Frank Wakes Up
Frank was a person who polite people thought of as “disagreeable”. When he was younger, he had friends and got along pretty well with others; however, at some point he developed a very annoying and unpleasant habit which gradually drove everyone out of his life. Whenever anyone did or said anything he didn’t care for, Frank opened his mouth and out came his annoying trademark. Years went by, and others were less and less tolerant of Frank. Now, only a couple of his oldest friends even bothered to check up on him at all. He was so disagreeable at this point that this didn’t bother him one bit.
Frank was sleeping in a chair in his living room when the doorbell rang. It woke Frank up. “That’s one,” he muttered as he got out of the chair. Looking through the peephole he spied a man with a thin face and a porkpie hat. Frank had no use for anybody who would wear a porkpie hat, or any other dusty old hat which he felt was out of style. “That’s two,” he growled, and set off for the attached one-car garage to find a tire iron. It took a minute or two, and when he came back brandishing the metal bar the man had gone.
Frank opened the door anyway and found what looked like a shoe box on his stoop. It was not made of cardboard like a regular shoe box; it appeared to be some unusual type of plastic. It was bright red and had a cartoon sea serpent printed on the lid. Frank picked it up and brought it inside. He sat it on the table and when he tried to open it, the latch would not release. “That’s one,” he said, and went to get some pliers.
Using the pliers he got the box open. There was nothing inside except some sort of chocolate bar with all the writing on the wrapper in some Asian language. Frank did not read any foreign languages. “That’s two,” he said, and his tone of voice was not a happy one.
Nonetheless, Frank tore open the wrapper and took a bite of the candy. Much to his distress, there was coconut mixed in with the chocolate. If I had been able to read the wrapper, he thought . . . Frank was allergic to coconut; in fact he had a violent reaction to it — his throat closed up like a steel door slamming shut and he fell writhing to the floor. After a moment his jerking and kicking stopped and he lay completely still. His eyes were open and his tongue was hanging out.
Frank had forgotten to close the front door after picking up the package. Soon the man with the thin face and the porkpie hat returned. He peered through the partially open door and saw Frank’s lifeless body on the living room carpet. The man didn’t bother to come in and he did not make any phone calls or cries for help.
He removed a small red notebook from his breast pocket. On the cover of the notebook was a picture of a cartoon sea serpent. The man with the porkpie hat opened the notebook, produced a pen, and looked down a list of names. He made a brief notation next to one of the names, then put the pen and the notebook back in his pocket. The man gave a nod in the direction of the corpse on the living room floor.
“That’s one,” he said, and he quietly pulled the door closed behind him as he stepped back onto the sidewalk. It was a bright and sunny day and the neighborhood looked positively charming.
Steve Sibra grew up in the 1960s in the tiny farming town of Big Sandy, Montana. In the 4th grade he began creating comic strips about a fire-fighting penis and has been writing creative fiction ever since. His work has appeared in numerous journals including Shattered Wig, NRG, Peckerwood, Jersey Devil Press, Jawline Review and others. He now lives in Seattle.
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(Picture derived from image by Neil Henderson)