Flipping coins was Blake’s job. Blake flipped for Bill Bamboozle, pleasing crowds with disappearing coins.
One day, his coin did vanish. Desperate, he searched the tent grounds for another. He was elated when he found one. Unusual with dragon head on one side, tail on other, but a coin was a coin.
On stage, Blake asked an old woman in the audience, “Heads or tails?”
“Tails,” she said. Blake flipped.
“Tails,” Blake confirmed.
The woman rose screaming, but not a yay-I-get-to-participate scream. From the seat of the woman’s trousers spouted three tails.
Mr. Bamboozle scrutinized Blake. Blake could only shrug.
Author’s Note: I was staring at a coin when I thought of this story, thinking what if answering heads or tails had serious consequences. I just had to set it in a circus, such a magical yet terrifying place.
Trouble followed Larissa. She visited the bank; it got robbed. Went out to dinner; the chef’s kitchen ignited. The Randall’s asked she babysit. She did not expect it would go well.
Little Trevor complied perfectly, until bedtime.
“Read,” Trevor begged. Just her luck, every book Larissa found was unreadable through crayon scribble. Trevor chanted, “Read, read!”
Linda snapped. “There once was a little boy who would not go to bed, so a dinosaur ate him.”
The window burst. She saw gargantuan jaws, heard chomp. Then it was gone.
So was Trevor.
Larissa knew she should not have taken this job.
Author’s note: I thought, what if someone was very unlucky, what with they do with it all. Here, Larissa means well, is doing well, until she pretty much wishes her own bad luck into existence.
Gramps sullied his hands in soil. Sometimes his arthritis would strike and he would have to massage his claws back into fingers. Then he returned them to earth. The flowers he tended were for his daughter. Once in bloom, he would harvest them and set out for the cemetery.
Next day, they were wilted. He cried, suspecting poison from neighbors, blaming his tired, useless bones. Still, one flower lived, a sunset-red daisy.
He carried that one, set it on his daughter’s grave. Dirt ruptured ceremoniously. A white hand grabbed the flower, sunk back down. Gramps smiled. “Be good, my darling.”
Author’s note: My mind birthed this story when I thought about how nice it would be if loved ones could see the beautiful conditions of their graves, see how much they are loved and missed. The end result wound up a bit of a horror.
Ratón lives a maze. Every day, he twists through hedges, dodging heads that poke out at wrong turns, grueling red faces with saw blades for teeth. For what, he cannot fathom.
“Where to?” he asks the holey wedge of cheese on his manacle.
“Goal,” the charm responds. The GPS coordinates fly. Ratón sets off.
Snapping jaws, he conquers. Then come the pit falls.
“Where to?” he asks the charm when face-to-face with 10-meter pit.
“Goal,” answers the charm, offering no detour.
Ratón does not think. He trusts. He jumps. He falls.
There is a dull thump. Seconds later, “Goal reached.”
Author’s note: This story was imagined after considering how a person might feel being the rat in a maze, sacrificed for seemingly no cause.