Mayvis hit the butt of her joke just as Lori tossed a handful of pumpkin seeds into her mouth. Lori inhaled for a laugh, taking several whole seeds down her throat. She exploded like a bomb. The remaining seeds splattered all over the couch. She grabbed her throat, like that would help. Mayvis was still too busy laughing at her own joke to notice Lori was choking.
Lori’s throat burned, her lungs screamed. She tried desperately to pull air in, expel the air already in her lungs. Her face was hot, she began to panic. She slapped Mayvis on the leg.
“Oh God, oh my God, oh my God.” Mayvis jumped up, fanned her face like she was the one suffocating.
Finally, Mayvis got her wits about her, then got behind Lori and wrapped her arms around her stomach. She squeezed, squeezed, squeezed; Lori came off the ground with each attempt. It hurt, deep. Finally, the seeds came out…two of them at least. Maybe the rest went on down.
“Shit, dude…” Lori said, wiping the sweat from her face with her shirt. She resealed the baggie of homemade pumpkin seeds, then looked up to the sky, as if to say thank you to the God she didn’t believe in. “It’s funny how thinking you might die makes you feel instantly religious.”
“You ready to give it all to the big man up there, huh?” Mayvis joked with Lori as she ran her hands up Lori’s thigh. Her fingertips were cool. “Should we join a nunnery?”
“Mmmhmm, but only if they’ll let us share a room.” Lori slid off her panties, ignoring the lingering ache in her throat.
“Ahhhhhh…” Lori examined her throat in the mirror.
It was a little red, swollen, but that was understandable. It still felt funny though, like a seed was stuck. She put two fingers as far down her throat as she could. She gagged so loud that Mayvis woke up and asked if everything was okay.
“I’m fine,” she hollered back, wiping the salvia from her chin.
Three big gulps of water, then back to bed.
Several days passed and, though the scratchy feeling in Lori’s throat seemed to heal, there was an overall pressure, like things were very swollen. Since she could eat and breathe fine, she wasn’t too worried but, if she had insurance, she would have already gone to the doctor.
She watched Mayvis over the dinner table. Lori was lucky to have won her affection. They met through mutual friends in college and spent over two years low key flirting before Lori finally invited her on a date. They met for dinner, went for drinks, then spent over three hours sitting in the car, just talking. Lori didn’t want to end the night without telling Mayvis how she felt, but she didn’t have to. Mayvis stopped talking mid sentence, said fuck it, then straddled herself over Lori in the tight drivers seat. Lori’s heart shook her whole body. They made out for what felt like forever before Lori brazenly reached to pull Mayvis’s panties off from beneath her skirt.
They had been completely inseparable since that night.
Lori tucked a bite of steak into her mouth, chewed, swallowed, then she found herself choking again. She huffed air through her throat, managed to work up two good coughs. The steak bits bounced across the table. Lori coughed once more, then spat out a small green vine with two leaves attached.
“What the hell?” Lori lifted the remaining steak slab with her fork to see if there were greens beneath. There was nothing.
Mayvis stared at her with wide eyes, shrugged her shoulders.
“Can we take the rest of this to go?”
A couple weeks passed with pretty much no change. There was still a godawful amount of pressure in Lori’s throat, but she no longer talked to Mayvis about it…she didn’t want to upset her. She finally found a doctor, though. She had an appointment for later that week.
Lori finished brushing her teeth, spit her toothpaste in the sink. The minty paste had a green hue to it. Funny. She didn’t remember it looking green.
Lori looked up to the ceiling again, feeling that slight inclination, thinking maybe she should start praying. She shook her head and slapped the switch to turn out the bathroom light.
“Mmmmm, there’s my tasty muffin. Come here and let me eat you up.” Mayvis patted the bed. She was already tucked in with the lights off.
Lori dropped her clothes, crawled in. “I’m not feeling super sexy tonight babe. My throat is on the fritz again.”
“What do you mean? I thought it was better?”
Lori hesitated. “No, no it’s not. I just didn’t want to talk about it, but I am going to the doctor on Thursday.” Lori scooted deep into the cool sheets. She regretted not having pulled their heated blanket out of storage yet.
“I, uh…” Mayvis got out of bed and slung on her robe. “I’m going to make a cup of tea.”
“Babe…” Lori called to Mayvis, but she was out of the room with the door closed.
Lori readjusted her pillow, fluffed the blanket, tossed left, then right. She forced her eyes shut. She just needed sleep.
She heard the kettle start to squeal before her eyes at last grew heavy. She welcomed the thoughtless sleep to come.
Mayvis opened their bedroom door slow, easy. She didn’t want to wake Lori. She felt bad for storming out, but she hated being lied to. So many times she asked Lori how she was feeling, and Lori just shrugged her shoulders and said ‘fine.’ She was obviously not fine.
The room was cold. Mayvis quickened her steps, then dropped her robe and threw it towards the chair in the corner of the room. As she slid under the sheets, she accidentally bumped Lori.
“I’m sorry, I was trying not to…”
Something wasn’t right. Lori was stiff, her skin like ice.
“Lori?” No response.
Mayvis reached for the light chain, her hand trembling. She was scared.
The light was bright, temporarily blinding. When she saw Lori, she screamed.
Lori wasn’t moving, wasn’t breathing. Her eyes and mouth were wide open, aimed at the ceiling. A long green vine hung out of her open mouth, a vine with quite a few mature leaves. Mayvis grabbed the vine, twirled it around her hand, and pulled. It was stuck in Lori’s throat.
She straddled her body, held Lori’s face down, then pulled again. She started to get a little leeway. She wrapped the vine around her hand two more times to take up all the slack. She pulled so hard that her arm shook from the effort.
With a plop, the vine was free from her mate. Mayvis fell back, tumbled off the bed. She still had the plant twisted around her hand. She held it up to see, on its end, dangled a small, orange pumpkin, not bigger than her own fist. Blood and skin tissue clung to its skin, dripped from its base. She very carefully set it on the ground, freed herself from the vine. She jumped up to check on Lori, whose jaw was now dislodged from its hinge. Partially coagulated blood oozed from the corners of her split mouth.
Mayvis’s face was coated with sweat, tears streamed from her eyes. She grabbed her cell phone to call 9-1-1 and wondered if anyone was going to believe her.
Copyright WB Welch – All Rights Reserved
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.