Sunday, August 13, 2006

This Hammer is a Harbinger

"This hammer is a harbinger of custard stains and doom."

The man in the corner of the crowded bakery spoke very softly and Sara couldn't tell to whom. She glanced around at the other customers. They were all gazing through large glass-plated displays at the rows and rows of pastries. None of them seemed to have heard. Sara absently tucked her blond hair behind her ear, unsure of what to do. Surely that man hadn't just said--

"This hammer is a harbinger of custard stains and doom."

He spoke a bit louder this time. And Sara was left with little doubt--that man had just called his hammer a harbinger of custard stains and doom. She stared at him intently. He was of medium build, about five foot ten, wearing jeans and a collared shirt. Just another guy in a bakery shop--indistinguishable from all the rest--well, except that he was holding a hammer, and mumbling ominous things.

Sara left her place in line and slowly walked up to him. About halfway across she regretted it but it was too late--the line's gap had already filled in.

"Hello." Sara said, giving the man a pretty smile. He met her greeting for a moment with eyes that radiated shame. Then he tucked his head against his shoulder and didn't look up again.
"My name's Sara." Sara said softly. "What's yours?"

The man winced a bit as if struck, and tilted his hammer at her.
"This h-hammer--" he stammered.
"I know, I heard you." Sara replied. "It's a harbinger of custard stains and doom. But I asked you your name."
The man shuddered profoundly, caught in the grip of some personal chill. Sara touched his arm and he all but cried out. His muscles spasmed relentlessly.

"Larson." He managed to say. "My name is Larson." The hammer twitched as if alive.
"It's a pleasure to meet you Larson." Some faraway part of Sara was screaming--why would she talk to this man? It was as if she was caught in some riptide of fate, helpless but to be dragged along.

"This hammer--" Larson was moaning now. "It's a harbinger. A harbinger of custard stains and doom."

Sara slid one arm around his shoulders, pulling him tight to her. He wept on her neck like a child. Sara reached for his hammer.

"You don't understand." Larson sobbed.
"Shh." Sara whispered. "You'll feel better if I hold it for a while."
"No!" Larson gasped. "My hand, your hand--it doesn't matter. There will be a great smashing today. It has needs, this hammer. Needs you can't possibly contain. It is a harbinger, this hammer, a harbinger of custard stains and doom."

Sara grasped the hammer, just below the claw, and something electric slammed into her core. Larson gagged on something unholy, threw back his head and silently screamed. Savage flutters of unusual fury beat against Sara's soul. Larson slid down the length of her body and crumpled to the floor. And then the hammer was hers and his no more.

Something started snarling. Deep snarly snarls. Sara checked her throat for vibrations. It wasn't her. She glanced down at Larson. He was in no shape to snarl. Slowly, unwillingly, despite all rationality, Sara looked at the hammer in her hand. And if ever a hammer could grin, this one was. This one was.

Sara heard herself speaking.

"This hammer is a harbinger of custard stains and doom."

And then a great smashing began.

The End


At 1:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yikes. That's all, just yikes.

At 4:43 AM, Anonymous Nicolas Papaconstantinou said...


That's spooked me a little bit.

Luckily, I don't talk to strangers (or even people I know, if I can help it) so it's unlikely that I'll ever be possessed by a tool.

Teehee, I said "tool".

At 7:29 AM, Blogger Helga von porno said...

Quite thrilling to be possessed by a tool

At 11:07 AM, Blogger Cindy-Lou said...

Good. Custard sucks.

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Things look as if they could get a "trifle" out of hand. Quite clearly this is a matter for the authorities - that hammer needs to be taken into "custardy". Hahahahaha oh, oh, oh, hahahaha.

I believe in the circularity of history but this is not by the way. My tone has turned serious, enquiring. You see, Edward I or Edward Longshanks as he was known (Ed to his friends) was known as the Hammer of The Scots, mainly because he was a bad man. Is this then to be The Hammer Of The Scones*? Just how long is the shank on this tool, eh? Has it been specially weaponized for supermarket use at all? Holy angels, it's not sawn off is it?

*This only works of course if you pronounce scones, "skohns", thereby sounding the weest bitty like the word Scots. I myself pronounce it that way for it is meet and right so to do. People who do not will become mere fodder for hellfire's fury - you see if they don't.

At 5:54 PM, Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

At any point, did Lucifer's hot claws squeeze Sara's heart?

I'd just like to know.

At 7:31 PM, Anonymous The Macek Collective said...

STOP. JUST STOP. Berating pastry chefs is just not cool, Flint.

At 9:16 PM, Blogger Amandarama said...

Well, Sara clearly had it coming.

And by "it", I mean 'custard stains and doom'.

Hell, custard stains and doom is what we generally find on the table cloth Christmas Morning after my mom's traditional Quiche Lorraine.

At 10:36 PM, Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Lurking behind the pastry cabinets, might there have been shift-creatures? Horrible scaly ones?

I kinda hope there were.

At 10:40 PM, Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

By shift-creatures I don't of course mean creatures who work in shifts. I was a 2nd-shift-creature for a while once and I amn't scaly in the least.

Top story, Latigo. Loved it.

At 1:22 AM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

You cut to the chase, don't you Anonymous? And to the quick of me also. The quick of me I say.

Yesssss Nicolas Papaconstantinou--hammers should frighten us all... especially the unholy smashy ones.

I can only assume you speak from experience sweet Helga.

Not that day Cindy-Lou. Not that day.

I had the strangest dream Sam--in it you stood before me and actually used the word "custardy". I have no idea what this dream means.

(Is there a Sara who hasn't ever felt Lucifer's hot claws upon her heart?)

Hey, nobody berated any pastry chefs Macek... there wasa great smashing--but that was preordained, and completely beyond my control.

Your mom sounds hot Amandarama, can I have her number?
(That was someone else typing just now. An intruder--that's what it was.)

Thank you Sam. But I didn't write it--I blacked out and when I came to it was there on my monitor.

At 11:35 PM, Blogger Mom of Three said...

I think Stephen King wrote about a possessed hammer once...

At 1:52 PM, Blogger Rob said...

The only way top render that hammer safe would be to give it to C W McCall aka Rubber Duck, because we all know from "Convoy" that there ain't no power that can stop him putting the hammer down.



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