Fiction Friday: The Man in the Cupboard, Pt. 3

We’re back to Fiction Friday here at the blog, and today is part three of the Man in the Cupboard serial fiction.  To start at the beginning, click here.  To see the last installment, click here.

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Over the last few weeks Kimberly found all sorts of things that tiny Mike had fixed. The squeaky ceiling fan in the family room now behaved properly instead of squeaking and swaying like an airplane propeller lodged in in her roof.  The chair at the kitchen table with the stunted leg had lost it’s wobble, and she couldn’t remember the last time the faulty light switch had shocked her when she didn’t flip it correctly.

Instead of a nuisance, Mike’s unannounced appearances in the kitchen had become a welcome surprise.  She enjoyed having someone to talk to and share her life with.  Although he wouldn’t say it, she thought Mike enjoyed it as well.

Today, she didn’t feel like doing the obligatory housework.  The dishes in the sink could stay there for a few more hours, no one would care.   Sun shone through the east windows making liquid puddles on the floor making it a perfect day to sink into the couch with a Coke and read one of those cheap harlequin romances she kept stuffed under the bed.

Just as she got snuggled into her favorite spot, the big armchair in the corner, a terrible screech and clatter bounced from the broom closet.  She jumped to her feet and opened the door to see what had happened.  There on the floor, completely tangled in what looked like spider’s web and dust lay Mike, looking a bit dazed.

“Blasted spiders won’t get the best of me,” he muttered under his breath as he struggled to sit upright.  The webs held him down.  The poor man looked as if he had had an unfortunate run in with a crazed knitter.  Tight bands of web circled his chest and another strand pulled across his face, flattening his nose to one side.  His legs were stuck bent, ankles hog tied behind him.  His arms looked no better, one was only free from the elbow down, the other stuck at an awkward angle against his chest.

Kimberly started the painstaking task of untangling Mike from the mess of string, being careful not to tie him into a worse knot.  “Are you alright, have you hurt yourself?”

“I’m fine, don’t you be troubled ’bout me.” He brushed her hands away. “No need for that, get my cane free and I’ll take care of the rest.”

She pulled the cane free of the sticky web and put it in his free hand.  He twisted it, and began tapping at the strands which loosened and fell free. Once he had dusted himself off, straightened his shirt and vest, and located his hat, he finally looked up at Kimberly.

“After an ordeal like that a man deserves a drink, don’t you think?”

“That depends. What happened?”

He sighed and leaned on one of the shoes that had fallen from the closet. “Been going on a couple o’ weeks.  ‘Dem spiders don’t forget anything, or forgive for that matter.  I shoulda never tried to move their egg sack in the first place.”

Kimberly sat on the nearby stair. “Why would you want to move an egg sack?”

“Thought it’d be funny.  Guess they don’t have that kind of sense of humor.  They’ve been after me ever since.”  He kicked at the loose pile of web.  “Today they finally got me.  Tied me up good they did, even made it so I couldn’t get my cane.  That’s how I ended up tripping in the closet, I was trying to grab it and lost my balance.”

“They weren’t planning on eating you, were they?”

“Naw, spiders don’t eat tinkers.  I suppose we don’t taste that good anyway.  They were just messing around.  We’re even now.  At least until I get the itch for mischief again.”

Kimberly rose and went to the kitchen and pulled out an amber colored bottle from a high cupboard.  “I suppose you can have a little something for your ordeal.”

Mike’s eyes went wide. “That’s not what I think it is, is it?”

“Only because you have proven your worth around the house. I expect this bottle to last you a very long time.”

He breathed in deep and a dopey smile crossed his face as if he had already imagined the joy he would find in drinking it. “Cross my heart, m’lady.”

Later that evening, after the kids were in bed and the house was quiet again, Kimberly swore she could hear Mike singing a bawdy ballad up in the rafters. She smiled and tipped an imaginary glass his way, “Cheers.”

 

For the next part, click here.

Fiction Friday: The Man in the Cupboard pt. 2

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To start at part one, click here!

Two weeks had passed since Kimberly had first encountered that tiny man in her cupboard, since then she had seen no trace of him.  Maybe she was right in thinking that  he was only a figment of her imagination.  Even so, the last time she put the peanuts away she made sure that the lid wasn’t too tight.

The radio blared in the kitchen, bouncing the best hits of the 80’s and 90’s off the walls and throughout the house.  Kimberly sang along to the music as she tackled the dishes and cups overflowing from the sink.  Over the last week with the coming of better weather and no sighting of the tiny Mike Finnegan, she had found a cheerfulness that she hadn’t found in what felt like years.

During a particularly loud rendition of “All the Single Ladies” she heard a loud rap and then the music died.  There on top of the radio sat Mike, swinging his cane.

“What in tarnation is the meaning of all this racket?” he asked, clutching his head. “In my day, people caught singin’ like that were put in the stocks.”

Kimberly couldn’t help but stare.  Seeing him again meant one of two things, either he was indeed real, or she needed her head examined.  “So…,” she rubbed her temples, “you’re real then.”

“As real as the smelly pile of laundry in yer closet.”

“What?!?” She slapped the counter.  The thought of a strange little man in her kitchen was one thing, knowing he was raiding her closet was a more serious offence.

Mike blushed and shuffled his feet, “Erm, forget I said that.”

“Don’t think I can.” Kimberly planted her hands on her hips. “What am I going to do with you?”

Mike jumped down from the radio and began pacing across the countertop. “Well Missy, most tend to ignore me but I can be quite handy.”

“Like how?”

“Well, I’m a tinker, right?”

“I thought you were a leprechaun, is there a difference?”

Mike banged his cane against the counter with a snap. “Now you understand this, no one calls Mike Finnegan a leprechaun.  Little gold obsessed good fer nothin’ mites, they are.” He spat, emphasizing his point.

“Hey, none of that!” She tossed him a cloth from the sink. “Clean it up.”

He grumbled as he wiped up the spot, something about how gingers had a temper.  She couldn’t make out most of it, and was glad for it.

“A tinker, miss, fixes things.  It’s what we live for.  That squeak in the garage door, the one that mysteriously disappeared, that was me.”  He tossed the cloth back, which to him seemed more like a blanket.  “A tinker is happiest when there are things to mend, that’s why we love these old houses.  Always something that needs a fix.”

Kimberly nodded, tapping her chin. Someone who sould fix things around the house would be nice. “What’s the catch?”

“No catch, you lets me borrow things from here and there, a pinch of food, and what not.  A touch of whiskey is always a nice gesture.  Do that, and I’m more than happy staying here doin’ what I do.” He said with a flourish.

“Alrighty Mr. Mike, you can stay.  Just promise me not to riffle through my personal items.  None of the drawers in the bedroom.”

“And the whiskey. . .?” He asked, a hopeful gleam in his eye.

“We’ll see in time.  When I can see things working out well between us then yes, I’ll get you some.”

He danced a little jig, swinging his tiny cane in time to his steps.

“Oh miss? There is one more thing.”

“And what’s that?”

“Promise me never to get a cat.”

Kimberly giggled at the image in her head of tiny Mike being chased by a cat.  “Ok, I promise.”

“Good doing business with ya.” He tipped his hat and with a flash, vanished.

 

To read the next in the series, click here.