Recycling Ad

Recycling Ad

“Ladies,” he began, knowing the office only had three token women. “We’ve been accused of not being eco-friendly. Our last advertisement for tires showed an actor throwing a cola can into the street.”

“Hardly our fault, Mr. Nubile. That actor was the cause of the ruckus.”

“But it was our ad!” Jonathan Nubile slammed his hand on the conference table. “Ahem. Regardless, I’d decided to make recycling commercials for the time being. A cute mascot for the kids to relate to will be chosen later today. And Ms. Marigold, I’ve chosen you to select the mascot.”

Marigold was chomping on a banana with the peel on her knee. “Hm?”

One of the other women spoke up. “Mr. Nubile, I object to this.”

“On what grounds am I not qualified for whatever this is?”

“Sir, she’s not qualified. She’s not even clean. Who leaves toenail clippings in the break room?”

“Ms. Marigold,” Mr. Nubile said. “Please wait in the empty work room for the mascots to arrive.”

“Yes, Uncle Johnny.”

“MARIGOLD.”

“…Yes, sir.”

When they made sure she was out of earshot, Mr. Nubile confided. “Those mascots will tear her apart. Not literally, or even litter-ally with two T’s. But I think we won’t see any leg hairs in the break room anymore.”

“Toenails,” said the third woman. “She keeps leg hairs in the ladies’ sink.”

“Of course, of course.”

After an hour, Marigold had littered the carpet with banana peels, apple rinds, and Cheerios. She checked her watch. Nobody showed up, so she got up. Suddenly, a leaf on a bicycle pedaled slowly into the room. “Am I the first to arrive?”

“Um… yes?” What was it? Was she hallucinating? It looked two-dimensional.

“Perfect! Name’s Green McGreens. Put ‘er there!”

She shook his hand. It felt three-dimensional enough.

“Tsk tsk. Is this your mess, madam?”

“Marigold Nubile. And it is.”

“Well, the creature plant rubbed its hands,”waste not, want not.”

Green shot green energy at the pile and POOF! they all turned into leaves.

“Nice trick,” Ms. Nubile smiled.

Green McGreens gave her a wicked smile. “Oh, you like that one? Try this on for size!”

The leaves all levitated and flew into Marigold Nubile’s mouth, forcing their way down her throat. She gagged at the sensation and choked at the shock.

“You could have killed me!” she sputtered.

“Then your body would be used as a nice fertilizer,” he quipped. “And besides, better than killing our planet!”

“Did I hear my name?” A large but not to scale Earth with a cute little face arrived. “Wait, you said ‘our planet,’ not ‘Earth.’ Okay.”

So cute! thought Marigold. I want to hug it! She ran up to it to give it a big hug.

“STOP!” Earth said. “I’m really Earth! If you hug me, you’ll crush millions!”

Her dark side started to boil, but she let it slide. “So if I drop a penny into you, a giant penny will crush people?”

Earth rolled its eyes. “Not too bright, is she?”

“And she’s dirty.”

“I can spare some water to clean her!” The Earth puffed its cheeks and squirted water all over Marigold and Green. Green seemed to enjoy it, but Ms. Nubile fell to the floor as if she were melting.

“All clean!”

Great, she thought. What else can go wrong?

“Hey hey, Dunk the Dank Recycling Receptacle, ready to get the job!”

“Hello, Mr. Dunk. Please have a seat over there while I get ready for our interview.” She ignored the fact he was a recycling bin with sneakers and prayed she’d survive this.

She puffed on a cigarette and crushed it into the carpet.

“Hey now! I thought this was an environmental ad! You don’t even know how to dispose of trash?”

“Um…” Marigold mumbled. “Bottles and plastics and paper and…”

“That’s all well and good, but what about trash, HMMMM?!”

She relented. “Cigarettes go in the trash.” She picked up her cigarette and threw it out.

“Preferably ash trays,” Dunk grumbled. “But I see more trash that needs disposal.”

“And that is?” She feared for her life.

“YOU!”

And with that, he shoved her into the trash basket.

Ms. Marigold wiggled pathetically. “My butt is stuck, jerk!”

“The Earth is stuck in this jam!”

The Earth nodded.

“Our trees are dying!”

Green clapped.

“And people like you just want, waste, and warmonger! The three W’s!”

Marigold fell over. “You’re right. I’ve been lousy to the planet. I’m going to be green, giving, and great. The three G’s.”

“That’s the spirit!” cheered Dank.

“Atta ma’am!” applauded Green.

“There’s no real way to fix the damage humans have done to me, but I appreciate the new outlook on life!” groused Earth.

“And you’re all hired!”

“Huh?” asked the trio.

Later, Marigold Nubile confronted her uncle.

“I’ve decided to hire all three. We have enough money in the budget. And I have an idea for the commercial theme. People waste water or kill trees or trash the streets. We have the three mascots show them the error of their ways by fighting back with magic.”

Jonathan Nubile rubbed his chin. He smiled. “You’re growing up, Marigold. You’re not the little girl who used to throw bottle caps at ducks anymore.”

She returned the smile. “Not anymore, Uncle. Not anymore.”

“Did you say ‘not anymore’ twice?”

“Um, I did, yes.”

“Why?”

“To put emphasis on how I’ve changed. It’s a dramatic thing.”

“Oh. I’ve never heard it before.”

“It’s very common, really.”

“I believe you.”

“…You don’t really believe me.”

“You’ll show me an example next time I visit.”

“And then you’ll believe me?”

“Maybe.”

“You’re always like this!”

“Tone, young lady! We’re at work!”

“Fine, don’t believe me. Later.”

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Uma Thurman of the Owls

Uma Thurman of the Owls

“Have you ever seen Motherhood? No one has. It’s $1.99 online. $1.99 to see me act.”

The owls were trying to sleep, but she kept chattering on.

“My Super-Ex Girlfriend is $2.99. I don’t know. To me, they’re of a similar quality.”

She tried picking off feathers from the snowy owl with her toes, succeeding all too well. She held them in place.

“Ta-da! Quentin would have loved this. But forget him. Forever.”

She watched the largest owl fly away in what she perceived as something other than annoyance.

“Off to get us some worms, right bros?” She laughed nervously. The barn owl turned away from her.

Uma Thurman flopped onto her back. Why didn’t the other owls like her? Was it because she was so tall? Her size 11 (she claimed) talons? Her tired eyes? She identified as an owl now. She recalled what had happened.

As of today, she said in a public speech, I no longer feel like a human. I’m being watched and photographed all the time. I feel overly sexualized and criticized. Therefore, I will now live my life as an owl. I will move to an undisclosed tree with other owls and if you think I’m mad, you’re just a bigot.

Many people supported her in fear of being ousted as bigots. Uma bought five male owls and moved to the top of a dragon blood tree.

But now they hate me, even though I’m one of them. What did I do wrong?

The thought struck her. “I’m not a predator like my brothers! I need to use my talons to attack, and I’ve just been lazing about!”

She ran and ran and ran and jumped off of the tree, toes outstretched to grab an animal with. She fell and fell and fell and landed on Quentin Tarantino. He lay unconscious on the dirty ground. She stood up and realized he must have been looking for her.

A cruel idea struck her brain. What was the name of her big movie he directed? Kill Quentin? That sounded right to her.

That night, Uma fed an ambiguous meat to her brothers. “Eat up,” she said. She turned to the snowy owl. “Uh, those are for me. I eat the feet.”

The largest owl hooted. The roundest owl hooed. The snowy owl whoed. The barn owl whomed. The bland owl said nothing. The Uma owl said, “What are we going to do now, brothers?”

The owls picked her up with their talons and flew off. Over the forests flew the six owls, high in the sky, over the trees and beyond the clouds. Past rivers. Past valleys. Past the boundaries of the forest.

Finally, Uma felt like one of her brethren. Uma laughed in excitement, hoping this flight would never end.

They went into the human territories and stopped at a police station. Uma ran, barefoot, but the five owls’ strength was no match for one owl.

“I don’t want to go! I don’t want to go!” She panicked. “You can’t take me to jail over Quentin! Directors are creepos!”

“What seems to be the problem?” asked the sergeant. “Ain’t you Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction?”

“N-n-no! I’m an owl! An owl!” She stomped frantically.

“That’s Uma Thurman, the self-proclaimed owl,” said a female cop. “I recognize her from Motherhood.”

“Oh, would you like an autograph?”

“I hated that movie. Worst waste of $1.99 I spent.”

The owls began to hoot wildly. To Uma, they seemed to be pecking a path of truth into her skull. She couldn’t withstand it any longer.

“I KILLED QUENTIN TARANTINO AND ATE HIM! But it’s fine, right? I’m an owl. You can’t arrest me.”

“Actually,” said the second cop, “an animal that attacks a human usually gets put down, and you killed one. Let’s send her to animal control.”

Uma froze. This wasn’t right at all. “I was only kidding. I’m not really an owl.”

“No, no. You made it clear. You’re an owl and we’re putting you down. Hello, animal control?”

“But I’m human! I have human children! My ex-husbands are human!”

“That so? Then we’ll send them to jail for bestiality.”

The animal control came in. “Which owl is she?”

“The big yellow one with the goofy claws.”

“But I am a human! I am human!” She kept on screaming it until the words couldn’t be heard.

At the animal control center, Uma was strapped down with leather ropes.

“You can’t do this! Kill Bill! Pulp Fiction! The Producers! I’m too famous for this! Too rich! Too… COME ON, I’m human for Christ’s sake! Quentin totally deserved being eaten! You can’t do this to another human being!”

“Stop hooting, little one. It’ll all be over soon.”

Uma shouted and wailed and cried, but to no avail. The needle pierced Uma Thurman the owl’s skin and…

A Night To Knight

A Night To Knight

“Miss Lewis… Emily Lewis… time to wake up…”

Drool was dripping down the side of her mouth. She licked it up and swallowed the glob of spit in her mouth. She’d be embarrassed if shame had her number.

She lived for sleep, not Biology. Not boys, but cheesy snacks made her so happy. Her nap was vague yet again. Blurry. Her classmates (for she had no friends) would talk about dreaming of horses or storms or the jungle. Her dreams were always unclear. Blurry… so blurry. Why couldn’t she have dreams?

At home, her parents were nowhere to be seen. Likely still working and overworking. Emily peeled off her stinky, sticky, sweaty shoes and sat in front of the TV with a bowl of cheesy nacho chips.

She spotted some cheese on her fingers. Reaching towards her shirt, she recalled her mother complaining about cheese-stained shirts. She brushed the cheese onto the soles of her feet instead.

Then she wiped the cheese off her soles. Then she licked it. “Mmm… all the oil on my feet made the cheese extra-zesty!”

As if by some divine intervention on behalf of the vomiting ants watching her, Emily Lewis fell asleep. Her snoring alarmed some fireflies mating outside. She gagged a little on some drool. Emily digested the drool, which caused her to belch loudly.

Emily dreamed clearly for the first time. She was in a forest with mushrooms so large that they seemed to have held hands with the sky. Two figures walked up to her, still snoring.

“This fourteen-year-old is the key to our survival?” The statement came from a dark-skinned man holding a crystal ball. “Why are her feet covered in dairy products?” Fortunately, Emily just snored loudly in response.

A pale woman with black energy surrounding her knelt down next to Emily. “Doc Argo, this cheese-soled girl is our salvation.” She rose. “And you mustn’t wake her. If she were to awake, our whole world would vanish. It’s happened many times before, and she never recalls our existence.”

“Duchess of Darkness… aren’t you also fourteen? You look quite mature for your age. Especially next to her.”

She glowered, her dark aura spiking upward. “Call me Natalia. Come, wheel her. We’re almost at Longrus the Wizard’s fortress.”

Doc Argo used his sphere to telepathically move Emily Lewis in her chair.

The trio walked into the Field of Waves, the wet grass bobbing up and down at their knees. Occasionally, Natalia would crush a rat’s head with her boot.

“Doc Argo, do you think Emily is sort of… special?”

The magician scoffed, choking on his own laughter. “No. No I do not.”

“Oh… I don’t know. She’s so sloppy, it’s astounding our sterile world could have been created by her subconscious.”

“Well… strange things always happen. I once saw an orange pumpkin.” In this world, pumpkins are blue and cause diabetes.

Natalia wiped a rat head off her boot. “I’d like to go to the human world, if possible. I bet it has pumpkins of all different colors. I could be as gross as I want without father punishing me for putting my feet on the table or picking my earwax.” She paused. “I think this girl is my new hero.”

Doc Argo stroked his chin. “Do you think we’re here because her subconscious wants her to be clean? I’ve heard of dust, but never seen it. We have brooms, but they’re just used for flying. And what’s the deal with mops?”

The Duchess of Darkness looked at the sky. “Yeah, maybe.”

Finally, they reached the home of Longrus the Wizard. “This is the man who stole the Rock of Permanency. Once we return it to the palace, we can remain tangible without Emily’s aid.” Emily snored at the thought.

A pillar of smoke rose before them and spoke thus, “This is no place for two girls and a black ass-hat. With the Stone of Permanency, I shall be the sole survivor of this world, go to the human world and conquer it!”

Is that possible, wondered Natalia. She didn’t like Longrus one bit, but she admired his know-how. She almost asked how she could be with Emily.

Emily snored and drooled, drooled and snored. Meanwhile, Longrus zapped Natalia’s leg off. At that moment, Doc Argo realized mops could be used to clean up blood.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Natalia undaintily screamed. That was her favorite leg. Had she known it was going to get torn off, she wouldn’t have spent an hour wiping the rats off of it.

Longrus simply slapped Doc Argo and he fell to the ground.

“You magic users and your auras and crystals. True magic comes from the fingers.” He lifted the Stone of Permanency. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a world to destroy.”

Walking towards Emily, he dropped to his knees and began to tickle Emily’s feet. She chuckled.

“NO! You’ll kill us all!” screamed Doc Argo. The Duchess was also screaming, but at the loss of her leg.

Tickling her cheesy feet and drooly chin, Longrus started to shout in the hopes of waking her up. The only issue was the cloud of dirt surrounding Emily Lewis.

Emily’s dirt cloud rapidly spun around and then suddenly fell on Longrus as he dissolved into dust. He was too sterile to handle it.

Natalia crawled towards the stone. She handed it to Doc Argo. “Take this stone to my father at the palace. I’ll stay here with Emily and make sure she never wakes up.”

Doc Argo was taken aback. “Never?”

Duchess Natalia caught herself. “Doesn’t! Doesn’t wake up!”

“She has to go home sometime,” he said softly.

“But… I think I love her. And she doesn’t even know I exist.”

The magician rubbed her back. “She knows. In here.” He tapped his head. Then he went.

Emily woke up. How strange! Her whole night was spent asleep, but she remembered everything. Doc Argo, the forest, Longrus, the stone and… Natalia. It was her first dream and would always be her greatest.

The next Biology class was spent awake. Emily couldn’t fall asleep after what had happened. What if she did make a world in her mind, and it got wiped over and over?

“Class, we have a new student today… Bobby Jones.”

Bobby walked to the seat behind Emily’s and sat down. “Psst,” he said. “Check it out.” He rolled up his pant leg to reveal a wooden leg. “It’s me, Natalia! Look, I really like you, and I want to marry you some day, so I’m dressed like a boy!”

“Um…” whispered Emily, “Actually, girls can marry girls here. Oh, and pumpkins are orange and don’t cause diabetes.” She chuckled at Natalia’s shocked face. “But let’s take it slow, okay?” Drool dripped from her mouth and she wiped it onto Natalia’s lips. “There’s an indirect kiss for ya.”