LADY GAGA’S REVENGE • by Gretchen Bassier

Dimitri tolerated the crown.

It was too sparkly, and the duct tape itched his stone scalp, but he put up with it because the new homeowners were young. “Just Married.” Right now, everything was the first: first house, first lawn, first time shoveling snow off the porch where they’d shared their first “official” kiss.

But it wouldn’t last. Soon enough, the husband would stop whistling as he carried sagging trash bags to the curb. The wife would stop blowing him kisses as he left for work. There would be under-the-breath muttering, leading to “discussions” in false-calm tones, which would eventually erupt into yelling contests over who left the damn toilet seat up and who should’ve had dinner ready because it wasn’t like she was doing anything else all day.

Dimitri had seen it many times. “First” got tarnished fast. Cute got old. Fun got to be too much work. When that day came, the crown would go.

And he was right — at the end of the month, the wife came and peeled the itchy thing off. The words “HAPPY NEW YEAR” flashed like white diamonds as she carried the plastic decoration away. Dimitri watched her go, his sharp teeth locked in a grin.

That night, for the first time in weeks, ice-wind howled across his smooth concrete contours, unobstructed by tackiness. Freezing rain washed sticky residue away, and Dimitri was free.

Two days later, he saw the wife approaching again, a paper Kroger bag in her hand. The bag crinkled as she pulled out two feathery, cloud-white wings. She slipped them on over Dimitri’s pointed ones. Another crinkle, and she withdrew a heart-shaped candy tin. Silver words curled across the red lid: “Be Mine.” She taped the tin to Dimitri’s right front paw.

His jaw tightened, grey teeth grinding. The bag crinkled.

Out came a thick white shape — part-cottony, part-plastic — bearing a word Dimitri did not recognize: “HUGGIES.” Understanding arrived quickly enough as she began to feed the cloth-plastic in between his back legs.

Dimitri’s jaw clenched tighter. A tooth cracked.

The wife secured the diaper and stood back, giggling. Then she turned and walked away.

A month passed. An entire month of feathery, heart-shaped, incontinence-implying indignities. The neighborhood boys pointed at Dimitri. They laughed at him. One of them actually patted Dimitri’s swaddled backside.

When the wife finally returned to strip off the foulness, it took fine-tuned control not to nip her.

Dimitri spent the next three days hoping vainly for snow, sleet, bird crap — anything to make him feel clean again. On the fourth day, the wife reappeared.

Carrying a bag.

The months that followed were the longest in Dimitri’s existence. There was a shamrock necklace, and a sign that read, “Kiss Me, I’m IRISH!” There were fuzzy purple bunny ears and plastic eggs. There were hats, aprons, beards and, at one point, over twenty fluttering American flags, their miniature poles cruelly jammed in his every orifice.

By mid-summer, Dimitri realized that the couple had gone off-calendar, inventing new holidays on a whim.

He endured all of August wearing a grass hula skirt and two dandelion-yellow leis. Gaudy, star-shaped sunglasses rested on his snout, staining the world sepia.

Two doors down, a white-painted cement goose sat naked and bare. It mocked him.

September found Dimitri in a backpack and a baseball cap, rainbow piles of crayons littered at his feet. The bright-colored wax-sticks grew soft each day in the afternoon haze. Eventually, they wilted and puddled. Dimitri stared straight ahead, stone-faced, while the husband scraped the Crayola mess away.

Across the street, the neighbors were decorating. Dimitri watched them set fat orange gourds along the porch railing. He watched the neighbors hang black plastic tarantulas and tape a green-skinned paper witch to the front door.

Dimitri watched, and he knew.

Of all the holidays, only one belonged to things that stalked the night. Creatures that shrank from the sun and bayed at the silver-white face of the moon. Creatures like him.

This was his month.

The next time the wife approached, Dimitri didn’t feel the usual hot surge in his belly. For once, his teeth weren’t aching to bite. Instead, he eyed the brown bag curiously… almost hopefully.

He wondered if she’d bought him a cape — something slippery and black, with slits to show off his majestic wings. Or perhaps a tasteful gold medallion, strung on blood-colored ribbon. Or maybe, just maybe, a pair of mini-light bulbs to make his eyes burn bright.

Dimitri’s cold heart quickened at the thought.

The bag crinkled.

A pile of long, straw-colored hair emerged, tied in a perfect bow. The wife taped the wig to Dimitri’s head. She wedged a pair of fake, puckering lips into Dimitri’s rigid mouth, and painted — actually painted — his curved claws a glittery, bubble-gum pink. Then she hung a sign around his neck:

“I Was Born This Way!”

The wife called her husband over. “Look, Babe — it’s Lady Gaga!”

They both stood back, laughing madly.

It was the hair-bow that broke the gargoyle’s back. That night, with the full moon above his only silent witness, Dimitri spat out the lips. He stretched his large bat wings, shook his dragon’s head, and climbed off his pedestal.

The cat door was a tight fit. The kitchen tiles were ice-smooth and the carpeted stairs were soft. The bedroom was dark as he slipped inside and set to work.

When Dimitri finally returned to his perch, the moon was low. Sharp pink claws were smeared garish red, and a demon smile sat upon his cold grey lips.

It was nearly daybreak when the screaming started. Female shrieks, piercing the sleepy neighborhood as the wife took in the horror lying beside her:

Her husband’s snoring cave of a mouth, sloppily outlined in Covergirl red. Bunny ears on his head, hula skirt hugging his waist, and a message painted on his curly-haired chest in bubble-gum pink: “Kiss Me, I’m IRISH!”

Dimitri’s smile widened at the memory.

He wondered if she’d spotted the flag yet.


Gretchen Bassier has a BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan. She works in healthcare, and her socks are often mismatched.


This story is sponsored by
Debi Blood‘s exciting new young adult fantasy novel, The Glendale Witch.

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Every Day Fiction

  • Apart from the plot holes towards the end (how big is Dimitri if he fits through the cat flap, where did the hula skirt come from and why didn’t the wife wake up?), this was an excellent story, especially for Halloween.

  • I loved this. At first I thought the stone narrator was a dog, but the dragon’s head and bat wings put me right on that. The line ‘…with the full moon above his only silent witness…’ made me think the moon was above his witness, rather than was his witness. I would have like as ‘as’ after ‘above’. But a minor quibble in a wonderfully enjoyable tale.

  • Really funny. I guess they won’t be dressing Dimitri as a Thanksgiving turkey now …

  • Fun and imaginative, I enjoyed this piece. The ending was well delivered, and the over all cadence felt smooth. My only gripe would be struggling to imagine what Dimitri was for the first part of the story, but once the image was made complete, everything clicked well.

    All in all a good read. Well done!

  • Rose Gardener

    I thought Dimitri was a stone angel/dog until the gargoyle revel made sense of the wings. But the last line made me guffaw with laughter and all is forgiven. Fun read!

  • JoeK

    I struggled a little bit at first, too, but found the “concrete contours” line to be an excellent reveal, subtle, just like every other part of the plot. I’m going a rare five stars on this, though maybe I’m just caught up in the Halloween spirit! *smile*

  • I used to have a large gargoyle doorknocker that I festooned with appropriately-colored ribbons for every major holiday. *Whew!* What a close call I had!

    I loved Dimitri and I promise I’ll never decorate another gargoyle.

  • A perfect Halloween story. Loved it. Gargoyles, aren’t they just the best. Gotta give this a high five…..

  • Thanks to those who explained that Dmitri was a stone carving. My mind kept bouncing from parrot to dog to party to a marriage triangle.

  • VMcKay

    Ha,ha. Loved it! The last line made me laugh out loud. 🙂

  • JenM

    I also thought Dimitri was a dog and thought there was real animal abuse going on here, what with things sticking out of him. The revel that he was a gargoyle was a fun one though and my horrified reaction works well since it is Halloween. I loved Dimitri’s reven.
    Great story. Hope everyone has a Happy Halloween!

  • Paul Friesen

    cool

  • Fun and colorful, a great read for Halloween. I loved it!

  • fishlovesca

    Creepy funny. Love that Lady Gaga was the final straw.

  • kathy k

    Great story Gretchen.

  • Really enjoyed this. Thanks!

  • Allison Light

    Very cute! I knew what he was soon enough, and I think it was very well done, how his identity was suggested at but never outright revealed. His characterization was amusing and the ending certainly made me smile. Great job!

  • Jeremy Bassier

    Very enjoyable, Gretchen. As the reader, you definitely identify with Dimitri and are quickly rooting for him to get back at the annoying newlyweds. Did he not run into the cat on the way in or do they not have one?

  • Gretchen Bassier

    Hi, fellow EDF readers! I hope everybody had a wonderful Halloween! Thank you all so much for reading, and for making my Halloween a special one with your nice comments :).

    Individual replies:

    @ 1.) Hi, Paul! Glad you liked the story, despite certain unexplained elements. As for your questions, let’s say…a.) roughly the size of a beagle, b.) he found the box in the closet where the wife kept the seasonal decorations, and c.) Ambien??? Do those work? 🙂 Thanks for reading; your comments made me smile.

    @ 2.) Thank you, Samantha! You are quite right, the line works much better with the word ‘as.’ I need to watch out for those tricky lines that can read much differently than intended!

    @ 3.) Thanks so much, Erin! He will definitely not be a turkey, nor will he have to wear a Santa beard! 😉

    @ 4.) J. Chris Lawrence, you are not the only one who
    struggled with figuring out what the character was. The editorial team at EDF suggested I add more clues, so I did change/add a few words to indicate earlier in the story that he was a statue/stone being of some kind, but I should probably have added some stronger hints! Sorry about that. Glad you enjoyed the tale anyway! Thanks for reading!

    @ 5.) Thank you, Rose! I am glad it made you laugh. That is great to hear. You are one of my favorite people at EDF because you helped get my first story published! Many thanks :).

    @ 6.) Hi, JoeK! Thank you so much for the lovely rating. I think all of EDF was infected by the Halloween spirit today, and hey, I am not complaining! Thanks for reading!

    @ 7.) Seriously, Debi, you dodged a bullet. Always remember: if it has a head, it could – potentially – have a brain. Best to be careful! 😉 Thank you so much for reading and reviewing – I love getting comments from you.

    @ 8.) Thanks for the fiver, Seattle Jim! I’m so glad people were ok with having a humor story on Halloween. And yes, you’re absolutely right – gargoyles rule!

    @ 9.) Hi, Roberta! Sorry about the confusion – see my reply above to J. Chris Lawrence (#4). Thanks for reading!

    @ 10.) Thank you, VMcKay! I’m glad it made you laugh. The location of the flag, is, of course, left up to the reader’s imagination :).

    @ 11.) Hi, JenM – you’re right, that would have been truly awful if Dimitri was someone’s pet. I didn’t mean to horrify anyone quite that badly, but I’m glad it worked out okay in the end, once you knew what he actually was. Thank you for reading, and I hope you had a great Halloween, too!

    @ 12.) Thanks, Paul! Glad you liked it!

    @ 13.) Morgan, I’m so happy you enjoyed the story. I had lots of fun writing it. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

    @ 14.) Thank you, fishlovesca! I hope it did not let you down. I think being forced into a Lady Gaga costume might push anyone over the edge. 😉

    @ 15.) Thanks, Kathy! I appreciate it!

    @ 16.) Thank you, Nick! I hope it made you smile!

    @ 17.) Hi, Allison! Awesome review – I loved reading it. I am glad the piece-by-piece reveal worked for you – that is what I was hoping for. Dimitri was a very amusing, almost melodramatic character to write, and I’m so happy you enjoyed him. Thanks for reading!

    @ 18.) Hey, bro! Thanks for reading my story! The newlyweds do indeed have a cat, but he stays out hunting most nights, and was not home at the time of the incident. 🙂

    Thanks again, everyone!

  • Carol Green

    I loved this story – it made me smile and kept interested throughout.

    thanks for sumitting it.

  • Gretchen Bassier

    Thank you so much, Carol!

  • Simone

    HAHAHAHAHA! One of the BEST stories I’ve read at EDF. When I read that the duct tape itched his stone head, I pictured one of those lions some people have on pillars leading to their front door. Gargoyle, lion, it didn’t matter because I was so caught up in the story and Dimitri’s humiliation. Your pacing is wonderful and lines like ‘Dimitri’s jaw clenched tighter. A tooth cracked.’ are a riot.

    I love comedy, and I hope to one day write a story as funny and entertaining as Lady Gaga’s Revenge. Oh gosh, are you happy now, I’m gushing.

  • Gretchen Bassier

    Wow, Simone! Great review. 🙂 Yes, you made me very happy! I thought some people might think it was a lion, initially – especially since it has paws and sharp teeth. I had a lot of laughs writing this piece, and I loved hearing how much you enjoyed it! Thanks for making my day!

  • sorry i’m late with my crit.
    I thought Dimitri was a stone dog statue at first.
    I love the word “off-calendar”.

    Some very good descriptions.
    It’s a good story that keeps you interested to find out what more they will do to Dimitri and how he will get his own back.
    very entertaining.

  • Gretchen

    @ 24.) stu1, I’m sorry I did not see your comments sooner! I’m glad you were entertained by the story, and interested enough to keep reading. It was a long year for Dimitri, but he got his revenge in the end. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!