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Happy Bunnies

(by Ian Smith 100 ) Tills beeped. I stared into the shop window, and inhaled the newness. I pushed open the doors. I bought the first item that fitted. The receipt went in the bag, and I walked out.

Nad was waiting outside.

“What did you get?”

I held up the item. He inspected it.

“Excellent. Let’s go.”

We headed to The Cavort in The Orcus shopping centre. We joined a queue. A dancing laser imp moved over the pavement, and over me. I shielded my eyes, and moved forwards, but a large hand was placed on my chest. A man in a suit looked down at me.

“Smile, sir.”

I obeyed. My lower lip cracked. The atmosphere had dried my skin. I turned it back in my mouth, and sucked it.

The doorman took his hand away. I walked into The Cavort. Nad was sitting at the bar with tall glasses of what appeared to be fizzy treacle. I sat on a tall chair next to him. He was studying the label on the bottle.

“Twelve per cent proof. Made from the ink of the California, Monterey, long-finned squid. Squid-ink beer. Try it.”

I checked the facts. Squid changes colour faster than a chameleon, has three hearts, pumps blue blood, is jet powered, inspires legends, and is thought to be the most intelligent of earth invertebrates.

I looked round. The people in The Cavort were watching me.
I picked up the bag, climbed off the stool, and headed for the bathroom. It was no big deal. I took the item out of the bag, and put it on. I was part of the scenery.

Back at the bar, the people checked me out.

Jacko arrived.

“Evil.”

Nad clapped.

“Yeah, evil.”

I lifted the squid ink beer.

“Thanks.”

It tasted burnt, and sweet. Jacko watched me through the bottom of the glass. He tapped a cigarette on the bar. I put the glass down. Jacko leaned back.

“Cruel.”

“Thanks Jacko.”

“You wouldn’t want to look out of place.”

“Of course not.”

“Where did you get it?”

“Why do you want to know?”

“So I can avoid the shop.”

I walked right into that one. Nad and Jacko laughed as though it was the funniest joke ever. Their laughter hurt. Then they stopped. I’d never seem them act that way before.

“Sorry Jacko, it’s not your league.”

“What’s that?”

“I said it’s not your league, Jacko.”

“Not my league. What do you mean?”

“It’s a joke. Lighten up. I was only trying to fit in, as instructed.”

“It’s a dull jacket. That’s what it is.”

“It’s just a regular jacket, Jacko.”

“It’s crap.”

Jacko’s face trembled. His eyes wobbled in their sockets. He was not a happy bunny.

“Siddown Jacko.”

“It’s crap. What are you that’s so important?”

“What are you, Jacko?”

“Listen.”

“Siddown.”

He just wanted to fight. I could have sworn he was crying. He shouted so loudly, all the people in The Cavort looked round, and then the doorman appeared.

“Is everyone enjoying themselves, sir?”

Jacko pointed at me. I was sure I was dead. Everyone in The Cavort froze, and looked at us.

“It’s the squid ink beer.”

“I’m fine.”

“He’s had too much, and he needs to leave now.”

“No.”

The doorman stood over us.

“Why don’t you all sit down?”

But it was too late for that.

The people stared as though they’d seen something new. I stared back at them. I laughed into their unprotected faces. My lower lip split. I laughed until I was melting them. I couldn’t help it. No one looked twice after that kind of surgery.
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