, but it had gotten pretty good at opening it back up. Sometimes, he did this with no problem, but other times, like tonight, the child had come awake, and screamed for the mommy, or for the Tim. When this happened, it would sit in the corner, and watch the child, as the child watched back.
Although the child was staring at the closet, it was no longer there. It had slithered under the child's bed, before the first scream had been issued. The child had stopped screaming for a few moments. It felt that the child had grown weary of it, and was now mearly waiting, and watching. It slithered from under the child's bed, but on the side opposite the closet, so that the child would not see the slowly rising wispy tendril slipping silently toward him. Before the child could even comprehend that anything had happened, it was over. The child was no more. It had devoured and replaced the child's mind.
Tim opened the door slowly, as to not frighten the kid anymore than he already seemed to be. As he looked in, the kid was sitting silently on his bed with his blanket in a crumple around his legs. The kid turned to look at him with a blank stare, but didn't say anything.
"Hey there, little man. Everything alright?"
The kid tried to speak but nothing came out. He swallowed and tried again. "I ... I think I just had a nightmare again. I'm sorry."
"You know what? That's okay. You good?"
"I am now," said the kid, as he laid down and went back to sleep.
The bells above the the entryway jingled as Travis opened the door to Mortimer’s Antiques, Collectables, and Oddities. The warm musty smell that rushed out the door took him a little bit by surprise, but he quickly acclimated and stepped inside. The closing door caused the bells to sound off again behind him. Travis glanced around the dimly lit shop noticing shelves stacked with books, figurines, and an assorted collection of junk, that in his mind he guessed could pass for antiques on a good day. The woman behind the counter lifted her horn-rimmed glasses and squinted in his direction for a moment before turning back to her magazine with a slight grunt.
What the heck am I doing here? Travis wondered. He had passed this shop everyday for the last two years as he walked to and from his usual cafe for lunch, but he had never actually gone in in. Hell, he barely even noticed its existence until about a week ago. Today was different somehow. As he passed the shop like he usually did, he felt an urgency rise up in him. He couldn’t explain it if he was asked, but he felt like his destiny somehow depended on going inside.
As he walked deeper into the shop, he noticed how eerily quiet it was. Not only was there not a single other shopper in the store, but even the usual noises of the city seemed to have been drowned out. He passed several tables filled with odd knick knacks, things he couldn’t possibly see how anyone could find useful. The feeling inside told him that what he was looking for was farther on. He was drawn on into the store, past several more tables and then around a bend of shelves, until the lady at the desk was now obstructed from his view.
That’s when he saw it. On the table directly in front of Travis, was a pile of garbage, but on top was something right out the story books his nanny used to read him as a child. It was an old oil lamp. He thought briefly of Ali Baba and the forty thieves as well as the rest of the Arabian Nights tales he remembered. He smiled, “you have got to be kidding me.” He chuckled softly and wondered if the old lady in front had heard him talking to himself. Without much thought, he reached forward and picked it up, stared at it for a moment, then gave it a little rub. Of course, nothing happened. He really didn’t know what what he expected; he knew that stories were nothing but make-believe, created by people with nothing better to do with their time.
He was placing the lamp back on table and turning to leave when a strange old man in a black suit and bow-tie walked right up to him. “Nice little piece you were admiring there, don’t you think?” The man smiled, spreading wide his pencil thin mustache.
“Huh, oh yeah, kind of reminded me of when i was kid.” Travis tried to step forward and expected that the man would move aside to let him through, but the man held his place, as if he hadn’t even noticed that Travis had taken the step.
“Amazing how things have a way of doing that, right? I mean, it’s almost a kind of magic, in my opinion, a type of time travel if you will.”
“Look man,” Travis said trying not to sound annoyed, “I’m actually on my lunch break, and I haven’t even eaten yet, so if you will please excuse me.”
“Oh, by all means,” the suited man said almost apologetically, “it’s just that i was summoned and it would be very rude of me if I wasn’t to at least offer my services.” He stepped aside to let Travis pass through.
Travis looked at the strange man, and shook his head. “Look man, I’m not sure how I summoned you,” he held up his hands in air quotes as he said the word summoned, “but I didn’t mean to. You seem very eager to help, and it seems like you don’t get many visitors in this dump, so sorry, but i have to go.”
Travis took a couple of steps, but what the man said next stopped him in his tracks. “Perfectly right you are sir, but it was you who did rub the lamp, so …” the suited man left the sentence dangling in the air.
“Okay, man that’s a good one.” Travis smiled wide and let out a laugh. What a strange dude. “Are you trying to say that me rubbing that lamp summoned you? What, is there some kind buzzer that goes off in the back room when someone touches that thing?”
“Oh, no sir. Nothing so primitive.” The suited man pulled out a stool that Travis didn’t even realize was there, and took a seat. “What exactly is your experience with lamps, if you don’t mind me asking of course?”
As annoying as Travis had found the man a moment ago, he was now kind of enjoying playing along with him. The man was obviously a crazy old coot, and nobody would ever say that Travis didn’t like to placate the crazies so he would have a story to tell when he got back to the office.”Well sir, in all of the stories I ever heard that involved a lamp, there was usually a magical being called a genie that would come out and grant you three wishes. Am i to assume that is what you are saying you are?”
Well, I suppose if I have to be called something, Genie would be as right as any other. However, the whole three wish business is actually a bit of a misconception. I actually only have the power to grant you one wish, and that wish, unfortunately, must be of a specific sort.”
This guy is seriously off his rocker, Travis thought ecstatically. He was definitely going to have a story to tell the guys today. “So, what sort of wish are you allowed to grant?”
The suited man crossed one leg over the other and placed his folded hands onto his knee. “Well, you see, I’m only allowed to grant a wish if it solves a problem. Simple as that.”
“Simple as that?” Travis repeated as a question.
The old man smiled again, but this time there seemed to be something a little more sinister hiding underneath it. “Indeed.”
Travis thought for a moment. He had to get going, but there was a something inside him that wanted to see how far this charade would go, so he continued.
“Well, you see, Mr. Genie, Sir. I’m already a very wealthy man, as i’m sure you can tell by my suit. These shoes, pure italian leather, very expensive. I have a car, a mansion on the outskirts of town, and my choice of women just waiting to have one night out on the town with me, but the thing is, I still get lonely sometimes. I could use someone to be around at all times. Now, there is this sweet little number, a nurse, that eats most days at the same cafe I frequent. Pouty lips, big old tits, and it’s a shame she has to cover her nice long legs with the scrubs the hospital forces her to wear. It would be solving my loneliness problem, to always have her at my place, at my beck and call, and waiting on me hand and foot.” Travis shuddered with pleasure from the fantasy he had just concocted.
The old man closed his eyes and leaned his head forward, as if in deep contemplation of Travis’s request. After a moment, he lifted his head again and opened his eyes. Another smile spread across his face. “You know, I believe there is a problem that can be solved here.” You shall have as you have asked.”
“Don’t you mean my wish had been granted?” Travis smirked.
“Sure,” said the suited man.
“Alright man,” travis turned to leave and raised his hand in farewell, “It was good to meet you.” The suited man didn’t respond as Travis thought he might, so he turned to look at the man once more, but the man was no longer there. Weird, Travis thought. A moment later, Travis heard the bells ringing again as he walked out onto the sidewalk. A few moments after that, he was crossing the street, when all of a sudden everything went black.
Travis awoke, staring at the ceiling of his own bedroom. He tried to sit up but found he couldn’t move. He became aware of a methodic beeping sound. It sounded like a … he tried to turn his head but couldn’t move that either. He looked as far to the left as he could and he thought he saw the blur of a hospital machine just out of his line of sight. He shifted his eyes to the right and saw a massive arrangement of flowers. What the hell is going on, he tried to yell, but nothing came out.
“Oh my goodness, You are awake! Your doctor will be so happy.”
Travis didn’t recognize the voice, but then her face came into view, and he knew exactly who it was. It was the nurse he had told the strange suited man about. Seriously, what the hell is going on here, again, nothing came out.
"I just want to let you know Mr. Travis, that I am so sorry you were hit by that bus. They said it was a miracle you were alive, even if completely paralyzed. I would never wish that on anybody. But I must say, you have been the answer to my prayers. You see, I am a single mother of two, and even though my job at the hospital was a very good job, they were about to lay me off along with several other nurses. They had given us time to find a new job, and my time was almost up. So, when I was told that the your estate was hiring a full time, at home nurse for you, and at the salary they were offering, oh well, I applied right away. Again, I hate what happened to you but i am a big believer that everything happens for a reason. I guess you could say, sir, you are the God sent solution to my problem. Now you keep yourself comfortable, and don’t worry your head one little bit. I’m going to take the best care of you. I will be at your beck and call. I am going to wait on you hand and foot. Oh, I’m so happy you’re awake. I’m going to call the doctor right now.
Even though he could not move a muscle, Travis began laughing, and couldn’t stop.
Fair is Fair
Peter gripped the steering wheel as if his life depended on it. His white knuckles peered back at him intently from 10 and 2. He stared out at the road, the high beams cutting through the darkeness, lighting up the highway ahead. His mouth was dry and he couldn’t seem to think straight. It was all he could do to keep his focus on not letting the car swerve back and forth. In reality it had only been about thirty seconds since those words had irrrevocably come out of his wife’s mouth, but to him, it felt like time had slowed down to a crawl.
“Did you hear what I said?” she asked, as if she had just told him the time of day instead of shattering his heart to peices.
“Leslie, I ... I just don’t know how to repond to that,” he practically choked out.
“Well, be that as it may, I am not happy anymore. If I was happy, I never would have done what I did.”
Peter heared Leslie’s cellphone vibrate from inside her purste. In a matter of seconds, she had her phone in her hands. While she was focused on the phone, he took a moment to glance at her. The light from her phone revealed a face that held no visable emotion at all.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Peter and Leslie had met three years previous, and their relationship could only be described as a whirlwind. They had been introduced by a common friend and from the very first date became inseperable. Even though they lived in adjoining towns, she worked close to where he lived and she took every possible chance to end up at his place. He didn’t mind at all, and before long, it was decided that she was there so often that she should just move in. Peter knew that he had never been happier than he was at that time, so even though he had never thought he wanted to get married, he decided to propose. He had selected the perfect place, found the perfect ring, and had written the perfect speech, so when she didn’t immediatly reply he found himself very confused.
“It’s just...” Leslie began, “what if we aren’t really meant for eachother? What if we are ruining things for the people we are really supossed to be with?”
Leslie said this with a huge smile on her face, so Peter knew instantly she was only playing with him, trying to keep him in suspense. He decided to play along.
“Well, what do we do about this then?”
Leslie reached into her pocket and took out a silver coin. “I say we keep things fair. How about we let fate decide. She into into his eyes with a smile he knew he would remember for the rest of his life, and flipped the coin.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Do you love him?” It came out as a mere whisper. It was a simple question, but he wasn’t really sure she wanted to know the answer.
She closed her eyes and her phone fell to her lap. She slowly exhaled, as if she was considering her words very carefully.
“I don’t know.” she finally answered. “He definetley had something I needed, something you haven’t been able to provide in a long time. I don’t know if I want to be with him. I only know that I don’t want to be with you.”
Even before he knew what he was doing, His right hand shot down between them releasing both of their seatbelts at the same time. The seatbelt alarm began ringing, creating an audible quality to the alarm he saw in her face.
“What are you doing?” She screamed at him.
He stared into her eyes, with a smile he knew she would remember for the rest of her life.
“I’m going to keep things fair. Let’s let fate decide.”
He let go of the wheel and slammed his foot down on the gas. The car kept going straight for a few moments, until it hit a bump which sent them carreening across the median, into the path of an oncoming semi.
A Big Fat Suck of Life (A Fact of Fiction)
How many times can a heart be broken
before it begins to die?
How many times can you face rejection
till you start to wonder why?
I believe the word amazing was what
you had said so many times.
Then, from your text came the words "I'm sorry."
'twas a bitter hill to climb.
What can I say? I fell for you, harder
then you must have done for me.
I can't imagine what made you so scared,
That you felt you had to flee.
I know I will get over you, as I
oft' have had to do before.
But the time that we shared was so special,
it will sting a while more.
The office, usually the tidiest room of her house, seems to have been turned inside out. Everything that once adorned the desk has fallen in a heap on the floor. Little Dylan sits at the desk clacking away on the keys of her laptop, unknowing that what he is typing makes no sense at all. She sits beneath the desk trying to crunch the list of numbers for the presentation she must give in an hour. The babysitter has already called to say that she is going to be about twenty minutes late. That is twenty of the thirty minutes she had planned to work baby free.
The phone is ringing again and with the position she has contorted herself into, it may be impossible to get up at all today let alone answer the phone before the machine picks up. She hears the click and her own familiar greeting as the machine kicks on. It’s probably not her ex-husband, he hasn’t called in over two months, and she prays to God that it is not the babysitter again.
When she hears the voice of the mystery person, she doesn’t immediately recognize it, although she is sure she knows who it is. It’s definitely not the babysitter, which is good. The voice she hears sounds ragged, tired, and defeated. Finally it clicks. It’s her boss. Of all the people it could have been, she did not think it would be him.
“Stop whatever you are doing right now,” he says, “When you can, come to the office. We need to talk.”
***Written in a 2008 Creative writing class. Prompt was a picture in which every object mentioned in the story was present.***
The bird launches from its perch in the tree and shoots across the pond, quickly disappearing from view. The park is peaceful and the picnic Tom has prepared has been set up according to plan. He knows she will show up any moment now. The item he plans to give her is neatly tucked into the bottom of the basket. The dishes, all of her favorites, sit covered in blue saran wrap. The champagne is chilling in the ice bucket. Everything is laid out meticulously on one of his mother’s antique quilts. It’s the one Samantha said she liked the best.
Tom, on the other hand, seems strangely out of place. His sweaty forehead glistens in the sunlight. His breathing seems almost choked. He can’t decide whether to sit or stand, so he ends up in a position half-way between the two with his hands resting on his knees in an awkward fashion. He licks his unusually dry lips and tries to swallow, but something seems to be blocking the flow of saliva. The moment everyone has been waiting for is almost here, and with every tick of his watch, it draws even closer.. What her answer will be makes no difference to him, but the idea that his mother might stop nagging him about it is a jubilant thought. He can imagine the look on her face, the rapture that would envelope the rest of her.. His father would have the proof he needed to freely imagine the possibility of a grandchild to carry the family name into the future. Gifts of every sort will be lavished on him and his intended from the many branches of his wealthy family. Members of this exclusive clan, who refuse to give him the time of day now, might open up to his latest insights into their investment opportunities. All that, plus what her side would bring to the table.
He looks at his watch again. She’s five minutes late. His anxiety-addled mind begins to relax a little. He realizes he is starving. Perhaps a nibble or two wouldn’t hurt anything. He sits down, pulls the wrap off of the closest dish and begins to eat.
By the time he is full, the watch announces that she is a full thirty minutes behind schedule. “She isn’t coming,” he tells the empty space around him. He gives a little laugh as he lies back, resting his head on the fringe of his mother’s quilt. Finally, he can breathe. He hears the silence all around him, occasionally broken by children’s laughter, as the cool breeze gently brushes through his hair. “This,” he thinks, “is serenity.”
***Written in a 2008 creative writing class. The Prompt was "Serenity."***