by Little Mouse
Burt thinks he is in love with Dawn while his friend, Jen, is truely in love with him.
word count 1538
I watched the girls at the Malt Shop as they chatted and giggled. They were probably talking about me, Burt the Nerd. I didn’t care because my favorite girl was with them. She was so beautiful, blonde and shapely. I just wanted to ask her to the movie theater, or out to a nice restaurant. It didn’t matter just as long as I was with Dawn Hickman, the most popular girl at Devor High School.
I know my brown eyes were about to pop out of my head from staring at her. She turned to another girl and her purse fell off the counter and skittered toward me. With wings on my feet I rushed to pick up her purse and offered it to her like a knight in shinning armor with a pounding heart.
“Would you go…..?” I started with as much bravo as I could muster.
She turned her back on me and walked out the door with her clutch of admires. “Jerk,” drifted through the air as the door closed behind them.
“She is such a snob,” Jen said. “Come on, I’ll buy you a soda.”
Jen, Jennifer Wells, was my best friend who was patting me on the back as if I were still a child needing comfort. We had become friends in grade school when she gave the class bully a black eye for pushing me down the steps. Over the years we had studied, played games, and went to movies together. I didn’t need her sympathy. I swatted her hand away from me and left the Malt Shop. I glanced back at Jen, before the door closed, to see tears falling from her green eyes.
As I walked down the sidewalk, the sun didn’t help lighten my mood. I was looking for something to take my mind off Dawn and Jen when I ran into a sign that said, ALICE’S SHOP. Stumbling to catch the sign before it fell over, I sat the sign back up and walked across the street. Just as I was about to pass the entrance to the next store I swear a sign sailed out the door and bumped into me, then fell over. I picked up the sign which said, ALICE’S NOVELITY SHOP. I put the sign next to the building and walked down the street. How many stores dows Alice have I thought, but before I could reach the next street another sign flew through the air, smacked me in the forehead, and knocked me flat on my back in the middle of the sidewalk. Slightly dazed, I crawled to my feet and read the sign, ALICE’S TRUE LOVE SHOP.
The store front had a thick black tar like stuff that sparkled. I ran my hand over the surface and it felt lumpy but not sticky as I looked through the shop window to see if anyone was there. The shop was dimly lit but I could see someone moving around inside. The words, true love, still bubbled in by brain. If I could get something special for Dawn maybe she would go out with me. Maybe Alice had a love potion I could give her that would make her fall in love with me.
My decision was made as I eased the shop door open. Bells tinkled like a music box as the door closed. The whir of a ceiling fan caught my attention and I looked up, but the ceiling was rolling with black clouds and sheet lighting. There was no ceiling fan. I looked around the shop in stunned disbelief as the most beautiful woman walked toward me. She was dressed in a black, low cut dress and I don't know if the skirt touched the floor. She was more beautiful than Dawn.
“My name is Alice.” The lady said. “May I help you with something?” Her hair was long and black, but it changed to red, then blonde, and back to red again. “I just can’t decide what color to make my hair today,” she smiled.
“Uhhh, yes!” I stuttered. “I’m looking for a gift for a young lady. I need something to make her fall in love with me. Do you have anything that will help me? I mean her.”
“Oh, I'm not sure,” Alice said. “I’ll have to check in the storage room.”
I watched as Alice fade into nothing. The sign must have done more damage to my head than I thought. I rubbed the acne on my forehead and then ran my hand through my mousey brown hair. I heard a noise and thought Alice was back with a love potion but instead a black cat jumped onto the counter.
‘Where did you come from kitty?” I said and reached out to pet the cat.
“Don’t mess with the fur,” the cat hissed.
Now I’m positive the sign did some damage to my head.
“Your head is just fine. Just a little screwed up because you’re a jerk.” The black cat licked its lips and stared at me.
“I’m not a jerk. My name is Burt.”
“Yep, you’re Burt the Jerk.”
“That’s Burt the Nerd.” I paused and looked at the cat wondering why I say that. “Never mind! I’m looking for something to make my girlfriend fall in love with me.” I’m talking to a black cat as if that was something normal. I rubbed my head again.
“How about a Shamrock to bring you good luck, or a bear skin rug to keep her warm,” the cat said as it walked down the counter.
I looked at the shelves that held old and frayed books. A table with teapots of any design you could want. Another table held hearts in different sized bottles. Several odd looking brooms stood in the corner. There were more selves of odds and ends and more tables of things I couldn’t begin to describe.
“What kind of shop is this?” I asked.
“It’s just what you wished for Jerk,” the cat purred as it flipped its tail.
I stopped at a table that held an array of bottles. A tall blue one, about twelve inches, caught my eye and I picked it up. Jen’s favorite color I thought. Why am I thinking of Jen? I need to think of Dawn. “What is this bottle for?’
“It will answer any question you ask it,” the black cat said and jumped onto the table. “You could ask it if you are a jerk or not.”
I ignored the cat and picked up the blue bottle. Smoke swirled inside and black letters appeared in the bottle that said, “Yes, you are a jerk.”
“This is a trick. Bottles don’t have smoke in them and they don’t spell words.” I shook the bottle and the words disappeared.
“It’s not a trick. You ask the bottle the next question.”
The cat stared at me as if it was calling me a chicken. The golden eyes were daring me to ask the bottle a question.
“Ok, I’ll give it a try.” I looked at the bottle and ask, “Who will be my true love?”
The smoke swirled and the letters appeared. “Jennifer will be your true love.”
“No! That’s not possible. She’s just a friend,” I yelled at the black cat.
I wanted to date the most popular, most beautiful girl in high school. Not my best friend.
“Dawn is a snob,” the cat hissed and bared it teeth. “The sign should have hit you harder and maybe it would have knocked some sense into your head.”
I didn’t remember saying Dawn’s name or Jennifer’s either. The cat and the bottle agreed that Dawn was a snob. Then I remembered how Dawn snub and laughed at me every time I tried to be nice to her. Jen was always there to make me feel better and I just hurt her feeling.
“There you are dear,” the beautiful lady walked through the black curtains from the back storeroom. “I can’t find a thing that will make Dawn fall in love with you.”
I stood with the blue bottle in my hand and watched the beautiful lady slowly turn into an old woman. Her hair went from red to silver.
“I’ll buy this bottle.” I said reaching into my pocket for money.
“It’s on the house,” the cat said as the old woman disappeared before my eyes.
“Thanks,” I muttered.
“Come on Sugar, leave the young man alone,will ya?” the old woman chuckled and disappeared again.
“Sugar?” I laughed.
The cat raised its right front paw and hissed, “Don’t mess with a black cat.”
The ceiling popped and crackled as a lighting bolt speared out of the black clouds. I ran out the front door just in time. The lighting hit the door and ALICE’S TRUE LOVE SHOP vanished. An empty building stood before me with a For Lease sign on the door.
I looked at the bottle in my hand. The smoke had disappeared and there was a light blue ribbon tied in a bow around the its neck. A long stem red rose nestled in the bottle. As I headed back to the Malt Shop and Jen, I heard the cat hiss, “Jerk.”