“Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity," wrote T.S. Eliot. To help make productive use of our self-isolation and social distancing, Lit Cleveland is offering free writing challenges each week via our newsletter. The following piece is a response to the "How To" prompt.
How to Entertain Yourself by Unnerving the Amazon Guy
by Lorain Urban
Tape a life-size cut-out of Jean-Claude Van Damme in your front window. Next to it, write “Coming for you, Amazon,” with pieces of leftover chocolate. Make it look spooky.
Leave a basket of half-eaten granola bars next to your front door with a sign that says “Take one.”
Crouch in your garage with the door open about two-inches and lie in wait. Just as he approaches, shriek like a Fury taking vengeance—just once. When he shouts, “Is everything okay?”, don’t answer.
Squirt a large pool of ketchup on your front porch next to the welcome mat.
Dig a hole—human-size—in your front bushes. Leave the shovel and a clump of your own hair next to it.
Collect branches from storm-ravaged trees and construct crosses out of them with twine woven of human misery. The bigger the better.
Cover the hole in your front bushes. Leave a mound.
At night, put a branch-cross next to the mound with a half-empty bottle of Martell cognac and three wilted red roses.
Add a new branch-cross each night when Venus is at its zenith. Arrange them to spell out, “Amazon.”
Tape a surgical mask on the life-size cut-out of Jean-Claude Van Damme and write “I mean it!” in Ragu under your previous message.
Replace your front door with a bed sheet.
Line up bottles of hand sanitizer in your gutters and dangle rubber gloves on strings from the drain pipes. Whistle while you work.
Prop Grandpa’s shotgun in the foyer next to the sheet-door, so he can see it when the bed sheet stirs in the breeze.
When he makes a delivery to the neighbors’, crawl combat-style across your lawn to the passenger side of his little white truck and drop a brown paper bag with a bologna sandwich and a bag of fingernails through the crack of the window he always leaves open.
Train squirrels to bare their teeth at him. This may take time.
Don’t let up until he brings the toilet paper.