STUNNING • by Erika Day

Except for the bird, the day began as usual. I kissed my sleeping husband and pit bull, walked across the lawn and settled into my car.

Oops, almost forgot! I dug my new hairspray out of my purse and fumigated. Instant gorgeousness.

I adjusted the radio, and when I looked up a turtledove was sitting on the hood. Early sunlight speckled across its gray belly. It stared at me with black, empty eyes.

I waved my hands, but it didn’t move. I tapped the horn. When this failed, I got out of the car. Gently wrapping my hands around its warm, motionless wings, I tried to lift the bird.

But it didn’t move. Two scaly, pink feet remained stuck to my hood.

Could this be West Nile? I dove into my car for hand sanitizer.

But my watch kept ticking, and late was late. So I drove as slowly as possible to work.

The bird remained fixed the whole time, leaning as I turned corners. When I parked, it stood just the same except for the addition of a white piece of paper blown by the wind. Somehow the napkin stuck and hung around its neck like a lobster bib. I wanted to give it a tiny fork.

My timecard slid into its slot six minutes late. Darn! I tiptoed around the first row of empty cubicles and the manger’s office. Confident that I hadn’t been noticed, I popped my head into my coworker’s cubicle.

“Felicity, the weirdest thing happened to me this morning — oh, sorry, I didn’t see you were on the phone.”

Felicity was a beautiful woman with chronically stylish high heels and a mean case of germ phobia. She swiveled in her chair still holding the phone in her right hand. Her eyes met mine. I launched into my story.

“Oh, good, you’re on hold. There was this turtledove, and he was glued to my hood! Not really glued, you know, but he wouldn’t move! And the whole time I drove here, he stood there, looking at me, like — just like that. Wow, that’s really good! Did you see him? How could you have seen him, I just got — “.

Oh dear. I touched her forehead. No reaction. Her chair wouldn’t move forward, either. She breathed, and had a pulse. Just — nothing else!

I ran down the aisle. “Leila? Oh geez. Tina? Melinda?” Still, staring expressions marked all their faces. Their heads followed me as I ran to each cubicle.

Overwhelmed, I slumped into my chair and tried to understand. My purse fell to the carpet and the new hairspray rolled out.

“Nobody will be able to resist you!” it said.

When I read the next line, I grabbed the bottle off the floor. “100% guaranteed to be the most stunning product you’ll ever use!”

A row of ants caught my eye on the carpet. Every one in their wavy little line stared at me, antennae pointing.

I rolled the bottle in my hand, pondering possibilities and consequences.

Erika Day lives with her husband, daughter, dog and parrot. She is happiest making bread dough, gardening in soft soil, and knitting baby blankets for charity while watching mixed martial art cage matches. TKO!

Rate this story:
 average 0 stars • 0 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction