November’s Short Story: Home & Dragons Part 2

It’s 17 November, the third Thursday of the month. That means it’s time for a story.

Today, Home & Dragons Part 2: Whatever It Takes for a Perfect Wedding.

When last you saw our fearless home decorators and dragon savers, they were racing to safety.

And yes, since my last post, I spent some time hanging out with polar bears. More about that another day.

They guy arrived in time for tea.

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Home & Dragons Part 2

The hum of the air conditioner whirled in Jasper’s ear like a lullaby. He opened his eyes, flipped from his side to his stomach, pulled the bed sheet out from under him, and fluffed his pillow. He pushed his head deep into the pillow, sighed, and tapped his watch on the side table. Bright green numbers,1:05, burned into his eyes. 

“I just want to sleep,” he moaned.

He rolled onto his back and closed his eyes. The day’s to-do list flipped through his mind.

Rolling to his side, he punched his pillow and sat up. “No, that’s yesterday. It’s already tomorrow. Dammit!”

He got up, ripped his robe off the side chair, and marched around the bed toward the door, but before an arm made it into his robe and he could open the door of the bedroom, he tripped on a shoe and fell.

“Ow!” he screamed as his butt smacked onto the floor just before his hand hit the errant shoe and the back of his head hit the floor.

The sound of bare feet on thin carpet smacked down the hall. His bedroom door flew open, slamming into the front of his head. Golden fireworks exploded before his eyes as the overhead light blared to life.

Randell’s voice echoed in Jasper’s ears as two hands pulled on his right arm. “Dude! Dude! You okay?”

Jasper yanked his arm back in its socket. “I was until you slammed the door into my head.”

“Sorry. I heard something fall and thought you might be hurt or something.”

The concern in Randell’s voice spread guilt through Jasper, even as his head ached. “I’m all right. Appreciate you checking,” said Jasper, rubbing the side of his head with his palm. Soon, there would be a bump on the front of his head matching the bump forming on the back of his head.

“Glad you’re okay, dude,” said Randell. “As long as we’re up, want breakfast? I’m starving.”

“When are you not starving?” cracked Jasper. He lifted the shoe he’d tripped on. “Why is your shoe in my bedroom?” He tossed it to Randell and pushed himself up, stopped, and sat on his knees. He leaned against the bed, gripping the sheets as his fingers formed tight fists. “I think I’m going to barf.”

“Eewww, dude,” moaned Randell. “I can’t be here for that. Want me to get you something? When I feel like barfing, I eat. Always settles my stomach.”

Jasper lowered his head to his knees, and the nausea faded. He braced himself against the bed frame as he allowed one vertebra at a time to lift his head until a blue light under the bed flashed. He froze and pushed the covers to the center of the bed before reaching for the object.

Randell used his shoe to tap the side of his head. “I was wondering where I’d left this . . .” He didn’t finish his sentence.

“Oh, shit.” Jasper moaned, pulling the glowing blue box out from under the bed. “Oh shit,” he said again, letting his butt fall back to the floor. “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.”

“Cool box,” Randell said. He moved to sit on the bed in front of Jasper. “Dude, you’re like turning all gray and green. Do you like, need an ambulance or something?”

“We’re so screwed,” muttered Jasper.

“What?”

Sweat oozed from Jasper’s pores. His breaths quickened. “This is supposed to be at the Lopez/Morgan wedding—the biggest wedding we’ve ever done. Nothing will work without it. Not the lights, the sounds, the special lift for the couple’s entrance. The groom’s the mayor’s nephew. We’ll never get another gig in this town.”

Randell laughed and patted his friend on his back. “Dude, is that all? No sweat! I’ll take it over there myself in the morning. Let’s get some grub. It’ll make you—”

“You don’t get it!” shouted Jasper. “It’s a solstice wedding. It starts in one hour. The reception is downtown, where everyone—including the mayor—will be in less than ninety minutes.”

“So, I’ll go now,” said Randell. “Relax. And if I leave right now, I can still drive through for some grub.”

Jasper jumped off the bed, grabbing his jeans folded and waiting for him at the foot of his bed. “We have to go now! There’s no time for breakfast.” He ran out of the room with Randell close behind. Jasper stopped only to scoop two T-shirts off the drying rack in the bathroom, throwing one to Randell.

“Slow down.” Randell laughed, dangling a set of keys. “Not going to get far without these.”

Jasper stopped in front of his SUV and pounded his fist against the hood. “How the hell am I going to get in to get this set up? The building will be locked.”

Randell opened the driver’s side door. “I got this, dude. Caterers will be there. And if not, I know a back way in.” Randell started the engine. The tires squealed as he raced the SUV backwards out of the driveway of the apartment complex.

*****

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