This story is by Sofia Merolla and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
It was a cold autumn morning and the squally winds held me back by my over-sized scarf.
I hissed and cried out, “Damn it!” I saw that my steaming coffee had spilled from the cheap paper cup and dribbled down to the gash on my thumb. The people all around me exchanged grimaces at all of the commotion I was making. The coffee was seeping deeper and deeper, so I quickly walked past them and stumbled into the corner pharmacy for a soothing cream.
Only fifteen minutes left to get to the office, pick up my paperwork, and prepare for the meeting, I reminded myself.
I slammed down the cream and bandages on the desk, alarming the woman at the counter.
“That’ll be five dollars,” She said in a monotone voice. I rummaged through my pockets only to slip out three dimes and a nickel. Who uses nickels anymore?
“I-I’m sorry, I don’t have the money on me,” I whispered. I don’t know what I was hoping for exactly, maybe a cliché ‘I’ll let you off the hook’ or something like that, but instead, she offered to charge it to my credit card.
I looked around at the people scanning the aisles, hopefully not noticing.
“That would be fine, thank you,” I said.
Click, click, click!The scanner mocked me. This is what I get for cheering on the Seahawks until 11:45.
I quickly paced out of that place to apply the bandage when the snow turned into rain. I rushed under the awning of a nearby shop to keep it dry, but before I was able to cover the wound, a raindrop tinted with a concerning acidic odor splashed on it. At first, I thought I was hallucinating, but after wincing in pain from the acid rain now infecting my cut, I saw an unusual green figure standing on my finger.
It looked like it hopped right out of a 3D-animation movie! Its eyes took up almost a third of its face, yet a certain mischief shone in them. Beneath its head was a torso, followed by two legs, but only legs! I had never-
“Que diable, eh?” It suddenly exclaimed.
“Uh, uh, por que?” I try to respond. The only other language I knew was Spanish.
“Ha!” It burst out laughing. What’s the joke? It calmed down and then became neutral. “That was French with an Italian accent. Like it?”
“Uh, sure. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get going-”
“Wait! You really don’t know me?”
“No, I do not,” I said, tapping my foot. Nine minutes left. I tried to shake it off my finger, but it clung on tightly, hanging upside-down. “I have to go,” I protested again.
“I’ll explain why I’m here if you take me with you,” It said.
“I don’t really need-”
“Take me with you!” Sheesh. This thing was hardcore.
I crammed the creature into my chest pocket and hurried to my meeting.
“Now what is that useful for? Tell me, Millberg!”
My boss was not my biggest fan.
“Well, it can take the particles in the air and create more oxygen by colliding selenium and sulfur, thus creating a new element. It can save the world!”
“Since the beginning of time, the BEGINNING, Millberg, we have breathed the same air that never left, that’s what trees are for. T-R-E-E-S…” He ranted on.
Psst! I heard. I heard it again and glanced down.
“Just tell him he was adopted,” It chuckled.
“The heck? No! ‘Ya trying to fire me?”
“Fine,” It sighed, “I’ll do it.”
My boss would know it was not me, so why not?
My mouth began to open. Huh?
“You look like you were adopted from a pig sty!” I mouthed, but didn’t say.
It was the creature.
We, well, I, was shoved out the front door, and my new black work shoes were dripping in snow-slush.
“You’re welcome, by the way,” The thing added casually as I trudged away.
I was not in the mood. “You cost me my job, my money, my life!” I sighed and asked, “What’s your name, anyway?”
“What’s your name?” The thing asked back.
“I’m Eurconchince. Don’t judge.”
“I’m not,” I assured, putting my hands up, then scoffed.
“You know what, just call me Eurie.”
“That’s not any better.”
“Nevermind. Here’s my introduction. It’s great,” Eurie cleared his throat. “I’m Eurconchince, your Apprentice of Vida-that’s Spanish for Life. What you obviously need help with is living life to the fullest. You don’t always have to follow the rules; live a bit. Enjoy your time here!” It was literally a real-life advertisement for crime.
I scratched my balding head.
Finally, I grinned. “Fine then, let’s see what you can do.”
We hit a candy store that he somehow knew I liked in my childhood. He insisted that I was a loyal customer, so I deserved a reward. I agreed, and off we went zipping through the aisles like there was no tomorrow. From the amount we ate, it seemed there would be no tomorrow, but we didn’t pay for any of it. As Eurie told me, “You Only Live Once.”
The shop owner shouted at us as we ran away laughing at our stunt.
We went off to several more shops sneaking gold watches and cool sneakers. I even snatched some spray-on hair!
We laughed, ate more barrels of candy, and…
I groaned and hauled myself up. Metal bars. Grunting men in orange uniforms. Prison.
“Hey Eurie, we’re in some trouble.”
“Can’t help ‘ya there,” He shrugged, and began to fade away.
“We got into this together, bud,” I grabbed a hold of him before he escaped.
He struggled in my grasp, then asked breathlessly, “My name, I tried to tell you, didn’t you notice?”
“Huh?” I was clueless.
“No one except you can see me. I’m Eurconchince,” He said gravely.
“Yeah, but you can get me out,” I urged.
“No. I’m just your conscience.”
He faded away.