It is the closing of the Fête and the results of the annual poll are about to be announced. This year the grand prize is my hand in marriage. I’m a little uncomfortable. I only heard about it just now, but there’s a decent turnout, so.
There are three contestants: my neighbour, Reg, Fred, from Coronation Street, and Ryan Reynolds. The results are already being hoisted above the crowd on Reg’s new flatscreen tv.
Ryan Reynolds got 24% of the vote. A bit disappointing. Reg got 94%. Fred, nobody cares.
A woman at my elbow who smells like hotdogs is spraying her moist questions into my face – which reminds me, Ryan Reynolds and I arrived in town at exactly the same time, hurrying up the hill making eyes at each other, lingering as we parted ways. That was the last time I ever thought of him, tbh, then completely forgot he existed. With McBusybody’s hotdog spittle on my cheek, I suddenly realise that Ryan Reynolds is THE ONE and start to cry.
Luckily, it came to light that Reg rigged the vote (adorable). He’d donated the flat screen tv. However, on account of it being haunted by his cousin Carol’s late iguana, Lana, there was some…trouble. Anyway, Ryan Reynolds and I can finally be together.
There’s rustling in the bushes over by the ice cream van that takes Ryan’s fancy.
Further investigation confirms a diagnosis of rat. Probably has rabies, he says, which is illogical. May I suggest a brick? I say, but Ryan has a better idea. Next thing, there’s a plastic sack full of rat gripped in his weirdly small hand. I stare at it (the rat), it’s drooling. Maybe loosen the bag a bit, I say, I think it’s suffocating or something. This is not as merciful as I had anticipated, so I continue to surreptitiously scan the ground for a blunt object.
We arrive at the mouth of a filthy alley with an open door at the end. Inside, sitting at a table on the far side of the room, is a very unsavoury looking man. He’s wearing a suit like the ones from Madonna’s Bugsy Malone and a look that brooks no argument. Ryan Reynolds leans in, gingerly lowering the rat bag to the floor. I can’t help feeling sorry for it, who knows what this zoot-suited bastard has planned? Reader, he was brickless!
Then the door closes in slow-motion. Madonna-Bugsy-Malone guy doesn’t take his eyes off me for a single second, which I think is sort of flattering, still, I turn and bury my face in Ryan’s shoulder. I feel him smiling as he pats me on the back. His pleasure, palpable. Ryan Reynolds is so cute when he’s very pleased with himself.
From the corner of my eye I notice that a rat has poked out it’s snout from behind a pile of wet cardboard on the other side of the alley. It looks uncannily like the one we just inhumanely euthanised.
I don’t have the heart to say anything. Ryan Reynolds is talking about the honeymoon. I just make encouraging noises, which Ryan assumes are for him, but really I’m willing the rat to skitter away.
Syreeta Muir (she/her) has writing in Sledgehammer Lit, Misery Tourism, The Daily Drunk Mag, Ligeia Magazine, The Blood Pudding, and others. Her art has been featured in Barren Magazine, Olney Magazine, The Viridian Door, and Rejection Letters. She has received Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations for her work in The Disappointed Housewife, and Versification.
On Twitter as @phantomsspleen (currently)