The Yenta of Ros

This selection is part of NonBinary Review Issue #3: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. You can get NonBinary Review #3 at the Zoetic Press website. 

Alyssa hated her parents for making her spend the summer with her hayseed aunt and uncle in Kansas. So her mother found some weed in her backpack. But she didn’t buy Fifty Shades of Grey; it was her BFF Brandi’s. It wasn’t anything she hadn’t heard coming from her parents’ bedroom.

They talked to Aunt Emily and Uncle Whateverhisnameis and sent Alyssa to Fuckaduck, Kansas. While her friends were at the beach in bikinis, she was in braids and gingham milking cows and pulling eggs out of chickens’ asses.

She didn’t even have her cellphone or computer. Not that the rathole had Wi-Fi. Or cable. The yokels didn’t own a TV. Their idea of a hootin’ good time was canning peaches.

She’d managed to avoid cyclones, and was hoping her luck would hold until the week after she left and then one would blow that shack off the map with Uncle Whogivesashit in it. All he ever said was, “Time to get up and start a-milkin’.”

“You squeeze your cows’ nipples. And shove an ear of corn up your ass.”

One Saturday morning, Alyssa’s aunt and uncle went to the church picnic. They’d be gone all day. Alyssa had chores. When she was done; she could do whatever she wanted.

Alyssa knew what that was. The son of the farmer down the road was coming to make out. She planned on seducing him. She was in Fuckaduck two months and horny. The farmer’s son was almost as cute as Channing Tatum.

She lifted her mattress and found the outfit she snuck into her suitcase. A lacy black blouse with sleeves that fell off her shoulders. White ruffled mini. Gray panties with butt ruffles. White thigh high stockings. Black high-heeled Mary Janes. Her favorite outfit. She put her long black hair into ponytails. The Schoolgirl look.

On her bed was her only friend in Fuckaduck. The sow had babies and Alyssa fell in love with a black and white piglet. She knew it wouldn’t last long. As soon as it was fat enough her Uncle Fucktard would sell it. It’d end up as bacon with leftover parts turned into Spam. She named it “Bacon”.

She cuddled the piglet. “What do you think, Bacon? Will he like me? I hope so. If someone doesn’t make out with me, I’m going bonkers! I love you, but I hate it here! I gotta get home! This place sucks!” It squeaked as though it understood.

“I know. I wish I could take you. I’d love putting your pics online.”

A whistle went off in the distance. Bacon squealed. Alyssa knew what it was. The twister-warning siren. Her luck ran out. A cyclone was coming. The curtains were blowing and the wind howled.

“Oh Crap!” she said—a phrase she’d learned reading E.L. James. “What do we do? Where do we go?”

Her aunt told her. She didn’t remember. She had to think fast. The bathroom? An outhouse! It’d probably get blown to matchsticks and she’d end up covered in shit. The closet? There wasn’t one. The only choice was underneath the brass bed. She grabbed Bacon, a black blanket and a white pillow and slid as far under as she could. The pig shook as she wrapped them up.

She hoped Uncle Whatever’s house stood up and they didn’t wind up five miles away on top of a tree. The noise got louder. She held the piglet tighter. It felt like the house whirled and lifted. Soon it was on top of the cyclone—the winds carrying it away. Alyssa was getting her wish. She was blowing that black and white pop stand.

It seemed like the storm lasted hours. They stayed under the bed, waiting for the winds to die. She felt a huge thump. The house shook. There was a high-pitched scream and what sounded like a huge fart.

“Jumping Jesus on a fucking trampoline, what was that?”

The pig didn’t answer.

She waited a few minutes before crawling out. Then she heard a squeaky voice.

“Whoever you are, get the hell out here. Show yourselves. Come out backwards with your hands over your heads. We’ve got guns and ammo. Make one wrong move and you’ll be picking buckshot out of your ass for a week in our jail.”

“Don’t shoot! I’m coming! I’m only a kid!” she said.

“That’s what the last one said. Only she landed on a badass witch and we ended up giving her a parade and a bust in the Hall of Fame. But you didn’t land on a witch. Don’t expect the same treatment.”

Alyssa put her hands up. As she stepped outside, her black blouse turned purple and her skirt turned lavender. Her panties were pink. Her hair was blonde—highlighted with twenty different shades. Although it was two months since she’d seen her colorist and badly needed a touchup.

A funny looking man and woman were standing there. They were dressed in Technicolor outfits—too matchy-matchy for Alyssa’s taste. The man was holding a large lollipop.

“Bullshit! You don’t have guns! That’s a lollipop! What were you planning on doing? Licking me? What the fuck’s going on? Is this from those cornstalks I smoked? If it is, I’m taking a whole lot home. I figure that shit’s worth a buck, maybe buck and a half an ounce.”

She looked around. “Two bucks an ounce! That’s some incredible shit! I cannot wait to get home and pass out samples. I think I just figured out how to buy that car my parents won’t pay for. Fucking amazing!

“Shut up!” the little man said. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. All I know is you killed a Munchkin with that shitshack. Great going. There were three of us; now there’s two. Proud of yourself? You killed an American icon!”

“I did not! And it’s not my shitshack. It’s my aunt and uncle’s. If you intend to sue, they’re the ones to go after.”

“You killed a Munchkin!” the little woman said. “A Hollywood legend’s squashed beneath your hillbilly house! Haven’t you heard of Munchkins?”

“Those donut hole things?”

“No, not those donut hole things, nitwit! The beloved characters from The Wizard of Oz! Three left! And you had to land on one! Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?” the man said.

Bacon came out and was happily digging in a flowerbed.

“Whatever that creature is, kindly tell it not to dig in that flowerbed! We buried the mayor and the coroner there.”

Bacon tugged a bone from the earth and ran to Alyssa, happily placing it at her feet.

“You bury people in flowerbeds? That’s fucking disgusting! This is like a human bone?”

The woman started crying. “No,” the man said. “It’s a Munchkin bone. Look what you’ve done. You’ve upset her. She’s 95!”

“Don’t look at me. It ain’t my pig either. It’s my aunt and uncle’s. I’m not responsible.”

“Yes you are, it came with you.”

“Maybe I can help,” a man said, stepping over the upturned flowerbed. “Allow me to introduce myself. I’m James Franco. I played the Wizard in the newest version of the movie. It was in theatres about a week. Really bad career move.”

“You’re that guy from General Hospital! Brandi says you’re really creepy, but I think you’re hot.”

“We’ll talk about that later,” he said. “Right now, we need to work this out. These are the remaining Munchkins from the 1939 version. There were three, but you’ve killed one. Underneath that ratshack of yours is the last Sleepyhead Munchkin.”

Alyssa looked at the little man. “Who’s he?”

“He represents the Lollipop Guild.”

“And who’s she?”

“An uncredited extra.”

“So she really doesn’t count, does she?”

“Of course she counts!” the little man screamed. “She’s one of us! Just because she wasn’t credited doesn’t mean you can drop your house on one of her friends and dig up the bones of another! Who raised you? Witches?”

“Watch who you’re calling a witch,” Alyssa said. “Otherwise you’re gonna end up with that lollipop where the sun don’t shine.”

“I give up,” Franco said, disappearing in a puff of multicolored smoke.

“Wow,” Alyssa said. “I may be able to get three large for that cornstalk shit. Fucking outrageous!”

“You can go,” the Munchkin said. “Follow the yellow brick road. It leads to Oz. Go back to Kansas.”

“No way I’m going back! What if I follow the red brick road?”

“No idea. Nobody’s ever done it. There are rumors of a place called Ros—Retirement Outpost Station. A place where old actors go to die. They have no Wizard, just a Yenta.”

“Why didn’t you go there? Maybe the house wouldn’t have fallen on Sleepyhead.”

The Munchkin sighed. “She was a Flowerpot Munchkin, too.”

“Wow,” Alyssa said to the lady. “She had two parts and you had none? You must’ve sucked.” She sobbed louder.

“We never went to Ros because they didn’t accept sister wives. Now I’m down to one Missus, and your pig’s digging up our friends, so we might as well. One thing before we leave. You have to wear Sleepyhead’s shoes.”

“No way I’m wearing a dead dwarf’s shoes! Hello? See the color of my soles? Red? Louboutins, teeny friend. Worth more than you and your whole midget bowling league put together.”

“Someone must wear them to protect us from Wicked Witches,”

“What if I put them in my purse? If we run across witches, I’ll take them out and flash them. Still disgusting, but it’s the best I can do. They’re so not going on my feet.”

She pulled the shoes off and the dead Munchkin’s feet curled up under the house. The woman started crying again.

“Okay,” Alyssa said. “Let’s go. But I warn you. If she doesn’t stop crying, I’m pushing her off the first cliff we find. I’ve killed once today. I’ll do it again. Bacon? We’re off to see the Yenta.”

“Munchkin killer,” he muttered.

“Excuse me? Did you say something, bigamist?” Alyssa replied.

They followed the red brick road. It got darker. The bricks became cracked and broken. Garbage was everywhere. After a while, they came to a building marked condemned. A filthy man drinking from a paper bag came down the crumbling stoop.

“Holy shit!” he said. “What the fuck are they cutting hooch with these days? I gotta stop shooting up! I swear I’m looking at two tiny people, a pig and a hot teenage chick!”

One of his eyeballs was missing. Revolting yellow goop dripped onto his cheek. His arms had more tracks than Amtrak, some oozing vile substances. His clothes were rags. A large round stain on the front of his pants made Alyssa gag.

“Sorry, peeps. Coming out to take a leak. Didn’t mean to disturb you, continue on.”

“Looks like you already took a leak,” Alyssa said.

He looked down. “So I did. Then, I’ll bid you hallucinations adieu and go back to what I was doing. What was I doing? Oh, snorting something white. Maybe coke. Maybe Tide. Any bubbles coming out my nose?”

“No,” Alyssa said.

“Fucking A. It was coke,” he said, spitting a huge wad of phlegm.

“Who the hell are you?” the Munchkin asked.

“I might ask the same of you, sir,” he said. “They call me Liceman of Avenue A.” He bowed. “Sorry to meet under such discommodious circumstances. Normally, I’m housetrained.” He took another hit on the bottle and offered it to the Munchkin, who declined.

“This’s my humble abode, which I share with a handful of homesteaders who are down on their luck like moi. We’re a harmonious lot. Thoreau said, “My greatest skill has been to want little.” A little wine. Enough drugs to spare me the realities of this world. Everything else, I freegan. The other day, I found a hamburger in someone’s trash. Tasty too, once I scraped the mold off.”

At the word “hamburger”, Bacon sniffed his feet.

“Bacon! Get away from him! Dirty! Bad! Wait a minute—Avenue A? Alphabet City? I’m close to home!”

“Remember you’re on a different plane,” the Munchkin said.

“Fuck you,” Alyssa said. “Go ahead, ruin it for me, you little prick.”

“Bitch,” he said.

“Better one than those wrinkly old snatches you’ve been screwing.”

Liceman sighed. “Marcus Aurelius said, “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” Think of the time you’re wasting, arguing about vaginas.” He put a finger to one nostril and blew a huge blood-tinged booger out the other. “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.” Mark Twain.”

“You know a lot for an old stoner,” Alyssa said.

“You live and learn, at any rate you live. Douglas Adams,” he said, picking at the remainder of his yellow teeth with a piece of the paper bag. “Where you folks headed? Need a place to stay? I think Acid Annie died the other day. She’s not breathing. You could move her body and take the attic.”

“That’s revolting!” Alyssa said. “You’re living with a dead woman?”

“If you have somewhere better to stay, no biggie.”

“What happened to your eye?” the Munchkin asked.

“Funny story. One day, my veins collapsed and I needed to shoot up. I have this bigass vein on my temple, so I decided to try it. Figured being close to my brain, it’d give me one fucking high. I missed and got my eyeball. Sucker exploded. Eye shit everywhere. What a trip that was! Rode the heroin horse for days. If I had three eyes, I’d do it again.”

“You’re fucking insane,” Alyssa said.

“Hunter Thompson said, ‘I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.’ Rest his soul. He lived upstairs a while. Did some of his best writing here. So, where’re you headed?”

“We’re following the red brick road to see the Yenta of Ros so I can get to New York.”

“We’re going to live there,” the Munchkin said.

“Dude, that’s awesome! I once road tripped with Kerouac. He was the shizz. “Live, travel, adventure, bless and don’t be sorry,” he said. Mind if I tag along? I could use a new liver.”

“Okay,” Alyssa said. “A couple rules. First lake we find, take a bath. Pee in the woods. Cut down the quotes. And stay as far away as you can. We don’t want lice or crotch crabs.”

“Think I have crotch crabs?” Liceman asked.

“You’re scratching your junk.”

“Maybe I do. Did the wild thing with Acid Annie the other night. Not sure if it was before or after she died. Maybe during. I have that effect on women.”

“Not interested in finding out,”

“Your loss, girlie. I don’t mind walking alone. “I’ve never found a companion so companionable as solitude.” Thoreau. Last one, promise.”

The four of them continued down the road. “We need a place to sleep,” Alyssa said. “I wish I had my blanket and pillow.”

“Selfish bitch, always thinking about yourself,” the Munchkin said. “That other girl never worried about creature comforts. She followed the yellow brick road and befriended whoever came along.”

“Did she have to put up with lice-infested junkies and big-mouthed Munchkins? I rest my case.”

“Aristotle said, ‘Misfortune shows those who are not really friends.’ Remember that, sister.”

“Why? Is it on the test?” Alyssa asked. “Knock off the quotes or I’ll take your underpants and stuff them in your mouth.”

“Can’t we use yours?”

“In your dreams, freak. Shut up. We’re looking for a place to sleep.”

They found a stand of trees. Underneath, the forest floor seemed soft and comfortable.

“We’re sleeping here,” Alyssa said. She used her heel to draw a line in the dirt. “Liceman, cross that line and I’ll rip your heart out and feed it to you. I take Krav Maga. Don’t tempt me.”

“We sleep naked,” the Munchkin said.

“Oh shit,” Alyssa said. “Find a bush to sleep behind. The thought of seeing you naked made me throw up a little.”

Alyssa settled down with Bacon. She heard a scream coming from behind the bush, got up and ran to see what was going on.

The Munchkins were naked. Her saggy little breasts hung to her waist. His penis was surprisingly large for his diminutive size.

“Over there!” they pointed.

Nearby was a man in camouflage covered in branches. He was on his knees holding his head. It was tightly wrapped in foil and a bedpan lay nearby. He reached out and put it on.

“Stop it!” he screamed. “Stop messing with my head! Make them put clothes on! I know a ruse when I see one! You NSA guys don’t quit, do you? You think naked dwarves playing horizontal hockey’s going to trip me up? This’s one nut you guys won’t crack. I went rogue, and took my secrets with me. How’d you find me? GPS? Microchip? You’re not getting information. And keep that one-eyed Jerry Garcia guy away. I don’t trust him. I don’t play in Uncle John’s Band anymore.”

He got up and started to run. Alyssa tackled him and brought him down.

“Chill! We aren’t the man. We’re weary travelers on the road to Ros.”

“That’s what they all say.”

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“You tell me.”

“We’ll get back to that. How’d you get here?”

“No clue. One minute I’m in LA watching James Franco eating ice cream like a regular person, and the next thing I know we’re in this strange place listening to you arguing with this little man. Franco disappeared and I took off. Been hiding all afternoon. Then these two show up and start getting it on. Who are they?”

“They’re the last Munchkins. They’re headed for Ros to retire. I’m hitching a ride to New York and this guy wants a new liver.”

“What does the pig want?” he asked.

“He doesn’t want anything. But if you had a couple corndogs, he’s very fond of them.”

“No NSA? Black Ops? Navy Seals?”

“Do I look like a Navy Seal?” the Munchkin asked, zipping his pants.

“Forget it, little dude,” Alyssa said. “You don’t look like one. Not even close.”

“What’s Ros?” the man asked. “Remote Operatives Station? Where the spooks are?”

“It’s a retirement village for old actors, run by a Yenta named Ros. The girl’s right. We’re going there to retire. There were three of us, but she killed one.”

“She knows Krav Maga,” Liceman said.

“You’re a spy! Israeli intelligence? Mossad? Aman? Who do you answer to? Did the government bring you in?”

“Dude, I’m sixteen and answer to my parents. They sent me to Kansas for the summer. There was a cyclone and here I am.”

“Operation Cyclone?”

“‘Where there is no guidance, a nation falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.’ Mossad’s motto,” Liceman said.

The man jumped up, panic in his eyes.

“Ignore him,” Alyssa said. “He’s always spouting shit.”

“This Yenta helps people?” he asked.

“So we hear. What do you need? Looks like you’ve got everything covered. Foil, bed pan.”

“A safe house. Lined in lead that can’t be penetrated by their damn rays.”

“Doesn’t lead make you retar . . . never mind,” Alyssa said. “It may be too late. You can come. One thing—I’d say no if Liceman asks to borrow your bedpan.”

“Roger that. I’ll be lead. Reconnoiter. Report back signs of trouble.”

“Okay, Roger That,” Alyssa said. “Good deal. Now, I’m going to sleep and the Munchkins want to get it on. Trust me, don’t watch.”

They headed out the next morning. Roger That disappeared into the forest. Alyssa and the pig followed the Munchkins—holding hands and basking in the afterglow. Liceman picked up the rear, quoting people Alyssa never heard of.

About an hour later, he yelled. “Watch out folks, move to the right! Let the bus through!”

Everyone looked around. There was no bus.

Liceman gave the peace sign. “Kesey! Keep on trucking, dude! Further! Send Janis my love!”

Alyssa looked around. Obviously Liceman slept in a bed of magic mushrooms. She should have changed places with him. He was ripped off his ass.

Another hour went by. There was a cloud of black smoke and a woman dressed in black appeared.

“It’s down to two of you little shits now.” She rubbed her hands together and drool rolled down her green chin. “Who’ll be next? Remember I get to eat the last one alive. Where are Sleepytime’s shoes and who dropped a house on her?”

The Munchkins shivered.

“I did,” Alyssa said. ‘If I had another one, I’d drop it on your ugly ass.”

“Give me my shoes!” the witch spat out.

“No. And watch the spray, okay? Heard of Krav Maga? I can insert two fingers into your va-jay-jay and tear you open to your chin, Witchypoo.”

A blue bubble popped between them, scattering glitter everywhere. “Oh my!” said a transvestite in a blue gown wearing too much makeup and too many extensions. “You can do that? With two fingers?”

“Don’t worry, sweetheart. You don’t have the right plumbing.”

“I’m the Blue Fairy, NorthEast. I wish we could all just get along. SouthWest, behave. Dear, can I see the shoes?”

“Sure.” Alyssa held them up.

“Do you have anything in a platform, six inch heels, size eleven? Blue? I’m starring in the local production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

“Just these doll slippers, which reek to high heaven. These little dweebs say it’s essential I have them with me when we get to Ros.”

“Yes, dear, you simply must. Go away, SouthWest. Leave them alone. Does anyone know that man in the bushes wearing a bedpan and talking into the sole of his shoe?”

“That’s Roger That,” Alyssa said. “The voices in his head must be talking to the voices in Liceman’s head again.”

“Oh dear,” said NorthEast. “Happen often?”

“All the time,” Alyssa said. “I’m hoping they have nice accommodations for them in Ros. About ten by ten with padded walls?”

NorthEast giggled. “Good luck on your travels, dear. My love to Ros! I’ll do my best to keep SouthWest occupied. Just watch out for those Munchkins. They fuck like rabbits. Amazing at their age. Come, SouthWest. I’m sure you have somewhere to be.”

NorthEast disappeared in a myriad of bubbles and glitter.

“I’ll be watching,” SouthWest said.

“Oh God, they’re watching. I’ll end up in the Village! I’m going to be a Prisoner!”

“Who the fuck is he?” the witch asked.

“Roger That,” said Alyssa.

“Whatever,” SouthWest said, as she went up in black smoke.

“‘He was my North, my South, my East and West. My working week and my Sunday rest. My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.’”

“What?” Alyssa asked. “Never mind, I don’t give a shit.”

“W H Auden,” Liceman said.

“You made that up,”

“Did not. Move over guys, it’s the bus. Cassidy! Still can’t drive for shit!”

Alyssa considered backtracking, taking the yellow brick road and going back to Kansas. Then she remembered pulling milking cows and kept going. They walked another couple hours.

Up ahead, there was something brown leaning against a tree. As they got closer they could see it was a man in a bear suit. The fur was matted—especially near the crotch where a large flap was held shut by a diaper pin. Alyssa tried to tiptoe by.

“Lo—li—ta,” the bear said.

“Light of my life, fire . . . okay, I’ll shut up,” Liceman said.

The bear reached into his pocket and produced a lollipop covered with fuzz.

“Candy, little girl?”

“Shove it up your ass,” Alyssa said.

The bear laughed. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you? I’d rather turn you over my knee and spank your hot little ass.”

“The odds of that are the same as the odds of me and Liceman getting our freak on. Have a nice day.”

“Hey, I recognize him! His picture’s in the Munchkinland Post Office. That’s Pedo! Has this thing for girls. Came to Munchkinland years ago and raped our women. He’s a registered sex offender,” the Munchkin said.

The bear walked with the swag of a street corner gangbanger and plenty of crotch-grabbing. “That’s where you’re wrong, man. It ain’t Pedo. It’s Pedro. You got it backwards. I didn’t jump your ladies. They gang-raped me. They was warm for my form.”

“I’m not,” Alyssa said. “I’m cool for you, fool. Let us pass. We’ve got places to go, people to see. You ain’t one of them”

“Sure about that?” He opened the pin, letting the flap fall.

“I’m picking up transmissions indicating trouble,” Roger That called.

“We found it,” Alyssa yelled, as the bear’s flaccid penis flopped out.

Liceman chuckled. “‘You have to be at NASA early in the morning. So they can look for your penis with the Hubble telescope.’ Tina Fey.”

“Shut the fuck up,” Pedro said. He put the pin back. “Where you fucksticks going? This’s the red brick road. You want the yellow brick road, Lo-li-ta.”

“Fuck no,” Alyssa said. “I’m not going to Kansas. I’m headed for New York. The Munchkins are retiring in Ros. Liceman wants a new liver and Roger That wants a lead-lined safe house.”

“Doesn’t lead make you retar . . .? Can she could do anything about sex addiction?”

“Cut your dick off and feed it to you?” the Munchkin asked.

“Shut up, little shit. I’m reformed. I’ve turned my life around.”

“Taking it up the ass these days?”

The bear grabbed his junk. “Want some of this, little fuckwad?”

“No thanks. I’ve had it with you.”

“I had it with your girlfriend. She wasn’t that good.”

Another blue bubble popped, spewing glitter. It was NorthEast.

“What’s with you people? The arguing! See that castle? That’s the Land of Ros. You only have about eight hundred words left before this story ends! There’s a field of flowers. Sleep! Get a fresh start in the morning. Onmygod!” she said, pointing skyward.

SouthWest was skywriting. “Gvie me teh sohes, Aylsa.”

“She can’t spell,” Alyssa said.

“FCUK YUO,” appeared in the sky.

“Must run, dear,” he/she said, hugging her and whispering in her ear. “Don’t trust that bear as far as you can throw him.”

“I don’t,” Alyssa whispered back.

They settled in the flowers. Alyssa was too tired to care that the Munchkins got naked and did the hibbity-bibbedy six feet away. Liceman and Pedro kept their distance. Roger That kept watch.

Alyssa awoke with Pedro staring at her.

“Get the fuck away from me or I’ll rip your dick off.”

He started crying. “Sorry! Can’t help myself.”

“I’m asking Ros to make you a eunuch.”

A funny smell was wafting across the field. Liceman was smoking the flowers. “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed.” King James Bible.” He looked heavenly. “Thanks, Bro.”

Alyssa took a few hits—though the thought of her lips touching Liceman’s pipe was disgusting. When she had a nice buzz, they ran to the Land of Ros and knocked.

“We don’t have an appointment, but we need to see the Yenta.”

“Sure, come in. She’s getting her nails done. She won’t be long.”

A few minutes later, a woman walked over. Her jet-black hair looked like she’d just left the beauty parlor. She was wearing leopard yoga pants two sizes too small and a pink T-shirt that read, “I passed Ros’s Zumba challenge!” She was blowing on her red nails.

“You wanted to see me? I’m Ros.”

“I’m Alyssa. I was visiting relatives in Kansas. A cyclone . . .”

“Cut to the chase, sweetheart. We have about four hundred words left. The rest of you sit and talk. Here’s a topic. Chocolate ‘Nilla Wafers. Chocolate or Vanilla? Discuss.”

Alyssa went into her office. They sat on the couch. “Cawfee, dear? My gawd, look at your highlights! Gorgeous! How can I help?”

“I need to get to New York, the Munchkins want to live in your retirement home, Liceman wants a new liver, Roger That wants a lead-lined safe house and Pedro needs to be neutered.”

“Shit, is there anything else? A new Lexus? Chocolate without calories?”

“That’d be nice,” Alyssa said.

“Nobody likes a smartass, child. Okay. But you simply must do something for me. NorthEast has red fuck-me heels to die for. Get them, and I’ll do whatever you want.”

“I knew red shoes had something to do with this plot. Okay, he’s a nice lady. I’m sure he’ll help.”

Alyssa went outside the borders of Ros and called for NorthEast. A blue bubble appeared and there he was, brushing off glitter. “How’d you do, sweetie?”

“She’ll do everything. But she wants your red heels.”

“Oh God!” NorthEast said, lifting her gown and revealing the shoes. “Oh Alyssa, anything else! Not the red shoes!”

“I’ll trade for the dead Munchkin’s shoes.”

“I suppose that’s the altruistic thing to do,” NorthEast said. He slipped off the red shoes and took the little ones. They turned into Valentino rhinestone platforms. He squealed with delight.

Alyssa returned with the red shoes. Ros slipped them on.

“I’m verklempt! You’re one smart shiksa! We’ll nosh, then I’ll take care of business. Like chocolate bobka?”

The others finished discussing cookies and were working on “Dry Martini—wet or dry?”

Ros delivered. The Munchkins got keys to an apartment next to Madonna. The rest went to Ros Hospital. Liceman got a liver. Roger That got a “special room”. Shock treatments ended Pedro obsession with teenage girls and started dating NorthEast. Alyssa got a one-way Jet Blue ticket home. Of course, she had to change planes. In more ways than one. The big loser was Bacon, who was sent back to Kansas because he wasn’t Kosher. There really is no place like home.


NBR3LaMarrphotosmallCharie D. La Marr, known as a best-selling ghostwriter in the field of sports, created the circuspunk genre with her collection of short stories Bumping Noses and Cherry Pie. Her first book, Squid Whores of the Futon Fish Market was published by JWK Fiction. She has work forthcoming in Axes of Evil, James Ward Kirk’s Memento Mori, Bones and Ugly Babies 2, We Walk Invisible, among others. She is most proud of working with an Iranian translator, translating Booker Man Award Winner Vernon God Little into Persian—which became a bestseller in Iran.