Amuse Me, Please!

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” I’d kill to be able to write again” the sad Writer with a serious blockage problem said to the other writer who had never suffered in such a state before.

” Do you think that could actually work, really?” said the Other Writer.

” I’m getting desperate, I’m willing to try anything” the Blocked Writer said as she wiped the back of her shaking  hand over her eyes.

She sobbed.

The other Writer took her friend’s hand away from her eyes. ” Do you really think that could work? Really?”

” I’m so desperate. And what do  you know? You’ve never been through something like this.

” You’re right about that”, the Other Writer said as she pulled the knife from her jacket and slid it across the Blocked Writer’s throat.

The Other Writer caught her in an embrace before the Blocked Writer fell to the ground.

” This could be like the apple a day thing. Thanks.”

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Tea With Miss Venka

Unexpected Guests

You walk into your home to find a couple you don’t know sitting in your living room, eating a slice of cake. Tell us what happens next.

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” Miss Venka! “

The middle aged couple- were both as pale and watery as the sunlight that was filtering through my somewhat clean windows and into my small cool sparsely furnished sitting room.

I didn’t use it often because I don’t do much entertaining.

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He rose from the settee and put his slice of cake- I noted with dismay-  on the end table to his right.

She stood and did the same to her slice of cake.

The portrait that hung behind them looked down in disapproval.

The tall thin watery couple  both reached out to me with their pale bony hands and smiled, ” It’s so good to meet you at last Miss Venka ” they both said together.

” I hope you enjoyed the cake- ” I waited for them to introduce themselves.

” Oh. Pardon us. Britta.” The woman said with tears lighting up her eyes ” Britta and Rasmus Rundstrom.”

 ” We hope you don’t mind . The man who answered the door invited us in.  He told us to make ourselves at home. And then he left. Just like that. Well, we saw that delicious cake and the plates and forks. We hope you didn’t mind.”

” We honestly couldn’t help ourselves. I mean we did. I do hope…”

I sighed and shrugged. ” It’s fine really” I said not meaning it.

Our compliments to the baker Miss Venka.” Rasmus said ignoring the ice in my voice.” It was quite delicious.”

I ignored his compliment.

“That was my Father at the door. That Devil. He should have offered you some tea and almond cookies instead of leaving you with just that cake. It’s terribly sweet. The cookies would have been better.”

They didn’t say a word. They stood there expectantly.

” They’re imported.” I added. ” They’re quite good.”

I walked over to the sideboard where my now butchered cake was sitting.

I took up the cake knife and wiped it clean on a napkin.

” So what do I owe the pleasure of this nice…” I looked down at my cut up cake and sighed. ” Visit.”

” We’ve heard that you are a wonderful baker Miss Venka. Your sweets and pastries and cakes are famous.

I was confused. ” Famous for what?”

” From what we’ve tasted, it’s true.” Rasmus went back to the table and picked up his slice of cake.

He plunged his fork into this partially eaten slice and took another bite.

I winced.

” It so sweet it touches your soul. It overwhelms your senses…” he sang out.

I stopped him before he went over the edge and lost his sanity.

” Thank you. I took the plate from him and sat it down on the little table. ” But I don’t cater events. I don’t  bake for other people.”

” We can’t persuade you?” Britta asked. ” Are you sure? Money is no object and we are having a very important party. Your cake, it would be the highlight of the evening.”

” Very sure. I’m sorry.” I said.

” I’ve never tasted anything so fine. It touched my soul Miss Venka. Truly. It’s the finest cake I have ever tasted.”

I thanked my guests and saw them out.

Then I went to the kitchen, which is light green and empty all but for a set of knives hanging from the wall and a single chair in the middle of the room.

I walked to the back of the kitchen and opened the door that led down into the basement.

” That was my favorite cake!” I yelled down into the darkness.

I walked back into my sitting room, which was dark now and a little chilly.

There were two new soulfully delicious cakes sitting next to my beautiful cake which fully restored to its uncut state.

I sighed and rubbed my eyes in relief.

I wondered when Mr and Mrs Rundstrom would be back, begging for more cake. I wondered if they would ever figure out why they, like the others would say they’d be willing to give up their souls to the Devil himself for another bite.

And my Father who lives in my basement would take them up on that deal.

He collects souls the way other people collect stamps.

Of course. I don’t collect souls.

I dabbed a little frosting from one of the new cakes on the tip of my finger and touched it to my tongue.

I closed my eyes and swooned a little.

I put them to better use than that.

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Helping Hand

Life Line

You’re on a long flight, and a palm reader sitting next to you insists she reads your palm. You hesitate, but agree. What does she tell you?

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” So you can look at my hand and see my future?”

Her name was Aminda Rava and she assured me she could do just that.

” All of these little lines mean something?”

Miss Rava said with a bright smile, “Among other things.”

” Go ahead.” I offered up my left hand.

” Is that your dominant hand?”

” My what?”

“Is that the hand you write with?”

” No.”

” I need to read your right hand then.”

I kept my smile carefully arranged on my face.

It was too late to back out.

I gave her my right hand.

Miss Rava looked at my hand, she read what was there and she looked slowly up into my face.

” Did it tell you anything?” I asked.

The Palm Reader shook her head. ” Not a word.”

” Are  you sure.” I grabbed her hand and held it tight. ” Not a word?”

” Nothing.” She insisted.

I offered her my left hand.

” Read this one.”

” I think. I think that wouldn’t be such a good idea.”

” Why on Earth not.”

” Your hand. Your hand.  It’s…

I leaned close and whispered into Aminda Rava’s ear- which was pieced six or seven times. “It says it’s not my hand.”

She looked confused.

I held my right  hand up. ” Blabbermouth.” I told it.

” I’d chop this one off too but do you know how hard it is to find a good fit?” I asked Miss Rava

I looked down at Aminda’s hand and when I looked up into her eyes…

I was smiling.

She was not.

” It’s almost impossible”

Wish I May Wish I Might….

Nothin’ But A Good Time
Imagine that tomorrow, all of your duties and obligations evaporate for the day. You get the day all to yourself, to do anything you please. What types of fun activities would make your day?

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I love it when people tell me about their nightmares.

I love having them myself and when I have boring dreams where my brain is sorting out the junk that’s been piling up in there I wake up and think, ” that was boring, what a waste of REM sleep. “

So if I had a day to do exactly what I wanted, I would spend my day crawling into people’s skulls and give them the best nightmares EVER.

I would hold nothing back, I’d fill peoples dreams with murderous Aliens from Venus, diseases where your body parts drop off and you spend your dream trying to glue them back on again before  you’re late to class.

I’d make sure to hand out those dreams where the people you know look like and sound and act like  your kid or spouse but then they look at you and smile and you try to scream yourself awake and you think you’re awake but of course you’re not.

Oh and those dreams where something is chasing you?

I’d hand those out like candy, but I’d make sure you get to see what it is that is after you. And I’ll make it super unpleasant. I promise.

Is there anything else I’d like to do on my special day?

Hmmm. No, not really

Oh wait there is one thing.

I’d spend the entire time eating cupcakes.

Pretty ones lavender flavored ones with sprinkles and topped with tons of frosting

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Once Upon A Night

One night

I set out on a trip all by myself.

I didn’t have a map or a ticket I didn’t know where I was going.

But I went alone.

And I was alone.

For a very long time.

Towards the end of the trip I heard someone walking towards me-

and then I heard someone breathing

just around the corner from where I was walking

all alone.

And then I stopped.

” Someone there? “

I asked.

No one answered.

” Hey!  Is someone there? ” I called out just a little louder.

The breathing stopped and the footsteps came towards me from around the corner and I closed my eyes tight and put one foot in front of the other and then I flew towards the breathing and the footsteps and the voices that cried out:

” What the hell was that? ” came the voice from behind me and then below me as I took to the darkness above ” What the Hell was that! “

( Published August 2013)

Home Bodies

inter_tuber“Turn away,” the dark man groaned with a desperate look in his haunted
eyes.

She was standing next to him in that hallway that led to the basement in his own home. His own home. What a laugh. How could he have not known that monster had been under his feet for all of these years?”

That room and it’s dog- the woman standing next to him- had been master of his house all along.

” I don’t think so Chuck.”

” You’re going to kill me. ” he said. ”  The very least you could do is not look like you’re going to enjoy it so much.”

” You’re a fine one to lecture anybody about murder Chuck. And I’ve been at this way longer then you. Guess what. I wasn’t aware there were rules. Did Emily Post write a book on the subject? Because I LOVE Emily and I don’t see how that one could have got passed me.”

” You truly are evil.”

” No. I’m more of a concept. Now that basement of yours. Wow. That truly IS evil. I mean. Oh boy. It’s bad. Seriously Chuck. Did you think you were in charge of what happened down there? Really?

Because let me tell you. Do you really believe  someone who started off in this life with hurting small animals worked his way up to helpless women and children all by himself? Come on. Really. Think about it.”

” What’s down there. ” Chuck wondered out loud.

And then Chuck insisted, his voice choking tears  ” It was me. It was me. I did all of those things…me. Nothing is down there. Just me. It’s was all me.”

” You were a nightmare Chuck. ” she opened the door and pushed him through and down he fell ” Meet the dreamer.”

( Published 2013 )

RSVP

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Valaria Aberdeen’s house stands alone on Brier Road and it stands alone because no one will go near it.

There were other houses up there too, but they’re gone now and all that’s left of them are their foundations. In some lots you might window frames and screens stacked in sloppy piles and here and there are wooden chairs and mailboxes.

And then there’s Valaria’s House.

There is no furniture in Valaria ‘s House but there is a mirror at the end of a hall where the doors rusted off of their hinges years and years ago.

The mirrors face is so clear that you might think you were looking out of an open window, in fact if your were standing in front of it right now I’ll bet you’d even put your hand out and touch the glass just to make sure that it wasn’t an open window.

The funny thing is-that’s exactly what the mirror is.

That’s what I’ve heard anyway.

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Every Halloween the Aberdeen Family hosted a Halloween Party.

Everyone wore costumes, everyone bobbed for apples, everyone somehow ended up in the attic to tell ghost stories and then everyone would stumble down Brier Road to their houses by moonlight leaving a trail of candy wrappers behind them.

Valaria Aberdeen loved to host her parties and at the last one she wasn’t her usual energetic self. She didn’t even dress up in one of her elaborate rental costumes-she wasn’t a lady pirate or a lady vampire or a sorceress or a belly dancer.

That year, she wore a black dress and a set of acrylic ‘fangs’ on her teeth and painted her nails black. She had smeared pale blue makeup on her face and penciled dark circles under her eyes.

She just shrugged when Mitchell asked about her costume and said to her husband who was dressed as a mummy  ” I’m just not really into it this year, so I guess I’m just going to be a boring witch” then she slammed her felt witch’s hat onto her head with the little ghosts sewn around the brim and then she stomped down the hallway to the kitchen.

Mitchell tried to cheer Valaria up; he helped her finish the decorating and he told her little jokes and reminded her of the fun from their past parties and then the door bell rang.

As the guests started to arrive Valaria seemed to blend into the background and she would hardly talk to anyone. It wasn’t easy to avoid over 50 people in a room but Valaria found a way to do it and that’s exactly what she did for hours.

Sometime during the evening  Mitchell looked up and saw Valaria fussing at the table with the food and punch. She looked up and saw him and waved and then she went out to the kitchen.

At about Midnight she came bouncing out of the kitchen with a little wicker basket full of cookies shaped like pumpkins and cats and she was handing them out and laughing…not that thin laugh she had been using all evening but a heart felt laugh and when she saw him she held her basket up and said,” guess what Mitchell I’m into it after all…I’m feeling like my old self again”

” That’s great dear! ” he called out to her over his cup of hot cider.

Valaria winked at him and kept handing out her cookies.She joined him a few minutes later and he put his hand out and asked for one of her cookies.

Valaria looked stunned and hurt. ” Why would I give you one of those Mitchell? “

Mitchell said to her, ” Because you love me…”

Valaria rolled her eyes so far up all he could see were the whites of her eyes. God, he really hated it when she did that. ” It’s because I love you that you don’t get one Mitchell.”

From over Valaria ‘s left shoulder Mitchell could see Missy Jenson from next door start to do a weird little dance and then she started to spin around and around and as she did he could that she was crying and that her tears were red.

In a few seconds everyone in the room were  ‘dancing’ and they were shrieking and tearing at their throats. ” What have you done Valaria? ” Mitchell screamed, ” What in God’s name have you done?”

Mitchell watched his wife dance around the room and as she swung her empty basket from side to side he could hear her say,  ” Guess what I am? Guess what I am? Guess what I am?”

He chased her down the hall and when he caught up to her she was looking into the mirror her Grandmother had given them as a wedding present.

It was a large ceiling to floor mirror encased in a heavy silver frame and until that moment Mitchell never wondered  how  they had ever gotten that thing through their door.

Valaria was wiping  her face and when she turned around he could see she had taken off most of the thick blue makeup and the black eyeliner pencil from around her eyes.

Now her face  was dark, dark red and her lips were  black and then she pulled the hat off of her head with a flourish and he saw…

he saw Valaria Aberdeen.

Her pointed forked tongue snaked out from between her lips and she was feathering the hair away from the horns that she now had on her forehead.

” I told you I was feeling like my old self again.  Happy Halloween Mitchell” she said with a wink and then she turned and stepped into the mirror.

After that night people started to  move away from Brier Road.

Within days  the houses the next block over were abandoned and then the houses on the block over from that were abandoned  next and after awhile no one lived in that little town at all.

But if you’re feeling brave you can actually go up to Valaria Aberdeen’s House and you can walk in and go down the hall and look into that mirror…and if you stare into it and say, ” I know what you are Valaria Aberdeen…” three times…

She’ll give you a cookie.

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 (Published in 2007)