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Something More for the Fireplace. By KJ Hannah Greenberg.


No longer held captive by a lack of access to the Internet, Doris once more transformed her essays into book-length projects. Though she remained confused about the fact that her hamlet was currently housing two recently hatched chimerae and that one such itty-bitty, reptilian creature, complete with multiple heads, had been responsible for rescuing her from intellectual famine, Doris compartmentalized her knowledge, choosing, instead, to focus her energies on rhetorically touching the world.

Doris mailed many words to her editors, counting the weeks until royalties from those publications would show up in her Pay Pal account. She worked frenetically, appreciating how imperative it was for her to devote her attention to those linguistic bites before she gave birth.

Mom, on the other hand, fumed and fused as though Doris were the beast. The night before, she had attempted to enter the nest, to which she had banished Doris, via a misshaped coat hanger. Doris, having anticipated Mom’s intrusion, had blocked the channel on her room’s lock with a bent hair pin.

Whereas the guest bedroom in their home featured an en suite bathroom, Mom remained uncertain as to how her daughter was receiving nutrients; she had forgotten that take out could be both ordered and paid for via the web.

Mom’s upset was based on two Doris’ pregnancy and Wilson's irresponsibility. It was bad enough that Mom had to resort to the “big girl department” in stores and that she had to sit through countless of Hichkins’ therapy sessions in a bid to cast off her obesity. Now her daughter, too, had become a rotund woman.

As for Wilson, that piece of work was an idiot, a dork, a dumbbell, and a pure boob.

He entirely missed that fact that her precious Doris was a skinny girl whose only round feature was a pregnancy-induced billow. That fool seemed oblivious to Doris’ dainty derriere and tiny shoulders, electing not to spend his time with the mother of his child, but with Beatrice, a bumpkin whose body was all girth from ribs to pubis.

It was a pity that the gun had backfired, literally, dirtying Mom’s face rather than making an end of the father of Doris’ unborn. Perhaps arsenic or some other compound could serve instead. Mom felt remiss that she had not fully matriculated from high school, but forgave herself since chemistry had seemed so scary at the time.

Elsewhere, Charles, too, was learning that commitment to goals means strange effort. That young monster felt incapacitated. He suffered from an egodystonic state, because of the tortures applied to him by Hichkins and Hichkins’ son, Wilson. All that the chimera wanted to do was to bemoan his lost tree-top kingdom. A mere hatchling, he possessed no inkling that acrimony can supersede peace or that soul cleansing meant righting internal environments.

His present status, locked in Wilson’s hamster’s cage, prevented Charles from gamboling among gardens’ ornamental swamp grass and from gliding through neighborhood arboreal canopies. Hence, the beast lost himself to reveries about the deeds he had committed from his throne of twisted vines.

Although the little beast could view, through Hichkins’ tinted windows, bar-be-ques, camp fires, and cigarette butts, he refused to flame. Insisted he spun and spun again his mental tapes of those weeks when he had lorded over all of the sparrows, warblers, and titmice, except for those he had deigned to eat.

Jessica tsk-tsked her clutchmate’s indiscretions. It was not seemly for Charles to maintain a highly dissonant frame of mind. Ever since Hichkins had forced her sibling to differentiate among internally arising sensations and externally-sources ones, Charles’ essence had become rotten with funk. No human had the right to sully the sacrosanct subjectivities of the ancient races.

The scientist’s less-than-benevolent imprisonment of the creatures, in addition to his ludicrous attempts to brainwash them, in discord with his son’s physical assault, verbal harassment, and other coercions, made Jessica mad. The scientist was infuriating in his stupidity of execution; the youth was beyond exasperating in his cluelessness about his social impotence.

Jessica intended no repeated, aggressive behavior toward Hichkins. After reading his books on scaphism, son awing, and on flaying, she realized those arts were beyond her means; she would have to slowly slice him, instead. As for his scion Wilson, however, she meant to eat him for lunch.


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