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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Comedy · #2256671
Where to put the furniture was simple. Where to put himself was Jeremy's quandary.
Editors pick, Comedy Newsletter, 8/18/21. 921 WC entry for the "The Writer's Cramp. Prompt: write something about acquiring a piece of furniture and all of the stress of rearranging that follows

It was an old broken up furniture warehouse. The irony of living in one small apartment corner of it wasn’t wasted on Jeremy Pike. There was another piece of furniture standing in his way. “Amazing. Where do we fit, Mable?”

There might be room to fit if he sucked in his breath, held it, and wedged himself under the legs of her latest acquisition facing him inside the open front door. “Where are you, Mable?”

The jungle of collected furniture was mostly antiques, caught, bought and trapped at garage sales bargain prices by his wife, the great white huntress. Mable could be heard making huffing and puffing noises inside. “You home already? What time is it?”

“Time and past time to put an end to this, Mable.” His wife was having the time of her life pushing Jeremy out of house and home. Two-timing it, as it were, behind his back with her latest found love.

“I need a little help, here, Jeremy.”

“I’ll be happy to pay for counseling,” her husband grumped, doing a one-eighty to try their bedroom window, last refuge of a desperate man. The storm clouds gathering over his head had turned real. Lightning speared the sky, breaking it into a deluge of weeping tears and howling breath striking poor Jeremy’s ears.

“In here.” The words echoed bouncing around an eighteen hundreds wickamour to pioneer hand carved butter churn turned into a lamp and landing back in Mable’s huffing and puffing breath. “Hold this.”

Jeremy found himself gifted with Mable herself, in a warm and tender hug, sealed with a kiss. “Guess what?” she whispered with stars glinting in her eyes.

“Glad you rearranged it all to fit us together like this. Maybe we can learn to sleep standing up?”

The noise he had heard scraping and scrambling inside his domain continued. Something or someone was inside. The thought occurred that maybe it was a burglar, stealing that big 65’ Castlebury Amish Rolltop desk hanging out next to the fridge. Too much to hope for.

“No, silly,” Mabel slapped Jeremy playfully on his behind, hand rubbing it better. “I figured out how to fit more in here. I need you to help move stuff around.”

Anything but that. He’d given up his gym membership because of all the exercise he got doing that, instead. The puzzle of pieces having their fit was easier now that they were on rollers, dollies and the pulleys and ropes were permanently in place. But still.

“Wait.” Jeremy felt the creep of fear climb up his spine. Had a wild animal gotten inside through that same window he used? “We’re not alone.”

Whatever it was, triggered the moving assembly switches that months of work had put into place.Ropes whined. Pulley’s pulled. Wheels rolled. Furniture began its slow dance, groaning and bemoaning having to exchange places, yet again.

Movement stopped. The shivering in the walls died. “Saved by whatever that new thing is inside the front door. It’s the only stationary thing left.” Jeremy and Mable had been squeezed closer. An elbow or two attempted to pry themselves apart to investigate.

Last time this had happened, Two Mormon missionaries had been caught, thinking they were on their way to being transported in a heavenly earthquake before their time. They’d been kind of sad to find out otherwise, when they’d been freed and let go. Not before helping Mable move a wall worth or two of heavy lifting.

“This could be dangerous,” thinking of the mailman’s hand getting lassoed when pushing letters through the slot, while Jeremy fine tuned his lynching system in the hall. It didn’t seem to bother the man one arm stretched an inch longer than the other. He’d expressed he’d been lucky to get out alive. It inspired a change in careers. He’d become a dog catcher instead.

The couple’s renown among their neighbors knew no bounds. Tales were piled up tightly, each one added making the teller gasp for want of breath. Tours of curiosity seekers had started coming around taking up limited parking spaces and small front yards. Space was becoming a premium everywhere. “I’ve got a surprise,” Mable said.

“You’re pregnant?” Where would there be room for the baby? The couple had been forced to not just sleep in one bed but taking turns one on top of the other.

“You wish.” Mable evaded, pointed, managing to crook a finger in the direction of the strange haunting sound. “You know those complaints from the families living here?”

“Yeah, and don’t forget the city. We been getting threats to move the furniture out on the lawn or us out in the street.” Jeremy’s eyes followed the look of Mable’s moving eyes.

There was Mister Manderson, the owner of the complex, standing with one foot caught in mid air with nowhere left to rest. “Priceless items here. We’ll be rich. Sign here and we’re in the antique business. Every other renter was more than willing to leave with their bonus. I love Jeremy’s pulley system. Make it easy to move things when I open up the walls.”

Jeremy breathed a sigh of relief, scribbling his signature in return for the promised document’s handfuls of thankful cash. Mable could be seen tapping her teeth, already thinking about how to rearrange in a full warehouse’s open space.

She’d wait for the right time to tell Jeremy he was right. It was going to be twins.

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