A Most Horrible Fate by Micheal Ikeson

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SUMMARY: my story for the july contest, the theme, deception.

Duarf shifts from one foot to another. Oh, how he hates long lines!

He is surprised no mice, or rabbits or any other type of rodent (no doubt residing in this very store) invade the contents of his cart. What kind of grown man eats bitter leaves and hard, orange sticks for dinner? He wants juicy meat! Of course, his wife is too controlling... She believes nasty food is a form of cancer prevention.

An entirely different woman catches his eye. Her face is reedy and pale, but the woman's clear, green eyes are enough to snare Duarf. Their eyes lock. He likes this little lady.

He grins, careful to hide his stained teeth. First impressions are very important, or so his wife says. No, he is not going to think of her, the woman is a plain wretch and cruel, besides. His wife is not going to ruin his single, triumphant moment.

The vixen smiles back. He feels a surge of, uh, pride and perhaps a tiny, itty-bitty, fraction of a fraction of lust. Well, his wife does not own his thoughts, at least, not at this very moment.

"Hi, my name is Duarf and-" She continues smiling. "Err... madam, are you okay?"

Her glazed eyes focus once more.

"Um... my name is Duarf-

"I know you," the lady interrupts, each word punctuated by flying spit.

He grimaces and paws at his face. When he is sure all of the wetness is gone, he says in a hopeful tone, "Do you really?"

"Well, no, I don't know you," his face fell, "but I can get to know you."

His lips curl in what he calls his "winner's smile". This is just what he needs. Perhaps, his wife can "accidentally" find him with this woman. Yes, the potential divorce can change his life, for the better, of course. Oh, his cleverness never ceases to amaze him!

"Why have you gone quiet? Perhaps I am too ugly...."

His arms swing wildly. This is dangerous territory. "YOU ARE NOT UGLY!"

The people in line freeze. The world stares him down. He twitches nervously, feeling like the distant relative of a circus monkey. Not any old circus monkey, either, but the ones that can do gymnastics. Well, he is going to show them!

He completes a somersault (at least in his own mind), but by some divine intervention, indeed a curse, he lands wrong. He yelps in pain. Oh, how embarrassing! Somewhere, behind him, a child cries, hysterically calling for his mother. Thankfully, the ruckus dies down soon. Duarf resumes the hunt.

His prey sniffs and wipes drool from her mouth. It looks disturbingly like a type of nasal fluid.

"Was it?" He pondered, thinking out loud, but not realizing it.

"Was it what?"

Duarf jumps at the sudden words. "What are you talking about, darling?"

"You said ‘was it' and I asked ‘was it what' and you ask me ‘what was I talking about? And now, I'm explaining it all back to you."

He gapes, but closes his mouth with an audible click. He hopes the woman did not discern the rows of decayed teeth.

He tries his best to recover the lost momentum. "I meant to say, beautiful, that I would love to take you out sometime."

The woman shoots him the coyest look ever. Duarf throat dries...

"Do you promise?" she squeaks strangely. Maybe her voice is going hoarse from the talking.

"Yes, I do."

"You had better," she says in a sudden, horrible baritone.

"N- no..." Was this a joke?

"Oh, yes," the drag queen says, triumphant. "Promises have power, you are mine."

He realizes the cold truth. "It's you."

"Oh, yes, it's me." The God/dess of Plastic Surgery smiles slyly. "Now be a good sir, keep your promise and take me home."

The cashier rings up his new date. Duarf stares down at the pitiful contents in his cart. This is all his wife's fault! At this very moment, he could be watching football, instead he will be...

He shivers. Strange, but the air conditioning does not feel cold.

"Oh yeah, I seen those teeth too," the man/ woman says. She/ he fixes him with a horrible smile. "I can fix them, but it will come at a price."

He groans.