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.


“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!”


To Bury Treasure

To Bury Treasure

“Heathcliff… it’s me, Cathy, I’ve come home, I’m so cold…” Burt wasn’t sure of the lyrics, but she got them mostly right.

She held a pair of large sandals in one hand and a treasure chest under her other arm.

She disapproved of the way the sand squished in between her toes. It was as if she had been walking on salted brains. She also disapproved of the way the seagulls were circling around her and Skipper.

Skipper. Dumb dog. He had the IQ of a dalmatian but lacked the inbreeding. He was a good boy, and Burt knew that, but damn, was he ever stupid. Once, she pretended to throw a ball, and he ran into the street, narrowly avoiding a Toyota Camry.

She named him that because of the way he jumped with each step. She tried it, but her heels were too large and she nearly tripped over herself. Burt looked around embarrassed. No one. She was relieved, but lonesome. Hoping to mooch a lunch off of others, she realized it was too cloudy and that she was no better than the seagulls surrounding her.

She sat against a wooden fence in the sand. The chest could wait.

Burt spotted Skipper playing with a seagull who appeared to be as dumb as the husky. They made a game of tilting their heads repeatedly and looking in a direction that led to nothing.

“Bow, wow!”


“Ha ha!” Burt laughed at the animal friends, and took a photo of the two getting along. In her entire life, it received three likes across all of her social platforms.

She found more energy surging through her long legs. “Here Skipper!” He circled around for a bit until he found “here.”

With a seagull on his back, Skipper pawed at the wooden box Burt kept locked. “No, Skipper! It’s for later, and you can’t have!”

Since her parents died… rather, they were dead to her, but yes, very much alive, she felt companionship in both nature and beasts. Like her, they were unpredictable (and as her former friends once said, full of beauty. She would heavily deny these remarks and individuals).

She had a brother, but he was in jail, while her other brother was in a coma. She was bereft of friends and family, but being alone suited Burt Campbell (no relation to the Richard Mulligan character).

Her real name was Alberta… as she thought about her name, she walked onto a shard of glass. She missed the salted brain sensation. As she took the bandage from her arm and put it on her sole, she continued thinking about her name. Alberta was not her favorite name. She was nicknamed “Bertie” for short, then “Bert,” but she spelled it with a U. Not the best name story, she thought.

The cold chill brushed against her skin. She rolled down the plaid sleeves of her shirt and buttoned it at the wrists. Her inner narration was yawning. Nothing of interest happened to her. She had heard about a woman who couldn’t see the color blue and wondered what that was like. She also recalled the news piece about the day seven pizza chefs and a delivery guy vanished. An unlikely story, she felt, but entertaining.

Burt dropped the treasure chest.

“Let’s look at him one more time.”

She opened the lock, lifted the lid of the box and saw that it was still filled to the brim with bones and a dog skull.

“Sorry, Skipper. I give you a lot of flak for being dumb, but Gil was even dumber. He was a dalmatian. Really dumb. He was my best friend after Tom went into the coma. Then he got hit by a Toyota Camry and… well, you’re here.”


“I bow to no dog,” she joked. “Can you dig? I forgot my shovel.”

Burt closed the lid and locked it again. “Dig, Skipper. Dig for Gil.”

She motioned digging and eventually just dug the sand with her own hands. Skipper started digging two minutes before she finished.

“Good boy, Skipper.” She went silent for four minutes. “Goodbye, Gil.”

“Goodbye, friend. Thank you for taking such good care of me.”

She wheeled around and saw a fat bald man with a thin mustache and spectacles. She didn’t feel any anger. Actually, she felt relieved, like Gil had wanted to say that.

“Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Name’s Dean.”

“Bur–Alberta. Well, have a nice day at the beach, Dean.”

“I always do!” He chuckled at her, then sighed.

Burt wondered if it was illegal to keep a seagull. Before she could react, it flew away.

“Both of us lost a friend today, huh?”


“Come on, I’ll make you some nice pork ch–” She checked her breast pocket. “I think I dropped my keys in the hole. Where was it again?”

The seagull came back with Burt’s keys in its beak. It sat on Skipper’s back again.

“Guess you guys aren’t so dumb, huh?”

Skipper howled and the seagull, later named Keys, squawked.