This is a culmination of my too many interests. It's is an in-between place. It's more focused than my Myspace blog, but less so than my author blog. Here you can find artwork, photography, writing, poetry, book covers, manga and pointless videos. All of these things mesh together to become a reflection of their creator in an in-between place colored like shadows and flavored like frappuccinos and chocolate. It's one heck of a world.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Party - Flash Fiction

This is (again) in response to a posting by Jonathan *cough* I promise some day we'll quit doing this!

The Party

Maxine filled the chip bowl, double checked the punch cup arrangement and then paused to look at herself in the mirror. Her costume was perfect. She was dressed as a Macy’s sales clerk, and she knew she’d win the prize for best costume. After all, she’d been closely following the Macy Boy stories written by Gerard Villegas. Sure, she wasn’t a boy, but that was the fun of dressing up!

Half an hour later the party was hopping. Guests had turned out in a costumed profusion, just as she’d hoped, and they’d shown some real originality. The costume competition was going to be stiff!

She turned the music down and called loudly, “All right, everyone! First, I want to thank you for coming and I hope you’re having a good time.” She paused for the murmurs and one drunken “Hell yeah” from the back. Oh, that Alex! Tipsy already!

When the noise died down she continued. “It is now time to vote in the costume contest. So, if you’d like to get a piece of paper,” she pointed towards a small, stocked side table with a flourish – “and write down your choices for Most Original, Best Use of a Fictional Character, and Most Realistic costumes, then drop the paper in that box, we can get the voting started. Thanks!”

There were some polite applause, but mainly everyone headed for the paper and pens. Maxine glanced around the room, and then scribbled down her own votes.  She had a good feeling about this! She made her way around the guy dressed as a giant frog and got in the voting line. As she dropped her paper into the box, she overheard Laura, her one of her coworkers, and Tim talking.

“I know we’re going to win!” Laura squealed. “We have the best costumes here.”

Maxine paused and  gave them a quick once over.  Tim wore all black with a long black wig that could use a good brushing, while Laura was dressed in jeans and an overcoat. Even weirder, they’d donned both vampire fangs and zombie make up, as though they couldn’t make up their minds. Maxine had sort of imagined that their costumes were the result of an “I don’t have a thing to wear!” conversation, and had been thrown together at the last minute.

Oblivious to Maxine, Tim agreed, and that’s when the hostess had to interrupt. “Excuse me, but what are you guys dressed as, exactly? Besides zombies, I mean?”

Laura rolled her eyes and, in a tone that said she’d had this conversation too many times, she demanded, “Haven’t you read the book by the Turtle Lady?”

Maxine drew a blank. “Um… who?”

“You know,” Tim went on. “She wrote that vampire book with the pink cover.”

Maxine scratched her head. “If it’s a vampire book I bet it’s not pink. Probably a light red. But, I’ve never heard of her.”

“Oh sure you have. It’s that woman who does turtle stuff for Jonathan Harvey. We were going to dress as Axe the scourge of the undead and Biffy the Vampire slayer, but we knew everyone else would come as jissilly characters, so….”

Maxine blinked. “Who?”

Tim and Laura stared with wide eyes. “What do you mean, who? Everyone knows who Jonathan Harvey – aka Jissilly – is! He writes those great, funny stories-“

“-the ones that usually don’t make sense,” Laura added.  “You know, about turtles and aliens-“
“-and cheap comic book rip offs,” Tim suggested, obviously hoping to jog her memory. “He even ripped off a BBC show. Ever hear of Physician What?”

Maxine was more than a little frustrated. “Who?!”

“No, What,” Laura corrected. “You know! Jissilly is that guy who has that book Shades of Plaid coming out early next year-“

“-or late this year if his beta editor gets to work,” Tim added.

Maxine held up her hands to stop them. “Enough! I get it, I get it.” She didn’t, but it seemed safer to lie and edge away slowly, looking at her feet. Don’t look them in the eye. Never look the crazy people in the eye…. If only there could be a distraction…  Please, please, let there be a distraction….

And that’s when the kitchen blew up. Maxine shrieked and dived under the table, while bits of plaster, wood and something decidedly green and oozy rained down on guests and room alike. When the smoke cleared, she edged out enough to see the aftermath. A smoke blackened Alex stumbled awkwardly around, a bent spoon in one hand and a confused look on his face.

Slowly, the other guests started to stand and, after they were sure they were in one piece, they looked to Maxine. Everyone expected her to check on their welfare, go berserk because her kitchen was destroyed, or at the very least call 9-1-1, but you can never trust a human being to behave as you would have expected in a given circumstance*. Instead of those things she stood, brushed herself off, looked at the mysterious green ooze splattered everywhere and asked quietly, “You microwave the red bowl in the refrigerator, didn’t you?”

Alex scratched his head. “Um… yes?”

Maxine nodded to herself, brushed the plaster dust from her shoulders and then pulled out her lazer blaster mini. She stopped short of actually pointing it at anyone, but said firmly, “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid you’re all under quarantine now for at least six weeks, until the alien eggs hatch.”

“Alien eggs?” Laura echoed, her eyes wide. “What?!?”

“Yes. Alex has unwittingly thawed the Venusian squelch demons and ,as you may notice, they’re already closing in. It’s only a matter of moments before they lay eggs in all the available human hosts.”

 Sure enough, the green ooze was squidging on the floor, slowly closing in on the confused, battered guests.  A couple of women screamed, and the people drew into a tighter knot, eyes wide with terror.

“Oh don’t worry,” Maxine cooed as she fumbled in her pocket for the interstellar communicator. “The Venusian High commander will be most pleased. I’m sure he’ll even reward those of you who survive.” She gave them all a warm smile. “Now let’s count the votes and see who won that costume contest before you’re all turned into egg sacks!”


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