37, day twenty nine
I only sort of did a post yesterday. I did my lunch break thing, but not a regular post. It still counts!
Since it only sort of counts, I wrote five short stories for today. When did I turn into the kind of writer who can sit down and write five stories? I don’t know. I didn’t notice it happen, but now that it has I am going to make sure to keep doing it.
The Dragon Shop
As usual for Tuesday morning, Gerald Pickering went to the market. When he got there, he found that the market was not only closed, it was missing entirely. Instead of a shop there was a great purple and green dragon. It appeared to be asleep. Hanging from its snout was a sign.
Green Street Shop Transfigured Due to New Management
“Well this is just brilliant,” Gerald said. “Now where am I going to get my biscuits?”
YOU DESIRE BISCUITS, said a voice as full as the ocean and as old as the sky. The dragon’s eyes were open. Gerald had to turn his gaze away from them before his mind dissolved into their majesty.
“Well, yes, sir, Mr. Dragon. Do you have biscuits?”
I HAVE BISCUITS MADE OF WHEAT FED BY THE TEARS OF GODS, AND BAKED IN THE FIRES OF THE LAST LIVING SUN.
“Oh. That sounds alright then. What flavours do you have?”
I HAVE TWO FLAVOURS: THE BREAK OF DAWN CHASING AWAY THE LAST SHREDS OF NIGHT, AND CINNAMON APPLE-OF-CHAOS.
“Well that sounds rather interesting. I’ll take one of each.”
THAT WILL BE FOUR POUNDS TWENTY.
Gerald counted out his money and handed it to the dragon. As he left the area the shop used to be, he took out one of the apples biscuits and took a bite. The cinnamon was a bit strong for his tastes, but he found the chaos-flavour to actually be quite nice. He wandered off back towards his home and mused that sometimes, change is a good thing.
“Hello, how can I make your day more delicious?”
“Are you Evelyn Baker? Are you the owner of this establishment?”
“That I certainly am. Owner, founder, head pastry chef, and chief flavor engineer. How can I help you?”
“We’re from Interpol, ma’am. I’m afraid we’re going to have to ask you to cease production and distribution of your Four Fruit Ten Spice Muffin.”
“We’re going to have to ask you to…”
“I heard you the first time! Whatever for?”
“I’m afraid the details are classified. It’s a matter of international security. The muffin has found to be…dangerous.”
“I was worried about this.”
“You were, ma’am?”
“Ever since the second time our front window was smashed in by someone trying to get their hands on the first baked batch of the day. I can’t say that I like it, but I understand. We can survive with our other offerings.”
“Your assistance on this matter is appreciated, ma’am.”
“The recipe is on the internet.”
“Our intelligence indicates the recipe on the internet only has nine spices. Your secret ingredient is still secure.”
“For now. But you can’t stop the progress of pastry. Eventually, someone will figure it out.”
“Don’t worry, ma’am. This is not the first time pastry has tried to gain a foothold. It won’t be the last. That is what we do, and we are very, very good at it.”
Sara looked at the bottle on her bedside table.
Melatonin 3 g
Melatonin is a drug free sleep aid that help to promote natural sleep patterns and normalize your circadian rhythms.
Sara could certainly use that. These days her circadian rhythms more closely resembled a high-bass electronic dance beat that blared throughout the night. She had not had a good night sleep in almost five months. None of the drugs her doctor prescribed worked. One of them, Albatross or something, put her to sleep, but she was miserable the next day. She looked at the bottle of melatonin. It was a natural product, right? Maybe that would be better. The bottle had sixty pills in it. She picked up her glass of orange juice and in three stages swallowed all sixty.
Ten minutes later she was annoyed it wasn’t working. Ten minutes after that she closed her eyes and fell asleep.
When she opened her eyes she knew she was still dreaming. It felt different from a normal dream, but she knew she wasn’t awake. In front of her was a desk that looked like it was made of moonlight. Sitting at the desk was a small troll in what appeared to be a pajama-three-piece-suit-and-tie.
“Ms. Briggs, I presume?” said the troll in a Yorkshire accent.
“Um, yes?” said Sara.
“I need you to sign this piece of paper renouncing all claims to the Crown of Sleep, the Throne of Dreams, and the Duchy of the Scarred Cavern of Ravenous Nightmare.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
The troll sighed heavily. “By penetrating beyond the Twelfth Veil of Sleep you have initiated a claim for the aforementioned titles and all accompanying lands and powers. Am I right in saying you did not intend to do this?”
“Well, no, but…”
“Then just sign the bloody paper so you can go back home. Trust me. You don’t want this.”
“Oh,” Sara said hesitantly. “Okay then.” She took the pen, which appeared to me made of cloud, from the troll and signed her name where indicated.
“Thank you. I’ll be sure to note your cooperation on your permanent record. Have a good sleep, now.”
Sara awoke feeling more rested than she had in years. She laid in bed for almost an hour with a smile on her face. Today was going to be a good day. Getting a good night sleep was one thing, but she had just turned down a kingdom. How often do you get to do that?
“It’s not easy.”
“It’s not supposed to be easy. But you have to choose one of them. One of them has to go.”
“Are you sure?”
“No, of course I’m not sure, dammit! But that’s my choice.”
“Very well. You chose the western hemisphere. We’ll get that going right away.”
“Oh god, what have I–”
“Your check is in the mail.”
Every bridge in the world is alive, and soaked in the wisdom of the lands and waters they span. If you don’t believe me, just ask one. Go to the highest point on the bridge just as the sun breaks through the night, clutching a calla lily sprinkled with the ash of burnt cardamom pods and powdered moonstone. The very moment the sunlight penetrates your eyes and blinds you, cast the lily off of the bridge and throw your arms in the air.
Then ask your question. The bridge cannot help but listen, and it will be compelled to respond. Just don’t believe a damn word the bridge says. They might be wise as all get out, but every bridge I’ve ever met was a total prick and a pathologically lying bastard.
If you like these, there are more micro-stories. Check out Six Tiny Little Tales.