Rosa and Calvin were outnumbered, several thousand to two. For every garden gnomes they were able to destroy or hurl across the room, six more took its place. The gnomes had begun climbing up the far ends of the counter, and the sink, and the dishwasher, and staggering along the vinyl countertop toward the couple, a shuffling mass of clawing hands and gnashing teeth and tacky paint jobs.
Calvin and Rosa scooted toward one another, huddling over the back burners, each pulling the other closer. They had set the front two burners on high, a tiny wall of tiny flame, hoping to buy themselves some momentary safety.
Safety, at least, for the upper halves of their bodies.
The marauding garden decorations were scrambling all over the legs and feet that lay wiggling impotently along the countertop, the imps tearing at clothing and biting at flesh, like a terrier who’d had too much sugar. Nipping and scratching, pulling at the couple’s respective polyester pants. Inch by inch the gnomes made their way toward more vital organs. Inch by slow, tiny, interminable inch.
“Do you think we’ll see Odie in heaven?” Calvin asked, trying to wriggle free of his gnome-infested track pants. “Do you think she’ll be pissed we didn’t care that she died?”
“God, I hope not,” replied Rosa, doing the same with her pajama bottoms. “I hated that cat.”
“You hated – I hated that cat! I only kept her around for you!”
“Oh, man,” she mumbled, unable to hide her disappointment. “We spent so much money on kitty litter…”
Calvin managed to slide his pants below his knees. He pulled up his legs, wriggling his feet free, and then tossed the track pants across the kitchen, hoping his assailants would follow after it.
They did not.
The gnomes, instead, made a beeline for Calvin’s exposed thighs and all the highly sensitive areas immediately above them.
“Why did I think that would work?!”
Rosa immediately cinched her pajama pants tighter.
Sensing victory, the seething sprites redoubled their efforts, the bloodthirsty figurines rushing forward as best as their tiny, broken legs would allow, shoving and stepping on one another like shoppers at a Wal-Mart Black Friday sale. The chittering reached a fever pitch; the kitchen sounded like the inside of a lumber mill.
The garden gnomes climbed higher and higher up the humans. Pointy hats poked into stomachs. Jagged hands made their way into places they didn’t belong. Tiny ceramic teeth bit down everywhere.
Rosa and Calvin were running out of time, and they knew it.
“Do you think we were terrible people?” Rosa asked, peeling a mildewy gnome from her midsection.
“I think Odie was a terrible cat,” replied Calvin, backhanding two gnomes into the front burners.
“I mean in general,” she replied. “We were OK, right? We did the right things? You know, other than hating the cat. And wishing genocide on these little turds. And watching so much reality TV.”
“Too late to change it if we didn’t.”
“You’re not worried?”
“There is a gnome burrowing up my butt,” he explained. “I have lost the capacity to worry about anything else ever.”
“God,” said Rosa, wincing as a ceramic collectible chomped down on her hip, “if I had known this is how it was going to end I never would’ve started collecting these damn things.”
“And I never would’ve pissed off that gypsy.”
“What gypsy?” Rosa barked. “WHAT’D YOU DO?”
Calvin, however, did not answer, as a large moss-covered lawn ornament was pulling downward on his jaw.
“That looks unpleasant,” said Rosa.
Calvin did his best to nod affirmatively.
In front of the couple, the burners flickered out. The gnomes had figured out how to use knobs.
“Crap,” Rosa mumbled. “I’m not even wearing clean underwear.”
Calvin, mainly with his eyes – the gnome had his tongue in a terrific headlock – extolled her to rethink her potential last words.
“Oh, right,” she said. “Uh… My only – THAT DOES NOT GO THERE.” She pulled a particularly cantankerous gnome from her pants. “You are an ASSHOLE.”
The gnome snarled and bit her hand.
It was then that a bowling ball came roaring through the house, smashing through what was left of the front door – and then through the next one to two hundred gnomes in its way.
“What in the world…?”
Several more bowling balls came thundering across the living room, shattering lawn decorations like a Mythbusters’ clip show and almost certainly breaking local speed ordinances in the process.
Gnomes scattered. Ceramic dust settled across the makeshift pathway. Two figures stood silhouetted in the ruined doorway.
“Todd?” asked Rosa, holding back a trio of flesh-starved ornaments. “Other Todd? Is that you?”
“You’re damn right it is, sweetheart.”