Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Honeysuckle Twins

"They are always in my head," Liza complained.

"You think about them a lot?" Dan asked helpfully.

"I don't want to think about them at all, but it's hard when they are poking my brain with their cold bony fingers."

"Ah, I see. Tell me more," he said in that warm, comforting tone common to the men and women of his profession.

Obviously it worked for Liza because she went on. "They come through the mirrors. Anything reflective, really."

"That's inconvenient," Dan commented.

"Tell me about it! There's glass everywhere! I'd be walking down the street, minding my own business, and there they'd come, out of some shop window to poke-poke-poke my brain." She said agitated.

"Why do you think they do it?" Dan asked, keeping his voice calm and professional.

"You'd have to ask them that. I think they are witches," she replied, less ruffled.

"What makes you think that?"

"I dunno, maybe the masks they wear," Liza said, and just stared off into nothing with unfocused eyes, looking lost.

"Masks?" Dan prodded her.

"Oh, yeah, black ones. And they linger."

"How do they linger?"

"Well... like a smell. You know, like honeysuckle. My late husband, Herbert was an engineer for the railway. When we were young we used live over at Andersonville, in a large brick house. We rented the upstairs apartment from Mrs. Ashe. The house had a big, overgrown back yard, with honeysuckle growing all over the fence. When it was in bloom the smell would follow you everywhere."

Dan hummed for a moment. "How long has your husband been gone?"

That dreamy, lost look came back into Liza's eyes. "It'll be twenty years in August. He was a good man, my Herbert, bless his soul. I go every Sunday to visit him in the cemetery. It's peaceful there - no mirrors, you see."

Dan nodded, and waited for Liza to continue.

She wrinkled her forehead in concentration. "Maybe it's not honeysuckle at all. Maybe it's onions."


"Yeah, you know when you cut onions that smell stays on your hands, no matter how hard you wash them? It smells like that when the twin witches are poking my brain."

Dan would've asked more about this new revelation about twins, but just then Roger poked his head in the door.

"Roger is here to take you home, Mrs. May. You take care now, you hear?"

Liza downed her drink and reached into the pocket of her red overcoat and pulled out a wad of dollar bills.

"See you next week," she said dropping the money on the counter.

She clambered off the bar stool just as Roger got to her, took hold of her elbow.

Roger just nodded to Dan, turning his attention to Liza. "C'mon Ma, it's time to go. It's Golden Girls night, remember?

Dan watched them walk out the door, then swept the money off the bar. Crazy Liza was crazier than a jar of peppermint pickles but she was a good tipper.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Prompt: this photo by Petrea

This story is beyond silly. You know when you doze off on the couch, and in that state between sleep and wakefulness wayward parts of your brain throw strange images and word combinations at you? That's where this story was born.


It's a well-known, oft debated, and yet unexplained fact that all inhabited planets of the Milky Way have Tuesdays. Naturally, their frequency varies widely planet by planet. However, it's also commonly acknowledged that whether they occur once or a hundred times per orbital period, Tuesdays are the days when unpleasant shit happens. Thus, it was no great surprise to Odwin Cadwell the Third that his vehicle wasn't where he'd left it. It was a Tuesday after all.

"Bloody hell, some bastard stole the damn thing!" he cursed.

"Are you sure this is where you left it?" his wife, Myrtle asked in that absentminded way of hers that drove Odwin crazy.

"Where the bloody else would I have left it? You were right here! We've only been in the bookstore for five minutes; you couldn't have forgotten it already."

"Oh, I don't know…maybe it was another parking lot," Myrtle replied, nibbling on the corner of a paperback.

"What another parking lot? That's the bookstore, this is the bookstore parking lot. There's no other blasted parking lot!" Odwin shouted, waving his arms in the air.

"You don't need to shout. Why don't you call that nice young man from the rental place? They have tracking systems in the vehicles, don't they?"

Grumbling, Odwin dug out his phone and the rental agency's card and dialed.

"Hello, Hartz Rental, Alonzo Munez speaking, how can I be at your service?" The voice poured through the phone smooth as melted chocolate.

"The bloody car is gone!" Odwin exclaimed.

"Can I please have your name, sir?" the unperturbed voice purred.

"Odwin Cadwell. We've rented a Humdinger 500 from you just this morning. We parked and went into the bookstore, and when we came out it just wasn't there any more."

"Just a moment sir."

There was several seconds of relative silence, only the sounds of keyboard clicks echoing through the line.

"Ah there it is: your vehicle is in orbit around Pluto."

"What the bugger is it doing there? Was it stolen?"

"I don't know that, sir. Where did you last leave it?" Alonzo warbled.

"In the bloody parking lot, where else?"

"I mean what planet?"


"Oh. That's your problem, sir. The Humdinger 500 is incompatible with Earth gravity. It probably just floated away."

Odwin turned a particularly brilliant shade of puce, and gaped like a fish for several long seconds.

"Sir?" The annoyingly smooth voice rang in Odwin's ear, waking him from his apoplexy.

"Why in hell would you rent us a ship that's incompatible with Earth gravity? The bloody thing looks just like on of those thingies Earthlings go around in, whatever hell they're called…"


"Yeah, cars. Ugly damn things. The only reason to get a Humdinger is to go to Earth."

"People often rent them for bachelor parties. Something about the back seats."

"You could've warned us! How the hell are we supposed to get off this rock now?"

"I can send you a shuttle, sir. It'll be extra charge."

"Bloody Tuesday!"