“Sitting Around Keeping Score” by Spymob from Sitting Around Keeping Score
“So, you invade dreams then?” Karen asked over her shoulder, rooting around in the cabinet for a mug she didn’t care much for. She was going to be hospitable but she wasn’t going to use the good china for the likes of this guy.
Freddy sighed, holding the cinnamon bun gently in his hands. It was still warm. “Not quite,” he began, “I’m more…I own the dream realm, you see. So it’s more like your invading my space.”
She arched her eyebrows and even with her back to him, he could feel her skepticism. It bothered him more than he wanted to own up.
“That seems a bit…egotistical,” she suggested, placing the mug of tea in front of him.
“This is Bengal Spice,” she added with a gentle smile, “I think you’ll really like how it pairs with the cinnamon bun.”
He nodded and awkwardly grasped the mug. His claws made him feel unusually clumsy.
“So you were saying?” Karen said, sitting across the table from him.
“I was saying I’m the bogeyman, the demon in your dreams. I show up, I terrify you, then I murder you in your dreams and you die in real life.”
“Except, you didn’t.”
“Right,” he nodded, “Except I didn’t. I tried but, like, nothing happened. You just woke up, said, ‘what an odd dream,’ and then boom, here I was in your kitchen.”
“And this is different than usual Mr….sorry, what was it again?”
“Krueger. But you can just call me Freddy.”
“Ok, Fred, so—”
“No, no,” he interrupted her, feeling a bit sore about this, “It’s Freddy.”
“Really?” she replied, squinting, “And you prefer that.”
“Yeah, I do. It reminds me of—,” he paused, looking at her confused, “Wait, why wouldn’t I?”
“Oh dear, I don’t know. None of my business really,” she said quietly, raising her hands.
The room went quiet for a bit. Freddy didn’t really trust her. It felt like she was humoring him.
The oven timer sounded.
“So sorry,” she smiled kindly, “I hate to be rude, but I promised I’d make meatloaf for the potluck. Just keep telling me about yourself while I go snag it, won’t you?”
He sighed again but continued, “Not much else to say. I terrorize, kill, spout a catchphrase, repeat. Until someone thinks they kill me and I go away for a bit.”
“A catchphrase, dear?”
“Yes, like…oh! One time I killed this girl with a TV and said, “Now you’re on TV, bitch!”
“Don’t say that, Fred.”
“Bitch, dear. Don’t say bitch, especially like that. It’s misogynistic. And if you can’t convey your message without swearing, most adults won’t take you seriously.”
Freddy crosses his arms and slides down a bit in his seat, pouting, “I told you, it’s Freddy?”
“Sorry?” she asked, indicating she couldn’t hear him.
“Nothing,” he mumbled, “Just saying I kill teens. Teens love swearing.”
“Do they?” Karen politely challenged. “I think that’s something the media wants us to think but I’ve never found that to be the case.”
“They do!” Freddy shot back before casting his eyes down and away, “Sorry.”
Karen placed her hand on top of his, “There, there. You’re having a bad day. Feelings run high. It happens.”
They sat there quietly for a little while, eating cinnamon buns and drinking tea and smelling meatloaf.
“Oh,” Karen sort of giggled, “I just realized, I’m hardly a teen.”
“Are you sure?” Freddy teased her. “I thought, with that body, you must be 15 or 16 at most. I mean those ti—”
She slapped at his shoulder fully giggling, “Oh you, don’t you be crude! But seriously, is that it? Maybe you couldn’t violently, gruesomely mind murder me because I’m not a teen.”
Freddy thought for a moment than deflated visibly. “No. No, I’ve killed adults.”
“Oh…ok. Thought maybe that—”
“No, no, it was a good thought. Thanks.”
“More tea?” she asked, anxious to break the moment. He nodded without making eye contact. She returned with a fresh teabag and filled his mug again. He sipped long and low.
“Have you considered murdering me now?” Karen wondered aloud. “I mean, I’d just assume stay alive, but…”
“Yeah, I did,” he admitted sheepishly. “When you first came downstair.”
“Oh right, you gave me such a fright.”
Freddy perked slightly. “Really?”
“Oh, definitely. Very scary.”
He smiled at her. “Thanks,” he whispered.
Karen finished her bun and licked her fingers clean before returning to her tea.
Shortly after she offered, “You know, my cousin does a lot of work with burn victims. She might be able to…help…with your face there.”
He laughed a little awkwardly, “I’m pretty used to it now. It’d feel weird. Like it wasn’t my face anymore, you know? But thanks, that’s very sweet.”
A timer beeped elsewhere in the house.
“Well, that’s my laundry. I should go get it. Do you…are you going to hang out for awhile?”
Freddy looked around and thought about it. Shrugging, he finally asked, “Would that be ok? I’m kind of not sure what to do with myself?”
Karen nodded gently, “Of course. And if you want, you’re welcome to come to the potluck with me.”
“I don’t know Mrs. Hillcombe.”
“Please, call me Karen,” she insisted. “You sit here, enjoy that treat, take some time to get your head on. I’ll check in. No rush Fred.”
With that, she stood and left the room. Freddy put his head on the table and groaned in frustration.
“It’s Freddy,” he whined to no one in particular.