A figure hovered over the last chair at the beauty counter.

“This concealer’s perfect for you. Look how smooth your skin is.”

“It’s natural?” she interrupted.


“I don’t want anything eating away at my face. What about cruelty-free? I won’t be caught dead buying something not cruelty-free.”

“It’s not animal tested, ma’am.”

Her lips curled at ma’am.

“Also, it’s Vegan.”

“Do I look like a scraggy little Vegan? Let’s wrap this up. How much?”

“The concealer’s free, ma’am. Compliments of – – “

“Compliments,” she moaned. “What’s the catch?”

“This.” She waved a yellow glass vial. “Is the antidote.”


The road was rutted and the car was shaking. The smooth patches were growing more infrequent but I couldn’t let up on the gas. At this speed, I’d still arrive late.

“Hazard in 2.2 miles,” said the dashboard.

Dammit. No time to wait in line and creep up to some accident. I gunned it. The wheel shook harder.

“Hazard in 1 mile.”

There didn’t seem to be any cars up ahead so I was in the clear. What a relief. Just had to pass —

My rear tire blew like a gunshot. The brakes locked up and the car flew.

Roller Coaster

It was the most terrifying, rickety coaster, probably a hundred years old. The wood beams rattled and brawled when cars fell from the drops. Bolts groaned but held thanks to bonded rust and lead paint, and drifts of fine dust kept you from looking at the thing long enough to judge its safety.

It was our turn to climb, up, up, our car trembling against the tracks. We crested the first and tallest drop when I felt my wallet and keys fall free of my pocket. They fell two hundred feet, along with my stomach.

I screamed louder than anyone.

The Orphanage

The orphanage is truly blessed, as the Housewives visited again this Christmas. We sang songs for them and took pictures with their children, and they took selfies to promote their deeds back home. They hid gifts for us in the brush. Some fell doing so. They shouldn’t wear high heels here. Anyway, yesterday we found the real gift. A handbag full of jewelry buried by the gate. They feared their jewels would be stolen so they hid them, someone heard say. The jewels traded for over a million pesos. Construction of the new orphanage begins shortly.

God bless the Housewives.

His and Hers shopping lists

Her shopping list:
  Peppermint coffee creamer, Christmas pajama and slipper set (returned)
  Dog stocking, Painted wood sign, “Fresh Cut Christmas Trees”
  Fleetwood Mac concert tickets
  Assorted Bath & Body Works soft soap, assorted 3-wick candles
  Two boxes of See’s Candy Nuts & Chews, One pack of miniature candy canes
  Dog antlers, dog sweater

His shopping list:
  Christmas tree stand, Christmas light replacement bulbs
  5’ extension cord, 3-prong outlet timer
  6’ HDMI cable, 3.5mm to RCA male adapter (returned)
  Wreath hanger in oil rubbed bronze
  Four M8 45mm hex bolts, 8’ 4K HDMI cable, digital optical cable
  Fleetwood Mac concert tickets

Third Wheel

It’d been a long time since the breakup and I was used to going solo. A bike ride at sunrise set the tone every day. Healthy mind, healthy body. On this particular day, you could smell the coming rain and a rainbow ended over the coffee shop. I had to stop in.

There she was, with him, at a table in the window. Had they been up all night? She waved me in to say hello. I waved them off politely, but they weren’t having it. So I walked in, threw my front tire on the table, and sat down.

Aunt Tess

My Aunt Tess was a mean old lady with a stare that stopped you cold in your tracks. It didn’t matter what you were doing but by the look in her eye what you were doing was wrong. Didn’t make sense why my mom did what she did. I guess she just didn’t see Aunt Tess the same way us kids did. Mom found a guy with a 3D printer and had him 3D print aunt Tess’s head, eyes and all, then stuck that head on an elf on the shelf body to watch over us through that horrible Christmas.