NaNoWriMo Day 28 (1001 words) Visions from the Coffee Cup

The door fell from the cabinet, and the creature bolted to the other side. Allen leapt to open the other door and swat the creature away before he took that door too. But Allen stepped on one of the plates and his foot slipped out. He landed hard and slammed his shoulder against a plate, and it snapped in half. The voice of the creature came through the cabinet door. It said, “Stop that.”

Allen said, “Stop what?” He struggled to get up from the floor trying to ignore the pain of his fall. He pushed up to his hands and knees. When he reached up to the counter to pull himself up the shifting weight caused another plate to snap under his knee.

The creature said, “Stop that. Don’t break the dishes.”

Allen said, “What? You don’t like that?” He grabbed one of the plates from off the counter and slammed it against the metal of the kitchen sink. The plate shattered into small pieces. There was a thump, and the creature fell out of the cabinet into the counter. The creature got back onto its feet, but it looked dazed.

Allen picked up another plate and held it over his head. The creature said, “I hate that sound. Please, stop.”

Allen said, “Then you better stop taking my house apart.”

The creature said, “Listen, wizard. You called me here and didn’t assign a task for me to do. You can’t expect me not to be bored.”

Allen said, “I am no wizard.”

The creature said, “Clearly not. Wizards are never so cruel. Trap me somewhere with nothing to fix. You know a gruagach who isn’t properly worked at night can’t sleep through the day.” The creature folded its arms and lowered its head. “I was just doing something so I could get exhausted enough to get some sleep.”

Allen said, “If I give you a job, will you go away?”

The creature said, “First you call me an asshole, then you start breaking plates where I can hear them. I don’t think I want to do anything for you.”

Allen said, “You don’t, do you? Then I will make you go away.”

The creature said, “I don’t know how you can see me or even understand what I am saying, but I am starting to think you are not the wizard that brought me here and definitely not the one that trapped me here.”

Allen said, “And what if I’m not.”

The creature said, “I guess that means I get no sleep especially with you breaking dishes, and I have no where to run to get away from the noise.”

Allen said, “If you go back to taking my house apart, I will break more.”

The creature said, “I already figured that out. I’m not stupid.” The creature let his arms drop to his side, and he looked up at Allen. “Well, if you don’t know magic, you could at least show a little hospitality. There is power to hospitality.”

Allen said, “Are you saying you want me to invite you to dinner?”

The creature said, “That’s not usually the way it happens, but that would be a start.”

Allen said, “If you are good, I will ask Linda if you can eat dinner with us. I will even let you talk to my son.”

The creature said, “I would like that. Most people would just build me a bed and leave a little food out at night. Then, they pay me when the job is done.”

Allen said, “Let me see if I have a shoebox. Would a shoebox and a rolled-up towel be an acceptable bed?”

The creature said, “That sounds like heaven right about now.”

Allen ended up moving all of his tools out of the toolbox and put the towel in there. Allen put the makeshift bed on the counter and set a cracker and a piece of cheese next to it. Alen said, “Don’t eat too much if you want to be hungry for dinner tonight.”

The creature said, “Could you give me a hand? Just hold the cabinet doors in place and I will put the screws back in.” They put the cabinets back together fairly quickly then the creature said, “Put all the broken plates in one place and I will fix them tonight. That is too big of a job for me to do and still get some sleep before dinner.” The creature laid down in the toolbox and pulled a bit of towel over him as a makeshift blanket.

Allen went into the other room to let the creature sleep. He texted Linda to tell her who was joining them for dinner. Linda didn’t seem too shocked to hear the news, and she said that she didn’t think he would eat much. When Markey got home from school, he seemed delighted to hear who he would be having dinner with. Linda said, “Son, this doesn’t mean that you can be that this was ok. You need to be completely sure you aren’t letting things through. It could have turned out much worse.”

Markey said, “Sorry, mom.”

Linda called everyone to the table. She looked at the creature, and said, “I hope you don’t mind paper plates.” Allen looked a little dejected. Linda said, “No, honey. You did great.”

During dinner Markey and the gruagach talked almost the whole time. And by the end of the dinner the creature even whispered his true name in Markey’s ear. After dinner, the creature climbed up on Markey’s shoulder and they went off and played. The next morning, they had a stack of plates in the cabinet that looked just as good as new. And on the counter next to the toolbox where they had left a stack of coins the night before was a tiny note. It said, “Thank you for a great night. The next time you need any work done, feel free to ask for me by name.”

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