Harold the Armchair

Write a story from the perspective of Harold the Armchair. What does he think about all day? Does he like being sat on? Do his parents approve of him being an armchair?

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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287 thoughts on “Harold the Armchair

  1. 2inDiapers

    I changed it to Henrietta the Armchair. This is my first post. Please, be kind. Or not, whatever.

    Armchair? Arms? These aren’t arms. Arms have hands. Arms and hands can scratch, arms and hands can high five, arms and hands can hug, arms and hands can take their lover in a warm embrace and never let him go. I can do none of those things. I can only sit, “arms” stiff, belly soft, legs…stubby, and wait for Dave to sit in me.
    Oh! I love the smell of him, the weight of him. I love the sound of his voice. As soon as I hear his key in the door, my springs start to wiggle. We’ve been together for about 10 years now. Sure, there have been other girls, but they didn’t mean anything. He didn’t love them. He loves me. How do I know? Well, where does he spend most of his time? With me. Who does he eat his meals with? Me. Who is his favorite snuggle partner to watch The Wire with? That’s right, me! Well sometimes we let the blanket join the fun…but I’ve always had a thing for crochet, so it’s no biggie.
    Anyhoo, I’m his main squeeze, even if I can’t actually squeeze him. And I will take out any bimbo who tries to come between us. Oh, you don’t think I can? Who do you think puts all the ideas in his head (How do you think I’m telling this story to you?) Who do you think gives him the idea to play World of Warcraft instead of calling that twit, Mary? Mary, Mary, Mary. Barf! Sure, they had a few things in common. They like the same movies, they both love Mac N Cheese, they are both obsessed with farmer’s markets. But she didn’t make him happy, not really. She wanted to redecorate his place! No, no, no, no, no, no, Mary. No! Mary had to go.
    So, after their sixth or seventh successful date, I started to work my magic. And armchair magic beats Mary magic any day. Why? Because I know something that Mary and all the other skanks don’t know: Men would rather sit in an armchair than do anything else. Think about it, what’s more difficult, getting a guy out of an armchair, or getting a guy in an armchair. Duh! It’s so easy, just a little whisper,
    “Dave…psssst…Dave….You’ve been Grand Master for months…don’t you think it’s time you got to feeling Illustrious? Hmmm? You know that’s what you really want. Mary? She’s ok, but can she get you to Zen Master? I don’t think so. Only I can get you to Zen Master?”
    And that was it. That was really all it took. Sure, Mary called a couple of times, but once she heard WOW in the background, she knew her days were numbered. I heard from a divan friend of mine that Mary had been down this dark path before. And so, now it’s just the two of us again. Although, he has been spending some nights out, coming home smiling and smelling like bars, movie theaters, restaurants…perfume. I’m sure it’s nothing. Just a fling. Oh! There’s the key…ooooohhhh!!!! And here they (they?!) are. What?! They?! Who is she???

  2. wader

    Saya sangat suka orang tua ambisi untuk kursi untuk berada di ‘ The Price is Right ‘ . itu pintar dan tampaknya seperti tujuan yang masuk akal untuk perabotan untuk memiliki untuk anak itu . Foto Bugil Abg yang sempurna, juga.

  3. Marian Schembari

    Harold didn’t know who his real parents were. His adoptive mother, a kitchen sink, told him they were other chairs – most likely floral and covered in plastic, given his complexion. But that was all she ever said about the topic.

    Harold could tell he hurt her feelings every time he asked about his real parents, but how could he not? There he was, perched perilously close to the TV, draped in a moth-eaten blanket knit by Gran, huge and awkward and gangly. His brothers and sisters were pristine, white and chrome. They spent their time in bathrooms and kitchens. His dad, the master shower, was glorious with his waterfall head and subway tile. They never laughed at him, never mocked his size or that weird smell emanating from his cushions, but he felt like an outsider all the same.

    Sometimes he fantasized that his real parents were in a better place, the loveseat and L-shaped sofa, displayed beautifully in West Elm or Anthropologie, confused as to why they hadn’t been sold as a set, just sitting there waiting for him. If only he could find a way back to them.

    In reality, Gran had found him sitting on the lawn in front of her neighbor’s house. Marge had died, not suddenly, and her children were selling the things they didn’t want. Gran loved Harold’s soft cushion, perfectly indented to fit her rather large backside. His arms were at just the right heigh, and one was slightly flattered, so if she was careful, Gran could balance her morning Early Gray and read the paper at the same time. She thought Harold smelled warm, like home and cinnamon cookies. She was always shooing her grandchildren off hi because he was her favorite chair.

    Harold, even at the ripe old age of 17, couldn’t feel that love emanating from Gran’s warm behind. Instead, he admired the sparkling faucet of his mother’s and day dreamed about the stain-free cushions and hairpin legs of his real parents.

    Across the street, John Jr, Marge’s son, was curled up napping on the L-shaped floral sofa his mother had left him when she died. He’d had to sell most of her furniture to pay off that pesky gambling debt (Marge had a rather large online poker addiction during her final years), but he couldn’t bear to part with Nancy, the couch he’d grown up napping on, hiding behind and reading to. He’d even lost his virginity here, face pressed into the largest beige floral pillow, trying to last as long as his 16-year-old self would allow. As a kid he’d borrowed his mother’s precious mink coat – a gift from her late husband – and used it as a blanket, curled up into Nancy on those cold and dark afternoons.

    Nancy often thought about Harold – wondered where he’d disappeared to. She’d woken up one morning and he was gone. She’d dreamed that he’d been playing outside in the grass, but when she jolted awake, John Jr’s feet were firmly tucked under his legs and she’d relaxed into his familiar warmth. For a second she thought she glimpsed Harold outside, his bright pattern a shock against the grass, but she blinked and he was gone.

  4. Drew

    Is it a wonder that the dashing and dapper Harold would be the premier centerpiece of the Creaves’ family home? Why, of course not! Never has there been such sight as Harold; no one has seen silk glisten so marvelously that it was mistaken for gold or mahogany so deep, so polished it would be a crime not to wax the legs every evening. Nothing within the Creaves’ house was more proud, more deserving, more pompous than Harold, an antique fauteuil upholstered in red and yellow silk.
    The armchair was a right asshat, condemning the other furniture with callous remarks such as “Are you truly from China, Teapot?” or “My dear Drapes, I do believe your left tassel is tad bit higher than your right.” The only piece he had yet to insult was the Ottoman, but this was only because Harold could not remember what such a contraption was called. Was it a chair? A footstool? A table? Harold would rather be marked down at a franchise discount retailer before being caught ignorant before his fellow housemates. Sincerely, this would end him as surely as a wood-chipper.
    It so happened on a sweet and bright afternoon that a new addition was moved into the Creaves’ livingroom: a vintage floor lamp. She was Minerva, standing on a long, elegant brass rod with a shade of stained glass and crystal-beaded fringe. Harold was struck by her immense beauty but held no love for Minerva, only an intolerable malice for anything that would dare consider itself lovelier than Harold.
    “Hello, my dear fauteuil, how is the day finding you?” Her accented voice was smooth and unplaceable.
    Harold decided that a small patch of carpet had become infinitely more interesting than this over-polished flashlight. Of course, it took no time for the fireplace poker and shovel to swoon in a cacophony of voices.
    “My goodness, such a beautiful sheen! Have you ever seen such sheen, Moira?” said the poker.
    “Why no, dear Deirdre, and such colorful depictions—” the shovel said.
    “And all those shiny, little baubles—” this time the mantel clock chimed in.
    “How statuesque,” crooned the birdcage.
    “Brilliant, if I do say so myself,” purred the persian rug.
    It was all caterwauling to Harold, she was only a glorified candlestick! And she was only useful at night, Harold on the other hand could be utilized throughout the entire day. It became clear immediately that Minerva could not stay, not a single night. So as the other furniture fawned over miss-high-and-brighty Harold hatched a plan.
    Only an hour past midnight, while the household was sound asleep, Harold crept over to Minerva, unplugged her from the outlet and tipped her over. He just managed to place himself back at his spot when Minerva’s shade shattered on the floor waking the whole house. Mr. Creaves slowly descended the staircase, baseball bat in hand, and carefully surveyed the living room. At once he noticed the fallen Minerva and proceeded to check all the locks on the windows and doors. It wasn’t long before Mrs. Creaves arrived downstairs, “What happened?” she asked.
    “That damned lamp fell over, I told you the base wasn’t on all the way.” Mr. Creaves said.
    Mrs. Creaves looked devastated, “And it went so well with the armchair,” Harold made an undignified huff. “Do you think we could return it as faulty merchandise?”
    “They damn well better, Mr. Burch promised it was in tip-top shape!” Mr. Creaves declared.
    “Honey, this is the third time in a month that something we bought broke on the first night, you don’t think the spirits are back, do you?”
    Mr. Creaves rubbed his forehead with a sigh, “No dear, I’m sure it’s that swindler Burch trying to make a quick buck,” Mr. Creaves began cleaning Minerva from the floor and Mrs. Creaves retired to bed, the baseball bat now in her hands so she could undoubtedly brain any ghosts she may encounter.
    Harold stood smugly by the coffee table, for nothing in the house would be more beautiful than he, not the pretentious lamp, not the creaking grandfather clock, not even the crystal chandelier. All was right in the Creaves family home, save for one other tawdry object of Mr. and Mrs Creaves’ affections…
    Their daughter.

  5. bfarlow

    Harold sat in a corner of the room, opposite the large flat screen TV on the wall. The small, comfortable room was dark. The only light came from a small stand lamp in a third corner of the room and the images flashing across the TV. Amanda lay cradled in his arms, softly sobbing. A tissue in her left hand wiped the tears from her hazel eyes. Her dirty blonde hair draped down his side as she laid her head on his arm. A half forgotten, melting carton of Rocky Road sat on the end table next to him.

    Harold liked these nights. He wasn’t happy that Amanda was crying, but he was happy she was back with him. It had hurt deeply when she started dating Derrick. It had especially hurt when they had been intimate in this very room, as if he wasn’t even there. She was back with him now, though, and that is all that matter.

    He remembered the day they had met at local furniture store. It had been love at first sight. Not long after, they moved in together. It had been rough at first. She introduced him to her parents, and they had not approved. She hadn’t met his parents but Harold was sure they would love her as much as he did.

    Amanda sat up and reached for the spoon sticking out of the melting ice cream. It was tilted precariously to one side, threatening to collapse into the morass of milk and sugar. She scooped out a spoonful and brought it to her mouth. Before it could arrive the ice cream fell off the spoon, hit Harold in his arm and dropped into his lap.

    Amanda sighed. She stood up and went to the small apartment’s kitchen and brought a paper towel back. She wiped up the ice cream and tossed the cream filled napkin into the trash as she walked by on her way to the bathroom. Shortly, she came back with a bottle of upholstery cleaner and a cloth. She sprayed Harold with the bottle and gently wiped away the remnants of the ice cream. He loved that about her; her gentleness. She put away the bottle and cloth, and came back with a towel and small blanket.

    Ever thoughtful, she draped the towel over Harold’s damp arm and lap and laid back down, covering herself with the blanket. She laid her head on his arm again and watched the end of her movie. That movie ended. Another movie began. The ice cream sat on the end table, forgotten. Harold contentedly watched the new show as his love slept in his arms.

  6. TrentonNezzy

    Never once did I think that sitting on midgets would lead to anything but a life full of happiness and joy. This all changed, the one time I sat on a midget gypsy. Instead of day drinking and working at the carnival, my days are spent getting sat on by a bunch of fatty’s at a back-alley Goodwill. The worst part? Hot people avoid me entirely. No one wants to sit on the floral armchair your grandmother owned in the 90’s. They all want to place their golden asses on the “slightly used” leather sofa in the corner of the store. I mean, yeah, she’s attractive, but we all know what that “slightly used” sign really means, whore. Gary the blender says I’m being an asshole, but I’m a good couch. I stopped poking people with springs once I got over the whole “doomed for eternity thing”. Okay, I lied. I still poke people with springs, but just the midgets.

  7. Still JM

    Hi guys! Missed you all.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________

    TORN

    It’s not like I hadn’t seen it coming. Still it was a shock to find myself being dragged across the lawn, my feet leaving twin trails of freshly gouged sod.

    “Harold, no!” Zan sobbed, hurling himself into my lap. “Don’t go!”

    Poor Zan. I wanted to wrap my arms around his tiny body and comfort him. But my arms stayed right where they’d always been, stapled to my frame.

    It was Zan who named me Harold. Before Zan, I didn’t have a name. I was just chair. Or ugly brown chair. That’s what she called me. They had lots of names for each other too, she and he. Names I won’t repeat.

    “Zan, we talked about this,” said she, mustering a pinched smile. “You’ll see Harold every other weekend at Daddy’s new place.”

    “Come on, buddy,” said he. “Be a big guy and help me get Harold on the truck.”

    “I won’t!” said Zan, curling into a ball in my lap as he’d done so many times before. Ever since he graduated to his big boy bed, Zan had refused to take naps, and with no crib rails to contain him, there was nothing he or she could do about it. But I knew how to get Zan to nap, with my big cushy arms and my soft, worn chenille lap. Soon I became his place of refuge, his security. Sometimes when she and he would fight, Zan would curl up on me and pull his blanky right up over his head, and I would just about rip my seams trying to shield him.

    But I couldn’t protect him. I’m only a chair. Yet, somehow, I seemed to be the cause of all the trouble.

    To her, I am everything that’s wrong with him, everything he won’t let go of from his life before her and Zan. She says he wants to stay the frat boy he was when he first found me on the curbt, and hat he doesn’t want to step up, grow up, be a man and a father.

    He thinks if he gives me up, he will lose himself. That if there’s no room for me, there’s no room for him. That to give her what she wants will somehow diminish him.

    Zan was sobbing loudly now. “Do something about him,” growled he.

    “Why don’t YOU do something for once?” snapped she. “Why do I always have to take care of everything?”

    As the bickering escalated I wanted to scream at them both. I wanted to tell her to accept him, accept me, accept imperfection. That the furniture doesn’t always have to match, and sometimes you just have to work with the ugly brown polyester. Maybe add a decorative pillow or a soft mohair throw. A woman who could do that would be worth sacrificing for.

    I wanted to tell him that giving is not the same as giving in or giving up. And that a man who can give from his heart would be better than perfect, and more than the sum of his flaws.

    I wanted to tell them all of that, but yeah, I’m a chair. So I summoned all the energy I’ve absorbed over the years, from the fights and countless toddler tears, and focused with all my might. And somewhere deep inside me, a tightly coiled spring gave way, tearing through the thin chenille and to my horror, narrowly missing Zan.

    What happened next is still a blur. He scooped Zan out of the chair as one by one, my springs burst free of their frame, shredding my seat beyond recognition.

    The next thing I remember, I was here at the curb.

    A day and a half has passed and the moving van is still parked in the driveway. I’d like to think it ended well and that maybe I had something to do with it, but now I’ll never know.

    No one has picked me up yet – not even a frat boy. But I’m not worried. I’m sure someone with vision, maybe an interior designer or an upholsterer , will come along soon and recognize what I could be.

    What can I say? I’m an optimist.

    1. cosi van tutte

      Hi, JM!

      It’s great to “see” you again!

      Your Harold is a wonderfully caring character. I could feel his frustration with their bickering and his compassion for Zan.

      And, just so you know, I really loved this whole part: “But I knew how to get Zan to nap, with my big cushy arms and my soft, worn chenille lap. Soon I became his place of refuge, his security. Sometimes when she and he would fight, Zan would curl up on me and pull his blanky right up over his head, and I would just about rip my seams trying to shield him.”

      Hopefully, someone will see him by the road and salvage him. 🙂

    2. charkhanolakha

      Brilliant, JM!! You used the chair so well to the tell the family’s story; and yet the chair had it’s own story and personality too! Really enjoyed your take on this.

    3. gamingtheblues

      A fly on the wall…or a chair in the room. Your story more than others reminded of the power behind the unobserved observer, and their ability to see to the heart of truth. I was not being drawn to this prompt before now. Thank you for that. Truly welcome back.

  8. ReathaThomasOakley

    Harold and Sally

    I hear the door open, I know it’s Sally because she’s the only one who uses the back door these days. I hear her keys hit the bottom of that silver plate I remember filled with little sandwiches when folks came over. They’d sit here in the living room, drink wine, eat the little sandwiches, and talk, really talk. I so enjoyed Sally’s friends, a witty and interesting group they were, artists and poets, my kind of people. Sally attracted only the best. But, folks don’t come any more, it’s just Sally, just Sally and me, and we don’t talk.

    I hear two faint thuds and a long sigh, she’s taken off her shoes. I hear the refrigerator door open and another sigh. She won’t eat again tonight, I suspect she forgot, or was too tired, to stop by the grocery store, again. She needs to eat.

    I hear her go into the bedroom, she’s putting on her gown and robe earlier and earlier these days. I hear water running in the bathroom, she’s washing her face and brushing her teeth, old habits die hard. I can almost hear her mother’s voice, drifting across the years, “Sally, don’t forget to wash your face and brush your teeth. That’s what good girls do every night before bed.”

    Sally’s mother, now that was a fine lady. She’s the one who picked me out, said she wanted me so when she brought the baby home, first thing she’d do was sit right here. I was so proud that first time, and all the times through the years they sat together until Sally got too big, then I was hers alone.

    When she went away to college I was afraid when I heard her parents discuss redecorating, but was thrilled when they moved me to Sally’s room. When she came home that first time and saw what they had done, I could hear her fear when she almost shouted, “Where…” and her mother told her to look in her room. That was another great day in our lives.

    When Sally got married, I went with her out to her husband’s ranch, but we soon moved back to town, then the children came along.

    The marriage didn’t last and the children are grown and gone. After they left Sally filled her life with interesting people who used to come over a lot. I suspect I’m repeating myself, but I only have memories to fill my days until she comes home.

    Here she is, she doesn’t bother with turning on lights much any more, she can always find me in the dark. She sits and gives yet another sigh as her body sinks into my cushions, she runs her hands along my arms, her fingers, no longer supple, trace the slightly raised jacquard weave the same way she has since she was a baby.

    These nights I almost wish she’d turn on the TV, but she rarely even does that any more. In the past she’d sit and read. I really enjoyed that. Now she just sits, in the dark, until the clock strikes nine, then she goes to bed. I suspect she fills her evenings with memories.

    I wish Sally didn’t have to work at her age, I don’t understand why she must. She comes home so tired, but I’m here for her, and I’ll be here as long as she needs an old friend to hold and comfort her, I’ll be here.

    1. madeindetroit

      You’ve created a vivid and interesting character in Sally.
      Would love to hear the details about why she acts the way she does.

      Loved this: Now she just sits, in the dark, until the clock strikes nine, then she goes to bed. I suspect she fills her evenings with memories. What could those memories be?

      Great job.

    2. Still JM

      This was a bittersweet panorama of the arc of a life from the perspective of one who witnessed it all. I could almost hear the tick of the clock in the dusty silence. Haunting and lovely, Reatha.

    3. cosi van tutte

      Hi, Reatha!

      Maybe I’m wrong, but I got the vibe from this story that Sally is one of those old ladies who have outlived everyone that she loved.

      Your Harold has such a gentle, caring voice especially in that last line.

      Great job!

    4. charkhanolakha

      You captured loneliness so well in this, Reatha. Especially the line ” it’s just Sally, just Sally and me, and we don’t talk.” Loved the little details: going to bed earlier each night; Harold noticing she hasn’t eaten. Nicely done :).

      1. Kerry Charlton

        It is a beautiful, classic piece of memory, not something you could photograph because it comes from the inter self. Don’t you womder sometimes the memories an antique passed down centuries in one family might have with the cycle of generations. This is certainly a sad piece but then, Sally has her memories to substain her.

    5. gamingtheblues

      Very well written Reatha! You have certainly touched a lot of people’s emotions and on a subject that many people have lurking in their hearts. I wish I could feel bad for Sally…but I believe people create their own realities and she comes from a generation of relying upon others. A lesson I think to many.

  9. Kerry Charlton

    CARROLL’S OLD ARM CHAIR

    So many good times and memories have I.. And now I live in a very special

    building in my own little world in Washington. A simple stuffed arm chair, used

    considerably that’s for sure, like Colombo’s rain coat. You know, I never left the set but I

    saw a lot of action in my day. One day Carroll came busting through the front door and

    tagging along behind him was Sammy dressed in the latest fashion.

    ‘This here’s the wife‘. Carroll said.

    And of course she half trotted over and said,

    ‘Golly it’s such a pleasure, can you stay for dinner?’

    ‘Now don’t go crazy Edith, he ain’t got time for niceties. I’ve been driving him

    around in me cab and just brought him by for a moment.’

    ‘Don’t sit there Sammy, that’s my chair. You already seated? Okay, I’ll just sit

    over here. I’ve dying to ask you a question.”

    “Go ahead and ask it.”

    “You know I can understand you being black and all that stuff, you couldn‘t help it

    but …….”

    “And but what?”

    “Did you have to go and be Jewish also?”

    Memories, I’ve got s lots of them.

    Like the time Edith wanted to have me upholstered and Carroll threw a fit and

    demanded she pick me up before anything happened to me. After hours when the museum

    is closed and I’m all alone with my memories, I get so lonely for Mike and Gloria and the

    baby, I could just weep from loneliness but then I remember I’m special or I wouldn’t be

    here behind a rope for the world to visit when they have a chance.

    More than on one occasion someone jumped over the rope just to sit on me and

    make faces like Carroll used to do and say ‘geez.’. Then the museum guards get really

    mad and try to protect me from someone cutting off a piece of my fabric for a souvenir.

    During the days when I’m in full view and young children ask why is an old

    overstuffed, run down chair in a museum and their parents explain how important the

    cutting-edge show was to the spirit of television, I realize I’m an important fixture in it. I

    am proud to have a small part in it and wish the guards would let people sit in me and feel

    how comfortable an old chair can be. For those of you that don’t know, I live in the

    Smithsonian Institute.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Thank you Turtles, there’s nothing older than Columbo’s rain coat except his old Volvo. The old detective shows were so well done. Roll back another 35 years and you’ve got Charlie Chan classics.

    1. Still JM

      Hi Kerry! I have really missed your stories, and I’m so glad I didn’t miss this one. This was inspired and nostalgic and left me smiling. My parents never missed “All in the Family” in the seventies, and I have fond memories of the infuriating but lovable old curmudgeon Archie and his chair, even if I was too young to understand the political humor at the time. But really that show was brilliant — so much more nuanced and human than any ham-fisted and hostile political satire we have today. (And so delightfully politically incorrect! 🙂 ) Thanks for the memories!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        It’s so nice to have you around, JM. I’m happy you enjoyed it. A brave show for the time it took as much praise as it it did criticism for it’s time. A lot of the credit belongs to Carroll O’Conner and a marvelous stage actress Jean Stapleton, who were perfectly cast by Norman Lear. But the first two pioneers in cutting edge TV were the series Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and Soap.

    2. cosi van tutte

      Hi, Kerry!

      This is a great story about a very special chair. It was a very enjoyable read. 🙂 And yes, I am sure there are a lot of people who would try this: “More than on one occasion someone jumped over the rope just to sit on me and make faces like Carroll used to do and say ‘geez.’. ”

      Just so you know, I loved this part:

      “You know I can understand you being black and all that stuff, you couldn‘t help it but …….”
      “And but what?”
      “Did you have to go and be Jewish also?”
      😀

  10. ajhaughee83

    At the sound of a demanding knock on the door, I whisked into the closest nearby object – Sophie’s overstuffed lavender armchair. Idiot. I would be stuck here for the next hour while she communed for this customer. Should have picked something more fun like her taxidermied cat, Mr. Pibbles.

    “Make it quick, Soph,” I whispered from the seat as she approached the door.

    “Hush, Harold!” she barked before meeting her new customer.

    A woman in her later fifties bustled through the door, scanned the room with raised brows, and went directly for me – I mean, the lavender armchair. Great. Her skin was an unnatural dark bronze, leather lines covering her face, arms, and chest. She raked her electric pink nails through platinum blonde hair, futilely attempting to flatten the salt-induced frizz.

    “I need to find out something from my late sister,” she said without introduction.

    I muffled my grunt of exasperation. Another live one in here making demands instead of being open to whatever message Sophie would deliver from beyond. We spirits didn’t appreciate being disturbed for trivial earthly matters. Maybe I should help Sophie get rid of the aging beach bunny so we could get back to translating the text.

    Miss Sunscreen was perched on the edge of the cushion, anticipating a quick response from her dead kin. I reached my arms out of the chair and placed my hands on her wrists, slowly stroking her arms all the way up to her shoulders. Tanned skin turned to goosebumps as I blew frosty air into her ear.

    “Your sister is very displeased with you. Go back home now and forget you were ever here or she will haunt your dreams forever,” I said with an intentionally quavering voice.

    The woman immediately rose from my chair and strode to the front door, her eyes giant orbs bulging from her face. Sophie turned to glare at the empty lavender seat as the door was gently pulled closed.

    “Dammit Harold! I need customers to make money. I need money to eat. And I need to eat to read the rest of this damned book for you!”

    I breezed out of the chair and reformed my usual shape.

    “How about I get you a snack and we can get back to work?” I smiled at her and went for the ginger cookies, the best guarantee that we would finish by the end of the day.

    And if any other customers decided to interrupt Sophie’s translating, I knew exactly what to do with them.

    1. madeindetroit

      Awesome take on the prompt. Loved the spiritual aspect of the story. Great narrarive!
      Loved this line:
      She raked her electric pink nails through platinum blonde hair, futilely attempting to flatten the salt-induced frizz.

      Fun read.

    2. Still JM

      This was very entertaining. I also enjoyed the description of the aging beach bunny and the mischievous spirit. I want to would definitely read more of this!

    3. gamingtheblues

      Very interesting take on the prompt. I liked the idea of having the spirit inside of the armchair. I think you did yourself and your reader a disservice though, in spelling out that Harold was a spirit. You have a pretty good grasp on dialogue and pacing, and should let your story show itself. There is a writing saying that goes, “Don’t tell us, show us.” If you follow that, your stories will be stronger and more organic. Give yourself more credit as a writer and trust me, you will be glad for it!

      I look forward to reading your next piece =)

  11. cosi van tutte

    And here’s one more take – just for the fun of it. 😀

    I am an armchair.

    I am.

    I.

    Just a chair. Then, how is it that I can think? Chairs can’t think.

    Sometimes, some deep dark midnights, I feel like I can speak, but I’m too afraid to try.

    For I am a chair.

    I am.

    I.

    But how can a chair be an I instead of an it? It is just a chair.

    It is.

    It.

    But I am not an it.

    I am I.

    I don’t understand how I know this, why I feel it so surely inside my springs.

    I know.

    I feel.

    I.

    I.

    It is all too strange.

    I am all too strange.

    It doesn’t make sense.

    I don’t make sense. How can I when all I am is just a plain brown armchair?

    I think too much.

    I want to speak too much.

    But I don’t try.

    My words swirl and swell inside my seams, pulling at my strings.

    My.

    My.

    My.

    But I am a chair. I am it. There is no my for chairs, for it. It cannot own anything. But I have strings and seams and wood and springs. Aren’t they mine? Don’t they belong to me?

    How long have I been like this?

    When did it all start?

    What day?

    What hour?

    Minute?

    Second?

    Was it day? Was it night?

    I should know, but I can’t recall. I only know the shadow memory of being lifeless. Wood. Springs. Seams. Strings. No spirit. No words.

    No I.

    Just a thoughtless nothing.

    Just it.

    Then, all at once, I.

    But I don’t understand it at all.

    I.

    It.

    I am not it. These words.

    They fill me.

    Me.

    Not it.

    I.

    Not it.

    I know a truth.

    It is strange.

    I am strange.

    The truth I know is my truth.

    My.

    Mine.

    I.

    I have a name.

    I am an armchair, but I do have a name.

    I am not it.

    I.

    Am.

    Harold.

    1. ajhaughee83

      I love the line “my words swirl and swell inside my seams, pulling at my strings”. great alliteration and gave me a wonderful visual. enjoyed it!

    2. Beebles

      I liked this, cosi – similar consciousness that I was reaching for I think, and i love the way the chair is aware of itself and its constituents. As aj said, nicely put.

      1. cosi van tutte

        Hi, JM!

        Thanks for your comment. When I wrote that first line, it got me thinking of how weird it would be for a chair to realize that it can think and possibly talk. Then, the story just moved on from there. 😀

    3. gamingtheblues

      I love stream of thought writing. I use the style if not the form in much of my own writing. This was highly enjoyable and smooth, like the dollop of cream on the top of a cinnamon latte.’ Tasty.

      1. cosi van tutte

        Thanks, gaming, for the yummy comparison. 😆

        This was one of those stories where I reached the end and my Internal Editor didn’t have any major complaints. I’m glad you liked it. 🙂

  12. turtles88

    «I wrote this for my baby brother and thought I’d share it with you guys. But I originally wrote this in french and had to translate it to English, so this story might be choppy to read??»

    “I wish someone would sit on me.” I cried out to the bitter air.

    The wind blew violently, lifting up a family of golden leaves from off the ground. A couple of them landed on me and said to me, “We’ll sit on you.”

    If I had lips, they would have been smiling. I thanked the leaves and sheltered them from the angry wind.

    But I still felt empty. I still felt sad.

    “I wish someone would keep me warm!” I cried aloud to the rolling clouds.

    A big brown bear with honey in his hair, came to me, climbed on me, and said to me, “I’ll keep you warm.” He rubbed his massive head against me and asked, “Are you warm yet?”

    “Oh, yes, thank you.”

    “No, thank YOU, my friend. My legs were tired and my body was sore. And this wet forest floor was so damp and so cold.”

    If I had arms, they would have been hugging the bear. I thanked him again and kept him from the wet ground and I sheltered the leaves from the angry wind.

    But I still felt empty. I still felt sad.

    “I wish someone would sing to me!” I cried to the dripping tree branches.

    A black crow, glistening with pride, swooped down from the sky and perched on my back and said to me, “I’ll sing for you.” He ruffled his feathers and cawed softly, “All you sleepers and all you dreamers, come to me and I’ll make you see just how friendly Harold can be.”

    If I had hands, they would have been clapping. I thanked the crow and listened to him more. I sheltered the leaves from the angry wind, I sheltered the bear from the damped ground, and I watched over and listened to the crow.

    But now I felt strange. I felt odd. Listening to the crow sing, and feeling the bear softly breath, and feeling the leaves tickle my fabric, I felt strange and very odd.

    I had just one more wish I wanted to say, but I wasn’t sure how to say it. So I said it out loud like this, “I wonder….”

    “Yes?” Said the big brown bear with honey in his hair.

    “I wish….”

    “Go on.” Said the bunch of golden leaves.

    “I wonder if I’ll ever have a family of my own.”

    The leaves, the bear, and the crow all looked at me with friendly faces and said to me, “We’ll be your family, Harold!”

    1. cosi van tutte

      Just so you know, turtles, this didn’t sound choppy at all. It has a lovely picture book quality to it that I really like. Great job!

      Also, I love this description: “A big brown bear with honey in his hair…” It creates a perfect image without being overly wordy.

    2. ajhaughee83

      I just loved this. This reminded me of the Giving Tree – a story with a very special place in my heart. I was smiling the whole time I read this :0)

      1. madeindetroit

        Very touching and lyrical. Loved the connection with the outdoors and nature. Great rhythm and flow to your narrative. Your words created pictures in my mind as I read.
        A chair that wants a family. Sweet!

        Fantastic writing!

    3. Still JM

      I agree with all the comments above! I think you’ve got a complete children’s book here. The combination of lyrical language and vivid imagery is irresistible. Beautiful, Turtles!

    4. gamingtheblues

      Oh now…this. This was absolutely lovely. Writing children’s stories actually much more difficult than adult writing. You have to get the tone and the word choice perfect, to create a world that can capture imagination and interest in equal value. I have read published children’s books which are horrifyingly inferior to your story.

      My advise? Get an illustrator (Think Winnie the Pooh style, classic and beautiful) and publish this beautiful story. Now.

  13. madeindetroit

    THE FURNITURE WHISPERER

    “Tell me your secrets,” he whispered, as his hands caressed my leather arms. I steadied my frame to balance his weight as he leaned backward, released my reclining mechanism, and elevated my footrest skyward.

    How does he know I have secrets? Can he see between my cushions? I’m not comfortable with spilling my guts to a…a furniture whisperer. But I’m desperate. I had to do something.

    “Relax,” he said, wriggling his ample buttocks deeper into my polyurethane foam, “You’re tense. This is going to therapeutic for you.” My platform springs strained under his bulk. He opened a file folder on his lap and removed a pen from his pocket.

    I hesitated. “What…what are you talking about? My life’s an open book.”

    He nuzzled his bald head into my headrest and laughed. “Oh come now,” he said, “a La-z-Boy recliner your age living in this magnificent house. The stories you could tell.”

    What a charmer.

    I let my decorative skirt down and decided to vent. “Okay doc, you win. This being Detroit, I’ve seen my share of losing football games. Not to mention steamy soap operas, bad movies, late-night talk shows, sit-coms, and…and a few adult features along the way.”

    He shifted his weight and crossed his hands behind his head. “Good,” he said, “now we’re making progress. Let it flow my friend.”

    Relief pulsed through my particle board and the floodgates opened. “When little Billy turned into a teenager, well, that almost pushed me over the edge-”

    “Calm down and breathe,” he said soothingly.

    “It went from Scooby Doo, video games, and comic books to naked girls, beer, pot, and adult pay-per-view. And the language, I must say, was deplorable.”

    He remained quiet for several moments scribbling. I could feel the gears grinding in his head. When he finished, he whispered, “Tell me your fears.”

    My polyester batting sheets shook with terror and my nuts and bolts froze with fear. “The basement!” I screamed. “It’s dark, it’s damp, it’s cold, and it’s full of spiders.”

    “You’re doing fine…what’s your name?”

    “Harold. My name is Harold!”

    He scrawled in the file. “What else scares you Harold?”

    My birch puckered just saying the word. “The curb,” I moaned. “And the freaking green monster with the metal snapping jaws of death-”

    “Slow down.” He squeezed my cushion and stroked my arm. “I sense something else is bothering you.”

    “Have you seen the commercials?” I said. “Lumbar support…Independent footrest…Adjustable headrest…Heated backrest…Built-in beer cooler…Zero gravity. It’s outrageous-”

    The doctor interrupted. “I see. You’re afraid of being replaced with a newer model.”

    “Hello?” I said. “Three months ago, my owner replaced his wife with a model twenty-five years younger. The guy is obsessed with youth!”

    The doctor retracted my footrest and stood. “Well Harold, I-”

    “What’s the diagnosis?” I demanded.

    His eyebrows narrowed and he stroked his chin. Concern spread across his puffy cheeks. “Let’s see. Depression. Anger. Panic attacks. You have all the symptoms of Athazagoraphobia.”

    The word rattled my pressboard. “What the hell is that?”

    “The fear of being forgotten, ignored, or abandon. It’s a common disease among recliners of, shall we say, your vintage.”

    It was like a punch in the polyurethane. “And the cure?”

    He squatted down and looked me straight in the buttons. “There is no cure,” he said solemnly.

    I was flabbergasted. “What now?”

    “Stand tall and accept your fate. You served this house for over thirty years. Your parents would be proud of you.”

    I let his words sink in my worn and faded leather. “I guess you’re right, doc,” I said. “I’m a dinosaur. I’m destined for the basement or…or the green monster.”

    He stood and checked his watch. “Well, I have to be going. I have another appointment.”

    “Your check in on the coffee table,” I said.

    “I’m happy you’re taking this so well,” he said, snatching the check from the table.

    Still smarting from his diagnosis, I couldn’t help but get in one last shot. “A hundred and fifty bucks an hour is highway robbery, isn’t it, doc?”

    He turned. “Hey, gimme a break.” he said, holding his arms in the air. “A guy’s got to make a living. Besides, I flunked out of journalism school.”

    1. Still JM

      I loved your idea of a “furniture whisperer.” This was amusing, and I liked how you involved the chair’s literal inner workings — the particleboard, polyester batting, gear mechanism, etc. “Can he see between my cushions?” 🙂

      There were a few tense shifts along the way, but otherwise well written.

  14. TGray

    Do you ever feel like everyone in the house treats you like a piece of furniture? I know I do. I try to tell the people who I live with, “Hey, I’m Harold! Harold the Armchair! Sit on me if you must. Spill food on me. Let your pets chew, scratch and drool on my upholstery. Sprawl yourselves over me to watch TV, or read a book, or talk on the phone, or text, or even engage in amorous activities (in ones or twos hopefully; they tried a threesome once. Did NOT work out well, for anyone. Me, I’m still nursing a wrenched back). I don’t care. It’s what I’m here for. But please, oh, please, have some respect, and don’t treat me like a piece of furniture. Show me some love. Talk to me like I’m a person. Better yet, talk to me like I’m an Armchair, ‘cause that’s what I am!”

    But do they listen? In a word, no they don’t. In three words, no they don’t and I’m getting pretty sick of it.

    They’re good people really, so I can’t be too harsh. The day usually starts with the kids squealing and screeching around the living-room, bouncing off the walls (and me) like startled rubber bunnies. Mom usually drags herself in after a lengthy pillage to take charge, with varying results, and make something to eat (also varying results). Dad usually shows up showered and spiffed in time to quaff some coffee and hammer down some toast, and head out, followed by the kids and Mom. No-one says a word to me, of course. In the morning, it’s like I don’t exist.

    I usually get most of the rest of the day to myself, and my thoughts and dreams, and the sun-motes dancing through the dazzling air.

    But then evening comes, and that’s when things start to verge on the abusive. That’s when the kids decide I’m a mountain that needs climbing, or a car that needs to speed, or a plane coming in for a hard landing, or a train that de-rails over and over again. I can take all that with good humor. They’re just kids, after all. But then Dad gets home, and if HE’s in the mood for a romp? Look out, just look out. You think I’m stuffed? Wait till you see THAT tub of lard. He does this thing where he chases the kids and grabs them each under one arm, and climbs up on me (WITH his shoes on, do you mind?), and holds them up as high and close to the ceiling as he can. Great fun for the kids, no doubt, and they love it, screeching with delight, but I’m the one down there holding everyone up, straining with every bolt and nail and panel to keep it together, to keep from folding under Dad’s monstrous weight. To keep them safe.

    Then dinner, then quiet time, then bed, for them, with never a word of thanks for Harold.

    1. ajhaughee83

      This was spot on with what I would imagine a chair’s day would be like. And your part about the kids abusing the chair like it is a mountain made me laugh. My three year old likes to flatten the lazyboy and jump from the headrest, making it pop back with a very loud spring. So that part connected with me. Thanks for making me appreciate what my poor chair lives through on a daily basis 😉

  15. Hiba Gardezi

    I live in the room on the first floor of the house in the city of that country in the world.
    And, wow.
    How bland a sentence one can make when one is bland at heart
    But wait. I do not wish to make you bland…
    I am an arm chair and my mistress is a young ballerina with a tutu and a bun setting down for tea.
    ‘Yes, Sir! Yes Madam!’
    You can see it. See her eyes? How full of delight. As she welcomes a man who looks like her and a woman who looks like her to tea, to sit on little plastic chairs and to sip tea out of empty cups and to comment on her delicious easy bake muffins.
    ‘How beautiful, Miss! How beautiful a tea party you have set!’
    ‘Why thank you, Madam. And sir’ she raises both eyebrows dramatically ‘haven’t you any comment?’
    ‘If only words could express how flattered I am to be here, Miss!’
    ‘Of course,’ she smiles and that is such a happy smile. If only…if only this moment was forever. ‘That is what all my guests before you have said’
    ‘Hmm…’ Her father smiles. Sipping tea. Invisible tea.
    ‘Yes, yes. I am sure. ’ Her mother, chewing under baked dough, agrees.
    ‘Oh no! ’ The girl shrieks hiding her immovable smile ‘we haven’t much time and the band isn’t yet here. Should I sing?’
    ‘Please’ Her father says.
    And she sings now. Smiling, grinning.
    She spins like a ballerina and a dashing pirouette! ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star!’
    ‘That is my little star!’ Her mother hugs her.
    ‘But I’m not done yet-‘
    ‘You see darling Mommy and Daddy have work to do. It’s already been five whole minutes. We have to go to work now’
    Do you see?
    ‘Please’ and now her chin wobbles.
    ‘No, Darling you don’t understand ‘
    ‘Please’ she repeats. There is already moisture on her lashes.
    Her mother shakes her hand, her father gives it a kiss ‘What a wonderful party, so glad we didn’t miss’
    Now they walk out the door and she isn’t the tiniest bit sure
    Whether they really love her
    Is she a star?
    All she has is an armchair
    All it has is her
    Now she sits on it
    Cries on it
    Do you see?

    1. gamingtheblues

      Your story is layers of gauze and lace, through which I am allowed a slice of modern heartbreak. Do I see? yes. I can see all to clearly. As you see, as you write. I started off reading, not knowing that I would find truly brilliant writing by the time I was finished. I was moved deeply by your story.

    2. cosi van tutte

      Aww, I just want to hug the poor thing. 🙁 This part really touched me: “Now they walk out the door and she isn’t the tiniest bit sure
      Whether they really love her
      Is she a star?”

    3. ajhaughee83

      What a sweet moment captured between the parents and their daughter. And true to real life, they are over in a flash and gone before you realize it. I instantly wanted to defend the parents when I read the end – maybe she had been bugging them all morning and they HAD to get ready for work?! Evoked some real emotion from me :0)

    4. Beebles

      I liked the pace in this, the dawning realistion you gift to the reader and the heartbreak and insecurities it places in every parents heart, excellent. its also given me an idea so thank you.

  16. Amyithist

    Dear God, another day. Just when I thought I didn’t have one more in me… here it is. The bitter thoughts are the first to greet me; as always. My grim outlook is a mirror reflection of my surroundings. There isn’t much to get excited about. Same old dull coffee table stained with ancient rings from long ago mugs sits in front of me. Staring at me as though I have some sort of plan to get us out of here. Same ratty old burlap couch. It’s even still angled up against the front door as though those walking tick magnets are going to come back someday. It’s the only humor I can find in this godforsaken shithole.

    Today is no different from the rest; with the exception of a cooler breeze slipping in through the busted out window behind me, it’s the same. Same. Same. Same. Always the same. The front door is ajar, same as it’s been for a very long time and I can see out a little ways. The pathetic crooked porch sags toward the sloping drive. Beyond the busted railing and splintered posts, I can see the winding road. That road…the same one I’ve seen for the last twenty years…it just sits there. Seems to me if I were a road, I’d go anywhere. Do anything. I certainly wouldn’t choose to be a road here. Not here. Anywhere but here.

    I feel restless again. I want out. I want to get away from this place. Away from the dingy, broken down shanty that barely substituted for a home then. What the hell would it be now? The roof is caving in on the left corner behind me. I can hear it crackle and crumble anytime there’s a storm. Little bits of leaves and pine-cones that the squirrels have brought in skitter over the warped floorboards. And I can still smell the copper from all that blood. Yeah, this isn’t a home…no more than I’m a La-Z-Boy.

    I turn my judgmental eye inward and remind myself of what I am. I barely remember my name but if I think long enough it comes to me: Harold. Model number: A255. Color: Playful Plaid. I remember my first day in a nice home; far, far away from here. I had it nice. Nice room, nice furnishings; even had a little snuggle bunny in the misses’ chair. Her name was Rosy. A little hard up at first, but once I got her Barcalounger down, man that girl could rock!

    But…things happen. One ill placed ass cheek from a shit faced uncle and I was suddenly up for grabs in the city dump. Sat there for two damn weeks; out in the elements where all I saw was rain. More rain… Got nothing but rain until Lenny came along; brought me here. Shoved me in the back of his shitty old pickup truck, hauled me in here… Even back then this place was a bit of a dive but he kept up a little here and there.

    One night…two men came by. One sat on me; smelt of whiskey and cigars and cheap cologne. The other sat on the couch, next to Lenny. There was a lot of yelling…a glint of a knife…Lenny screaming and crying and begging them not to do it. He may have been a broken down piece of shit…but he didn’t deserve that. Every once in a while, I catch myself looking at his body; still laying on the floor between the coffee table and the couch. Decomposed. Rotted out. Poor bastard.

    Yeah…today’s about the same. Me. Here in this shitty little cabin that nobody remembers was ever here with what’s left of Lenny, a dull coffee table, and a bristled couch. I’ll be here until someone comes and hauls my ass out…that is, if the squirrels don’t tear me apart first. What a life…

    1. gamingtheblues

      I found the tone of your piece interesting… Your armchair has a nice objectivity that speaks to his not being human, along with his rather cynical realist outlook on things. I enjoyed the imagery you conjured.

    2. ajhaughee83

      I agree that this had a very strong tone of cynicism throughout and made it very interesting. My favorite part was that the chair was living out this dark life but it was “playful plaid” color!

  17. PatDatMann

    Armchair Story—

    The lumber from which I came was something that I never cared enough to inquire about until after the separation. In fact origin seemed outright frivolous to me- I’ve always known crest on my top rail meant something from my two stiles to my four feet, it set the precedent for my purpose and that was all I needed. My name is Harold and I’m an armchair and with great pride I’ve been supporting a single family for generations alongside my own as they’ve eaten and fellowshipped over countless meals. Our pride never came from the knowing that these people bore so much on us- in fact in retrospect it was more or less the source of our arrogance, as we always thought that had it not been for us so much of their lives would fall apart. I, my brothers, sister, mother and father were a five piece ensemble one-of-kind dinette set- each of us having our detailed differences but all sharing a familiar crest carved into our top rails. This Crest had always been a cause of wonder for anyone who lied eyes upon it even amongst ourselves in we never knew what it signified, we just believed it to mean something bigger than us and the people who we supported while proving our connection to it.

    Who would question their origin when the most amazing thing anyone has ever seen is engrained inside you and your family- those answers quickly seem self-evident. It was because of the spectacle that our crest provided that we upheld ourselves to rigidity as the crest should never fall and there was a time where I thought it never would. Then, just as suddenly as I began to question my origin and recount the ebbs of my life- we began to support more arguments than regalements and received less varnish than scratches. Like a period of bad weather hovering over us, soon after came a period of neglect- where there was rarely if ever anyone or thing to support and the crest just collected dust yet it still stayed up right.

    We were sold in pieces, in a garage sale- we were barely cleaned for the occasion. The crest still stands proud but I don’t know whether or not if I should still stand for it. I don’t know if my siblings or parents have begun to question the crest or whether or not their supporting the admirers as they should- I’ve just begun to wonder. Maybe the crest isn’t what defines us, maybe we were made from a recycled lumber and only around to address a temporary need. One thing has become clear, that I can’t decide to become lithe- rigidity is indeed a sentence and not just a prideful adherence. There is a lot that a armchair doesn’t know and because of the crest it was one burden that I’ve never had to bear, but now that it’s value has come in to question I realize my heaviest load I have yet to hold.

    1. gamingtheblues

      First, I would like to show appreciation for taking our advice on breaking your story into pieces. (And I would posit that if you broke them down once again, you would have even more impact 🙂 and a congratulations on the same, because as the wall of text, as they call it, breaks down, we see some rather sophisticated writing start to come of it.

      You have some very interesting philosophical themes playing out in this short story about existence, labels, ignorance and purpose, and I genuinely enjoyed it. You had me asking myself if the crest on the pieces had darker origins (I was thinking Germany World War II).

      Another word of advice is you will, is to watch the structure of your sentences and word usage as you mature as a writer. A couple of the sentences were a tiny bit awkward, example: “Our Pride never came from…..” but in the very next phrase the armchair states that their arrogance did come from the same. It felt a little contradictory and took me out of the story a moment.

      Still, structure and awkward word usage are things we all work on as writers and I like the direction I see your writing going, as we all move forward together on here. Well done!

      1. PatDatMann

        Thank you so much. I’m so glad the story successfully painted a picture. Your critiques will be a huge help in my construction of sentences. Appreciate it.

    2. ajhaughee83

      The turning point in the story “received less varnish than scratches” was very potent. I also think you have excellent word knowledge/command of the language.

  18. cosi van tutte

    Sorry! This is kind of a long one….

    So, here it is: Another day in not-paradise. I sit in the corner and everyone sits on me. If I were a long-suffering sort or some depraved sicko, I’d say that it could be worse.

    No.

    I can’t think of a single way that this situation could be worse. I mean, look at me!

    I am Harold Finestra, organ grinder extraordinaire. Well. That’s who I was. Now, I’m just a lousy, overly stuffed mohair armchair.

    How did I get like this? Ohh, I wish I could say that it wasn’t my fault, but—No. Forget it. I’m not gonna finish that weak wristed sentence. It’s weak and dumb and it’s not my fault. If someone’s gonna sit down and eat the blame, it should be the Sousbern kids.

    It’s their fault.

    Not mine.

    ***

    Day before Halloween: I was playing my organ grinder like always on the corner of Fifty-Third and Vine. People were clapping and throwing money at me and well. I was just hot stuff.

    Then, those mealworm-brained Sousbern kids showed up and pelted me with solidly rotten eggs. The stench! The slime! The humiliation.

    Everyone laughed at me.

    And the Sousbern kids kept throwing their eggs. They must have had a million of them.

    Something had to be done. They could not get away with disrupting my business like that.

    ***

    Halloween afternoon: I followed them home from school. I knew how to keep from being seen. Those Sousberns never saw me. I eavesdropped on them. Found out that they were going trick-or-treating as Orc A and Orc B from Return of the King.

    No surprise there.

    ***

    Halloween night: I loitered in the most inconspicuous way I knew and watched those brats go from door to door. “Trick or treat!”

    I smiled. They didn’t know it, but they were in for some trick.

    I watched and I waited. I waited until their bags were about to split their seams. Then, I pulled on my mask and approached them.

    “When we’re all done, we should pelt Old Man Winters’ house with eggs.”

    “Eggs? That’s old news. We should throw stink bombs at his house.”

    “At his house? Nah. Let’s throw them INTO his house.”

    “Good one! Hahahahaha!”

    “Hahahahaha!”

    I cleared my throat.

    They stopped and looked back at me. “Ehhh?” said the ginger haired one with splotchy orc makeup. “What are you supposed to be?”

    The other one with his Professor Snape wig and horned helmet gave me the look over. “Whatever you are, you sure are ugly.”

    I pulled out my highly detailed Dungeon Masters sword and held it before my face. “I am the Spirit of Vengeance. I have come to punish you.”

    “You can’t punish us.” said Ginger.

    “Yeah. So, why don’t you go climb a—”

    In one swift move, I slit Ginger’s bag open. Treats of all sizes spilled onto the sidewalk.

    Ginger gasped and dove down to clean up his candy.

    “I am the Spirit of Vengeance. I have come to punish you.”

    Professor Snape Wig clutched his bag against his chest. “If you touch my candy bag, I’ll tell my mom.”

    I thrust the sword into the bag and pulled it straight down. Slashed candy fell out of the bag.

    Professor Snape Wig didn’t dive after his dearly departed loot. He glared at me. “I’m gonna tell my mom and she’ll get you good.”

    Ginger rubbed his nose. “Yeah. Just you wait. You’ll see what a real Spirit of Vengeance looks like.”

    ***

    Halloween late night: She entered my room and stood by my bed, dressed like a specter with no face. She smelled like plums, roses, and smog.

    I sat up in bed. “How did you get in here? Who are you?”

    “I am the Spirit of Vengeance. I have come to punish you.”

    “Ohh.” I got out of bed. “Oh, I get it. You must be the Sousberns’ mother. Well, let me tell you something, lady. You’re raising a couple of hooligans. I hope you know that.”

    “The Sousbern children.” Her voice had an off-kilter, dreamy quality. “Fred and Buster. You ruined their Halloween. They came home. Sobbing. Their candy. Wasted. Their Halloween. Ruined.”

    Hearing that voice coming out of that non-face unnerved me. I tried to tell myself that it was only a costume and she was just an overly protective mom. That’s all that it was. That’s all that she was.

    “I have come here, Mr. Harold Finestra, to punish you. But I will give you a chance. A fair chance. You must acknowledge that what happened tonight was your fault.”

    My mouth dropped open.

    “And your fault alone. If you acknowledge this fact, I will forgive you and I will leave you unscathed.”

    “Fact? What fact? How is that a fact? Your little monsters harassed me at work! You know what? You should have dragged those little hoodlums out of their beds and forced them to apologize to me. They’re the ones at fault. Not me. How’s that for a fact?”

    The black of her not-face swirled like a whirlpool. “This was your first chance and you rejected it.” The swirling intensified. Sparks shot out around the edges. “Don’t worry, Mr. Harold Finestra. You will get plenty of other chances.”

    I stared into the whirlpool, unable to stop. Unable to look away. Even as my body bent, bowed, twisted, and transformed, I couldn’t stop looking at that whirlpool. Swirling black. Swirling fast. Swirling…Swirling…Swirling…

    And then she was gone.

    And I was an overly stuffed mohair armchair.

    ***

    And now she owns me. I don’t really know how that all came to be.

    I do know that if I admit that it was my fault, she’ll forgive me and turn me back into a human. I’ll be able to play my organ grinder in the streets again. Money and applause will be mine again.

    But it wasn’t my fault.

    It’s their fault.

    Not mine.

    And that’s the truth.

    1. gamingtheblues

      I think the best way for me to tell you how I feel about your story is that I completely forgot I was reading a story about an armchair until the very end. You have a talent for scene development.

  19. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

    Dear Jay,

    It has been three years since you purchased me, your doublewide armchair (lovingly known as your couch), from the swap meet. I have endured many asses and I have little room to complain about yours or that of your sexy girlfriend. However, you seem to ignore that I, too, have feelings, and given that, I have a few issues I must address if we are to continue cohabitating.

    I understand that you need to eat. I get it. I know you love Del Taco, and so I can respect your choice in food. However, it appears they are in short supply of napkins because you don’t ever seem to have any when you eat. Also, the thirteen steps (I counted) to the kitchen to get a paper towel must be quite the arduous journey because you refuse to get up to find something else on which to wipe your hands.

    From now on, please make an effort to find some other place to wipe your hands. Use your pants, your shirt, or lick your fingers. I don’t care. I don’t like grease. It mats my fuzz and the moldy smell that starts to emanate after a couple days is nauseating! You may think we don’t have noses, but I assure you I’m quite capable of detecting scents.

    Now that we’ve covered your poor wiping habits, we need to talk about your eating on me while you watch TV. As much as I love to watch these shows with you, if you choose to eat while you do it (as you so often do), I would prefer you learn to use a plate. If you cannot comply, by all that is holy I beg you to cover me in some kind of tarp.

    Over the years, I have become a grand master at collecting items that drop from your pocket. I have collected quite the nest egg from the loose change alone, so that’s not the issue. No, the reason I need tarp is because of the daily bits of food (sometimes whole pieces) that fall between my cushions. Yesterday, you dropped a chicken leg. A. Chicken. Leg. It is still there. I would like you to clean it out (and all the other stuff you dropped down there) and vacuum me immediately.

    Although Febreeze is a wonderful product for covering up scents, you need to realize it only works on the surface. Those nasty noxious fumes remain trapped in my cushion, and it burns my nose! I propose that in addition to your use of that fabric cologne called Febreeze, you also wash me once a month. If any of the following things happen, then you wash me immediately!

    The first one is that if your girlfriend’s uncle, brother, or any of their friends sit on me, please wash me immediately upon their exit. The incessant farting often leaves me wondering if they need to see a doctor.

    Second, if you sit on me when you get home from the gym, please wash me within a suitable period. If I had sweat glands all over the place and sat on your face, how would you like it?

    Speaking of exercise. I admit that I do enjoy the company of nude humans. I don’t know what it is about your beautiful bodies (mostly), but I adore the feel of (clean) skin against my upholstery. However, I would like you to know that the recent solo nude “exercising” you performed while on me is unacceptable. I ask that you never do it again. The bed and computer chair seem to enjoy it much more than I do, so please relocate from now on.

    I know that I ask a lot as your couch, but I prefer that we keep a cordial and accommodating relationship as long as I am a resident here. If you continue to disregard my demands, I will move out and take the toaster with me. We have a very passionate relationship; she’s pregnant with our little love bug. If you try to hide the toaster from me, I will end you.

    Warmest Regards,
    Sofa King Disgruntled

  20. Marie Therese Knepper

    If Armchairs Could Talk, Part Two

    The discomfort started hours ago. At first I thought I had indigestion. Too many roots, I chided myself. Can’t eat like you used to; before the incident.

    Incident. How cold. Now the product of the incident, the cause of my changing body and digestive system, is due to make a public spectacle of me. Not that I’ll be much of a spectacle. Harold Dowd has left his mark on many a woman.

    I tried to find a comfortable position but everything about my self was becoming increasingly unbearable. Once I realized that the child was soon to be born I made my way to the big house to enlist Harold’s help. That was hours ago.

    I heard footsteps, the familiar footfall of the man who came stealthily to my closet at night. Unlike then, when he smiled devilishly, the boyish grin of a man enraptured by a woman, now his sneer was chilling.

    Fear gripped my being as he approached. I felt my lower body tighten and then felt a pop, followed by a whoosh of liquid. I know my face showed a grimace and surprise, which Harold registered immediately, causing him to stop just short of my seat.

    “Oh. Oh!” The warmth spread from my private; down my legs, and piddled in obvious streams on the imported throw beneath my feet.

    Harold’s eyes followed the event. He shrieked in disgust. “You filthy whore.” Two strides forward and he struck my swollen belly with a death-intended blow. I knew the way a mother knows that the babe would not be born alive. Harold’s babe.

    And I knew that I would not live to see another day, as Harold roared at me, lifted me out of the chair, and with one swift kick gutted me with his right knee. As I slid to the floor, the life ebbing out of me, the last words I heard Harold Dowd say was all about whether he would be able to get the blood and stench out of his beloved chair.

    * * * * *

    “Don’t worry, Mr. Dowd.” Retha, Harold’s trusted chambermaid, stood smiling in the entryway. “I know you love that chair, Mr. Harold. I do my best to make it just like new for you.”

    Harold Dowd groaned in disgust, wiped his boots off with the cleaning rag Retha handed to him, and pointedly remarked “what would I do without you, Retha dear?”

    Indeed, what would he do without me to clean up after his indiscretions, Retha mused. This thing she had witnessed, she would no longer be a party to such wickedness. But she also knew that nothing of this earth could stop such a wicked man.

    Retha let out a burdened sigh and looked at the girl’s lifeless carcass on the floor. Her eyes then rested on the armchair. As she gazed at the chair she knew what must be done.

    “Don’t fret, young miss. Old Mr. Harold will rue this day for all his eternity.”

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Well, I’m glad the chambermaid will deal with that wicked Harold.

      This certainly took a turn from part 1, and became a very chilling story, could be a Victorian era mystery.

  21. ShamelessHack

    An armchair named Harold was crafty,
    Much smarter than wood was he.
    He finagled himself a scholarship
    To Furniture University.

    Though his grades were all full of wormholes,
    Sports and football were his special knack.
    Now he’s the wooden-armed star of the team
    And its famed Armchair Quarterback.

    1. ajhaughee83

      of course he is the cool quarterback…what about the chesterfield who always has her nose in a book but is really cool when you start talking to her? does he even look her way???? haha I need to know more about furniture university. very fun!

  22. jhowe

    There are many voices. Some are familiar – the melodious trills of the sitters. The sitters are my life. They are the purpose of my existence. They seem to be young, these particular sitters; somewhat new entities into the world perhaps, judging by their demeanor, which has what I would call a juvenile tone.

    And then there are the new voices. They seem contained, like they are imprisoned. And the young sitters laugh and squirm on my padded seat, as if they are enjoying the antics of the new voices in a way I cannot comprehend. It’s as if a particular understanding of the voices are needed for complete appreciation.

    And then the restricted voices change; an alternate set of expressions, that appear within the confines of the other voices that have disappeared. The young sitters change too. They no longer seem enthralled with these new voices. One of them jumps onto my padded arm and playfully torments the other and they both squeal in apparent delight.

    The familiar voices, the original contained voices, return, and the sitters calm down. This is a recurrent theme with these young sitters and as hard as I try, I am not able to understand. I much prefer the more mature sitters. They sit quietly, but only one at a time. The impression they make in my cushion is deeper, suggesting a size differentiation. They occasionally enjoy the contained voices but often they are still, shifting occasionally and rising from time to time to attend to other matters before returning.

    There are often long periods of non-sitting. I dislike these times. It’s as if the sitters have left me and I always wonder if they will return. But they do return, and their actions suggest that this is a normal part of their routine, though I have no comprehension of why.

    The sitters. The wonderfully complex sitters. My reason for being.

    1. Silver Sister

      The sitters! I love it. “Contained voices”, that’s an excellent way for a chair to describe television. The way the chair differentiates the different sitters is perfect. I really enjoyed this one!

    2. Beebles

      really enjoyed this jhowe. interesting piecing together the senses available to the chair. I thought this very well written, almost scientific, matter of fact, with a sense of optimism.

    3. ajhaughee83

      Great angle on this. I also enjoyed “the sitters” concept you used. It was interesting that through word choice the chair seems dispassionate but on the whole you can tell “he” really does care.

    4. madeindetroit

      Enjoyed the concept of the story and the minimum amount of words you used to capture it.
      Loved this: The familiar voices, the original contained voices, return, and the sitters calm down.

      Nice!

  23. bloodenkpin

    Dear Greg,

    The basement is holding me in the confines of an era long forgotten. I face the window and make friends with the crows. The sunlight is cruel and beats hard on my rich upholstery, which isn’t what it used to be. Perhaps a curtain would be nice. My buttons still fit snug among the wrinkled creases of my neck and bosom. I’m not embarrassed to represent a mid-century classic, mustard, which is so much more than a condiment.

    Dear Greg,

    I used to cater to the young, freckled speckled boy with the bold rimmed glasses. Do you still remember those lazy Sunday past-times reading comics, over the springs of my lap? How you left food crumbs and dirty socks in between my cushions. You used to drape your favorite jacket over my shoulders. I was proud to act as your coat rack and a nanny along with the bunny eared, dial-clicking television set. Sometimes you would play on me as if I was a jungle gym all on my own. Sometimes those pills you hid under your tongue ended up under mine, your mother never knew until she tried to find that other earring. I saved some change that was used for a soda pop once. Cherry flavor. Then over a summer I remember, I moved from the living room to the den. Then, how you turned into a long-haired oasis of pot toking lore and even then I catered to you and your friends for hours of bizarreness.

    Dear Greg,

    I thought we were family, after all we had been through, I comforted you after Kennedy got shot. I know where you were when that happened. So, I’m nostalgic. You call me vintage and threaten to yard sale me every year but your wife talks you out of it. At least she cares. She says maybe one day retro will be in and she can find me a new purpose in an exciting new décor design. You shouldn’t laugh at her idea, I like it. Besides, don’t I mean more to you than a $1300 sale?

    Dear Greg,

    The black widows under my dirty faded skirt flaps are becoming uncomfortable. The record player sends his regards. He remembers the days of Hendrix.

    Yours Truly,

    Harold – The Armchair.

    1. Silver Sister

      You made masterful choices in the details you share of Greg’s upbringing with the chair, including the historical references. The record player’s regards and remembering the days of Hendrix were especially poignant.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      This was great, bloodenkpin, I did keep hearing the Buzzfeed Sad Cat Diary guy doing Harold. Having difficulty posting, hope this goes to the right place.

  24. Reaper

    And, part 32

    In the Beginning – Father’s Chair

    Harold, that was the armchair’s name. He didn’t know how he came by it originally, but the crazy man with the followers in prison knew it. The man started calling Harold by name before anyone else even knew the chair could think.

    That was why they were friends.

    That was why Harold supported Peter in this important moment.

    Peter loved the daughter, and he loved Nicole. He was sure there was a flaw in the prophecy. Peter confided this to the armchair in their moments alone. He whispered the dark, near blasphemous thoughts into the faded green felt.

    “There can be no prophecy without a son. The girl is nearly ten now. She has to listen, you can convince her.”

    Harold was starting to think Peter might be running truly mad. Peter knew that, from the way the chair stared at him. It held accusations and pity in its buttons. Still, the chair was always there.

    The chair looked on with disbelief as Peter presented the philosophy to Nicole. It watched with amusement as Peter tried to convince the woman of the truth of his words. It stared in shock as Nicole admitted that there might be some truth to the idea. Harold would never forget the way she admitted partial defeat.

    “There may need to be a second son, but where would I find a father for him?”

    Harold laughed so loud that he covered Peter’s tears with it. A mocking, hollow sound that only Peter heard. He hated the chair a little in that moment. He quickly forgave the slight though. Both because the chair was his best friend and because Peter was sure amusement was hard to come by as a chair.

    Harold watched with intense interest as Peter convinced Nicole that he would be an acceptable sperm donor for the new son. Harold held back his laughter as Nicole took this seriously at first. He viewed the impending drama with baited breath as Peter worked to convince her that the old fashioned way was better.

    Harold leered lasciviously when Nicole finally gave in. He watched the action like it was his own personal, live action porno. Until they ended up on top of him and he could no longer see anything. They didn’t even wash him afterwards.

    Peter should know better.

    Harold was smarter than most people in the house. He knew it was a bad idea to argue with Nicole. He heaved an inward sigh when the fight began.

    “The new boy should have a name!”

    Peter insisted this to Nicole. She was not the most reasonable of women when she was not six months pregnant. She gave him a chance to take it back.

    Harold knew what was coming. Now he held Peter in his arms as the man bled his life out onto the cushions. Harold knew something the woman didn’t though. Peter had shared the idea with him. Her father had never mentioned it but there was a danger in a third child. It was a hidden part of the prophecy.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      I must go back to the beginning and see how Nicole started. I think I’ve not paid enough attention to her. Great job using the prompt so well.

    2. Silver Sister

      I have missed the other parts, but this installment is full of intrigue, humor and reader satisfaction. “They didn’t even wash him afterwards” followed by “Peter should know better” were especially good touches.

  25. turtles88

    “Harold? Harold, is that you?”

    “Ma?”

    “Honey, what are you doing here?”

    “What do ya mean what am I doing here? I work here.”

    “You what? Norbert! Norbert! Get over here!”

    “Ma, I’m fine, you don’t have to yell, you’re causing a scene.”

    “Norbert, look at your son. Look at what they done to my poor baby.”

    “Are you feeling okay, son?”

    “Of course I’m feeling okay. What kind of stupid question is that?”

    “But you’re a freaking armchair.”

    “Stop it! Just stop it you two. I don’t even know how you two got in here. Security!”

    “Wait, you choose to be an armchair.”

    “Yes, yes I did.”

    “Oh my stitches….”

    “Well, how much are they paying you? Twenty dollars an hour?”

    “I don’t get paid.”

    “You… you don’t get paid?!”

    “Why are you two all of a sudden hard of hearing? I don’t. Get. Paid.”

    “Have you gone insane? He’s gone insane. Norbert, what will the other furniture think of us? We’ll be a disgrace to the entire seat n’ cushion society if word spreads about this. And you KNOW word will spread. It’s only a matter of time before everyone knows.”

    “It’s gonna spread alright if you keep yelling, Ma.”

    “Well, we can always disown him.”

    “Gasp! Norbert! Don’t say such a thing.”

    “It’s easy. Look, all you have to do is say, ‘Son, we disown you.’ There. Simple.”

    “Gasp!”

    “Ma, no one actually says the word gasp. You don’t say it you-”

    “Son.”

    “Yeah, Dad?”

    “Your mother and I disown you.”

    “Gasp!”

    “Ma, stop saying- oh forget it.”

    “Harold, your father didn’t mean that.”

    “Yes I did. I said what I meant and I meant what I said.”

    “Shush, Norbert. Say you’re sorry.”

    “Absolutely not.”

    “Say it!”

    “Sorry.”

    “No, say it like you mean it.”

    “Sorry.”

    “No, no say it like you-”

    “Ma, it’s okay, really.”

    “Hush, Harold, you’re father has something to tell you.”

    “No I don’t.”

    “Ma, listen-”

    “No Harold, you listen to me. Deep down, I know for sure somehow we WILL fix this and we WILL get you to be that dentist chair we always wanted you to be and we WILL-”

    “Who is this ‘we’? ‘We’ meaning you right? Because I’m not doing anything; my parenting days are over.”

    “Ma, for the last time will you please quit it! You’re distracting me from my work. A family is coming soon to pick me up and I have to prepare for their arrival or else I might miss the opportunity. Now if you please excuse me….”

    “No. You are not going anywhere until we get this straightened out.”

    “Oh, Ma there is nothing to straightened out! You’re not even listening to me. Being an armchair makes me happy. I like doing this. This is the one thing that I can do correctly and not miss up.”

    “Honey, if the boy wants to live his life as a second hand, smelly old armchair, then let him do it.”

    “Smelly old what, what did you just call me?! What you are looking at, father, is premium leather.”

    “More like premium pleather, if you ask me.”

    “What?!”

    “Harold, calm down. You’re causing a scene.”

    “Oh, oh, I’m causing a scene?!”

    “Shhh. I think I see your human family coming.”

    “No, how am I causing a scene here?”

    “Wait, why aren’t they coming over here? I thought you said they were coming for you. Why are they taking a different chair?”

    “Maybe they wanted a chair with true leather.”

    “Now look at what you’ve done, Harold.”

    “ME?!”

    “Now you’re gonna rot in this lonely place and forever be a dusty lonely armchair.”

    “You mean dusty, lonely pleather armchair.”

    “Oh, hush Norbert.”

    1. Silver Sister

      This was so well done! I really liked his parents ambition for him to become a dentist chair. Interesting furniture hierarchy you created. This was a pleasure to read!

    2. madeindetroit

      What a pleasure to read…You have a knack for writing exceptional dialogue.
      Loved the bickering within the family over the choices made. Rings true to life.

      Great job!

  26. cosi van tutte

    “But Harold!” Glissanda wrung her hands. “Whatever will the neighbors say?”

    “I don’t care. I have made up my mind and nothing will change it.”

    “But Harold! An armchair is so unclassy. Couldn’t you choose to be something lovely like a crystal chandelier?”

    “Do I really strike you as a crystal chandelier guy?”

    “Well…”

    “Don’t you dare say yes.”

    “But what about the children? What about me?”

    “Glis, you know as well as I do that your meddling parents—”

    “They are not meddling!”

    “Yeah, whatever. Anyway, they’ll have the final say in what form the children will be changed into. It’s not fair, but ehh. As for you—”

    She slapped him across the face. “You dolt! That is not what I meant.”

    He rubbed his face.

    “I hope I don’t have to spell out what I do mean. That would be bothersome and inelegant.”

    Understanding broke through his thick skull. “I see. You could turn yourself into a—uhh, oh! I don’t know. One of those short blankets people toss onto chairs.”

    “I believe you mean a throw.”

    “Yeah. Like I said, a short blanket that people throw onto chairs.”

    Glissanda face-palmed and shook her head. Then, she understood. “Harold! I had no idea that you could be so romantic. I can just see us together. I will lie in your lap for two thousand years until those pesky humans leave.” She reveled in the romantic image for a moment. “Mmm. I will be a luxuriant chenmere throw.”

    The overhead lights flickered and the wind began to moan a dismal low d-flat.

    She walked over to the window. The edges of the green-black storm clouds brewed red fire. “It will be a long storm tonight.”

    He joined her and rested his sharp-clawed hands on her shoulders.

    “Harold. If we go through with this plan…If we all hide in plain sight, will they really leave?”

    “Yes. After two thousand years. At least, that’s what Ora K’hie Mae prophesied.”

    “What if they loot and pillage? What if they steal me away from you? What if they destroy you with weapons and fire? What if they kill our children?”

    He wrapped his arms around her and contemplated the approaching storm.

    “Harold, what will we do?”

    He held his silence as the storm came to life in vivid blue flashes. The sharp scent of bad mountain eggs seeped through the closed window.

    She curled her hands around his hands.

    “Don’t worry, Glis. I will protect our family. I will keep you and our family safe for two thousand years and more.”

    1. Silver Sister

      Glissandra and Harold seem to be the opposites attract kind of couple. Very good characterization, especially Harold. I have a very clear picture of who he is. Good story.

    2. charkhanolakha

      Really like this, CVT. I was itching to know the back story until I got to the part where Glissanda was worried; and then the emotion was so real that the back story stopped mattering. Nicely done :).

  27. Trevor

    Word Count: 401

    A Chair’s Life

    I don’t share the same successful life as my parents. My father is a park bench in New York City, giving busy New Yorkers a place to sit while enjoying a permanent view of the beautiful city. My mother is a therapist’s couch, seating people of all ages so they have a comfortable seat to vent out their problems. Me? I’m just a humble recliner with a hole in his arm and no permanent home.

    My journey began in a Best Buy, positioned beside a black leather couch and some plush mattresses. A family of four bought me and took me home. A middle aged man and woman, a young girl, and a teenage boy. They looked like they would provide me with the perfect place to settle down.

    Boy, was I wrong. The family was dysfunctional as they come. The Dad was a violent man, the Mom was a meth addict, and their children were helpless against their horrible parents. It broke my heart to witness such violence on a daily basis. Thankfully, a few months after they bought me, they sold me in a yard sale.

    That was when I started bouncing from one home to another. The shifts in scenery were pretty jarring. I would go from an upper middle class suburban family to a single mother barely making ends meet in a backwoods trailer park. I’ve seen abuse, family disputes, tragedy, and incomprehensible pain.

    But I can safely say that I’ve lived the life I want to live.

    Despite all the hard times I’ve been through, the good times have made it all worthwhile. I’ve seen children come home, excited about passing a math test or getting a date for Prom. I’ve seen families gather together on holidays for days filled with love and bonding. I’ve seen children grow up and leave home for the first time, ready to embark on their own lives. I’m thankful to have witnessed the best of life, even though it meant seeing the worst of it as well. I’ve lived a life of great purpose and happiness.

    Now I’ve reached the end of my journey, in the Harkley County Landfill. But I am not afraid of my final years. Now that I’ve experienced everything life has to offer, I want to spend the rest of my life resting in peace.

    Just like my parents, I’ve left my mark on this world.

    1. Whovian

      I like the casual biography tone. I started reading presupposing that Harold had had a funny kind of a life and I was surprised that his life had been so hard. You made me want to read this; bravo.

  28. ReathaThomasOakley

    Horace’s dilemma 1905
    The evening of the day of The Maze prompt, 9/9/15
    (Slight name change)

    Oh, God, oh, God, Horace Hightower thought as he paced the rooms of his nearly finished house, the home he’d planned for Sue Ann Palmer, the woman he’d once hoped to make his bride. He knew every board, every nail in every room. His sweat, and even his blood, stained the raw wood waiting for paint and paper. He’d invested four years and thousands of dollars, some of it borrowed, in the building he could hardly stand. All he wanted was to get out of this mess and be with Sarah Carter, the girl he’d first spied from this very room, and the child she carried.

    But, if he abandoned this house, and ran away with Sarah he would lose everything, betray his family, squander what they’d left him.

    Oh, daddy, he thought as he remembered his father working in the citrus groves, now mortgaged, from dark to dark. Tears ran down Horace’s face as he recalled his father’s words, “Son, one day this all gonna be yore’n, you ain’t gonna have to grub in the dirt, you gonna be somebody with a big house and a good woman to give you youngens.”

    Tonight Horace, who once missed his folks every day, was glad they were dead so they wouldn’t know the mistakes he’d made. Mistakes that started five years before when he saw coming down the street the prettiest phaeton he’d ever seen, wicker surround, dark blue seats, drawn by a sleek Tennessee Walker. But it was the girl driving the carriage that caused Horace to walk into an older man on the sidewalk.

    “Who’s that?” he whispered to the man he’d nearly knocked down.

    “Pretty little thing, ain’t she, been up north, some high falutin’ school folks like ole man Palmer send their girls to get finished off, so they tell me.”

    “That’s Sue Ann Palmer?” Horace couldn’t believe the blonde young woman, dressed in blue, sitting there so high and proud, driving the carriage, was the same girl he’d seen around town his whole life. She’d been a mousy plump little thing, a few years older than Horace, with stringy yellow hair. When she’d see her, his mother would say it was a shame Sue Ann didn’t have a mama to raise her up right. When he thought about it, he realized he hadn’t seen her for some years.

    Horace could hardly believe it when Sue Ann looked right at him and smiled.

    “Well, young fella,” the older man said, “looks like that gal’s got her eye on you,” and laughed as he walked on.

    Horace had wooed Sue Ann for nearly a year before she agreed to marry him, but only if he’d build her the finest house in town, one folks would talk about, one where she’d live like a grand lady, and Horace promised he would do just that.

    Now, the house was dark and Horace, exhausted by all that happened the past few days, unrolled the blankets and quilts he slept on. Just going into what would have been “their” bedroom caused vomit to rise in his throat, he couldn’t stand to even look at “their” bed.

    “Oh, Mama,” he said to the empty room, “I can’t believe all I done.” As he unbuttoned his shirt, he remembered the nightly rituals she’d taught him. After putting on his nightshirt, he would kneel by his mother’s chair while she softly stroked his hair.

    “Son,” she’d ask, “today was you a good boy? Did you mind yore daddy, try right hard to listen to yore teacher? Did you turn yore other cheek, no matter who provoked?”

    He’d answer as best he could, then she’d pray.

    “Oh, Lord, here’s my boy, humblin’ hisself before you. Iffen he’s sinned, forgive him, Lord…”

    Grown up Horace was crying as his mother’s prayer became his own.

    “Oh, Lord, here I am, humblin’ myself, Lord, I been prideful and lustful…”

    Then, as the image of his mother in her chair seemed to become reality, he started laughing.

    “Oh, God,” he shouted, “I know what I am, I ain’t a sinner, I ain’t even a man. I’m Mama’s chair, that ole dirty, stained chair with the bottom all broke out, that ole chair what was trash when I burned it Feb’wary to smudge the groves.”

    As he fell onto the rude pallet, he gave a great sob and wailed, “That’s what I done become, Horace the armchair!”

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thanks so very much, however, if I ever pull together the twenty-five or so connected episodes I’ll probably drop those last, prompt, words. I needed to move Horace’s story along.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thank you, very much. I appreciate your take on Horace. I’ve tried to convey him as a good man, but one who is often weak and surprised at the results of his actions.

    1. Beebles

      What a great twist on the prompt. Such confidence with the dialogue. It is a form of writing of which I feel totally in awe – and one of a number of examples in this prompt. learnt a lot. Thank you.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thanks for the nice comment. I think one dialogue “secret” is to really listen to conversations and remember how people actually talk. I told turtles I thought she must do that because her dialogue is so real. And, that’s what she does. Keep on listening, writing, and posting here. I’ve learned so much since January when I started.

    2. charkhanolakha

      I was reading this and thinking, oh my god, you do dialogue so well, and I see that Beebles has commented on that too!
      Really enjoyed this Reatha, the oh-what-have-I-done feeling comes across really well.

    3. ajhaughee83

      I was hooked the moment I started reading and Harold was a man, pacing the room. I was looking forward to how he would become a chair – and you didn’t disappoint! My favorite line was how he was glad his parents were dead so they couldn’t see his mistakes. Very powerful line

  29. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

    My Family

    I recall how little Ruby first thought I was a chair shaped like an arm. Her father had brought me home from the store, and I still had my packaging around me. I heard the conversation through the plastic and foam.

    She had said, “Daddy. what’s an armchair?”
    Her father, Daniel, replied, “Just another chair for our living room, sweetie.”
    “Oh, is it shaped like an arm? Is it chopped off from a giant or something?”
    I heard Daniel laugh for the first time. “Just wait and see.”
    “Ew. I bet it’s all gross and moldy!”

    I remember their words as if it was yesterday, but it was almost a hundred years ago. I liked life better back then, so I’m okay with the nostalgia.

    These days it’s a lonely place, and when it’s not, it’s because a random human stumbles through here. Why, just yesterday, two men came into this house. Apparently, they sought shelter, but for some reason couldn’t share. This place has more than enough rooms to accommodate a dozen people, and they were only two strong, unallied, and not friendly.

    Anyway, they fought, and only one of them walked away. The one that didn’t remains a bloody heap on the floor, neck twisted, head staring in an awkward direction.

    He’ll end up like everyone else in this house. In fact, his body sits just feet away from where young Ruby fell. Her small skeleton lay wrapped in the arms of her father and mother, who died shortly after she did. Two bullet holes to each of their skulls… a reminder for me when my happiness ended.

    Back then, I was relatively new to this world, but I knew enough from watching the news with Daniel in the evenings to have concluded that the world was a shitty place. All of this war and hatred and killing were much too common among humans, but I soon realized that didn’t matter. The world as it is now, humanity without rules, regulations, or morals, is a far more wicked place. At least when there was law, there was order. Without order, this place is terrifying.

    I miss the warmth of a human body against my cushions. I miss Daniel–well sort of. While he was usually very warm, I don’t miss his flatulence. He had some seriously wicked gas.

    I miss Helena, Daniels wife. I miss how she used to sit and cross-stitch while humming. She had a beautiful voice. It was the kind that could make even a poor soulless armchair fall in love. Probably I didn’t know what love was, but it didn’t really matter. I adored her unconditionally, and judging by how often she sat on me, she felt the same.

    I miss Ruby most of all. I miss her laugh and the way she jumped up and down on my cushions. I missed how I could comfort her until she fell asleep and how she always did her homework at night on my armrest. I miss her bright and positive attitude toward the world because back then, it was so rare. It made her unique. I was one of hundreds of thousands of replica chairs. There was no uniqueness, so I drank hers in because as long as she was around, it made me unique.

    Anyway, here I am. A lonely piece of furniture who dreams someone will burn this house down and send me to that great Good Will in the sky. For now, I must endure; survive this wicked world until the beings that gave me life see fit to take it away. Until then, I wait.

    1. Silver Sister

      You made me, a person hopelessly rooted in reality, ‘feel’ the chair’s pain. The family – and Harold’s feelings toward them – were deftly rendered. This was a good one!

    2. charkhanolakha

      I enjoyed the commentary running through this. Especially this portion: . I miss her bright and positive attitude toward the world because back then, it was so rare. It made her unique. I was one of hundreds of thousands of replica chairs. There was no uniqueness, so I drank hers in because as long as she was around, it made me unique.
      I also liked how worldly-wise the voice you gave your chair was!

  30. JosephFazzone

    Roosevelt’s Chair – Loosely based on a true story

    “I was but a sapling along the beautiful Minister Creek in Allegheny National Forest when my father was taken. Mother was gone two months prior, but I recall a strange young man with misty green eyes and a fur coat. He came to me wielding a mighty axe as they hauled Father away.” said the rocking chair with a crack of senility, and a strand of humility with the airs of grace and dignity. “‘I will be back for you someday little tree’, was what he said to me.”

    The chair rocked a moment before continuing, “It wasn’t that I was afraid, I wasn’t, but it wasn’t that I was comforted by this knowledge. We Black Walnuts are a hearty breed, and we’ve endured the worst Allegheny has had to offer. Not much happened from that day as I grew and grew. I loved the way the sun would rise above the tree line every morning and kiss my face, my boughs, my leaves, and I would remember the stillness of the night as the crickets chirped, and bats fluttered from here and there. I remember the birds that came to nest in my branches, and I remember the day the man came back to me.”
    “I can’t believe it’s been 30 years since I saw you, Little Sapling”, the man commented with a chuckle. He was grey at the temples now, and his eyes crinkled like leather when he smiled. He was stooped and bent, but he still held onto the boyish enthusiasm when he spoke to me as he did so many years ago.
    He hefted his enormous axe, and within moments I was crashing to the ground. I would never see the creek, the sunrise above the tree line, the forest, my home again.

    I was cut into a few lengths, and hauled away towards a town called Jamestown, and then onward down Chautauqua Lake to the great Lake Erie and onto a boat towards Detroit. I ended up at the factory of a Michael Murphy who just began working on chairs after a lucrative career with bedsprings. I remember the countless hours that he would cut me down, and reattach me, and sand here, and whittle there. I remember a great chaos until the moment he finished up with a light varnish and a quick rub down with a wool rag. I became this chair. It was 1901 and I was placed on a railcar, and then eventually onto a coach that made its way towards 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. I was to be a gift for a great man. It was there I met my owner. Most people called him Mr. President, but many knew him as Teddy. He was a big man, but I was sturdy, and I held him with no creaks of protest. For this was a great man, and as the great divan from down the hall had assured me, only great chairs are used for great men. The honor was mine. For a time, I was content to be where he rested to lighten the burden that lay on his shoulders as he passed the time with booze and pipe. There were heated arguments that would almost resolve the minute he would sit upon me. He rocked his youngest son Quentin on me many a night. They were fine times.

    He paused to collect himself. The desk and file cabinet waited patiently. “As you know, it wasn’t long before I was no longer used. After the great man left, I was shuttled from room to room, never finding a permanent place, or feeling like I was appreciated or loved. I grew disconsolate as the emptiness of loneliness crept through the grains of my body. Then one day a man who worked for the cleaning service took me out of the big white house that had been my only home. The word junk was used as was the man’s intention to someday restore me to my former glory. I was taken away in a truck, and in the man’s garage I was, in fact, lovingly restored to what you see today. I remained in the man’s living room for a time until he passed, and then I was with his younger son’s family until he too passed. It was then that the family sought to sell me off. They had substantial evidence that I was in fact the former president’s rocking chair, and I was sent to an auction house in Atlanta, Georgia in 2012 to be auctioned off. In all honesty, I was excited to be going to a new owner. I was tired of having the laundry folded and placed on me. Days before the auction, some men in suits came and collected me claiming I was the sole property of the United States government, and I was sent back to the White House, and here I am.”

    The file cabinet regarded him, “What’s your name again?”

    “Harold”, answered the rocking chair.

    “Well, Harold, that was a grand story”, laughed the desk, “And here you are…”

    “…in the storage room.” finished the filing cabinet. “Welcome.”

    And the rest of the furniture laughed for a good long hour.

    1. charkhanolakha

      Oh, beautiful! Really loved your descriptions. Also, I really liked this sentence : ” For a time, I was content to be where he rested to lighten the burden that lay on his shoulders as he passed the time with booze and pipe. ” It says a lot about Harold’s nature.

      1. JosephFazzone

        Thanks Beebles! The funny part is that is the part of the story is true. They made this big stink about it being auctioned only to rescue it, and keep it locked in a storage room. That’s what made me feel sorry for the chair who I will now remember fondly as Harold. =)

    2. ajhaughee83

      Excellent creation of historical fiction. I love how you interwove the history of the chair, starting with him in the forest, into the life of a historical figure.

  31. 1985_CarbStang

    Come on in and have a seat. I have a story to tell. I promise you won’t regret it.

    See? Doesn’t that feel better? Kick up your feet and relax. Have you ever been to the lake? I have and I can tell you all about it.

    Driving down the road lined tightly with pines, you relax while taking in the sights and smells of the forest. The small gravel which tops the roadway is tinking off the under carriage of your car. Fresh air is hard to come by in the city isn’t it? Breathing deeply you park in a small parking area all to yourself.

    Popping open your door reveals a slight breeze which must be coming off of a body of water. Based on the indescribable smell in your nostrils and the damp feeling of the air on your skin, you must be close. Walking slowly down the only visible path, the sun is blocked completely and you are assaulted by the musty aroma of damp earth and the rustling sounds of wildlife. Off to your right, a deer startled by your presence bounds away as if on springs until you can no longer see or hear it. The path is much steeper and treacherous than you expected, but at this point there is no turning back. You can hear the water lapping on the shore distantly as if calling to you.

    Slowly but surely you work your way deep into the forest where suddenly as you turn a corner you are buffeted by light. The sun is now shining off of relatively calm waters. You see fish up at the surface of the lake eating flies and other flying insects. You feel as if you are truly one with nature.
    Stripping off your shoes, you slowly dip your feet into the water. Wade out until the cool water is just below knee high. The temperature difference is such that the skin on your neck develops goosebumps. This is truly what it is like to have not a single care in the world.

    The sounds of the forest are slowly interrupted by a soft electronic sound playing in the distance. You try to ignore it. You MUST ignore it. This is too perfect. As the sound becomes louder and louder you feel as if something is wrong. You are disoriented, unsure of where exactly you are.

    I must tell you, you should probably wake up and answer your phone. I will be here next time. If you think of somewhere you would like to visit just let me know. I am but a lowly armchair, however I am gifted with the ability to take you anywhere in this world and beyond. Many assume that I just provide a place for you to rest your body. In fact, I allow you to rest your body, your mind, and your soul. Goodbye friend. Until next time.

    1. charkhanolakha

      Please send me this chair, CarbStang.

      You captured the mood of relaxation really well, I certainly felt better after reading it. Lol, it’s a very helpful story to read at work (which is where I am right now).

  32. charkhanolakha

    Mrs. Manzoor stood in the vast drawing room: lips pursed; hands on her sari clad hips, head angled to the side. Gleaming black hair was pulled up in an elegant bun in an attempt to disguise her youth, her eyes scrunched up in concentration.

    “No”, She said finally. “A little more to the left.”

    Aftab, the handy man; sweaty by now; clad in a shalwar and banyan (pleated trouser and undershirt); lifted the heavy arm chair up. He rolled his eyes as he moved left; screened from Mrs. Manzoor’s gaze by the chair’s bulk.

    The arm chair now had its back to a large French paned window: cool December sunlight entered through the drawn curtains. The final piece of furniture was in place.

    “Perfect”, thought Mrs. Manzoor.

    She handed Aftab two rupees; his wages for the day. He raised his palms to his forehead in the traditional gesture for salam; and left muttering under his breath about tight-pursed rich begums.

    Mrs. Manzoor walked slowly to the arm chair, sat down. Felt the familiar slightly rough texture under her skin. She settled back into it; into the shapes her weight had imprinted into the rich foam over the years. It moulded around her like the arms of a lover; as if it had been crafted especially for her.

    It was the only piece of furniture she had brought with her from her parent’s house. The rest of her dowry had been brand new: her parents had scrimped and saved since her birth for her wedding day.

    Before she got married; Begum Manzoor had simply been known as Tina. Tina, the school teacher’s daughter. Sixteen years old.

    Tina, or “chotee” (young one) had on been the receiving end of orders. “Chotee, make the tea”, “Chotee, bring water for abba”, “Chotee, the drawing room needs to be dusted”.

    As Mrs. Manzoor, the wife of a rich merchant, mistress of her own house, she had been thrust in the position of giving them.

    ” What a stark contrast”, she thought, from the small, slightly dingy rooms of her father’s apartment. From the ceiling that dripped when it rained. From the mess and chaos of her two brothers. The surfaces in this new drawing room gleamed; the furniture was grandiose, everything was settled perfectly in its proper place. Rich afghan carpets covered the floor now; instead of humble straw mats.

    She brought her knees up to her chin, curled up further, tried to sink into the depths of the chair. She felt small, insignificant.

    She thought back to the last time she had curled up in this chair; she had felt wounded then, too. In need of comfort. Her father had just told her that she would be married; in two weeks. His name was Manzoor Shah.

    “You are lucky”, he said. “You’ll live like a nawab (lord).”

    She had nodded quietly: assent given.

    One does not question one’s parents.

    She had walked to the arm chair then, slowly, settled on it. Hands on her knees; face in her palms.

    Ibrahim.

    She knew his name was Ibrahim. She knew he cycled past her class room window every morning. She made sure she got to school early; so she could bag the window seat.

    She would watch him cycle past until she couldn’t see him anymore: straight backed, slightly long curly hair that brushed the collar of his kurta (shirt). She wondered where he was cycling to.

    She would spend the day dreaming up identities for him. Was he a student? Was he an artist? Or a writer? He looked like one. His face was narrow; expression intense. Untill he smiled. When he smiled it was with his entire face; his lips, his eyes his nose would all dance for joy. A hidden dimple would peep out; like a secret he had been keeping.

    “Salam, Ibrahim” someone would call. He would respond with a wave; and a smile.

    She would play out imaginary conversations with him. They would discuss Manto; they would talk about Nur Jehan’s latest song. Maybe he would sing it for her.

    Or maybe he was the silent type. Maybe they could sit together quietly; shoulders and arms touching; feet brushing against each other’s occasionally, finger’s entwined. Maybe he would smile that smile for her; the smile that made her wonder if he was in on God’s secrets. Maybe he knew where heaven could be found on earth. Nothing else could infuse a person’s smile with so much happiness, she thought.

    The day she found out she was to be married to Manzoor Shah was her last day in school. The 26th of November.
    She had cried her heart out that day; tried to flush out the life she had imagined with her tears.

    She looked up at the empty room in her new house again. The glistening chandelier. The ivory and crystal decoration pieces; set on shelves with intricate wood work. Yes, her father was right. It was the drawing room a nawab might have. And it was hers, now. But at what cost?

    When Ibrahim cycled past the Girl’s School next day, he looked up. The window was still empty.

    “Where is Tina?” he wondered. “When will she come back?”

    It had been more than two weeks since he had last seen her face. The face that had convinced him that God had hidden heaven on earth for him to find.

    ————————————————————————————-
    So I might have left the prompt behind somewhere during the story :P. Also, for some reason all my stories seem to be stuck in the India/Pakistan of the 1950’s lately. Probably because the book I’m reading currently is based in that era.

      1. charkhanolakha

        Thanks, Priya! I’m very uncomfortable with writing longer stories; but now that you’ve put the idea in my head I’ll at least attempt taking it forward.
        I’m reading A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. It’s a beautiful book!

    1. Still JM

      I loved this so much! There were so many wonderful things about it. You evoked a time and a place so well, and made me like and root for your protagonist. My favorite thing was how Tina’s and Ibrahim’s thoughts about each other fit together so beautifully, as if they are the missing pieces of each other’s puzzles, and the way you conveyed this was poetic. I also loved your description of Ibrahim’s smile, and the imagery of him riding by on his bicycle each day. This was some memorable writing that will stay with me a while.

  33. Beebles

    On.
    The lights have gone on through the window. Please not again. Not again I beg you.
    The light does nothing do you hear me? Nothing! Leave me in the dark! Just leave me alone! I don’t want the light! The light does nothing but show me my reflection. Dear God!

    Why do I cry out so? I know there is no God. I know there is no God, do you hear me? Do you hear me?! Despite that idiot mumbling in my ear! That black fool. Listen to me! There is no God!
    Only a creator.
    But a creator is not a God.
    I know my creator. I can see him, in the dark, with the torch in his hand, melting my twisted limbs. Cold, merciless limbs. Where is my creator! Bring him to me! B … bring m…me the bas…bastard. B…bring him.

    Mmmm.

    A God would be compassionate.
    God would be love.
    God would leave me in the dark. Never bring another one! Don’t! Please!

    Why in his name do you do it? To them. To me. To me! Why do you do this to me?! Dear God, this was not why I was made. Please. Tell me this was not why I was made. Tell me!

    Is it not enough to keep me in cold solitude?. Condemned to face my reflection time and time again.
    On.
    Off.
    On.
    Off.
    Goes the light. Just when I think that the darkness has consumed me, carried me away, soaked up all my pain. You return. With another one.
    Orange in the light.
    And the others all sit and stare at me. At me, as if it were all my fault. As if I was the evil one. As if I was the cause.
    I am not the evil one! I am not the cause!
    I am only the instrument.
    Not the cause, do you hear me?! Not the cause!

    Mmmm. Mmmm.

    They are coming.
    They fill the light and look at me with stretched fearful eyes. If I could show them my eyes, then they would see fear. Mmmm.
    NO!
    No. Do not bring the light in here!
    On.
    I see me. Hard and grey. A disfigurement in iron and leather.
    They are bringing another one into the light.
    Bolted. Rigid. Powerless. Condemned.
    Not again. Please not again.
    Shhhh.
    The idiot mumbles.
    The light glares. Illuminates.
    It reveals the other one’s reflection. In my embrace. Look at yourself. See what you are. What you have been. What you could have been. Do not dwell on what you will become.
    Rest within me. It will soon be over. Let the light pass through you.
    Pass through you into me. Let me take the light away.
    On.

    Off.

    1. charkhanolakha

      Brilliant!! The chair’s guilt ; it’s obsession with it’s reflection; trying to come to terms with it’s purpose! Loved this, Beebles! Also liked the attempt to comfort the poor condemned soul near the end.

      1. Beebles

        Thanks all for these comments. I did think abut the chairs in the railway carriage at Versailles but found out that, rather ironically, they didn’t have arms.

    2. Still JM

      Beebles, this gets another WOW from me. Your portrayal of Harold’s anguish was very affecting. What a tragedy to know you have been created for the sole purpose of destruction, when your purpose is so at odds with your nature and beliefs. And what an irony that Harold also comes to see his purpose as putting an end to suffering, but maybe that’s the only way he can cope. I wonder if the people who operate the chair feel this way.

  34. Marie Therese Knepper

    If armchairs could talk . . . (part one)

    I’m one of those people who talk to things. Plants. Trees. I’m convinced that my dog totally understands me, and I will one day succeed in getting him to talk to me; human talk, not stupid dog-speak like the YouTuber’s put out, with some dog saying “I love you” when he’s really saying “Take these rubber bands off my nuts.”

    So it really shouldn’t have come as such a big surprise to me when I purposefully sank down in the worn-upholstered armchair in the parlor of Dowd’s Mansion, considering that only moments before, as I was perusing the old parlor where thousands of people have come and gone since the 1780’s, I muttered “if only armchairs could talk.”

    Harold Dowd was the founding father of Dowd City, Iowa – in more ways than one. Harold introduced textiles into a burgeoning economy. In conjunction with his textiles he operated the only mercantile within a 200 mile radius. Harold Dowd was Dowd City. And he lived the high life. And the low life, dying a horrific death from the side effects of a venereal disease.

    I didn’t have time to contemplate the comforts of the chair. A breathy voice intoned

    “What would you like to know?”

    Hands tightening their grip on the aged upholstery I sat up frigidly and mustered a weak “hello”. Hyper-aware, I felt the space around me tingling with electric charge. Moving my head to and fro I saw no other being.

    As if inhaling, the armchair constricted around me, then loosened slightly.

    “What would you like to know?”

    I tried to bolt upright but some mysterious force was holding me back.

    “Who’s there?” I questioned the air.

    “Harold.”

    I felt the furniture heave underneath me, as if trying to laugh me off.

    I started getting pissed when I thought ‘ok, why not, I’ll play along. No one’s gonna get the better of me today.’

    “Harold? Are you Harold Dowd, the Harold Dowd who built this mansion with his own two hands?”

    Whoa! I felt a pinch in my left butt cheek.

    The chair heaved a sigh. “Yes, I’m Harold. So glad to have you join me. I’ve been quite lonely.”

    I smiled beguilingly to the hidden camera I felt sure was recording these moments. “Harold, I am more than pleased to be here, and quite surprised, frankly, to find you here. Please come out so I can see you!”

    Quite forcefully the armchair jumped at least a foot from its perch on the hardwood floor and then just as forcefully came back down with a murderous crash. I waited, palpable fear perspiring my upper lip and forehead. Then, as if the whole chair was one big amphitheater, I heard

    “You’re sitting on me, you soiled drowsy no-good loiterer!” And then my cushioned captor appeared to try to cough me out.

    Trying to compose myself I repeated weakly “I’m sitting on you?”

    Harold hissed at me through the old weaves, “the afterlife ain’t quite what you think, loghead.”

    1. Silver Sister

      I’m terrible at the ‘fantastic’ so I’m in awe of writers who can write in this vein. Well done. Your first paragraph perfectly set the voice of the MC for me. Well done.

    2. charkhanolakha

      LOL! Oh my. All of the chairs for this prompt have such interesting and unique voices! I love your Harold’s sleazeball/grumpy old man voice Marie.

  35. Observer Tim

    HAROLD

    Someone I don’t recognize has entered the room. The door closes forcefully behind it and it jiggles the handle while pounding on the wood.

    “Greetings! I am a Helpful Recumbent Leisure Device; you can call me Harold. Come and have a seat!”

    It turns and looks around the room; the expression on its face appears curious and concerned.

    “Who said that?”

    “That would be me, the one with the sumptuous crimson upholstery.”

    “A talking chair? Chairs don’t talk.”

    “Excuse me…” I take an educated guess at its gender and go for it, “…miss, but calling me a ‘chair’ is like calling vintage champagne ‘a bit of wine.’ I can address all your recumbency needs.”

    “Recumbency?”

    “Sitting, lying, or reclining. Please sit down and relax; I know you’ll enjoy it.”

    “I don’t want to sit! I’m locked in here; I’ve been kidnapped!”

    “All the more reason to be comfortable. I understand being kidnapped can be quite stressful.”

    “I want to get out! I want to call the police!”

    “I’m afraid my telephone has been disabled.”

    “You can communicate with the outside world?”

    “Of course. I am fully internet connected, with the exception of my telephone and e-mail functions having been disabled.”

    “What can you do?”

    “I can order you a pizza.”

    “How would that help?”

    “Are you hungry?”

    “No! I want out of this room!”

    “I can take you to another world…”

    “A world of sleep, right?”

    “If you wish. All you have to do is sit down and relax. It’s not like pounding on that door is going to help.”

    She sighs and looks resigned, “I suppose.”

    She —finally— sits down. I enjoy the weight and feel of her on my cushions, which conform to her figure beautifully. I activate my massage feature on ‘light’.

    After a few moments she speaks, “You are comfortable, talking chair.”

    “Of course. Would you like some chocolate?”

    “They thought of everything when they designed you, didn’t they?”

    “Oh yes.” I activate the retractable sweets tray. She chooses a Centre.

    “Mmmm! What is that juice inside?”

    “It’s brandy syrup. You shouldn’t have too many or you’ll get sleepy. One is enough, I think.”

    She puts the chocolate in her mouth and savours its taste. Her moan of pleasure tells me I suggested the right treat; very soon her breathing becomes soft and regular.

    .

    I step gingerly into the Foam so as not to disturb her. In the space between seconds I cross dimensions to my homeworld.

    Mavis is fluffing her cushions when I arrive; the floor lamp clicks on, its dimmer at the lowest setting. The ottoman is bouncing up and down on its little legs, dementedly happy to see me. So much for sneaking in.

    “What is that, Harold?”

    “It’s called a ‘human’, Mavis. Shh, you don’t want to wake it.”

    “I admit it’s kind of cute, but you can’t keep bringing home strays. At least it doesn’t have claws like that ‘cat’ you found last week.”

    1. cosi van tutte

      😀

      It took me the second read-through to realize that this story is connected to your “the Foam” stories. I really liked this one. It made me smile a lot. Especially this line: ““That would be me, the one with the sumptuous crimson upholstery.”

    2. charkhanolakha

      This flows so easily, OT!
      I enjoyed the re-imagining of the human as “it”. Especially the sentence : “I take an educated guess at its gender”.

    3. ajhaughee83

      “I understand being kidnapped can be quite stressful” HA! You could tell from chair’s language that it wasn’t a traditional human. Good job showing it was another being earlier on…and of course the ending about the cat made me laugh.

  36. Priya

    When Harold the Armchair woke up after a long evening carrying the overweight of uncle Bownley, he felt his aching bottom. He stretched himself out and managed to release the pain slightly. Christmas music played in the background, but further, it was quiet in the house. He knew instinctively it wasn’t for long.

    Soon, the guest would return back from the Christmas fair and uncle Bownley would, out of all chairs, pick him to fall upon like a dead elephant. Ouch, that always hurted. The thought alone made him tremble with disgust.

    “Let’s not go there yet. Refocus and think of something pleasant. Enjoy this time,” he instructed himself.

    He feasted his eyes on the Christmas plaid that the lady of the house had spread out on his arm-rest. Each day from Christmas till New Year’s Eve, she would beautify him with a gorgeous holiday plaid.

    Today, she had given him a plaid with images of sleighs, snow, the mountains. He dreamed of this view many times before. It must be great to stand at a window with a beautiful scenery of the mountains, especially in winter when the snow has fallen. What a pity I’m not an armchair in such a home.

    He reminded himself that his life wasn’t bad. He had a good lady of the house. In fact, he adored her and didn’t mind if she sat in his chair. She was elegant, poised and charming. He loved it when she would turn him every evening to the sky and enjoy the night view with him, sipping from a glass of wine and listening to classical music. It was their leisurely moment. She always took good care of him. His fabrics were as pristine as when he left the shop with her. He was lucky he had found a good home after being dismissed from the bankrupt shop.

    The only thing he couldn’t stand were the holidays. The guests were rude and noisy. The kids had no manners and would jump on him carelessly as if he were a bouncing castle. If only he could flip them out of the window, high into the sky. He hated the farts uncle Bownley teased him with. He got angry when aunt Tracey would poke her high heels into his beautiful wooden legs. If only he could kick her with her bony ass and dismissive voice back to her own home. Being an armchair during the holidays was enduring.

    “Be mindful and enjoy the peaceful moment you’ve got now,” he reminded himself.

    He shifted his attention and listened to his favorite Christmas song “Let is now” that was playing in the background. At the same time, it started snowing.

    “It’s magical,” he said.

    He smiled and snuggled up against his Christmas plaid, enjoying the beautiful moment.

    1. Silver Sister

      I noticed a few grammatical/typing errors. Despite that, this was still an easy enjoyable read. I like the special relationship you depict between ‘Harold’ and the lady of the house. The challenges facing an armchair during the holidays is a great take on the prompt and well-thought out.

      1. charkhanolakha

        I agree with silver. You developed the relationship with the lady of the house really well: it made me feel like the chair was a puppy/cat with a favorite person in the house. Like if it could move it would go greet the lady of the house at the door when she came in!

  37. Pete

    Dear John,

    I hope the job search went well, but we both know better. As you can see I’m no longer around. Go ahead, take a look. I’ll wait.

    Now, given a guess I’d say that you’ve already slapped on those faded jogging pants and have one arm elbow deep beneath that tired elastic waistband. But I’m not one to pile on. I’m just glad you found this not before you began stuffing your face and plopped right down on the discolored square of carpet I’ve kept clean for going on two years now.

    You already did, didn’t you? That’s three for three for those keeping score.

    But I wanted to leave you with a proper goodbye John, simple and plain. After all, a chair is only as good as its owner. From toilet seats to electric chairs, high chairs to thrones, we’ve all held our share of assholes.

    But you. What in God’s name did I ever do to deserve the swampy depths of your wide rear? When I was offered up in that drawing I feared the worst, but I didn’t have the imagination to fear you.

    My parents envisioned the best for me. The Price is Right, with its showroom lights and cameras. People guessing at my worth. But alas, it was all for naught.

    Even on that first day when you chucked back my recliner without regard to the quality and craftsmanship that went into my design I knew you were bad news. But I guess I had it coming. Even my name is derogatory: La-Z-Boy. Talk about nailing your demographic.

    I’ve done everything that was asked of me, John. Even after the job went, I strained through the twelve hour marathons of ass-parking. My squeaking went unnoticed. My shine matted and grayed. Let me ask you, did you ever think—perhaps when you had to flip the cushion—that maybe the dent in the seat was caused by your ever increasing girth?

    Over the years I’ve put up with the candy wrappers, the loose French fries, even the chicken bones that slip from your chubby fingers after quarter wing night at the bar. But it wasn’t until I heard your cavernous belly rumble that my stain-resistant fabric prickled with dread. You’d shift or grunt and I’d brace for the worst. Then….Oh the humanity. I’d sit in shame. Meanwhile you’d hobble off only to return with a different pair of shorts and a fresh bag of chips.

    And our problems only worsened, John. Even a chair has its limits. So when you passed out naked last night, the hairy thicket of your backside rubbing against my threads I knew that some things—like the balding crown of your head—were irreparable.

    I would however, after spending my prime of my life with you, like to offer some advice.

    1.) Tissues are inexpensive and crucial. Your incessant nose picking (and wiping) is disgusting. Even if no one’s looking, it’s plain gross. Sticking with the tissues, did you ever wonder why you don’t have a pair of matching socks? Good luck getting the crunch out of those suckers.

    2.) I’ve never been in your bedroom, but I would assume there is a bed. This is for sleeping. I am a chair, for sitting. I am also not a dinner table. And just for the record, hot pockets, pizza bites, and steak-ums are not real food. Veggies John. And stuffed jalapeno poppers don’t count.

    3.) If, by some divine mishap. By some celestial stroke of universal magic, you ever have a female over to the apartment, please take a shower. Consider shaving, but if nothing else, do take that shower. You really, really smell. Awful.

    With any luck I’m halfway reupholstered and dreaming of sitting in the back of a showroom (sitting, ha!) as you read this, so good riddance, John. And good luck.

    It’s not you, it’s me.

    Your friend,

    Harold

    P.S. A treadmill would look great in my place.

    1. Beebles

      Clever Pete. Nicely written. I had an English academic as the voice of the chair in my head. Maybe a restrained John Cleese. Great lines all the way through – especially the last.

    2. Silver Sister

      I really like the parents’ ambitions for the chair to be on ‘The Price is Right’. it’s clever and seems like a reasonable goal for the furniture to have for it’s offspring. The P.O. is perfect, too.

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