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Trouble in Paradise

by Ben Timberlake

The gnome is tapping his foot testily when I open the door as I get home from work.

I walk by him and loosen my tie like I don’t live with a yard ornament come to life.

My dinner sits on the table and I can tell it’s been there for a while because he looks at me like by being late I’ve ruined the chance for an intimate repast between friends.

“I went out for a beer,” I plead with him for some reason.

His miniature porcelain body scurries into my bedroom (Mine. He sleeps under the sink, I’ll have you know). When I look in, he’s laying out my clothes for tomorrow.

“Look,” I say. “This is really nice and all, but I think it might be time for you to move on.”

He stares at me. If he had tear ducts instead of painted eyelids, I think he might cry at this moment. Instead, he waddles past me and starts clearing the table.

We have communication problems.

His little red hat droops slightly as he dumps the food from my plate down the garbage disposal. I have no idea how he got himself and the plate up on to the counter next to the sink.

I move toward him as if to offer more apologies, but he brandishes the fork in a menacing way that only earthenware can.

I retreat to the living room and turn on the TV. I hear the garbage disposal run as “Change of Heart” comes on. The gnome comes in with a Mike’s Hard Lemonade, which he puts in front of me.

He puts an empty bottle in front of himself. So he doesn’t feel left out, I assume. As we watch the trials and difficulties of other couples on the show, I begin to feel a little grateful for the little guy.

Just when the couples are making their decision to stay together or have a change of heart, he notices a newspaper on the coffee table in which I had circled pet ads.

I reach for the paper, crumple it up and throw it over my shoulder. This eases his mind for the moment, but I just know I’ll come home tomorrow and he’ll bring me my slippers or slobber on the paper or something.

The golden retriever can wait a few weeks, I figure. The gnome eats less anyway.


Past pieces presented by Baja Phats

Agnomsticism by Ben Timberlake
Sprinkly Correctness by Ben Timberlake
Spooj by Winston T. Spoojalot


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