Jack O’Lanterns Want Falafel

Jack O'Lanterns Want Falafel

It was 10 o’clock on Halloween night. The customers of Hank’s Gourmet Falafel were chowing down on some prime falafels. However, three poor souls were unable to enjoy the cuisine of the Middle East.

“This sucks,” said April, the middle-sized jack o’lantern. “All I wanted for Halloween was to eat a falafel before I rotted away. Is that so wrong?”

“I getcha, April,” said the largest of the trio, Mike. “But it’s not like Toy Story where we can just scare ’em into doing our bidding. It’s like the sequel Toy Story movies where we’re confined to keepin’ our mouths shut.”

Lester tried to frown, but couldn’t. His tiny grin was plastered forever on his face. “I’d settle for a scoop of a topping.” The other two agreed.

At 10:15, a customer was chatting to her friend and said,

“Hey, as a joke, what if I put my falafel in this jack o’lantern’s mouth?”

“Totally. That would be hilarious.”

She inched her falafel into the Lester the pumpkin’s carved mouth and…

CHOMP!

POOF!

He disappeared.

“I swear, I thought there was a pumpkin here. Did you take a picture?”

“N-noooo, I missed it, sorry not sorry but actually very sorry.”

April and Mike gaped at one another.

“He’s dead! He vanished!”

“Yeah, I getcha. But y’know, I’d rather die like that than rotting in a compost heap.”

April thought. “Yeah. Me too.”

10:45 came and a careless child dropped his falafel on the linoleum. “BAWWWW!” he wailed. He wailed and wailed until Hank came over.

“Don’t worry, wailing brat. Sir, I’ll make your son another falafel half-off. Is that okay?”

“He’s actually my nephew.”

“Don’t care.”

“What should we do with the one he dropped?”

“Dump it in the big pumpkin’s mouth for all I care.”

Mike grinned. “Guess this is goodbye, April.”

Once the falafel fell into his mouth, he dissolved into a puddle of orange goop.

“WHAT?!” freaked out April. “That didn’t happen to Lester!”

“Bob, clean up that mess. And we’re closing in thirteen minutes!”

April began to worry. If she ate a falafel, would she vanish like Lester or goop like Mike? Should she try a falafel if the time came? Well, she couldn’t very well prevent it from happening, could she? Was this the end for her? Would she try falafel tonight, or go into the compost heap?

“You, pumpkin, No falafel for you.”

What? Did Hank acknowledge her existence? She wasn’t alive per se, but she had thoughts and desires, emotions too. She didn’t want to die, but it was looking like no way out at that point. What if she did eat a falafel? Would something happen to her?

Hank locked up and took April into the back room.

“Anything you want to say to me, April?”

How did he know her name? Was he a pumpkin-whisperer?

“Your friends are fine, if that’s what you’re thinking.” It wasn’t. “Lester’s body and soul have gone to a better place, where falafel is bountiful all the time.” He paused. “Mike was a tainted pumpkin and went to Pumpkin Hell, which is nicer than Human Heaven.”

April was baffled.

Hank unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a jack o’lantern within. “That’s right, I’m a pumpkin, and my magic falafels have sent your chums to the afterlife. But I’m two years old and I need a successor. April, instead of ever eating falafel, will you stay here for two years to guide needy jack o’lanterns to paradise and damnation?”

April was baffled.

“No,” she thought. “Give me a falafel so I can go to my end in peace.”

He did so, and she dissolved into goop, which vanished immediately.

With April gone, Hank let a squash named Barry with no agenda run the falafel shop. It was a much calmer atmosphere in general, but the cucumbers always came out weak, so it closed every other season just to reevaluate the flavor of the cucumbers. Frankly, they were never great, but it was a good marketing strategy, usually.

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Niles Pantsstealer of Mississippi

Niles Pantsstealer of Mississippi

“Indeed, I shall swipe the next pair of pants to make its way near me,” said Niles Pantsstealer to his dog Rolf. “Yes, I shall remove pants from the next person I meet. I just stated that, hadn’t I?”

A woman with a rotund bottom and a thin waist waddled past Niles.

“Rather! I wouldn’t steal the pants off a lady!”

“But you said you would,” instigated Rolf, at least, that’s what Niles thought Rolf said in his head.

“B-b-b-but how uncharming it is of a Mississippi man in this manner…”

“Excuse me! Do you know how to get to Sherman’s drugstore?” the woman asked.

“Most assuredly,” Niles answered. “It’s two block south off of–”

He swiftly knocked her to the ground and took off her pants.

“HELP! PERVERT!”

“Madam, do not make the pant-stealing unbearable for me. It’s hard enough to steal your pants when you’re accusing me of such unsavory things.”

“Nice bottom,” Rolf was heard to say, maybe.

Niles Pantsstealer took the pants from the young woman and ran off to the state line.

“It’s illegal to arrest a gentleman at the state line of Mississippi,” muttered Niles to Rolf.

“Sure it is, pal. You gonna eat those pants?”

“I simply steal pants, liberating them from bounders like that woman. Eh?” He dislodged a wallet from the pocket. “I stole her wallet too! Women seldom keep wallets in their pants! I’m a common criminal!”

Rolf said nothing.

“Don’t start agreeing with me now, chum! This is partially your fault, you and your goading over women’s trousers!”

Rolf sniffed himself. “It’s pants, not trousers. Remember the game,” Rolf angrily reminded. At least, Niles believed he angrily reminded him.

“Let’s return to our domicile, pal,” Niles squeaked. “We’ll figure out this wallet later.”

Two days later, the woman received her wallet in the mail with no return address. She took out her cards and money and threw the wallet out in case he did something.

Back into the wild traversed Niles Pantsstealer and Rolf. He spotted two men fishing and tanning their legs with their pants off.

“Too easy for my taste,” muttered Niles. “Like taking babies from a… no, I believe I started that wrong.”

“Do it,” Rolf might have told him. “No pants are too beneath you to steal.”

“Very well, Rolf.”

He simply ran behind the gentlemen and took their pants, running straight to the state line. “We made it, bud. We’re at the state line once more.”

A hot red automobile pulled up to the state line.

The two men who were fishing came out with clubs and began wailing on Niles, with Rolf sticking his tongue out and panting.

“Rolf, attack the bounders!”

“Bow!”

“Speak to the cretins, Rolf! Speak!”

Rolf licked himself.

“So you’re the one who’s been stealing all the pants in town, is that it?”

“No! No, I’m just Niles Pantsstealer, pants aficionado! I collect pants, not steal them! I’m a cobbler, see?” He pulled out his card. “Niles Pantsstealer, Cobbler!”

“Well, I’m Judge Wily and this is Officer Gates! Be in jail today and court tomorrow, cobbler!”

“Charming,” muttered Niles as they dragged him away. “What about my dog?”

The pair talked among themselves. “That’s the Johnson dog, and she’s been missing for weeks. You stole a kid’s dog, creep?”

“But, but Rolf has been feeding me advice to steal pants! Dear boy, tell them you’re the mastermind behind these pants attacks! Tell them, old boy!”

“That’s the guy,” Rolf didn’t say. “Book ‘im.”

“You, you bounder and cad! No, it’s all a big misunderstanding! You simply must believe me, officer! Judge!”

“We’d be simple to believe you. Let’s go.”

The next day, Niles Pantsstealer was in chains and before the mercy of the court.

“Jury, the evidence has been placed before you. Have you reached a verdict?”

“We have, your honor. In the case of Niles Pantsstealer v. People wearing pants, we find the defendant… guilty.”

The court gasped and murmured.

“In the case of Niles Pantsstealer v. Patricia Johnson the dog’s owners, we find the defendant… guilty.”

The court gasped and murmured.

The judge banged his gavel. “Enough gasping, enough murmuring! Niles Pantsstealer, I sentence you to two years in prison! Next case!” BANG!

The judge and jury stood up, tearing their pants off.

“Ah, super glue. I still have accomplices out there, stealing the pants off of unsuspecting fools. It’s only a matter of time until they take everyone in Mississippi’s pants away!”

“But you didn’t steal the pants, you just destroyed them,” said a juror.

“True, but I did steal them away from you all. Now, I must figure out how to steal the pants off of inmates. And while I’m incarcerated, my accomplices shall swipe–”

“Hey, I’m Jeff Trouserswipe. I’m turning myself in to the police.”

“JEFF! Well, there goes my only accomplice.”

Niles Pantsstealer spent two years getting beaten up for stealing pants from inmates, and when he was freed, he tried to open a rental pants store in an attempt to get clean, but no bank would give him a loan. He died at 97, stealing pants until the day he died.

Watermelon Dog

Watermelon Dog

It was the last day of summer, and Joni was getting ready to start hosting the big friends and family barbeque. She bought the plates, forks, knives, corn, meat, meat, napkins, meat, sauce, buns, condiments, and meat.

“It’s going to be a hella barbeque, huh boy?”

Her dog Ernie barked in agreement. He started to pant.

“What’s wrong, boy? You need water?”

A spark went off in her head.

“Water… MELON! Ernie, we forgot the watermelon, and they’re going to be here any minute!”

Ernie began to tip-paw away. She’d done this to him before.

“Ernie, here’s a twenty. Get a big fat watermelon, okay? And bring me the change!”

He knew it. Joni was always making him run errands for her. Nevertheless, if he didn’t go, he’d never get a scrap of meat all day from her. Maybe from a clumsy kid, but they were learning to be careful around him.

Joni tucked the bill into his collar and sent him on his way.

On the way to the store, he passed a homeless man.

“Spare some change? Oh wait, dogs don’t have money. But that crisp twenty on your collar must be itching you…”

Ernie barked loudly at the homeless man.

“Okay, can’t blame a bum for trying to bum from a dog!”

Ernie continued on his way when the man jumped on him.

“I’m not eating gravel pie again! I can’t live like this!”

Ernie bit him and left a mark on his skin. The man failed to steal the twenty, but chased him all the way to the store.

Ernie turned the corner to enter the store and made it past the manager who waved to him. The crumb bum was stopped by the manager.

“Sir, do you have any money?”

“Er… that dog stole my twenty!”

“Nice try, sir, but Mr. Ernie has been coming to Stop & Shop for two years on behalf of his mistress. Please come back with money.”

“Stupid Muslim whore,” he grumbled.

She called security.

In the store, Ernie scoured the aisles for a watermelon. Finally, he found a rather large one for the right price and took it down with his fore-paws. He urged it along with his snout and got it to a very long checkout line. Some people were confused by the dog with a watermelon, while others were used to it by now.

He listened to the many annoying sounds of the store. An older couple arguing about the lack of instant noodles, the screaming of the shabby homeless man from outside, the slicing of his watermelon… HEY!

“Just making it easier to bring home, Mr. Ernie,” explained the manager. “I’ll wrap these in plastic for you and you can carry one in your mouth and the rest of the pieces around your neck.”

He barked in gratitude.

Finally, it was his turn. He placed his watermelon slices on the belt and…

“We’re closed.”

Ernie played dead in frustration. He grabbed his things and ran to the self-checkout line, where he was the first one there.

A man with spiky black hair impatiently tapped his foot. “Why do I get stuck behind this dog every time?” he growled.

Ernie barked viciously at the man.

“Okay, okay! You have only the one thing, I have many. It’s only fair.”

Finally, he got the machine to scan his watermelon slices and ran out of the store, but not before licking the manager’s hand.

Then the homeless man showed up.

“Give me your change, doggie!”

Ernie bit him again and ran for his life, but the man was faster.

“If you don’t give me change, I’ll take your watermelon,” he said, sitting on top of the dog.

That’s when Ernie had a brainstorm.

He chewed the man’s pant leg and nudged him in his direction.

“What? Are you trying to take me to jail? At least they eat.”

The smell of grilled meats flared in his nostrils.

“Is that… a barbeque?”

Joni waved to her dog and everyone else at the party followed suit.

“Ernie, you brought the watermelon and… uh…”

“Ted’s the name, homelessness is my life. Your dog brought me and–”

“Hold on, I’ll give you some coins so you can leave.”

“Actually, I thought maybe your dog was inviting me to the festivities–”

“Yeah,” said Joni, “but he’s a dog and this is my party. Here, seventy-five cents. Bye, Ned.”

Ted took the coins (she dropped them into his hand) and he left, grumbling.

“Ernie, you have to be more careful. Did you bite him? What if he had AIDS? Anyway, have a burger.”

Ernie ate the whole burger, but as usual, his mistress’s lack of good will let him down. The burger tasted not of victory, but ashes.

Mrs. & Mrs. Gronk-Uggg

Mrs. & Mrs. Gronk-Uggg

Mrs. and Mrs. Gronk-Uggg were married in a lush field on November 3rd, 2018 B.C. in front of a slightly disapproving crowd. Of course, being the first of anything was always going to face backlash, but being the first married lesbians in history really ruffled some raptor feathers.

Garna Gronk, a vivacious blonde who kept the girls away with a club, met Clunnk Uggg (she claims her upbringing was from a very traditional family) back in 2023 B.C. They adopted a baby triceratops, Corey, to practice for real babies.

“Ugggh,” teased Garna about Clunnk’s uni-brow.

“Gaahh!” Clunnk slapped her away.

The cave fell silent for a while.

“Geeh.” Garna was always asking about having real children, even back when they were dating.

Clunnk grunted nothing.

“GEEH.” Garna was insistent this time.

“Rarak. Ganna rarra rarak.” Clunnk brushed her off as usual.

“Geeh…” Her mate pouted.

Clunnk held up two furs to her chest. “Haa… og harrak?”

“…Harrak. Gonur.” Garna loved her mate, but she couldn’t pull off winter colors.

“Hagga.” The big party was tonight, and Clunnk didn’t want to look fat.

Corey growled at nothing in particular.

At the party over at Greg and Lalanda Smook’s cave, Garna was glaring at a woman wearing the same fur as her.

“Konak?” Clunnk didn’t see the big deal.

“Giva…” she said, lamenting the woman wore it better.

Greg tapped his wine urn. “Hello, fellow neanderthals. I’m Greg Smook, but you already know that. Welcome to our party! Oh, and I see two children who should be on the hay by now! Good night, Zanndak and Orla!”

Lalanda translated for her upright blabbermouth.

Zanndak gave Garna a big grin (while catching a peek at her cleavage) and rushed off to bed. Orla hugged her parents and followed suit.

Garna frowned. Clunnk slapped her forehead. This wasn’t at all what Garna needed.

Greg and Lalanda approached Mrs. and Mrs. Gronk-Uggg. Lalanda looked about ready to kick him.

“Hey, ladies! How’s the marriage going? Any trouble in paradise? Ha ha! Just kidding.”

Mrs. Gronk and Mrs. Uggg looked at him with tilted heads. Why did he have to evolve so… annoyingly? All those big words and none of them necessary.

Lalanda kicked him.

“Rura?” Lalanda asked Clunnk about her rock business.

“Enomi dotur.” Economic downturn, answered Mrs. Uggg.

“So Garna, thinking about having kids of your own? With your body, I’d advise against it! Ha ha! Just kidding.”

She didn’t follow any of that, but she understood “kids” in any language.

“Ug. Ugh. Uug.”

“Okay, don’t get your saber-tooth panties in a bunch. I was just asking. You know, there’s a great adoption clinic across from my work cave. Maybe you and,” he pointed at Clunnk “can check it out.”

“Sluya.”

“A sperm donor? I wasn’t really kidding about your body. It, it’s great. Don’t ruin it with kids. After what happened with Lalanda, I don’t want you to go flabby.”

She caught his drift and punched him in the nose.

The guest clamored around Greg to see if he died. He hadn’t, but some wish he had. Lalanda helped him up.

“Unga bunga!” Clunnk excused herself and Mrs. Gronk.

After an argument late into the night back at their cave, the couple came to a conclusion: Garna would have a baby on her own via sperm donor and Cluunk Uggg would be completely hands off.

However, after nine months, there were complications. Garna Gronk passed away during childbirth, giving birth to a healthy son. Ms. Uggg named the boy Dedek, meaning death in her tongue.

Cluunk, Corey and Dedek lived normally for cavepeople, despite Cluunk living in complete silence around her late wife’s son. Eventually, Corey grew up and moved out of the cave, leaving six-year-old Dedek to talk to himself.

Nothing Cluunk observed Dedek do impressed her. He had so many similarities to the deceased Garna Gronk, who Dedek couldn’t even miss, not having known her.

Ms. Uggg pulled out some old cave paintings she put away when her wife died. When she rediscovered her old wedding painting, she wept.

“Ongo?” asked Dedek about Garna in the painting.

Cluunk said nothing, as usual.

“Epp!” Dedek noted their eyes and hair looked the same.

Finally, Cluunk turned to Dedek and opened up.

“Shala wum ropik.” She explained that this person was his mother, her wife whom she loved very much. When Dedek was born, it felt like her whole world was ripped away from her, but part of Garna Gronk lived on in Dedek Gronk-Uggg. She couldn’t truly abandon the boy knowing where and who he came from, and chose to be silent around him out of anger and sadness.

“Slimuok.” But no longer, she decided. They would become a real mother and son, and live for the memory of Garna, not remain frigid due to her loss.

Dedek hugged his mother and wept. He felt home, which was odd, because he was always home. Even if he only had one mother, he wouldn’t give her up to the wolves of the world, the dinosaurs of demise, the homo sapiens of horror. Their embrace lasted until fifteen minutes, when Cluunk realized she had a raptor over the fire burning.

The Out Door That Wanted To Be In

The Out Door That Wanted To Be In

Once upon a modern time, there existed a Stop & Shop. This Stop & Shop had hundreds of people visiting it per day. In and out the people came; in one door and out the other.

Now this store had a troublesome automatic exit door that had a dream: To let people inside. It thought that if people came through it, more people would enter than leave.

So one morning when the store opened, the in door opened for a customer and.. the out door did the same.

“Well, I can’t enter through the exit door,” thought the customer, and entered the entrance.

The out door was puzzled. Why didn’t the fat lady want to enter?

Later that evening, a man with spiky black hair tried going through the exit door.

“Finally,” thought the door. “Someone will enter through me.”

The manager stopped the man. “I’m sorry, sir. Our exit door is malfunctioning right now. Please enter the entrance.”

“Blasted Stop & Shop. They stop you before you can shop!”

“Yes, ha ha, sir. Very clever.”

The man grunted and went through the entrance.

The manager, who was a Muslim woman, but that isn’t really relevant, spoke to the door as though it were alive.

“Troublesome door. Why won’t you let people exit at the right time? And why do you open at the wrong time?”

The next day, someone came to look at the exit door.

“It’s gone full-on feelings.”

“Feelings?” asked the manager, who was irrelevantly a Muslim woman.

“It wants to be an entrance. It identifies as an entrance. You can’t reprogram it at this point.”

“The heck I can’t!” She began to yell at the door in Arabic.

“That won’t work, Ms. Othman. It needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.”

“We don’t have that kind of money right now,” Ms. Othman muttered. “Well, we can just leave it alone for now.”

Soon, a new store opened up, bigger and faster than Stop & Shop. The great big Stop & Shop lost a lot of business. Even the man with spiky black hair stopped coming to buy groceries.

“And it’s all your fault, exit door! People think we’re incompetent and won’t enter our store anymore!”

The Muslim lady manager was just angry at the new rival store and blowing off steam, but the door didn’t know that. It was sad.

But the door didn’t want to give up opening for entering customers either. What was a door to do?

“I have the solution!” said Ms. Othman.

She hired a painter to write something on the inside of the door and a second person to scrape off “OUT” on the door. The new paint inside read:

“ENTERING OUTSIDE”

The exit door was so happy. It opened the door to many exiting people who wanted to enter the outside. Even the man with spiky black hair came back, claiming he couldn’t find the yogurt his wife liked at the new store.

Ms. Othman was very happy. She tried to replicate the success with repainting the words on the bathroom doors, but it was just… just a mess.

The Star-Nosed Mole and the Pegasus

The Star-Nosed Mole and the Pegasus

From the heavens flew down the mighty Pegasus. On his back rode no manner of creature, as the last rider jumped off in fright and died. For now, it was a lone steed.

“Whew,” neighed the creature. “I need to lighten the weight on my legs! I need to sit down. The creature landed in a forest with a nature trail and a park bench.

“Perfect place to lighten the weight on my legs!” Winged horses have a tendency to repeat themselves, so enjoy that throughout our tale. The Pegasus sat on the bench and

–CRACK!–

it broke.

The Pegasus used nails from its hooves to shoddily repair the bench.

“Perfect, if I do say so. But where will I lighten the weight on my legs now?”

A star-nosed mole waddled by and spoke to the bench.

“Eh, what’s this? You’re all broken up! Who did this?”

The Pegasus confessed its crime against woodwork.

“I’m sorry. I just wanted to sit somewhere and lighten the weight on my legs.”

“I smelled something was broken about it. And I smelled you.”

The Pegasus admired the star-nose.

“You have a dazzling snout,” said the winged horse.

“DON’T TOUCH IT!” And the Pegasus lowered its hoof. “I may not be able to see well, but I can smell you coming at me like that,” he snapped his claw-fingers.

The Pegasus thought the star-nosed mole was kind of a jerk. “Hey, I’m sorry, but I’m just curious.”

“Look, don’t touch is my motto. And anyway, why’d you break the bench?”

“I was looking for a seat to lighten the weight on my legs.”

“A likely story, I’m sure. Wait here, weight-boy.”

After about a half-hour, the mole returned with nails, hammers, and industrial-strength glue.

“We’ll fix it together, okay?”

The Pegasus smiled, although the mole couldn’t tell or care.

It took two hours and forty-five minutes, but they fully repaired the bench.

“We did it!” cheered the cheerily cheerful Pegasus.

“Well, I did it mostly,” said the star-nosed mole, “but you weren’t half-bad. As a reward for a job well done, you can sit in my house to lighten the weight on your legs.”

“Wonderful, wonderful!”

When they finished burrowing into the ground, the star-nosed mole offered the Pegasus a seat.

“Ah, finally, I can lighten the weight on my legs!”

“Far as I can tell,” mused the mole, “All your weight is high above your legs. You should be lower to the ground.”

The Pegasus froze. “What are you talking about?”

“See, I’d like to make a switch. You can have my legs and I’ll take on the burden of that weight on your legs.”

“Nope. No, I have to… go.”

“Look, how often do you get to meet a mole with a body-swap potion? I can make you–”

“NO!” The winged horse began to kick and flail wildly and accidentally hit the mole in the skull, killing him.

“I… took a life. I killed this overbearing mole. I don’t deserve to be a winged horse.”

He took a swig of the potion and poured the rest down the star-nosed mole’s throat. After a few minutes of blurriness, the horse passed out and woke up as…

A Pegasus. Was this even a body-swap potion?

He examined his body. Nothing had changed but… His rump. It had become furry and brown, like…

The mole had a glorious white rear and tail. The Pegasus slapped himself in the face.

“The dead fool! This is a booty-swap potion! Well, I did kill him. It’s my cross to bear now.”

With a smaller rear-end, the Pegasus could sit on the benches without trouble. And the star-nosed mole woke up ten thousand years later and was the envy of every new cross-breed in the future.

The moral is, of course, to always check the label and not to kill moles, although doing both of those things benefited both parties, so who knows? The moral is morals aren’t to be trusted at face value.

A Very Important Business Meeting But Pikachu Is There

A Very Important Business Meeting But Pikachu Is There

10:15. Fifteen more minutes until my big presentation begins. I eye the people coming into the conference room. Woman, woman, hunky Dirk, woman, the boss, the woman who keeps taking my pen. That’s it? That’s all the seats available. I start to close the door.

“Pika!” a high-pitched wail stops me in my tracks. Pikachu, from the Pokemon series? He’s dressed in a cute little suit, blue glasses and carrying a briefcase with a Pokeball logo on it. Is he for real? Is any of this real? I pinch myself. OW! It’s real.

“Mr. Pikachu, says Mr. Henderson. “We’re out of chairs. Will you take the table?” He nods, but you could see the disdain in Pikachu’s eyes.

Dirk whispers in my ear. “Knock ’em dead, kiddo,” he says with a trace of spearmint on his breath. I giggle like a nervous school girl. I wonder if he’s dating anyone. He’s going to be the most distracting one at this meeting.

“PIKA-CHUUUUU!” screams Pikachu, having just spilled coffee all over himself. Dirk rushes out to get him paper towels. Okay, maybe Dirk’s the second most distracting.

After wiping himself down, I’m almost ready to begin. Good thing most of the staff is female. I actually employ that old “see the crowd in their underwear” trick. I shudder when I see Mr. Henderson and blush at Dirk. Then I look at Mr. Pikachu. He’s still damp from the coffee. I wonder if he’s wearing underwear. Why would Pikachu wear a suit and nothing underneath?

Wait… why would he even wear underwear? Why do any of us wear underwear? It just makes us itchy and sweaty. I remember I’m wearing a skirt and decide not to argue with time-tested clothing choices.

Oh God… I’m almost about to start and I’m rambling in my head about underwear. PIKACHU! This is your fault!

“Ms. Yeatman, whenever you’re ready,” says Mr. Henderson. Dirk winks.

“Right. Okay, so this fiscal year has shown us…” I go on for about ten minutes without a problem. Then Pikachu raises his paw.

“Yes, um, Mr. Pikachu?”

Pikachu clears his throat. “Pikachu.”

Mr. Henderson makes a noise that I don’t quite get. It’s like, “Hrrm-rmm?”

“Ex-excuse me, I didn’t quite get that.”

Pikachu holds his hands out and gestures. “Pi. Ka. Chu.” Okay, clearly he’s doing it like I’m an idiot or something. Does anyone else follow?

The woman who steals my pens chimes in. “Interesting point, Mr. Pikachu. Is the company sustainable enough to follow Ms. Yeatman’s plan?”

Dirk rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah, and I have to agree with Mr. Pikachu’s assessment of the structural integrity of the project. No offense.”

OH, NONE TAKEN, DIRK. Just the guy I crush on thinks I’m an idiot too! I take a deep breath. When did Pikachu even join the company? I would have heard about a fictional character joining the ranks!

And how is it I’m the only one who hears that “Pika chu chu pi ka chu” chatter? Deep breaths.

“I am confident in my proposal. In six years we’ll have built up a user base to support our needs.”

“Pik–a-a-a-ACHU!” He sneezed on me! What a jerk! I always preferred Digimon anyway.

Dirk hands him a tissue. Jeez, Dirk and Pikachu much?

“Pikachu, pika.” I feel like he’s insulting me, but he wouldn’t have the audacity to do that in front of everyone.

“Please, Mr. Pikachu! She’s one of my best employees!” I blush happily at the boss’s comments. “Don’t call her that name, of you’ll get another lawsuit!”

I play smart. “Uh, yeah! I feel violated over what you just said!”

The woman to my left tugged at my sleeve. “Don’t play this game. We’ve all sued him and lost. It’ll just end badly.”

“All of you?”

“Yes. He called me a snatch. But what can I do? He’s the CEO.”

Ah. Now it kind of made sense, at least the accommodating part.

Pikachu folded his arms. “Pi?”

“I promise not to sue if you just hear me out.” I assume he was ready to leave at that point, anyway.

“Pika…”

I explain my proposal like I’m talking to a human, not a small rodent monster.

“And that’s my presentation, Mr. Pikachu. What do you think?”

“I like it. I misjudged you, Ms. Yeatman. Okay. We’ll carry out this plan starting tomorrow. Oh, and Ms. Yeatman?”

I clean out my ears. “Yes sir?”

“Expect a raise in your future. I like your moxie.”

He leaves and I collapse in a chair. All my female coworkers applaud me, and Dirk bows at the waist. Glad he doesn’t think I’m stupid.

“What was his deal? Is he a Pokemon? And was he speaking English at the end?”

“No,” Dirk says. “Yes, actually. Look, he’s totally human, but he identifies as a Pikachu. He texts us what he’s saying in Pikachu talk. He got surgery to look like that Pokemon. Must have been painful, but he was already a little person.”

I ignore the weird CEO stuff. “Hey, want to have dinner with me tonight?”

“Sure! Your treat with that big new raise, I assume?”

I give him a look.

“Only kidding! Only kidding.”

Saltwater

Saltwater

I’ve always been pretty tall for my age, ever since I was little. I’m Melody Jones-Smith, resident of an abandoned lighthouse and friend of two jerks, Yan and Yuri.

The day started like any other. Yuri was tricking some woman over the phone to do his dry-cleaning. I was getting ready to leave for the day to work at Mr. Nonk’s shack. And Yan? Screaming in his sleep, like every morning. He always had an insult for me when he woke up.

“What a nightmare!” he tussled his large Hispanic afro. “I dreamt I was being eaten by a blonde giantess!” He pointed at me. “AHHH! There she is! Don’t eat me!”

I tangled up my fingers in his mass of hair. “You’ll be fine once I poison your food, tiny boy.” Yan probably has a crush on me, but damn if you could tell it by his teasing.

“Will you two keep it down? Millie is acting silly for me,” Yuri rhymed for no reason. “So anyway, gurrrl, how about paying for my dry-cleaning?”

Yuri always had the air of a pimp or something. In his pure white suit and hat, he didn’t leave anything to his own effort. Well, it takes effort to mack on women, but not much. He and Yan were friends before I met them, and it’s not too hard to see why. Yan’s sloppy but Yuri’s neat, and though that’s an Odd Couple bit, they’re both jerks to me. That’s their bond, I think.

Oh yeah, they’re both short men. I’m tall, but it’s not like their teasing is just because of a few inches. Try a foot. Yan likes the height put-downs, while Yuri goes for my hand and foot disparities.

I have no idea why I share this lighthouse with them.

“I’m going to Mr. Nonk’s place,” I said.

“Bring back lobster!” Yan demanded.

Yuri finished his call. “Aren’t lobsters giant bugs, basically?”

My stomach turned in knots. “Never mind, Yan.”

Yan whimpered. “What? Bugs taste good!”

I took off my cat ears headband and put on my red wool cap.

“What about bacon?” asked Yuri.

“That’s a dinner food, Yuri.”

“I’ll get bacon on my own, large hands.” He glared at me and clicked his tongue.

“So you’ll get a girl to make it for you?”

“Have a nice day!” They chimed in unison.

As I left the lighthouse, I looked at the structure. Beautiful. Tall. Like me. Those jerks were just overcompensating.

I made it to Mr. Nonk’s shack quickly, but I wished it to take longer. “Mr. Nonk?”

“Oh, great! The giant woman is here to visit me again!”

I composed myself. “Mr. Nonk, my name is Melody. Please try to remember it.”

“Of course I know you, Melody! Your family was rich, ’til ya went danged bankrupt!”

I washed his dishes.

“Why did you choose to go bankrupt? I spent hours tryin’ to change my fargin’ cellular phone company!”

I did his laundry.

“Back in the day, you could be broke for less than a cent! Now it’s all, ‘Oh, DARN! I only have a million dollars! I’m broke!’ Idiots!”

I ironed his clothes.

“Kids these days! Oh, my kids are visiting tomorrow, so don’t scare them with your freakish height! Be shorter!”

I massaged his back.

“Today’s generation can’t give proper massages! You could get a back rub on only a nickel! Bleh!”

I got paid.

“When I was a lad, if any elders tried to ramble on end about their youth, I’d hit ’em with a crowbar! Aides today just can’t fight back!”

I stormed home.

“I’ll call you back, babe. Another woman? No. No she’s not.”

Yan gave me an insincere grin. “Welcome home, Melody! You look so pretty!”

I glared at the lazy layabouts.

“Did you get lobster?”

“No,” I grumbled, putting on my cat ears. “Leave me alone.”

An hour later, Yuri’s woman Sandra was cooking bacon.

“Do you want to sit with us?” I asked her.

“Uh, she thinks you’re a rival. Don’t engage.” Yuri waved a dark hand over his face.

“Mr. Nonk has no respect for me. I help him, he yells at me!”

“Like every man you know, right?”

I didn’t catch who said that, but it pissed me off more.

Yan piped up. “Have you ever considered you might be doing a terrible job?”

I threw a high-heeled sandal at his head. He fell to the ground.

“You know, maybe we could send him away if we tied a million balloons to his house.” Yuri grinned at his Pixar’s UP reference.

“Heh. His house is so old, you’d only need to attach a hundred balloons.” I hoped I wouldn’t regret what I was going to ask. “Hey… can you guys come with me tomorrow?”

Yuri spoke first. “I’d love to, but I’m doing this thing called ‘Not being yelled at by a cranky old man.'”

“How old is he?” asked Yan, for some reason.

I held up my other sandal.

“OKAY! OKAY!”

“Shoes shouldn’t be throwing projectiles,” noted Yan.

One day later, we were off. When we got there, Mr. Nonk’s children’s car was parked out front. I heard screaming inside.

“Mr. Nonk?”

“MELODY! Thank goodness you’re here!”

Mr. Nonk’s son and daughter, ugly, my height, folded their arms.

“Dad, it’s not really a big deal,” said the daughter.

“No! You’ll never take me alive!”

I took charge of the situation. “Mr. Nonk, what’s going on?”

“My dim-witted kids are tryin’ to put me in a home!”

Yuri spoke, unfortunately. “Look guys. Home? Is where the heart is. And his heart doesn’t want to be in a home. Therefore, his home in his heart isn’t in a home. So you should let his heart be at home!”

“Vote Yuri for President!” announced Yan.

“I’m okay,” said Yuri.

“Yuri aside,” I started, “I thought I was doing a pretty good job!”

The son approached me. “I don’t want my father to be in a Russian-less area!”

The daughter confronted her father. “Dad, this is an all-Russian retirement home. I’m sure Mom would’ve liked it…”

“All-Russian? Are you ripped? Dummies! Don’t you know–”

“Don’t you know anything about Russians? Old Russians hate each other! Sure, young Russians get along, but when you’re old, everyone else needs to die!” I grinned.

“Melody…” He seemed touched. “You’ve actually been listening to me?”

“I may have picked up a thing or two…”

“ENOUGH OF THIS!” The son grabbed his father and ran out to his car.

“MELODY! Help!”

“Mr. Nonk!”

Yan looked up at me. “Well, Melody, looks like your wish came true!”

I looked down at him. “No… I’ve made a horrible mistake! We have to save Mr. Nonk!”

Yuri gave me a mischievous smirk. “If you vote for me for President, you’ll have him in ten minutes!”

“Anything! Please!” I was desperate.

Yuri started texting… and texting… and texting! Nine minutes later, an army of nubile young women came in carrying Mr. Nonk.

“What did you do?” I asked, shocked.

“I just texted all the sexy singles in my area. They stopped the car and… took Mr. Nonk by force. And the kids won’t be taking him to a home anytime in the future.”

I bent down and hugged Yuri. “I owe you an apology! You’re not just lazy! You’re a hard-working pimp!”

“Not a pimp, but you’re welcome.”

Yan pointed to himself. “Do I get an apology?”

I rubbed his hair. “No. You totally owe me an apology.”

I took Mr. Nonk from the women, all glaring at me. “Mr. Nonk, I’m so sorry…”

“No Melody, I’ve treated you poorly. You’re a hard worker.”

Yan smiled. “See that? If a Russian and a giantess can get along, why can’t the nations of the world?”

“Simple, Yan!” Yuri started up again. “If we all got along, then the military would disband! That’s why I promote more war!”

“Vote Yuri for President!” announced Yan.

“Innocent people? Nice try!”

I clasped Yuri’s shoulder. “I don’t think I want to vote for you anymore.”

“That’s fine. We don’t want votes from people like you.”

That night, we all had lobster for dinner at the lighthouse. Yuri was upset over a court order for being the mastermind behind Mr. Nonk’s kids getting attacked. The ladies were upset at me. Mr. Nonk was upset at everything, but smiled throughout.

And Yan apologized for his giantess comments, but promised “plenty more on the way!”

Kirby Tries To Eat All Of The Manna

Kirby Tries To Eat All Of The Manna

We are full of gratitude for the many blessings God has given us. He took us out of Egypt, drowned our oppressors, and gave us the manna. That’s where our new, less severe, more tiresome struggles began.

With the manna came the Kirby, a suction creature that eats all in its path. Some claim it has eaten children; I do not believe it to be so callous. The Kirby swallows everything edible in its path, which, unfortunately, includes the manna.

He does not give blessings to God. No, the pink ball only squeaks with an “‘Ayyyy!” or an “Eyyyy!” I believe I’ve heard it say “Hoyayo!” once, but I’m not to be trusted among my brethren on the matter.

Moses for his part has been lackadaisical on the matter. “What’s the worry,” he says, reclining while chewing a piece of manna. “God gave us a new test so soon, so let’s embrace it!”

“But Moses, the Jews need to eat manna too. My daughter has not been getting enough to eat. She grows weaker every day.”

Moses swallowed his manna. “Alright already, let me try something.” He bit into a new manna and waved me off.

Sabbath, a day that should be free of worry, causes me the most stress. Kirby eats twice the manna and grows ever the stronger. I’ve tried storing away my manna, but it just attracts worms. At this point, it’s better than nothing.

I tried talking to Aaron, but he’s busy with literally everyone else, trying to restore order between feuding individuals. I like him. He’s quite kind and knows how to foster peace. I like him. I would just like him more if I could talk to him about the Kirby.

Korah beckoned me to his tent. “Clearly Moses and Aaron have failed you. Don’t even bother with that Miriam. I’ll clue you in, friend. Talk to the Kirby. Reason with him. Moses and Aaron are weak. They fear the Kirby more than anyone. I, Korah, fear no creature, even if I were to get swallowed up! Approach the Kirby! Deny the brothers!”

He made sense, I thought, and went to Kirby’s stomping grounds.

“Kirby, my daughter needs to find sustenance on the manna. How will she grow if you keep swallowing her portion whole?”

Kirby looked at me with big sad eyes. He swallowed me in one gulp.

I felt… Odd. Like my very essence had merged with the Kirby’s own. Who was I? What was I? I felt his thoughts.

“Hungry… so hungry… must… feed…”

I understood the creature now, but I had become one with it, and it with me. What would my family say when they saw me?

“Ah, there you are.” It was Moses and Aaron. “No, wait. You’re not the guy. You’re the Kirby. Spit him out. We have something for you.”

In a motion faster than the eye can handle, I was released from my pink prison in an instant. Moses stood over me.

“Sorry, God wouldn’t let me dispose of the Kirby. He says it’s part of His greater plan. But He did give me this.” He held up a red fruit, or possibly a vegetable.

“It’s called a Maxim Tomato,” Aaron explained. “This one fruit will sate the Kirby’s appetite until he gets injured. But we have more.”

I felt the need to apologize to the brothers for doubting them, but it’s not as though they knew of my mistrust. I apologized regardless.

“We all make mistakes,” said Aaron.

“Yes,” said Moses. “Now go feed your family manna before it gets wormy.”

I started to run to my quarters when I stopped and turned to the Kirby. “Thank you, creature! You won’t be hungry any longer!”

The Kirby squeaked out something, but I couldn’t understand him. It sounded either like “You’re welcome” or “There are many more hardships for the Jewish people along the way. Be careful of pitfalls the Jews may fall through, okay? Ayyyy!”

Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Basketball Telethon

Basketball Telethon

Basketball Telethon was written before a live fish. He didn’t like it.

“WHAT?!” The Sean Connery-esque mumble of Wendel Preston Snobworthy the 14th raised to an unusually rageful pitch. “Clams are going extinct!”

Wendel the squirrel wore a large red bow tie and thick, round spectacles. He was talking to no one in particular, but a Southern drawl in the shape of a clam answered him.

“Yes suh! An’ that’s exactly why yuh can’t eat me! Ah’m a rare breed, certainly Ah am!”

Wendel popped the clam in his mouth without a concern for the rare breed. “Something must be done!” He chomped loudly on the mollusk. “I say, and I have said!”

Candice piped up, curling her wavy blonde hair and scratching her mouse ears. “But what can we do? The whole country thrives on clams!” she said, gesturing to a pot stuffed to the brim with clams. “Why, even the President eats clams, and he doesn’t do anything that people who actually exist do!”

She held up a newspaper with a picture of a cute pig with a curly mustache and a top hat eating a clam, with a headline that read “President… Eat Clams?! How Odd.”

“And we need clams to fuel submarines!” said The Nameless One. He had orange fur and a horn obscuring the left side of his face. “Explain that to the naval research families!”

Doctor Stripper, first name Doctor, surname Stripper, chimed in. “And what about starving children in Hungary? If only Turkey would donate their Thanksgiving dinners!”

Wendel ripped off Doctor’s arm and swallowed it whole. “Yes, something NOT freaking idiotic must be done!”

“MY BOYFRIEND’S PLEASURE ARM! WENDEL, YOU BUTTHOLE!” shrieked Candice Canderly candidly.

“I’m okay, honey.” He tussled his gray hair. He flapped his plastic wings to see if they got torn off. “I just need to lie down for the rest of the story. G’night…” With that, he flew home.

Candice composed herself. “We can recycle our clams! For every clam we eat, we breed two more in its place!”

Wendel bit his lower lip. “Should I eat you?”

Candice giggled. “No, I’m pretty!”

“Fair enough…”

“I’VE GOT IT! A BASKETBALL TELETHON!” cried The Nameless One.

“I say, that’s a terrible idea! But we might as well try!”

“You frighten me,” Nameless admitted.

“Welcome to the B-Ball Telethon to save the clams!” the announcer said. “I’m Thorsty G. Lastname, and this is some guy I kidnapped!” He gestured to his cohost.

“Call the police. NOW,” the cohost whispered.

Candice gestured to the television. “Oh no! Someone already beat us to the punch!”

“I called it Basketball, not B-Ball. Totes different,” said The Nameless One.

Back on the TV, Thorsty was introducing a sea anemone to the crowd. “Now let’s go to the Clamdiggers’ team captain, A Blob Of Sea Stuff!”

“Wassup, Thorsty,” the anemone got out.

“A BLOB OF SEA STUFF!” Wendel freaked out.

“Who’s that?” Candice asked, not sure she wanted to know.

“My old arch-nemesis from Yoga Class! THIS MEANS WAR!”

The Nameless One realized something. “Shouldn’t we be saving clams?”

At the court, ABOSS was talking to a tall white dog in a red necktie.

“It just occurred to me, but we don’t have anyone to play against.”

“I am currently a dog,” said the dog, dogly.

“A BLOB OF SEA STUFF! I WILL BE YOUR OPPONENT!”

The anemone shocked his enemy with some kind of powerful energy, I don’t know what.

“I mean, just about anyone will do.”

“I am currently a dog.”

Dazed, the squirrel spun around and warbled, “I’m serious, A Blob Of Sea Stuff! This is for honor! And clams! And Candice’s awful Clam Chowder!”

The entire stadium erupted into laughter, as literally everyone has had her Clam Chowder. Candice laughed the loudest, not at the line, but at the thought of murdering all the jerks there.

“Oh, very well. It’s on, pal!” said ABOSS.

“Whatcha got, blob? I’ll get you inside, outside, upside, downside, frontside, backside, leftside, rightside, hereside, thereside, whereside, pearside, topside, bottomside–”

ABOSS shocked him again.

“This has got to be the least basketball game ever!” remarked Candice.

“The least basketball game ever?” asked Nameless.

“Yes! It’s basically fencing.”

Nameless couldn’t rationally argue with her. Suddenly, a giant robot in a hoodie sneaked up on them.

“Psst! You guys tryin’ to save clams?”

“Yeah!” answered Candice. “You have a plan to save them?”

“NO! I HATE CLAMS! That’s why I made them a dying breed! NO ONE CAN STOP ME NOW!”

“Then why did you tell us your plan?” she asked.

“BECAUSE I’M REALLY, REALLY STUPID!” he admitted.

Back on the court, Wendel was struggling to remain conscious. “C… clams… save… chowder… currently a dog…” Then he realized.

WAIT A SECOND! Forward, he says “I am currently a dog.” But backward, he says “God a yltnerruc ma I.” WHICH CAN ONLY MEAN ONE THING!

“YOU’RE NOT REALLY A DOG! YOU’RE ACTUALLY A WEIRD WOLF-OCTOPUS CREATURE!”

“Uh… okay,” muttered A Blob Of Sea Stuff. “That may be, but that won’t solve anything.”

“No, he’s right, ABOSS. I’m only a dog currently. If I don’t say the phrase, I turn back into a wolf-octopus creature. Let’s admit he defeated us.”

“He didn’t defeat me at all, The Current Dog!”

“Breaking news! There’s only seven clams left in the world!” the TV reported.

“WHAT?!” everyone yelled.

Candice raised her voice. “Hey, everyone! This robot is really stupid and he knows where the clams are!”

The robot became sad. “Hey, you don’t have to tell people I’m stupid…”

“Wait,” ABOSS chuckled. “This guy’s stupid? Tell me, how many nickels are in a dollar?”

“Um…” the robot tightened its hoodie. “Three?”

“HAW HAW! He really is stupid!” laughed Wendel.

At the President’s House, President Piggy had a room full of clams. “Oh boy! I sure do love oysters and being the President!”

Wendel stormed past the guards. “MISTER PRESIDENT! Those aren’t oysters! Those are CLAMS!”

“CLAMS? Oh… I’m the worst President ever! I’m even worse than every president ever!”

“Well…” Wendel assessed the situation. “Yes. You do suck fairly hard, but your intentions to rid us of oysters were good.”

Nameless changed the topic. “If it makes you feel any better, pigs don’t usually have mustaches.”

The President beamed brightly. “That’s right! Pigs DON’T usually have mustaches!” He fell into gloomy despair. “Sigh… no. Now I just feel like more of an outcast.” He raised his hooves into the air. “I guess all I can do is free all the clams!”

“Floob!” said the clams as they flew to the sea.

“I say, I know who I DON’T want as President for the next two weeks! HA HA HA!” Wendel laughed himself into a fit.

ABOSS caught everyone’s attention. “Hey, look! These clams stayed and… they’re multiplying at a rapid pace!”

Nameless started to fret. “Um… Aren’t there a bit too many clams?”

“Oh no!” worried Candice. “They’re getting bigger! We’re drowning in clams!”

“Now who’s stupid?” asked the robot.

“Still you.”

Wendel screamed and screamed. “Who would’ve imagined that the most dangerous animal known to man… was clam?”

“I did,” replied The Current Dog.

“Oh.”

Months later, the mighty Clam King sat upon his clam throne. “It’s good to be Clam King!” remarked the king.

“Yes, but it’s a good thing we overthrew your wicked plan months ago, so if it’s all the same to you, I’ll eat you.” And Wendel ate him.

“My future baby daddy’s arm hasn’t grown back,” groused Candice.

Wendel sighed. “Arms don’t grow back.”

Doctor Stripper rushed back for the last line of the story.

“Baby, my arm’s grown back! Let’s go bowling!”