“He says he’ll take me away, and I’ll never see you again! What are we going to do?”
“Don’t worry. I love you so much. I’ll never let you go.”
“He’ll find us if we try to run.”
“We can go somewhere he can never get to us…a place where we can be together forever.”
“You mean it? Oh, where? Is it far?”
“No, not far at all. Just give me one kiss, and then we can go.”
As her lips touched his, they went together to a place no man could reach. The basilisk had done her job well.
“So, all that’s going to stop the world from ending on Friday is Billy? Billy, the one who forgot to tell the dinosaurs about the ark?”
“He’s all that’s left – everyone else is on assignment.”
“Do we know what causes it? I mean, for sure?”
“Yes. There’s a bomb in a cello case in the subway. It goes off, there’s a chain reaction, and poof.”
“What does he have to do?”
“Anything. Anything other than leave it at the 23rd street station at 5:11am.”
Meanwhile, back on earth…
“I don’t care if it is the end of the world, mister. There’s no room for that thing on this car. Let go of the handle. I’m closing the doors, with or without your arm.”
Vindictive didn’t begin to describe Alysson. All men are conditioned to expect a certain amount of retaliation after jilting a woman, but scientists from distant galaxies would be studying the nebula left over from her reaction to finding Jim and Tina in her bed for millennia. Going viral within days, the boudoir pics she posted, after a quick pass through Photoshop, of “Thumbtack Jimmy” spawned two memes, a parody song that got a million hits on YouTube, and a visit from Jim’s irate (but secretly amused) mother to his workplace. Jim had been an inveterate skirt-chaser during his marriage, but it was months before he could approach a woman in a bar and not get doused or slapped. The heat from the fallout provided the foundry in which he redefined himself, and years later, he privately thanked Alysson during the frenetic last days of his presidential campaign for his redemption.
It wasn’t fair. Daddy rode by himself, and so did big Sissa, but not Amelia, and she rode better than they did. Prancer’d told her so.
Daddy was just a big old fraidy-cat ever since Momma left, but when Amelia looked outside and saw big fluffy snowflakes, she knew she’d go riding today.
The sun wasn’t up, not really, when Amelia climbed up on Prancer and trotted down the lane. He wanted to run today, she thought, and laughed. Prancer laughed too, knowing Amelia didn’t understand him as well as she’d thought. Today they wouldn’t run at all. They’d fly.
“Doesn’t matter. She’s gone, and you’re alone.” Where compassion and a friendly ear hadn’t worked, I hoped this would. “C’mon, we’re going.”
“W-where? I don’t want someone else, if that’s what you have in mind.”
“Just come with me.” I led him back to my place, where we found what I was looking for down in the basement, and then out into the night, to a place he knew well.
It wasn’t until we were huddled beneath her bedroom window that he looked at me with the question in his eyes.
“What are we doing here? Don’t go catching integrity on me. She doesn’t love you, but you can still have her. Do what needs doing or shut up about it.”
I knelt there, waiting for him to decide she wasn’t worth it. Finally, he nodded, and I reached out to pat him on his shoulder. Smiling, we rose and burst through her window together.
My first attempt at a Thursday Threads story:
The names echoed throughout the gym, called out rapid-fire, without excitement. They were always the same, no matter the game. Dodgeball. Basketball. Track.
Everyone knew the order. There could have been thirty Alexes in the class and no one would have gotten confused. This was a dance we’d been doing since first grade, in gyms, on playgrounds, in classrooms, at dances, at birthday parties.
I looked over at Mr. Collins, sitting on a stool in the corner. How many times had he seen this burlesque show, I wondered. Alex and Jordan. Britney and Jason. Michael and Jennifer. Cain and Abel.
I caught his eye, and he nodded, his face a study in pity and disgust. He knew as well as I did that there was no point in me staying for the end of the charade. Unless it was required by the rules, I’d never set foot on the court. Technically, I wasn’t allowed to leave class, but there were no mysteries in this school. I wasn’t the first kid to spend gym class in the library, and despite what was coming next, I wouldn’t be the last. I had no illusions about my ability to change the world.
The doors shut behind me, cutting off the last names in the ritual. I closed my eyes and whispered along, chanting the invocation until the answering explosion.
Who would get picked first next time?
Doesn’t matter, I’m the only one left.
She sat on the veranda, eating ravioli and listening to that awful ocarina mp3 he’d recorded for her at the spaceport. That was before the chasm in their relationship, and while his assumption that she’d like this tuneless warbling was a bit fatuous, it wasn’t filled with the malice that had come to characterize their more recent interactions.
He’d grown progressively more spiteful in his treatment of her, from the indiscriminate tossing of red socks in with the whites at the laundromat to changing the settings on the dvr to record only episodes of her shows that she’d already seen. She’d become more regressive, using foul language when the kids visited to only eating food of which a four year old would approve.
Hence the Chef Boy-ar-dee.
Tomorrow, she thought, would be a great day for him to find ravioli in his slippers.
After all, fiftieth anniversaries are special occasions.
Used all 9 words.