Friday, December 30, 2011

Chapter 3: Like a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

     Things that day went from bad to worse.  And all Leonard could do was watch.  If Leonard had thought things were heating up before, he was in for a big surprise.  The house was turned upside down.  

     After the fight over the salad and the exercising, both of the girls got ready for the arrival of Lucy's sister.  Leonard watched from the safety of the edge of the room.  He listened as Lucy nervously prayed aloud:  "Please, oh please let Isabelle be in a good mood.  I'll do anything!"

    In Leonard's humble opinion, the name, 'Isabelle' brought up the image of tiny butterflies flitting around dew-dropped daisies -- not something to be afraid of.  However, all picture perfect images of harmless butterflies and sweet floral scents crashed into pieces as Isabelle strode through the front door without knocking.  Leonard heard her shoes shrieking on the marble floor as she waltzed into the kitchen.  

     As a 'friendly greeting' to her sister, Isabelle snapped, "Do you know how heavy my bags were?  I can't believe you made me walk up those steps with them by myself!  I could have broken a heel.  Can you believe these heels were over two-hundred dollars?  They're obviously worth more than those steps.  Odd house you have here.  You still living with that weird girl?  Shadon, was it?"

    "Her name is Shannon." Lucy glared.  "It's not that hard to get it right." Lucy was, Leonard thought, clearly returning the 'friendly greeting' to her friendly sister.  Those two obviously had a 'friendly' relationship.  Leonard was apprehensive to see what other 'friendly' things they did together.  He had an uneasy feeling about 'friendliness'.  

     "And I love my house.  Don't you dare insult me.  I moved here to get away from you."  Lucy spat, pointing.

     Isabelle laughed, a creepy animal sound.  It was a laugh like rusting copper.  It reminded Leonard of an old penny he saw in the back yard.  It's year was 1966.  Attracted to the strange smell, Leonard licked it.  In short, let's just say he wished he didn't.  Leonard was making sure to turn the other way the next time he saw a shiny copper object.
     "I never did think you'd manage to go to college.  You never could handle the commitment for anything.  You surprised me.  I don't think you'll be able to keep this house for long.  Bills pile up, responsibilities add onto each other... good luck with your life.  You shouldn't get too far.  I can see you're still a brat.  That hasn't changed."  Isabelle smiled smugly.  "My dear little sister, you never did let anything go.  Still don't."

     Leonard held his breath as Isabelle smacked her little sister with malice he had never seen before in a human.

     "Get OUT of my house.  Before I call the police," Lucy said in an iron voice, sounding stronger than she felt.  "I said, GET OUT!"

     Isabelle stood for a moment, triumphant, but still upset, then stalked out of the kitchen, yelling, "And you shouldn't leave stupid toys around the kitchen where people can step on them!"

     Lucy turned slowly, and seeing Leonard, she laughed.  "What are you doing here?"  Lucy bent down to pick up the gnome, hugging him to her chest.  She squeezed him tightly and wiped a silent tear from her eye.  She sat on her heels with Leonard in her arms, crying.  She whispered in Leonard's ear, "You're the only one I can trust."

     Leonard felt a sinking feeling.  It was an awkward situation, to say the very least.  He couldn't move.  If he moved, she would gasp and take back her words.  But Leonard began to feel a teensy weensy connection with Lucy.  He couldn't quite identify it, and definitely couldn't place a thick gnome finger on it, but he felt like he had known her long ago.  Or something.   Leonard wasn't entirely sure.  One thing he knew was that the more time he spent around Lucy and Shannon, the more time he resented being a gnome.  

     Leonard wanted a real life, with real hands, feet, fingers, and eyes.  He wanted real words, real food, and real friends.  But most of all, he wanted real love, and a real heart to give it to a real girl like Shannon or Lucy.  Those humans really didn't get how lucky they were.  Their lives were intricate, full of emotion and design.  More and more, Leonard began to feel like his life was limited, a worthless pile of stinky garbage like the stray dogs in the neighborhood kept eating.

     Lucy put Leonard down and stared at the wall, trying to get control of herself.  Scrambling into the room, Shannon slowed and placed a frail hand on her friend's shoulder.

     "Oh my gosh, Lucy!" Shannon gushed.  "She really beat you up, didn't she?  Oh my gosh!   Why are you just standing here, letting her get away like that?  Are you crazy?  She freakin' attacked you!"

     Lucy shook her head, tears creeping down her cheeks.  "You don't understand!  She's my SISTER!  How could I do that?"
     Shannon softened at the sight of Lucy's forlorn face.  "But, listen.  It's against the law for anyone to attack someone unless it's in self defense.  I know you've had problems with Isabelle before, and... wouldn't you like to have your sister tucked away in jail so you can move on?"

     Lucy boiled over, like an overflowing pot of oatmeal left on the stove too long.  "NO! I can't do it!  I just can't!  If you say I'm not allowed to wedge myself into your problems, you can't wedge into mine.  You don't know who I am deep inside.  I know you don't."
     Shocked, Shannon said, "Of course I know you! We've known each other since middle school!  I just want what's best for you."
     "Well, I want what's best for you and you still don't let me help you.  You still don't!"
     "Calm down-"
     "I'm not going to freaking 'calm down', Shannon!" Lucy erupted.  Then, "When my mother died, she told me never to stop trying to be Isabelle's friend.  I've failed that request so many times.  So many times!  And you want me to lock Isabelle up in jail?  Sorry.  I can't.  It's my only hope to be Isabelle's friend.  It's my only hope to grant my mother's last wish."
     "But, Lucy!  She attacked you.  She obviously doesn't care what happens to you.  A friendship can only work if both people involved are equally interested."

     At this, Lucy's face crumbled.  "When you're a younger sister, you always have that need to please your older sister.  For me, anyway.  I guess I never could please Isabelle.  I don't think I'll ever be able to."


     Shannon understood that Lucy needed a nice, big hotdog.  Hotdogs were Lucy's favorite food.  And, even though meat made Shannon squeamish, she tried to fight through it for her friend.  It would mean a lot to Lucy.  

     Leonard watched from the end of the counter, still trying to take in all the events of the day.  He had an uncontrollable desire to comfort Lucy; he wished he could hold her tightly and not let go.  Leonard realized that he needed some comforting, too.

    A swift few knocks at the door, and Shannon flipped into a ditzy, glitzy girl in love.  With me? Leonard knew that it was not him, but continued to fight the truth.

     The door whipped open.  "Hey, sweets..." A voice boomed.  Leonard lost all hope.  It's me or the guy.

     "Neil!" Shannon rushed over to the man and bounded into his arms.
     It's the guy, I guess.  Leonard hopped down and listened to the lovers.  He gave a tiny gnome sigh.  He looked at their shoes.  He looked at the bottoms of their pants.  Maybe all I'm good enough for is the bottom of a dirty shoe?

>Gnobody's Home<

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Chapter 2: Gnot the Only One

     Magenta was upset with Leonard.  But, then again, Leonard wasn't sure when she'd ever been happy with him.  In fact, Leonard was wondering why they were even friends.

     "Leonard, why can't you just get over this?  You've spent two entire days watching and creeping on that Shannon girl like a stalker.  You're so strange.  You think she'd ever want to love a filthy, chipping gnome?  We're all never going to find a human lover... just accept it.  I'm happy that way.  Why can't you be?"

     Leonard, usually a quiet, shy gnome who usually let Magenta do all the talking, stood up straight.  He stared right at Magenta.
     "I am not a stalker.  I give Shannon privacy when she uses the bathroom or gets dressed.  I don't even go in the bathroom!  I think you're the strange one.  I act like a friend to you but you treat me like a piece of... of... well, you treat me like that plastic pink flamingo, who never did any harm to you!"  Leonard's voice wavered.  "I'll get Shannon to love me.  I'll show you!  Maybe you'll never find love, but I sure will!  
     "Who are you to call yourself my friend?  All you do is tell me that my opinion and thoughts are wrong.  All you do is insult me.  Don't bother pretending to be my friend any longer.  I won't listen to you.  I can do whatever I want, and you cannot stop me."

     "Fine!"  Magenta huffed.  "See if I care.  You never were that bright.  I'll have to watch you get thrown away by that poor girl you are stalking.  I won't even try to save you.  And if you cause them to throw away us all, you're gonna get it.  From me."  Magenta fled, not looking back.
     Leonard felt like the tiny earthworm he had accidentally stepped on a few years ago.  He tried to nurse the poor thing back to health.  He even let the worm share a part of his 'perfect' patch of grass (which really wasn't so perfect), but the worm had died a few minutes later.  Leonard had been heartbroken.  "Will anyone understand me?" He asked himself.


     Lucy gazed at herself in the mirror.  No way was she ever going to wear this thing out in public.  She couldn't believe she had let Shannon talk her into wearing it while they were going to work out together.  Lucy had always thought of herself as an artsy girl who was a tad bid tomboyish.  It was Shannon who was into all the fashion!  Shannon was the girlie-girl.

     But, mostly, Lucy was fretting over something else, something that had nothing to do with clothes or style.  Lucy was worried because her sister was coming today and was going to stay the entire weekend.  Lucy would rather jump in a freezing-cold pond, so cold you could see ice floating around.  That would be much more preferable.  

     Lucy crept down to the living room.  Shannon wasn't there, so Lucy decided to get started early without her.  Besides, Shannon liked to work out longer, anyway.  Lucy sighed at the sight of Magenta on the coffee table.  She shook her head, completely dreading this day.

     About a half an hour later, Shannon came down, drenched in sweat.  Lucy wrinkled her eyebrows, then said in between gasps,  "Shan, where were you?  You're so late!"
     Shannon apologized.  "Sorry, Luce.  I was doing my push-ups."
     "It took you a half an hour to do push ups?"
     "Well, yeah.  It did.  I did six sets of thirty."

     Lucy gasped, mouth agape.  "Are you freaking kidding me?  You did that many?  How... in the world..."
     "It's really not that bad.  I just have to keep a slim figure.  I'm really trying to lose weight.  Lately I've been adding a few pounds and I've really gotta work it off."

     Leonard quietly hopped up on the table.  He avoided looking at Magenta.  He figured he'd better work out, too, so he hopped up into a handstand.

     "Shan," Lucy said with a worried look on her face, "you really don't need to lose weight.  Look at you!  You're skin and bones.  Do you really need to work out so much?"
     "Of course I do!  I just do a bit everyday."
     Lucy wanted to argue more, but didn't.  She didn't want to upset her friend.  She knew that Shannon was very picky about her weight, but she had a sneaking suspicion that her friend might be a little too picky.

     "Michelle is coming over tonight.  At five-ish." Lucy said, trying to control her voice and expression.  She looked over at Shannon, who looked back at her.
     "Oh, yeah...  Is there anything I can do to help you?"
     "Uh," Lucy shook her head.  "I guess not.  Just, you know, give me some room and space to vent my feelings when I need to.  I suppose that's all."
     Shannon nodded.  Lucy finished her own workout with a sigh of accomplishment.  "I'm gonna get some lunch."
     "Okay.  I won't be too much longer.  I'm trying to space out my workouts.  I'll do another one later."
     Lucy raised her eyebrows.  "Another?"


     Just as Lucy sat down to a healthy lunch, Shannon plopped down beside her.  She had changed into her bikini, and although it was lunchtime, she had not taken any of the leftover food Lucy had prepared for the two of them.

     "Oh, my gosh, that looks delicious." Shannon gushed, regarding the salad.  Leonard watched from the safety of the tiled patio.
     "Why don't you grab a plate, Shan?  There's plenty left!"
     "I told you.  I'm on a diet."

     Lucy nearly choked on her leafy greens.  She had caught an itsy bitsy tomato in her throat.  "Shan, are you serious?  Healthy diets include eating three meals a day.  You shouldn't have to starve yourself.  You don't need a diet.  I weigh more than you do."
     Shannon rolled her eyes, losing patience.  "My upper body's a little pudgy," she admitted. 
     "Seriously, though.  What does that make my body? Fat? If you think you're pudgy, I must be a freaking load to you."

     "My gosh.  Would you give it a rest, Lucy?  I really don't want to talk about this with you.  You screw everything up."
     Lucy gazed suspiciously at her friend.  "Does this have anything to do with Neil?"

     Shannon jumped out of her chair, scraping against the tile like nails on a chalkboard.  She glared at Lucy. 
     "Stay out of it!  I'm doing what I think is right.  I need to lose a few pounds.  So what? You need to stop interrogating me."
     "Shannon, I just want to make sure you're okay.  I care about you.  You're my best friend.  I just want you to be happy and healthy!"
     "If that's what you want, then leave my food and athletic life out of this."  Shannon shook her head disgustedly.  

     Leonard wondered what was so important about food.  All it seemed to do was go bad.  The humans spend hours cooking, and minutes eating.  It just didn't balance out.  Leonard remembered the day when someone tossed an apple core out of their car window.  It fell near Magenta's patch of grass, where it continued to decompose.  It was completely and utterly disgusting.
     As the girl of his dreams proceeded to jump in the pool for a swim, he also realized something about Shannon Whitt and Lucy Gore, and himself:  He was not the only one who had problems of his own.

>Gnobody's Home<

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Chapter 1: Two Too Many

     They came.  The gnomes had known that their previous owners had kept the house on the market for some time, but they were still quite surprised to see a young girl step out of a taxi.  Well, not girl.  Girls.  There were two.
     The moment Leonard saw Shannon Whitt, he knew he had found his long-searched-for love.

     The gnomes scrambled to find their places on the lawn.  Shannon looked shy and humble next to the large house.  Leonard smiled, then winced as some red lip paint cracked off his lips.  Goodness.  He really needed a fresh coat of paint.

     "Hey, get over here, Lucy!" Shannon shouted to her friend.  A muffled voice was heard as Lucy Gore struggled with the suitcases and boxes of personal possessions.  
     "Lucy, I don't want to go in all by myself!  Get your butt over here!"  Shannon continued up the path toward the house.  She kept walking until she was face to face with the gnomes.  She studied each of them, walking to the end of the line of gnomes on the right side of the house.

     Shannon had a disgusted look on her face.  "Weird.  They left all their leftover junk.  Just wonderful."  Leonard felt his confidence crumble, just like the chipped paint that sprinkled itself into the grass.  He tried to ignore the fact that his future sweetheart had hurt his feelings.

     "Can you believe they left this trash?" Shannon complained.  "I don't want it clouding up our yard."
     Lucy laughed.  "I think gnomes are nifty.  I don't want to get rid of them! C'mon, I think they're adorable."
     "Suit yourself, Lucy.  Gnomes are so last decade. Just move them to the backyard, or something."
     "No way, you do it!  I'm the one lifting all our stuff.  Besides, we should unpack now."

     "You're right.  We can move them later," Shannon concluded.  "Let's have some fun!"
     "Huh-uh! We've got to unpack!  Well, at least I'LL be unpacking.  Have fun sleeping in a room with boxes crowding all around you."  The girls argued with each other, laughing and walking into their new home.
     Leonard saw that they could not have been more than twenty-five years old.  They must have been right out of college.  

     Magenta told a plastic flamingo to 'get lost' and plopped down next to Leonard.       
     "What are you doing, Magenta?" Leonard asked halfheartedly. 
     "Sunbathing.  What else?" 
     "I thought vampires hated the sun."
     "Not vampire gnomes," she said cheerfully.  "We love the sun."
     "Aren't you worried about fading your coat?"
     "Why not?"
     " 'Cuz."
     Leonard shook his head, saddened again, without knowing why.  Just his luck.  Lately, he was always feeling under the weather.  No pun intended, of course.
     The girls spent the mid-afternoon unpacking, walking in and out and in and out of the house so much that it made Leonard's head spin.  Finally, Leonard decided to investigate.
    "I'm going in," he announced to a half-sleeping Magenta.  She didn't seem to hear him. 

     Leonard followed the girls as they finished bringing the last boxes into the house.  He took a deep breath.  

     "Don't even think about it, Leonard.  Just what do you think you're doing?"  Magenta asked sternly, even though it really didn't sound like a question.  Her voice was as hard as the concrete that formed her.  Leonard wondered how she could have gone from a sleepy, tired gnome, into a steely-eyed, metallic, ice girl in the duration of a handful of measly seconds.
     He hesitated.  "I'm... well... I'm going in."
     "I don't think so.  You know the rules.  We can't go in there.  They'll find out about us!"
     Leonard was sick and tired of Magenta telling him what to do.  Though she was his closest friend of all of the gnomes, there were things about him she would never get.  They never saw eye to eye with each other.
     "I'm going in.  With or without you." He said bravely.  He had a feeling of triumph for sticking up for himself.  Normally, he would have wavered under her words.
     Magenta glared, her eyes shooting deep into Leonard's.  "If you go in there, I will never speak to you again.  You wouldn't dare break the rules.  Who cares about them?  They think we're pieces of crap!  They're two too many in our house!"
     "I'm sorry, Magenta.  I have to go in.  You can come, or you can stay.  But I need to make my own choices."
     Magenta gasped.  "But why? What is it about them?"  
     Leonard blushed a deep rose color.  It dawned on Magenta.  Her face went from angry red, to surprise, then to a cool, smirk.  "Leonard likes the human." She laughed cruelly.  "She'll break your breakable heart." Magenta frowned.  "I can't believe you."  She stalked away.  Leonard crept into the house.

     Shannon was playing a video game.  Leonard struggled to remember the other girl's name.  What was it? Lucy?  Well, Lucy was not in sight.  Leonard relaxed.  He sneaked over to the corner of the couch by Shannon's feet and watched her play the game.

     Shannon was very good at the game.  Leonard greatly admired her talent.  From time to time, she'd call out a curse word or two, usually when her character lost a life.  Leonard took note of every detail in the game.  If Shannon liked it, so did he.  
     Since he was near them, Leonard regarded Shannon's tall heels with great interest.  He was impressed that Shannon didn't tip over and fall.  She must have a wonderful sense of balance, he thought.  Maybe she does yoga.  How Leonard longed to learn a few yoga moves!

     Sneakily as a bat, Magenta slid next to her friend.  "I'm so sorry for the way I acted," she whispered quietly.  "Friends stick by friends.  They don't leave them in the dust, like I did.  Please forgive me.  I hope you can."
     Leonard nodded.  "It's okay.  We're really different gnomes, though.  I hope you can understand that I have many different qualities about myself."  Before Magenta could reply, Shannon yawned and clicked off the television set.  She stood up and stretched.  There was nowhere to hide.  Magenta exchanged a horrified glance with Leonard.  

     Shannon turned toward the gnomes and noticed them.  
     "Oh my goodness!" She gasped in surprise.

     "How did you get in here?" She breathed.  "Surely it must be Lucy playing a joke on me.  She knows I hate those gnomes," Shannon reassured herself.  Again, Leonard felt a stab of hurt bore into him.  She probably really didn't mean it like that... right?

     Shannon's mouth pulled into a sneaky smile.  "I know just what I'll do with you guys..."

     Shannon quietly placed Magenta and Shannon into Lucy's room.  "Lucy, Lucy..." Shannon whispered in a low, creepy voice.  Lucy froze.

     "I'm right behind you, Lucy, and I vant to shuck your vlood!" Shannon continued.  Lucy whirled around, and gasped at the sight of Magenta looking up at her from the floor.  Lucy burst out laughing.

     "I'm embarrassed to admit that you had me going there," Lucy shook her head and grinned, admiring the tiny vampire gnome.
     "Just gettin' you back!" Shannon said, coolly.
     "I have no clue what you're talking about, but whatever."

     "From now on, let's try to keep the gnomes out of the house," Shannon said, stepping behind Magenta.  "These gnomes give me the creeps."
     Leonard had a sinking feeling.  He knew what was going to happen next.  With a simple swing of her foot, Shannon kicked Magenta to the floor and snickered.

     Leonard held his breath.  He was definitely going to hear it from her when they got back to the yard.  Magenta was going to be furious.
     "Aw, poor gnome!" Lucy sympathized. "Don't kick them.  They might break!"
     Shannon shook her head.  "Whatever.  I'm going to start dinner.  I'm starving."

     She looked at Leonard.  "But I guess they can be sorta cute.  In a weird way.  It kinda looks like this one's blushing."

>Gnobody's Home<

Sunday, November 20, 2011


     Leonard's normal, sad life changed one day.  It was a bright, sunny day.  The world almost looked like a huge room with a giant, sunny light bulb turned on.  But that was really besides the point.  

     Hours before his life was turned upside down, Leonard was found inside, gazing out the window.  He preferred not to be outside on sunny days, since the sun faded his chipping paint, and if the wind blew too hard, he would tip over.  
     Alas, there Leonard was, sitting on the counter in the kitchen.  Alone, until Magenta found him and began chatting with him, like old times.

     "Hey, Leonard." She sighed.  "How come you're here all alone?"
     "I'm just here thinking."
     Magenta rolled her eyes.  "Here we go again.  Look, Leonard.  For the last time, what are the three things a gnome needs to be happy?"
     Leonard shook his head.  Magenta never seemed to understand.  "A perfectly green patch of grass, a neat, manicured lawn, and a clear view of everything."

     Magenta laughed sarcastically.   "Great!  I'm SO glad you know all of those three things.  Because, duh! You've got them all!  And don't forget the most important rule, please. Say it."
     Leonard grimaced.  "The humans cannot ever find out that we're anything but statues.  Or, in other words, the humans can't find out that we're alive."
     Magenta nodded.  "Good.  Now, if I may ask, if you've got everything a gnome needs to be happy, then why aren't you?"
     Leonard turned to face his friend.  "Because I want more than just a clean lawn, a patch of grass, a clear view.  I want love."