Beast stood in the kitchen, towering over the countertop and a large bowl of brownie batter. With his spatula, Guillaume, he scraped the sides of the bowl, catching and stirring in every last bit of magic he’d added to this batch.
Belle came in, yawning, and sat down at the table. She was curious what the evening held in store. Guillaume attempted to speak up, but Beast buried him in the batter. All that escaped was a muffled cry, and Belle was none the wiser.
The bell on the oven dinged and signaled the preheating phase was complete. Beast spooned the batter into a pan and smoothed it before sliding the pan into the oven. He wiped his hands on the towel dangling from the handle of the oven door, noticing it smelled a little funky.
He held the towel to his nose and inhaled. He knew he had no choice; it was time to clean the washing machine with some vinegar and bleach. Maybe baking soda. He couldn’t remember the precise measurements, but thankfully he had Google. That would come later. The present moment was for baking.
He and Belle sat at the table, discussing their day. For the most part they wrangled enchanted flatware and candelabras, although the armoires sometimes got a bit raucous. Then the bell, the same other one from a minute ago, dinged again. The brownies were done.
Beast set them to cool then sliced them, bringing one to Belle while it was still warm and gooey. They were delicious, and not just because of the magic. As she chewed her last bite, Belle stared off into space. Beast was about to suggest they retire to the den, but before he could, their idiot Chihuahua Simone ran through the room and out the doggy door.
Belle hopped onto Beast’s back and yelled, “Regulators, regulate!” And off they went into the evening.
my chihuahua is basically an angry burrito with legs
— mortimer [ham] (@koalaslament) March 14, 2017
As they tore through the yard, Belle pulled on Beast’s back hair and proclaimed.
If there’s anything else I can do to make you more uncomfortable please let me know
— Pugnado (@LuvPug) August 6, 2015
They were on a mission, mostly to find Simone, but maybe some other excitement, too. The evening demanded vigilance.
“It needed more gun power and blood.”
-my son’s review of “Beauty and the Beast”
— Valerie (@ValeeGrrl) March 18, 2017
Speaking of “Young Guns,” let’s get this guy involved. I think he’s pretty available and affordable these days.
Lou Diamond Phillips seems like too much name for one man.
— Justin (@ThePocketJustin) March 13, 2017
Unless his demands are too ridiculous, then forget it.
There aren’t enough spiral staircases leading to places you shouldn’t be.
— Doth (@DothTheDoth) March 20, 2017
Beast, ever the optimist, gritted his teeth and muttered:
I can make the best of a bad situation. I just wish for once I didn’t have to.
— Tony™ (@tsm560) March 15, 2017
Alexa dove from the path of an oncoming bus only to see Beast and Belle galloping toward her. Having just cheated death, she made a pledge to herself.
In the event of a bear attack, repeat your name, forcing the bear to see you as a person. A friend. A lover. Fuck a bear to get out of this.
— Alexa (@TheWoodenslurpy) March 12, 2017
Belle spotted a cop and thought about enlisting his help, but then her better judgment took over.
Every motorcycle cop is a liquid terminator until proven otherwise.
— Holly Anne (@HollyMemphis) March 20, 2013
It was just as well, the officer was lost in thought. He hadn’t even noticed Alexa diving from in front of the bus or Beast galloping along. Trotting? Gallivanting? Whatever it is that cursed princes (kings?) do when giving chase.
Sometimes I’m like, “Why aren’t I more successful?”
Then it takes me three tries to get my arm in my coat sleeve and I’m like, “Ah, right.”
— Dad and Buried (@DadandBuried) March 15, 2017
The Chihuahua ran through a parking lot and into a neighborhood. It was there she crossed paths with Annie, who had a proclamation to make.
I know science. Miles aren’t the same as kilometers. Photosynthesis is how plants eat. My authority on this cul-de-sac is unquestioned.
— Annie Hatfield (@HatfieldAnne) March 22, 2017
So did her neighbor Zach, one who was always about not just keeping up with the Joneses, or Hatfields in this case, but surpassing them. No, his last name was not McCoy.
I could rule the sea with my army of krakens if they would just obey my commands instead of watching unboxing videos on YouTube all day
— Zach (@NamestartswithZ) March 22, 2017
Beast called out to Simone.
Him: “Shall I compare thee to a winter’s night?”
— Jawbreaker (@sixfootcandy) March 21, 2017
Simone yelled back. (For purposes of our tale, she’s also now enchanted, because why not.)
We ruin everything we touch. Looking at you, moon.
— Queen of the Damned (@Cpt_Burnout) March 1, 2017
Then she realized she was about to cross into another yard. Gandalf was there, saying, “You shall not pass,” but Simone had a wild card up her sleeve. Figuratively.
AGENT: Anything to declare?
ME: Just my love
AGENT: I’m serious
ME: So am I
AGENT: You better not be playing with my heart, mister
— Todd ‘Papi’ Carlos (@TheToddWilliams) March 22, 2017
Not that it really mattered. Gandalf was actually rather distracted.
I’m gonna do some pretty cool things once I learn how to ride a unicycle.
— Mr. Bea Arthur (@FuckabillyRex) March 20, 2017
Regardless, Simone had a thought.
I know he loves me. You can see it in his haunted eyes.
— Sophie2078 (@Sophie2078) March 8, 2017
Beast also had a thought. It was really the time or place, though.
Because of aquariums I thought I loved marine biology but it turns out I just really like the idea of fish prison.
— MehGyver (@AndrewNadeau0) January 6, 2017
Fortunately, on this night, she’d have ample help in the startling, mainly in the form of a high-speed foot chase between a Chihuahua and a Beast and a Belle.
I like to repeatedly startle my husband in the middle of the night, to see if his English accent is real.
— Cynthia Ellis (@CynthiaJEllis) February 6, 2017
Then, an obstacle! Or a pitfall. Yeah, probably the latter.
Can’t wait to start trying to convince everyone I meant to fall down this hole in the sidewalk
— MF FairyPrincessSmoo (@Smooheed) March 14, 2017
Then Belle had an idea.
[after luring next murder victim to my quaint little house in the middle of nowhere]
Ahh, this peaceful retreat is so life-affirming.
— VnT (@Vodkantots) March 20, 2017
Some would say it had too many flaws. Others, not enough.
My idea of a charm offensive involves a big funny looking trumpet and snakes. Lots and lots of snakes.
— Tups (@Tups13) March 7, 2017
But there was no choice but for Belle to live her truth.
You know it’s true….
Everything I do….
I do it for Morrigan, the goddess of war and death.
— Cam (@GinAndJif) March 19, 2017
Meanwhile, as she ran, Simone observed the stuff of legend.
“Watch as the driver leaves space for another to pull out, without blocking the exit. This type of activity is rarely seen.”
— heather lou* (@heatherlou_) March 8, 2017
While she paused to watch a miracle in traffic flow, Beast and Belle found themselves confronted by another denizen of the cul de sac. She had ideas.
You seem sad. Here. Have this dress with pockets.
— Jenn (@heyevergreen) April 26, 2016
I’m saving money on funeral planning by instructing my family where to dump my body and who to frame.
— Stella G. Maddox (@StellaGMaddox) March 22, 2017
Belle and Beast were gaining on Simone. As they closed the gap, the trio ran past a local watering hole where one of the regulars was pontificating.
I’m gonna retire and be a Loud Local Guy at a ski town bar
— Jeff Newton (@yonewt) February 14, 2017
The topic was Olympic sports. There were many opinions.
Synchronized swimming into the abyss.
— Trophy Knife (@sarah1mc) March 21, 2017
Another denizen shook her head, wondering why people were concerned with such trivial matters when there were serious issues at hand.
Winds are a blowin’ in and I didn’t have the right nails, so I just fixed my north fence line with dental floss like some homestead pioneer.
— MomofTeen (@MomofTeen) March 20, 2017
Beast yelled at the dog, trying to get her to slow her roll. He wondered if maybe he should slow his own roll.
“I’ve got a sore throat!”
— Meh Madness (@TheAlexNevil) March 19, 2017
Belle contemplated just letting the dog go off and seek her own adventures.
Me: If you love something very much you must set it free…
*releases my three kids into the wilderness.
— Minion (@miffedmim) March 17, 2017
In the distance, there was a light. They all ran toward it. It was a decision they would regret.
Me: Maybe I’m too drunk
Jack Daniel’s: Dude I told you, they can’t even see you when you’re naked
Me: [lighting a 30 minute road flare] K
— Piece (@Piecezilla) March 23, 2017
That one dude who takes neighborhood watch really seriously decided the scene required him to change his costume.
* removes afro wig to reveal even larger afro underneath
— Böb El Diablo Jänke (@Bob_Janke) March 21, 2017
But then he got distracted by the sweet muscle car sitting in Taffy’s driveway. They decided to take it for a spin.
If you perform the proper pagan rituals, anything is possible.
What I’m saying is– last Equinox,
I woke up with a Camaro in my driveway.
— taffè benīngtøn (@singwithTaffy) March 21, 2017
The spin quickly turned into a hot pursuit, or it would’ve if the perp was putting any effort into escaping. It didn’t help that she tripped over a dog.
Person I tried to rob describing me to the police:
“…crazy hair, wearing pajamas, lazy, honestly she didn’t seem very committed to it.”
— Elizabeth (@Elizasoul80) March 17, 2017
With Simone on the ground, Belle and Beast caught up to the dog. Belle chastised Beast for being slow.
Me: You’re being so abrasive right now.
Him: Well, you’re abrasive a lot.
Me: NO I AM A DELICATE FLOWER
— SHANtilly Lace (@theshantilly) March 19, 2017
It was then that Simone looked up at him and made a promise.
No matter how mad I get, I promise to never fake my own death and frame you for it.-me, writing marriage vows
— Ivsy (@Ivsy01) March 23, 2017
Though it wasn’t a promise without a little bit of wistfulness.
Sometimes I wonder if my life would have turned out differently if i was a karate master.
— Sadie Smith 2.0 (@SadieSkyNinja) March 23, 2017
Bob and Taffy dove out of the Camaro, Bob smacking a flashlight trying to get it to come on. Taffy reached into the glove compartment and threw him a pair of AA batteries. He loaded them into the cylinder and turned the torch on.
At his feet, having crossed over the edge of another enchanted zone, lay Simone. No longer a Chihuahua, she was now a She-Beast. Beast looked her over, tossed Belle off his back, and gave chase. Everyone else went home.
Beast and Simone circled the globe seven times before Beast gave up and went home. It had been a long evening and he was ready for another brownie, but he was greeted with a surprise when he arrived back at the palace. In his kitchen was a chair and whoever was in it had her back to Beast.
Slowly the chair turned and revealed Simone, slightly perturbed that Beast had given up, though she was coy about it. She twirled her pigtails and asked a question. Guillaume tried to answer, but Beast threw him in the dishwasher before he could get a word out.
So is there a Mrs. Stalker?
— Juliet Actually (@julietactually) January 30, 2017