Story Go Round 10/28/2005, round 1, #1

The Man At The Door

Melanie brought the groceries in. The kids ran out of their rooms. They were so looking forward to helping Mommy in the kitchen, like they always did when she let them. Bobby and Susie loved putting the cans in the right cupboards and sneaking some chips. This time, when Susie stuck her hand in the bag, something protested. No one else noticed at first. But when the grunts turned into full-scale wailing, Melanie put down the lettuce and said as she turned, "Bobby, stop hitting-" but Bobby was frozen, bathed in a pale blue light coming from the bag. Two fleshy tubes climbed out of the bag, with a chip in each mandible. They waved about madly for a moment, and then offered one to each child. Susie looked at Mommy for approval, or rather, for clear signs of disapproval, and nothing in Melanie's open slack jaw or bug eyes told her "no." She knew what No was, and that wasn't it, so she reached out for the chip. That's when the tube lifted her off her feet. Like a little doll in a puppy's mouth, Susie flopped on both ends and lay covered in drool. Bobby still hadn't moved, and he might never. Years from now he would be crane-lifted every day to his college classes. The other fleshy tube, glistening with moisture, extended itself further, drawing closer to Susie with anticipation. Unlike Bobby, whose body density was increasing astronomically and denting the floor, Susie was starting to float. Light as a feather, she breezed past her slack-jawed mommy several times before coming to land on the ground beef. It was all cold and squishy. Susie liked lying there. But the bag of chips was expanding, its blue light growing stronger, and more tubes were feeling their way out. Suddenly there was a knock on the door A timid man with hat in hand stood outside.

"We couldn't help but notice the blue light coming from under the door," he said hesitantly, as if afraid he were intruding, "and wondered if we could use your restroom." He looked down and waited for an answer.

Melanie had none to give, as Susie had found out.

"I'm sorry, but it's an emergency," he said quietly, not able to hold it any longer. He pushed Melanie aside and faced the tangle of pods that had formed around the unopened bag of Cheetos lying in the hall. He pushed and he pulled and he flailed and he disappeared into the flurrying mass. Melanie found her tongue just then, but it was not where she remembered it. It had elongated and joined the throngs. She was one of them now.

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange