The Iron Writer Challenge #121
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
Mr. Bill from SNL
An odor from a specific spice
Danielle Lee Zwissler
Jack liked to call his—member—Mr. Bill. He bragged about it on occasion. His girlfriend, Layla, wasn’t impressed.
“We really need to talk,” Layla said, interrupting Jack from a lewd daydream. Jack had just pictured taking Layla on the playground equipment in the park.
“Oh yeah?” Jack asked, grinning. Layla rolled her eyes.
“I’m serious, Jack.”
Jack could tell she wasn’t in the mood. “Okay, what’s up?” Jack walked alongside Layla until she stopped, chewing at her bottom lip and looking all nervous.
“I’m—I need you to listen, okay?”
“I’m listening,” Jack replied.
“Yeah, I know, we should have left earlier, but I wasn’t ready. I apologized several times.”
“No, that’s not—” Layla looked Jack deep into the eyes and sighed. “I’m late…my period…”
Jack’s was completely dumfounded. They’d been together for nearly five years, and they always used a condom. “What—” Jack cleared his throat, “do you—how late?”
Layla took another deep breath. “Two months.”
Jack felt as if he’d been hit by a truck. He bent at the waist, wrinkling his favorite Firefly tee shirt. It had Nathan Fillian and Gina Torres on the front. Focus, Nathan.
Layla’s cried. “Look, I didn’t plan this…”
Jack knew he was screwing this up big time. “Honey, I know… It’s just, it’s a lot to take in, because we really hadn’t planned this, but it’s—it’s great news.” Jack pulled Layla into his arms. Many emotions went through his head: fear, excitement, babies, diapers, crying—mostly from him, and money.
“I know you never wanted the responsibility of being a parent, that’s why we never…”
“Marry me, Layla,” Jack said, surprising himself. The notion didn’t paralyze him like he once would have thought. In fact, he warmed to the idea of being hitched, of a baby growing inside her, and them with a house, and the scent of cinnamon from an apple pie baking, with Mr. Bill playing on the TV in the background. Jack laughed. He smiled as the thought of the Claymation playing out his life. Layla’s eyes widened.
“You want to marry me?”
Jack couldn’t remember what just happened. “Sure…”
Layla winced. “Where were you just now?”
Layla hated when Jack’s ADD took over. “Uh…”
“Just tell me.”
“I was thinking about Mr. Bill…”
Layla rolled her eyes. “The cartoon or your…”
“Both. I pictured us as characters.”
“I swear, Jack. Do you even realize you just proposed to me?”
That’s what he was thinking about! “Yeah, no, I do, it’s just—I was thinking that it’s kind of ironic, you know? Mr. Bill is always afraid of Mr. Hand, and now you’re pregnant, and Mr. Hand would have come in handy about two months ago.”
Layla didn’t laugh.
“It’s not funny, is it?”
“No, it’s not.”
“Okay. So, you’ll marry me then?” Jack asked, hopeful that the conversation could at least be saved a little.
Layla looked beaten down, and Jack supposed she’d have to be to put up with him for so long. She nodded, and tears sprung from her eyes. “Yes, I think I will.”
They were yelling again.
“You can’t just let him watch TV all weekend!” His mother’s voice, strained with effort, was starting to crack.
They were always yelling.
The boy pressed a button on the controller. The screen flipped to black, barking the sharp retort that accompanied the changing of channels. A familiar clay character greeted him with a grating falsetto voice.
“Boy are we gonna have fun today. Yay! That’s because we’re going to learn the ancient art of self defense. Karate. Yaaay!”
“That’s right Mr. Bill. There are a lot of martial arts movies being made. This might help you get a part.”
“I’ll let him do whatever I darn well please! He’s mine for the weekend and you don’t get to call the shots!” His father’s voice bellowed, a deep base that seemed to shake the windows.
“He has homework! You never get his homework done. I always have to cram it in on Sunday nights!” Somehow her voice reached an even higher octave.
The boy tried not to listen to them. All they ever did was fight. What he wouldn’t give to hear a cordial greeting passed between them. A simple “hello”. A kind “how was your week”. Anything but the venom they constantly spat.
Saturday Night Live was ending. His show was on next. He stood up, walked to the kitchen. They didn’t pause or even acknowledge his presence. They had too much yelling to do.
“When are you going to grow up,” she spat. “You have responsibilities! When will you own up to them?”
Leaping from his chair, the man screamed, “I do own up to them! Why do you think I work three jobs to pay your child support?!”
“You cook in a Thai restaurant twenty hours a week and deliver two newspapers. I hardly call that three jobs.” Her voice was mockingly quiet.
The boy pulled a cup from the cupboard, filled it with water, headed back for the living room. As he passed the kitchen table, the pungent musk of body odor and Thai chilies filled his nose. His father worked far more than twenty hours a week. His mother knew it, but what were facts in the face of a stinging insult?
Accurate or not, the rebuke stung, effectively ending the argument.
“Get out,” he whispered, pointing to the door.
The boy heard his mother’s petite footsteps receding towards the front door. His father’s thunderous stomps echoed down the hallway.
The front door slammed.
The bedroom door slammed.
The boy sat in front of the TV. Alone.
Lost my love, lost my land, Lost the last place I could stand, There’s no place I can be
Since I’ve found Serenity
The boy smiled.
As his favorite show played in the background he opened his backpack and got started on his homework.
Steven L Bergeron
“Remember kids, it is also unsafe to place your hands inside an electrical plug in or you just might get. Oh oh.”
That was one of the delightful skits we would get from Mr Bill every week on SNL. He was my responsibility to schedule a separate safety tip every week. The only down side of it all was Mr Lorne Michaels himself. Of all the bosses, he would be classified as one of the worse. One day I was dismissed with no explanation. That was his style, his way had made SNL a huge success for the past four decades. Years after my dismissal, Lorne Micheals had called. It would appear that his SNL Museum in New York was in shambles and needed a savior. He put our differences aside all for SNL.
It was my first day on the new job when things suddenly changed. My new task included taking care of the exhibits, searching for new SNL memorabilities, and conducting daily tours. Going through all of the exhibits I noticed one important character missing.
“Where was Mr Bill?” That adorable Clay figure that educated us on things not to do was not present. Was he kidnapped or like me Lorne Micheals had something against him. I needed to schedule an appointment with Mr Micheals for that was how it had to be done.
I walked straight into Mr Micheals office to the odor of cinnamon according to him the odor of success.
“Excuse me Mr Micheals I have a few questions for you.”
“What can I do for you Mr Abbott.”
“First of all why did you actually hired me to revive your Museum. I’m sure there are far better candidates? Secondly what happened to Mr Bill who had put the spark in my creativity?”
“As far as you,take it up with my secretary Mrs Silverman. As for Mr Bill your creativity had to be crushed. What can I say”
I returned to the museum with one task at hand to find out what Mr Micheals was really up to. Starting with why I was rehired in the first place. And who better to answer those questions than the talented Sarah Silverman.
As I arrived at her apartment the sight of Mr Micheals red firefly convertible caught my attention. A new question had arrived what was actually going on. As I recalled they never got along or was that simply an act .
As I entered her apartment, she was on all four wearing a leather cat suit. Mr Micheals was simply enjoying her role. Also there on a shelf above her desk was no other than our beloved clay figure.
I can now see what had went on all those years ago. I was being played as a pawn in their game. Mr Micheals had found out about my relationship with Mrs Silverman. As far as Mr Bill Mr Micheals had given him to Mrs Silverman as a reminder of our betrayal.
“Hello, everybody,” Mr. Bill announces in a high-pitched voice as he stands on top of a stove. He holds a ladle bigger than he is over a stockpot as tall as his chin. “Today is my first day working as a chef at The Vegan Curry House. It’s a big responsibility. I’ve got to make sure I’ve got enough curry for aaaalll the customers.”
Bob, the waiter, walks into the kitchen to grab some vegan nan for his newly-seated table.
Bob doesn’t notice Mr. Bill standing on the stove as he brushes past him on his way out of the kitchen and accidentally knocks Mr. Bill over.
“Ohhhhh, nooooo,” Mr. Bill screams as his head falls into the pot of curry and his body falls onto the ground.
A few moments later, Bob comes back into the kitchen and shouts, “I need a bowl of curry for Table 4.” No one responds from the kitchen. “Hello?” Still no response. Bob huffs. “Fine. I’ll get it myself.”
Bob walks into the kitchen and steps on Mr. Bill’s body as he approaches the stove. He looks down at the bottom of his shoe. “Yuck, gum,” he exclaims as he wipes his feet on the ground. He begins to sniffle. “Ooh, that curry scent is strong.” He looks away from the pot while scooping the curry into a bowl, not noticing he has scooped Mr. Bill’s head into the bowl as well.
Bob delivers the curry to the customer, who happens to be Justin Timberlake clad in a firefly costume. Bob asks him, “So what are you supposed to be? Why are you dressed up like it’s Halloween?”
“I’m a firefly, you know, from Firefly Wireless.” He stands up and presses play on his boombox. The music for Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” plays in the background. The firefly dances as he sings,
“Never gonna drop your call
“Never gonna be overcharged
“Never gonna lose 4G, and you’ll be happy
“Never gonna need another
“Switch to Firefly, and be happy”
He opens up his arms and sings the final line, “Bring it on down to Firefly.”
Bob glares at him and says in a sarcastic, annoyed tone, “Yeah, right.”
Bob spins on his heels and starts to walk toward his next table.
The firefly sits back down and scoops up a spoonful of curry and notices Mr. Bill’s face staring back at him from the top of the spoon.
“Waiter,” the firefly shouts. Bob cringes at the sound of the firefly calling out to him.
Bob turns back around and asks condescendingly, “What seems to be the problem?”
“There’s a Mr. Bill in my curry.”
The firefly points to his spoon in an exaggerated fashion. “There’s a Mr. Bill. In. My. Curry.”
Bob gazes down on Mr. Bill’s head. ”Oh, Dear. How on Earth did you get there?”
Bill sat on the couch and watched a classic episode of “Saturday Night Live” and a Mr. Bill episode came on. It was called Mr. Bill and the Firefly Pie”.
“Hello, Mr. Bill.”
“Hey there, Mr. Hand.” Bill replied in his high squeaky voice.
“Mr. Bill, today we are going to have firefly pie and it is your responsibility to catch the fireflies.”
“Oh boy. Firefly pie.”
“All right, Mr. Bill. Time to go outside and catch the fireflies.” Mr. Hand said putting Bill outside of his house but leaving one of his hands inside and closing the door on it, chopping it off.
“OH NO!”Mr. Bill exclaimed.
“Mr. Bill, see that hive over there? That’s where the fireflies live.” Mr. Hand said.
“That looks like a bees nest, Mr. Hand.”
Mr. Hand picked up Mr. Bill and threw him at the nest.
A bunch of bees came out and stung Mr. Bill.”
“OH, NO!” Mr. Bill exclaimed and a bunch of bumps appeared on his clay body.
Mr. Bill was seated at a table and asked, “What’s that smell, Mr. Hand?”
“It’s just cinnamon for the firefly pie, Mr. Bill. Here have some.”
Mr. Hand put the pie in front of Mr. Bill.
“What’s that buzzing noise. Mr. Hand?”
Mr. Hand cut into the pie and more bees flew out and stung Mr. Bill.
“OH, NO!” Mr. Bill exclaimed.
Bill fell asleep on the couch while watching the show and was awakened by the permeating but wonderful smell of cinnamon.
“What are you making, Honey? It smells great.”
“Go to the table and you will see,” his wife said from the kitchen.
Licking his chops, Bill went in and sat down at the table.
His wife brought in a pie and it was moving.
“What is that?”
“Why, it’s firefly pie, Bill.”
“OH, NO!” Bill exclaimed.