Eleanor Wilde I

Eleanor Wilde, the infamous Lady Papaya, lay strewn on the marble floor of the manor, draped in tiger-skin socks and checkered alligator boots. Beside her, the famous Doctor Martin played chess against himself, on the Mexican carved set that he found in the bathroom. It was a trying time for both. Earlier that night a fight had broken out and six peacocks were killed. Feathers were all over the television room and at least one bird had found its way to the bottom of the pool.

“You don’t suppose any of them got out alive,” Eleanor said. The Doctor said nothing, but moved a pawn forward. He spun the chessboard around and squinted at the position he had put himself in. Eleanor rolled over and bit Doctor Martin on the leg. “Ow,” he said. “You don’t pay attention to me.” “It’s true.” “Bite me.” “My teeth have rotted.” “Let’s find breakfast.” The Doctor lifted a knight. Eleanor kicked the chessboard with her mud soaked boots. “Let’s have breakfast,” she insisted. The doctor looked over at Eleanor and stared empty eyed into her soul.  “Don’t make me eat you,” she warned. The doctor playfully slapped her cheek. “Up!” she said. She stood and stretched her back. The doctor pulled a tea bag from his breast pocket. “Perhaps we can find someplace to stick this,” he said. The Lady Papaya, who stood six foot over the prone Doctor Martin, put her hands on her knees and opened her mouth.

They passed the hallway where Lizard Nick had disembowled the first bird while presenting his thesis about mindless violence. “This,” he had explained, rather technically, “is fun.” Minutes later five other peacocks lay dead. “Who brought the birds?” Eleanor asked the Doctor. He shrugged and stepped around the mess to avoid staining his slippers. Eleanor hugged close to the older man’s shoulders and pointed at the bird’s head, severed halfway up the neck. “There. That’s where you should stick the tea bag.” “I don’t think so.” “Then we’ll keep looking.” “I think that’s for the best.” “The kitchen!” Eleanor exclaimed, “Is where we should go.” “Is it this way?” “There’s no other way, but most other ways would also take you there,” she said with certainty.

The kitchen was filled two inches with confetti. The Doctor looked about for a sink, stove, and teapot. With grace, the Lady Papaya flopped onto the confetti covered floor to make a confetti angel. The Doctor found a teapot. It was filled with confetti. The sink was filled with confetti. He turned on the water and found it to be water.

Eleanor, from the floor, said, “You shouldn’t light the stove top or likely we’ll all burn to death.” “Oh damn,” the Doctor said. He rubbed his eyes. “You should lie on top of me,” Eleanor said. “I wanted tea,” said the Doctor ruefully. The confetti itched against Eleanor’s bare skin. “Please please please please please light us on fire,” she started. “You’re still drunk,” he said. “Do it. Make us think.” “Alright,” he said.

Doctor Martin cleared the stovetop of confetti and flipped the flame on. He put the kettle on the flame and went looking through the cabinets for a mug. “Top left,” Eleanor said without looking. She balanced a piece of blue confetti on her nose. She blew it off her face. “What do you think it feels like to burn?” “Terrible.” “Terrible,” she repeated. She grabbed a handful of confetti and threw it at the stove. “Hey!” She stuck out her tongue. “What flavor?” “Earl Gray.” “Dull. What’s for breakfast?”

A fire broke out beneath the kettle. It leapt from the confetti there to the paper on the countertop. Eleanor screamed with glee. The Doctor dropped the mug and ran to the sink. “Too late, too late!” Eleanor laughed. “Out!” She stumbled up and tripped and got to the door. The doctor sloshed through the confetti on the floor. Loose bits of paper fluttered down from the countertop to the floor. Eleanor called from the hall, “Out! Out! Doctor!” The sprinkler came on. Doctor Martin, pale, crawled along the floor. Lady Papaya grabbed his shirt sleeve and pulled him along. The Doctor emerged drenched and shaking. Eleanor sat outside in the hall looking disappointed. “The sprinkler got it,” she said. “What?” “I thought it would last longer.”

Seven

In the winter at the village of Seven, six men in heavy blue cloaks walked sternly down the center of the boulevard. Each had over his shoulder a long wooden ladle, which they bobbed in unison. Behind them, children followed in small groups of twos and threes. They made their way to the center of town to the church called St. Augustines Church, which for a long time had been strictly reactionary, but now had taken a stance against price gauging usury forced on the villagers by city grain officials. The church was communist. The men with ladles reached the church steps just as the bells rang ten. They waited. The church doors swung open and an old priest soon found himself with six ladles up his ass, breaking him.

Newspaper

Hot in February, at the dead end street called Oak, in the gutter that opened like a steel cavern at the sidewalk’s end, a child laid dormant. The child looked at the sky and scratched the leathery skin of its neck and emerged into the gentle sun beneath the shading evergreens. It opened its mouth and croaked something that could’ve been WARBLE GARBLE and spat a wad of damp newspaper onto the pavement. Satisfied, the child stretched itself to its full seven foot height. It breathed in the surface air, filling itself up like a balloon, panting fast as it could, testing itself. At last the child vomited up a pound of wet newspaper and collapsed to the ground. It never moved again.