Newspaper Gone Missing

I sat on the porch, legs crossed with my foot bouncing, and waited. The hot mug of tea in my hands warmed me, soothed me, and calmed me. For the past month the newspaper hadn’t appeared on my doorstep. Every possible person I tried to address the issue with said that it was being delivered. I even talked to the delivery girl who swore up and down she delivered it, walked and set it right up on the front porch. Which of course did not come with the newspaper delivery service. I paid her a little extra to leave it right at the front door, safely away from the elements and ever closer to my hands.

One roommate claims that it just gets misplaced, while the other says tiny fairies keep stealing it because I stopped gardening. Superstition? Nonsense. I might be able to chalk it up to being misplaced  if it had appeared a couple of times in the month! But never that a tiny fairy stole it.

Our house is a bright green monstrosity that sits on a corner lot, impossible to miss! It has tall, beautiful trees that line each side of the street. With being a corner lot, the trees from each street frame the house.We have colorful bushes that line the walkway, giving the house a refreshing spring look. Some have called us fearless for the exterior appearance, bold. It is a reflection of who we are and how we feel.

I could hear a bike coming from very faraway. It was still fairly dark, and the way the house was situated on the lot it didn’t give us the luxury of  the  long view down the street.  So I sipped from my mug, listened, and patiently waited.

Latrice came in to view. She was riding a striped black and dark gray bike that she had spray painted herself and called, “Evasive Action.” Helmet on, hair in a bun, delivery uniform/outfit on, a bag of newspapers sitting in the basket fixed at the handlebars.

From the main sidewalk branches a slightly narrower sidewalk that snakes its way right up to the front porch, then down around the other side leading to the other street. Latrice threw newspapers to the last couple of houses. She saw me, smiled, and used that narrow sidewalk to peddle up to the front porch. She dismounted her bike, flicked her kickstand, and pulled out her earbuds, some rock music leaking out.

“Good morning, Green,” she said to me, smiling.

“Good morning Latrice,” I returned with a smile.

She reached in to her bag, retrieved the newspaper, and put it in my hand. I slid her a $10, she put her earphones in, hopped back on her bike and sped down the sidewalk around the corner.

I pulled the newspaper from its protective plastic sleeve, put it to my nose, and it inhaled. Mhmm, paper. In an age where technology is so abundant something so simple as reading the newspaper is a comfort, a salve on a wound from the persistent blade of the machine.

“I was born in the wrong decade,” I mumbled against the paper. I brought it and my mug into the house. I planned to devour its contents while I devoured the rest of this delicious orange African tea. I set the paper and mug on the counter and wander over to the stove to boil more water.

I see a sudden flash out of the corner of my eye. Startled, I jump, knocking the pot and all of the water in it on to me and the floor.

The newspaper is gone.

“Are you kidding me?” I incredulously say. I march around the kitchen and the counter, retrace my footsteps all the way back to the porch and still there is no newspaper in sight.

I walk back to the kitchen, wet and defeated, when I spot something on the counter, something green. I walk over to see: it’s a leaf. My eyebrow arches. A leaf? I spot another leaf, farther down the counter. I discover a trail of tiny leaves, leading from the counter. I follow the trail, from the kitchen, through the pantry, down the path to the greenhouse.

A small, rectangular greenhouse sat on a portion of the back-lot. From lack of use and upkeep vines had grown over the door and some of the windows, dust and grime coated the structure. I walked forward, enticed by the secret the trail of leaves held at the end. I broke the vines over the door and had to use my shoulder to get it open.

I barely made it through the front door. What lay before my eyes stopped me in my tracks: all of the newspapers from the past month lay in neat piles and rows on a dusty, old table. Shocked, I walked forward and picked up a paper, the date proving its authenticity.

“How in the hell?”

“How in the hell is right!” A tiny voice said. I spun around to find figure a little smaller than a bottle of water leaping to the top of the stack of papers. It appeared to be a girl, wearing dark leggings with a cute bright top, her feet bare, hair loose. She was almost as tall as a bottle of water. My jaw dropped. Drawing a blank, I just stood there and stared.

I put my hand on my forehead. “Am I really that high?” I wondered aloud.

“You wish,” she chuckled, rolling her eyes. “But when did you decide to indulge so heavily in the Eighth Sin?”

I screwed my face up. “The Eighth Sin? What-?”

“Yes!” She yelled, cutting me off. “The Eighth Sin, after the first seven, Pride, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Lust, Sloth, and Greed. The sin of laziness!”

I burst out into laughter. I was laughing so hard I had to reach out and catch myself on the table. I  must have made a misstep because I had to shuffle my feet forward and bend my knees as to not fall on my face. When I stood up, she stood there with her arms crossed, smirking. I looked down on the floor and saw two light patches.

Somehow, this little bottle-sized hallucination moved the table away from me. She  jumped in to the air and flew towards me. I stumbled backwards, out of my mind scared.

“Listen to me, Green, and listen good because this is the only warning we’ll give,” she said darkly. Before my mind could wonder about the ‘we’ she was referring to, tiny figures appeared behind her. My eyes could barely focus on the dozens of bottle-sized people that seemed like a small army.

“As green as this house is as green as this greenhouse should be, with plants and organic food. Don’t be lazy and refresh yourself . This greenhouse is a place of life, and your laziness and busy lifestyle has led it to death. Bottom line is: grow in this greenhouse that we enjoy or we will  keep stealing what you enjoy: newspapers.”

A cloud swiftly appeared, clouding my vision. As soon as it appeared, it started to dissipate and the bottle-sized army was gone.

The base of my throat throbbed from my heartbeat beating so hard. I sat there, trying to keep my heart from beating out of my chest and to process what just went down.

After many moments, I wondered aloud, “Fairies?” My voice bounced through the greenhouse. I don’t know how long I sat there, but what broke me out of my trance was my roommates voices.

Especially the one who said something about fairies. Madly, I grabbed two of the newspapers closest to me and headed inside.

Superstition it had turned out to be indeed.

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