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. ”
It rained. And then froze. The rain a teaser. Maybe no drought this year. Maybe there’s snow piled into the mountains. Not that we’ll know. Since the electricity stopped working, we haven’t heard from anyone more than a buggy’s ride away.
Try explaining electricity to a five-year old. It always ends up with magic. The same way that putting seeds in the ground and getting peas seems like a miracle. We used to show our daughter how peas grow. How they need water. Used a plastic cup and a paper towel. None of those left. Good thing there’s still miracles.