Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Delusional Doom Blogfest

Thanks for Hart at Confessions of a Watery Tart for hosting today's blogfest. As soon as I saw her post about it, I wanted to participate. Here are the rules/options:

You can do ANY (or all) of the following:

Predict your own death
Predict someone ELSES death
Write your own obituary
Write someone ELSES obituary
Plot a murder of someone sorely asking for it, step by step

So, without further ado, I give you my entry of delusional doom, a prediction of my own death. Writing this took time, since this is outside of my normal genre. I hope you enjoy it.

**WARNING** This gets a tad violent. It's not gory, just violent. Read at your own risk.

*     *     *     *     *

When I leave grad school this semester, I will go work at the local JoAnn Fabrics in whatever town my husband and I find ourselves. I love sewing and crocheting, enjoy sewing and quilting, have dabbled in scrapbooking and stamping, can reupholster a chair and make a slip cover. Why wouldn't they want me? And, spree, if they need me to figure out something linguistic for fun, I'm good for that, too.

So I'll work there for a couple of months. Learn the store. Get comfortable. Make friends. Overstock my yarn collection to extreme proportions until my husband buys my yarn its own house.

Until one day. I stand in the second aisle, replacing the Easter collection with gnomes and ducks and other spring lawn decor. My boss turns past the hand-painted watering cans, followed by another woman in a green JoAnn's shirt. She will become my arch nemesis—we'll call her Mandy Brown. She gets transferred from her store across town. She's also a fiber arts diva, and a linguist to boot.

She says, "Have you heard the the one about the linguistics professor who was trying to explain basic phonology to a class of sophomores?"

I stare at her. Damn it! She was funny too? "No."

"He wanted to explain voiced and voiceless consonants, so he starts by saying, 'Let's consider the b-ness and the p-ness of the consonants'."

I choke, cough, and turn back to my shelf stocking. I don't want my boss to see me laughing at such a horrible joke.

The first night she's there, two women—post-retirement sisters who only work a couple of hours per week for the discount—are murdered in the break room as they close the store. The manager finds them the next morning, bludgeoned with a bolt of broadcloth, stabbed with size 000 crochet hooks. The police come. The police leave. The police leave the case unsolved, practically untouched. The looked on their faces make it clear that they're not interested in a couple of sewing grannies.

Toward the end of her first week, we close the store together. As I start walking toward the back to grab my personal items, she says to me, "Better watch your back." I don't respond because I don't know how. Is she threatening me? I watch her over my shoulder as I walk away. She picked up a pair of thin, metal knitting needles and weighed them in her hand before the door to the break room swung shut. I snap on the light and wonder who decided to decorate the break room with the little ceramic gnomes.

I go in the next day to find Mandy has covered someone else's shift. I do my best to avoid her through my time. I hide between the sheets (of fabric), behind the buttons, under the weather-specific garden items. But everywhere I hid, she found me. Where did we stock the the extra sheers for the cutting table? Did we have any more of the purple lamé spandex? When would the next shipment of 18 gauge modeling wire be coming in? I give up hiding and chose the spotlight instead—the cash register.

And who closed again? Mandy and I. As the only other remaining employee waves goodnight, I stand alone at the register. Scissors? Modeling wire? Yesterday Mandy weighed the knitting needles in her hand? Maybe I'm next, following in the frightening fate of the sisters. It all seems like she has it in for me. I'm the only other linguistic knitting novelty. I'm her only competition to be the store's linguistic bauble, stocked next to the charms at the end of the jewelry isle.

I just can't figure out why she wants the purple lamé spandex.

So I go about closing up the store: lights, locks, leftover remnants. As I'm heading back to the break room to collect my things, Mandy appears next to me. She's looking at the door to the break room. "Watch your back," she says.

No, I decide. I won't let her intimidate me. I straighten my shoulders and walk directly into the break room. The door swings shut behind me. A giggle echoes.

My hands are grasped behind me, and feel the wire wrapping around my wrists. Something else binds my legs from knees to ankles. I'm shoved in the chest with something the weight of my overfed cat, and I fall to the floor. I hear the crack of my head against the cement before I feel it. The cat continues to sit on my stomach. Something stabs me in the chest. I scream.

Light floods the room, and the commotion ceases. I'm greeted by the creepy, deranged expression painted across the face of a gnome. It's tiny ceramic hands grip the orange handled scissors plunged into my chest.

A knitting needle flies, striking the gnome in the neck and sliding through it like it was meant to be there. Another needle flies, and I realize it's struck the gnome tugging at the purple lamé spandex wrapped around my legs. I turn to the source, and see Mandy in the doorway. She throws several more needles, disabling other garden goodies which are already frozen in the light.

With the danger under control, she drops to my side. "I've called 911."

What can I say? I'm predicting my own death here. We all know it won't matter.

"Where's a linguist's favorite place to shop?" she asks me.


She smacks her lips together. Being on the verge of death, it takes me a moment to remember the International Phonetic Alphabet. And what's the symbol for the bilabial click, a sound as common as t or d in Botswana? Well, it's a circle with a dot in the center. Make it red, and you have a Target logo.

What really kills me? It's not the massive head injury. It's not even the scissors in my chest. It's the obscene amount of cough-laughing I do from the worst joke I've ever heard.

And that, my friends, is how I will die.

Be sure to check out the rest of the entries!


Jan Morrison said...

you are too clever by half! ha ha!
I have a dilemma - I don't want to lose the post I have up because well because I want as many people as possible to read it and I've linked to it all over the place. Not sure what to do. arggh. this is how I will die - in a froth of indecision.
Jan Morrison

Michael Di Gesu said...


I really enjoyed your entry.... Very imaginative.

I'm a new follower.


Holly Ruggiero said...

Gnomes are evil! Wonderful post. You have a great sense of humor too. Love your site and I’m now following too!

Colene Murphy said...

Ew! Hilarious!(and gnomey creepy) Awesome entry!!!

N. R. Williams said...

I see a Hollywood blockbuster in your future. "Attack of the Gnomes."
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium, Special .99 through April 30

Mara Nash said...

I'm cough-laughing right now. p-ness. teehee.

Totally hilarious.

Draven Ames said...

You brought something funny with your doom and gloom. I love it. Funny way to end it, too. I hope you make a part two, where you get revenge with your ghost in some funny way. Nice picture of the gnome, too; it goes perfect with the story.

For never doing this genre before, you did a good job. Glad to read this. Great entry in the blogfest.

JoseG said...

Speechless. You're sort of crazy ;-). I really love it.

LTM said...

first, "she's funny, too" caught me. Then the gardening thing again! And finally... of course you die to a phonetic joke... :D great stuff~

Sarah McCabe said...

"bludgeoned with a bolt of broadcloth"

Oh, how I love it! As an avid sewer and former employee of Jo Ann's, this was sheer brilliance.

M Pax said...

I knew one should never turn their back on a gnome! Loved this imaginative story.

alberta ross said...

Great - hope you can circumvent the fates!

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, to be undone by garden gnomes, purple lame and bad linguistic jokes! teehee... what fun this was!

Anstice (Tizzy) Potts said...

Ha ha, that was hilarious and pretty freaky. I'll never look at a gnome the same way again!

Tessa Conte said...

I agree that was very very clever and very very funny!! Although I admit it took me a second to get the linguistic jokes... I'm slow today, lol


Mary Vaughn said...

Too funny for words! What a way to go

Jules said...

LOL, I just ran over one today. Bad jokes will be the death of us all. Nice entry.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Theres just life said...

I never did trust those gnomes. They just look a little too innocent and spooky.
Great tale. You died laughing.

Pamela JO

Ella said...

No Romeo here...Beware of those garden snipers! This was fun to read, great imagery~

Anonymous said...

Some imagination you got there! I really enjoyed your entry. The detail in your storytelling put me right in the action. I like that!

Cleveland Dietz II said...

OMG! This was awesome and funny. Great job!

Amanda Milner said...

I must thank you for my new fear of garden gnomes! Lol!
Who am I kidding? They've always creeped me out! ;)

DEZMOND said...

"It's not even the scissors in my chest"
he he he he :) Good one, Rosie!

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