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June 20, 2013

I Hraet You (67)

Beat 67: And May the Wonders Never Cease

How does the old saying go?  Something about a stiff upper lip?  Ah, the exact context escapes me at the moment, but I suspect I’ve no troubles following through with such advice.

Not surprisingly, Lloyd couldn’t bring himself to move his upper lip, much less the rest of his body.  And remarkably, it didn’t have anything to do with the chair he’d been bound to; he had near-complete control over his neck and above, but he still couldn’t cry like a panicked emu (whatever that sounded like).  He could only sit there and stare, and hope that his face had frozen into a smile.  It hadn’t.  It couldn’t.

But that was fine.  Because Sheila smiled back at him.

Saying that it looked unnatural would have been like telling a hippo it could stand to lose a few pounds -- an obvious yet ever-lethal fact.  Her smile looked like a blind man’s attempt at drawing a crescent moon -- over-wide, with vaguely crooked lines, and almost too long for her face.  The sheer amount of hypertension used to make it dug into her skin, carving out grooves in her cheeks and tugging her puffy lips to their absolute limits.  If she kept it up for much longer, Lloyd wondered if she’d crush a tooth or two -- or at the very least, bust her gums wide open.

But as bad as her smile might have looked, her eyes proved worse.  Infinitely worse.  She’d tossed her glasses aside, and beyond a few frizzy bangs and shadows dimming the upper half of her face, her orbs had long since been revealed.  And they hardly even looked like eyes; her irises looked painted on, a slapped-on blotch of brown at three-quarters the usual size.  They didn’t reflect light, or refract, or even absorb it; it was as if they outright erased anything that came near them.  The skin around them seemed to recoil in their presence, and her eyebrows -- tensed into slanted lines, and looking to climb as far away from her face as possible -- made her look as if she wanted to cry.  Then again, so did her eyes.  So did her smile.

But no one wanted to cry more than Lloyd.  And he might have, if not for the crippling, paralyzing, pants-saturating fear.  Then again, with Sheila around that might have given her grounds to leave him in the buff.

“I’m really pretty, aren’t I, Lloyd?” Sheila asked, with her mouth moving up and down like a nutcracker’s.  “You said so yourself yesterday -- and it meant so much to me.  So many people think I’m ugly…so many people…but then you came and proved to me what I knew -- what I should have known all along.  I’m a pretty, pretty girl.  So pretty.  So pretty.  So pretty.  So pretty.”

I’d very much like to know when my life became a horror movie, Lloyd thought.  And if possible, how to avoid making it as such. 

“It’ll be okay, Lloyd.  Everything will be okay.  I know what happens next.  First, I love you.  And then, I make you fall in love with me.  And then we have beautiful children together, and we live happily ever after!  It’ll be like a fairy tale come true!  And the fairies’ curse will be lifted!  And you’ll love me even more!”

“Miss O’Leary!” Lloyd shouted at last.  “This is much too extreme!  I’m having a hard time following your motivations, much less your end goals -- from what happened yesterday, I would have figured that the fairies’ curse was what gave you such a robust form.  If that’s the case, then what good will it do now?  You’ve already fully matured, and I’ve already explained that I’ve approved of your body.”

Sheila’s head started to tilt.  “But that’s just it, Lloyd.  I do want the curse to be lifted…because it’s not just on me.  It’s on my whole family.  And what kind of mother would I be if I gave birth to a child with a twisted body?  Especially if he had to live through as much bullying and ridicule as I did?” 

“Miss O’Leary --”

But Sheila just put a finger to her lips.  “It’s time for you to eat up, Lloyd.  I need you at your best if we’re going to have our fun.  You and me…we’re going to go far.  We’re going to go all the way.  All.  The.  Way.”

Lloyd stared blankly at her.  “…To the circus, I hope.  There’s just something magical about the trapeze.”

Sheila’s brow started to twitch; whether it was because of Lloyd’s fear-born silliness or her revolting face muscles, he couldn’t tell.  She just stared back at him -- and then, all at once, tore her shorts off her body.

“M-Miss O’Leary!  Show some decency!” Lloyd wailed.  Of course, that didn’t stop him from zeroing in on the lacy red undies she’d proudly borne. 

“I heard that men are more attracted to women in red,” Sheila explained.  She tugged her jersey upward; sure enough, her breasts came bouncing down, somehow managing to stay restrained behind a rosy bra (and as Lloyd quickly noted, her little ensemble covered just a bit less than yesterday’s).  “If that’s true, then I bet I can get you all fired up -- and give you the hottest meal you’ve ever had.”

“Well, I hardly think so, given that the omelet has likely cooled considera- ohhhhhhhhh, you mean because of your body.  All right, I follow.”  Lloyd nodded a few times.  “Wait, WHAT?!”

“Get ready for your main course, Lloyd.  I’ll fill you up real nice.”  She turned her back on him and started for the plate.

That Left Lloyd ample opportunity to struggle and clamp his eyes shut.  “No!  No, no, no!  This is too much for me, Miss O’Leary!  It’s too scandalous!  Too raunchy!  Too much for my fair maiden’s heart to bear!  Why, just think of the poor impression we’re leaving on the masses!  This is not the activity high school students should be engaging in!”  He opened his eyes and looked up at the ceiling (and a mosaic of him looked back).  “Granted we’re not officially high school students at the moment, but semantics are hardly a sticking point in the eyes of…”

He looked back at Sheila -- and had to force himself not to laugh.  The omelet sat just a few feet before him…but Sheila didn’t.  She just kept bumping around on the sides, scraping and knocking over her possessions as she waved her arms about.  “I thought I left it somewhere around here,” she muttered.”

“Miss O’Leary?  You, uh…you can see at least a little bit without your glasses, can’t you!”

“Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  I totally can, so shut up!  It’s not like I’m legally blind or anything!”  Sheila started to snort and sniffle once more, and the smile she’d painted on her face had long since started giving way.  “You just wait right there and enjoy your sexy breakfast!”  She took a step backwards, and fell onto her bed -- and knocked a Lloyd statue into her shin in the process.  “Ow!  Damn it!”

“Just reach out with your left hand and you’ll find the --”

“You be quiet!  You just…just…I dunno, start getting your back ready or whatever!  I’ll be there in a minute!”  Sheila sat up and stroked her shin, and then started her clumsy search once more.  “I can smell it.  I can smell it, because I made it with extra love!”

“No, wait!  Don’t -- watch out for the --!”

Too late.  Sheila’s foot caught a power cord, and she tripped over.  She crashed against the floor -- with no shortage of cushions, thankfully -- but the fall brought with it a tall lamp that slammed into the back of her head.  “OW!  Son of a…!”  She dragged herself upward with a growl, but in her haste (and rage) the cord started to tie itself around her. 

“Move your foot left -- now your leg over and up -- no wait, don’t move your hand there, it’ll just --”

“I’m FINE, Lloyd!  Just fine!  So fine!”  It took every ounce of willpower for Sheila to squirm free of the cord that bound her…and her squirming knocked a few statues down onto the floor.  Not that she cared; she just climbed to her feet, the frustration scribbled all over her face and her lungs (among other things) heaving.  “Okay!  NOW it’s time for that breakfast!” 

“No, don’t!  There’s a broken piece there that’s --”

Another ignored plea -- and another disaster.  Sheila stepped onto a statue’s head, and slipped on it like a banana peel.  To Lloyd’s shock, she actually took a brief flight…one that ended as soon as she crashed head-first into the far wall.  “Are you all right?” Lloyd asked.

No answer, of course.  Just another groan from Sheila…but a groan that didn’t last long.  “Aha!  I found it!” she said with a swell of pride.  She lifted her hand into the air -- and with it, a wad of cardboard Lloyd.  “This is it, Lloyd!  Better get ready!”

“Miss O’Leary…”  Lloyd couldn’t help but laugh.  “And I was just wondering to myself where the comedy in my life had gone.  Here it is!”

“Well, it’s about to be a romance!”

“I’d wager it’ll stay a comedy if you’re about to feed me cardboard.”

“Wha…?”  Sheila had to shove the cardboard into her face to be sure -- and when that didn’t work, she just shuffled it around in her hands.  “Oh, you’ve gotta be -- oh, the hell with this!”  She shoved a hand between her breasts and started fumbling around inside; after a half-minute’s time, she pulled out a trio of cookies.  Smashed, flattened cookies, but cookies all the same.

“How much stuff do you keep in there?” Lloyd asked.  But it was a question he immediately regretted; the sound of his voice drew Sheila’s eye, and with it she strode toward him (though she stepped on a fork in the process).  Somehow he couldn’t find her nearly as intimidating as he had before; she looked about ready to burst into frantic tears back then, and now she’d already started pooling the waterworks.

“I’m gonna get you this time, Lloyd!” Sheila boasted, just as she finally managed to wrap her hands around Lloyd’s arm.  “Yeah!  There you are!  Oh ho, yes!  You thought you could…” She ran a forearm across her nose, letting a good pint of snot flow across it.  “You thought you could get away from me and sexy time?  Not a chance!  This time I’ve got you right where I want you!”

“Oh, right, I’m supposed to be scared for my life, aren’t I?”

“Yes!  I mean, no!  I mean…”  She moved in front of him -- and then, she started stamping a foot against the ground.  “St-stop making this difficult!  I’m not very good at this!”

“At what?  The hostage situation, the sexy time, or seeing things an inch away from your face?  I’m not trying to be facetious; I’m genuinely curious.”

Sheila stared emptily at him. 

“Come to think of it, how well do you cook?  I seem to recall some cookies in the kitchen that --”

Sheila didn’t bother answering him.  She just took a seat atop Lloyd’s legs, ready to give him the (backup) sexy breakfast as promised.  “N-now go ahead and open wide…s-s-sweetheart.”

Unfortunately, Lloyd could do no such thing.  Because at the moment, Sheila had made a grave mistake; with her vision having bottomed out, she had no ability to judge her distance.  And with that lack of ability, she’d scooted in much too close to Lloyd.  Close enough to give him a face full -- and then some -- of her other cookies.

“Hmsgssmhgrmmfhmfdmgrfff!” he exclaimed.

Sheila pulled back, and slid off his knees onto the ground.  “Wh-what did you say?” she asked, turning as red as her evening apparel.

Lloyd -- with his neck bent a great deal backwards -- offered her a smile. “I said this is a great way to die!  I suppose now I can leave this world without regrets.”  He shifted forward as far as he could.  “Wait, are you actually embarrassed?  How do you expect to make merry if merely giving me a tour of your mountains leaves you flustered?”

“D-don’t…don’t be so mean…!” she growled/snorted. “I’m doing my best here…wha…wh-what do you want from me?!”

“Maybe a nice discussion instead?  I would have thought that the fairer sex would prefer a slower pace, rather than springing headlong into the merriment phase.”

Sheila bowed her head, as if taking in Lloyd’s words as sage wisdom.  She didn’t, of course.  She just grabbed the cookies and shoved them into Lloyd’s mouth (or as near it as she could, at least).  “Taste the love, damn it!” she roared, forcing him to chew and swallow whatever landed inside.  “TASTE MY LOVE!”

And indeed, Lloyd did taste her love.  He swallowed the cookies, leaving only chunks and crumbs atop his face -- and he stared plainly at Sheila once he’d finished. 

“Did you…did you…d-d-did you like them?”

Lloyd tilted his head to the left.  He tilted his head to the right.  He tilted to the left once more.  And then, he looked back at Sheila.  “Did you make these cookies yourself?”

“I did.  It’s my first batch ever.”

He turned his head to the left.  “Ah.  That explains it, then.”  And then a waterfall of puke burst from his mouth. 

Sheila could barely even make out the stream, but she knew the sound.  And the smell.  And with those in mind -- with Lloyd heaving in spite of barely even digesting her desserts -- she could only think of one thing to do.

She fell to her knees and burst into tears.

“UWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” she wailed, pawing at her face.  “It…it wasn’t supposed to be this way!  I was gonna…we were gonna…WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

Lloyd turned to face her.  “Now hold on there, Miss O’Leary!” he pleaded, even though he could feel his stomach about to rupture and erupt once more.  “We aren’t quite done with each other yet!  I’m sure there’s still a way for us to --”

Sheila stumbled backwards onto her bed.  “I…I did everything she told me to,” she moaned.  “What did I do wrong?”

“I beg your pardon?  Who exactly is ‘she’?”

But yet again, Sheila just ignored him.  “…Do over,” she blurted.  She leapt off the bed with her sparking rod in hand.  And the next thing Lloyd knew, everything went black.

It was going to be a long sleepover.


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