Yesterday was a good friend of mine’s birthday. In the tradition of the Nasties, we decided to once again present him with a story for his birthday. Here is my contribution. The theme of Ryan aka Phil’s week was Ghost Appreciation Week.
I cheated a bit with this one. But then who’s looking? 😉
He was in high spirits when he came to his apartment. It had been a good day as birthdays with, filled with lots of good wishes and more importantly cake.
Humming as he reached to unlock his door, Phil was mildly surprised to realize that his door was unlocked. His heart started racing immediately as he stepped into his foyer, looking around quickly to try and see whether anything had been stolen. His television was still there, as was his computer. And, a sight which immediately set his mind at ease, a bunch of balloons with a piece of birthday cake. Going over to the table, he decided that it must’ve been Kylie who snuck into his apartment, utilizing her ninja skillz for the greater good of cake distribution. It came as a surprise to him then that the card with the cake read: “Happy Birthday from Alyssa.” Feeling a touch of warmth, he looked around the apartment, wondering why his fellow Nasty had not stuck around to give the birthday cake to him herself. Although she could fly he did not think she could cross the Atlantic, but then again – she had other contacts that could’ve easily brought her via ley line.
Setting down the card, Phil turned his attention to the cake, seeing the big “EAT ME” lettering decorated onto the frosting. The wording tickled his mind in memory but he couldn’t say immediately why. He went to the kitchen and got himself a fork, then returned to the table, remembering suddenly that it was in Alice in Wonderland that the young woman was also confronted by a piece of labelled cake with the same words.
He chuckled to himself, wondering about his friend’s strange sense of humour. “What’s it going to do?” he said to himself a he picked up the plate and stuck the fork in, bringing a way a nice, bite sized chunk. “Turn me into a giant?”
He took a bite, delighted by the texture and taste of the cake. When he swallowed it though, he became aware of a strange aftertaste it left in his mouth. All of a sudden, his vision darkened, his world swayed and – before he could catch himself, he fell to the floor. As he did so, a figure stepped into view, wearing what looked like a long black cloak but he knew otherwise.
Alyssa was smiling as she looked down at him and for some unexplained reason she seemed ENORMOUS. As Phil lay blinking on the floor, struggling to get control of his limbs she hunched down and grinned.
“No,” she said. “Actually – it’ll make you shrink. Happy Birthday Phil.”
The now tiny Nasty was furious and invisible. He had quickly realized that his clothes had not shrunk with him and, in an inspired instant, disappeared from sight.
Alyssa had raised an eyebrow and looked around the room puzzled. She was dressed in a way he had never thought he would see her. Her hair was loose, hanging almost to her waist and she wore a knee length black Chinese cut dress. She even had make up on.
“What the hell is the meaning of this?” Phil shouted up at her towering figure, making sure that he kept an eye on where she was so that she wouldn’t step on him. “What did you do Alyssa?!”
She looked around, searching for him, her face set in a small smile. “Now calm down Phil,” she said. “It’s not permanent. Pop back into sight before I step on you.”
Phil gaped at her, wondering how she could be so calm. “No!” He snapped. “Alyssa, I am naked!”
The bat winged nasty made a considering sound, smiling slightly. “I have a hanky,” she said. “You can wrap it around yourself no comment. I’ve even raided my sister’s children’s toys for some clothes. Come back into view, I promise I won’t watch.”
Phil gaped at her, thinking about the toys. “I am not wearing Ken’s clothes!” he said. “Alyssa, why am I six inches tall!”
The young woman sighed and dug out a small handbag from underneath her wings. “Here,” she said putting it on the floor. You’ll find everything that you need in there. I’m going to stand there in the corner with my back turned to you. I promise I won’t peek.”
She gingerly and carefully stepped away, clearly concerned that she might step on him. Phil waited till she was in the corner before he ran over to her handbag and dug out a set of stiff Barbie doll sized clothes. Grumbling to himself, he made sure that Alyss wasn’t peeking before he came back into sight and hurriedly put the stiff clothes on. To his mortification, it was all too big for him.
“Right,” he said as he struggled with the tiny Velcro button of his trousers, prompting Alyssa to turn around and smile at him. “Why are you here and what have you done?”
“So let me get this straight,” Phil was saying a while later as Alyssa was sitting by his table, still dressed to the nines and looking very amused. “You want me to come with you to a ball at Trent’s place to steal and artefact that’s haunted.”
“Yes,” Alyssa said with a smile. “Simple really.” She sat back and carefully unfurled her wings, stretching happily until there was a click from her shoulder. Phil didn’t like the sound and made a point of glaring at her.
“Right. Then, two questions. Why did you shrink me and why did you choose me?”
Alyssa shrugged, wrapping her wings back around her shoulders. “Because,” she said simply. “You’ve out foxed Trent before, I needed somebody with stealth and I needed somebody small. Jenn’s quite busy at the moment, and Trent has got pixie alarm systems up all over the place and Kylie’s too big and over excitable. Can’t risk her jumping Trent with a squeal.” She sniffed. “Besides, I’m going to have to sneak you in. That’s easier to do if you can fit into the palm of my hand and can go invisible.”
Phil’s eyes widened. “You are not picking me up when I am invisible,” he meant to say when he was naked but that would embarrass him further.
Alyssa looked at him for a moment then smiled. “That’s why I have a purse mate,” she said. “Now come on, we’re going to be late.”
Phil glared at her as best he could, but the effect was probably lost due to his size. “You could’ve asked you know,” he said. “I’d have said yes if you just asked.”
Alyssa laughed and opened her purse. “That’s why I went along and did it,” she said. “Because I knew you would.”
“Okay, here’s a question,” Phil was asking – now nestled safely in Alyssa’s purse, very invisible and very naked. “How did you get a ticket for this ball? I didn’t know you and Trent were on speaking terms.”
Alyssa made a considering noise, the sound slightly muffled from inside her purse. “We’re not,” she said. “He’s not my cup of tea, bloody pansy elf tart…”
Despite the situation, Phil had to laugh. “Tart generally refers to girls,” he pointed out which made Alyssa said with a clear smile in her voice.
“Exactly. You remember my convictions as to the man’s sexuality.”
Phil did. “Don’t let Kylie hear you say that,” he pointed out. “She’ll really hit the roof and then you. Now how did you get your ticket?”
Alyssa was silent for a few moments. “I have my ways.” Came the answer.
Phil would’ve loved to stick his head out of the purse to see Alyssa’s facial expression but it was too awkward in the moving purse. “What, Minias?” he queried, immediately earning a snort from Alyssa.
“No,” she said. “Definitively not. I don’t ask him any favours, I betcha he’s itching to put a mark on me, give him some say so in our arrangement.”
Phil doubt whether that was the case but he didn’t comment. “How else then?” he queried. “Who has the power to get this to you?” When Alyssa didn’t reply he started guessing. “Rachel? Ceri? Ivy?” The rhythmic movement in the purse was interrupted briefly, telling him he had guessed right. Unable to help himself, he broke into an ear to ear grin.
“How did you manage that one?” he said. “What’s your arrangement with her?”
Alyssa snorted and patted the purse briefly. “Don’t be a journalist Phil,” she snapped. “Questions can get you in awkward positions. Now quiet and go invisible if you’re not already, I’m about to go through security.”
Phil wondered what Alyssa’s OH thought of all her arrangements with people but decided to keep that question to himself. He had not come where he was in life because he was untactful. To the contrary, he had always had a way with women.
He could hear a commotion outside the purse, the soft din of many people making polite conversation, the clinking sound of trays and glasses and the clear demand from a guard at Alyssa to stand still so that he could search her. The young woman had borrowed a cloak from somebody (probably Ivy) which she had carefully placed around her wings to hide them. Phil sensed Alyssa stiffening as someone patted her down. Quicker than he anticipated, the purse was grabbed roughly and squeezed. He just managed to curl himself up as to avoid injury before a hand came over the purse and squeezed it. He kept himself from grunting, but vowed to come back and haunt Alyssa if the guard managed to crush him.
“Oi,” a sharp woman’s voice said. “What’s this then? What do you have in here?”
Phil looked up to see Alyssa give the severe looking guard a very blank look. “Tissues,” she said. “For my allergies. They’re quite severe this time of year.” She paused. “Oh, and a wee little naked man.” She said it with so much conviction that Phil expected the woman to turn out the purse right there and then and demand that he show himself. He prepared to wrap himself up in a tissue when the purse was abruptly closed and shoved back into Alyssa’s hands.
“Don’t get funny with me,” the guard said. “You can go on through, you can give your cloak to that man over there. He’ll give you a number and keep it for you.”
“Oh no,” Alyssa said quickly. “I’m used to much warmer climates. It’s quite chilly tonight.”
The guard snorted. “Suite yourself,” she said softly. ” …. crazy foreigner.”
The last was said as a whisper, but Phil was sure that Alyssa heard it. None the less, the young woman made a pleased sound in the back of her throat and stepped into the ballroom.
“Right mate,” she said. “To work…”
With a series of events and a plot twist that would’ve earned Alyssa a publishing deal right there and then, the two Nasties managed to steal the statue from Trent and retreat back to Phil’s apartment, haunted statue and all. Alyssa gave Phil the antidote for his shrinking problem and then the two friends went out dancing to celebrate their success and Phil’s birthday.
Yes, Phil found himself reflecting as he laughed with his friend, reminiscing on how they had tricked Trent Kalamack. A very good day.
Happy Birthday again Ryan.