HO HO, UH-OH

crazy santa claus

Tis the season … well, what can I say. Here is a little Flash Fiction I did to bring the holiday in. Hope you like it.

Ho Ho . . . Uh-Oh.

By

L.M. David

The acrid smell of smoke woke Martha. Coughing, she shoved her husband. The rotund male roused, startled. Sitting up, he, too, coughed. Hopping out of bed, he shoved on his slippers and then robe, tying the belt around his portly form as he walked.

White smoke billowed in, drawn inside when he opened the door. The heat made his rosy cheeks redder, giving them a rich cherry glow behind his white beard and mustache. For a chubby individual, he was at the end of the hall in the blink of an eye. Smoke greeted him when entering the room, the cloud thinning quickly. Frigid arctic air slapped his face and snow drifted in through the open windows. Scattered around the room were diminutive men dressed in soot covered green tops and leggings that once were brilliant red and white in horizontal stripes. And the bells hanging from the toe end of their shoes that curled in a backward ‘C-shape’ jingled as they hurried around. Those closest to the door looked when rotund man’s arrived, their startled smudged faces going blank.

Background voices shouted, arcs of water hit the ceiling while foam spewed from hand held fire extinguishers and clung to the walls.

“What’s this?” The man demanded, eyes scanning the activities. “Are the reindeer okay?”

“Yes, they’re fine,” an elf answered.

“As for this,” the elf closest to him pointed around, “it’s a long story, Mr. Kringle.”

Kris’s blue eyes went from the charred remnants of a sleigh to a conveyer belt where burnt, soggy sludge sat. He then glanced at the ceiling, its blacken state, and flames still biting into it. Wiggling an index finger at the elf who’d spoken, Kringle urged the man to come closer. Reluctantly, he did. “What’s your name?”

“Fred.”

“Fred?” Kringle’s bushy brow arched. “What happen? How’d this fire start?”

The elf twisted the end of his shirt around a finger.

“It all began with our deciding to review the naughty and nice list to be sure we didn’t miss anything. Jackson,” he jerked a finger at the elf behind him, “stumbled on a request we missed from Peter Von Pelter —”

“Blame the intake clerk …” interrupted a loud voice. The big man didn’t know who said it or the direction it came from.

“Especially since Peter’s been good this year,” another voice yelled over the noise.

“Jackson,” Fred resumed, “passed the list to Norman who’s cranky over losing a week’s pay at the annual poker game. Norman gave the list to Gabriel . . .” he stopped when Kringle furrowed a brow. “Long story short, after several more pass alongs, the request found its way to Aston.”

The look of “let’s move this conversation along” swept over the Kringle’s face when yet another elf spoke.

“Peter Von Pelter,” the new arrival said, “had only one thing on his list … to see a fireworks display.”

“Peter lives in an orphanage . . .” another voice shouted over the bobbing heads.

“I get it.” Kringle sighed, “Now, what about the fire?”

“Well,” Fred re-entered the conversation, “none of us knew how to make fireworks. So we called HR, instead of disturbing you, to find out what to do. They said they had a candidate and sent Aston because, according to his resume, he belonged to ELF and listed pyrotechnics as his specialty.”

“He did this?” the big man asked. Fred nodded. “Where is he? Bring him to me.”

Turning, Fred shouted, “Bring Aston front and center.”

The elves parted, shoving a taller than average male through the gap. Kringle’s eyes widened a bit. Aston stood five ten, a foot taller than the typical elf. The closer he got, the less he looked like he belonged. His ears were normal, not pointed; he had a nine o’clock shadow, wore sunshades despite being indoors, and gnawed a toothpick protruding out the corner of his mouth.

“You’re,” Kringle said, “no elf.”

“Duh,” the man responded, sounding like a New York mob boss. “Whatsit to ya?”

“Sir, you’ve destroyed my warehouse, ruined toys intended for millions of children around the world. Explain why you did this.”

The room door burst opened before Aston could respond and in marched a short, business suited woman with black rimmed glasses dangling from a thick, black eyeglass cord looped around her neck. Her dark hair, pulled in a tight bun, gave her a vinegary look. And in her hands, a thin black folder.

“I’ll handle this.” She shoved on her glasses, glaring at Aston.

“You are?” Kringle asked.

“Tiffany from HR.” She cast a glance at the big man then locked eyes with Aston. “You must have thought you were clever with the ELF reference. Buster, your prank just got me demoted. Count yourself lucky I don’t kick you in your jolly, holly nut sack.”

“Tiffany.” Kringle cleared his throat.

Performing a flighty gesture with a hand, she said, “When reviewing Aston’s application, I believed ELF meant he belonged to our union. After I dispatched his dingle berry butt to help out here, Berta, who entertains herself by surfing the internet, stumbled on the ELF website. ELF is an acronym for Earth Liberation Front.”

“What’s that?” the elves chorused.

“Pyromaniacs angry over man’s destructiveness toward mother nature. They leap frog around the world lighting fires to draw attention to mankind’s ruination of this planet.” Her eyes narrowed to slits. “What an oxymoron!” Glancing around, Tiffany jotted notations in her notebook. “Did he start this?”

“Yes.” Fred answered. “After he finished making the fireworks, Aston tossed a match on them. The bottle rockets landed in the hay and puff.”

Tiffany snarled at Aston.

“Get this idiot a mop and broom. He’s got some cleaning to do.”

“I ain’t cleanin’ nuttin’ lady,” Aston countered, smugly.

“Oh no?” She stepped closer, “Take a good look at my height compared to yours.” Tiffany smiled a bitter smile. “Then get a good look at my sharp teeth. And just so you know, I’m suffering with PMS.”

Aston swallowed, choked on his spittle. “I thought I saw a broom and mop in the back.”

“Then why are you standing here?!”

Turning, the man rushed off. Kringle pinched his nose, shook his head and, as he left, muttered, “I’m going back to bed.”

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ST. PATRICK’S DAY TRIBUTE: THE RAINBOW CHASER

Rainbow Chaser

by

L.M. David

      I stared at the ceiling, so nervous that if someone sneezed I’d have first-hand knowledge of what the surface of Saturn looked like.  The metal chair chewed into my butt – not that alleged criminals should have the comforts of home. But in this case, I’ve done nothing wrong. Theoretically. Yet here I sit counting the holes in the acoustic ceiling tiles. Occasionally, I’d stop and ponder visions of being strapped in an electric chair and frying like a fritter in my own juices.

It doesn’t help that I’m in the same room with King Kong’s twin – a detective who looked as if he could spit nails in wood as an Olympic event.  He seemed so snug with those steroid enhanced arms stuffed in a black knit top. He had deep set, beady brown eyes and worked a frown that could wither a plant.

Yep, I’m toast.

“One more time,” he said, voice so deep I’m sure it’d make Darth Vader wet himself.

“How’d you manage to break into the National Savings Bank?”

I afforded him a guiltless look, splaying my hands on the metal interrogation table.

“Sir,” I said in a polite yet firm voice. “How many times must I tell you I’m innocent?”

The malicious man sucked in air between his teeth. Now I felt the need to search high and low for a bathroom.

“Then explain the blue dye all over your face, hands and clothes.” He glanced at my head. “By the way, you got some in your hair. It really clashes with those flaming red highlights.”

Okay, did I fail to mention I’m covered with blue dye?  It’s bad enough this makes me look guilty but the arresting officers had the nerve to bounce jokes about my being a minion from the forests of Pandora. One moron even called me an Avatar hand-me-down.

“As I clarified,” I begin with a wry smile, “I’m a victim…” My words stop when he touched a legal sized tan folder resting on the table. Without looking at it, he flipped the thing open.

“The statement you gave the arresting officer mentioned you’re a…” he stopped to mash his lips together yet his facial expression changed from the character EverMean from the Wiz, to Robin Williams doing his Mork characterization. “…a rainbow chaser?”

“Actually,” I corrected him, “I am a, “I deliberately coughed, “Leprechaun hunter.”

One of his hairy brows arched. And that laugh he’d been choking on almost erupted. “It’s a noble profession in Ireland I’ll have you to know.” I spat.

“But you’re not in Ireland, sir. And the fact that you are wearing blue paint from the dye packets from inside the satchels of money from First National points to you as being the thief.”

“Are you the lead detective here? If not,” I jammed my index finger on the table, “I would like to see him…or her.”

“The captain’s on the way.  In the meantime,” he pulled out a pen from his shirt pocket, clicked and poised it over a white writing pad, “why not give me the 411.”

Biting my lower lip, I leaned back.

“As I said,” I began, “I hunt leprechauns.  I’ve been tracking one particular rascal across America and finally caught him not far from here.”

“So you assaulted someone?” He started writing.

“No, no,” I stammered. “He wasn’t harmed in the least.”

“Okay, continue.”

“Well when I caught him, I demanded his pot of gold,” I huffed. “The little bugger wouldn’t give it to me – said it was against the code of Leprechauns.  But he said if I let him go, he’d grant me three wishes.”

“And you said…”

“I took the offer.” I frowned.

“Okay, I’ll bite…what’d you ask for?”

“First, I wanted to be rich, hence the money you claim I stole.”

“The second wish?”

“The sports car I was sitting in when I got arrested.”

“And the third wish?”

“For a fine Irish lady with breasts the size of melons who’d read to me.”

“Let me get this straight. You wanted to be rich so this leprechaun stole a hundred and fifty million dollars and gave it to you. Then he presented you with a brand new red Jag which, by the way, you received a ticket for driving over a hundred miles an hour where the limit was forty.”

“Yes, well I panicked after the dye in the satchel spritzed me. That’s when I knew something was wrong and hauled out of there.”

“You do realize the car has dealer’s plates.”

“He stole the car, too?” I moaned and slumped my head back.

“’fraid so,” the man said. “Out of curiosity, did he grant your third wish?”

I looked at the detective, noted that brow arched again. Was he curious or just jerking my chain? Did it matter? I looked guilty in his eyes so whatever I said, or did, I would be doing time.

“No. And at this point, I don’t care if he does.” I laid my head back again.

The door opened just as I began counting the holes in the ceiling tiles again. Someone cleared their throat. Looking over the detective’s head, I saw a woman behind him. The first item I noticed? Her huge, ample breasts with nipples the size of bullets strained against a yellow blouse peeking out from beneath a dark blue jacket. Her flaming red hair set off emerald green eyes and she wore bright, fire engine red lipstick. I could even see the reddish-brown freckles dotting her cheeks.

My mouth gaped open.

The detective snickered, got up and left.

“Mr. O’Kearney?” she said in the loveliest voice I’d ever heard.

“Yes.” I managed to squeak the word out.

“I’m Captain Rebecca O’Shanessey.  I’m told the arresting officers recited your Miranda rights but, just to be safe, let me read them to you again. You have the right to remain silent…”

Oh, I put my head down on the table, give me strength.

CHRISTMAS PEP TALK

Christmas Pep Talk
By
L.M. David

The elves sat in the conference room, dressed in their green uniforms. All had taken special care to make certain nothing was out of place. Staff meetings had, after the catastrophe of last year, become more like combat training sessions than company business.
The echo of someone’s shoes stomping out in the hall caught the attention of all in the room. Electronic devices were switched off, those on cellphones ended calls and muted ringtones. By the time the door burst open, pushed so hard it banged against the wall, every elf in the room was seated with their hands folded on the desktops, eyes forward.
A female elf, dressed in a green dress with a white collar and red bells sewn on it, walked in carrying a black, puffy folder. The woman looked like a school marm, long nose, hair pulled back in a severe bun on top of her head. She also wore black horn rim glasses dangling by string around her neck.
Moving to the podium in the front of the room, she huffed up the wooden steps until reaching the top. The multitude stared at Tiffany, formerly from H.R., now demoted to supervisor over the elf crew.
“All right, listen up,” she snapped, slamming the book down and adjusting the microphone. “It’s only a couple days until the big guy makes his run. After last year’s disaster with the Eco terrorist, which resulted in my demotion…”she sneered, “I want no foul ups.” She looked at the book on the podium top. “Fred … where are you?”
Her stern expression seemed to melt the elves like wax in their seats as she scanned the crowd. Finally, an elf in the back raised his hand. “I got a memo stating you were late to your shift twice last week. Be late again and chestnuts won’t be the only thing roasting over an open fire. We clear?”
A single bell jingled in the background…Fred nodding his head causing in the bell on his hat to ting-a-ling.
“Jackson… hand up!” she demanded next. A hand in the far left corner rose immediately. “You are in charge of making sure the Barbie dolls are all properly clothed. Last year, due to the fire, we ran out of dresses and some idiot made thongs out of rubber bands before packaging them. The Ken doll may have been thrilled but Santa was none too pleased!” She looked over the pale faces staring at her. “Also, there is talk about putting teddy bears noses on their butts to protest the shortage of Twinkies in vending machines. I need to remind you management was not responsible for that so if I see one bear sniffing its own hindquarters, I will track down the guilty elf and use my foot to make him a soprano.”
A faint sound disrupted the pause between her words. Eyes squinting, Tiffany stomped down the stairs and moved like a shark down the row of chairs. Stopped midway, she snatched an elf out of his chair and held out her hand. From a pocket, he produced a small electronic video game.
“You’re…”she snarled.
“Delbert, product testing.”
Dropping the device, Tiffany stomped down hard on it. The thing crunched, parts flew out of it all directions. Picking it up, she stared long at hard at the elf. Sighing, he opened his mouth. The crushed item was then shoved in his mouth.
“I believe that device is defective.” She leaned close, almost eye to eye with Delbert. “What do you think?” Delbert nodded. “Now get back in your chair before I stuff you in it.” Satisfied, Tiffany headed back to the podium to resume her speech. “One last note before this meeting is adjourned. Now that 12/21/2012 has passed, and dispelled the rumors that, per the Mayan calendar, the world is ending,” Tiffany paused to roll her eyes in their sockets, “we have had an onslaught letters from children now wanting toys. That means everyone will have to work extra hard without the benefit of overtime. Why, you ask?” she almost smiled but could not force one. “After a bit of persuasion, I have convinced the panel who demoted me into restoring my status in HR. To be assured my reinstatement, three hundred of you need to sign a petition attesting to my sparkling personality. Those who sign, will get overtime pay.” She stabbed the book on the podium with an index finger, “The paper is here along with a pen. Start signing.” Tiffany started to leave, paused and looked at the eyes watching her. “And if you take my pen, I will hunt you down and feed you a knuckle sandwich.” She left the podium as a line formed to sign the petition and, in a huff, left.
The door to the room closet opened and closed. The elves in line all turned in unison to look at Santa. Standing next to him was his personal assistant.
“You were right to bring me here, Nilson. Please make sure her petition is approved.”
“Yes sir,” the elf responded, giving Santa a curious look. “Sir, why don’t you just fire her before she does bodily harm to one of the worker elves?”
“Union.”
“Oh,” he said, turning towards the back of the line. “Let me add my signature.”
“Smart man.”

THE ADS

THE ADS
By
L.M. David

Candice stared at newspaper want ads, tapping a pencil against her temple.
Eyes shifting to her bedroom window, she contemplated her future. High school graduation, barely three weeks behind her, had thrust Candice into adulthood reality. Her dreams of college had been dashed, both parents losing their jobs within a week of each other. Bills had begun to pile up, her parents fought late at night when they thought she was sleeping and she felt, to say the least, useless.
Beer bottles had also started to pile up in the recycle bin.
Glancing at the want ads again, Candice couldn’t decide which was worse – how unprepared she was for the job market or the lack of money to do something about her situation. Her cellphone rang, startling her. It was a welcomed distraction.
“Hello.”
“Candice, what’s going on?” Alli’s voice breezed in her ear, cheerful as usual.
“Nothing. I was just checking out help wanted ads …”
“Well look no more. I just got off the phone with Margie and she told me a restaurant on 4th and Main has posted a help wanted sign on the door.”
“Help doing what?”
“Don’t know but whatever it is, be prepared for a test.”
“A restaurant that tests its employees – doesn’t that strike you as odd?”
“Maybe it’s on people skills.”
“I don’t know …”
“Candice,” Alli said firmly, “You need money for college and being picky isn’t an option. Go, check out the restaurant, take the test and if you don’t pass at least you tried.”
Groaning, Candice bit gently on the pencil eraser. Alli had a point. Besides, how hard could it be working in a restaurant?
“Okay. I’ll get dressed and go see what this test thing is about.”
“Good luck!” her friend said and hung up.

***

Candice stared at the red brick building, gripping her purse as if it were a shield against the unknown. The neighborhood was above average in appearance, a well groomed park sat north of the restaurant and townhouses were within walking distance just south of it. There were people walking by her, most middle aged who offered friendly smiles as the passed by, and the streets were free of the homeless.
Courage up, Candace approached to the restaurant door. Scotch taped to glass seated in the middle of a mahogany door, was a computer generated sign that read: “Culinary opportunities. Applicants will be tested.”
“I can do this,” she said, squaring her shoulders. Candice then grabbed and gave the doorknob a twist.
A bell chimed overhead announcing her arrival. An odor assaulted her nose once she stepped inside – pine scented air freshener. Her grandfather kept one of the Christmas tree shaped things on his rearview mirror of his truck, which smelled the same as what freshened the air in the restaurant. The room, large and dimly lit, was empty except for furniture. The tables still had chairs stacked upside down on them. A long bar with stools that matched the bar’s dark color was just up ahead and on the wall behind the bar, wine bottles in a lattice style wood arrangement.
“Hello.” Candice called, walking a few steps forward. She looked right, then left.
“Can I help you?” a man’s voice called from behind her. Startled, Candice smiled to mask her nervousness when facing him.
“I,” she jerked a thumb at the door, “saw the sign on the door …”
The man’s eyes stilled her words. He was dressed in black from head to toe, looked like a funeral director. Turning slightly, he stepped aside to reveal the door he’d used to enter the room.
“Come in.”
Candice entered ahead of him, glancing back to watch him close the door.
“I’m Candice, Candice Edgewood.”
“I’m Alexander.” His eyes slipped over Candice, lingering here and there before he looked her in the eyes.
“About the job…”
“Job?”
“Yes. There’s a sign on your front door about culinary opportunities. And since there is a test involved, it’d be helpful if you could tell me a little bit about it …”
The man smiled. Candice’s eyes dropped to his mouth, a gasp escaped
“Oh, that. I’m afraid that was a typographical error. You’re not here to be tested. You’re here to be tasted …”

HO HO … UH-OH

Ho Ho . . . Uh-Oh.
By
L.M. David

The acrid smell of smoke woke Martha. Coughing, she shoved her husband. The rotund male roused, startled. Sitting up, he, too, coughed. Hopping out of bed, he shoved on his slippers and then robe, tying the belt around his portly form as he walked.
White smoke billowed into, drawn inside when he opened the door. The heat made his rosy cheeks redder, giving them a rich cherry glow behind his white beard and mustache. For a chubby individual, he was at the end of the hall in a blink of an eye. Smoke greeted him when entering the room, the cloud thinning quickly. Frigid arctic air slapped his face and snow filtered in through open windows. Scattered around the room were diminutive men dressed in soot covered green tops and leggings that once were brilliant red and white in horizontal stripes. And the bells hanging from the toe end of their shoes that curled in a backward C shape jingled as they rushed around. Those closest to the door looked when rotund man’s arrived, their startled smudged faces going blank.
Background voices shouted, arcs of water hit the ceiling while foam spewing from hand held fire extinguishers sprayed the walls.
“What’s this?” The man demanded, eyes scanning the activities. “Are the reindeer okay?”
“Yes, they’re fine.” An elf answered.
“As for this,” the elf closest to him pointed around, “it’s a long story Mr. Kringle.”
Kris’s blue eyes went from the charred remnants of a sleigh to a conveyer belt where burnt, soggy sludge sat. He then glanced at the ceiling, the blacken state and flames still biting into it. Wiggling an index finger at the elf who’d spoken, Kringle urged the man to come closer. Reluctantly, he did. “What’s your name?”
“Fred.”
“Fred?” Kringle’s bushy brow arched. “What happen? How’d this fire start?”
The elf twisted the end of his shirt around a finger.
“It all began with our deciding to review the naughty and nice list to be sure we didn’t miss anything. Jackson,” he jerked a finger at the elf behind him, “stumbled on a request we missed from Peter Von Pelter –”
“Blame the intake clerk …” interrupted a voice. The big man didn’t know who said it or the direction it came from.
“Especially since Peter’s been good this year,” another voice yelled.
“Jackson,” Fred resumed, “passed the list to Norman who’s cranky over losing a week’s pay at the annual poker game. Norman gave the list to Gabriel . . .” he stopped when Kringle furrowed a brow. “Long story short, after several more pass alongs, the request found its way to Aston.”
The look of “let’s move this conversation along” swept over the Kringle’s face when yet another elf spoke.
“Peter Von Pelter,” the new arrival said, “had one thing on his list … to see a fireworks display.”
“Peter lives at an orphanage . . .” another voice shouted over the crowd.
“I get it.” Kringle sighed. “Now what about the fire.”
“Well,” Fred re-entered the conversation, “none of us knew how to make fireworks. So we called HR instead of disturbing you to find out what to do. They said they had a candidate and sent Aston because, according to his resume, he belonged ELF and listed pyrotechnics as his specialty.”
“He did this?” the big man asked. Fred nodded. “Where is he? Bring him to me.”
Turning, Fred shouted, “Bring Aston front and center.”
The elves parted, shoving a taller than average male through the gap. Kringle’s eyes widened a bit. Aston stood five nine, a foot taller than the typical elf. The closer he got, the less he looked like he belonged. His ears were normal, he had a nine o’clock shadow, wore sunshades despite being indoors and gnawed a toothpick protruding out the corner of his mouth.
“You’re,” Kringle said, “no elf.”
“Duh,” the man said, sounding like a New York mob boss. “Whatsit to ya?”
“Sir, you’ve destroyed my warehouse, ruined toys intended for millions of children around the world. Explain why you did this.”
The room door burst opened before Aston could respond and in marched a short, business suited woman with black rimmed glasses dangling from a thick, black eyeglass cord looped around her neck. Her dark hair, pulled in a tight bun, gave her a vinegary look. And in her hands a thin black folder.
“I’ll handle this.” She shoved on her glasses, glaring at Aston.
“You are?” Kringle asked.
“Tiffany from HR.” She cast a glance at the big man then locked eyes with Aston. “You must have thought you were clever with the ELF reference. Buster, your prank got me demoted. Count yourself lucky I don’t kick you in your jolly, holly nut sack.”
“Tiffany.” Kringle cleared his throat.
Performing a flighty gesture with a hand, she said, “When reviewing Aston’s application, I believed ELF meant he belonged to our union. After I dispatched his dingle berry butt to help out here, Berta, who entertains herself by surfing the internet, stumbled on the ELF website. ELF is an acronym for Earth Liberation Front.”
“What’s that?” the elves chorused.
“Pyromaniac’s angry over man’s destructiveness towards mother nature. They leap frog around the planet lighting fires to draw attention to mankind’s ruination of our world.” Her eyes narrowed to slits. “What an oxymoron!” Glancing around, Tiffany made notations in her notebook. “Did he start this?”
“Yes.” Fred answered. “After he finished making the fireworks, Aston tossed a match on them. The bottle rockets landed in the hay and puff.”
Tiffany snarled at Aston.
“Get this idiot a mop and broom. He’s got some cleaning to do.”
“I ain’t cleanin’ nuttin’ lady,” Aston countered, smugly.
“Oh no?” She stepped closer, “Take a good look my height compared to yours.” Tiffany smiled a bitter smile. “Then get a good look at my sharp teeth. And just so you know, I’m suffering with PMS.”
Aston swallowed, choked on his spittle. “I thought I saw a broom and mop in the back.”
“Then why are you standing here?!”
Turning, the man rushed off. Kringle pinched his nose, shook his head and, as he left, muttered, “I’m going back to bed.”

BLAH, BLAH, BLAH

BLAH, BLAH, BLAH
By
L. M. David

I had to find it. The right sequence, that is. If I do not, I will get that look. I hate it when that look is aimed at me.
Okay, concentrate. Oh, geez, what is that sequence again…
Looking at the objects in front of me, I stared long and hard at each. The symbols were foreign although I have an inkling these mean something to everyone except me. I know the things are dark as night and have bright things on them that form strange shapes, but that is all. I figure I should recognize these, especially after all the times I have sat here staring at them. Originally, the figures mesmerized me. They seemed unique then, especially since I had never seen anything like them. But after days of staring at them for long periods of time, the shapes are no longer interesting. I am bored and want something new to look at. And do not get me started on how difficult it is to push the objects. My hands were not built for manual labor…so it annoys the ones who watch me when I struggle at this. No one cares that I, too, am frustrated.
I resent doing this over and over again.
Oh stop griping, I think and smack my forehead with the palm of my hand. I have to get this right or she will scold me.
I really hate being scolded.
Concentrating, I glanced at the objects one at a time. Let me see, push this, then that and then one more… it has to be the right sequence. Confident I had made the right choices, I lean on the objects and press each hard. I had barely released the third key when a loud shrill went off. My ears still hurt from the last time this happened, which was not long ago.
Uh-oh.
Shifting my eyes to the left, I saw the tall, annoying individual who always watches me, come and stand in front of my station. The hair above her eyes furrow — this is the ugliest being I have ever seen, wearing something so hideous my mind will never comprehend why she put it on. If anything, she should be ashamed of herself being out in public looking like that. And the only reason I know this thing is female is because she has breasts.
Not that I noticed.
In an effort to avoid a reprimand for my blunder, I offer my widest, most innocent smile along with my best wide eyed blameless look. Only what I am actually thinking is please do not bitch at me again.
“You got it wrong.” She rebukes me as expected. “What am I going to do with you Chester? That’s the ninth time you got it wrong today. Now try it again.”
What I hear is: Blah, blah, blah, Chester, blah, blah, blah!
Why does she speak to me that way? Does she not know I cannot understand her? And that accent, it sounds like water roaring over a cliff. It truly grates the nerves!
And who is this Chester? She calls me that constantly. Does she not realize that is not my name? You would think by the way I ignored her when she voices that name, or the way I start looking around to see who will answer, or that I just do not react at all, that Chester is not my name!
Finally, she turns and walks away. I stick my tongue out at her. Thankfully, she does not see me do it…this time.
At this rate, I will never get a break or have lunch.
A faint click came from the panel.
Oh, terrific, she reset the thing.
Okay…let me get it right this time. I would do anything to keep that weird female away from me. Thank all creation she does not live in my neighborhood. They would toss rocks at her without a moment’s hesitation. And I would be at the front of the line throwing the largest ones.
Concentrating, I looked at the panel again. Oh, forget it! I am just pushing these things and hope for the best. I mash the objects in sequence quickly and with all my strength. After the last one is pushed, I wait for that obnoxious sound which would bring the ugly lady stomping my way.
The shrill sound is absent.
Looking left, the ugly female has begun slamming her hands together making a clap, clap sound. I have seen this action before and clap with her.
Thank the stars, I smiled stupidly, I finally got it right.
Uh-oh, my smile fades, here she comes.
“You did great Chester,” she picks me up. Thank the stars I had breakfast a long time ago…otherwise, she would be wearing it. “And guess what, we finished just in time for lunch. The chef has prepared all your favorites and the bananas, I’m told, were delivered about ten minutes ago fresh from the market.”
She set me on the floor and grabbed my hand – time to go home. As we walk to the area I call home, she continues to talk.
Which, again, I translate as blah, blah, blah, blah…
Oi.

THE TRESPASSER

The Trespasser
By
L.M. David

“I tell you Gladys,” Margaret snarled into the phone, scratching the back of an ear, “it is disgraceful the way some people leave their children unsupervised. This entire situation has left me anxious. I mean why break in our place? It’s not like we didn’t lock the windows and doors. And the thing that irked most, the one who got in picked the lock like an expert.”
“Tell me what happened?” Gladys’ voice breezed through the receiver.
Such a nosy person, Margaret huffed. But since she’d been the one to place the call – she wanted to spread this gossip ahead of anyone else – what could Margaret complain about?
“Well, it was around six o’clock. I had just put dinner on the table. Jr. had been playing with his Transformers; those things are so adorable Gladys … Jr. somehow makes airplanes out of the ones that are supposed to look like cars. One day I must ask how he does that…”
“Ah, Margaret … do get on with it. I’m dying to know what happened!”
“Oh, stop getting your hair in a twist.” Margaret sighed, “Now where was I? Oh yes, dinner. Well I called Jr., told him to fetch his dad. When Briar lumbered in, I swear I almost gagged. He stunk to high heaven, all sweaty from working out in the heat. That’s when Jr. started whining about having drunk his last soda and kicked up such a fuss, Briar said ‘let’s go out and get you one’ just to shut him up. I don’t know why he dotes on the boy that way. It’s kinda annoying.”
“Margaret, get on with it …”
“Oh, be patient and let me tell this the right way.” Margaret groused, paused, and then continued, “Okay, after we scrounged up a soda, the three of us headed back. When arriving home, we found our front door wide open. Briar ordered us to stay outside while he checked the place out but you know Jr. The boy hasn’t got a patient bone in his body and barged past his pa whining about starving to death.
“Well I tell you,” she said with dramatic overtones, “I just about died when I saw the dinner table. Briar’s plate, as well as my own, looked picked over. Jr.’s bowl sat empty. Briar started swearing like a hunter whose game got away and Jr. wailed even louder about his empty stomach. As for me, I’m thinking ‘ain’t no way I’m cooking again. It’s take out or we will all go to bed hungry tonight’.”
Gladys cleared her throat.
Rolling her eyes, Margaret bit back the words racing through her mind.
“Okay, I’m getting to the good part,” she managed to say in a calm voice. Taking a breath, Margaret continued, “So Jr.’s hissy fit is now so loud I made him go sit down while his father and I tried to figure out what to do next. A few seconds later, he comes back crying about his chair had been busted to bits. Whoever got in our place smashed his rocking chair and damaged the cushion on mine while scuffing the finish on Briar’s.”
“Oh my,” Gladys gasped. “Why would anyone do these horrible things?”
Ignoring her friend’s outburst, Margaret pinched the bridge of her nose and launched back into her story. “Briar then decides to contact the authorities. He headed for our bedroom, since the other phone went missing, and came running back, ordering Jr. to his room. He then grabbed my arm and dragged me down the hall to our bedroom.”
“What was in your room? Tell me!”
“Briar’s bed had been messed up as well as my own. We looked at each other just as Jr. ran in yelling someone was asleep in his bed.”
“The burglar was still there?” Gladys asked, voice rising with shock.
“Uh-huh and like Jr. said, sleeping like a log.”
“Human?”
“Yes.”
“Well what’d you do?”
“Jr. wanted to have a barbeque but Briar and I agreed there wasn’t enough to feed all of us…” Margaret paused, watching a patch of blond hair move in front of her along the front of a coffee table fashioned from a large tree trunk. “Hold on Gladys,” she said, then lowered the receiver from her ear. “Hello, Goldilocks. You missed a spot.”
The blonde mass of curls lifted until a pair of sky blue eyes peered over the table’s edge. The child then stood upright, poked her lower lip out and threw a dingy white cloth on the table. Arms folded defiantly, the girl’s eyes narrowed to slits. She appeared no more than twelve years old, somewhat on the chubby side and wearing a lemon yellow dress smudged with dust and soot. Her porcelain white forehead and rosy red cherub cheeks were blotched with dark, gray smudges.
“This is child abuse, ya know,” the girl huffed in a smart-alecky tone. “You’re also violating adolescent labor laws making me dust this flea infested hole without giving me a break or offering hourly wages for my efforts. I’m sure the local forest rangers would lock you in a zoo for mistreating me like this.”
Margaret said nothing, eyes shifting from the child to a spot behind her. Goldilocks stiffened when a deep growl thundered behind her. She didn’t have to turn around to know who’d done that.
“I’m sure,” a deep, throaty voice filled the room, “the forest rangers would also get a kick out of surveillance footage showing you doing damage to our home …”
Goldilocks picked the dust cloth up off the table. Glaring at Margaret, she asked, “Where’s that spot I missed?”
Margaret pointed. Grumbling, the blonde waif stomped off. Receiver back to her ear, Margaret settled in to finish her conversation, “Okay, where was I …”