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Thursday, February 12

The Street Price of Happiness

"The Street Price of Happiness"
Short Fiction - Speculative
By Linda Courtland

"What is the nature of your emergency?" the 911 operator said.

"Someone stole my emotions."

"I'll send a car out right away," she said.

Two officers knocked at my door. We stared at each other, blank-faced.

"Thank you for coming so quickly," I said.

"Stealing emotions is a felony in this state, ma'am. When did you first notice they were missing?"

"I suspected something was wrong this afternoon," I said. "I went through the whole day at work without feeling angry or unappreciated."

An officer took notes.

"But I know I had them last night," I said. "I distinctly remember screaming at my boyfriend."

"Was he the last person you saw before the theft?"

"Yes. In fact, I didn't even cry myself to sleep after we broke up. He must have taken them before he left."

"If you could give us his address," the officer said.

At the preliminary hearing, my boyfriend hollered at the judge.

"This is ridiculous," he said, slamming a fist against the table. "I didn't do anything wrong."

The judge addressed his angry attitude. "I suggest you sit down, sir. These are serious charges."

"She has no proof," my ex yelled.

"That's my anger he's using," I said. "I'd recognize it anywhere. And I want it back."

"Defendant is remanded," the judge said, and sent him to jail until trial.

The police officers were at my door the next day. "Good news," they said. "After a night in the slammer, the suspect confessed."

"Does that mean I get my emotions back?"

"He's already pawned your happiness and hope," they said. "We checked with the shops but unfortunately, those things move pretty quickly around here."

"What about my love and fear?" I said, stone-faced.

"He sold them on eBay(R), but we'll track down the buyers. And he's willing to return your anger and sadness in exchange for a reduced sentence."

"Make the deal," I said.

We met in the jail's visiting room.

"I took them when I was packing my things," he said. "I was upset that
you were throwing me out."

"So you sold my happiness?" I said.

"You could probably buy it back on the black market."

Driving home, I reflected on yet another failed relationship and felt my anger and sadness fill me. I cranked up the car stereo and slammed a fist against the dashboard. It felt so good to scream.

5 reactions:

Kelly Parra said...

Linda, love this!

Linda said...

Thanks, Kelly!!

Rod Drake said...

Very amusing, clever, well-written and surreal; love this kind of offbeat but touching story - great job

Sandra said...

This is just f----ng great. You just keep getting better and better.

Julie said...

Clever, quirky little tale - really enjoyed it, thanks!