This story came about because I was doing Speech to Text on the way to/way back from my dermatologist (in the next state over!) and while “writing” the Bellamy, it misread something I was trying to say as “The Supernatural Health Department.”
“We are the Supernatural Health Department, ma’am. ” They both held up badges. They both smiled, the kind of smarmy smiles that were usually annoying, but it was easy to forgive them that, because they were one tall drink of water, and one extra tall drink of water; the one who was only tall, not giant, had dimples when you smile like that.
“There’s been any number of goings-on lately, that is, in this area, there’s been reports of-” The one with dimples hesitated.
His partner picked up so smoothly that if she hadn’t been watching for almost exactly this, she would have missed it.
“Pox,” the giant added. “Not on people,” he hurried to tack on. “None of the current goings-on have led to anything like boils or blisters on people. If you see those, call us – and then the CDC – immediately. But those are not related to the current supernatural incidents. No, these pox are on trees. Maples and elms, specifically.”
“I didn’t know that the government was speaking openly about supernatural issues.” She was still standing in her doorway, on the other side of a closed storm door from the “Supernatural Health Department” gentlemen. She had more than one reason for that, but if she had to be honest, the way that the shorter one squirmed every time she delayed them was quickly becoming the most important reason
“Well,” that shorter one smiled, “when you have a rain of frogs, volcanic activity in an area with no geological reason for it, and people – sons – falling over where they stand, it’s either supernatural activity, ma’am, or the End Times.”
Just because she could tell the tall one wanted to kick the short one for that one, she turned to pick up her mask and loop its strings over her ears, giving them time to kick each other and rearrange before she turned back to open the storm door between them.
Goaded by that, both of the men pulled their own bandannas up to cover their mouths and noses. She liked their technique – minimum touch, no adjustment needed once they were set. She rather liked the way that, despite their suits, they looked like bandits.
“You boys can come in,” she told them, stepping out of the way. “You are welcome under my roof and over my threshold. May no harm come while you are here, and may all ill-will wait here outside and not follow when we leave.”
The tall one hesitated, letting his partner go first. The short one stepped forward, glanced at his partner.
“You coming? The lady invited us in.”
“She did, didn’t she?” The tall one stepped over her threshold. “Very politely.” He met her eyes and raised his eyebrows.
“First, boys, you don’t have to worry about it being the end of the world.” She closed the storm door behind them. “It’s a series of mostly-unrelated supernatural events.”
The tall one relaxed. The shorter frowned, which made his brow furrow deeply. “We told you we were here about a series of unrelated supernatural events,” he protested.
She pulled her badge out of her pocket. “The thing is, the Supernatural Health Department is a very small department, boys, and I know everyone in it.”
They stared at her badge. She thought the short one was probably gaping under his mask.
“And second, sorry about the pox. It really is mostly maples and elms, but it was, ah, more or less an accident.” She pulled a pitcher of lemonade from her ‘fridge, poured three glasses, and added bendy straws. “I really am sorry. The volcanic activity, though, that wasn’t me. I’m still looking into that.”
They took the lemonades she offered, snaking the straws under their masks. “You-”
They looked at each other. They looked back at her. They looked at each other.
“You-” the shorter one tried. He was less attractive but still adorable with his dimples covered.
“You,” the taller one managed.
“I was trying to clean up the rain of frogs. But I hadn’t heard about the first-born sons problem, and the two intersected in some strange ways. But since you’re here,” she looked between them, “and with your very believable badges, perhaps you can help me with the boils and rain of blood issues.”
She was not even surprised when the tall one started choking on his lemonade.Want more?