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Revenge is a dish best served with mustard and mayonnaise, thought Charlie as she stared with cold anger at the crumbs on the ground before her.
The tall, skinny, transsexual woman was dressed in a long brown nightgown that had been pieced together from cardboard grocery store bags she had collected off the street. Underneath the nightgown was a lacy pink brassiere that Charlie had shoplifted from a local launderette store. Under that was a body destroyed by years of poor personal hygiene, drug abuse, and (most importantly) hunger. A hunger which had been (most notably) about to be satiated with a fully uneaten ham sandwich.
Charlie had procured the ham sandwich off the table of an outdoor café, fleeing from a howling waiter and injuring both of her ankles in the process due to the uncomfortable and ill fitting high heeled shoes that she insisted on wearing so as to maintain some shred of dignity (despite her current impoverished and unsheltered status as a low priority civilian).
She reached into her purse and pulled out a bottle of bear mace between her long, dirty, quivering, plastic cosmetic fingernails. She reserved this for use on potential marks, licks, johns, and other homeless who occasionally rivaled her for her spot behind the dumpster. It was a privileged location under the warm air vents of the local bath house (where she was also able to occasionally enter and clean herself, but had not done so in some time). Holding the bear mace in her left hand, she raised it high in the air, saying to no one in particular and with wild-eyed fervor, “So help me, I will slay that goddamn unicorn!”
A passerby wandering the street next to the alley over heard Charlie and gave her a strange look before continuing past, thinking he must have misheard. But Charlie had not misspoken. She hadn’t taken her prescribed antipsychotics in over fifteen months due to a lack of funds and health insurance. In her hallucinatory state, she had deluded herself into thinking that an evil, menacing, unicorn stalked her incessantly, tricking her as often as it could into leaving food unattended so it could steal it. A hungry, clever thing this unicorn is, thought Charlie, but I shall destroy it if it kills me.
She bent over and began searching the ground around her, keeping her eyes open for the faintest hint of fairy dust, horn polish, glitter, etc.; essentially anything that would indicate a unicorn was nearby. Out of the corner of her mascara-speckled eye, she spotted a tail and heard the telltale unicorn mating call, “Bark! Woof!”
Charlie grimaced with determination, returning the mating call.
“Woof! Bark! Ruff!” She shouted out, attempting to coax the unicorn out of its hiding spot. Suddenly, a dash of fur and what appeared to be fairy dust rushed past her, sending her tumbling backwards. She jumped up, giving chase past the munchkins and goblin folk of East Cleveland, all the while the unicorn maintaining a steady pace ahead of her.
“Woof Bark!” The unicorn paused, staring defiantly at Charlie. It motioned with its furry horn toward a satchel left on the ground. Charlie, panting, leaned over, keeping her eye on the beast while looking through the satchel. Much to her astonishment, inside she found twenty golden freshly cooked pieces of chicken. She glanced up at the unicorn in astonishment as it stood in front of her with its saliva soaked unicorn tongue lolling out of its mouth, hath it left this treasure for me? Perhaps I should accept its gift...
The unicorn let out another bark, and then shook its great furry head. Charlie thought back to the freshly made ham sandwich she had (quite fairly) stolen earlier, remembering how much it had hurt when she had rolled her ankles. She snarled and threw aside the nuggets, continuing to give chase after the unicorn. The unicorn ran once again, turning its head now and again to let out the unicorn mating call, as if to say, “I WOOFed down your RUFFly made ham sandwich you stupid BARK!”
And these were the words Charlie heard, and nothing else. She chased and chased, ignoring the pedestrians who she pushed aside and the soup kitchen serving hot meals which had just opened its doors. She rounded a corner in the magical forest of East Cleveland, coming upon a small Goblin that tried hiding the unicorn behind it, screaming at her, “Leave my dog alone!”
“Your unicorn ate my food!”
The goblin rummaged in a satchel it was carrying, producing a handful of cash and shoving it at Charlie, shouting, “Here! Take this!”
Charlie paused, staring at the child in front of her, a moment of clarity encapsulating her, thinking, perhaps with this cash I could start anew. Take my magical pills. Print a resume… bathe at the bathhouse… use this money for bus fare to a local temp agency and get back on my feet.
The unicorn panted at her once again, “Woof! Bark!”
Throwing the money aside with a snarl, Charlie knocked the goblin to the ground and took off at full speed (despite her twisted ankles) toward the now fleeing and frantic unicorn. The preyed upon beast dashed its way into the street next to the sidewalk, standing defiantly once again in the middle of the thoroughfare, seemingly immune to the cars whizzing and honking as they drove past.
Charlie tossed off her high-heeled shoes, storming haphazardly after the pup. BAM! A semi truck driver plowed into her, honking and screaming out of his driver side window as he did so.
And as Charlie’s fragile, broken, body was tossed into the air, the last thing her eyes beheld before dying was the unicorn standing on the other side of the street, next to a large bulletin on a grocer’s store front which read, COME IN AND TRY OUR FREE SAMPLES! TODAY’S SPECIAL: HAM SANDWICH.