Alligators in the Sewer
The notifications began to roll in on the neighborhood watch app: people had reported seeing alligators in the sewer. Everyone knew this posed a threat to the town, but many could not get past the optics. “Sewer alligators” happened to other people who lived in poor-performing school districts. So the citizens took no action, and instead, spent hours trying to link the rise in sewer alligators to the town’s new mixed-income swamp development.
A woman was driving home from her book club, when she noticed the car behind her flashing its high beams. She waved into the rearview mirror and smiled; she liked that people read her bumper stickers and wanted to commend her for being the parent of an honor roll student, a Goldendoodle mom, and a person who summers on the Cape. But as soon as she reached her home and turned the engine off, the killer lunged at her. He was hiding in the backseat of the Honda Odyssey the entire time and the high beam flasher had been trying to warn her. None of it had to do with her accumulated wealth and inflated sense of self-worth.
The Babysitter and the Caller
A young woman was home for the holidays, watching her family’s pet beagle. The phone rang on her parents’ landline. When she answered it, a voice told her to “check on the beagle.” Ten minutes later, the phone rang again, and again the caller told her to “check on the beagle.” When the phone rang a third time, the girl freaked out and called the cops. The police traced the call and notified her that it was coming from inside the raised ranch house: it was her mother calling from the bedroom. She didn’t believe her daughter would remember to give the Beagle his heartworm medication.
Looking for a place to make out in private, a high school couple drove to the furthest end of the Marshalls/Old Navy/DSW parking lot. A news report came on the radio about a hook-handed escaped prisoner. Just then, they heard a scraping sound on the car door. The girl looked out the window and screamed: a shopping cart had smashed into the door, scraping the paint off and denting the exterior of her dad’s Nissan Altima. “If that escaped prisoner doesn’t kill us, my dad will.”
A man was drinking a margarita at Chili’s when an intriguing woman approached him. They struck up a conversation about the new Dunkin Donuts opening off exit 38 on I-84. He ordered her a drink and they carried on until the woman invited the man back to her townhouse. Hours later the man woke up on the bathroom floor and couldn’t remember how he got there. His abdomen hurt, and when he looked down there was a large scar. The woman had harvested his organs, but the man understood; it was the weekend of the town’s annual Fall Harvest Festival, after all.
The Vanishing Hitchhiker
First, the hitchhiker tried to hitch a ride on the bus, but the town had no mass transit system. Next, he tried to call an Uber, but the service was not yet available in the area. Finally, he was picked up by a concerned mom in a Honda Odyssey. She asked if she could buy him a bread bowl at Panera but the hitchhiker had already vanished. When the woman tried to tell others about the hitchhiker they didn’t believe her. “A person walking in the suburbs? Next, you’re going to tell us you bought liquor on a Sunday before 10 a.m.!”