New Short Story in the works! Here’s Part One! Enjoy and feel free to comment!



“The Crunchy, Squishy, Juicy, Cereal that’s sure to give you the creeps!”

“We Dare You to eat it after Midnite!”

“Horrific fun for the whole fucking family!”

Dale, a former marketing executive at Mind’s Eye Advertising sat at his breakfast table in his condo in West Fresno and stared at the garish yellow and purple box of CreepOs “not just for breakfast” cereal and wondered how this could possibly exist in a universe where he no longer had a job creating dynamic, tasteful, eye-catching presentations for local and national businesses.

“This piece of shit makes it onto the shelves of a national grocery chain, and I’m out of a job because somebody didn’t like my Rocket to Mars courier campaign, Jupiter Giant Balloon Rentals presentation, or my Free Coconut with purchase idea for the Shoe Hut,” he muttered while he poured the last of his almond milk into a bowl of the equally garish cereal.

He turned the cereal with his spoon and wondered who came up with the stuff, a kind of worms-and-dirt mix of jelly worms and chocolate cookie crumbles and the more traditional eight grain O’s. Once the milk hit, it rehydrated tiny reddish blackberries, which gave it the juicy quality boasted on the box.

Dale’s spoon hung in mid air while he stared slack jawed at the box art. Six cartoonishly illustrated “creepos” danced around bad photo cut outs of a girl and boy and their parents all crammed together as if taking a tight selfie in a small closet. The kids clutched at the black cereal bowl, but each of them held a spoon packed with the stuff, and each of them had an expression that was anything but fun.”Dad” looked like he was about to pass a kidney stone, “mom” looked like she had just farted at the church picnic, “sis” looked like she’d been slapped for the first time in her whole life for NO REASON and “brother” looked like his older brother (not shown because they’ve sent him to boarding school) just showed him a bootleg copy of “The Exorcist.”

And what exactly was a creepo? The back of the box, Dale had read in the grocery store tonight, on his way home from another depressing day of interviews and filling out applications and making follow up calls to ad firms, television stations and even a magazine or two–a creepo was a kind of minor demon, a hybrid of gremlin and fairy stock, with power akin to a nephilim but in such a tiny body one might make the mistake of believing them to be mostly harmless. But that somebody would be gravely wrong. “This stuff is for kids?” He had wondered aloud in the middle of the cereal aisle.

“No, it’s not,” said an old little person riding in a cart, wearing a Stetson and a bolo tie. The cart was pushed by a tall, gaunt old woman in sweatpants and a sweatshirt that proclaimed, “we workout here, we die here.”

The old cowpoke had a severe face, like scorched leather. “You best set that back on the shelf, walk away and never look back.” He had a little silver cane, with a wolf’s head for a handle, and he shook it at Dale.

“Sit down, Merle. Leave the poor man alone, can’t you see that cereal is all he’s got?” The gaunt woman said.

“Thanks,” Dale said, and nodded at the couple as they rode off towards the Sunset brand of canned goods.

“We dare you to eat it after Midnite!” The box egged at Dale in the grocery store. He checked his phone. Eleven fifteen. By God, he had decided that was exactly what he was going to do.

“I may not have a job or a family, but by God, I have no curfew, so I accept your obvious marketing ploy challenge,” Dale had said. He bought the fucking ugly box of cereal, as well as some toilet paper and cat food, and drove home. He forgot the milk and the litter, but realized it only as he pulled into the driveway. “Fuck!”

He put the spoon in his mouth and chewed. The jelly worms writhed and gave under the weight of his teeth and the chocolate crumbs and seven grain Os filled his tongue with chocolatey, sweet and earthy flavors. Overall it was way too sweet, and the juxtaposition of textures was too strange, but he found himself muttering, “Not bad.” The almond milk may have saved it. He only wished he had remembered to buy a new carton. “Tomorrow,” he said.

“Tomorrow,” a tiny voice echoed.

Out of the corner of Dale’s eye, he thought he saw the box of CreepOs shift, as if someone flicked it’s edge with a finger.

Dale looked around for his cat. Penelope was in the living room, asleep on her cat aerie.

The box shook again. Dale stood up, and shoved another spoonful of the stuff in his mouth. In the silence, his chewing was deafening. Goddammit, it’s a rodent, he thought, and wondered what the hell Penelope did all day. Can’t be. I just brought this cereal home. Whatever it is, it had to be in the box the whole time.

We dare you to eat it after midnite!

No, Dale thought.

Then the box rattled and tipped over.

The cereal poured out onto the table and onto the floor.

Dale didn’t move for a solid minute. When nothing happened, he took a few steps toward the table. There were several little baggies, the size of, ugh, fingertips, strewn among the cereal.

“Oh, God, someone chopped off somebody’s fingers and as a sick laugh, made them the prize in a cereal box.”

Dale got closer and slowly reached into the mess of cereal and pulled out a baggie. He held it up to the light.

It was Humpy, one of the creepos.

Dale had caught a passing train on his way home, so to pass the minutes, he pulled the box from the grocery bag in the front seat and read the back by the overhead light.

Humpy, he’ll fuck anything breathing!

Graeddy, he’s a kleptomaniac and will steal all your shit.

Mondo, this fat fuck will eat you out of house and home!

Suki, she will suck the life out of you.

Eveline, this tricky bitch will swipe your man, friends and job, sucker, be careful!

Roy, don’t piss him off, or you’ll be in worlds of hurt.

Collect all seven!

“All seven? That’s only six!” Dale had looked the box over, but only found the ingredients and nutrition and a recipe for vodka infused worms.

Now, he was standing in his breakfast nook holding a baggy that contained a small plastic figure the size of his thumb. It was made of that glow in the dark, phosphorescent plastic. It looked like Humpy, from the CreepOs box art, a spindly limbed fellow with his tongue hanging out and his hand over a huge bulge in his trousers. He had big ears, a big nose, a shit-eating grin and wings like a dragonfly.

“Nope,” Dale said, “I have seen this movie,” and he threw the baggie, Humpy still sealed inside, into the garbage disposal, and he flicked the switch.

The disposal, the sink, the kitchen, really, exploded.

Dale was hurled into the living room.

Penelope woke up and bolted to the bedroom.

“Fuck you, cat,” Dale said.

Then he lost consciousness.

End of Part One. CreepOs Part Two here!


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