Top Five Things I Didn't Plan on Today
- Seeing a tiny car drive through a hallway.
- Tripping over a crystal ball.
- Being hit with tarot cards
- Stepping on a rubber shoe.
- Getting hit in the face with a cream pie.
Now I know what you’re thinking. How did I get myself in this situation in the first place? Well, I didn’t do it on purpose. Allow me to explain.
I am friends with two fortune tellers, Janice and Patricia Marple, but people called them the Marple Sisters. Every Thursday they would walk into my mom’s floral shop and invite me for tea the following Saturday. At first, I avoided them as much as possible. They acted so strange and were too unpredictable for my liking.
They wore fake fur coats even in the summer, polka-dotted shoes, and heavy lipstick. I could never put a finger on their accents. One second they would sound Swedish, while other times they sounded Scottish.
After I got to know them a bit more, I was no longer afraid of them. I learned that they were fortune tellers at a carnival. Since they moved around a lot, they didn’t have to go to school. They also met plenty of interesting people along the way.
Every Saturday, I went to their apartment building, sipped tea with them, learned more about their lives, and at the end of the day, they read my fortune using the leaves in my tea. I grew used to their strange habits and mannerism, well, at least I thought I did.
One Saturday, I knocked on the Marple Sister's door like I always did when something strange happened. The door opened, and I could see Janice poke her nose out.
"Come in Madelin,” Janice said, forgetting that my name was Madeline, but she and her sister did it so much that I gave up on correcting them.
"Why? What’s going on?” I asked, but Janice had already grabbed me on the arm and flung me inside. I spun around in the center of the room, and it took me a few seconds to catch my balance. One wrong step, and I would accidentally knock over one of the many red Madonna candles the sisters had scattered on the floor.
"Hear, deary, take a seat,” said Patricia, forcing me to sit on her Victorian-style couch. I was relieved that I could finally take a moment to catch my breath, but I was disturbed by how the Marple Sisters were acting stranger than usual. I saw Janice squinting her eyes in front of the peephole, while Janice wouldn't stop shaking as she handed me my tea. Her hands were shaking so bad, that I was afraid the tea would spill all over my yellow and white striped shirt.
"Are we safe sister?” Patricia’s voice trembled. I watched Janice turn the locks and slide the deadbolt into place.
"Yes, I think we’re safe, for now,” Janice sighed. She ran away from the door and into the kitchen.
"Would someone please tell me what is going on?” That was probably the last time I shouted in front of the Marple Sisters. They both looked at me, frozen with shock. I felt a little guilty for raising my voice, but it was the only way I could get their attention.
The sisters eyed each other. Janice opened her mouth, but said nothing. Meanwhile, Patricia gave out a loud and heavy sigh.
Finally, after what felt like an hour of waiting, Janice spoke up.
"Carny folk such as us,” Jancie began, resting her hand on her chest. "You have a knack for making enemies."
"Terrible enemies," Patricia added. "The worst people you could possibly imagine…clowns!"
Her voice trembled as she said the word as if she had said the name of an unholy creature to make me feel scared. I almost wanted to laugh. It took all my strength from snickering out of respect for the sisters.
"Clowns?" I asked. I almost wanted to ask if they were serious, but their faces told me everything.
“Not just any clowns,” said Janice as she poured herself some tea. “They were a whole family of clowns. They called themselves the Ozbotz, but everyone just called them the Clown Family.”
“I don’t care what they were called,” she said. “They were terrible! Every single one of them!”
“What did they do?” I asked.
Janice handed me my cup of tea, and I gave it a little sip.
“They made us fortune tellers,” Patricia cried, flailing her arms. “They made our job seem like a… like a..”
“A joke, they made our whole profession look like a joke,” Janice said, taking her seat on the couch. “But it's worse than that. They would walk up to our tent and lead all of our customers away!”
Janice took another sip before continuing.
“My sister and I thought we had left them all behind when the carnival closed,” she continued. “But it turns out we were wrong.”
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.
The two sisters froze in place, becoming still as mannequins.
Whoever was behind the door continued to knock.
I looked up at the sisters, waiting for either of them to answer it.
The person knocked a third time, and by then, I had had enough.
“Alright, if no one’s going to answer the door, then I will!” I announced as I jumped off the couch. Before I could even take a step, I could feel a hand tugging on my back and pulling me back.
“No, Madelin, please stay seated,” Patricia said in a hoarse whisper. “It’s them!”
“How do you know?” I asked, but I was interrupted by a loud honking noise.
With each honk, Patricia screamed while Janice was shocked, almost spilling her tea on the carpet.
“Don’t say a word and they might go away,” Janice mumbled through her teeth.
Everything went silent for a moment or two. The only sound I could hear was the ticking sound of the grandfather clock in the hallway. It was so quiet that we all thought that whoever it was at the had finally moved on. Then a voice seeped through the cracks of the door. The Marple sisters gasped, but I was just confused. The voice didn’t sound mean or threatening, but kind and friendly.
“Is anybody home?” asked the voice, followed by two or three honks.
I had had enough. I came to the Marple Sisters to have tea and get my fortune read, not to cower in fear because of some ancient rivalry.
“Madelin, what are you doing?” asked Patricia. This time I was too far away for her to grab me.
“If you’re not going to tell these people to leave you alone, then I will!” I said to her as I made my way to the door. The sisters pleaded and begged me not to do it, but I opened the door anyway.
I took one giant step, and I felt my shoes step on something squeaky and rubbery.
Glancing down, I noticed that I had stepped onto a long red rubber shoe. I looked up and saw that I was face to face with a clown.
He had a large red nose, big red lips with white and black outlines, white makeup around his eyes, and he was bald except for the red hair that stuck on both sides of his head. He wore an orange-and-yellow polka dot tie and a matching shirt with stripes. Two long suspenders hiked up his oversized purple pants.
“Hello, there young lady!” said the man. "Are you the Marple sister’s daughter… cousin… niece… granddaughter?”
I shook my head at all four of his guesses.
“I’m just a friend of theirs,” I told him.
“Friends? Friends, you say?” the man jumped, and I swear I could see his hair perk up.
“Yeah, we’re friends. Why?” I said, not knowing why the man was acting all surprised.
“Well, it’s a long story actually,” the man pressed his two fingers together. He then shook his head and stuck out his hand. Before he could explain any further, I could hear a honking sound. At first, I thought it came from his nose, but then I realized his hands were nowhere near his red nose, and the sound was coming from the far end of the hallway.
To my shock, a tiny car, not a miniature car, but one small enough to just barely fit in the hallway, headed straight for us! I was afraid it wouldn't stop in time, but thankfully, it halted mere inches away from my face.
A round lady stepped out of the car. When I say round, I mean round! The lady was practically a ball with arms and legs. Her head shot straight up like a turtle stretching its neck out of its shell. The lady was covered in purple from her fluffy shoes up to her cotton candy-shaped hair.
"I'm here!" The lady sang. "And who do we have here Bobby Wobby?"
The man scratched his neck as his cheeks turned bright red.
"Sis," he mumbled. "Not in public!"
"Don't mind him," the lady said as she straightened the man’s tie. "Bobby Wobby can be a real buzz kill sometimes. Now, what's your name again?"
"Madeline," I told her as I shook her gloved hand.
"Nice to meet you May-daline," said the lady. I almost wanted to tell her it was pronounced Maa-deline, but I figured she was close enough. "My name is Rosemary, and I see you've already met my brother Bobby Wobby!"
"Just Bob, please," the man coughed. "Sis, Madeline here is friends with the Marple Sisters."
"Wha-Wha-What?" Rosemary shouted, almost sounding like a scared chicken. "Are you sure?"
"Yep!" I said with a grin. “I even have tea with them every Saturday.”
“But how is that possible?” Rosemary gasped. “The Marples were always too stuck up to make any friends!”
“Wait, what?” I asked. It was then I realized that the Marple Sisters didn’t mention having any other friends, nor did I see anyone else come to their apartment.
“Oh, yeah, the Marple family were the meanest bunch in the whole carnival!” Rosemary explained. “They would always yell at us and shoo us away.”
“They said you were distracting and leading their customers away,” I told her. Bob and Rosemary gasped.
“That’s not true!” said Rosemary. “That’s a bald-faced lie!”
I wanted to scream at her, the Marple Sisters would never lie to me, I trusted them.
Bob probably saw the anger in my face because he quickly got in between me and Rosemary.
“What my sister is trying to say, is that the Marples misunderstood us,” Bob explained. “As clowns, it was our job to walk around the carnival and make people laugh. It just so happened that we made people laugh so much that they would forget to get their fortunes told by the Marples. That’s it.”
I stood there in silence. I thought the clowns annoyed the Marples on purpose, but it just turned out to be a big misunderstanding.
“Why didn’t you guys explain yourselves to the Marples?” I asked the couple.
Bob looked down at Rosemary before looking back at me.
“We tried,” Bob sighed. “But they wouldn’t listen to us.”
I grabbed the door knob behind me when I suddenly had an idea.
“Well, would you like to talk to them now?” I asked them. A smile formed on their faces, and they nodded their heads in unison.
Without giving it a second thought, I pressed down on the knob and pushed the door open.
Sharp tarot cards flew into my shirt, while others nearly hit Bob and Rosemary, who both screamed in terror. I looked at the tarot cards sticking out of my shirt and gasped. Never had I seen the Marple Sisters act so violent before. They were always so calm and collective.
“Madeline, quick! Get Inside!” said Janice, as she snatched me up as if I were a ragdoll.
"No!" I said, fighting her off while trying my best not to hurt her.
"That’s it!" Rosemary dashed to her car and got a cream pie. "Hasta la vista, ladies!"
The pie launched from her hands and flew straight for the Marple Sisters. Unfortunately, Rosemary's aim was a bit off, and she hit me instead.
I winced as cold white cream dripped down my face and drenched my clothes. I knew from Rosemary's gasp that she didn’t mean it, but the damage was already done.
"Guy's listen to me!" I tried to save, but when I took a step back, my foot hit something round, causing me to lose my balance and hit the ground with a thud.
"Whoops, sorry deary," said Patricia.
I blew a few hairs away from my lips and picked myself back up. I had had enough of this feud, and I was determined to put a stop to it.
"Just stop it! Okay? Everyone just stop and listen to me!" I yelled. I waited a second or two for any incoming pies or flying tarot cards before I continued. "The Ozbotz have something they'd like to say."
Bob took a slow step forward. He lowered his head and took time choosing his words.
"I know I can’t speak for all of the Ozbotz, but my sister and I are very sorry." Bob gave a weak chuckle that sounded more like a whimper. "Sometimes we take a joke a little too far, and we don't know when to stop. So, we're sorry for going a bit too far all those years ago. Right, sis?"
"Yeah, we're sorry," Rosemary said after being poked in the side.
I looked over to the Marple Sisters, and I was shocked to see tears running down their faces.
"If anyone needs to apologize, it should be us," Janice cried. "I know I can’t speak for the entire Marple family, but if we told you to stop, then this whole thing wouldn't have happened."
"And Madalin wouldn't have gotten a pie in her face," Patricia her sobs suddenly turning into a quiet giggle. It wasn't long until Janice started laughing, then Bob, and finally Rosemary.
"It was kind of funny when she tripped on that crystal ball," said Bob.
"I can't believe how sharp those tarot cards are!" Janice wheezed.
"You could poke an eye out with those things!" Added Rosemary.
Under normal circumstances, I would be upset at being the punchline of everyone's joke, but if it meant that the Marples and Ozbotz could get along, then I was all for it!