Can you believe it’s been a week already? (Yes.) Let’s dive right in.
Crunchy leaned closer to Ben’s ear. “Ah, don’t tell Wellington, right? He hates the new estate tax. Robs him blind.”
Wellington Bones strode into the room and tipped his top hat to his guests. “Enjoying yourselves?”
Ben fixed his eyes upon the floor.
“Crunchy’s showing your our latest mock-up: the endless debate.” Wellington grinned. “It’s almost perfect, but we’re still waiting on the voice recordings.”
“Those are fake skeletons?” Ben’s eyes widened.
Wellington laughed. “I can’t hire people for every exhibit. Some must be animatronic, otherwise I’d have more salary to pay than tickets sold.”
“Har, sir, I meant no harm.” Crunchy removed his red bandanna from his skull and wrung it between his hands.
“None done.” Wellington wrapped an arm around Ben’s shoulder and tugged him away from the pirate. “Unfortunately, Crunchy’s suffering from a widespread epidemic.”
“Is he contagious?”
“At this stage, I hope not.” Wellington shook his head. “The political exhibit was his idea. He thought it might bring a little edge to our frivolity. Poor chap.”
Ben gaped at the skeletal figure. “Liberalism is a disease.”
“Mental disorder. We must be specific, my boy.”
“And conservatism is the cure?”
Wellington doubled over with laughter. He wiped his cheekbones with a bony finger. He studied Ben with wide eye sockets. “You’re serious?”
“Gracious no. That’s just another name for the same disease.” Wellington shrugged. “Slightly different symptoms. BPL syndrome*.”
Ben scratched his head. “BPL?”
“Exactly.” Wellington tapped a finger against his chin. “But what can we do about it? Halloween’s almost here and no one seems to care. They’re consumed by this disease. My haunted house hasn’t had this few visitors in ever.”
The cockatrice hovering beside Ben’s shoulder gurgled.
“What can I do to help?” He wrapped the cockatrice between his hands and stroked its wings.
“Write your congressman. Tell him to visit my haunted house. Write your family, your friends, your neighbors. Anyone, everyone. We must get the word out.” Wellington slammed a fist into his palm. “I can’t lose to the fat man, not again.” He placed both hands on Ben’s shoulders and locked eyes with him. “I won’t let Halloween fall to the wayside like Thanksgiving. Not without a fight.”
Barty the imp sauntered through the hallway, whistling. “Boy’s got more problems than you realize, Wellington. He can’t help you. Can’t even help himself.”
Wellington tilted his head to the left, studying Ben. His head drooped. “The dragons are after you.”
“I don’t know why.” Ben chewed his lip. “I’ve done nothing to them.”
The imp chortled. “Can you imagine the power they’d have with a cockatrice in their ranks? A drunken rampage is one thing, turning men to statues, now that’s how you rule by fear.”
“That’s why they want me?” Ben twisted away from Barty, to shelter his pet against the imp’s gaze.
“Not you, dear boy.” The imp pointed at Ben’s hands.
So, what do you think will happen? What do you want to happen? Was it too short? Too long? Too unfunny?
Yep, that’s right. I’m soliciting comments and suggestions. I may even use them. No matter how wacky, zany, nerdy, or weird. No matter how serious, fanciful, or sci-fi. It’s a choose your own adventure. You choose what happens next
because I’m just not that creative.
*If you or someone you know suffers from Blind Party Loyalty syndrome, contact a medical professional right away. There is no cure of BPL, but with the proper care, the symptoms are manageable.