by Hugh Wesley
Watch those typos!
|“This book will change your life,” the strange old lady at the carnival had said, pointing to the cover: Verbatim.
Yeah, right, Fred thought. Just like those diet pills that helped him gain twenty pounds last month.
“Just be sure you write exactly what you mean,” said the old huckster. “There are no do-overs!”
Fred was a sucker for intrigue.
He plopped down on the couch and flipped to the first page. It looked like one of those old MadLibs to him. It began … “He could __ the __ of __ coming from __.”
Fred shook his head, but he dutifully filled in the blanks: smell, aroma, pasta, the kitchen.
Suddenly, the heavenly scent of fettuccini alfredo filled his nostrils. He looked toward the kitchen, but it was dark.
“You’re losing it, Freddie,” he said to himself.
He turned his eyes back to the book, where the next line read, “Her _ was like the __ of __.”
Fred held the pencil to his lips for a moment, thinking, then filled in the blanks: song, voice, angels.
Strains of “Ave Maria” lilted from the kitchen, brushing against Fred’s eardrums like angel hair. It was the sweetest sound he had ever heard.
And it scared the bejesus out of him.
“Hello?” he croaked. “Is someone there?”
The food smells intensified, and the song hypnotized him, pinning him in place.
Fred glanced down at the page:
“She was the __ who __ his __.”
woman … pierced … heart
Heavy bootsteps thundered in the kitchen, and the pungent odor of horse droppings swallowed the pasta perfume.
Fred gasped and looked toward the kitchen just as the door exploded off its hinges. He jumped to his feet, dropped the book to the carpet.
As the lance tore through his chest, he caught a final glimpse of the words he had scrawled: roman … pierced … heart