The Stinky, Awful Girl

Marian Allen

Marian writes science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and humor - some of the humor is even intentional. She has had three novels published on electronic disk, and her stories have appeared in print anthologies and on-line magazines.

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Once upon a time, there was a stinky, awful girl named Barfola Snotball.

Barfola Snotball was not her real name. Her real name was Joy Delight Candymint but, when she turned ten, she used her birthday money to have her name changed.

Everyone who knew Barfola Snotball said she was stinky and awful. No one liked her, not even her best friends. She blew her nose at the table. She never washed her hair. She kept pet roaches in the pockets of her clothes. She made very rude noises at public gatherings. Her grandmother used to take her to Mass, on the off-chance that Holy Water might do some good, or at least that she could use it to sneak a little grime off Barfola's forehead. After the priest, four nuns, and a child in a wheelchair begged her to leave Barfola at home, the good old woman gave up.

Barfola's parents didn't understand her, but they tried to be supportive. For her eleventh birthday, they scoured the town until they found just what she wanted - a dog with the mange. They came up with an excellent specimen; they agreed he had been well worth the effort. He lingered for nearly a year, then they kept him in the deep freeze until Barfola's twelfth birthday, when she asked for a really bang-up dog funeral, and got it.

One day, a Disgusting Something came to town. It looked like Something that would eat people.

The mayor proposed sending it a human sacrifice. Everyone, with the exception of the Candymint family (who loved her in spite of her flaws), voted to send Barfola Snotball. As the mayor said, she was thirteen now; any day she would Blossom Into Womanhood, and the very idea made strong men weak and mothers plot to cast their male children into the river in woven baskets and hope for the best.

The townspeople put it up to Barfola's better nature. This was a wasted effort from the start, but they felt they had to make the attempt. They tried to bribe Barfola's parents, but it was a small town, and the treasury couldn't meet their price. At last, the Zoning Commission declared that, the eyes being the windows of the soul, and Shakespeare having written about "the porches of his ears", Barfola was actually an edifice, and the Fire Marshall condemned her as unfit for human habitation.

A wrecking crew snuck up behind her on her way to school. No school work was done that day, and it has been an official holiday ever since. The local Guard stuffed Barfola into a cannon and fired her straight at the Disgusting Something. It caught her on the fly, bit off a large and functionally necessary portion of her, and fell down dead.

They were buried together in the Candymint back yard, very near the final resting place of faithful Wrecks, the dog. From their grave grows a Hideous Plant, a plant hitherto unknown to Science. As of this writing, Science not only still doesn't know about it, but doesn't want to know about it. Knock on Science's door, and you'll hear the chain being put on, and a trembling voice asking, "This isn't about that Plant, is it?"

Still, there it is, growing larger and more hideous by the year, a living and fitting monument to the memory of Barfola Snotball, human sacrifice.


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