VisDare 40 – Oblivious

Prompt: http://anonymouslegacy.blogspot.com/2013/10/visdare-40-oblivious.html

“I’m sorry, ma’am, but you can’t bring that onto the subway.” The conductor had been on the job one too many days, and he’d dealt with an awful lot of crazy people, but none quite like Maude. He’d had every fluid produced by the human body hurled at him, had heard every curse word in every spoken language on Earth (although he assumed at least some of the words were made up), and once had seen a man in a dog suit playing “Also Sprach Zarathustra” on a kazoo…that wasn’t in his mouth.

Maude wasn’t angry. She was sweeter than his grandmother, and she’d always let him steal an extra chocolate after dinner, even though his mom said no. And she didn’t yell, or spit, or carry a kazoo. But she was carrying a large pedestal lamp, oddly similar to the one his grandmother had in her parlor when he was little. And it would break and get in other passengers’ way and he couldn’t be held liable for that.

The conductor was sure that no one had ever looked more sad than Maude as she tried to understand what he was saying. “I have to get Earl to Madama Sylvia. She said by tomorrow, and the taxis aren’t big enough and I can’t drive anymore. Please, can’t you help me?”

No matter how pathetic she looked, the lamp was too big for the subway. It just was. “My brother in law has a truck – he can drive it for you this weekend, if you need it then.” Why was he offering to help? He wanted to go golfing this weekend.

“But it has to be today, or I’ll lose Earl forever.” Her gnarled and wrinkled fingers held the lamp gently, almost hugging it to her stooped frame.

“Ma’am. I don’t mean to sound, well, mean, but it’s just a lamp.”

“Oh, Earl’s not a lamp. He’s in the lamp. You see…Earl’s a genie.”

“A what? Look, lady, I’m not crazy, and you seem nice, but it’s a lamp. And it can’t go on my subway.”

“SHE’S NOT CRAZY,” bellowed the lamp.

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