Look What I Can Do!
While burning the midnight oil, Mel got an unexpected visitor. The clock struck midnight, which was curious since Mel’s office only had a digital clock that couldn’t strike at any hour, and yet there it was; that unmistakable sound of DONG.
Following this anomaly there came a tapping, like someone gently rapping, rapping at his office door. As he opened the door, only the night shift’s Kikimora was to be seen, mopping the floor some ways off and swinging her tail and hips to the tune of music in her headphones.
“Mind playing tricks on me,” Mel said and wondered if there might still be coffee somewhere or if he’d have to make some. He licked dry lips and thought that maybe he’d try the water cooler first. His steps echo in the quiet office space where the only other sound was the slop-slop-slop of the mop.
Mel reached the water cooler and filled a plastic cup with the new and hip cucumber water that didn’t really taste like cucumbers to him. Earlier in the day he’d been in this same spot talking about the new episode of Wonderland Zone, and that cut into productive work time pretty badly. His won fault he’d fallen behind, and the copy machine’s. They brought in a new one, hauled away the old one and then they’d noticed the new machine couldn’t be hooked into their internal network so any time anyone tried to print someone on the floor they’d have to put the file in a flash drive and physically carry it to the machine. Gremlins had been unavailable due to the seasonal migration of Junktown down the coast so they were shit out of luck.
Three cups of water he poured, two he drank and a third he poured over his face and head, then returned to the office. No sense trying to hang about. Everyone else was behind too and it was no fault of his, assistant supervisor to the floor manager’s aide or no. Even the cleaner was gone.
Mel found the door to his office closed, which was curious as he hadn’t done so. He pushed open the door and a new high-backed swivel chair in front of his desk, and he was damn sure there wasn’t one of those on the entire floor.
“So Mr. B, we meet at last,” spoke a woman’s voice and the chair turned around slowly, revealing a woman of a bluish hue, wispy trails of ectoplasm trailing around the floor where feet should be, her hair in nice bob cut and eyes hidden behind an ornate domino mask. Her body was hidden under a leather trench coat that bulged in odd places and there was a satchel in her lap.
“Who the devil are you?” Mel asked.
“I’m the Phantom of kino yet unfilmed, that’s who!” the woman replied, rising up from the chair, rising into the air floating there at an elevation so great Mel feared she would hit the ceiling. She did not, but a fluffy something fell from under her coat, a fluffy something that to Mel’s eyes appeared a great deal like a Kikimora tail, yet obviously fake.
“Wait a minute,” he said.
“Oh shush, nevermind the, ohh this just isn’t going to rehearsal! Whatever, I’ll just undress.”
And the Phantom did so, undoing the belt of her coat, opening the same and dropping it down, revealing a corset and a white blouse with frilly cuffs and collar.
“There, that’s better. Please, do sit down Mr. B, you look uncomfortable just standing about and we could be here awhile.”
“This is my office,” Mel pointed out, but sat all the same. The Phantom thumped her satchel on his desk.
“This is my business, sir. I’m a screenwriter, you see, or hope to be, such is my dream and my endeavour! Too long have I held my light under a bushel, the time has come for a star to be born!”
“Yes, that’s nice but…”
“Before you say a word Mr. B, before you say but one word allow me to set the scene of one, just one story I have written!”
“Just the one?”
“And that one is The One, perhaps, it could be, couldn’t it?”
The Phantom took a break here as if to wait for his confirmation, and Mel gave his assent with a shrug and a non-committal ehh noise that was all she needed to carry on.
“Imagine if you will, a Ratatoskr on the prowl! She darts here and there and everywhere, quick as you like, mercurial, she zigs and she zags, where is she going?”
“No sir, no! She’s on the prowl for a different kind of prey altogether sir! For a man, sir, she looks for a man, no, she hunts for one!”
“Squirrels aren’t really predators, are they?” Mel pointed out.
“They are in affairs of love!”
“So it’s a love story, that’s sweet but…”
“But you haven’t heard the twist!”
She paused again, all dramatic like, and he asked what the twist was.
“He hunts her as well. This is the most dangerous game!”
Mel tapped his moustachioed lip.
“Alright,” he said. “That sounds nice but…”
“But it’s not romance you seek? Perhaps something more risqué? I’ve a story here, sir, of a man, an older, grizzled man, I’m thinking the Ed Harris type, who is raising a Salamander, or possibly a Lizard, but one day the girl discovers his stash of porn! He tries to play it all off as manuals for grappling techniques, and well, you can imagine, gehehe!”
Her laughter was lewder than her proposal and Mel felt stifled by his collar. As he eased it open he tried to check the clock but the Phantom floated right in front of the damn thing, and checking his phone would just be darn impolite at this point. He sighed, and this sigh was taken as a sign of disapproval.
“No to lechery, then? Let’s keep it family friendly, yes? There’s, hm, yes there’s a story of Wurm and Wurm-Brother, the lovable duo of muscled up meatheads and their hijinks.”
“Isn’t that stereotyping?”
“Ah, sensitive issue, I see. Let’s look at this then, there’s a script here, big action stuff! The president is kidnapped by Kunoichi and Dude Masterson has to go rescue him.”
“It’s been done.”
“Hm, a remake then?”
“Oi vey, remakes are an unholy horror. Except the ones they made in the 80’s, like The Fly, The Thing, Cat People. Later on True Grit, I guess.”
“How about an adventure then? A man finds himself on a tour of an underground Ant City, but he gets lost and finds himself in the bad part of town with the Ant Arachnes…”
“Isn’t this more stereotyping?”
“Classic archetypes are easy to mistake for harmful stereotypes, I admit. Then how about a woman turning into a Demon and trying to make a contract with a man she likes? I’m very fond of this one, the change in her as she loses her human frailties and learns to love again… I've also got another where a Demon is barely literate so he helps fix her contract.”
Mel covered up another yawn.
“Hm, perhaps this? An artist finds himself drawn through a portal to the mansion of a Wight who has painted a portrait of him, and he of her, yet they’ve never met before!”
“Isn’t that a little contrived?”
The Phantom pulled out a few more scripts.
“Let’s see, let’s see,” she said. “We’ve got a man flirting with a librarian Crow Tengu, with awkward yet cute results, hm there’s a man falling for a disguised, horny fox, there’s a man being kidnapped by a Lilim after getting hit by one of those teleportation trucks, and uhh, this ones just a man doing it with a Lesser Succubus, it’s a bit unfinished at the moment.”
“It’s all very nice…” Mel tried, but was interrupted.
“So you’ll pick one of them for production?”
“Ma’am, this is a Wallgreen’s. I just file paperwork and supervise other people filing paperwork. I don’t produce movies.”
The Phantom looked dejected, but only for a moment.
“Will you go out with me anyway?”
“Sure, sure. But I need to go to bed already.”
“Ooh, bad boy! We’ve hardly met! But that’s okay, you can ravish me right here on the desk!”
A wave of her hand and both the scripts and Mel’s own paperwork was on the floor, along with his mouse and keyboard.
“What a mess,” he lamented as the blue and green spirit leaned in for a kiss.