Thursday, October 16, 2008

A little pre-Halloween Treat

A Cheating Chance Humor Short

James Buchanan

Brandon pushed a bright red shopping cart though the isle, chasing after Nicky. He had to slalom between snot nosed kids running around unattended and moms talking on cell phones. It felt a lot like driving the 91 at rush hour. “What are we doing here again?” He called at Nicky’s back. Where the fuck was he headed? Dish soap, laundry soap, hair gel, and toilet paper: yep the mental shopping list pretty much matched the contents of the cart. In Brandon’s mind that equated to done and ready for the check-out counter.

“Shopping.” Nicky didn’t even turn around.

No shit shopping. “Shopping for what?”

Turning and walking backward, Nicky threw his hands up. “Well,” he piled on enough enunciation for three people onto that one tiny word. Brandon cringed. If Nicky went any more flaming on him in the store, Brandon was going to resort to justifiable homicide. “You keep complaining that you have nothing stylish in your place. So we’re here to find you stylish stuff.” Stylish and stuff were punctuated with flicks of Nicky’s wrists in the general direction of Brandon.

That was it, Nicky was fucking insane. “Nicky, this is a chain store.” Brandon grumbled. “Like one step up from a discount house. Stylish don’t live here.” If it weren’t for the low slung black jeans, combat boots, and tight black western style shirt, Brandon would have bailed. The sexiness of it all, the promise of what was bulging up the front of those jeans; kept him trailing behind his lover like a puppy. “I mean, really, what the fuck are we going to find in the Halloween department?” Maybe Nicky wanted candy? Nicky’d promised a treat when they got home from the domestic slog. Brandon’s hopes centered on more of a nekkid and condoms--than mini-chocolate bars--kinda party.

Nicky stopped Brandon when he grabbed the front of the cart and leaned over. “Cool stuff.” His leer shot shivers down Brandon’s spine.

Right, not in this store. Just to be a jerk Brandon jeered back. “Look, cool stuff.” Quick and dirty he scanned the shelves to grab the first bit of junk he found. “A motorized rat.” It dangled from Brandon’s hand by its tail.

With a swat to the mechanical horror, Nicky turned and disappeared into the next isle. His disembodied voice floated back. “No, real cool stuff.” Brandon tossed the rat back on the shelf before following Nicky’s ass. “You just have to know where to look.” Nicky made another turn. Swearing under his breath, Brandon swung the cart around the corner and nearly ran into that tight ass.

An open area played host to a graveyard of sorts. Ranks of tombstones and resin critters guarded a six foot high grim reaper in their midst. The reaper’s scythe formed an arch to a shelving unit nearby. Jaw held open in permanent scream, he seemed to protest the kitsch surrounding his base and the ninety-nine dollar price tag. Nicky picked up the nearest plastic creation. He held it out for Brandon’s inspection. “See Gargoyle planter.”

Brandon shrugged. “Okay, yeah, that’s nice.” Actually, it was pretty damn ugly. Three knobby, beaked things braced a funeral style urn between their wings. Fake stone, in tones of blue and greenish-gray, gave it a sickening pall. “Not my thing.”

“True,” Nicky set it back among the others in the display. Once up and once down, Nicky looked him over. “You’re more the macho, techno, edgy, park my big ass Harley in the living room goth.”

“Fuck you.” Brandon choked out. Then he grimaced an apology when a mom toting a baby and trailed by three school age kids glared at him.

“Here?” With an all-too-obvious seductive wiggle, Nicky prowled around the edge of the cart. He hooked his hands on the side, behind his back, and propped his butt against the plastic lattice. Rolling his head to gaze sidelong at Brandon, he teased in a sex kitten purr, “Like in the middle of the costume isle? Going kinky on me here?” His tongue snaked out to run across his upper lip. Brandon swallowed. “Taking your whole public sex fetish to a new level?”

Damn, everything that could go hard…went hard. To mask his excitement, Brandon growled, “I could stuff you in that life sized coffin and leave you there.”

Nicky ignored him and pushed away from the cart. “Hold that thought.” Some bit of eye candy on the shelf in front of him got the same attention Brandon merited only seconds earlier. For a second, Brandon went insanely jealous over a piece of junk. Then he shook it off. “Here we go.” Nicky held up a rectangular block of pseudo-crystal, maybe as long as Brandon’s hand. Inside, a laser cut out of a skeleton danced. “Put this on a light base--blue--it’d be wicked.”

That particular dust collector was rather cool. Brandon took it from Nicky’s hand and tested its weight in his palm. “Okay, so one thing in the store that’s not cheesy.” Why fight fate? If it got Nicky out of the Halloween section, Brandon would buy it. He put the cube in the basket.

“Oh, companion piece.” Nicky knelt and snatched something off a lower rack. Brandon groaned. As he stood, he ran over the merits. “Skulls: but rather modern totally you.” He offered it for Brandon’s inspection. A rectangular plate of frosted glass, it didn’t look like it belonged among the Halloween supplies. Then Nicky flipped it up. Black scroll work wound around the edge. A skull in the center, also painted in black, jeered at Brandon. With a quick glance at the back, Nicky noted the price. “And only eight bucks.”

“Nice.” It galled him to admit it. “Really nice, we could buy that.” As Nicky set the plate in the seat of the cart, Brandon picked up a Lucite bowl. Random peaks jutted from the rim. A black painted spider’s web spun across the surface. “That’s kinda cool.”

“Set of ‘em and you got breakfast bowls.”

“Naw.” The bowl went back on the shelf. “But I’ll take the statue and the big plate thing.”

“See now you’re into the spirit.” Pleased, Nicky grinned. “Wait, I know you weren’t thrilled with gargoyles but look at this guy.” He pointed to another half foot tall tchotchke. A small monkey like figure crawled over a ball. Wings spread to either side as though providing him balance. His face drooped with a bulldog’s smile and sad puppy eyes stared up from the shelf. “You’ve got to admit, this one’s not your run of the mill.”

The puppy eyes got to him. “Well, yeah, he’s fun.” Cursing his own lack of will, Brandon fingered the statute.

“Get him?” Nicky’s hand ran over his own. Chills worked up Brandon’s arm at the caress.

“Oh, what the fuck,” he breathed, “get him.”

“Great!” Nicky snatched it off the shelf, shoved it next to the plate, and began to wheel the cart away. One hand in the air, he pointed off into the recesses of the store. “On to house wares!”

Fuck! Weren’t they done yet? “Why?” Brandon sputtered and jogged after Nicky.

“Dishes.” Nicky laughed over his shoulder. “I saw online they have these really cool Asian inspired square dishes on sale. They’re black with a little red leaf on them. Whole set.”

Brandon yanked them up short by grabbing Nicky’s belt loop. “Nicky,” he hissed, hoping no one heard or saw, “I have dishes.”

“Okay,” Nicky half turned, his hip bumping Brandon’s, “You have other people’s cast offs. None of them match.” Tracing a pattern on Brandon’s bicep, he chided, “Time to grow up, Brandon, and start living like a twenty-five year old.”

Twenty-five year old? “Nicky, I’m almost thirty. My birthday’s like five days before Halloween, two weeks from now.” Nicky’s smirk said it all. What he implied smacked Brandon upside the head. “Oh, you mean I’m way past when I should have started this.”

“Yep.” The smirk slid into a soft smile. “And I know about your birthday, that’s why I’m paying for this shit.”

“Well, hell,” Brandon grabbed the cart and took off, heading toward where they’d just come from. He called back to Nicky, “If you’re paying, I want the fucking grim reaper for my living room!”



Jordan Castillo Price said...

What a lovely treat! I loved the "hold that thought" line. Thanks for posting this, James!

K.A. Mitchell said...

That was more fun than a bag of Baby Ruth bars. Thanks for posting.

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