Ten Tales of Tilted Love

By Alex Carrick

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Ten Tales of Tilted Love is the first in a series of short story compilations by Alex Carrick. Sometimes serious but more often light-hearted and almost always insightful, these pieces are sure to entertain and surprise. Skillfully crafted and mainly written to be fun for readers, they can also bring a tear to the eye when the narrative warrants.

Mr. Carrick is a critically-acclaimed author whose story “The Size of the Skip” – found in “Three Scoops” Is A Blast! – was short-listed for the 2010 Lorian Hemingway Short Story Award. In 2011, he received another Honorable Mention in the world-renowned Hemingway competition for “Caboose Follies”, which appears in “Four Scoops” Is Over The Top.

Chapter titles: (1) Mystery of the Witch’s Knickers; (2) Ms. Phitts and Mr. Gatheral Spar Two Rounds; (3) Real Estate Purgatory; (4) The Wizard and the Rose; (5) An Imaginary Friend of an Imaginary Friend of Mine; (6) Best Valentine’s Day Present Ever; (7) The Madame Lazonga Defense; (8) Platter and Glance; (9) Kiss Me Soft, Kill Me Quick; (10) The Ten Minute Date that Changed Everything.

Excerpt

Mystery of the Witch’s Knickers

Griselda Beamish was happier than she had been in a hundred years. While others of her kind were having trouble adjusting to modern times, Zelda embraced the new. All of the most recent advances in technology made her life simpler.

There were opportunities she could never have imagined before. Take her job for instance. She worked from her pretty colonial two-story in the suburbs as a telemarketer under contract.

It didn’t bother her at all when the people she called got mad and screamed she was a witch, then hung up. “You got that right, sweetheart” she’d say to herself.

She particularly liked the hands-free option that came with some cell phones. She could be brewing up one of her imaginative concoctions and never miss a beat.

Zelda started in the business with intimate chat lines. Her voice and manner were well suited to stringing some poor sucker along.

When she asked, “So big boy, can you imagine what I’m doing right now?” very few of her clients guessed she was in the process of stir-frying and eating a bat.

But even Zelda found the phone sex to be tawdry, although it did teach her there were a lot of lonely people out in the stratosphere.

It inspired her to begin work on her greatest creation, a love potion for the masses. This led to frustration. She could never get the ingredients quite right. There was always something missing.

Modern devices did come in handy, though. For example, she used her top-loading washing machine to mix her ingredients. It was a lot easier than all that shaking and stirring nonsense.

One special day in early spring, the usual eye of newt, toe of frog and other staples from her unsavory inventory were churning as she added a Barbara Cartland novel for romance and a hockey puck to provide body.

It was a familiar failing formula on its own, but likely to yield a worthy base. That’s when the doorbell rang.

It was the Glad-‘e-ate-‘er pizza delivery boy. The company milked the pun in its commercials, but it also required its staff to dress in full faux Roman gear. The logo on the box was a trident.

Zelda paid the gawky young man the billed amount plus a healthy tip and sat down at the kitchen table to enjoy her meal.

When she finished fifteen minutes later, she remembered an unfinished chore. During her morning jog, she’d made a mental note to wash her sneakers. She returned to the laundry room and flung her running shoes into the machine.

Too late, she heard the splash and recalled she had a formula brewing. That made her laugh and she stood back for a few minutes while the pulsating action tossed the mix to and fro.

Finally she stopped the machine and immersed both forearms to retrieve her footwear. The doorbell sounded again.

She grabbed hold of her wet shoes and left them to drip and dry on a floor mat. Despite her best efforts, her hands were still clammy and smelly when she answered the door.

“I’m sorry to bother you ma’am, but did I leave my sword here?” Halfway through his question, there was a remarkable transformation in the young man’s face.

This wasn’t the old crone he’d met earlier. He was now looking at a vivacious beauty who was the answer to all his tasteless fantasies.