Starting the year off with a crazy little bit of flash fiction. Rest assured that resemblance of any character in this story to any actual person living or dead is strictly coincidental.
It was a muggy morning. Gingin was not expecting any good news when she lifted the daily rag up off the doorstep, but when she unfolded the newspaper, the bold headline hit her with a pleasant surprise. It seemed her little experiment had been a mind-blowing success. “Etta!” she squealed, calling her sister. “Wait’ll you hear!”
Etta was in the kitchen being calm and reasonable as usual. “Hear what?” she mumbled as she stirred the practical steel-cut oatmeal she insisted on boiling into oblivion on a daily basis.
Gingin brandished the newspaper. “The Prime Minister has turned into an opossum.”
Etta snuck a glance at Gingin then returned her gaze to the oatmeal. “That’s impossible. Surely it doesn’t actually say that.”
“Just look,” Gingin commanded.
Etta exhaled in obvious annoyance as she faced her sister. “Oh, my. It says he‘s missing.”
“And,” Gingin interjected, “there was an opossum in his bed!”
Etta blinked. “Pull yourself together, Gin. That can’t be true.”
Gingin plopped herself in a chair near her sister’s elbow. “Don’t you see?” she asked. “I did this.”
Etta’s mouth dropped open. “What? No!”
“Yes!” Gingin contradicted her. “I’ve been working the spells for weeks. Of course I couldn’t be sure what would come out—”
Leaving the oatmeal, Etta dropped into the chair beside Gingin. “But Gingin—” she began in a frantic voice.
Gingin ignored her. “I knew I could turn a cat into a dog, or a dog into a cat, but I was quite worried that the prime minister might morph into something large and carnivorous like a tiger or wolf! So I focused on opossums. I like the idea that he might roll over and play dead. That would make it easy for us to roll him in newsprint and toss him in the trash bin out back. Won’t that be lovely?”
“Gingin.” Etta repeated, lowering her voice an octave now, attempting to look stern. “There are strict rules against dark magic.”
Gingin sat up indignantly. “I stand in the light,” she insisted, then she saw her sister’s cocked eyebrow.
“Don’t make me start grouching,” Etta warned.
“Alright, I admit it. I used a mixture of dark and light.” Gingin paused to take a deep breath. “In this crappy world, this primed minister is but a symptom of a deeper malady, and well—”
The oatmeal began to sizzle and smoke and both women jumped to their feet.
“Oh, no,” Etta exclaimed but Gingin laughed.
“Just call it blackened oatmeal, you know—Cajun style!”
“Oh, really, Gin! I don’t suppose you’d like a sample, now would you?”
Gingin crinkled her nose. “Better start over. Don’t worry; I’ll take some fruit upstairs to the guests.” She grabbed a tray of sliced grapefruit from the fridge and headed up the staircase.
Etta picked up the offending newspaper and spread it out on the table. Taking a wooden spoon to the pot, she scraped the burnt oats on top of the sensational story.
Thus began another day at the Ever-Vigilant Sunny Dale Sanctum for the Cognitively Distressed.
If you’d like to read more stories like this one, please download Wild Imaginings, my collection of flash fiction and essays. Just fill out the form here on your right. Thanks!