The shoemaker claimed that elves made his wares. It might have been true. Even his wife never saw him working. He gabbed and napped the day away, but all night he cut and stitched. After a television personality interviewed him, business soared.
Success cured him of insomnia. He worked afternoons and into the night, falling asleep before finishing his orders. Still, every shoe was ready in the morning. Puzzled, he kept himself awake drinking coffee and pinching himself when his eyes drooped. Just when he couldn’t keep from nodding, his wife sneaked in.
My boyfriend dumped me. So Goldie, my cousin, got me a house sitting gig. For a hot minute, I had some breathing space.
It got worse.
Spent the better part of my time in toxic negotiations. Absurd things like who owns the Ikea bookshelf. Not that I have a place for it now. He got the rent-controlled apartment. But even Big-Bad-Ex admitted the books are mine. Anyway, he doesn’t need a bookshelf. He’s barely literate. Not even housebroken.
The bears were shocked when they arrived home. Their cottage was a mess; broken furniture, dirty dishes, spilled porridge. Clearing the table, Mama found the house sitter’s note.
My Dearest Bears,
A most frightful situation has befallen my grandmother. She was nearly eaten by a wolf and I must stay with her as my cousin, Red, has used all compassionate leave.
Another cousin, Lorelei, will house sit. She runs with a careless crowd. I will cover all damages.
Surprising Mama, a spiky haired stranger streaked out the door, into the river and was never seen again.
Dick Dern opened the nozzle, turning a spray of water on his classic Cadillac. With a vague feeling of déjà vu, he rubbed the hood with a chamois cloth and talked the car smoothly into the garage. The man was persuasive.
He walked inside to his office, where his wife was shredding papers.
“Honey, can’t we throw this old thing out?” Jane Dern pointed to a manly wooden puppet with a pouting mouth and an extraordinarily long nose.
Dick closed the closet. “No way. That dummy is the most successful campaign prop in political history. I’ll need it again soon. ”
My wife swore the UFOs had landed because green men were digging in the garden in the rain. But she’s a little daft and not Irish. It was leprechauns, for sure, wearing black boots, work clothes and trademark top hats. The rainbows bring them and the blarney keeps you from catching them green handed with the goods.
So when the rains came again, I made a trap baited with shiny things and kept an eye on the potato field. And I was there to see a big crow fly away, the gold chain I set out dangling from its beak.
House Sitter Wanted: April in our charming wooded cottage. A place for contemplation, close to hiking and river adventures. Feel free to entertain in our spacious three bedroom home.
Goldie pushed the door open. She’d expected a key under the rock near the entry. What a relief to find the house unlocked. The second surprise: There were three bowls of cereal on the table. Had the bears engaged her for a different time? She checked her phone. New mail. “See you April first. The Bears.” She sat down to rest, the cinnamon smell of porridge enticing her. They wouldn’t mind.