It is time. Time for another Twitter story, even though I haven't slept and it's five in the morning. You don't want to know how I've spent the last twelve hours, but suffice it to say my stomach is an acid churn and my clothes reek of cigarette smoke. Yay for strange nights and god damn.
Today's Twitter story comes from @lauriewrites, who shed several story topics in one tweet. I've picked popsicles, because I have this nutty idea that I can compel and entertain you with the spectre of popsicles (a spectre which is not haunting Europe, by the way).
Down Vernon Street we ran and ran, our feet pounding and skipping down the sidewalk, leaping over cracks and landing solidly in the center of the concrete panels. Time and time, our worlds gridded by invisible rules constantly resolving and dissolving according to whim.
"Chan!" called Bo. "We found something! It's here!"
And there it was, as Bo had promised: a three-legged dog, blonde and stinking with nameless carrion. We crowded around it, thrilled at its novelty.
"What's its name?" someone asked.
Bo waved the question away. "Stupid, there's no name. We have to make one." And that's how Bo took us down and built us up, all in one gesture.
"He's Bernie," Steven said. Lila agreed: "He's a Bernie." Bernie seemed to like the name instantly, nosing himself into the little knot of us. We pet him despite the stink off his fur.
"He must be hungry," concluded Bo. "Chan, go get him some food. Your house is right there."
Chan broke away from Bernie, whose eyes were rolling back and forth alarmingly. He crossed the street and entered his house. Once there he noticed the smell on his hands and jacket, the sharp putrid tang of Bernie. He smelled the palms of his hands, daring himself to smell deeper, then rubbed his hands over his face. Now he was more like that stray dog, the one with three legs and the nervous face.
"What is that smell?" Chan's mother asked. She sniffed the air tentatively, testing out the upper strata before dipping her nose down to her child's face. "Oh my god. What the hell is that?"
"It's Bernie," Chan explained. "He's a dog and he doesn't have a leg and Bo found him and I have to get him some food."
"Bernie?" his mother echoed. She went to the window and looked out. "Oh my god."
Chan's mother raced outside. Chan went to the window and watched as his mother raced down the steps, arms flapping like a panicked bird about to take flight. We blanched. Bernie erupted from the pack, zipping through the Ehrenmachers' yard and out of sight. The Ehrenmachers made candy apples for Halloween.
Through the window Chan watched his mother point at the houses on the block. She was sending us all home. We shuffled away, tinged with guilt for a crime we didn't quite understand.
Chan's mother strode back in. "Now I have to phone all their parents," she muttered to herself. "Chan, you get in the bath right now."
"Can I put some food out for Bernie?" Chan asked.
His mother sighed. "Here," she said. "You can eat a popsicle. Then you can have a bath and take food out for Bernie." She drew out a popsicle from the freezer and broke it decisively on the edge of the counter. Chan took the proffered half and started chewing on the end.
"But what about Bernie?" he asked. "What kind of food does he like?"
"We're saving the second half of the popsicle for Bernie," she said. "You finish your half and clean up first."
Chan ate his popsicle as quickly as possible, freezing his mouth several times in the process. After the bath, which took a while, he forgot to ask whether Bernie had had his popsicle. It took him nearly thirty years to remember.