Friday, October 28, 2005

A short story for a workshop...
Part 1 of 2


Elmer Wiggins sat on the cold ground, covered from head to toe with thick slimy mud, his face an unrecognizable blob with moveable chunks of dirt where he blinked his eyes and a gap where he opened his mouth. The accident happened so fast, he still wasn't certain of the sequence of events. All he remembered was slipping on mud and losing his balance. 

He had been walking along Shady Avenue, rushing to make it to the insurance office where his dream girl worked as a secretary. What a vision of beauty she was--long blond hair reaching all the way to her waist that swished from side to side while she swung her hips walking  with high heels clicking on linoleum. Such lips, red like strawberries and eyes as blue as an autumn sky! Yes, Elmer was in love. But Angie had shown no interest in him whatsoever. 

He dragged himself to his feet, wiped his face clean, and took an accounting of the damages. The flowers were splattered far and wide in the mud, looking like a crazed funeral spread. Most of the posies were covered in sludge leaving the bouquet in a hopeless array of filthy fragments. One clean flower caught his eye, and he reached down and picked it up, a single red rose that somehow missed the carnage. He sniffed its fragrance and sighed, next spying the heart-shaped box of chocolates several feet away. Apparently it had fallen from his grasp and glided the distance like on ice. Elmer wiped a tear from his eye as he walked to fetch the chocolates.

Picking up the red box, he slumped to the ground with tears running down his cheeks in rivulets of despair. He had spent the last of his money on the expensive gifts, and now he had nothing with which to impress his lady. 

"Hey, fella, what are you crying about?" The little voice seemed to spring out of nowhere.

Glancing about, Elmer spied the tiny man sitting on the curb behind him.

"My flowers and candy...all ruined," he murmured, settling himself next to the elfin figure. "Now I have no way to impress Angie."

The tiny man smiled with a toothy grin, wrinkling up his cheeks in mischief. "Sure, you do! You have the chocolates. The box is dirty and dented, but the sweets are still good."

"Yeah, like I'm going to give her that muddy box of candy." Elmer's cheek still shone from the moisture of tears washing down them.

"No, silly. Those are magic chocolates. Don't you see the little silver "M" logo on the bottom of the box."

Startled, Elmer searched the carton and there, sure enough, was a silver "M" on the bottom of the box. "Wow!" he said. "I didn't know that meant they were magic."

"Sure! You get one wish per box. That's all you get though, one wish with your first bite of chocolate, no matter how many chocolates you eat. So you must make that one wish a good one."

"Hmmph," Elmer murmured, reaching in and pulling out a piece of candy. He was careful to choose a chocolate-covered cherry, his favorite. Turning it around and around in his fingers, he surveyed the sweet from every side before plopping it in his mouth.

"Okay, Dude! Now what's your wish?" the elf asked.

Elmer looked at the little fellow, color rushing to his face in excitement. He swallowed the chocolate as fast as he could, not even taking the time to enjoy the plump sweet cherry, gulping it down whole. "I want to be handsome, hunky, and attractive as all heck," he said. A smug look passed over his face as he spoke, as though he were about to exact revenge on the world who had cruelly punished him for being ugly. "Oh, boy! I can't wait to see!" he said, dashing to a store window to study his reflection. "Hey, I still look the same!" he said.

"Of course, you do, poor boy! The magic is a spell! Your looks haven't changed, but the ladies will see you as being hunky and handsome all the same." The elf grinned further. "It's like a magic spell on all who gaze at you--they'll see other than what is there."

"Hmmph, well, okay," Elmer replied. "I guess I'll head over to the insurance office and see how it goes.  You coming?"

"Oh no, my good man! I'm a busy elf with a million magic matters to see to. Good luck to you, sir!" The little fellow extended his hand and Elmer grasped and shook it in appreciation.

"Thank you for telling me about the magic chocolates," Elmer said. 

"Good luck to you, laddie!" the elf replied. In the next instant, poof! He disappeared.

"Gee, maybe I should have asked if this spell comes with a guarantee," Elmer murmured as he started off for the office.

When he arrived, there was no doubt the spell worked.

Copyright 2005 JO Janoski 

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