Thursday, August 11, 2011

TWO PENNY SAGAS from the past 2

Here are some more Two Penny Sagas I wrote before starting this blog. 

“Oh no!” Mom shouted when she saw what Grandma had chosen for our bedtime story. “You are not reading that to them!”

Grandma held up the bundle of yellowed pages she had pulled off the bookshelf. “Why not, Emma? I am sure they will find it very educational.”

“What is it?” my sister Laura and I squealed.

“It's called Henry Rabbit and the Sack of Severed Heads!”

“Mother!” Mom growled. “I'm warning you...”

Grandma went on. “It's a story of friendship, honor, courage and exploding intestines! You children are familiar with the term 'unnecessary surgery' right?”

“Read it! Read it!” we squealed.

“No!” Mom snatched the book out of Grandma's hands. “She's going to read you something decent. How about Goodnight Moon?”

“That's boring!” I cried.

Grandma looked up at Mom, “Emma...”

“No buts mom! They are my children and I won't have you reading this trash to them.” Mom dropped the bundle of papers into the garbage can.

“Fine,” Grandma groaned and flipped open the picture book. “'Goodnight Moon...good night room....”

Mom stood in the doorway watching Grandma read to us. After a few minutes her phone rang down the hall. As soon as Mom turned the corner, Grandma pulled the bundle of papers out of the trashcan and began reading it. “This is the story of Henry Rabbit and the Sack of Severed Heads, written and illustrated by Emma Frost.” She looked up at us. “You know, your mother was about your age when she wrote this.”

She could not believe what she found in the glove box of her boyfriend's car.

“Oh Lord! What is that thing?” Claire pressed herself as far back into passenger's seat as she could go.

“What? What's wrong?” Christopher shouted almost swerving off the highway.

“I opened up your glove compartment to find your GPS and there's some ugly shriveled up thing in there. Is that a monkey's paw?

“Oh, that,” Christopher mumbled. “It's nothing.”

“It sure smells like something!”

“Okay, okay, it's something,” he groaned. “I guess I should tell you about it.  I bought it off of this old guy outside the mall a few months ago. He said it would grant me three wishes.”

“You're joking.” Claire glared at her boyfriend.

“I didn't really believe it at first, but I was holding it after I left and figured I'd give it a shot. I wished for more money. I thought if it really was magic I would get a pile of gold or cash or at least a winning lottery ticket. Nothing like that happened.”

“Were you surprised?”

“Well, the next day I did get that huge promotion. With an eighty percent salary increase.”

“Yeah, but that was just a coincidence.”

“After that, I wished I wasn't so lonely. Two days later Oscar, my cat showed up, eating out of my trashcan. He was just a kitten so I took him in.”

“What did you wish for after that?”


Claire stared at him. “Chris, what are you....”

“I'd had a crush on you for months. You're the reason I kept going back to that stupid coffee shop.”

“I know. You already told me.”

“So I held the monkey's paw and said, 'I wish that cute girl at the coffee shop would fall in love with me,' and the next day were talking."

“Chris! That's a self fulfilled prophecy. It had nothing to do with this shriveled up old paw.” She stared at the glove compartment. “You don't really think that the only reason why I love you is because that thing's magic do you?”

Chris shrugged. “Maybe. I don't know.”

Claire shook her head. “No.  I don't believe it.  I love you willingly.  Nothing's forcing me to.  Really!"  Neither of them said anything for the rest of the car ride.  By the time they reached their destination Claire couldn't take her eyes off the monkey paw. 

PROMPT: Most kids set up a lemonade stand to make some money, but not us.

We set up a Divination Stand.

One summer morning my little brother Matt and I dragged a card table out to the corner and wrote “Fortune Tellings – 25 cents!” on a sign in front of it.

We didn't have any customers at first, but after an hour or so Mrs. Cole walked by with her little dog Max and I asked, “Would you like me to read your fortune Mrs. Cole?”

“Well, if you hurry.” She sighed.

I gave her some Juicy Juice to drink. When she was done I looked at the drops on the bottom of the cup. “Uh,” I mumbled, “The spirits are telling me that you have sweet purple globs in your future.”

“Well isn't that nice,” Mrs. Cole sighed and walked on.

Not long after that my Dad came home for lunch. “What're you boys doing?” he asked.

“Performing Divination,” I grinned. “I can tell you your future for a quarter.”

“Well, alright,” Dad sighed checking his watch.

I'd heard that people used to read fortunes from the guts of small animals. I didn't have any small animals around so I tried to read Dad's fortune from Mark's guts. Dad made me stop, though, and said, “People used to read fortunes from how birds flew. Why don't you see what those pigeons are trying to tell you.”

One of the pigeons flew over dad's car and pooped on it. “Uh...” I turned to Dad. “I'd tell you what that meant but you'd probably wash my mouth out with soap.”

“Fair enough,” Dad sighed and gave me a quarter.

A few minutes later, Greg Thompson, the fifth grader from down the street, came by and snarled, “What're you little turds doing?”

“Performing Divination,” I stated. “Do you want your fortune read?”

“What a pair of losers!” Greg laughed and started to walk on down the street.

“Wait!” I shouted. “This one's on the house!”

Greg stopped and turned back to glare at me.

I looked up into the sky. “I will use that cloud to see what the spirits have in store for you Gregory Thompson!” I stared up into the bright blue sky that only held one fluffy white cloud. I turned back to Greg, “Beware things that are fluffy and white!”

Greg laughed, punched me in the face, and stole both our quarters.
After that Mark and I gave up on reading fortunes and went on inside to watch TV.

The next day Mrs. Cole inherited a grape jelly company, my dad ate too much fast food and was stuck on the pot all afternoon and Greg Thompson was hit by a cotton delivery truck. I guess that's what you get when you doubt the spirit world.

PROMPT: My life would be different if I'd never met the old man.

Every town has a house like number Twelve Oak Drive. It's the kind that's all boarded up with an overgrown lawn and a single elderly resident who may or may not be a serial killer. Basically, no one would take you seriously in seventh grade until you broke into the house and came back with a trophy.

I left my friends on the corner and climbed up the side the porch. When I was on the roof I found a window that was open a crack and crept in. It wasn't until I was all the way inside that I noticed the candles. A tall, bony man sat in the middle of the room surrounded by strange patterns drawn on the floor with chalk. He looked up at me and smiled, “So, you have finally arrived.”

“Arrived?” I mumbled.

“Yes,” the man smiled. “I have spent a month summoning you from the shores beyond the mist. You are my new spirit servant. Now, I am hungry. Bring me food!”


The old man leaned across his candles. “Wait, you are a spirit servant aren't you?”

I was about admit that I was just some kid who'd broken into his house on a dare, but then realized what would happen. He would call my parents, my dad would come pick me up, and I would be grounded for a month.

“Sure, I'm a spirit servant!” I grinned. “Just give me one of those candles and I'll get you that food right now!” I crawled out the window, climbed down to the street, handed my friends the candle and then ran to the grocery store where I used all my money to buy some hamburgers and chips.

After I cooked the old man dinner he wanted to hear some music from the spirit world so I brought over my trumbone and played “Louie Louie.” He then wanted to hear tales from “the shores beyond the mist,” so I told him about what happened last week on The Jersey Shore.

Now he's wants me to build him a solid gold palace. I don't know where I'll get the gold but I've spent the last few weeks digging the foundations in his back yard. Every time one of my friends asks me if I want to come over and hang out I have to say, “Nope, I gotta be that old man's spirit servant after school.” All in all, I'd almost rather be grounded.

My prompt was a photograph of people eating in the ocean.

"Please pass the seaweed," said Rick, god of the ocean.
"Get your own damn seaweed," mumbled Becky goddess of forgiveness.
"Look Becky," Rick mumbled, sipping his Budweiser, "I know you're think you're the hottest deity in the universe but maybe you can stop being such a bitch all the time."
"Shut up Dad!"  Shouted Sally, goddess of volcanoes, at the other end of the table.  "At least she lets people forgive each other, you just drown them!"
"Oh!" Rick exclaimed.  "You think she's the better god do you?"
"She's a hell of a lot better than you are!"
While the father and daughter bickered and the mother goaded them on, RJ, the youngest child, and god of music, turned up his I-Pod and glared at his food.
Finally, Sally leapt up fromt the table and bellowed.  "I hate you guys!  You can all die for all I care!"  She stormed off to her bedroom slamming her door so hard it woke up Chester, the hound of plagues.
"See what you did!"  Rick spat at Becky.
"Shut up Rick!"  Becky threw her plates on the ground and stamped away.  "I want a divorce!"
Rick sat at the table silently eating the rest of his cold dinner.  He didn't even notice RJ standing up and leaving to meet with his friends at Burger King.  All four gods were so upset no one remembered to feed Chester.
Across the globe the oceans clashed sinking doezens of ships, friends and family refused to forgive each other for slight offenses, volanoes errupted burying cities in ash and lava, plaques spread across continents, and the music industry collapsed. 

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