Part Four: Rapacious Anthropomorphs


Hunkered down in their furniture fort – and with only minor burns from Calvin’s ill-fated toaster fork-launcher attempt – Rosa and Calvin paused from swatting at the pint-size predators invading their home and took a quick inventory of their supplies: the rolling pin, the comal, six fun-size Snickers, three coffee mugs, and a television remote.

“If we take the batteries out first we’ll have THREE things to throw,” said Calvin, disassembling the remote.

The upended coffee table loomed over the him, shielding him and his wife from the chattering tchotchkes flooding through the front door and pounding on the other side of the particleboard. A toppled hutch behind Rosa kept them safe from the marauding lawn decorations that had swarmed over the makeshift couch-barricade to their rear. The remainder of the rampart included a five-piece dining set, the legs crisscrossed together and jutting outward; a few unfolded folding chairs propped on their sides; and mountains of decorative pillows filling in any gaps. A widescreen television and its accompanying cart were wedged between the walls of a conveniently narrow hallway, doing their best to stymie the parade of rapacious anthropomorphs marching in from the garage.

Their best, however, was not very good.

Calvin and Rosa were alone, scrunched between improvised walls of home furnishings and surrounded on all sides by tens of hundreds of bloodthirsty garden gnomes, the ravenous figurines chittering ominously, like terrorists on helium, and clawing with shattered ceramic fingers at every inch of the furniture fort.

“This was a truly, spectacularly terrible idea,” said Rosa.

“I’m beginning to see that now,” replied Calvin.

Calvin grabbed the metal rolling pin. Hunkered down in their tiny shelter, his knees in his face, he began rubbing his stocking feet as quickly as he could across the small patch of carpet left to them.

“What’re you –”

“Static electricity,” he said, becoming winded. “I’m gonna pull a MacGuyver and electrocute them with science!”

“The roller has a non-stick rubber wrap around it, Cal.”

“I’m not making cookies, babe.”

“Rubber doesn’t conduct electricity, dummy,” she replied. “So knock off the kicking!” Rosa slapped her husband’s legs until he stopped shaking them.

“Thank you,” she said, before scoffing, “Science. You failed out of engineering school!”

“Math is hard!”

At that moment, the precariously balanced dining room chairs toppled outward, crushing over twenty garden gnomes and seriously wounding several more. Dozens scrambled to take the place of the fallen, snarling and shoving and shuffling ever closer to the opening. Rosa pulled the coffee table closer, angling off the miniature marauders. The scratching began the moment she removed her hand.

This proved to be too much for the coffee table. The Swedish-crafted furnishing had already survived so much more abuse than the manufacturer recommended.

The garden gnomes hammered their tiny fists through the coffee table, the particleboard crumbling in chunks like cake through a child’s fingers. Droning like a blender on the puree setting, the ornaments shuffled into the furniture fort.

doomed dooooommmmeeed

“I told you we should’ve gotten real furniture!” Rosa shouted, kicking toward the gnomes with one leg and sliding herself backward with the other.

“Damn you, IKEA!” Calvin bellowed.

dun dun DUNNN