Gifted

Our anniversary is coming up.
She prefers practical gifts, not fancy.
So, I bought her Uggs.
To make sure they fit, we traded feet and I went shopping.
Back home, she unwrapped the shoeboxes, and put her own feet back on with the new boots.
I’ve gotten her pedicures this way too.
Manicures and rings by trading hands.
We traded more so I could get her legs waxed, buy panties.
I borrow her breasts to buy bras.
Which don’t fit.
Oh. Right.
Shoulders. Chest, Back.
“Don’t forget the receipt,” she says, handing me a low-cut blouse.
She’s such a tease.

Phone Exchange

Back before microchips and transistors, telephones required operators of a switchboard to plug cables into sockets.
Edith was the daytime operator in Macon Falls, and she liked to listen in on people’s conversations.
She’d tell her friends about what she’d heard.
Well, she called them her friends, but after she’d listened in on everyone in town, she didn’t have any friends.
When she was fired from the telephone exchange, nobody spoke up for her.
She got a job in the next town over, bagging groceries.
She applied for a job at the local phone exchange.
But she got no answer.

The demons you let out

I think a lot of things.
Just because I think a few dark things, when I choose not to voice or document them, did I still come up with those dark thoughts?
By voicing them, do I embrace them fully, and that’s what I am?
There’s so many things I could say, so many different thoughts and directions.
Some positive, some negative, and some just outright horrible.
I am not the demons in my head, am I?
No. Only the ones I let out now and then.
As long as you keep them on a leash, the city ordinance says.

Window Washers

Leslie lived in a high-rise condo, and every time the window washing crew appeared, she’d put on a show for them.
The resident association complained that the window washing company tried to charge the building for overtime.
Not only did they take an extended break when they got to Leslie’s window, but they had to go back and clean it again.
Leslie paid the fines with tips she got from the window washers.
One day, while watching Leslie perform with a teddy bear and a zucchini, a window washer accidentally fell to his death.
He landed face-down, preserving some dignity.

Braided

Fear is a horrible thing,
First one disappearance. Then two.
Then half a dozen.
No bodies were ever found.
The police put out a warning:
The kidnapper only stalked women with braided hair.
Women rushed to the salons to get their hair cut short.
One woman defiantly refused. She had her hair done up in pigtails.
“What’s he going to do?” she said. “Kill me twice?”
She disappeared the next day.
Vanished while jogging.
She was the last to disappear.
Some said that she was the kidnapper.
Others say that she was an accomplice.
Still, nobody braids their hair anymore.

The Puppy

Cassie saw the injured puppy by the side of the road.
It had been hit by a car.
She bundled it up in her purse and took it to the vet.
The vet mended the puppy’s wounds.
They bonded instantly, Cassie and the puppy, and from that day on, the two were inseparable.
Eight years later, Cassie backed out from her garage and ran over her dog.
This time, there would be no rushing to the vet.
The dog was dead.
Cassie was inconsolable. She wept for days.
The neighbors complained, until one got a shovel and buried the dog.

Weekly Challenge #739 – MUSHROOM

Lapcat

LIZZIE

She found a small jar in her granny’s attic. Something sparkled inside.
She placed it back on a shelf and left without telling anyone anything about it.
When her granny died, she went back to the attic.
When she opened it, a swirl of light turned everything into a neon palette of greenery.
She read the small paper stuck to the bottom – “Mushrooms, theirs.”
“Theirs?”
The following night, she was visited by them. The weird ones no one knew about, the aliens.
The attic… well, she turned it into a museum where everyone would see… things that didn’t really exist.

RICHARD

Rubbish jobs

I’ve never really fitted in here at the Weapons of Mass Destruction Tactical Development Division.

I’ve more experience and I’m probably more highly qualified than most of my colleagues, but they can never seem to see past my squint and squeaky voice.

So I get all the rubbish jobs.

While they get to blow things up, play with new technology and generally have a whole lot of fun in the process, I’m left with the stuff that nobody cares about.

Take the current project I’ve been tasked with…

I’m making the mushroom clouds on next generation nukes a pretty colour!

TURA

Mushroom
———
On the Underground platform at Oxford Circus, the only other passengers are a six-foot-tall mushroom and a Japanese salaryman. He topples rigidly onto the third rail and explodes into a cloud of butterflies speaking your name.

A vending machine sells true love, but you do not have the right change.

The carnivorous wall tiles chatter evilly to each other, straining to break free of the cement.

A giant cannonball appears on the rails, moments before it rolls out of the tunnel and stops there.

The hallucinations stop when the mushroom climbs into the cannonball and rolls off down the tunnel.

SERENDIPIDY

Disposing of the bodies is my biggest challenge. I don’t go in for burial, disposal at sea or anything like that. It’s too risky, and there’s always a chance that a stray body part might turn up somewhere.

I prefer to render down my victims, and I’ve converted the cellar into an acid bath system of industrial proportions.

I call it, ‘The Mush Room’, because all that’s left in the end, is mush!

You might wonder what I do with it next?

I simply add a few chemicals, pour into moulds and let it set.

Fancy candles for aromatherapy boutiques!

NORVAL JOE

Linoliamanda didn’t seem phased by her father’s angry tone. She held the phone out so Billbert could hear, too. “I’m at Billbert’s house. There was a misunderstanding and I needed to speak with him right away.”
Her father harrumphed and then a dog barking sounded clearly from the phone.
Linoliamanda gasped. “Oh. Daddy. Please let Mushroom out. She needs to do her business.”
“You can come home and let your dog out yourself,” her father grumbled and hung up.
When she didn’t rush out, Billbert asked, “What about your dog?”
She smiled. “Daddy will do it. He’s such a kidder.”

PLANET Z

Remember the old kids’ show Mister Mushroom?
Year after year, the show swept the Daytime Emmy Awards.
Other shows tried to lure away his producers, his directors, his writers.
But as long as he had the sponsors, he had the money.
And nobody paid like Mister Mushroom paid.
Then, one day, at the end of a show, he took a bow and went out to his car and drove away.
He never came back, and nobody ever saw him again.
Where did he go?
Nobody knows.
Maybe we all just dreamed of him.
And you wake up from the dream.

Statue

They say that you should put a beautiful woman high up on a pedestal.
And that’s where I found her.
Because she was statuesque.
The most beautiful statue in the world.
Absolutely perfect.
And I wanted to make her mine. Forever.
At the auction, I tried to buy her.
But I was outbid.
“You will never own her,” said the agent.
If I can’t have her, nobody will.
So, I picked up a crowbar from her crate, and smashed her.
And I ran.
I haven’t completely lost her.
I still have her hand.
And a ring to put on it.

Three Coins

They say that if you throw three coins in the Trevi Fountain, one day you’ll return to Rome.
The Great Bambini had a magic trick where he’d throw three coins in a fountain, and he’d vanish, only to reappear in the Trevi Fountain in Rome.
Nobody could figure out how he did it.
Camera tricks? A stunt double?
Bambini never told anyone how. He took the secret to his death.
How did he die?
Well, he performed the trick on a day when a maintenance crew was cleaning the Trevi fountain, and Bambini broke his neck on the hard stone.

The Tub

Tom was a drunk and a hitter, but Cindy had nowhere she could go.
“He’s good to me,” she would say.
One night, while Tom was asleep, Cindy sprayed the bathtub with soap.
She figured that Tom would slip in the tub and break his neck.
Or maybe, he’d figure out that it was a trap, and he’d beat her to death.
A sickening crack woke her up, and sure enough, Tom was in the tub, his head at a strange angle, and not breathing.
The tears were genuine as Cindy dialed the emergency number, not from sadness, but relief.