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Funny Urban Fantasy Fiction

Monica would never admit to hating her nephew and niece – except to her journal, her friends, her clients, her therapist, a god she may or may not have believed in, strangers at the bar, strangers on the bus, strangers in the night, and the internet at large. But she’d never admit it to her older brother.

But as the younger sister, she was naturally their babysitter.

“But I’m busy,” she said.

“Nonsense!” said her brother. “You work from home.”

“I have a deadline–”

“And besides, you’re single and only getting older. You like kids.”

“I – what!? No! I mean, I have a boyfriend–”

“It’ll give you an opportunity to be the cool aunt.”

“I–”

“Monica Louisiana Cart,” said their mother. “Stop being selfish. Your dear brother and his beautiful wife both work so hard, they deserve a break.” And so the matter was settled. As always.

At eight AM, on a Saturday, the horrid little banshees burst through her door and tore up her house. Monica’s brother patted her on the shoulder and then was off with a “Thanks, Sis! Love you!”

Or rather, that’s what she expected to hear, and what he in fact said was, “Make sure to feed them lunch and dinner, and none of your cheap crap. Order out.”

She shut her door, shambled to her living room, and found the two little cretins jumping up and down on her couch. Each unfiltered shriek threatened to tear her ears off.

One of you little craps better grow up to be a rich lawyer or doctor or something, she thought.

But then Monica wailed, when she saw shredded wrapping paper all over her coffee table, and a torn apart box of chocolates.

Monica didn’t actually have a boyfriend. Not right now. But she did have him a week ago, before their latest explosive breakup. And then yesterday, Charlie had sent her a mystery gift and a mystery card.

“Just thinking of you, Mon,” the card read. “Hope you enjoy this, and realize what I truly think of you.”

She didn’t have the patience to open it last night – because Charlie’s an ass and she wasn’t sure she even wanted him in her life – and now she didn’t have to, because her horrid little guests had done it. And seeing it was chocolates, she realized Charlie was actually sweet under the boorish, jackhole exterior, and she did want him back – possibly, anyway.

But his heartfelt apology was smeared all over the mouths and hands of the atrocious little troglodytes. And her couch cushions.

“Jaxstson and Meyzeegh! What have you done!?”

The kids froze, wide-eyed. Meyzeegh, the younger, looked to her brother as she always did. Jaxstson grinned – a wicked, entitled, malicious, boundary-testing, altogether trollish grin.

“We made ourselves breakfast,” he said, sweet as a chocolate splattered angel. “Mommy said to, because she said you’re a lazy witch.”

Monica scoffed – and this sent the imps guffawing again. She didn’t know what was worse; that her sister-in-law called her – well, almost certainly not a witch, but that might be the closest word the kids misheard it as – or that in addition to lunch and dinner, they expected breakfast too!

She gritted her teeth and clenched her fists and strangled a scream as the kids kicked the crap out of her couch – outdoor shoes on, naturally.

And then Monica had an idea.

She had a vague sense you shouldn’t tell people how to raise their kids, but, come on. It took a village, right? Someone had to teach them something. A deep breath brought a wave of calm, and when she didn’t react, they grew quiet too.

“Your mother,” said Monica, “is right.”

Jaxstson about said something – no doubt another incredibly witty retort – but he startled and his jaw actually hung slack.

“I am a witch,” Monica continued.

Meyzeegh, eyes wide, snapped to her brother. Jaxstson’s jaw worked soundlessly. His eyes darted between his sister and his aunt, gears slowly turning. A shy smirk formed.

“Auntie Monnie,” he said, “you’re not really a witch.”

“Yeah!” said Meyzeegh, pointing. “You’re not!”

Monica buried her face in her hands, and pretended to sob. Not too difficult, given the way the morning was going.

“Auntie Monnie, stop pretending.”

“Oh!” Monica wailed. “I am a witch, and you definitely shouldn’t have eaten those chocolates.”

The tiny beasts giggled nervously. “Mommy lets us eat chocolate for breakfast,” Meyzeegh said, most serious.

“But not these kinds of chocolates.”

“Any kind!” Meyzeegh said, asserting her hard won rights to breakfast-of-choice.

But Jaxstson hesitated. “Why not these?”

It took all of Monica’s effort not to grin. The goblin took the bait.

“Because these ones are special witch chocolates. I made them–”

“But mommy says you’re lazy!” Meyzeegh said.

Monica’s eye twitched. “I made them, and they’re cursed.”

“You’re fibbing!” said Jaxstson, crossing his arms and scowling. Meyzeegh bounced, shouting “Fibbing” with each jump.

“Nope.” And the pièce de résistance: “Cross my heart and hope to die.” Again, there was silence. It was so quiet she could hear Jaxstson gulp.

“I don’t believe you,” he said, petulant. “And what do you mean cursed?”

“Yeah!” Meyzeegh added. “What’s ‘cursed’?”

Monica kept a straight face and she didn’t answer right away, no matter how much she wanted to drive the knife home. Instead she let out a long, terribly maudlin breath.

“What’s going to happen?” Jaxstson asked. He glared at the torn apart chocolates box with suspicion and fear.

“Well, you’ve heard the stories. What do witches do with people?”

“Turn ’em into toads!” Meyzeegh cheered, bouncing more. “Turn ’em into toads!”

Monica’s cheeks burned from the strain of not cackling. She very gently patted Meyzeegh on the head, and said, “Newts, love. Newts.”

Meyzeegh’s glee slid off her face. She didn’t even glance at her brother for confirmation before the wailing began.

“I don’t want to be a newt!” she sobbed.

“Oh, honey,” said Monica, and then she bit her tongue to keep from laughing. “Being a newt isn’t so bad.”

“It’s not true!” said Jaxstson, but his lip was quivering and his eyes were bleary.

“You’ll get to eat all the flies you want.”

That did it. Suddenly both of them threw themselves into her arms, bawling about how they didn’t want to eat flies or be newts or lots of other unfocused misery. And she realized, she’d done it. She won. They thought she was a witch, they probably hated her, and that was the answer, because if their parents ever tried to dump them here again they’d throw such a tantrum it would be impossible.

Victory!

And… it felt hollow. The little critters were shaking from terror. And maybe they were even just a wee bit cute, when they weren’t trashing her stuff. And if they did grow up to be rich doctors and lawyers, it would probably be best if they didn’t hate her.

Maybe they had learned their lesson.

“Aw, there there, now,” Monica said.

“I don’t feel so good,” Jaxstson said, between sniffles.

“Me too,” Meyzeegh added, clutching her stomach. They both paled.

Christ, if they ralph all over my living room, I will lose it!

“I don’t want to be a newt,” Jaxstson said.

“Don’t worry,” said Monica. “You won’t be–”

And then, both kids gurgled, lurched forward, and – with a pop! – turned into newts.

Monica leapt onto her coffee table and shrieked, and the newts scattered. She carpet bombed the room with f-bombs as they scampered everywhere, tails flicking and claws clicking, until she had to finally breathe and the welcome waves of panic drenched her in horrible euphoria. It would have been a nice place to stay, but sadly the adrenaline eventually petered out and a lone realization cut through her thoughts.

They’re going to kill me. She knew this with certainty. They will never let me live this down. Visions of herself in the news, as the horrible “Newtering Aunt” came flooding in. I’ll have to move.

Unless… maybe she could fix it.

She grabbed the box of chocolates, still dropping f-s under her breath, and wondered what was in them that could trigger such a reaction. The top of the box was a pleasant, if unoriginal, photo of smooth chocolate, and the brand, “Levine’s Fine Chocolates,” was unremarkable. The white nutrition label on the back was a similarly standard boring thing that only guilted you about calories – until she noticed the tiny warning under the ingredients list.

“Warning: Levine’s gags should not be used unsupervised. Only consume a maximum of one (1) chocolate at a time. Effects will wear off in around an hour. If you accidentally consume more than one (1) chocolate, effects may become permanent. Call poison control immediately.”

She dropped another f. 

Out of the corner of her eye she saw one of her standing plants rustle and tip over, scattering dirt on her carpet. Elsewhere she heard things shatter in her kitchen.

“Newts!” she swore, grabbing her phone and calling poison control. She didn’t even have time to dread being on hold before someone answered.

“Holy crap, thanks for calling,” said a man. “I’m Jeb, from poison. Are you poisoned?”

“Um, actually it’s my niece and–”

“But seriously, thanks! You have no idea how boring this job gets. Nobody calls any more. Thanks to the internet, people just ‘do their own research’ and then they end up following Dr. TikTok’s advice and drink even more bleach! Can you believe it!?”

“Uh–”

“And it’s like, people these days are allergic to phones! Everything is text or email, like we’re all collectively afraid of each other.”

“I–”

“Which, fine, I get, what with all the serial killers and terrorists and extremists everywhere. Only it seems to me, maybe we’d have fewer of them if we all spent more time listening instead of jabbering, you know? Really learn to hear each other. In fact, I read this book recently–”

Jeb!

“Yeah, what’s up?”

“I need help! My stupid brother’s kids ate chocolate and turned into newts!”

“Ah,” said Jeb. “Levine’s?”

“Yeah, actually.”

“Let me guess, they did the kid thing and shoved as many into their gobs as they could, right?”

“Yeah. How did you know?”

“Levine’s is a common problem this time of year. Anyway, long story short: don’t panic. It’s not life-threatening, and it’s totally reversible if you follow some simple steps.”

Monica felt her shoulders unknot.

“Do you have peanut butter?”

“Um?”

“What you want to do is run a lukewarm bath. Then liquefy a jar of peanut butter by warming it up and mixing in some milk. Pour it in the bath with equal parts vinegar, add about a tablespoon of iodine, and then let your newts soak. It’ll take a while.”

Monica jotted the steps down, asking for the odd clarification.

“Okay,” she said, “I think I got it.”

“Great! Oh, one more thing. While the newts should be safe to handle, under no circumstances should you lick them.”

Monica gagged and almost dropped her phone. “Why the hell would I lick them?”

“Well, ideally you wouldn’t.”

“Why would you even suggest that? They’re my brother’s kids!”

“Look, lady, what can I tell you. I work at poison control. People lick weird things all the time. Just don’t do it, okay?”

“I wasn’t gonna!”

She hung up and got to work. First, she needed to track the brats down. The first one was easy. It was standing – sitting? – right on the carpet, watching her with its buggy eyes. It didn’t run, and when she placed her hand down, it walked right onto it.

She didn’t know which one of them it was, but its scales – skin? – had the colour and texture of Neapolitan ice cream.

“I wasn’t gonna!” she re-asserted.

In the kitchen, she put Meyzeegh or Jaxstson – probably Jaxstson, since the feet were sticky and gross – in a tureen for safe keeping, and then stalked through her house for the other one.

Every now and then she heard something crash, or shatter, or tear, and she’d dart into another room to see more mess. Maybe this one was Jaxstson, considering the carnage it wrought. She finally caught sight of it as it fled her bedroom, but no matter how much she shouted at it, it didn’t stop. When it darted into the living room again, Monica dove and just managed to grab its tail.

Which popped off in her hand.

She gasped. The newt too, turned around and stared at its dismembered tail with open mouth.

Crap, thought Monica, cresting a new wave of panic. “Demonic Monica Dismembers Nephew!” the headlines would say. I really will have to move now.

Unless… maybe turning them back would fix it. It was her last chance. She scooped the newt up while it was stunned, and swept it into the tureen. Next up was the bath and the peanut butter. Turned out she needed a load of milk to liquefy the whole jar, which meant an equal load of vinegar. Which meant her bathroom was beginning to smell like a mistake.

But on she went, and with a “Here goes nothing,” she tipped the tureen and dumped her newts into the murky soup. They splashed around a bit and didn’t drown – that was good – but not much else actually happened. Well, Jeb had said it would take time.

Monica figured she shouldn’t leave them unattended, and watching them splash around was calming. It gave her time to reflect on the bizarre day, and she even chuckled a bit, now that it was hopefully almost over. She couldn’t wait to share the strange story with Charlie, about how his chocolates were intercepted, and how–

“Wait a moment,” she said, her fingers flicking about in the lukewarm peanut vinegar. Charlie hadn’t warned her it was a gag gift. He knew she’d probably scarf it all down without bothering to read the box.

She let out the mother of all f-s. “That sonofabitch set me up! I’ll kill him!”

And just then, the doorbell rang. Fuming, she stalked to her foyer and flung it open, half expecting to gut Charlie right then and there. I hope you enjoy this, and realize what I truly think of you! she thought, fantasizing violence.

But it was her brother and his wife. And their faces paled when they saw the chaos inside Monica’s home.

“Hi, Sis,” said her brother. “We came to pick our darlings up early because–”

Suddenly they all heard a pair of shrieks somewhere in the house followed by a torrential splash. And that was followed by more things clattering, wild laughter, the wet padding of feet, and two squeaky voices doing an f-bombing run down the hall.

The brother’s eyes widened and his wife’s jaw dropped.

When Jaxstson and Meyzeegh saw their parents they screamed with delight.

“Mom-we-were-newts-and-”

“-I-ate-three-flies-and-”

“-a-real-witch-with-magic-chocolate-and-”

“-a-bathtub-swimming-pool-and-”

They flew into their parents’ arms, drenching them with alarmingly brown water and a suffocating fog of vinegar.

And then they finished together, “Auntie Monnie is the fucking best!”

Their parents were speechless.

“We had a good time,” Monica said, leaning against the doorframe, and she was surprised to find it was true. Mostly. Somewhat, anyway. Better than expected. “Bring them by whenever you want.”

Her brother and his wife just blinked, nodded, and shambled back to their SUV.

December 12, 2023 22:54

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38 comments

Stella Aurelius
09:32 Dec 22, 2023

Another brilliant one ! You really have a knack for bringing something fresh to your stories. Great job !

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Michał Przywara
21:50 Dec 22, 2023

Thanks, Stella! Coming up with something new each week is a fun part of the challenge - I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

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Keelan LaForge
20:25 Dec 21, 2023

Really enjoyed reading this Michal. It’s totally unique and funny 😄

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Michał Przywara
21:52 Dec 22, 2023

Thanks, Keelan! Funny was definitely the aim - I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

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Rebecca Detti
17:35 Dec 19, 2023

Oh this is hilarious! I’ve definitely wanted to turn some of my family members into newts! I’ll have to Google Levines. Brilliant and I certainly didn’t see this coming. Thank you!

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Michał Przywara
21:36 Dec 20, 2023

Thanks, Rebecca! Yeah, those chocolates could make for a convenient, if dangerous, gag :) I'm glad you enjoyed the story!

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Kailani B.
19:59 Dec 18, 2023

The amount of carnage in Monica's apartment sends a shudder through my soul and "outdoor shoes on, naturally" reminds me of some particularly trying memories. Good thing the kids didn't have a peanut allergy or things might've ended differently. Thanks for the fun story!

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Michał Przywara
21:39 Dec 20, 2023

Thanks, Kailani! Yeah, allergies could have made this all much darker, especially given Monica didn't seem too knowledgeable about childcare. That could be an interesting story too, just a very different tone. I appreciate the feedback!

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Robert Egan
00:21 Dec 18, 2023

This is a great story, Michal (I liked it at least as much as "The Ballad of ADA")! With names like Jaxstson and Meyzeegh (plus the chocolate for breakfast detail), this could be a case where's it's safe to blame the parents. You had me rooting for Monica the whole way. The small details, from "one (1) chocolate" to the Neapolitan newt coloration, made this one a joy to read.

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Michał Przywara
21:41 Dec 20, 2023

Thanks, Robert! Yeah, I think the parents play a big role here, for sure. Seems like there's a lot of truth to that “it takes a village” saying. Glad you enjoyed it :)

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Marty B
19:59 Dec 17, 2023

A fun one! I see this as a story of an aunt who doesn't quite understand her niece and nephew, and for good reason (!) sees them as vile little amphibians, that she can not relate to as people. Until they each see their true nature-Aunt Monica who is magical with spells and potions, and cauldrons of peanut butter and milk, and then the the little animals, 'maybe they were even just a wee bit cute, when they weren’t trashing her stuff.' Sometimes we need to actually 'see' our family to understand them ;) Thanks!

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Michał Przywara
04:29 Dec 19, 2023

Yeah, that's a great point! We make unfounded assumptions, and challenging them directly can change everything. I suspect on some level she was intimidated by the responsibility of watching kids - but they figured things out together eventually. Thanks for reading, Marty!

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Sam Goularte
18:11 Dec 16, 2023

This was such an enjoyable read. I loved it, I laughed and smiled and now have the urge to trick my own nieces and nephew.

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Michał Przywara
02:35 Dec 19, 2023

Thanks, Sam! It was fun to write too :) I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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17:19 Dec 16, 2023

Fabulous Michal. Been gone a while great to see you are still putting out these gems. Love this. ! Think the last f bomb by the kids is a bit out of place but that's just me . Lol.

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Michał Przywara
00:25 Dec 19, 2023

Thanks, Derek! Yeah, it might be on second read, since it's explicit vs implicit. It makes an impact, but I'm not 100% sure it's the right one. Nevertheless, I'm glad you otherwise enjoyed it :)

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James Lane
16:23 Dec 16, 2023

What an enjoyable read! You have such a knack for building suspense, and just enough 'wth?' to keep me reading to find out. My interpretation (maybe not yours, but mine :)) is that this was all in the imagination of Monica and the kids. And despite her 'hate' for them, she couldn't help but be caught up in the chaos and fun of childhood.

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Michał Przywara
22:22 Dec 18, 2023

I firmly believe that writers start stories, but readers finish them, and all of this being imagination works perfectly :) It's easy to get swept up in a game after all, especially if the other players are totally into it. Thanks for the feedback, James - glad you enjoyed it!

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AnneMarie Miles
03:12 Dec 16, 2023

Because of course chocolates that turn you into newts are a very normal thing 😂 Man, your imagination never ceases to surprise me. Your unfailing ability to insert fantastical concepts into such normal scenarios is truly your strongest skill. There's no need to explain why or how these magical chocolates exist, either, which is a trap I find myself falling into whenever I attempt anything even a little fantastical. Thanks for that reminder. Monica reminds me so much of my brother, which made this all the more entertaining (though I have a ...

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Michał Przywara
21:57 Dec 18, 2023

Thanks, AnneMarie! Lovely feedback - always good to know when something lands :) Yeah, you're right, something like edibles could have taken this in a much different direction - and that would have fit the prompt perfectly too. But definitely darker, and not something I was feeling this week. Glad Monica's transformation came about too. In my mind, that was the key thing. I'm not convinced she ever really hated them, just maybe she convinced herself she did out of fear of the responsibility of being put in charge of tiny humans. And as it...

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Danie Holland
00:18 Dec 16, 2023

I’m having a hard time deciding who is my favorite. I definitely loved the poison control guy. I mean — who would go to TikTok for healthcare advice? He has a point. Especially when it’s free and the odds of surviving it is 50/50. Which is coincidentally the same as the healthcare system in America, except that one has a hefty price tag. Last year I paid for two hand surgeries only to find out I didn’t need either one. I might just take my chances with the bleach next time. 😅 Also, I do have to ask — what would have happened if she licked...

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Michał Przywara
20:03 Dec 17, 2023

Oh yeah, I bet going through 911 calls is just loaded with human weirdness (and human misery). Working in the news probably has access to all kinds of unexpected stories - I always wonder about the ones that don't make the cut and are rejected. I'm sure any service industry has them too. Certainly we had some, doing tech support for an internet provider - though thankfully nothing life threatening. I don't know what would happen if she did lick them. Apparently newts can be quite lethally toxic though. At least, that's what research for th...

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Danie Holland
20:30 Dec 17, 2023

Oh that makes sense! And is helpful, I’m always adding in words I don’t need. Like “that.” Trimmer and more concise writing probably comes with practice. I have a ways to go. See you soon. 💕

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Hazel Ide
03:36 Dec 15, 2023

Wild! And funny. An enjoyable read. I especially like her contentious yet still lovable relationship with the kids :)

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Michał Przywara
21:48 Dec 15, 2023

Thanks, Hazel! Yeah, I think “hate” was an exaggeration here, brought on by her frustrations :) Glad you enjoyed it!

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Rachel Kroninger
03:08 Dec 15, 2023

I was actually smiling and laughing the whole time as I was reading this lighthearted, masterpiece. The disdain you created within Monica over the children was excellent, as well as capturing the persona of two children perfectly. A good mix of sarcasm, humor, and personality rang through your characters. Seriously, one of my new favorites that I've read on this site. Definitely a wonderful story and a good laugh. Thanks again for sharing :)!

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Michał Przywara
21:47 Dec 15, 2023

If a funny story got a laugh, that's a win :) Glad you enjoyed it, Rachel. It was fun to write too. Feels like there's been a lot of heavier stories lately, so getting into something lighter was a nice change. I appreciate the feedback!

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00:51 Dec 14, 2023

A newt transformation procedural! That was creative. Now I'm wondering what Charlie was up to with those chocolate. And I've had similar experiences with little kids.. they don't like to follow any instructions, until you scare them a bit.

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Michał Przywara
21:45 Dec 14, 2023

Yeah, fear is a great motivator :) Probably not a healthy one though, especially if the kids hold grudges :) Definitely a bit sillier this week. Seemed like that's what the prompt was wanting. Thanks for giving it a read, Scott!

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14:33 Dec 13, 2023

Oh my gosh, that was so funny! You almost got me in trouble with this one for snorting in the middle of a silent library... Looks like Charlie actually helped Monica (unintentionally of course). I doubt she'll ever be able to thank him though. 😁 Absolute chaos. Jeb was amazing. 'under no circumstances should you lick them.' I wonder what his average call is to warrant that remark. 😆

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Michał Przywara
02:17 Dec 14, 2023

Thanks, Khadija! That's about the best kind of compliment a funny story can get :) You know, I have no idea what kind of stories a poison control person might have - but I bet they *do* have stories, and I'm sure they're of the “I can't believe someone actually did that” variety. But you probably find that in every kind of service job. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I appreciate the feedback!

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Michelle Oliver
14:18 Dec 13, 2023

I always love your absurd tales, where the impossible is presented with quite realistic possibility. This whole story was fast paced and chaotic. I loved the names for the kids. Those names were really doing the heavy lifting in terms of character development of both children and parents. It takes a certain kind of parent to come up with spelling like that. I wonder if those parents will ever call upon Monica for babysitting ever again, with the amount of f-bombs they learned. Thanks for the fun read.

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Michał Przywara
21:34 Dec 13, 2023

Thanks, Michelle! I do have a soft spot for the absurd. It seems like such a core part of life :) Those names put my spellchecker to work. I don't want to hold up any actual person's name as an example - and I'm reasonably certain that these ones are (currently) totally fiction - but some of the creations out there take a bit of work to figure out. But I've met people who grow up to like the uniqueness of their names, so maybe it's not all bad. Still hard to parse as a spelling nerd though. Glad you enjoyed it!

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20:14 Dec 17, 2023

This was nothing short of awesome 😊 Very imaginative. Never a dull moment there.

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Michał Przywara
03:42 Dec 19, 2023

Thanks, Cynthia! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

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Mary Bendickson
03:31 Dec 13, 2023

Newtin like a bewitchingly good story!

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Michał Przywara
21:37 Dec 13, 2023

Thanks, Mary! The prompt screamed “kids eating things” to me :) But then, it also screamed “adults who ought to know better eating things” - basically, lots of screaming was going on.

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Mary Bendickson
21:52 Dec 13, 2023

You listened to the screaming very well.

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