Karma Knows

Tales from the Mind of Kristian posted a creative writing assignment he had in his class, and it looked fun and interesting, so I am stealing it.

The tasks are:

  1. Write down two random names and give them jobs
  2. Write down two different locations
  3. Write down some objects
  4. Write down three emotions
  5. Write down an accident
  6. Write a story or poem using these prompts going from one location to the other

Okay, its 7:20 am

Character 1: John Baker – dung farmer
Character 2: Edward Cooper – unemployed singer

Location 1: Disneyland
Location 2: Death Valley

Object 1: cane
Object 2: leash
Object 3: can opener
Object 4: harmonica
Object 5: soda can

Emotion 1: anticipation
Emotion 2: terrified
Emotion 3: indignation

The Accident: someone throws up

Time now– 7:24…let’s see where this takes me. Finished at 8:41 am.

**note, there is swearing in this one


“Hey Coop,” Adam said, stepping into his Pluto costume. “Who you got today?”

“Bert.” Edward held up the white slacks, red and yellow striped jacket, and cane.

“Oh God! Sorry man.”

Edward chuckled. “Just once I would like to be a Stormtrooper or Captain Hook. Hell, I’d even settle for Pinocchio over Bert, but hey, at least it’s a job.”

“Got that right. See you on Main Street.” Adam put on Pluto’s and began walking through parts of the park no visitor gets to see.

Edward finished getting ready for the day, practiced is main song and a few lines, then headed out on Main Street to greet the crowds who were anticipating meeting Mickey and the rest of the Gang rather than Bert, but as Adam said, it was a job and he was glad to have it.

The morning started off well. Him and Mary went for strolls down Main Street, had photo ops with a few princesses, and they had a lovely lunch together. His bosses had a strange sense of humor though, because after all the good times in the morning, he was assigned to Fantasyland in the afternoon. Over lunch he mentioned that it wasn’t fair to send him to Fantasyland for the one-man band show because none of the kids even knew who he was anymore. Mary laughed and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. At least that made it all worthwhile.

His first show went well, and he was just doing a photo op with a family under the Dumbo ride when it happened. From high above it came and declared Edward as its target with perfect accuracy.

“What the Hell! Oh God! Fuck! Shit! …”

Edward forgot where he was as the child’s vomit knocked his hat off and began dribbling down the back of his neck and over his brow. Parents covered children’s ears and stormed off as Edward continued his profanity laced rant.

“Edward Cooper,” the park manager said. “That behavior was not –”

“Yeah, I know. I’m fired, aren’t I?”

“Collect your things. Security will escort you out.”

Edward sat in his apartment nursing away his bad with a drink and a good game of Call of Duty. He was in the middle of a round and telling his friends about being puked on by a little kid when there was a knock at his front door.

“BRB,” he screamed as he ran to the door, flinging it open only to see an empty hallway. He saw the notice as he was closing the door. “Fuck!”

He took down the taped 3-Day Notice and returned to his game to see that he had died. As if this day couldn’t get any worse. Karma has a way about picking on people and it was not done with Edward yet. His can of ravioli attacked him after the tab popped off and the can opener broke while trying to open it.  A quick two-hour trip to the local clinic and four stitches later, he opted for McDonalds drive thru. Opening his Big Mac box revealed undercooked burgers on a blood-soaked bun. So much for dinner. While taking his trash down to the trash room, Mrs. Levinson’s vicious chihuahua escaped its leash and attacked his ankle. Back to the clinic for more stitches. It almost nearly midnight when he returned to his apartment, only to find the door wide open and the place ransacked.

His burglary was low on the police priority so they didn’t arrive till almost six in the morning. The officer was indignant when Edward asked what took them so long as he got up off the hallway outside of his apartment. The police looked around, asked a few questions, then left with a ‘good luck’.

“Dude,” Edward said, looking at his reflection in the broken mirror on his living room floor. “Don’t ever think if a day could get worse again.”

He sat in his car thinking about his options. “East. Let’s head East.”

He headed out on I-10 to I-15 and all points East. He sang along as music blared. Today was a great day to start a new life, he told himself sitting in a traffic jam. Traffic was smoother and the day looked bright again after he stopped for gas and a bite to eat in Barstow.

“Now what?” he asked coming to a police detour in Baker. They were diverting all traffic North on 127. “Okay, I go North then. Don’t want to make Karma pissed at me again.”

Just outside of Death Valley his car sputtered to a halt. No gas. Edward shielded his eyes as he stepped out into the afternoon sun and heat.

“No choice,” he told himself as he reached in the car for his last can of soda. “Gotta walk.”

A few cars passed by but none stopped.

“You gotta be joking me!” he yelled, reading a sign that said 15 miles to Death Valley.

“Did that sign talk to you?” a man standing behind an old barb wire fence.

Edward laughed. “Nah, sorry. Car broke down and I thought I was closer to town than I am.”

The man laughed. “Happens all the time. Come on over and I’ll give you a lift.”

“Thanks.” Edward carefully climbed over the fence into the man’s field. “Name’s Edward, but most people call me Coop.”

“John. Most people call me John.”

They both laughed. As they walked through the field, the two talked about this and that, life working at Disneyland, and everything that had happened.

“That sounds like a nightmare,” John said.

Edward found it easy to talk to John. Something about walking through the field make Edward happy and less terrified about what his future would be. John shared things of his life and they had a lot in common with each other.

“So, what kind of farming can you do out here in Death Valley?”

“Shit.”

Edward stopped walking. “Um…sorry. I didn’t mean any—”

John started laughing so hard his eyes teared. “Nah, man! I’m a dung farmer. You know, the shit rich people like putting on their organic gardens. I get paid for shit!”

Edward started laughing like he hadn’t in months. Then he looked at the ground.

John laughed even harder. “No…this here’s my own field for food.”

“Thank God.”

As they finished walking back to John’s house, he pulled out his harmonica and started playing. Edward thought to himself how lucky John was to be living out here in the open with few responsibilities. At least he assumed being a dung farmer wouldn’t have a lot of responsibilities. They finally came to John’s farmhouse. Edward’s jaw dropped when he saw John’s gaming setup inside. John laughed. After several hours of playing, night had settled in and John offered a room for the night. One night turned into two, and two turned into four, and four turned into eight. A year later John and Edward are still playing computer games after feeding the animals and selling their dung to the rich people back in Anaheim. Edward was never happier.

The End

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Living The Reflection

Hazel loved many things. She liked children’s books, old children’s shows, game shows, and going for walks for the enjoyment of the walk. She felt hate was too strong a word for anything really, because hate only hurts oneself. Think about it, she would often tell others, if you hate someone so you ignore them, they move on with their lives while you stagnate in the thought that you are ignoring them. She disliked many things, but what she disliked were exactly the things others around her liked.

Just that morning at work talk was consumed by the latest superhero movie that opened the previous weekend. Hazel disliked superhero movies but she was expected to enjoy the same things as her coworkers, so she faked interest and made sure to know just enough of the plot points to give the appearance that she had seen the movie. In reality, she spent the weekend watching the Teen Titans Go! marathon on Cartoon Network.

Working at a small publishing house came with a lot of perks, but a lot of responsibility to live the reflection if she was going to continue working there. The company published primarily genre fiction for adults so conversations often involved sex with aliens, war, sex anywhere, everywhere, and with everything, drugs, crime, and everything thing else one would never find on PBS Kids. She detested the books they produced, but knew others loved them, so obviously she outwardly loved them as well.

After two years of trying to live the reflection, Hazel gave up pretending. After her funeral, friends and family gathered at her apartment for an informal memorial. No one had been there and everyone was shocked to see the Venetian masks hanging on the wall, cherished teddies sitting on glass shelves next to the blown glass eggs in the curio cabinet. They were shocked when they found the puzzles and children’s books that filled every available closet and bookcase. They were most shocked when Ashley found the file cabinet stuffed with unpublished manuscripts. The company launched a new imprint for children’s books named after one of Hazel’s characters and published every manuscript she wrote. She was too busy living the reflection rather than the original.

Her Dream House

Okay, so there were two requests for a complete story based on Too Much Of A Good Deal and you all know I will honor most requests. Originally I had planned on maybe a flash fiction but not much more….um, yeah. It’s taken me almost five hours to write this. This version has a different ending than I was personally wanting, but I think it fits the blog better. I warn you this is a long story. Hope you enjoy it!


 

The kids ran around the front yard as we waited for the realtor to show. She was only twenty minutes late, but Josh was already starting to grumble. He had all the patience in the world for the kids, but that left none for anyone outside of family. Mrs. Simms pulled up in her red convertible and checked herself in the mirror before getting out. Josh grumbled louder, but a quick nudge in the ribs took care of that before she could hear him. We didn’t want to lose out on this opportunity and be stuck living with my parents any longer than we have already. I love my parents and they really love Amie and Harry, but I dreamed of having my own home for years.

“Hi,” Mrs. Simms said. “Sorry, I’m late. Hope you weren’t waiting long.”

She could have only been twenty-five at the most, but she had already perfected the world’s best fake smile, which of course made Josh grumble even more.

“Oh, don’t worry, we just got here and the kids have been entertained. Isn’t that right, Josh?”

He had been married to Lori long enough to read her. “Yeah, we’ve just been admiring the outside of the house. Didn’t even notice you were late.”

“Perfect!” She flashed her perfectly bleached teeth that unnaturally reflected the sun into Josh’s eyes.

The house did look perfect…from the outside. Well-manicured lawn and flower lined cobblestone path led the way to the front rose garden and steps up to the porch where Amie and Harry were now swinging on the porch swing. Two bay windows where we could sit and read or the kids could watch the fireflies at night. It was the house of my dreams. That’s what made me stop last week as Amie, Harry, and I were walking back from the park. This street wasn’t on our normal route, but something just pulled me down Fairbanks instead of Adams. We stopped in front of the house, admiring it. That’s when I saw the for-sale sign that had blown over during the weekend’s storm. I didn’t even wait to talk to Josh about it, I just called the realtor and here we are.

Mrs. Simms led us on a walkthrough from basement to attic as the kids ran from room to room declaring that was their room. It was a large house, but only had three bedrooms and I wanted to make sure we had a bedroom for anyone in our family needed it for a night, so the twins would be sharing a room. They’re only four, so they can share for another few years. We had some concerns about the electrical work and plumbing, but the Mrs. Simms assured us they were up-to-date and in code. My father could help with the plumbing and Josh’s dad was an electrician, so we really weren’t that worried, but our concern helped get $1500 knocked off. Peeling paint was another $3000, and the loose banister that could pose a risk to Amie and Harry got another $2000 off. All-in-all we should have been ashamed of ourselves nitpicking the way we did, but the buyer was very eager to sell. That should have been our first red flag, but never in our wildest imaginations did we think we would get a 150-year old Victorian in the best part of town for just $20000.

We signed that day and were offered the house right then and there. Life moved so fast that day neither Josh nor I had a moment to really sit down and think about what we were doing. I would give anything to be able to take that day back. We didn’t have much to move and having two sets of families and close to a dozen friends dropping everything to come help meant we were all moved in by dinner. We treated the kids to McDonalds on our last trip to the house.

“Alight,” Josh said. “Who wanted the cheeseburger Happy Meal?”

“Me, Daddy,” Amie said, raising her hand. A year in preschool had definitely prepared her for Kindergarten in the fall.

“And who wanted the chicken nugget Happy Meal?”

“Here,” Harry said.

Josh and I looked at each other and chuckled silently as we thought about the calls from principals informing us our son was in trouble for this or that. With the kids set and digging in, Josh and I sat down and found our dinner. Just as I was starting to enjoy my grilled chicken sandwich, a loud crash shook the hanging light over the table making all of us jump.

“Wha wa ha?” Josh asked through a mouthful of Big Mac.

How was I supposed to know? I was scared to death and trying to keep both my heart and stomach where they belonged. All I managed was a shrug.

“You go look,” I said, finally remembering how to swallow.

Josh sighed, but knew I was not about to go upstairs and investigate. You never know if an axe murderer is upstairs waiting for the lady of the house. Besides, Josh was a former Marine who could handle anything life threw at him. He went upstairs and I stayed in the kitchen listening to his footsteps move from room to room. After a few minutes he came back down to finish his dinner.

“Some books fell,” he said, digging back into his Big Mac.

My gut told me that wasn’t it, but I ignored it. This was my dream. My husband, children, and I finally in our own home where I could have a sewing room for my business and watch my children grow up like I did. I should have listened to my gut. I should have grabbed my children and Josh and ran. We should have run as far away as we could, but, instead, I finished my grilled chicken sandwich and spent the evening playing with Amie and Harry while Josh finished getting the bedrooms ready for his family.

They would paint later that summer before the kids start school, so the plain walls were fine. Josh hung a few pictures of Arthur and Buster over Amie’s bed and Minecraft over Harry’s bed. My Little Pony bedding for Amie and Minecraft for Harry. It looked like home when I brought the twins up for bed. Josh and I told them a bedtime story, checked the closet and under the beds for monsters, and plugged in their night sky nightlight. Josh and I sat holding hands for a few minutes watching the stars circle the room as the kids fell asleep. It had been such a busy day and it was starting to catch up to us.

“Check this out,” Josh said as we left the twins’ room. “I found this when I was up here earlier.”

He led me to the closet in our bedroom. “Yeah, it’s a closet.”

“No. Well, yeah, it is a closet, but take a closer look.” He pointed to the back wall behind the clothes that our friends and family had hung up for us.

“Um…it’s a wall. Oh my heck! Is that a door?” I looked at him grinning like a Cheshire cat and knew he had already seen what was on the other side of the door.

I slapped his arm and pouted which made him laugh. I loved his laugh. He was muscular and still chiseled from his time in the military, but his laugh turned him into a giant teddy bear. My teddy bear. He didn’t have to stay with me. He didn’t have to live with someone who jumps at little noises and is still terrified when the lights go out, but he did and I loved him even more for it.

Reaching for the door handle was like putting my hand through jello. Something didn’t want my hand to go near the door, but I forced it anyway. The handle was an old brass knob that looked like it belonged on a kitchen drawer that scratched the wall as I lifted it. With a small push the door opened and musty air escaped whatever was behind my new closet.

“Let me show you,” Josh said, taking control of the situation and urging me inside as he turned on a flashlight. “It’s really cool in there.”

I have to admit, it was really cool, he wasn’t lying about that. It must have been a nursery at one time because there was a brass crib and old stroller. When I say it was an old stroller, I mean it looked like it came out of an old Victorian photograph. There was a dresser with baby clothes still in it, a chest, and a wooden writing desk.

“Why would they leave all this stuff here?” I wondered out loud. “This doesn’t look like it’s been touched for over a century.”

“Dunno,” Josh said. “But come look at these.”

He shown the flashlight on a stack of old photographs on the desk. My curiosity got the better of me and grew excited as I flipped through the pictures. First of a young woman about thirteen standing in front of our new house. Well, I guess it must have been her house then, so a young girl standing in front of her house. Then one of her and a couple that I assumed were her parents. Here comes one a few years later and she is in a wedding dress standing next to an older man.

“I certainly hope that’s not her husband,” I said, wrinkling up my nose. “He looks old enough to be her grandfather.”

Josh shrugged.

Yep, that’s her husband. Poor dear. I am so glad I was not born back then. As I flipped through the photographs she aged but became much sadder as her smile faded until there was no emotion at all. There were also no children in any of the photographs. The last one in the stack showed a woman about thirty in a black dress.

“I wonder if she ever remarried,” I said, looking around for Josh.

“Don’t think so,” he said.

“Why have a nursery then?”

It was as if the room was listening to us and wanted its story told. A small scratching noise drew our attention to a knothole in a floorboard. Josh leaned down and began putting his finger in to see if there was anything in under it, as I started my spider dance envisioning his finger poking straight through a nest of black widows or recluse spiders. He just laughed and stuck it in.

“There’s something in here.”

“Get your finger out! It’s probably a rat or something.”

He ignored me as usual and lifted the floorboard. He shown his flashlight in the hole and retrieved a small diary.

“Let’s look at it in bed,” I said. “This place is giving me the creeps.”

“Sure.”

I rushed out of the room as he lingered to have one last look around before joining me in bed. Safe and sound in my favorite sheets and handmade pillow, I snatched the diary from him before he could finish climbing into bed. I wanted to know what happened to that young girl and why she married such an old man. I soon found out.

“Her name was Adelia Jasper,” I said while reading. “She was twelve when she married that old bugger! A grown man of fifty married a twelve-year-old! What was wrong with him!”

I was slapping Josh as if he could really do anything about something that happened over a hundred years earlier. He was used to this though and just laughed. I continued reading.

“She married him after her parents died. Poor thing. I guess that was her only option. Became pregnant a year later but lost that child really early. Then another one, and another. Good lord, that poor girl!”

I started crying as I read her diary. I couldn’t tell Josh everything that was in it. At the time of the last entry, she was only twenty-six and had suffered six miscarriages. Her last one she thought was going to live which is why they built the nursery. She gave birth at home to a baby boy who appeared healthy and strong but when the local priest came to bless the baby the following week he ended up giving him his last rites. She buried him in the family cemetery next to her parents. I couldn’t do anything but lay on Josh and cry for her. I lost one baby before I had the twins so I knew a little about how she felt, but six? That would have killed me.

“We need to find out more about her?” I said between sobs.

“Uh huh.” Josh was already dozing off. Once a Marine, always a Marine and able to sleep anywhere at any time.

“Typical.”

I scooted over to my side of the bed and hugged the pillow my mother made me. I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I remember was being jolted awake by Amie’s screams of mortal terror. This was not her normal scream. Something or someone was harming my daughter. Josh was already at the door before I even rolled over to wake him. He was at the twins’ door before I made it to ours and he was screaming before I made it out to the hallway. I had never heard Josh scream before in the ten years we had been married. I had never known him to be afraid of anything. My blood turned cold and I was terrified. I wanted to run down the stairs and out the door, but those were my children in there and my screaming husband. I swallowed my fear and sprinted to their door, throwing on the light switch only to see my son’s arm disappear into the shadow that was slowly moving from the corner of the room toward my daughter.

Mom mode took over and I leaped over Josh who was kneeling on the floor weeping grabbed Amie and flung her out the door into the hallway. Poor child landed with a crying thud on the floor.

“Josh! Move!” I screamed, pushing and shoving him toward the door. “Amie needs you!”

That got his attention and he grabbed my hand and picked up Amie as we started heading downstairs. The shadow was not about to let us leave though. It grabbed Josh by the hair and he fell to the ground. I caught Amie just before she would have taken another hard landing. Between her screams, my screams, and Josh’s screams the house seemed to be erupting in pure hatred toward us. The shadow solidified revealing its true self.

“Why are you doing this Adelia? Where is my son?” I shouted. “HARRY! HARRY! WHERE ARE YOU?”

Adelia laughed. “He took them from me. I take them from you.”

Josh lay writhing in pain on the floor under her grasp. “Get out,” he whispered.

I couldn’t. Where was Harry? How do you fight a ghost? Josh was usually the one the jump in and save the day, but now he needed me to be the superhero.

“You can’t have them, Adelia!”

Her cackling rattled the house.

She started dragging Josh back to the twins’ room. I had to think fast. “Fight Josh! Fight for Harry! You can’t have them Adelia!”

My Marine took over as Josh’s hand reached up and grabbed Adelia by the wrist while I grabbed his legs. In one crunch he flung Adelia over his shoulder and she crashed right into me. Stunned because I was certainly not expecting that, I lay on the ground with a very heavy ghost laying on top of me as Josh jumped to his feet. He grabbed Amie and threw her in the hallway closet. Poor girl was so traumatized by what was going on all her brain thought to do was breath.

“We have to get Harry,” Josh said kicking Adelia off me. Well, his foot passed right through her, but she was distracted enough to let me get up.

We ran in to the twins’ room and started yelling for Harry. I could hear his sobs echo in the walls. “The nursery!”

Adelia now stood laughing hysterically between us and Harry. The last place you want to be is between a former Marine and his child. I could fell the anger rising in Josh. An anger I had never felt before. It made it almost pity Adelia. If she had been alive at least. He ran like an enraged bull down the hall but passed right through her and slammed into the wall taking out a slab of drywall. As he lay unconscious on the floor it was now up to me to save my family.

“I know what it’s like to lose a child, Adelia, but this isn’t the way to get one.”

I thought I would try the compassionate approach first, but she just laughed even harder. There was something wrong with this woman, and I don’t mean that just because she’s dead. She was off her rocker. I remembered something our family priest told me long ago when I was afraid of ghosts in my parent’s house.

“Call on Michael for help,” Father Isley said. “He commands the Lord’s army and will help in your greatest time of need.”

I closed my eyes and did something I had not done for a long time. I prayed. I prayed for guidance. I prayed for strength. I prayed for Harry and Josh and Amie. I prayed for help.

Suddenly I felt warm and resolved. She was not going to have my family! I marched up to her cackling face and flung my fist through it. “Move, woman!” I shouted as the black mist formed her face once again.

I strode right past the confused look on her face, kicked in the nursery door, and found my Harry tied in the crib. Adelia tried grabbing me, tripping me, pushing me, hitting me, but nothing was going to stand in my way of getting to Harry.

Doors though out the house opened and slammed shut on their own as Adelia’s rage overflowed.

“Close your eyes, baby,” I said as I untied Harry and carried him in my arms past Adelia.

Josh was coming to as I walked back into the hall. “Amie! Come out sweetie!” I called.

Amie ran into Josh’s waiting arms and together we walked out of the house. Adelia’s rage and reach could not extend past her jail, which meant we were not safe, but the house was not. Minutes after leaving the house, it exploded in a fireball. We just stood there crying and watching it burn. Our neighbors called 9-1-1 and offered to let us in but we wanted to see her destroyed.

We returned to my parent’s house that night, but we were not the same people. Amie is now claustrophobic and Harry is terrified of making people angry. Josh’s once beautiful auburn hair is gray where Adelia held it. Even I am not the same person. I returned to church the following Sunday and thanked Father Isley for telling me about Michael.

I told him everything that happened in that house. At first, I expected him to laugh at me or think I was off my rocker, but he didn’t. He knew more about the house than we did. He was called nearly twenty years earlier to bless that house after a young couple moved in. He sensed something was terribly wrong then, but did what he was asked. He also told the couple to call on him whenever they needed help. They called after her first miscarriage for personal guidance. They called after her third miscarriage to help understand why God would do such a thing. She called after her husband committed suicide in the basement.

“That house looked good on the outside but was a house of pure evil,” Father Isley said, patting my hand. “Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.”

Later that evening we heard from the insurance company who denied our claim because Mrs. Simms had not filed the transfer of ownership papers yet. The realty company called to inform us that Mrs. Simms was no longer with the company and asked if we would consider taking our check back plus thirty thousand dollars if we agree to not sue them for not disclosing the history of the house.

The money was nice and allowed us to buy our condo, but if I could go back and change that day I would. No amount of money could ever bring back the joy in our children’s faces or the innocence we shared during that last McDonalds meal.

The End

Don’t Trust Your Friend

28-06-18
“The very next day, Carella got the fight he was spoiling for.”

Carella was responsible for one thing and only one thing for the last six months leading up to their marriage. All he had to do was book the hotel. A simple task given today’s online reviews and reservation systems. He asked his friend to do it. They get divorced tomorrow.


This 50-word story was written for 50 Word Thursday #7 created by Deb Whittam at Twenty Four.

The rules for this prompt are:

1 Completed piece must be in mutiples of 50 words – maximum of 250 words. Anything is acceptable – poetry, story, anecdote.

2 There will be a photo and a random phrase that I will take from the current book I am reading – you can use either or both

3 Please pingback and tag 50 word Thursday, so I can do a summary on the Thursday morning.  You can either put your piece in the comments on this post or do a post of your own.