The Paperboy

It was midday on July 20, and the elderly lady Agatha Witherspink was sitting peacefully in her living room, knitting a keyboard cover for her poor son. He lived in New York and owned a 286, who also lived in New York, and eked out a living, on the edge of destitution, as a salesman. Suddenly the doorbell rang. She usually didn't receive company, and was startled near to cardiac arrest out of a pleasant daydream. (In it she had been telling her large group of influential friends how, forty years ago when she had been on a tourist trip, she had singlehandedly fought off five native Paraguayans who had attacked her group. They were in the middle of congratulating her bravery when she was jerked back to reality).

She soon picked herself up off the floor and slowly, with the help of her walker, traversed the distance to the door and opened it. At first she saw nothing (other than the cypress tree that some hoodlum has planted in her yard one Friday night last May — the twelfth, maybe, or the thirteenth — and despite her repeated attempts at killing it with chlorine, it was thriving. Life was getting more and more like that nowadays), then, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, she continued to see nothing. Slowly a black, ominous figure emerged crouching from the shadowy darkness. It had no distinguishable features, and appeared quite frightening. Old Mrs. Witherspink again came close to a cardiac arrest. The figure slowly pulled a dark, cylindrical object from its shadowy recesses and shoved it, quite abruptly in her face. "Here's your paper, lady — sorry it's late" it mysteriously intoned. It then continued "You didn't see me today, or you shall surely die!"

"Well, I'll be!" was the last comment Mrs. Witherspink let out before she finally acquiesced to a cardiac arrest. Agatha Witherspink fell to the floor with a hollow thud. This was probably a good thing, for the headline on the front page said, "Doctors Say Arsonist Commits Suicide." That alone would have pushed her over the brink, for, as you may have realized, this poor wretch was indeed her son.

The thing whispered in awe, "Why — it worked! I'd better watch what I say in the future," and gave a insect–like leap and hopped over the wall to the other twin, rang the doorbell, slid into the shadows, and searched for potential witnesses. The resident appeared, and it continued with these bizarre actions and salutations until… the paper route was completed.

Once it had returned to its lair and had reset all the locks and traps, it slowly removed the mask, hood, flowing robes, and single black boot. Underneath the disguise, there was revealed a small dwarf wearing a red and yellow jerkin with brown and blue leggings. Firmly tucked into his belt was an answering machine, and he was recklessly wielding a blunt axe. In the process of making this rash pose, he cleaved his sixth finger from his left hand.

"I thought I chopped that one off yesterday," he mused, slightly disturbed. "No matter — eventually I'll get rid of all my unnecessary digits." Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a small creature scurrying about in a dark corner of his dwelling. He let a deep chuckle, which quickly evolved into a deep, baritone, maniacal laugh and, brandishing his blunt axe, he leapt wildly in the general direction of the rodent. The rodent then bit him. He gave forth a wild shriek of agony and succumbed to brief unconsciousness. The rodent gave a satisfied squeak and scurried away to his secret abode, pleased that this invasive creature had received his just punishment once again.

The dwarf staggered to its feet with a look of embarrassment showing in his otherwise expressionless face. He then produced his paycheck, which he had received that day, opened the envelope and gave forth yet another shriek of anger as he noticed that the check was for three dollars and seventy–three cents. His voice by this time was quite hoarse. He went to the miniature refrigerator, pulled out a glass of vegetable juice and mercury and quaffed it.

The lair, as was stated previously, had at least one corner. This was the only corner that was immediately visible, because of all the boxes containing firecrackers, crowbars, garden and emergency fire hoses, books, and bows and arrows, among other — more sinister — things that defy explanation. There was one circular neon light that, by some freak of physics, was always slowly rotating a gave forth at random intervals a sudden and unnerving squeak. The truth was, the aforementioned rodent had a large extended family and they always had a nephew or niece pushing a little bar to make it turn – they were told it built character. The squeaks were from the exertion of the manual labor and angry outbursts at having to such a menial task. Underneath the light was a hot dog — kosher. The hot dog was sitting on a twisted three–legged stool. There was a small space in between the hotdog and the three–legged stool and filling this space was a Boy Scouts of Mongolia handbook. The dwarf had never, in fact, been in the Boy Scouts of Mongolia, but he had found the hot dog inside of it, in the gutter. He hadn't put the hotdog in the refrigerator because he had long suspected the existence of small microscopic organisms in it and didn't trust them to leave the hot dog alone. He had happened on the answering machine when he had leaped into an exterior waste disposal unit (trash can), and painfully landed his posterior on one of its angles — the sharp one. Slung between a box of hoses and one filled with books on how to grow your own computer mouse and The Complete and Unabridged Full Revised Forty-second Edition Thirtieth Publication Fifty-three Volume Set of the Cartographer's Guide to Better Map-making and the full List of Necessary Tools was a small hammock, which, presumably, he slept in. On top of another box was a life sized porcelain statue of a giant anteater with this engraved on it: Presented to The Dwarf from the Society for Greater Appreciation for and Advancing of Anthropomorphism, January 1, 1881, for his excellent donations and unwavering membership.

After performing his daily wristwatch ritual, he grabbed his suitcase and headed out the door, a half day late for work.

The next morning at 3:30 a dark shadow flitted across Blunderbuss Road, carrying a large bundle. From the middle of a hedge, it used its large slingshot and hurled an object about two feet long at a house. It hit the door in the dead center with a satisfying crunch, and the dwarf (for, of course, that was who the shadow was) was highly pleased. Maybe this time he would finish his route before the deadline. He came to one house near the end of his route, and, as usual, there was the elderly retired Catholic priest. The old man always got up and sat in the wicker basket on the porch to meet the paperboy. He was very lonely, and so to him, it was worth the effort just to meet someone who wouldn't criticize his masses or complain about the service or say he needed to trim the roses.

Slowly, cautiously and with a small grunt of exertion, the black form eased over the fence and into the yard. Following the line of trees to the back of the property, it then slithered across the yard to the house. Pressed firmly against the wall, the dwarf quickly made his way forward to the front of the house. Then, tediously, he made his way up the steps and dashed into the cover of the nearest corner. He drew out a black plastic incased paper and slid it across the old wooden floor, which had paint peeling off of it and creaked. It stopped right at the old priest's feet. With a secret incantation, the dwarf said, "rain today." With that, he leapt stealthily into the nearby bushes, not to be seen again for another 24 hours.

"Farewell, my son — and thank you," gratefully exclaimed the unperturbed ancient man after the departed figure, and then slowly got up and went into to house to brew a cup of tea and read the paper ("Fire Breaks out in building and 56 casualties; 'Fire hose already in Use,' Witness Says" headlines read).

The End of Chapter One

Note: If you don't mind, please review this. I can't make it better without new insights. This was written by a friends of mine and me. We mean no insult to Paraguayans, old ladies, New York, 286's, dwarves, rodents, giant anteaters, newspaper companies, or elderly catholic priests.