A Hobbit’s Tale by Saul Marquez

Nobody bothered to tell me that dynamite is explosive.

When I found out, it was already too late.

That’s right, I lost my face.

It was a pretty face.  Before the accident, people used to stop me on the streets asking for pictures.  My biggest client was Cindy Loverlips, the richest and therefore prettiest girl in all of Blackeyed County.

Every morning, Cindy and I met each other at the bent stop sign over by Grassy Hill Lane.  She paid good money to take pictures of my face.

Until it happened.

She was walking to the stop sign when a zamboni ran her over.  It knocked her all the way to Death Lake, but instead of falling into Death Lake, she fell into Sunshine Lake where she froze to death.

That was the saddest day of my life.  I was out of a job.  I was desperate for money so I talked to Chester the Kool Kat.  Chester was the Grand Master Chief of the local mafia.

“Oh it’s you,” he said dryly as I walked into his office.

“How can you tell?”

“Because of your face.”

“Oh, yeah, right,” I said.  “Anyway, I need money and fast.  I heard you pay well.”

“You heard right,” he said.  “Two bucks an hour.”

“Two bucks!? My grandma makes more at her Friday night bingo game!”

“Not for long,” said Chester.  He pressed a button on his desk, causing the television screen to pop up from its surface.

I gasped in horror.

My grandma was being held captive by purple flamingos—the worst kind of flamingos in the world (except for green flamingos, but they don’t count because they live in Australia).

“How could you?” I asked.

“Just accept the offer.”

“No.  Now I don’t want to.”

“Then your grandma will suffer the wrath of the purple fla—!”

“Fine.  I’ll accept the offer,” I said.

“You will?”

“Yup.”

“For two bucks?”

“Yup.”

“Great, you start now.”

I was introduced to my mafia partner, Eve Adams.  We hopped into a sweet car to begin our first mission: kidnap the mayor’s girlfriend.  Then kidnap his wife.

But something wasn’t right.  Something about Eve made me feel uneasy. Her name sounded awfully suspicious.  It reminded me of fresh apples.  I hated fresh apples.

“There’s something fishy about you,” I finally said.

“Yes, I am a mermaid,” she said as she plunged the car into the ocean.

I knew it.

As we sank, the car turned into a yellow submarine.

“Why yellow?” I asked.

“Because yellow is the color of betrayal,” she said.

“Are you going to betray me by killing me to death?”

“No.  I am a double agent.  I work for the Council of Underwater Creatures and People that Eat Lemons.  COUCAPTEL for short.  I am trying to take down the mafia.  Do you want to help?  If you don’t, I will kill you.”

“How much do you pay?”

“Three dollars.”

“Deal.”

We shook hands on it, which meant that we were forever bonded.

When we reached the underwater headquarters of the Council of Underwater Creatures and People that Eat Lemons (or COUCAPTEL for short), there was an emergency.  The mafia had just announced that Chester would be running for President of Kansas.

“He’ll never win,” said one of the council members.  “He’s running against Betty White.  There’s no way he’ll get enough votes.”

“No,” said Eve gravely.  “He has… flamingos.”

Everyone gasped.

“Don’t tell me they’re the purple flamingos—the worst kind of flamingos in the world (except for green flamingos, but they don’t count because they live in Australia),” said a stock character who was present.

“How many?” asked the council leader.

“At least a googolplex.”

“With that many votes, he could take over Kansas and the Gulf of Mexico!” shouted a dolphin.

“If they get the Gulf of Mexico, then they will have a whole army of mariachi singing fish!” exclaimed a generic mermaid.

“But you can take on mariachi singing fish, can’t you?” I asked.

Eve shook her head.  “No.  A mermaid’s greatest weakness is mariachi music.  We can’t help but shake our rumpuses, wave our hands in the air and shout, ‘AYE AYE AYE!!!’” A horrific yet happy look suddenly beamed in her eyes.  “But not for humans!” she said.  She grabbed me by the shoulders.  “I knew it from the moment I saw you!”

“Knew what?” I asked.

“You are the Chosen One.”

“I knew it,” I said.  “That explains my face.”

“And the moon shaped scar on your forehead that the author forgot to mention at the beginning of this story.”

“But Eve,” I began, “I’m so scared.  I don’t know how to fight the mafia alone.”

“We’ll give you a gun.”

“But they have guns too!”

“We’ll give you two guns.”

“And a raise?” I asked.

“No.  Just two guns.”

“Fine,” I said.

I took the guns and they dropped me off in Texas.  I studied the two guns.  They were obviously made by the hands of sea-dwarves.  That meant that they were worth money.  I sold them and then bought a ticket to Norway because nothing ever happens there.

I used the leftover money to buy a mansion in the mountains.  I knew that they wouldn’t find me there.

Ding Dong!

Someone was at the door.

I answered it, half expecting Eve or Chester.  But it wasn’t them.  It was a girl.

“Hello,” she said.  “I’m trying to raise money to go to college next year.  I’m selling soda.  Would you like to buy some?” As she talked, she read from a script.  When she finished, she looked up from her paper and into my face.  “You are very beautiful,” she said.

“I know,” I said.  “If you come inside, I’ll tell you about the time I lost my face due to a dynamite explosion.”

“Okay,” she said.

At last, I thought.  A hot babe!

And we lived happily ever after.  Until we got married and had kids.

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