Unmasked

Rayburn rose from the dead and donned his mask. Halloween night! Time to party with his deceased neighbors. Long time no see. He shuffles to the Chambers mausoleum, thinking how ornate it looks compared to the Drakes’ crypt from last year’s bash. The sound of bones clacking discordantly reached his ears as he entered the marble structure. Rayburn immediately recognizes Theodora, even with her mask on, who welcomes him with a request to dance.

The evening wore on with much animation as everyone had been still for so long. Suddenly, someone screeches with alarm. Quiet befalls the group as all eyes turn to Jack O’Lantern, whose mask has somehow slipped off and is dangling from one ear. In all the years they’ve held their annual gathering, they’ve never had such carelessness happen. It was one rule they’ve all agreed to – “Wear a mask and hide the decay; for today is when we can forget we’ve not passed away.” But seeing the slitted nostrils and jagged mouth jolted them to realize such visages of horror also lurk under their own masks.

The Escape of El Cheapo

Eyes darting from the restaurant’s kitchen to the exit, Hobart is poised to leave before the server comes back. Timing is essential. So is nickel and diming and penny pinching. He earned the nickname, El Cheapo, for suckering his friends to pay for him until they wised up and dwindled to zero. No loss for him, as he saved time and energy by not having to scour for birthday and holiday gifts through lost and found bins in various places. Right now his goal is to dash out unnoticed. He considers changing his nickname to Dodger. It sounds more adventurous.

The Tattooed Tree

Naked and trembling, Trevor stops to catch his breath. Already he feels the curse cast upon him. The tattoos on his stiffening torso become more pronounced, resembling wall-sized etchings.

His arms shoot upward, branching outward, simultaneously dividing into limbs of various density. Immobile, his legs fuse together, while his feet extend out all around him. His toes multiply, scattering and digging deep below the earth at the same time.

Moisture penetrates throughout his whole being, or whatever self-awareness is left. The last thought as he can describe it as such is that he wishes, out of all the tattoos he has, he had avoided the heart with Her name carved on it. He didn’t know she would take it to heart and act as if she owned him.

Morning with Elvis (100-word story)

Spring fling is in swing. What’s better than having a thing with the King? Yesterday she attended a local amusement park show to hear the singer’s baritone and dance to the beat of his gyrating hips. After the show, their eyes met and held steady. A photo op with the entertainer came next and she ran to his side with arms akimbo. Her chest grazed his and sparks flew. Who knew? One thing led to another after drinks. Alyssa smooches the Polaroid photo of her posing with the Elvis Presley lookalike. His lips are at their sweetest the morning after.

From Burglar to Burger (a 50-word story)

Grady got grinded for grifting Godfather. Through guileful gimmicks, he burgled Godfather’s genuine gems gifted from His Graciousness. Granulated with ginger and grapes, Grady is now ground burger grade, ready for grilling to be served to Geppetto, Godfather’s German Shepherd. Gents and gals, gasp and grasp; learn this lesson well.

Face Time

Meghan sighs as she sees the night slipping away too soon. Almost ten in the evening and she still has no date. She swipes the photo to the left, but soon changes her mind and swipes it to the right. She reads the brief profile of the guy she decides to pursue: “Enjoys anything that rocks — rock candy, rock climbing, and hard rock. Rock me hard!” She snickers at the last sentence.

“Oh yeah, baby,” she thinks to herself.

She texts him: “What flavor rock candy you like?”

Seconds later a response comes back: “Cherry”

She texts back: “I’ve got on cherry lip gloss.”

“Yum,” flashes on Meghan’s iPhone screen.

“I wish I was somewhere listening to hard rock now,” she types in, hoping to get something going soon.

“You’re playing my tune. Want to hang out?”

Meghan likes that and keys in, “Sure . . . when?”

“Let’s face time,” he messages back and adds his number for her to call.

“Cool,” Meghan thinks as she punches in his number.

A toothy grin dominates Meghan’s phone screen. She catches her breath as her eyes rake over the green cast of the face with bulging eyeballs and stained teeth that seems to take on  a countenance that doesn’t look human at all. As soon as her brain registers the freaky visage, a scream escapes through her lips, now quivering from repulsion. Laughter from the screen erupts just as instantaneously.

She throws the phone across the room, screaming and hearing the laughter. She realizes she’s just been goblined*.

*Goblined – when a person gets startled, surprised, or freaked out by a goblin; usually occurs when a person least expects it. These are Halloween times . . . the countdown begins . . .

Love Lettuce

Image: Pixabay

Leticia loves looking at Lenny while they lunch in the library lounge over little bowls of lettuce. She thinks starting with the Iceberg lettuce will help break the ice. Her friend, Rose, recommends she follow up with a robust salad laden with Romaine lettuce to get the romance rolling. Alternatively, she could offer a plate of spicy arugula as Lenny is anything but a “regulah” guy. To match Lenny’s Boston accent, Leticia finds she has to offer a bolder fare. Let us hope that endive makes the perfect ending to their growing love for each other.

The Carnery

Image: Pixabay

The daily grind grounds Pete to the ground, like the meat he grinds to make the daily meatball grinder, the star of The Carnery, his eatery and meat shop. Day in, day out, Pete is like the meat he first pounds with his mallet. His routine is not much different from how his father described his own time at the cannery back in the day. Nor the stories his grandfather told him way back when he was a carney. Hard work is stamped in his DNA. As Pete pounds away at the meat, he thinks how Connor, his son, seems to be enjoying the fruits of his labor. Pete sent Connor to the best schools and drummed into his head the idea of seizing every opportunity he sees. As a high-powered Wall Streeter, Connor is today a true carnivore.

Avant-Garden

Cara considers herself a cool chick with chic taste of the highest pecking order. Chanel No. 5, her signature scent, leaves a come-hither fragrant trail. To amp up her avant-garde style and complement her charm, she decides to try a new procedure. One that cements her credence of being the ultimate trendsetter not only in clothes, but also in cosmetics. A believer in all things natural (even though she never goes au naturel), she has herself implanted into her favorite flowering plant – the rose. Rain or shine, she always has a rosy demeanor.

Image by Anna