by JW Fiction
Rated: GC · Short Story · Comedy · #2104769
Three strangers fall into a bottomless pit. Three years later, they celebrate a birthday.
|“Happy birthday, Jesse!”|
I awoke floating in emptiness, as I had for the past three years. Burt, the ever-cheerful Vampire, sat cross-legged in the gap of nothingness that we came to know as home. His eyes were wide, his gaze focused on me like a kid beside his parents’ bed on Christmas morning. I tried to force a grateful smile. It was thoughtful, after all.
“Thanks, Burt. Time flies- err, time falls. For us, I guess.”
My acknowledgement of his sharp memory sent Burt into a joyful frenzy and he began somersaulting through the air towards Lenny, the grumpy Leprechaun, who was beginning to stir.
“Damn it, Burt, I was just having the greatest dream. There was a fine lass involved, and you wake me up to stare at your pale, undead face.”
Burt was unfazed. “You know what day it is, Lenny?”
“Arbor day? For fuck’s sake, mate. Let me sleep.”
“It’s Jesse’s birthday!”
Lenny paused a moment and turned to me. We hadn’t been speaking lately. Not out of hate or some petty roommate feud, just boredom, I suppose. That happens when you live in a pit. Well, when you live in the never-ending air of a pit. Lenny grunted and turned over.
“Happy birthday, kid.”
“Thanks.” I said. I looked up and wondered what time it was. I don’t know why I bothered. We hadn’t seen daylight in over a year. We were just there, in the darkness of the pit, the only light coming from the glow of Lenny’s pot of gold. It was our Sun, our warmth. Even in this void, gold still had value to us. Maybe that was the problem.
“How old are ya, anyway?” Lenny said, pretending not to be as interested as he was.
“Well, I’d be 28 now, if we were back in the world.”
“Ha! 28,” Lenny chuckled. “Get a load of that, Vamp. Serves us right for ending up in here, following an infant! 28. What are you up to, Burt? 400? 500?”
“I’m 748 years old!” Burt gloated, overjoyed to be included in conversation for once.
“Aye, that’s up there. A little over 300 myself. And in all my years I never got myself in this deep before.”
“Pun intended?” I asked, a little sarcastically. I was trying to toe the line of playful banter with Lenny. It was my fault we fell into this pit, after all. He hadn’t forgotten that and I doubted he would anytime soon.
“Ugh. Humans. What do you got in store for us this year? Planning on summoning a Troll to throw rocks at us?”
Burt shot up behind me and I nearly shit myself. Vampires are silent enough when they have surfaces to move around on. There in the pit, he was practically a ghost.
“I met a Troll once! My friend Carlos bit him and, well, have you ever heard of a Vampire Troll?”
Lenny ignored him. “Or maybe you’ll find another Wizard with a magic door. Real good the last one did us.”
“Here we go,” I said. “We’ve been awake 5 minutes and here we go. Yes, it’s my fault, Lenny, but it’s my birthday. My birthday, Lenny. Give me a break.”
“I’m just saying,” Lenny interjected, air-swimming closer to me to get in my face. “I must be as dumb as the blood-sucking half-wit, to follow a Human and a Vampire to a Wizard’s shop in the back of a Costco.”
I sighed. “There it is.” I could remember that day clearly. The last thing I ever saw before I fell into the pit was a Kit-Kat bar stuck in the bottom of a Vending machine. The Wizard had taken us- Lenny, Burt, and I, all strangers at the time, to the employee break room. The Wizard had been handing out free samples of gourmet organic caramel popcorn. Didn’t taste much different from Cracker Jacks, though.
When he entered the store my focus was drawn immediately to Lenny, all 4 feet and 250 pounds of him, lugging his pot of gold that was nearly as big as he was. He was limping along, his arms clearly exhausted dragging the pot around, shouting at a clerk who looked to be at least 5 hours past mentally checking out. I stood there with the Wizard, chewing on the overpriced Cracker Jack knock-off.
“What do you mean the Coinstar is broken? You got any idea how bloody heavy this is?”
“I’m sorry, Sir, but we have no control over the Coinstar machine. It’s provided by an outside Vendor.”
“Oh for fuck’s sake!” Lenny cried.
The clerk mumbled some more apologies and walked away, dissipating into the air. Costco had really cut down on payroll expenses by hiring Ghosts. Lenny stumbled over to the Wizard’s stand and grabbed a cup of popcorn, shoving handful after handful into his mouth.
“Looks like a lot of coin, man.” I said, kind of stoned, I admit.
Lenny grunted. “A lot, hmpf!” The pot sat by his side, a golden light radiating around it.
“Perhaps I can help you,” the Wizard said. “If riches it what you value, that is.”
“What else is there to value?”
“I like weed.” I said.
The Wizard stepped from behind his stand. “Come with me,” he said. “And I will bring you riches.” I followed after the Wizard, not having much else to do that day. Lenny hurried after us, trying to make sure no gold fell out of his pot. As we passed through the frozen food section, a grim apparition floated down from behind a freezer.
“That sure is a lot of gold!” The Vampire exclaimed.
“You’re an observant night walker, aren’t you?” Lenny cracked, not stopping to look at Burt.
Burt followed us, curious as a puppy. “Where are you guys taking all that gold?”
I shrugged at him.
“Enough,” the Wizard said. “We’re here.”
The Wizard stood before the employee break room door and stared into Lenny’s eyes like he was looking into his soul. I swear I heard horns and strings, but I could have just been really high.
“Behind this door lies a path of no return. Behind it is a portal that will transport you to a place of wonder, where you will be showered with all the riches you deserve. You have one chance to turn back now.”
“Alright,” I said, and began to open the door.
“No, not you.” The Wizard adjusted his hat and rubbed his forehead. “I was talking to the Leprechaun. I’ve only been talking to the Leprechaun. Why are you here?”
Burt jumped between us and the Wizard.
“I’d like some riches!”
“Yeah, me too, I guess.” I said. “Why can’t I have any riches?”
The Wizard sighed. A nasally announcement came through over the loudspeaker.
“Wesley, please return to your Free Sample Stand. Wesley, please return to your Free Sample Stand.”
“Fine! He shouted at us. All of you, then. Enter through this door and you will receive all the riches that you deserve!”
Lenny hesitated. “Aye, I’m not so sure about this, mates.”
“Eh,” I groaned and opened the door. I walked into the break room and in front of me was the vending machine. There was a Kit-Kat bar stuck in the bottom. I was incredibly hungry and reached out for it before the floor came up from under me.
“HOOOOOOOLY SHIIIIIT!” I yelled.
“OH! That sounds fun!” I could hear Burt yell and before I knew it he was falling down with me. We tumbled for a minute through the pit until we saw the glow of Lenny’s pot of gold plummeting towards us.
“For fuck’s sake! I should have known better! Bloody Wizards and their bloody games!”
I was shaken back to reality by Lenny knocking on my head. I was back in the pit again. I had been doing that a lot lately, getting lost in memories.
“Hello! Is there an intelligent life form in there?”
“Stop it.” I said. “Don’t you have anything better to do?
Burt lit up. “We need a cake! How about a birthday cake?”
Lenny ignored him. “Anything better, mate? Oh, let me just turn on my flat screen tv and put the game on. Anything better to do? Psh.”
“I like chocolate cake.” Burt said.
“Yeah, I get it, Lenny. It’s my fault. I’m 28 and you’re a fucking ancient Leprechaun. What does it say about you, then? No one made you follow me!”
“Maybe red velvet.” Burt again. “That would probably be better.”
“Cake!?” Lenny shouted. “Fine, Burt! Go get us a cake! That would be wonderful and oh so logical! Just go back to the Costco and get us a red velvet cake!”
“OK!” Burt squeeled and began floating up towards the entrance of the pit.
Lenny and I stared each other, mouths wide open.
“BURT!” I called out. “How the fuck are you doing that?”
“I can fly!” He said, almost mocking me. “I am a Vampire, you know.”
Burt continued floating up until we could no longer see him. Lenny and I floated alone, falling deeper into the pit.
“For fuck's sake.” Lenny said. “You think he’s coming back?”
“At least there will be cake.”