Tales From The Courier: File Two

November 10th

I’ve found over the past two weeks that narration is more challenging than one would expect. What details should I point out? What ones should I leave behind? It’s all so confusing. But I think I have settled on a compromise with my worrying mind.

When it comes to the two beings before me: spare no details.

Expect the detail of her dress. I’ll spare you from that.

They looked at each other when I said that, probably wondering if I had lost my mind.

“Yeah, something like that. . .” The smaller, pudgier one said. The tall skinny one proceeded to flick his shoulder, scowling disapprovingly.

Norman and Irene. Last names? I had no idea.

“Mine is—” Norman began, but I cut him off.

“No!” I screeched a little too loudly. “It is mystery that enchants our listeners! And mystery only!” I snapped, then adjusted the set of golden headphones on my head, popped the collar of my navy blue duster, shaking myself back to reality. No need to get upset at the ignorant fools, I thought to myself. They are only here to further your career and entertain the listeners.

"Nick. Thinking to yourself means keeping your thoughts in your head." Irene said carefully.

"Does it?" I replied simply.

“Have—Have you lost your marbles?” Norman whispered, looking offended. But he had offended me many times, and I see this as an opportunity at payback.

Irene sighed heavily, whisking her stringy hair behind her. It was a dull brown with streaks of silver running through it, adding to her harpy-like appearance, though both Norman and Irene were human. Her nose was hooked like a beak, her eyes set in a permanent squint, her heavy wrinkles making her face sag. In her own way, she was beautiful, motherly almost. Almost used lightly in this case.

“Can you please tell them about my dress?” Irene asked sadly. "I quite like it."

“No,” I said simply, turning my gaze to Norman.

Norman was a stout redhead who looked more like a dwarf than human. He had a mass of red hair flowing behind him, a scraggly beard, two mismatched eyes, and an assortment of band shirts that looked too small for him. He always liked to wear these ugly cargo shorts that I have told him many times to ditch, but no. No one ever listens to that weirdo, Nick!

“That’s not true. All I said was that I don’t have the budget as of the moment.” Norman swallowed hard, looking around as if wondering if there were cameras hidden in my office. Which now that I think about it, I wish I had hidden cameras. His face was priceless.

I roll my eyes, waving them away. “Name, job, how Mavericks found you.”

Norman’s eyes lit up. “My name is Norman; I am the resident Forger-Of-Identities here at The Utopian Courier! I can make a police badge, a fake I.D., a passport! Ha! Anything you need!” He was overly excited about this, which made both me and Irene wrinkle our noses. “Oh, and I am also one of the head editors. Along with my sweetums over here.”

Irene cleared her throat, patting Norman on the head dismissively. “My name is Irene, I am an editor, and it is also my job to keep my lovely husband out of trouble. Together we create the lovely paper you all know and—”

“I’m sorry.” I began. I had stopped listening at the word’ husband.’ “You two are together?” I asked in disbelief.

Norman and Irene shared a look. A disgustingly loving look. I gagged.

Irene spoke first, her face flush. “Yes, happily married for twenty-seven years and counting! Mavericks actually met us on our honeymoon! We were on our way to the Caribbean when we ran across a few mermaids and a strange-looking man who was photographing them. I noticed his lightning and angle were all off, so we decided to step in. Because—for the love of all that is good in the world—if you are going to photograph creatures of the unknown, please make sure the photo is nice!” She chuckled to herself but tuck up her nose haughtily.

“Mavericks must’ve seen our talent since he let us take over, and the next thing we knew, we were being offered a job. SO we packed up our tiny apartment in Upstate New York and flew down here! And we don’t—” He coughed, scratching the back of his neck. “We uh. . .” He looked to Irene.

“We don’t regret one thing!” Irene finished for him, though with some difficulty.

“Not—Not to say that—that Mavericks hasn’t been kind to us, it’s. . .” Before Norman could finish, Irene shushed him, shaking her head in a warning.

I looked between them. The aura of the room had suddenly changed. No longer were they smiling and full of their usual light. Now they seemed antsy, their smiles now fake. I peered at them, making to voice the thoughts inside my head when they both stood abruptly.

“Yes, well, we must be going!” Irene laughed, brushing off the dress I refused to mention.

“Lots of work! Lots of work!” Norman grimaced, grabbing Irene by the arm and pulling her away.

“But I need a closing statement!” I called after them, but the odd couple actually ran from me, leaving me standing in the doorway of my office.

I was about to grab my tape recorder and race after them when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned to see swirling electric blue hair and tired eyes. The face belonged to Alexis Martin, one of the local werewolves. She looked utterly exhausted.

“Shut up, you thrift store Wiccan.” She breathed.

“What happened? Why are you so pale?” I ask, grabbing her as she fell forward.

“I got in a fight.” She sighed.

“Again?” I asked, leading her inside my office.

She nodded. The dark circles under her were almost black, making her look like a skeleton. Her hair was matted, her knuckles were cracked and bloody, and above all, her favorite hoodie was ripped. She swept her hair over her shoulder to reveal two oozing teeth marks.

A vampire bite.

My breath caught in my lungs.

“I need one of your tinctures.” She coughed, shutting the door behind us.

“Hang on,” I said shakily. “Let me restart the tape.”

Tales From The Courier Will Return

Copyright Utopian Courier Press 2021