The divine Ms. Frye has challenged me to write a story with the following terms: “Christopher Cross,” “champagne,” “linoleum,” “Etruscan sculpture,” “werewolf” and “Australia cricket.”
So here goes:
Chris stared at the kitchen linoleum. It looked quite sparkling and amazing after about two bottles of champagne. Of course, to appreciate linoleum, it helped to be as close to the surface as possible. But Chris was at an advantage here, given that the champagne had essentially stopped him from standing, knocking his ass quite savagely onto the floor.
It occurred to Chris, as his tongue licked the tile while he waited for the feeling to return to his arms and legs (anything to stave off boredom), that he had not yet seen an Etruscan sculpture. Clearly, there was a disadvantage to being an agarophobic. He’d hit Italy one day, if he could find the appropriate specialist who might be able to help him understand the outside world. Assuming he could even make it into the outside world.
He’d obtained the champagne by calling a friend. He had to celebrate the New Year somehow. And he figured that he couldn’t handle Dick Clark on the teevee without ingesting some kind of substance. So he would need champagne to cope as he heard the screams outside of people enjoying themselves.
But what Chris didn’t know was that his friend was a werewolf. The primary reason his friend had moved to Pacifica was because it was foggy most of the time and there was no chance that he’d turn into a werewolf anytime soon, given that the fog would occlude great Helios. Sure, there had been a stint in Sydney, where he’d become a devout participant in Australian cricket. And he’d been very good. But the minute that they had shifted to night games, Chris’s friend had reneged on his dependability, given that he was a furry monster hoping to mawl some insignificant human — ideally, a human resources manger or some other person who didn’t contribute all that much to society at large.
Nevertheless, the champagne was had without bloodshed. For the fog had once again protected Chris’s best friend.
Chris had made the mistake of leaving the FM radio on. At the precise moment when Chris was prepared to fall asleep in a particularly shameful and ridiculous locale, Christopher Cross began to sing on the radio. This disturbed Chris, as Chris didn’t particularly trust anyone who shared his Christian name.
But with great endurance, Chris was able to survive the terrible Christopher Cross music. And he soon settled to sleep onto the kitchen linoleum.
Unfortunately, when Chris caught a bit of alcohol-induced shuteye, during stage one, the fog had lifted from the town. And it was a full moon. And his friend, unable to control his urges, found himself a meal. What Chris hadn’t known is that his friend had been the famed singer Chrisopher Cross all along.
If there was a winner in this tragic tale, it was the linoleum. For when the appropriate authorities had cleaned the place up, the linoleum had demonstrated to the landlord its remarkable resilience. For all the blood, spilled champagne, and other odd fluids gracing its surface, the linoleum could endure. And the tenant who moved into Chris’s apartment was as impressed with the linoleum as the previous occupants, even if this tenant had not known its grisly history.
© 2005, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.