Stinky and the Frozen Face

6 Jun

Stinky and the Frozen Face
by L. Stewart Marsden

“Anna Maria Alberghetti Christiana Gabriella Margaret Anne Jones,” called her father from the kitchen.

Anna Maria Alberghetti Christiana Gabriella Margaret Anne Jones sat up in her bed, rubbed her eyes with her knuckles, and yawned a yawn so big that she might have swallowed a yellowtail butterfly whole had one been flittering about in her room at the time.

“Go wash up and get dressed. I’ll have breakfast ready soon,” directed her dad. She sniffed, and smelled bacon frying.

She turned and dropped her legs over the edge of the bed, and stretched her arms in a big Y before plopping onto the floor and shuffling to the bathroom. This was her habit every morning, as was brushing her teeth, washing her face, and then the most awfulest part of getting up: looking in the mirror

Normally she would first open one eye and look, and then the other eye and look, and finally both eyes, to see what a “good night’s rest” had done for her beauty. And mostly, a “good night’s rest” did nothing for her, and she never looked princess pretty in the morning.

Today, Anna Maria Alberghetti Christiana Gabriella Margaret Anne Jones felt strange — like something was wrongfully wrong. She skipped brushing her teeth and skipped splashing water on her face to go straight to the mirror part. And, she decided to open both eyes at once and get it over with. She dropped the face towel onto the sink edge, keeping her eyes shut. Then she lifted herself up to the mirror level by leaning onto her hands on the front edge of the sink.

“One . . .

two . . .

three . . .

AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” she screamed!

There in the mirror staring back at her, was the most horriblest face Anna Maria Alberghetti Christiana Gabriella Margaret Anne Jones had ever seen!

One eye was looking down, with nearly all white showing;

The other eye was cross-eyed;

her  eyebrows were furrowed together and looked like the scowl of a great horned owl;

her mouth was stretched to each side and down, and only pink gums showed;

her tongue stuck straight out and wiggled at the end like a snake’s;

her nose was turned up and flattened back — and looked like a pig’s;

and, finally, her hair was spiked up and looked like a porcupine!

“DAAAAA-DEEEEE!” she screamed, but it came “AAAAAAA-EEEEEE!” on account of her tongue.

Because of the scream her father knew Anna Marie Alberghetti Christiana Gabriella Margaret Anne Jones was in a snit. And when she was in a snit, her father lovingly called her “Stinky.”

Stinky ran out of the bathroom and into the kitchen screaming, “AAAAA-EEEEE” all the way. She grabbed her father about his legs and sobbed loudly, until he pulled her away and looked at her.

“Oh, my!” he said, a look of shock on his face.

“LOOK AT MY FACE! IT’S FROZEN — JUST LIKE YOU SAID IT WOULD!” But it came out, “OOK A Y ACE! IS OZE — US I OU AID I OU!” on account of her tongue.

Sometimes, when Stinky was in a snit, she would screw up her face in every which way imaginable. Her father would gently say,

“If you keep making sour faces, one day your face will freeze like that.”

“I don’t believe you!”

“I don’t care. It’s still true.”

“MY FACE IS FROZEN AND I LOOK TERRIBLE,” came out “Y AE I OZE A I OOK EIBA!”

“Well, you have looked better,” her father said with a quizzical look on his face.

“WHAT-ARE-YOU-GOING-TO-DO-ABOUT-IT?” she screamed. Stinky’s father did not understand that one at all, and put his hands on her shoulders.

“First, we’re going to calm you down. Second, I think I know someone who can help, but you will have to trust me, Stinky. She’s kind of a magic person.”

“I’M NOT GOING TO CALM DOWN! LOOK AT MY UGLY, UGLY FACE! IT’S FROZEN! AND I DON’T BELIEVE YOU!” He understood the “I ONT E-EVE OU!” part.

“I don’t care. It’s still true. And, one of these days, you’re going to have to believe me. After all, you wouldn’t have that frozen face if you had believed me.”

Stinky’s father was right, but that didn’t make her feel any better or any calmer or that anything was going to change anytime soon.

“Ere ar e oing?” she asked her father as they drove down the street. Stinky was wearing a paper grocery bag over her head, with two holes cut out so she could see.

“You’ll see.”

After a long drive, they pulled off the main road onto a bumpy dirt road that wound through a very thick forest. The further they went, the darker everything got, until her father had to turn the car headlights on to see.

They crossed a creek, and then struggled up a steep, steep hill. At the top of the hill was an old, broken-down house — a haunted house!

A sign in the yard said, “Warning! Do Not Tease The Ghost Dogs!”

“Ost ogs?” Stinky asked.

All of a sudden their car was surrounded by the growls and snarls and barking of several large dogs — plus one pip-squeak dog.

“Ere ar ey?” shouted Stinky to her father.

“They’re ghosts! You can’t see them!”

“I on’t e-eve ou!”

“I don’t care. It’s still true!”

Her father got out of the car slowly. The growls and snarls and barking of the large dogs and one pip-squeak dog continued.

“Stinky, get out of the car and take the paper bag off your head.”

“Ey?”

The growls and snarls and barking of the large dogs and one pip-squeak dog continued.

“Just do it! Trust me!”

So, Stinky opened her door just wide enough to slip out, then stood amid the growls and snarls and barking of the ghost dogs, and lifted the paper bag off her head.

“Ar! Ar! Ar! Ar!” the dogs yelped in fright, and she could hear the large dogs and the pip-squeak dog run away into the woods.

“Ut appen?” Stinky asked.

“You scared them.”

“Ey ozen ace?”

“Your frozen face.”

“Ey on’t e-eve ou!”

“Ah, ah, ah! Remember what I told you?”

Stinky and her father crept timidly up to the old house. The porch boards creaked under their steps, and spiders and other bugs skittered all about the windows. Everything was covered with dust and cobwebs. The paint on the house was gone, and the boards were bent from age. The windows were gray with dirt.

Stinky’s father stepped up to the front door and opened the screen door. It fell off its rusted hinges and scared them both. He pushed it to one side and knocked on the wooden door.

They could hear the knocks echo inside:

Knock – knock – knock – knock!

No answer.

Stinky’s father knocked again. Again, it echoed in the house.

Knock – knock – knock – knock!

He slowly opened the door. It creaked loudly.

Ccccrrrrreeeeaaaakkkk!

The sound made Stinky shiver.

“Hello? – Hello? – Hello? – Hello?” he called inside. “Anybody home? – home? – home? – home?”

Stinky followed her father into the house, gripping his hand tightly, and squinting her eyes just in case something scary jumped out of a shadow. They walked slowly to the middle of a large room, leaving footprints behind them in the thick dust on the floor.

A large glass chandelier hung from the ceiling of the room. It was covered with cobwebs. Beams of light came in through the holes of thick drapes that decorated the windows.

“Hello.”

Stinky and her father jumped at the voice and grabbed for each other! In a corner of the room, sitting in an old-fashioned parlor chair with a very high back, sat a very old woman, dressed in a very old black dress with a white neck collar.

“H-hello!” Stinky’s father said nervously.

“Come closer,” she ordered, motioning them with a long, bony finger.

Stinky and her father crept closer. Stinky was behind her father, wishing she could run away.

“Come away from your father, my Dear,” the old woman said to Stinky. “I won’t hurt you.”

“Ey o-o-on’t e-eve ou!” Stinky said, her voice shaking in fear.

“I don’t care,” said the old woman, “It’s still true. Let me see your face.”

Frightened and embarrassed, Stinky stepped forward. The old woman reached out and touched her face. Stinky flinched.

“Ahhhhh! The frozen face! My Dear, did your father never tell you if you kept making faces that you could freeze like that?”

Stinky mumbled “eh.”

“And you didn’t believe him?”

Stinky mumbled “o.”

“I suppose you will now, won’t you, my Dear?”

Stinky said nothing.

“You certainly don’t want to come back here again, now do you?”

“O!”

“Then I suggest you believe your father in the future. Now, let’s get your old face back, even though this one is probably much more interesting! Let’s see . . . one eye down, the other over. Eyebrows stuck together. Pig nose. Snake tongue. Clown frown. Spike hair. This is going to take the magic mirror.”

“A-ic ir-or?”

“That’s what I said.”

The old woman stood creakily and shuffled over slowly to an old wooden chest on the floor under one of the windows. When she opened it, it creaked loudly.

“Out! Get out of there!” she ordered, and two small white rats leaped out of the chest and scurried across the room, disappearing in a small crack in the wall. The old woman rummaged through her chest, murmuring to herself as she looked for the mirror.

“Hmmm. Some shore line, a petrified monkey and his wrench, oh — and my sister’s glass eye! I’ve been looking all over for that! Black widow, scorpion, tarantu — Here it is!”

And with that, the old woman drew a hand mirror from the chest. The oval glass was covered with a black velvet cover, but Stinky could see the handle. It was beautifully made, with silver and laden with colorful jewels.

“This mirror — this special mirror — has the ability to trap a face, and to release a face. When you look into the glass, my dear, it will trap your frozen face when I say the spell. Then, it will go to your home and, in the spirit world, trap your reflection back from your bathroom mirror, and return that one to you. Understand?”

Stinky and her father looked puzzled.

“No matter. At least you didn’t say ‘I don’t believe you!’ If you had, I would be powerless to help. Go sit in my chair, my Dear.”

Stinky sat on the old woman’s tall throne chair, her legs dangling just above the floor. The woman came to the back of the chair, and leaned forward to one side, with the covered mirror in her hand.

“You must sit absolutely still — you must not move. I will repeat the spell, and then uncover the mirror. It must reflect only your face. And you must look directly into the glass.”

“Ow ong . . . ”

“Will it take?” the old woman finished Stinky’s question. “It will take all eternity, and it will take the time it takes you to blink an eye.

“Now, sit up straight. Keep your feet still. I will repeat the spell and uncover the glass.”

The old woman closed her eyes and drew a deep breath, then breathed out the spell:

“Mirror, mirror, in my hand
Seek throughout the seas and land
To find this dear one’s lovely face
And change it for this old grimace!”

The old woman pulled the cloth off the mirror, and Stinky looked at the image of her frozen face in the glass. It began to swirl — slowly, at first — and then faster and faster and faster until, at last, she was looking into the lovely face of Anna Maria Alberghetti Christiana Gabriella Margaret Anne Jones!

“It’s me!” Anna Maria Alberghetti Christiana Gabriella Margaret Anne Jones laughed loudly. “Daddy, it’s ME!”

“It’s you!” her father nodded.

“It’s you,” the old woman agreed. “But! There is one more part of the spell, so that it continues unbroken, and so that frozen face never returns.”

The old woman shuffled to a table where there was a silver plate was covered with a silver domed lid. She brought the plate to Anna Maria Alberghetti Christiana Gabriella Margaret Anne Jones, and lifted the lid. On the plate was a luscious red apple, and Anna Maria Alberghetti Christiana Gabriella Margaret Anne Jones could see her own face reflecting on the skin of the apple.

“Just one bite, my Dear, and your beauty will be secured forever,” the old woman cooed.

As the old woman neared with the bright red apple, Stinky began to think. Something was wrong!

Mirror?

Apple?

Old woman?

Just one bite?

And as the old woman brought the apple to Anna Maria Alberghetti Christiana Gabriella Margaret Anne Jones’ lips, she remembered!

“NNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO WWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!” she screamed at the top of her lungs, pushed the apple and the old woman away with her arm and jumped down from the chair and ran out of the room and out of the house and into the dark woods. The old woman and her father ran after her, calling,

“Anna Maria Alberghetti Christiana Gabriella Margaret Anne Jones!”

“Anna Maria Alberghetti Christiana Gabriella Margaret Anne Jones!”

“Anna Maria Alberghetti Christiana Gabriella Margaret Anne Jones!”

Anna Maria Alberghetti Christiana Gabriella Margaret Anne Jones sat up in her bed, rubbed her eyes with her knuckles, and yawned a yawn so big that she might have swallowed a yellowtail butterfly whole had one been flittering about in her room at the time.

“Go wash up and get dressed. I’ll have breakfast ready soon,” directed her dad.

Anna Maria Alberghetti Christiana Gabriella Margaret Anne Jones ran to the bathroom, jumped up on her stool, and pulled herself up on the sink to look in the mirror. There, sleepy-eyes, frizzly hair and all, was Anna Maria Alberghetti Christiana Gabriella Margaret Anne Jones. There was no frozen face.

“It was just a dream!” she said to her reflection in the mirror.

Her reflection wrinkled up her face and replied, “I don’t believe you!”

To which Anna Maria Alberghetti Christiana Gabriella Margaret Anne Jones replied, with a big grin on her face,

“I don’t care! It’s still true!”

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2 Responses to “Stinky and the Frozen Face”

  1. Boomie Bol June 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Ha ha I enjoyed it, I was beginning to fear for stinky face. Great story

    • skipmars June 6, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

      I think there’s a trace of guilt working in her. Two more Stinky stories in the brain boiler: Stinky the Mother’s Day, and, Stinky and the Other Woman. Stinky and the Night Mare was the first story in the Stinky series. Thanks for the comment! Now, to find an illustrator!

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