(Chapter four of my Lake Shore stories, which I wrote purely as a way to insult and amuse my fellow overnight co-workers. I've chosen this episode as my pick of the week, for reasons that become clear later in the story)
“Wanna see my tattoo?”
“My tattoo. Wanna see it?” That is Katrina, yes, leaning over the table, one hand holding her shirt. She seems, yes, she is- she is prepared, apparently, to pull down if given the go ahead. The man- he does look stunned. Rightly so! Indeed. He most certainly does look half-horrified by the offer. Why, yes. I am more than half-horrified myself. “So? Whaddya say? I can even make it dance if you want.”
“Uh… please, miss…?”
“Katrina Cuddles, sweetie.”
“I don’t even know you. I just came in for some lunch.”
“Oh, alright, little man. I just though you might want dessert first.”
Ah, brazen! Our luck today, dear Reading Gallery, is quite poor. The manners- atrocious? I would say that word fits. Katrina Cuddles can be… forward but this behavior, right here in the Den, out in public-atrocious. Yes indeed. Let us make our way over to a booth and order, shall we? Yes, I am as well. Quite famished and parched.
Ah, we may have to wait while that fine gentleman orders first. What’s that? Is Katrina Cuddles the only waitress, you ask? Well, most mornings she is. Generally very good service- why do you wish to know? Oh do not worry- I am sure she will not actually make her tattoo dance. Unless you ask, which none of us shall- too much excitement today. Well, no. I did not mean to suggest that we might ask in the future. Ah… let us just sit and wait-
“And what would you like with that? Maybe something sweet to go along with your buns?”
“My buns? I’m sorry? I ordered the soup. Do buns come with that?”
“No, sugar, you brought the buns with you… and they’re sweet enough on their own.”
“Ah… well… j… jus… just… the soup. Ah… my buns?”
“Alright, pretty man. Just the soup. Here’s my umber. We can talk bout the buns later.”
Oh my, Reading Gallery. Yes. I can only shake my head. And apologize. Something does seem amiss, today, here in Lake Shore. Well… Katrina Cuddles, as I said I believe, can be forward but this is rather… aggressive. Aggressive indeed. Even for her. Perhaps Hey You- What? No, no. I am not referring to you. No. I know your names my dear Reading Gallery. Hey You is Katrina Cuddles’ significant other. Yes, it truly is. I believe. I have never heard him called otherwise.
Well, I was saying that perhaps Hey You has not been paying as much attention to Katrina as he should. She is sometimes more ‘friendly’-
Oh, well, hello Katrina. Yes, it is good to see you-
“Do I know you? I don’t think I do. I can’t seem to place the face.”
Of course you know me, Katrina. I come in here quite often. Yes indeed. I was here just this morning as a matter of fact. We have met dozens of times. I am certain you recognize me.
“No… the face just doesn’t ring any bells for me. Sorry, sweetie.”
This is astonishing, I must say, quite astonishing. Surely you would remember the Narrator? Yes. You must remember me-
“Can’t say that I do. Hey! I know. How about you stand up. Okay, good. Now… turn around. I never forget good set of cheeks.”
Oh no. Most certainly not! I have fallen for that before, indeed I have. I will have none of that, thank you. Trying to trick me… I… well it is not proper! Not at all. Not at all, indeed. And you all, I thought you were friends. Laughing- it is unseemly and… and… well, it is just… rude. Yes, rude. And I will not apologize for saying so, even if you ask.
“Ah, sweetie, don’t go getting mad. You should be proud you have such a squeezable and cute bottom. Pinch, pinch.”
Ah! Now you mock-no! Please, that tickles, no, no. Ah! This is truly humiliating. I despair… and you make sport- all of you.
Well, perhaps. Yes Reading Gallery, it would be appropriate to make amends. Perhaps I will accept your words of regret for the way you have treated me. Most unkind and unfair. Yes, we should order. Yes. Let us.
“Well Mr. Narrator. I know you are interested in stories. Did you hear the latest Little Marky Deering story?
I do seek out stories, but maybe on this occasion we could order our meals- What? Ok. One story, briefly spoken, would be agreeable to my friends and myself. Please, continue.
“This is what I heard…”
Little Marky Deering, upset by the constant bullying by the Three Terrors, stuffed his pockets full of sweets and struck off for the eastern forest that borders Lake Shore. He made for his favorite spot at the edge of the lake where he had made a shelter of fallen branches and looses scrub brush. At the mouth of his shelter numerous blueberry bushes grew, part of the reason he chose the spot originally. Sitting shaded from the sun he could forage for berries, supplementing his snack stash hidden in his several pockets with the ripe berries.
Little Marky Deering was, quite possibly, having the time of his short life. What, truly, could be better than sitting quietly in your favorite spot and with blissful innocence indulging in two of your most favorite things? For Little Marky, the answer was simply and unequivocally; nothing. The day was perfection to the very last buzzing of a fat, lazy bee.
Without doubt, though, this utopian moment could not possibly last. Little Marky Deering was not that lucky a little boy. In fact, his run in Lake Shore was remarkable in how completely undesirable that it was. Everyone commented on Little Marky’s bad luck. And that luck did him no favors once again.
It was Little Marky’s great misfortune that two of his favorite indulgences were the two favorite indulgences of another, as well. Little Marky had moved from scratching and prodding, as it were, at his facial region and was instead addressing an itch on his hairy backside. This preoccupation completely distracted his mind from the snapping of twigs to his right, from the direction of the lake. And so, with no warning, Little Marky was presented with the fierce visage of a rather large male black bear.
The bear, similar to Little Marky (not just the hairy appearance), enjoyed blueberries and was keen for the same favorite spot little Marky was keen for. Not to mention the smell of the dozen honey-glazed doughnuts secreted in Little Marky’s pockets, which the bear was especially keen for, even more than for the blueberries.
Now, there is some confusion at this point, which is perhaps not surprising. Little Marky was loath to give up any of his treats. It seemed obvious to him that the bear clearly wanted the contents of Little Marky’s pockets to soon be the contents of the bear’s own belly. Little Marky may have growled at the thought of loosing his doughnuts to the bear. He was always unclear on this point. Whatever the case, the bear suddenly was as conflicted as Little Marky.
The bear could not decide if Little Marky was a bear, too. The hair, (maybe a growl), and the picking of the bear’s own favorite spot and pastimes? Yes, there was confusion and so the bear paused to consider the situation.
Little Marky waited.
In the end, the bear took the doughnuts.
Little Marky came racing back to town crying and blubbering about the ordeal and his future- it featured another form of doughnut, only this doughnut was one on which an individual with a sore bum sat on instead of one that was eaten. It seems the bear decided Little Marky was a bear, and a rather attractive one at that.
A small consolation for Little Marky was perhaps the rather hangdog look the bear gave him as the bear stuffed the stolen doughnuts in his mouth just before ambling off. The bear truly felt remorse for taking the sweet treats, but clearly, he was helpless to restrain his impulses. But bears are strange creatures and it is perhaps best not to complain too much concerning their behaviors, and besides, the bear was surprisingly gentle…
Ah, oh… that is rather… well… I have no words.
“Yeah, kinky, isn’t it? You want to order, now?”
I could do with just a water. My appetite is rather… spoiled. Dear Reading Gallery, please feel free to order for yourselves. I will handle to bill… no worries. I must… have time to collect myself.
“Want to walk to the bathroom, splash some cold water on your face? I could watch… to make sure you don’t faint.”
Ah! Will this never end? I could think of nothing worse th-
Who is that? Coming through the door, yes… I do not recognize them but they- yes, me as well. They make me feel… deflated. Yes, as you said. Like something was taken out of me. Yes. The same bloody handprint. Yes, yes, I see it on their shirts.
I do not think this bodes well, either. No, not at all.