“You guys are going to love this. They’re like, the best latkes you’ll ever eat.”
“Well, seeing as I don’t eat latkes often, that isn’t saying much.”
Melody opened the door to her apartment and ushered the two in.
“Excuse the mess,” said Melody. “We’re in the midst of cleaning and I just haven’t had time to tidy up the loose ends.”
“Oh come on, this place is practically spotless!” exclaimed the girl.
“My place is by far messier than yours could ever be,” laughed the guy.
“No kidding, you haven’t seen his place,” said the girl. “He has his junk piled on top of his junk.”
Melody laughed, “I guess I’m not that bad. Here, let me give you the nickel tour.”
She took them into the back area of the apartment. “This is my bedroom. Ooh, ahh. Amazing huh? Yeah, I’m a total nerd, if you haven’t already guessed.”
The girl laughed, “Oh my God, are those Care Bears? That’s awesome.”
“Hey,” said the guy, fake pouting. “There’s nothing wrong with Green Day. I’ve been a huge fan since the beginning.”
They all laughed and Melody continued the tour. The bathroom, the living room, the dining room; all of it got the treatment, complete with little stories and fun facts about their use over the years.
“So how about the kitchen? Let’s see where the magic happens.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” said Melody, biting her lower lip. “It’s kind of messy from last night. You know, we had a big dinner thing and there’s crap all over the place.”
“Give me a break,” said the guy. “Haven’t I already told you that you can’t surprise me one bit with how messy your place can be?”
They walked into the kitchen and the girl screamed while the guy gasped.
“What the hell?” he cried.
There, half-laying, half-sitting on the floor was a large man, shirt covered in dirt and crime, hair messy with one arm handcuffed to the oven. When the three entered the kitchen, the man looked up at them and croaked.
“Kill me. Please, God, kill me now.”
The two looked at Melody. “What the hell is going on!? Why is there a man chained to your stove?”
“Oh don’t be so melodramatic, he’s the cook. He’s going to make our latkes. Don’t worry, he’s just being silly, aren’t you?” She turned to the man and glared daggers through slit eyes. “Three of us are having latkes, now get to work.”
The man looked up at the two with pleading eyes. “Help. Please?”
Melody turned to the two and smiled brightly. “How about you guys go into the living room and sit down. I just have to talk to my friend Josh here. It’s okay, he’s just kidding around. That Josh, always the jokester. Isn’t that right, Josh?”
“Kill me. Put me out of my misery, please? Oh God, why? Why me?”
The two smiled nervously and went back into the kitchen.
“What the hell was that?” whispered the girl.
“You think I know?” replied the guy. “Maybe it’s just some practical joke.”
“That didn’t look like a joke to me.”
Suddenly, there was a quick succession of loud thuds, followed by one large whump. Then Melody came out of the kitchen wiping her hands on a paper towel.
“There, all better. Dinner might be a little later than expected, but it takes time to grate the potatoes, right?”
“Y-yeah, I guess,” the girl smiled, nervously, edging toward the door. “You know, maybe we shouldn’t stay, I mean, I have work really early in the morning, and I’m so tired,” she stretched out her arms and yawned.
The guy peered closely at Melody. “What’s that one your shirt?”
“What?” She looked down at her shirt. There were a few small, red blotches. “Oh this? This is nothing. Um, tomato sauce. I got some on me in the kitchen.”
“But, it looks like blood,” he said. A soft whimpering could be heard from the kitchen that began to grow louder. Soon it was a low wail that sounded almost like a man crying.
“What’s that?” asked the girl. “Is that guy crying?”
“That’s what it sounds like,” said Melody, grinding her teeth. “But that rat bastard is going to stop it right now or I’ll give him something to cry about!” She was yelling and finally turned and stormed into the kitchen.
The two in the living room saw her go in, heard what sounded like the man crying, “No, no. Not that!” And then the clink of pots and a series of loud bangs, each followed by a cry from the man.
“Fuck this!” yelled the girl.
“Yeah, let’s go!” shouted the guy.
They fled from the apartment, the wails of the assailed man mixing with the violent shouts of Melody drowning their departure.
Suddenly, all of the noise stopped. Melody’s head popped out from the kitchen.
“Guys? Hey guys? Where’d you go?”
She walked into the living room and toward the front door. She was peering out.
“I guess they really did have to leave early.”
Josh walked up next to her, a handcuff dangling from his wrist.
“That sucks,” he said. “I didn’t even get to have my dramatic escape scene where I run off into the night howling like a maniac. They didn’t last nearly as long as the others.”
“I guess,” sighed Melody. “No fun at all.”
“So,” Josh said, turning to Melody. “What’s next?”