A gnome, a really ugly one, squat of body, gnarled of face, mean of eye, strolled out from around the carton of milk and jerked the box of cereal away from Shepard. The gnome stuck his filthy mitts into the cereal and shoved the food into his mouth, said mouth containing a long pointed tongue and broken and black teeth of ugly yellow. Shepard took the bottle of Kahlua from which he had been swilling, and emptied the contents down the sink. The gnome kept eating, dribbling milk down his chin. Then gnome stripped naked. Shepard went to the cupboard and took down his entire supply of spirits and upended every bottle into the sink. The gnome climbed into the box of cereal to reach those hard-to-get Fruit-Loops wedged in the corners. Shepard opened his fridge and gazed at the six-packs of Guinness Stout. He looked at the gnome. The gnome was now lying in Shepard’s bowl of milk that had one stray red piece of cereal floating in it. The gnome’s eyes closed, and the small monster splashed milk across his protruding belly and hairy navel. Sheppard decided he was of such stern stuff that he could give all the Guinness to his sister when he went to her and his brother’s-in-law house tonight for dinner. Sheppard looked at the bowl of milk and gnome. Milk suddenly bubbled violently between the gnome’s legs. The gnome was farting it up in the milk, farting up the milk. The lone, red Fruit Loop floated to soggy rest on the gnome’s hairy belly. The gnome bent his head to it, and slurped it up. Shepard grabbed up his six-packs of Guinness and headed out to his car. His sister wouldn’t mind him showing early, especially with all this Guinness.
The next day Shepard awoke happy—one day sober! He showered, dressed, ready for work. He popped into his kitchen for a quick bowl of cereal—a different type than yesterdays. He filled his bowl with cereal, then milk, instead of putting in milk first as was his usual habit. The gnome strolled out from behind the cereal box, strolled up to Shepard’s bowl, set its elbows on the rim of the bowl and then set its head on its hands in contemplation of the bowl of cereal. Shepard lowered his spoon back to the table top. The gnome stripped and climbed into the bowl of cereal and milk. It fixed Shepard with an insolent glare as it squatted down and started smacking on cereal.
Shepard simply left the apartment and went to work. He called a number on Craig’s List about another apartment and drove to it that night, deposit monies in his pocket. He never went back to his old apartment.
“I’m clean now. I don’t want those memories.”
In his old apartment the new tenant, a woman named Hooke, stubbed another cigeratte into her stuffed, stinking ash tray. A really ugly gnome was eating her toast as it sat in the sunny side-up egg she had just cooked for herself.