The Kiosk Man

“Come on Frankie, I need to get a dress today. Before all the good ones disappear…” Jill whines in the passengers side seat of my car.

“Yeah,” my friend Valerie adds. “The mall’s gonna be closing soon.”

I roll my eyes and blow the black bangs out of my face as I drive down the road. I hate high school, and Jill a constant reminder why. Sometimes I wish Jill and Valerie would both consider more important issues, than getting a fucking dress for prom. We’ve all been twice already, so I was just sick of dances at this point. They are always filled with guys who only want sex, or alcohol, or both. Usually both. College is just around the corner and I know the guys there are way more mature; at least in my experience. My older brother attends ‘U of A’ and I went to visit him once, and–well–let’s just say, I wish I could graduate early.

“Frank, turn here! You’re gonna miss it!” Jill turns my wheel a hard right into the mall driveway.

“Are you crazy?!” I yell as a car honks at me for reckless driving.

I put my arm out the window as an apology. “Such a bitch.”

“Hey, you’re the one not paying attention, ho bag,” she said.

Valerie popped her head up front. “Jill, cut it out. You know Frances doesn’t care for malls.”

“Whatever. Just park here,” she demanded.

I parked, but not where she wanted me to park. I swear, if she wasn’t my step dad’s daughter…

I walk a distance behind Jill with Valerie, my oldest friend. She’s been around since the beginning of high school, and her and I are both going to the same college. I guess she really likes me too, because she’s super smart. She could’ve gone in anywhere in the country.

We follow Jill inside and go through the automatic doors. The place is deserted. It’s Friday night though, so I’m not sure why it’s so empty. Shops blind me with their neon sale signs, and deafen me with blaring music that seems to not have anything but beats and auto tune. Getting me ready for prom, I guess.

As we walk through the halls of stores, a few kiosk booths line up in the middle. They’ve always reminded me of the crap that regular stores can never sell. So they pick the most attractive but persistent sales people to plop in front of them. Makes me wonder if harassment and asking random questions to strangers is listed on their resumes. Because what other self-respecting person would ever want that kind of job?

Speaking of…

“Miss! Miss, can I speak with you for just a minute?” a man in his early thirties ran up to me and Valerie.

“No, thanks,” I answer without hesitation.

“Oh, come on, I have some great perfume here! I think you would love it!”

I roll my eyes at Valerie and she does the same. Jill is way a head of us now, but then looks back when she notices we aren’t her shadow anymore.

“Hey, guys! Come on!” she barks.

This was a once in a lifetime chance to ditch the evil step-sister. And if that involves me buying a thousand dollars worth of perfume to get her out of my face, so be it.

“Sorry, Jill! We’ll be right there. Just go on without us!” I yell back with a fake smile.

She huffs off and walks even faster down the line of stores.

Valerie laughs and looks at me for an explanation.

“Let’s try some damn perfume!” I exclaim and walk back to the tall, tan skinned, man with gorgeous black hair.

“Great!” he flashes his perfect white teeth. “Try this one. I know you’ll love it.”

He squirts the fragrance on both of our wrists. As I move my hand up to take in the flowery perfume, I notice a much different smile creeping up his jaw line. I inhale it deep into my lungs, and as I try to distinguish the notes, something strange falls over me.

My eyes go blurry around the edges, making my bangs almost disappear and the salesman’s face the only thing in my line of vision. With every blink, it felt like a lifetime to open my lids again. I slowly turn to face Valerie to see if she was experiencing the same, and her expression reminds me of a woman trapped inside her own body, but has no control over it. I rub my fingers together, but I feel nothing. My skin crawls with numbness. I look around the area, but everyone walking by notice nothing out of the ordinary; and keep going.

I stare at the kiosk man who then grabs my hand and leads me down a corridor of the mall. What the fuck did he give to us? Why is it doing this to our bodies? My mind races with the worst thoughts imaginable. The man keeps looking back to make sure he isn’t being followed. My feet willingly follow him, but I’m not sure why. Am I a puppet and he’s the master? That analogy is so bad I could barf; if I was able too, that is.

I need to get out of this, but how? How long does this last? I need to control my body again; and get out of this prison. I glare at the back of his head, picturing myself head butting him, but he’s way too tall for that. Can kicking him work? I can try to sweep my feet under his and make him trip. I attempt to pick up my knees, just to experiment if I can move them in a way to prepare for a kick. But no matter how hard I try, they keep going the motions of a walk.

His hand. He’s holding my hand. Desperate to get away from the psychopath, I use all of my strength to pull his hand back. He looks back, directly at me. Did I do it? His face looks confused as if I moved in a way he didn’t like. He then grips my hand harder and all I could feel was pressure. We were moving faster now; running. I can smell the outside air, fresh and clear. Where the hell is he taking us?

We get to a car and he shoves us into the back seat. I look over to see Valerie with tears falling down her cheeks, but still wearing a vacant expression. The look on my best friends face will haunt me for the rest of my life; however long that is. What I wouldn’t give to see that bitch, Jill right about now. What I wouldn’t do to worry about mundane things like dresses and parking places…

“Looks like it’s wearing off quicker than I thought. Better get you home, quick,” the man said to us from the drivers seat. He then lets out this creepy, cliche, murdery laugh. It may have been cheesy, but it sends a chill down my spine, nonetheless. He’s going to kill us. I move my hand over to Valerie’s, assuming I touched it and I curl my fingers around hers.

I look over to my right, out the window and who do I see? Fucking Jill. Beautiful, perfect, wonderful Jill. She’s yelling and running over to the car. Her ear shattering screaming sounds like a fine tuned grand piano to me. She attempts to open the car doors, but he’s locked them. I watch her as she continues to shout loudly, cursing more than every sailor in existence. She may not be able to get into the car, but she’s sure attracting a lot of attention. She then scrambles through her giant purse and pulls out what looks to be a pocket knife. Before the kiosk man could pull out of the parking space, Jill stabs a tire with her knife.

The man panics as he realizes what she’s doing and spins his tires, trying to take off. But just before he does this, Jill was able to slash another tire. I will think twice before crossing her now. I mean, shit…

Her tactic works as his car rolls to a stop. The man eventually surrenders and gets out of the car. Several people gather around, trying to figure out what happened. Where the hell were all these people when we were kidnapped? Valerie and I step out of the car and Jill immediately hugs us.

“You guys okay? Did he hurt you?” Jill asks. Her face does not resemble her resting bitch face, but more of a concerning bitch face.

“We’re okay,” I say softly, regaining my vocals again.

We left the scene as cops pulled in to arrest the guy. What an asshole. He has something else to add to his outstanding resume now; kidnapping teenage girls. The three of us walk closely together back to the safety of my Buick Lacrosse.

“What are we doing?” Jill asked shortly. “I never got my dress, ’cause I was busy trying to find you guys.”

I stare back blankly at her. “Are you kidding me?”

Jill laughs. “No! I still need a dress for prom!”

I roll my eyes and keep walking. Where’s that fucking ‘puppet perfume’ when you need it.

This short story brought to you by this meme:

Kiosk Man.jpg

##

Time

WritingPrompt9

His heart stopped the day the clock stopped ticking. It’s been ticking in his head since he was born, and now it’s stopped. What does it mean? Had he finally gone insane? Had he gone deaf? The next thing he knew, a blinding light shone across his city, and then the world. Once it disappeared, he looked around him and noticed everyone standing still. As he approached a woman next to him, she looked perfectly preserved. But when he touched her skin, it was a cold hard plastic. Silence never felt so loud.

Don’t forgot that Fliers is available now on both paperback and eBook! Buy it here!

##

Full Disclosure

Full Disclosure

They toured the house with the real estate agent.
“We love it,” he said. “Is there anything we should know about the house’s past?” The agent looked down.

Mary Ellen met up with her two clients, Nick and Regina in front of a large three story home with a For Sale sign out front. She was excited to be showing them this house because it’s been on the market for years. It was fixed up a lot since it was put on the market, and many clients have come and went. But, she was hopeful that this couple would be the ones to finally buy it.

She showed them around the entire house, talking it up more than she ever has. Even found out their favorite food and had it baking in the oven when they arrived. The couple joined her downstairs after analyzing the rest of the house.

“Well? What do you think?” she asked with a bright smile.

“We love it!” Nick said. “But is there anything we should know about the house’s past?”

Mary Ellen’s smile faded and she looked down at the wood floor. The one question she prayed they wouldn’t ask. It may look like a gorgeous house now, but back then, terrible things happened. She couldn’t live with herself by not telling these nice people the real story behind it.

“About fifty years ago, this woman lived all by herself for most of her life. She was very anti-social but loved cats. Rumor was that she had well over a hundred of them living here. Well, the poor woman eventually died when she was in her 90’s…” she cleared her throat. “The cats were without an owner, meaning, they were without food. In order for her felines to survive they… well…”

“They ate her?!” Regina said aghast.

Mary Ellen closed her eyes and nodded her head slightly.

“Um, yeah, I think we’ll pass. Sorry,” Nick said. They couple hurried as fast as they could out of the door.

She stood there with a sunken look. “I’m never gonna sell this damn house.”

##

Back from the Future

Back from the Future

A knock at the door catches you off guard. Upon answering it, you’re greeted by a man who says he’s from the future—and he can prove it. More important, he says he has information that will save your life.

I wake up startled at a loud banging on my front door. My dogs go crazy at the noise at only 2:30 in the morning. Who could be at my door right now? I’ve been here for a month and haven’t made any new friends yet. Even then, I don’t want friends who wake me up in the middle of night; unless it’s an emergency. They rapidly bang the door again and my heart jumps. I grab a plastic bat that I keep next to the bed and head down the hallway. I peek out of the curtains next to the door and my heart stops. It’s my ex. But something isn’t right. I put the bat down and open the door for him and he stares at me like he just escaped the loony bin.

“Garrett? What the hell are you doing here?” I ask.

“Emily! Listen to me. I don’t have a lot of time,” he says as he let himself in.

He slams the door and grabs my shoulders. “I’m from the future. 30 years, actually.”

My face lets out a grin and I laugh. Garrett has always been a tad eccentric, but this is just nuts.

“Please leave,” I say with a straight face.

“Wait. I’m serious! You’re in real danger, Em,” he cautions and gazes into my eyes.

“Yeah, I’m in danger from you, you psychopath.”

He searches around in his pockets and pulls out something very intriguing. It’s a photo of me and him, but I look different. Older. I wasn’t buying it.

“That’s called photoshop. Not impressed,” I say as I glance at it quickly.

“No, it’s not photoshop. That’s us in 20 years. In this city.” He paused and took a deep breath. “This was the last time I saw you… And it’s why I’m here. You need to leave this place. It’s going to end up killing you.”

“What are you talking about? How can a city kill me?”

“Bare with me, Em…” he starts. “The new job you have here ends up taking you to all kinds of places. Egypt, Japan, New York, Rome and where I live, Ireland. Long story short, we run into each other and get back together. After several happy years together, we settled here at your place. But while I was off doing and engineering job in Tuscany, you were here at your home base. And the largest earthquake on record happened and… it killed you, babe.”

I listen to his story and roll my eyes. “That’s crazy. You’re crazy.”

“Emily, stop. I’m not kidding.” He took out another photo and hesitated to give it to me. “I didn’t want to show you, but I was able to find this after the incident.”

He hands over the picture and it’s so real that my lungs forget how to breath. It’s extremely graphic, but I am able to see my face—and my body being crushed by this very house.

“You really are from the future…”

“That’s what I’m telling you. You need to leave this place. Now.”

“Yeah, sure. But–how did you time travel?” I ask.

“‘Cause I’m a genius.” He smiled.

I can tell he smiled for more than just one reason. Not only because he knew how to time travel, but because he may have just won me back. I pack up the unpacked boxes and I was gone the next day, with Garrett.

The Alphabet Poem

Alphabet Poem

Write a 26-line poem using all the letters of the alphabet. Have the first line start with the letter “A,” the second “B,” the third “C,” etc.

A lone leaf blows in the wind. Blowing to wherever life takes him. Cats and their offspring try to catch him, but he’s too quick to be pinned. Darting from their grasp, he slips away like a wet fin.

Envious is the branch, unable to fly free. Feeling confined and useless, he sheds another leaf. Gallons of water pour from the clouds, filling him with glee. Healing the envy and feeling relief.

In only a few acorns below, stands a yellow flower. Just singing a song and basking in the downpour. Kindness radiates from her petals of power. Love and compassion is what she lives for.

Mighty is the tree that stands tall and wide. Nurturing and terrifying are the roles he plays. Oblivious to his needs, he can take you down without blinking an eye. Play the cards right and a shelter he stays.

Quick and rambunctious, squirrels play sideways along the bark. Randomly chasing each other, and hiding their food. Satisfied and full, nuts are buried for later in the park. They will fail to find them later though, when they’re in the mood.

Unlike the rodents, a red bird chips in the sky. Vermillion flycatcher lands on a nest, filled with eggs. With a simple call to the mother, she joins him while the sun is still high. Xander the Flycatcher emerges into the world and stands on his own two legs.

Youngsters play in the yard, while my body lays here, completely numb. Zoning out on the couch, I take another pill and continue watching the fantasy playing in my head like a rerun.

Well, that took a bit of a dark turn…

This was fun though! Do you think you can do this challenge?! I wanna see! ##

Office Stories

Mystery Cookie

One day you come into work and find a cookie mysteriously placed on your desk. Grateful to whoever left this anonymous cookie, you eat it. The next morning you come in and find another cookie. This continues for months until one day a different object is left—and this time there’s a note.

I work in a law office as a runner.  I basically run errands for all of the lawyers here and, that’s about it. Exciting, right? Not exactly. But recently, I’ve been getting these cookies on my desk everyday for a while now. And they are always different. The first day it was a sugar cookie (my favorite), then it was chocolate chip, then peanut butter, then sandies. I don’t even know the names to all of them, but they are all so good! But, I have no clue who has been randomly putting them on my desk. I’ve asked everyone in the office and they are just as intrigued as I am. The receptionist hasn’t noticed anyone peculiar to just drop it off. I’m not dating anyone, so it’s not that.

One day I come in at my usual time and walk over to my desk. Lo and behold, another cookie. But–what’s this? There’s a note. I look around the area to see if I can see anyone strange in the building who would’ve left it. It’s just me. It has my name on the outside. I open the flap and it reads: “I hope you’ve been enjoying your treats. Would you believe me if I told you these were actually dog biscuits? I know your family works for Pedigree and you’ve been secretly sampling my products. I have my business card attached. If you enjoyed what you’ve tried for these past few weeks. Please give me a call!”

I wanted to throw up immediately after reading that. I later found out that he was a client of ours trying to start his own small business for dog treats and pet supplies. I will never eat a cookie again for the rest of my life…

Day 4 below. Sorry ya’ll. I was sick yesterday so we are cramming both into one!

Sent to the wrong printer

You’re at work and you print something personal (and sensitive). Unfortunately, you’ve sent it to the wrong printer and, by the time you realize it, somebody else has already scooped it up.

Alright, I have to do this today. Even though my printer at home broke, I need to get this printed off, but without my nosy co-workers finding out. I’m quitting my job today after 20 years and the new boss will only accept a resignation letter printed off and handed to him. We cannot email it. Such a weird dude. Alright here we go. Flash drive is in place and the document labeled “Adios Assholes” is ready to print. As I click the button to print, I run over to the printer, ready to grab it from anyone seeing it. But something’s wrong. The printer is staying quiet. At this point, it should be revving up and doing something. Oh shit. Where did it go?! I sprint back to my computer and look again at which printer it was sent to. Holy fucking shit. Why is it going to the one in sales?! Who fucked with my computer?! Stacy, I swear to god… If she sees that letter, I’m so screwed. She would make my life a living hell if she found out I’m leaving. And what I mean by hell is she would be constantly trying to convince me to stay. Little does she know, she’s a big reason why I’m leaving. The most naggy, gossipy, annoying twat I’ve ever had to work with. And she’s only been here a year. Enough worrying, I need to find where that letter went. As I make my way across the office, and into the hell that is sales, my stomach twists as I see Stacy reading something right next to the damn printer. Her mouth drops to the floor and eyes look like one of those bug eyes monkey things you see on the discovery channel. I was too late. She spots me through the glass wall and I’m caught. Fuck it. I turn back around and head for the exit. I would rather be on unemployment for the rest of my life than deal with her shit for 2 weeks. As I stand in the doorway of the main entrance I put both my middle fingers up and scream out, “Adios Assholes!” Best day of my life.

Sorry for the cursing, lol Hope you enjoyed! ##

The One That Got Away

The One That Got Away

You bump into an ex-lover on Valentine’s Day—the one whom you often call “The One That Got Away.” What happens?

Today is by far my least favorite day of the year. Stores filled with hearts, candy, flowers and unnecessarily giant teddy bears. The site of anything love related makes me feel ill. Especially the site of couples kissing and holding hands is enough to make me walk the other way. As I walk past a tiny store decorated in red and pinks, my heart sinks at the man I catch walking towards me. My entire body forgets what normal functions are and my hands shake like butterflies. I feel my face matching the red of the artificially colored teddy bears in the window, when he glimpses my way. He smiles. I nervously laugh like a bumbling idiot. Every step that touches the pavement, is so smooth and sexy. I don’t remember him looking this good. My heart pounds harder the closer he gets to me. His gentle but rough, hand waves at me. I remember those hands. Not only did they know me better than myself, but I watched them as they explored soil in his garden, skillfully pluck the strings of a guitar and play hide and go seek with his son. I rub my fingers together as I think of something witty to say. ‘Funny running in to you here’ with a wink? No, that’s stupid. Maybe ‘Hey bud, how it’s hangin’?’ Oh my god, no. I’ve never called him ‘bud’ before. Okay. Just act cool, like you barely even notice him. Like, ‘Oh my. It’s been so long since I’ve seen you! I think you grew, didn’t you?’ Ugg, stop it. Just be yourself.

Here he comes. As I open my timid lips to speak, he looks right past me and embraces a woman standing behind me. I look behind me to see if I recognize her. A sister or mother. But I don’t know her at all. My heart pounds for other reasons now and my eyes fill with tears uncontrollably.  He’s moved on. And that’s fine. I guess I’ve moved on too. I storm into the Valentines decor store, rip off the bears head and walk out. I fucking hate this holiday.

If you’re unsure what a writing prompt is, go here.

Feel free to add your own responses in a comment!  ##