Issue No. 8, Spring 2014

MYRNA AND CARLETON, a Dark and Stormy Romance
Phyllis Green

After several dates Myrna realized Carleton was a piece of wood.  When they hugged she got splinters on her face and arms.  He couldn’t stand up straight when they danced. He leaned into her like an unbalanced telephone pole and the weight made her say, “Let’s sit this one out.”  But then he would tell his long dreary stories that always began “It was a dark and stormy night in the woods…” and terrible thunder would rent trees into bits and there would be rushing waters and rocks would throw themselves at coyotes and mountain lions, and hundreds of deer would stampede and the stories all ended badly and Carleton would end up weeping and morose.

So Myrna decided a journey was in order so they flew to Zurich and she suggested they take a ferry ride on Lake Geneva but Carleton said, “I’ve always wanted to see the Swiss woods,” so they did and he told sad woodland stories and got depressed.  So they drove to Paris and Myrna wanted to shop for the latest fashions but Carleton said, “I’ve never seen a French forest,” so they did and soon Carleton was telling tales about two-headed goats and unicorns running through the French woods biting at the trees and making them bleed.

So Myrna said, “Let’s go home.  I have an idea.”  She hired Ned, a builder, to build them a log house in the woods of a Northwest mountain.  Carleton would be in charge and he would only let the loggers fell the trees that he approved.

All went well until Carleton began to exercise his authority too vigorously.  He and Ned began to quarrel.  Carleton kept changing his mind.  Ned became exasperated and called Carleton bad names like total freaking idiot and crybaby wimp and the worst, tree stump.  Myrna was upset at the non-progress and Carleton’s depression.

“This has got to stop!” Myrna said.  “This log house is supposed to make us happy!  You two settle yourselves.  I am going to visit my parents.  When I get back this house better be finished and finished beautifully.”

When she returned in two weeks Myrna walked into the woods and saw the most charming log house.  She could not imagine one more perfect.  But she didn’t see Carleton until she heard something squeak.

Oh dear.  Carleton had been nailed to the front porch.  He had become the pillar that held up the whole log house.

“What happened?” Myrna inquired of the builder.

“It’s the only way I could shut his trap.  At least we won’t have to hear any more of his stupid stormy nights in the woods stories.”

Myrna took one look at the handsome builder and said, “I can’t live here all alone.”

She bought Carleton an IPOD and ear plugs and dark sunglasses (so the woods would always be dark and stormy), then she and Ned moved into the log house and lived happily until the mountain they were living on exploded (it was actually a volcano).  It was very dark and stormy and thousands of trees were sliced into toothpicks and the rushing waters took away the whole forest and rocks and mud and hot ash were streaming down the hillside and the charming log house went floating toward a smashing ruin until… one strong, able, dashing, daring front pillar called out, “I’ll save us!” and he, Carleton, steered the log house to safety and won the fair but not so loyal maiden, Myrna. She was so grateful that she bid “farewell and good luck” to Ned and lived happily ever after with her hero, Carleton, the big lug, or rather…log.

Phyllis Green’s stories have appeared in Epiphany, Bluestem, Prick of the Spindle, Poydras Review, The McNeese Review, The Chaffin Journal, Rougarou, Orion Headless, apt, ShatterColors, Paper Darts, The Cossack Review, The Examined Life, Dark Matter, The Greensilk Journal, Gravel, and other literary journals. She will have upcoming stories in Goreyesque, EDGE, Serving House Journal, Page & Spine, Flapper House, Synaesthesia, and Write for Readers Magazine. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, Micro Award nominee & Best of Storyacious 2013.