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The Trouble with Bricks, first installment

Suzie Phipps and her brother Cleotus are in a world of trouble. Actually, they’re in an alternate-reality, Alice-in-Wonderland-on-steroids world of trouble.

The siblings have their lives turned inside out when an overweight fairy appears and shoots them to a different world. Once there, they are befriended by a leprechaun hunter named Frank, a sasquatch named Melvin, and Frank's Colon, an organ with arms, legs and a serious attitude problem.

Suzie and Cleotus learn that the only chance to return to their world is to seek the wisdom of the mysterious and enchanted Mr. Wilson, CPA. The wizardly accountant points the way to a path that is fraught with danger and annoying trials.  But behind each obstacle lies the malevolent presence of Bricks, evil jazz player and deranged lunatic.  As they progress through this unwholesome and repulsive world, braving the Blue Toupee Forest, triumphing past the Three Trials, eating the famed tacos of Hooja’s Magical Oasis, they get closer and closer to their goal and further from any sense of normalcy.

This parody of fantasy novels is loaded with humor, odd characters and unusual situations that is a mix of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and Monty Python.

Enjoy the first two chapters...

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Travels Through the Land of the Misbegotten Woe Presents:

The Trouble with Bricks

 By Derek Elkins

Chapter One – The Revenge of the Return of the Mint Juno Fairy

 

This story starts at a garage sale down the street. Actually, it started a very long time before that, but we don’t have to get into that now because it would just complicate matters and matters are quite complicated enough on their own. Just ask Frank’s Colon.

It was a typical garage sale. Not a lot of old lady knick-knacks though because the man running the garage sale wasn’t an old lady. He was more of a mad scientist type. He had the crazy hair and he wore suspenders for some reason. He probably didn’t even know why he wore suspenders. He was too busy thinking of new inventions to make, like butter slices.

As fate would have it, down that very street on the very day of the garage sale, came the Phipps Triplets, with pockets bursting with new allowance money. Now, the crazy thing about the Phipps Triplets is that they weren’t really triplets. In fact, there was really only two of them: Cleotus and Suzie Phipps. And they weren’t twins either. It was one of those idiotic nicknames that people get called, like calling a big guy “Tiny” or a bald guy “Harry” or a one-armed podiatrist “Stinky”.

And up the street came Cleotus and Suzie with around five bucks apiece in their pockets. Originally, they weren’t planning on stopping at the garage sale. Cleotus wanted to go to the nearest gas station and buy five dollars worth of cream cheese and Suzie was going to spend hers on the newest issue of Large Duck Hunters Monthly. But fate had other plans: big, scary, excessively-annoying plans.

As they strolled innocently past the garage sale, Cleotus happened to spy on the sheet-covered ping pong table, amidst all the junk and glass, what looked suspiciously like a blender covered in shiny jewels. This was exactly what it was and more.

As soon as his eye caught sight of that exotic and gaudy artifice, Cleotus knew he wanted it, maybe even more than he wanted that cream cheese. Maybe just a little bit more.

“Hey Suz,” cried Cleotus. “Look at that thing.”

Suzie stopped suddenly and peered at the table. “What thing?”

“That big shiny doo-dad in them middle. I wonder what it does.”

“Who cares,” answered Suzie as she began to walk away.

She was stopped abruptly by the meaty left arm of Cleotus.  “I wanna take a look. It might be something.”

“Yeah,” answered Suzie. “Something like trash.”

But Cleotus ignored her, which he often did, and approached the table. There it lay, smack dab between a ceramic poodle and a toilet brush, looking like the award for best actor in a situational comedy. Gently, he lifted his hands toward it, almost afraid to touch it.

Suddenly, a shadow darkened the table. Cleotus turned to find a pudgy man with crazy hair standing beside him.

“So,” let out Phil, like a tea kettle expelling its unwholesome juices, “I see ya got an eye on my rift transducer. That’s quite a keen eye ya got there, young fella.”

Cleotus could only nod like a moron as Phil continued.

“Why, back in my day, I’d be a lucky fella if I found one of these babies in a garage sale. Of course, it doesn’t work. If it did, I wouldn’t be selling it.” Phil laughed and slapped Cleotus on the back, causing the boy to choke on his spit. “But I can see you’ve got an eye for the unknown, an eye that appreciates the maniacal in life. I could use an assistant like you. Have you ever thought about getting a hunchback? It’s really a simple operation.”

Just then, a second shadow fell across the table, revealing the arrival of Suzie. “Cleotus, what are you doing? Are we going to the store or not?”

Cleotus, for a moment, was torn between his desire for cream cheese and his desire for the rift transducer. He gave in to the immediate.

“How much do you want for it?” He asked sheepishly.

Phil pondered for a moment. “Well, young man, that’s a fine question. One I would expect from a future hunchbacked assistant such as yourself. Brand new, this Rift Transducer retails for seven hundred dollars. You could find it in the hardware section or maybe in electronics. But…seeing as how it’s broken and really not worth the rhinestones I glued onto it, I’ll let it go for, uh…How much did you say you had on you?”

“Five bucks,” Cleotus offered.

“Well, it’s a bargain at any price. And I mean that. I’ll let you take this beauty home today for the low, low price of twenty, no, make that five dollars.”

Excitedly, Cleotus plucked the five dollar bill out of his pocket and waived it in front of Phil’s face. “Why, I’ve got five dollars!”

“You’re even luckier than I thought,” answered Phil. Quickly, Phil’s hand snaked down and captured the five-dollar bill like a cat eating a slow and slightly deranged gerbil.

Greedily, Cleotus reached out and clutched the Rift Transducer to his puffy chest and began to exit the driveway. He was stopped abruptly.

“Wait,” cried Phil. “I must warn you that the Rift Transducer comes with a mighty curse. It’s a terrible curse that could remain with you for as long as you live.  It’s so hideous that I am literally frightening myself right now just thinking about telling you about it.”

“Well, what is?”  Cleotus cried out.

Hesitantly, Phil answered.  “Unfortunately, it was printed on the instruction manual that I lost a long time ago.”

“Then why tell us about it?”  Suzie replied.  “That’s just a waste of time.”

“Geez,” said Phil. “I just thought I’d warn you.” As Phil turned to go, Suzie could hear him mutter, “Dad gum kids. Never have any respect for their elders.”

Suzie grabbed Cleotus’ arm and escorted him off the lot.

*                      *                      *                      *                      *

Once at the store, Cleotus hid behind the dumpster as Suzie went inside to buy her magazine.

Cleotus, being the simple-minded goof that he was, was instantly hypnotized by the shiny apparatus. Every which way he turned it, the light reflected back into his eyes, making his head hurt. It was like getting an ice cream headache while being trapped in a tanning booth.

As he sat, entranced by the Rift Transducer, Cleotus failed to notice the approach of the scariest, ugliest, most annoying bully his neighborhood had to offer until it was too late.

“Hey dummy head!” shouted Reginald. “Whatcha looking at?” As he talked, spit seemed to slosh out of his mouth like a mug filled with too much kool-aid.

Reginald was wearing torn up jeans and a shirt, cut in half, that said “Flarg” in large blood-red lettering. What “Flarg” really meant, no one knew, and you didn’t really want to ask Reginald unless you enjoyed the sight of your own blood outside of your body.

“Hey, big dummy,” yelled Reginald when he had received no response. “I asked you a question. Are you gonna answer or are you too dumb?”

“Maybe he’s too smart to answer,” replied Suzie, who had just walked up.

“Dwha?!” Reginald replied at his usual expressive best.

For whatever reason, Suzie was the only kid in the neighborhood not scared of Reginald. But, oddly enough, Reginald was slightly afraid of her.

Three summers ago, Suzie had wandered upon young Reginald, only slightly less large at that time, in a clearing in the nearby woods. What she had found him doing, she never told anyone, but she did reveal years later to Cleotus that it involved shaving cream, a rubber ducky, and three pounds of nails. When pressed for additional details, she would usually begin to shudder.  Sometimes, she cried in her sleep.

“Why don’t you mind your own business, Suzie?” said Reginald.  “This is between me and your brother.”

“Oh yeah,” retorted Suzie.

“Yeah.” Reginald fired back.

It was then that Cleotus pushed the button.

Now, Phil, the mad inventor was crazy. That’s true. But he was also absent-minded and what that means is that he forgot that the Rift Transducer actually worked. It worked once before, immediately after being created and opened a rift in the space-time continuum that deposited a rather large cockroach directly into Phil’s toilet. He discovered the cockroach later during his nightly constitutional.

As soon as Cleotus flicked the button, mysteriously labeled “On”, a loud buzzing noise, like a thousand angry bees trapped in a large nostril, erupted from the device and a large blue cloud materialized above their heads.  Lightning flashed from out of the cloud, striking the dumpster, a stray cat, and Reginald’s left shoe, in that order. And then, from out of the cloud, dropped Phlegmina, the Mint Juno Fairy.

Now, Phlegmina was a little large for a fairy, a fact, you can be sure, was fully exploited by the other fairies in her graduating class. Her skin, hair, fingernails and toenails were completely green. She was adorned in a dress of shimmering tin foil and a crown forged entirely out of carrots and straight pins lay on her noggin. Big black boots covered her feet, which hung precisely three feet off the ground. Oh, and she had wings.

Phlegmina, who had been watering daisies in her garden on the outskirts of Whizzles and Flipskins, was angry, bewildered and surprised to say the least. She was also slightly gassy.

“Oh my,” she exclaimed upon first seeing Cleotus and Suzie, “You’re awful big to be a Snidehorn. Are you a blue truffle Snidehorn or a whimsical joe Snidehorn?”

While Cleotus looked on, Suzie attempted a reply. “Are you a fairy?”

“Why, of course, my dear. I am Phlegmina, the Mint Juno Fairy. I was in my garden just a moment before when this awful blue cloud appeared, sucked me up and deposited me in this enchanted land.” She took a moment to glance around at the dumpster and the trash scattered around the ground. “And oh, what a dirty enchanted land you have!”

Behind the fairy, Reginald had gone completely unnoticed. He took full advantage of this fact to try and sneak up and pull her wings off. The crunching of his tennis shoes on broken glass, however, alerted Phlegmina to her immediate peril. She turned quickly, waved her hand, said the magic words “Skippy O” and abruptly Reginald disappeared.

“Now,” Phlegmina began, turning back to Cleotus and Suzie, “Where were we?”

“Uh,” said Suzie, “what happened to Reginald?”

“Well,” explained Phlegmina, “I sent him far away. He really was too large and ugly to remain in my presence for too long anyway. Plus, I think he was planning on tearing my wings off and that would never do. Oh no. We fairies definitely detest the tearing off of the wings. Why, it would have killed me.”

“Just like a bee would die if their stinger is removed?” Cleotus asked.

“Not really,” Phlegmina joyfully answered as she turned to Suzie. “And who might you be and why have you summoned me? For you must be an extremely powerful witch to have summoned me through quite a long distance away.”

“Oh, it wasn’t me. Cleotus summoned you.”

Phlegmina took a moment to digest this nugget of information before proceeding. “But surely, you are mistaken. For, as we can both see, he is clearly an imbecile or what we would term in my land, a village idiot.”

“That’s Cleotus, alright.” Suzie agreed. “But, he did push the button that brought you here. He probably didn’t realize what he was doing at the time.”

Phlegmina waved her index around like a rabid schoolteacher. “No, no, no. This won’t do at all. We simply cannot permit imbeciles to push buttons and summon fairies from alternative realities. We must take action immediately.”

Cleotus, perhaps on a sub-atomic level, sensed danger. “Now hold on there, flying shrub woman…” was all he got out before Phlegmina waved her arm, said the magic words “Hold the Mayo”, and Suzie and Cleotus disappeared completely.

Alone, Phlegmina looked around at the desolate back of the building and sighed. “Well, this stinks.”

Suddenly, her eyes found the Rift Transducer lying by the side of the dumpster and grew two sizes larger. “Ooh, shiny,” she mumbled as she fluttered toward her prize.

*                      *                      *                      *                      *

Now, while Phlegmina was busy playing with her new toy, the Phipps Triplets were also busy, falling through a time-space continuum commonly referred to in fairy terms as a shaft. There wasn’t much to see in the shaft, unless you counted darkness, which was what Cleotus was doing. More specifically, he was counting the shadows they passed to amuse himself. Suzie was busy screaming.

Eventually, Suzie stopped screaming long enough to notice a light beginning to spread out beneath them. The light was enough for her to be able to see that there were not falling through empty space, but down a long shaft that was laced with vines and roots. Interspersed among the roots were skeletons of various small animals, such as squirrels, pixies, and the remains of a tribe of rutabaga men.

As they neared the source of the light, Suzie began to hear a song rise up from the light below.  It was a strange song, filled with broken notes and painful eardrums.

And just as the singer began to warble into a crescendo fit for a king, Suzie and Cleotus tumbled out of the shaft, through the light, and fell straight on top of Frank Sparks.

Of course, they didn’t realize at the time that they had fallen on top of Frank Sparks. Cleotus thought that he had fallen onto a small mound of hay or, at the very least, on top of a mound of very soft rocks. Suzie didn’t fall on Frank at all, but rather on top of Frank’s colon.

After the initial shock, Cleotus sat up to take stock of his surroundings and to check if the egg he had been hiding in his back pocket was wounded. It was now scrambled.

“What happened, Suz?”

“I don’t know,” Suzie answered after rubbing the dirt from her eyes. “I think…”

Suzie stopped as her eyes caught their first glance of the countryside they had fallen into.      Now, Suzie had seen plenty of countryside in her short life. She was familiar with city streets, back yards, and maybe even clumps of trees. But the world they had just fallen into was something entirely new. They were no buildings, no cars, and everything smelled like thrown up licorice.

The bushes seemed like ordinary shrubs on first inspection, but upon a second glance, Suzie realized that they made up entirely out of some foreign substance, like plastic or spam. There were no regular trees to speak of but there were plenty of irregular trees. There was a tree with underwear hanging from each limb like great big leaves. There was another tree made entirely out of construction paper. And finally a tree that looked, at least from a distance, like a massive boulder.

Suzie could have spent at least another fifteen minutes gazing at her surroundings if it hadn’t been for three interesting occurrences. First, Cleotus had risen from the ground and was now rooting through what appeared to be a tent.

“Cleotus,” began Suzie, “don’t go through someone else’s things. It’s rude.”

“But I’m hungry,” whined Cleotus as he threw a pillow out of the tent in his quest for sustenance. “I can smell something in here and I want it.”

Cleotus, when hungry, was little more than a stomach with teeth.

The second interesting occurrence happened not soon after Suzie had risen from the ground and looked down to see what cushioned her fall. Apparently, she had landed on what looked like someone’s internal organ.

It’s not a heart, she thought to herself, but it could be a liver or something else. Perhaps a duodenum. Whatever it is, I hope it’s not covered with goo.

It was when the organ sat up and stretched that she really questioned her sanity. The organ had arms, legs, a mouth and eyes. And the eyes were glaring at her. Slowly she backed away to consider her next move should the organ attempt anything suspicious.

The third interesting thing that occurred was that Frank sat up.

 

 

Chapter Two – The Diabolical Embrace of Frank Sparks

 

The little man named Frank Sparks was truly unlike any other person that Suzie had ever seen. Altogether he stood about four feet tall, which was a good deal shorter than most other Frank Sparks she knew.  He was dressed head to toe in green camouflage and had a large hat decorated with a dazzling array of stuffed fish. His legs were bowed and his arms were short and fat, which made him look like he had two dachshunds for gloves.

When he had first jumped up, Frank pointed an agitated finger directly at Suzie.

“You!”

“Me? What did I do?” Suzie said.

Frank strode toward her like he was prepared to jump on her back and ride her like a bronco.

“What did you do with my colon?”

Oh, thought Suzie, it’s a colon. How silly of me.

Suzie pointed to the side, where the colon was currently trying to mug a squirrel.

A smile lit up on Frank’s face. “Ah, then everything’s corky then. Now where’s the silly fat wombat that squished me flat?”

Suzie pointed to the tent where Cleotus, face smudged with some sort of chocolate, please let it be chocolate, was now digging through some kind of big brown sack.

“You,” yelled Frank, “Get the heck out of my stuff. That’s not for the likes of you.”

He turned to Suzie as Cleotus continued about his business.

“Now, my name’s Frank Sparks and this here’s my place. That there’s my colon. What’s your business here and what’s with the big lump?”

“What’s your colon doing outside of your body?” Suzie asked.

Frank leveled himself down on a log, stretched his arms and legs, and donned slippers made from asbestos.

“Now that’s an interesting tale, my dear,” He began, and was stopped instantly by Suzie.

“Then it must be boring,” Suzie replied. “Look, some goofy looking fairy sent us down this dark hole…”

“That would be the shaft.”

“Yeah, it would be,” continued Suzie.  “And we wound up here in what looks like Fairy Tales Gone Wild. Now, I don’t know what we did to tick off that Mint Juno Fairy, but I sure want to go back right now.”

“The Mint Juno Fairy, you say,” said Frank.

“That what she said her name was,” said Suzie.

Frank suddenly stood up. “Well, that explains it then. You see, the Mint Juno Fairy was always a little trigger happy. And now, what with the recent drought and her glandular problems, she probably just went a little over the edge.”

“A lot over the edge,” Suzie added.

“Well, there’s that. Say, what you need to do is go and see Mr. Wilson the magical accountant. Maybe he could help you find your way back home.”

“How would an accountant help me find my way back home?”

“Didn’t I say he was magical? Oh, he can do so many fine tricks. Why, he once gave my Aunt Latisha a magical handkerchief and every time she blew her nose her hair turned a different color.”

“That’s just dumb,” said Suzie, getting a little feisty.

“That may be,” retorted Frank. “But see, the way I figure it, you could use all the help you can get. And maybe if I can get you to Mr. Wilson and get you back home, maybe you’ll think of me next time you have a pest problem.”

“A pest problem?”

“Certainly. Oh, didn’t I tell you my profession?”

Frank reached into the abyss he called a pocket and carefully removed a small business card, which he handed to Suzie. The card read, “Frank Sparks, Professional Leprechaun Hunter and Surgeon. Destroying the Green Vermin since before the Age of Ragnarok”.

“Got a problem with leprechaun infestations around here?” Suzie asked.

“My dear,” Frank said, “you have no idea. You can keep the card by the way. I’ve got tons more. What do you think of that logo? My mom came up with it.”

“Very catchy.” Suzie said as she glanced back at Cleotus, who was snoring softly, half in and half out of the tent. Frank’s colon stood next to her inert brother, casually kicking the drowsing lump.

“Well,” said Frank, “marketing is what it’s all about. Without a catchy slogan, no leprechaun hunter’s worth his weight. Yes, sir. So, it may have slipped your mind, but I didn’t catch your name.”

“Yep,” said Suzie.

Frank waited a minute and then tried another tactic. He pointed at his chest. “Me Frank. And you…”

Suzie took a moment to roll her eyes expansively.

“My name is Suzie and that’s my brother Cleotus.”

“Cleotus, huh? What kind of name is that? Sounds like a joke.”

“It isn’t.” Suzie said. “At least as far as I know. I guess it could be my parent’s idea of a joke. But, if it is, it’ll be the first one I ever heard from them.”

Suddenly, Suzie felt something tapping on her shoe. She looked down to see Frank’s Colon, with its hands bunched into fists on its hips.  Its foot began furiously tapping on the ground.

“Your brother,” it said “ate all of my beef jerky!”

Frank stepped forward. “Just back off slowly, colon.”

Frank’s Colon turned to Frank. “Back off? Oh, I’ll back off all right. I’ll kill that waste of oxygen!”

And with that, Frank’s Colon threw itself at the sleeping, water buffalo like body of Cleotus, attempting to strangle the big oaf’s foot. Frank stepped in quickly and restrained the furious organ, whispering furtively and giving the colon a quick shoulder massage.

“Come on, Colon . Just ease off, man.”  Frank said.  “Ease off. Let the bad flow out. Let the good flow in. Give peace a chance. The stronger man is the man who forgives.”

Frank’s Colon , who had had plenty, turned abruptly and smacked Frank’s hands away. “All right,” it shouted. “I let it live this one time. But if it messes with me, if I have to smell it or if it eats any more of my food, it’s dead! I swear to you.”

Finished, Frank’s Colon left the campsite in search of peace and possible any stray, injured raccoons. After it had left, Frank turned to Suzie with a look of apology.

“What can I say,” said Frank, “he hasn’t been the same since the operation. Anyway, where were we?”

As they sat again, Suzie looked carefully around the campsite.

“So,” she began, “have you been here long?”

“I know what you’re thinking and I’ve got two words for you: hobo magic. Yeah, see, cause that’s what I’ve been doing in the meantime while I’ve been waiting for my next gig. I’ve been practicing my hobo magic. I figure if I spread out a little, diversify, then I’ll have more going on. You know what I mean?”

Suzie could only shake her head in confusion.

“Yeah, so I’ve been hanging out at this campsite for the last twenty years, perfecting my hobo magic and I think I got a handle on it. I mean, I know I’m a little rusty still with the finer applications and all. But I think for the most part, I’m learning. It’s rough though. It’s just been me and the colon for a while now.

“We hooked up with this circus bear named Small Berries a while back and that was cool. I mean, we had an act. He’d ride this unicycle in circles while I shot my gun at him. Well, not at him specifically. He had this balloon stuck in his mouth and I shot it. Well, I tried to shoot it. I wasn’t that good at the shooting part.

“But then I had this flash of insight. What if I learned hobo magic and that could be the filler act? You know, the trick that really reeled them in. So, after I accidentally shot Small Berries in the face once too often and he was recuperating in the Whizzles and Flipskins General Orthopedic and Latex Surgery Unit, we decided to part ways for a little bit. He was gonna take a few years off, let his face heal, maybe do a little pottery, and I was gonna come in here and study the fine art of hobo magic.

“Well, that was twenty years ago, and I think I’ve about got a handle on this hobo magic thing. I can do this one trick really well. Want to see it?”

Frank put on his best pleading face and peered up at Suzie like a dog that had just slobbered all over its master’s best pair of sneakers.

“No thanks,” she said quickly, but apparently not too quickly.

He sprang up off the log and thrust a fanned out deck of cards into Suzie’s face.

“Pick a card,” he commanded with a grand flourish that was intended to make him look regal, but instead made him partially tip over.

Reluctantly, Suzie took one of the offered cards. It was unlike any other card she had ever seen in a deck of playing cards. For one thing, this card said, “Frank Sparks, Professional Leprechaun Hunter and Surgeon” on it.

“Uh,” she said, “I think I got one of your business cards.”

Frank looked over at her and then back to the rest of the cards in his hand. “Yeah, I think that’s what’s supposed to happen. No, wait. Oh, dang it!”

Frustrated, Frank threw the entire deck in the nearby camp fire, then sulked back to his log.  He threw himself down and began to cry.

“Oh, boo hoo,” he wailed, pausing to blow his runny nose on his sleeve. “I’m such a failure. I can’t do hobo magic. Wah! And I stink at applied mathematics. And I never even caught a leprechaun.”

This surprised Suzie the most because she thought, surely if he had a card, he must have some experience. At least, that’s what her father always told her. Softly, she scooted just a hair closer to Frank and attempted to console him after her own fashion.

“Hey, quit crying. You’re really annoying me with all that blubbering and stuff.”

She wasn’t really good at consoling.  Frank dabbed at his eyes with the edge of his shirt and glanced up at her like a freshly beaten puppy.

“Do you really think I could be good at something?”

“Now hold on there,” Suzie said, “I didn’t say anything about you being good at anything. Let’s not get crazy.”

“Oh, you’re right. You’re right, of course. I’m not good at anything. My mother warned me when I left home. She said, ‘Frank, what are you thinking? Did the fall off the roof really knock your brains loose? You should stay here, Frank. Be a surgeon, like your father.’ But did I listen? No. I just added the surgeon part onto my business cards to look official. With the exception of a few unnecessary surgeries, I’ve never done that either. Oh, boo hoo.”

And Frank started off on a crying spree that would have made a fountain jealous. It was at that moment, however, that Frank’s Colon returned. It took one look at the spouting mess that was Frank then strode angrily up to Suzie’s feet.

“Look what you’ve done! This poor, lovable shnook, who’s never hurt anyone, who’s only been kind and generous to a fault, and you’ve ground him up and spit him out like an unwanted after-dinner mint. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

“But I didn’t…” Suzie began, but it was too late because the Colon was on a rant.

“We bend over backwards to help you people. We provide a nice cushy bottom for you to fall on after you exit a big blue cloud and fall into our camp site from out of nowhere, I might add, and this is what we get? Well, you can take your high and mighty posturing, you can take your oh so snooty selves and shove off.”

Faintly, Frank lifted an arm. “No wait, it wasn’t all her fault. I was just groveling in self pity.”

“Oh,” answered Frank’s Colon , “Okay then.” And it wandered off toward the sleeping Cleotus to resume its kicking and to occasionally stuff dry leaves in his shirt.

After an awkward silence, broken only by soft tap-tap-tapping of the colon’s foot on Cleotus’ face, Suzie decided to escape.

“So,” she said, “I guess we’ll just be moving along then.”

In response, Frank fell immediately to his knees. “Noooo!  Take me with you. I’ve just got to get out of here. I mean, sure, the colon’s good company and all, but I need other human interaction. I want to get out of this smelly pit I call an existence and live. I want to live! Please?”

“Why don’t you just leave on your own?” Suzie asked.

“That’s an interesting story,” Frank began and was immediately cut off.

“Never mind.”  Suzie said, “I don’t need to know that badly. Okay, when Cleotus wakes up, we’re out of here. But I’ve got to warn you, if you slow us down or begin telling bad jokes, then we’re tossing you to the curb like a sack of last year’s potato peelings. Do we have an understanding?”

Frank rushed forward to kiss her feet. “Oh, yes,” he said. “Anything. Just take me with you. I thank you, my liege.”

Suzie quickly yanked her feet away. “And there will be none of that.”

Suddenly, the sky turned dark as a rotten onion, a lone ferret began howling in the distance and it began to rain fish.

 

 

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