(a six-word story)
Most land turned toxic on Saturday.
(a six-word story)
Most land turned toxic on Saturday.
Eight-year-old Freddy’s current purpose in life is playing tricks on his five-year-old brother, Jack. In the early morning of Easter, Freddy sneaks outside to the henhouse to place a ceramic egg he made as a school project in one of the hens’ nests. He runs back inside the house and creeps upstairs to wake up Jack.
“Hey, Jack,” Freddy whispers to his little brother, as he shakes him. “Get up.”
Jack’s eyes flutter.
“Jack, you just missed the Easter Bunny.”
Jack stirs and struggles to sit up. He still believes in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and most of all, the Easter Bunny. He moans, “That’s not fair. I missed it again.” Rubbing his eyes, Jack looks at Freddy and says, “Why do you always get to see all the magical stuff?”
“I told you last night to get up early today so you can see the Easter Bunny delivering the eggs.”
Jack swings his legs down to the side of the bed. “What’d you see? Tell me!”
Freddy pulls Jack by his arm. “Come on, I’ll show you.”
Together the two brothers dash downstairs and outside to the henhouse.
“Whoa! I’ve never seen an Easter egg like that.” Jack races over to the hen sitting atop a red-colored egg trimmed with gold lines and swirls. The hen clucks and flaps her wings as Jack reaches under to take the egg.
“I’m going to show this to Mom and Dad!” Jack runs outside with the egg, slamming the screen of the henhouse behind him.
Still inside the henhouse, Freddy cracks up and thinks about his next trick.
“That’s not funny.” A voice squawks at him. Startled, Freddy looks around at the hens. To get away, Freddy tears away outside and sees Jack coming around from the side of the wooden house.
“April Fools!” Jack laughs at Freddy. “I did get up early, but I heard you leave so I looked outside my window and saw you carrying something red in your hands.”
6-word story version:
The Toad croaked his last ribbit.
50-word story version:
Called the “Toad” for resembling the amphibian, Todd tends to toady to everyone. Immune to his fawning ways, Todd’s enemy tricks him into eating a toadstool disguised as a truffle served with succulent ribs. Always aiming to please, Todd ate everything on the plate. The Toad croaked his last ribbit.
They squabble over the nut mix. Every morning, Elvira prepares their breakfast by sprinkling a mix of seeds, nuts, and dried fruit over their hot cereal. Without fail each day, she complains that the mix supply looks significantly less than the day before.
“Of course it does because you use it every day,” Henderson points out to his wife.
“Don’t take me for a fool. I hardly use much. A small handful is all I sprinkle over the oatmeal.” Elvira is annoyed because such exchange between them is starting to become routine. She wonders if she had been too hasty in getting married after knowing him for less than three months. But, she’s always been a decisive woman and they were both in their late fifties and not getting any younger. She also wanted to have a man around the house to help with the yard and her car. Stuff her father used to do and her mum expected from a man.
As a woman of habit, Elvira would always leave for work soon after breakfast and return home right at dinnertime. Henderson, a freelance graphics artist, always works at home. She and her husband had a silent understanding that this time apart served as a healthy break from each other. Nevertheless, Elvira’s suspicious nature couldn’t shake the feeling that the nut mix was dwindling faster than it ought to during the week.
To satisfy her curiosity, Elvira decides to break her customary ways for one day. Without telling Henderson, Elvira goes home for lunch, parking her car a block away and sneaking in the house to see if Henderson has been dipping into the nut mix. She knows he always makes a salad for lunch and she is tired of letting him think she doesn’t know what’s been going on.
Stealthily, she peeks through the living room window, sees that her husband is nowhere near, and silently opens the door. Tiptoeing into the kitchen, she screams as she sees a man-sized squirrel on its haunches preparing a big bowl of salad. Slowly turning around, the giant squirrel says, “What a surprise, Elvira.” He looks down as he pours the nut mix into the salad, “Be glad I don’t eat meat.”
The small rental house sits on a hill, far from the neighbors. Its solitary perch is what attracted Tim to the place. Shy by nature, he considered it a find when he came across the cozy cabin lookalike even though it was reputedly haunted. In all his 50 years, he’s never encountered any paranormal or extraterrestrial activities and finds no reason to believe in them now.
As he’s wont to do every evening, Tim finishes eating dinner on his kitchen table, sips his rye, and starts talking to the empty chair across from him. Although timid, he likes to hear the timbre of his own voice when no one is around. He continues to spout about his day when the wooden chair transforms into a wooden head with its facial features and hair looking painted on. Its expression appears focused, fully engaged at what he was saying.
It must be the whiskey, Tim thinks to himself. Can’t be delirium. Although he’s been called a drunk, he doesn’t believe it because he can still stand and walk after many rounds of shots.
He rubs his eyes and stares at the chair, slapping his hands on the table just to make sure he’s awake.
“Ho now,” the outline of the mouth blurts out.
“Who are you? I didn’t invite you here.” Tim tries to assert himself.
“Day in, day out . . . especially day out, you jabber on and on. So here I am to wackle, wackle back at ‘cha.”
“What does that even mean?” Bewildered, Tim can feel goosebumps forming on his arms and the hair behind his neck rising, as he’s starting to register the deadness of the wide-eyed expression on the face. Tim inches away from the table as he notices the head shaking a little, as if trying to move from its place.
“I’ve always wanted a body to call my own.” The head nods.
The sudden change of subject and the subject itself are enough to cause Tim to bolt out of his chair. As if powered by an invisible slingshot, the head catapults toward Tim, who loses his balance from the hit. Before recovering from his fall, Tim feels a little top-heavy, almost as if he is wearing a football helmet.
“I also wanted a buddy of my own,” Tim hears in his head, knowing the thought is not his own. Heart thudding, he runs to the bathroom mirror and looks at his reflection. The wooden head stares back at him with a wide grin.
Elwood groans from an oncoming headache caused by the sound of a jackhammer, compounded by the whining of a circular saw. Still feeling the effects from last night’s party, he barely catches his breath as he staggers into his office building. As he approaches his desk, he is met with his favorite framed photo smashed on the floor. Memories of when he took it and framed it flash through his mind, followed with stabs of anger. He carefully picks up the big pieces of broken glass and throws them in the waste basket.
Still feeling upset, he almost wants to cry. Elwood surmises his hypersensitivity must be a holdover from getting smashed the night before. Overcome with claustrophobia, he steps outside to get some air and go for a walk. The destroyed picture in his mind distracts him from noticing a huge concrete block suspended above by a rope that starts to unravel. Before any warning can be made, the block breaks free and smashes Elwood to the ground.
(Warning: Some language and sexual references may be objectionable)
Soon after the emcee breaks the surprising news of this being the last year for the thong pageant, the battle for the iron throne comes into play. For years to come, those who were here would come to pass on the legendary fierceness that was about to erupt between the top two warring thong wearers – Crissy Bannister and Dana Tara “the Dragon Lady” Gong.
Forever preserved in the town library, the local news archives include a videotaped newscast that reported the infamous event that unfolded that summer afternoon soon after the winner was declared:
“Reporting live from the West Coast of Queens Bay, the resort town of Landingshire, I’m Kaye Carpenter, covering a scintillating finish to this year’s ‘Game of Thongs.’ It appears Crissy Bannister has won the coveted iron throne and a year’s supply of thongs. She’s being led to the throne now and . . . what’s this? it looks like Dana Tara Gong, who dubbed herself the Dragon Lady this year to go with her outfit . . . oh, my. . . [The camera, gyrating wildly, shows Dana striding closer to Crissy as thick fingers of flames blast out from the long tube propped on her shoulder. Just then, Crissy’s feathers catch on fire. . .]
Fortunately, a stage hand immediately rushes onstage, carrying a fire extinguisher while an emergency care team has just arrived. [The camera shows Crissy engulfed in a white cloud sprayed from the fire extinguisher. The emcee and a couple of people carefully apprehend Dana and take her away. The camera returns to the reporter’s face.] That was quite a combustible ending to an intensely hot race. This will be one match that will be burned into the memories of everyone here forever. Back to you, David . . .”