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Husbands and Wives
In the most dreariest street in the dreary old town of Hopstown, there was a shop called Mr. Husband’s Fruits & Plants. In that smidgen of a store, Mr. Husband sold various specimens ranging from kiwi to vicious poison ivies with his wife Mrs. Husband. People from nearby cities came by to get exotic fruits and plants that were most surely obtained in questionable ways. Nonetheless, they liked Mr. Husband’s generous spirit and shiny—but not sweaty—bald head. Mrs. Husband was another matter, however. She was an unusually tall woman with dull yet intimidating glare. It was difficult for customers to be not shocked by the woman’s mysterious gray eyes and imposing stature.
One dreary day in June, a couple opened the door of Mr. Husband’s Fruits & Plants, making the bells chime eagerly. The man and woman were followed by a small child who was clutching a vanilla-colored stuffed puppy with a plaid ribbon around its neck.
“Excuse me?” said the man.
Mr. Husband, who was at the backroom looking for rainbow corn seeds, came out to greet his customers.
“Hello! How may I help you!” said Mr. Husband. The trite inquiry was made somewhat refreshing because it was an exclamation rather than a question.
The man glanced at Mr. Husband’s rosy cheeks with apprehension.
“Well, I’ve just moved here, and I was looking for a job.” said the man carefully.
Mr. Husband beamed.
“Of course! Of course! I will most certainly help you. Why don’t you come with me upstairs to my house and we’ll have tea?” said Mr. Husband enthusiastically.
Now it was the woman who eyed Mr. Husband with worry. Her son, however, didn’t seem to find Mr. Husband’s excitement odd and looked quite mesmerized by the array of seeds in the tiny shop.
“Come on, come on. My wife sure knows how to make a fine tea, though I don’t know its name. Come on upstairs!” said Mr. Husband as he climbed the stairs near the backroom’s door without looking back. He seemed certain that despite the discomfort that he had certainly caused, they would surely follow him out of courtesy.
After Mr. Husband went upstairs, the woman spoke for the first time.
“I don’t know, Max. I heard his wife was a bit ... weird.”
“The man seems nice enough, doesn’t he?” said the man whose name was Max.
The three newcomers to Hopstown went upstairs at last. There was a surprisingly large living room that had an extremely thin black rectangular frame at the center of the wall. Mr. Husband was already sitting at the sofa and smoking his orange-scented cigar.
“Come on, sit down if you please. My wife will soon get us some tea.” said Mr. Husband.
Reluctantly, the man and the woman sat down. Their son seemed like he was in another world altogether and sat down next to them dreamily.
“So,” started Mr. Husband. “What kind of job do you want? Or, what would you like to do?”
When Max took a deep breath and was about to start speaking, Mr. Husband’s wife entered the living room with a tea tray.
“Oh hello. You must be the unexpected visitors. I am Mrs. Husband, Mr. Husband’s wife.” said Mrs. Husband robotically.
“Hello, I’m Max Wife.”
“Hi, I’m his wife Julien Wife.”
Mr. Husband seemed like he couldn’t take the robotic formalities anymore.
“Oh come ON! Stop with the niceties, Lynelle. You’re going to scare them half to boredom.” said Mr. Husband.
“We should introduce ourselves when we meet strangers, Ilenk. Don’t criticize my politeness.” said Mrs. Husband.
“And what is your name, boy?” asked Mrs. Husband, ignoring her husband’s glare.
Max and Julien Wife seemed to realize right at this moment that their son was here with them all the time.
“I’m Hale Keaps.” said the boy.
“Why, you don’t follow your parents’ name?” asked Mrs. Husband rather rudely.
“Lynelle!” shouted Mr. Husband.
Hale seemed unsurprised by Mrs. Husband’s rudeness.
“I’m not their biological son. My parents are the Keaps.” said Hale.
Mrs. Husband frowned seriously while steam emanated from her husband Mr. Husband’s large ears. On the other hand, the Wives glanced at each other fearfully.