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Strange Honey

by Walter S. Munday 2 years ago in comedy
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And exploding goats

Picture Design by Jade Munday

I meet Yanni at an old laundromat amongst a forgotten shopping strip.

There she is sitting atop a stainless steel bench, wearing loose fitting black jeans and a vintage bomber jacket from some old video store. Her dark hair with shaved bits on the side is shorter than last time I saw her, I couldn't recall when that was. It’s hard to tell if she sees me as a friend or another face in the crowd, either way I’m glad she got in touch.

“Mac!” she says.

“What’s up Yanni?” I greet her curiously.

“Is it weird I asked you to do this?”

I shrug. “You tell me Yanni, what am I getting myself into?”

I don't know much about this opportunity as Yanni puts it. She gave me an address, a time and promise of twenty grand if I make it through a day. How can I say no?

Yanni hops down from the bench. Pacing back and forth, looking me up and down with the earnestness of a drill sergeant.

Two others join wasting no time getting in on the inspection. Both young, clearly siblings if not twins, they’re dressed alike, wearing mustard coloured turtle necks and lab coats.

Yanni introduces them. “Mac, meet the Nyugen siblings Bian and Dihn.”

Dihn has a perfect bowl cut and small round glasses. Bian has long hair pulled back into a ponytail and big round glasses, she doesn’t look impressed. “This is the guy?”

I’m convinced I hear pity in Yanni's voice when she replies. “This is the guy.”

I straighten my posture, feeling anxious.

Immediately, Bian shoves a jar into my palm. “Start eating,” she says.

I respond. ‘‘What is it?” viewing the gluggy pink substance in the jar.

“Honey,”

“Is it safe?”

“It’s just honey dude,” Bian says, handing me a spoon “Eat up,”

Yanni leans closer, saying almost like a dare “Remember the money Mac… twenty four hours… you in or out?”

It does its job, I spoon a clump of honey into my mouth.

“Let’s get started” Dihn announces, directing me to a large dryer with an ‘out of service’ sign.

Bian opens the dryer. A strong flowery smell wafts out. She enters in feet first, disappearing from view.

Yanni puts her hand on my shoulder, gesturing. “After you.”

Copying Bian I enter feet first.

It’s dark. I feel a ladder and descend.

Yanni shouts. “Just keep going Mac, we’re right behind you.”

I hear Yanni and Dihn climbing in after me. Bian is out of sight.

I’m feeling sleepy. I wonder how far I might fall if I slip.

Eventually my eyes adjust. I see Bian waiting at the bottom of the ladder. She must’ve moved fast, or I slow as by the time I get to the bottom Yanni's feet are almost in my face and Dihn's in hers.

Once grounded Dihn communicates with his hands and eyes at me to keep eating.

“Watch this,” Yanni says, throwing a small wireless speaker into the darkness.

Small spots of light respond to the music, illuminating a labyrinth of shimmering stone walls. “Glow slugs.” she whispers.

Enthralled by the light spectacle I hardly notice I’m knee deep in something strange and sticky, like cooked blue spaghetti. I notice the things around me aren’t the things I know. There’s flowers and fruits everywhere but nothing seems familiar.

There’s holographic melons floating like balloons, translucent pumpkins with glowing seeds, and luminescent flowers resembling little orange raincoats.

And what the heck is this furry berry...no it’s a living pink bee thing! It’s buzzing around struggling against its own weight. I hold out my finger for it to land but my hand is met with a slap.

“Don't let it sting you,” Bian insists.

“What is this place?” I ask.

“The siblings have been figuring that out, look this is why you’re here Mac” Says Yanni, pointing to a goat covered in pink honey. I stare at the goat attempting to make some sense of the situation but I’m abruptly interrupted by Bian, “Not the goat stupid, over here,”

Behind the goat is something not unlike an MRI machine and some workbenches, it looks entirely out of place amongst the odd fauna and glow slugs.

Dihn holds my jar of honey against a slug then returns it using the same hand gestures telling me to eat, this time patting his belly and smiling as he leads me to the machine.

I notice the DIY circuitry and extra wires running into the machine, broken panels are glued and taped into place and in some cases missing. The illusion of security from Yanni dissipates.

“You want me to get in that thing?” I ask.

“Uh-ha,” Dihn replies.

I question Yanni’s intentions and the twenty grand, before I know it I’m lying face up in the machine. The siblings on either side of me.

Dazed, I’m slightly aware of Dihn examining me, sticking something in my ear, taking my temperature, making notes as he goes.

Dihn places a little black book he took notes with on my chest.

Bian snatches the spoon I’ve been using, she’s waving it at Dihn and they’re bickering.

“No metal Dihn, dammit!” Bian exclaims.

“You gave him the spoon!” Dihn responds.

I hear Yanni yelling from a distance. “You can’t go over there!”

Her voice is quickly drowned out by a humming sound, getting louder until it’s all I can hear.

I feel tension in my teeth, my vision goes. A tingling sensation begins in my fingers then through my body, turning to angry burning. My belly full of honey shakes violently. I want to scream but no noise will come. When I can't take any more the machine shudders to a stop.

I'm thrilled I can see. I sit up eager to inspect myself expecting to discover bad news, but I’m fine, belly still full of honey but fine. I’m no longer sleepy.

I breathe in the sweet scent, then a deep relieving breath out. Another fat pink bee buzzes past.

“Welcome... back, I guess,” Yanni says.

“What the heck is that thing, some kind if torture machine?” I ask.

“It was painful?” Dihn queries, taking his little black notebook from my chest, opening it to the most recent entry, he shows Bian, I catch a glimpse.

Goat = 250g Honey

Human = 500g Honey

Give or take!

“Ok, up you get,” Bian gets me onto my feet.

‘“Are we done?” I ask Yanni, hoping I’ve earned the privilege of calling the day complete.

Yanni smiles whilst persuading the goat with a spoonful of honey and hangs the speaker around its neck.

“Not yet Mac, come with us, just a little longer,” she says.

I follow them, glow slugs illuminating the path as we walk deeper into the labyrinth.

Looking back, I see the siblings more animated than before... they slowly fade from view.

As we walk past hives of beautiful soft pink honeycomb, Yanni distracts the goat to not disturb the bees.

“Yanni, this is all so bizarre, what the heck is happening down here?’ I ask in bewilderment.

“Sorry Mac, it’ll mess with the experiment,” she persists.

“It’s just, you have me eating all this honey, that machine was crazy, and…”

“Relax Mac, patience, the siblings are… figuring it out,”

We arrive at an underground lake with rock walls all around it, the endless cosmos of glow slugs above reflect beautifully in the calm water.

“Not bad hey,” Yanni says.

I agree. “Not bad at all.”

Yanni kicks off her shoes relaxing her feet in the water, the goat takes the opportunity to rest on a patch of blue spaghetti stuff next to her. She feeds the goat more of its honey.

‘That’s it for you boy’ Yanni says, tapping the empty jar.

Too nervous to put my feet in the water I lay on a flat area of stone, taking in the galaxy of slugs.

My stomach feels horribly full from all the honey, I have about a quarter jar left.

“I don’t think I can eat anymore” I groan, making a show of how full I’m getting.

“I’m serious now, Mac,” Yanni says without a hint of humour. “You have to finish the jar before I get back.”

I sit up, she watches me swallow another spoonful into my mouth.

“It's time, stay here,” Yanni says.

“Where're you going?” I ask.

“Just watch the goat and finish your honey,” Yanni smiles. “With a little luck we can start to wrap this up, you’ve done well.”

Yanni takes off towards the machine and the siblings.

“Just me and you buddy,’ I say to the goat returning to my slug-gazing position.

“They put you into that machine too? I hope they're paying you twenty grand, poor guy.”

The goat starts sniffing around my face and hair, I gently brush him away and pay no mind.

Suddenly, hearing the sound of breaking glass, I jump up to see he’s gotten into my jar of honey, eating it amongst the broken glass. A whole quarter jar.

“Greedy goat, that might’ve cost me twenty grand!”

I go to stop the goat then…BANG, I can’t because it has been reduced to a spray of red mist, the goat has exploded.

My head spins. I wipe goat splatter from my face.

Why would Yanni leave me here with an exploding goat? Or was it me? Was it the honey? Holy shit is the honey going to make me explode?!

I feel sick, I go to run but Yanni appears

“Are you trying to kill me Yanni?”

“Calm down, where’s the goat?”

“It’s gone… it blew up, exploded! It got into my honey and...”

“What! No Mac, how much? You need to eat!”

“No, enough with the honey,”

She comes close with another jar of honey trying to spoon some into my mouth.

“Back off Yanni, this is crazy” I say, pushing her hand away.

I begin to run. I follow the glow-slug trail to the siblings and the machine.

“No metal Dihn, dammit” says Bian, snatching a spoon from Dihns hand.

“You gave him the spoon!” Dihn responds.

I try my best to sneak past but in a panic. I trip and come face to face with another goat. We lock eyes and BANG, red blood mist covers my face again, I stand up, trying my best to see.

The siblings look up and see me startled, covered in whatever is left of the goat.

From behind I hear Yanni yelling to me.

“You can’t go over there!,”

The hum of the machine again fills the air until it’s all I can hear. I walk around the machine to see what’s happening.

A cold chill runs through me. The honey may have sent me mad but I believe I am looking directly at myself inside that machine, then BANG... the other me explodes from within the machine, reduced to the same red mist as the goats.

Yanni has caught back up, the siblings circle me.

“Did he finish the honey?” Bian asks Yanni.

Yanni replies panicked “No... the goat did,”

An egg timer dings from the workbench.

The siblings' eyes widen, they begin backing away.

“No! Don’t do that!” I say, terrified of exploding.

The tension is held in the air for a moment.

“How you feeling?” Yanni asks me.

“Confused, scared, what the heck!” I say, shocked.

The three exchange looks, Dihn checks his watch nodding.

“We’ve done it?” Bian questions.

“We’ve done it!” Yanni says excitedly.

All three begin laughing and hugging.

“Done what? Someone please explain what the heck is going on?” I plead, exhausted.

“Well, Mac,’ Says Yanni handing me a bag of money ‘You just made yourself twenty grand by being the first human to travel in time”

Yanni guides me back the way we came in, as I'm leaving she slaps me on the back. “Same time next week?”

I still can’t tell if we’re friends but how can I say no, I reply “Sure, Yanni.”

comedy

About the author

Walter S. Munday

Fiction Writer

Melbourne, Australia

Email: [email protected]

Insta: walter.s.munday

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