The Sweet Tooth had been the best candy store in Angstrom, Ohio for forty-nine years. Now, a pretty solid busy season was drawing to a close and kids were heading back to school. Today the owner, Don Bongwater (no relation), took the box of plastic letters from its shelf in the back office and headed out to change the sign: “Thank you for 49 years. Closing Sale,” it would read.
“I can’t believe it’s only two weeks to go,” said Roger Clemens, standing behind the counter, as Don walked up the jawbreaker aisle, carrying the box of letters. Don smiled.
Matthew Roberts sat in his living room, the afternoon sun filtering through the blinds. He sat on hold on his phone, staring at the football game, on mute.
“Roberts,” he said into the phone. “Matthew Dean.”
“February 16th, 1993.”
He gazed at the game.
“4025, 1025, 9452, 2306. 11/23. 865.”
“Yes, that’s right.”
He held. He got up and crossed the carpet to the kitchen, where he pinned the phone between his shoulder and cheek and opened the fridge and took out the orange juice and drank some from the carton.
“Yes, hello,” he said, when a person…
Edith Beakins sat alone in her house, listening to the drumming of the rain on the slate tiles of her roof and the tinking sound of the electric heat. She sat in the kitchen on a wooden chair, eating soup.
The soup had carrots in it, despite what she had repeatedly told the Meals on Wheels volunteers. She hated carrots. So, she did her best to spoon out the small cubes of carrot and fling them from where she sat at the kitchen table into the sink.
The soup had come with bread, and she was warming it up in…
“Brandon is a really stupid name for a dog,” said Riser. He sat down beside Brandon on the couch and scratched his scruff. Brandon looked up at him incredulously.
“Get him off the couch,” said Mom. Riser stretched out and jabbed Brandon with a socked foot. “Get off, you stinky dog.” Brandon made a whuff and put his front paws on the floor, but left most of himself on the couch, then turned and gave Riser a pleading look. The boy raised his foot and carefully petted Brandon’s ear with an outstretched toe. “Brandon, you dunce. Off.”
Brandon walked himself…
The judge’s voice boomed across the courtroom. Kyle swallowed and straightened his tie.
“Present,” said Kyle.
The Judge peered over his spectacles at him.
“You don’t have to say that,” he said. Kyle nodded. The judge turned the page in the docket.
“Kyle Farnbarndner, you stand accused of…” he raised his eyebrows as he scanned the paper. “Disorderly conduct… disorderly conduct in a place of business, statute three… and failure to conduct oneself in an orderly manner.”
Kyle straightened his tie. The judge settled back on his throne.
“Yes, well,” grumbled the Judge. “Let’s get on with it.”
“Have a good day, babe,” said Charlene, kissing her husband on the forehead. Mike Elvis smiled and stood up from the breakfast table, pocketing his phone, wallet and keys.
“Ready for your big recital on Sunday, buddy?” said Mike, patting his eleven-year old son, Keegan, on the head. Keegan nodded, focused on his cheerios. Mike crossed the kitchen to Charlene, packing his lunch in a brown paper bag.
“Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart,” he said, touching her back. She turned and smiled, handing him the bag.
“Did you make the reservation?” she asked.
“Don’t you worry about a thing,” said Mike with…
The starlet stomped across the marble floor of the kitchen to the phone on the wall. She picked up the receiver and stabbed out a number, hands shaking, brushing disheveled bangs out of her face.
“Help me- please!” she cried. “there was one of those things here, I’m having a party, and — Julia D’artagnan. 3 Magnolia Lane. No, I don’t think anyone was hurt. Just come, please! It-it went to the garage, I think it took my car- uh, a white Range Rover,” she screeched. “Hurry!”
Across town, V-Tess stalked toward a red Ferrari Testarossa, her heels echoing through…
“A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.”
Pierrot pulled up his pants. He peeled his mask, wallet, phone and keys off the slick tile floor between his feet. He put the mask on, pocketed the rest and left the stall.
He ran a hand through his hair at the mirror and wet his hands under the tap. He wiped them on the back of his jeans on the way out of the bathroom and stepped into the food court.
“Don’t worry, it’s not a real tree,” quips the bartender. A big plaster oak tree is this bar’s signature piece of decor. He tosses two coasters in front of us. We’re still talking about whether I should have gone for extra groceries today. There’s a rumour they’re going to close grocery stores. No bread on the shelves. The empty skid of bleach and lines from the checkouts all the way to the meat counter at Costco. How seriously should we be taking this?
The bartender sets down our beers. “They’re blowing this way out of proportion,” he sighs with a…
David and Laura cleared away the dirty plates from the dining table, where their guests, Tim and Shelby Dunghol, sat.
“Coffee? Tea?” asked David, pointing to them.
“Tea, thanks, David,” said Shelby. Tim leaned back in his chair and sighed.
“Once again, great dinner, Laura,” said Tim. “I have got to make my famous turkey ‘Dung-plings’ for you next week at our place.”
Laura popped her head out from the kitchen. “Uh, sure Tim,” she said sarcastically. “That sounds really great!”
The group laughed and laughed. …