Time and again, I
told my mate that kitchen implements were not designed for martial purposes,
but for culinary creations. Despite my warnings, that mope of a hedgehog either
didnt hear my words or didnt care. Consequently, one late
afternoon, when I had returned from work, I found her on her back, with a
vegetable peeler stuck into her chest. She no longer breathed.
I began an inquest.
Someone, among my imaginary coterie, was responsible for that death and I meant
to ascertain the facts.
Most often, my
narratives present straightforward accounts of my experience raising pretend
friends. Such nuanced writing gets enhanced by my daily goings-on,
that is, by my reports on the select absurdities that are concomitant to my
taking care of all manner of nonexistent things. Apparently, readers enjoy
perusing prose that lavishes attention on critters unrelated to humans and
greedily consume all details about physical threats that otherwise would never
have been issued by beasts easily classified by science. More exactly, I make
moula by telling tales about the creatures of my imagination.
lone furze pig ought not to have been brandishing kitchen riggings. Years
earlier, a gelatinous, two-headed wildebeest had been shish kabobbed when a
hungry delegate from Jupiters plasma surface had demanded the last of our
sugar cookies and the viscous ruminant had fought back. Weapons ought only to
be employed by sentients that know how to use them.
wildebeests demise, I had regularly cautioned my invisible friends not to
play with matches, with knives, or with any other cooking utensil. Alas, my
make-believe spiny mammal had failed to heed my words.
Her funeral was held
in the bathroom. With a single flush, I disposed of her imperceptible body and
then returned to my lair, I mean, to my home office, to write a speculative
The tale was
rejected by my favorite science fiction editor. He maintained that it was
mawkish at best, puerile at worst. However, he was so intrigued by the inquiry
that I claimed to be holding that he bid that, maychance, my least favorite
villain, the sparkly inchworm known to be enamored with toothpicks, might have
taken lessons in wielding arms.
indifferent to that idea, I pressed send to mail my not-so-trite
narrative to another of my publishing industry acquaintances. That gatekeeper,
an editor at a fantasy Ezine, too, rejected my masterpiece, saying it was too
shrill for her readers. However, like the other person who had given my work a
thumbs down, she was fascinated with my investigation and suggested that I seek
out the whereabouts of my long-lost colony of dust bunnies. In that case, too,
I mentally shrugged and moved on.
My third volley was
to a person who ran a WordPress offering. She liked my story and liked that I
had submitted it to her. She promised that my words would run before a cure was
found for COVID-19. Meanwhile, like the publication caretakers who had preceded
her, she expressed interest in my hunt for the murderer. Look in your
kitchens junk drawer, she advised.
After notching my
resume, I mean, after adjusting my log to reflect my fictions acceptance,
I opened my junk drawer. Within its boundaries were both the sparkly inchworm
and most of my long-lost colony of dust bunnies. Together, they were laughing
over the array of frilled toothpicks that lay amongst them. One dust clump,
though, was coddling a suspicious object; it was cossetting an OXO Good Grips Y
Roused, I quickly
picked through scissors, tape, some metered, yet incomplete, verse, thumbtacks,
chip bag clips, a recipe for spicy okra, and artwork that had been gifted to me
by my grandchildren. When I got to the dust clumps, as was de rigor given the
stealth that I had assigned them, they disappeared. The sparkly worm, too,
vanished, leaving only a handful of sequins as evidence that it had partied
with the dust bunnies.
I face palmed.
Again, I face palmed. Mom had warned me not to keep a junk drawer in my kitchen
because it would become like a black hole, or, like a warren that connected to
the multiverse, but I had ignored her. I had never dreamed that such a
compartment would become a safehouse for story bound marauders.
I backed away from
that hideaway and sighed myself into my favorite kitchen chair. Just as I began
to slouch, the flashbulbs went off.
Today, I have become
a celebrity of sorts. My face has been splashed next to my yarns in many
speculative fiction venues. Whats more, most of those photos include one
of my shoulders, an arm, and a hand. In my hand is a small vegetable
Anfisa picked at her cuticle and shook her
head. Whereas she was pursuing a useless English degree so that she
could work for The Gallery Collection upon graduation, Natalie, her younger
sister, was wasting time by fretting over tulle and peer approval.
Anfisas Rhetoric professor had lectured
that comprehensibility, manageability, and meaningfulness, i.e.
coherences components, determined individuals sense of
accomplishment. According to that wisdom, Natalie ought not to be freaking out
and texting Anfisa, repeatedly, about homecoming court
positionsNatalies life was charmed. Whereas Anfisa was stocky,
Natalie was curvaceous. Even as Anfisa had to study long hours to pass classes,
Natalie, who regularly skipped classes, had gotten invited to the honor
society. While Anfisa had quit flute, Natalie played lead saxophone in a punk
No one doubted that Natalie would soon be
offered various college subsidies. Contrariwise, the town was shocked upon
learning that Anfisas tuition was being paid by the
Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest. Her entry had featured a
neighbors dog, hanging off of a porch step. It had been inscribed