I hardly ever write short stories, but Lisa over at Paranormal Point of View held a writing prompt contest. I want to thank her for all her paranormal insights that have provided humor, unusual food for thought and sometimes even inspiration over the past year.
What better way to end 2010 than with a story?
The Three SweetTooth Gnomes
Once upon a time there were three gnomes, Doorknob, Chuckle and Cane, who lived in the old Agriculture building at the University of Wyoming. These were staircase gnomes, which are a different variety from your common garden gnome and do not wear red caps. In fact, Doorknob always wore a brown hat, Chuckle wore a pink hat, and Cane wore a white hat, except on Sundays when he wore a tie-dyed cap.
The old sandstone building had two staircases, one at either end of the terrazzo halls. Doorknob was the keeper of the west staircase and Chuckle was the keeper of the east staircase, and Cane split his time between them. He suffered from a terrible case of bitterness because he did not have a staircase of his own.
Most of the students and faculty did not realize that gnomes lived under the staircases but the janitors did and were always careful to leave a candy bar on the last step on the last hour of the last day of every month to keep the gnomes happy. Otherwise odd things would happen like a small puddle appearing on the second landing for the dean to slip on, or chewing gum stuck under the staircase railings.
Eventually the powers that be at the College of Agriculture decided to have an elevator installed because the building was not up to code. The gnomes were very disturbed by the construction but when the elevator shaft was complete and the elevator installed, Cane capered in delight. Now he had his own domain to keep.
Unfortunately, the janitors were not aware there was a third gnome who had taken over the elevator shaft. When they failed to leave a candy bar out for him, the elevator began to stop at random locations between floors every other Tuesday, trapping people for hours at a time. The faculty and staff soon figured out that the elevator was not safe on Tuesdays. But many of the students, who only stopped by the building for classes, became Cane’s victims. He especially enjoyed piping Muzak into the elevator to torture his captives.
One Tuesday, which happened to be the last day of the month, a researcher who worked in the building decided to take the elevator up to her office, even though she knew it was a risk. She was 7 months pregnant with twins and climbing the stairs had become very difficult. But sure enough the elevator jammed between the second and third floor, and just as soon as it stopped the mysterious Musak started playing even though there were no speakers in the elevator that she could see. She pressed the emergency button and someone from engineering promised they would be over to help her just as soon as they fixed the flooding toilets in the Business building (most likely the bathroom sprites in that building had not been appeased for some time).
So she sat down to wait. Because she was carrying twins she was always hungry, and because she was always hungry she always carried a candy bar in her purse for emergencies such as this. But when she pulled out the candy bar she realized she had picked a Mounds by accident and she could not abide coconut. She would starve to death before she ate a coconut candy bar.
But then a useful thought occurred to her (perhaps prompted by her baby twins, because it is quite true that twins are much more prescient than singles and even more so when they are still in the womb). She decided to leave the candy bar in the elevator for the next poor hapless soul who got trapped inside of it.
So that is what she did. An hour later she was rescued. The next day one of the janitors discovered the candy bar wrapper tucked into a crevice below the emergency call button. He had a lightbulb moment. Ever since then the elevator gnome has been well supplied with candy bars and there have been no troubles with the elevator. Everyone lived happily ever after in the Agriculture building except for the butterflies pinned in the display case outside the entomology lab.
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