The Compartments – Gregory M. Thompson
Will looked over to his son, Curtis, who held a half-devoured candy bar in his hand. Will returned to the cartoon they were watching and, seconds later, he heard scraping. Next came the familiar sound of fizzing carbonated liquid. Without leaving the couch, Curtis now had a Pepsi.
“Where did you get that?” Will asked.
“From the secret compartment in my book bag,” was the answer. Curtis held open the main section of his bookbag as Will looked inside. He didn’t see a secret compartment; just normal books for a fifth grader and well-used folders.
“I don’t see it,” Will said.
“It’s there,” Curtis said. “I get almost anything I want. Well, anything that can fit into my bag. All I have to do is say it and I have it. Want anything?”
“Yeah, a turkey sandwich,” Will said, chuckling.
Curtis stared into the bag, said “turkey sandwich,” and immediately pulled out a small sandwich wrapped in plastic.
Will took the sandwich, removed the cellophane and lifted the top bun. “Mustard. I should have specified mayonnaise,” he said.
“Do you want one with mayonnaise?”
“No. I’m not hungry anymore.”
“Okay, let me know if you get hungry.” Curtis replaced the sandwich in the bookbag, then crumbled up the candy bar wrapper and shoved it in as well. In three more gulps, Curtis finished the Pepsi and put the can inside the bag.
Will laughed. “We have a garbage can, son.”
* * *
Lewis sat on the stone bench at the entrance to his father’s castle. He held a palm-sized, blue pouch with gold drawstrings in his hands. The pouch vibrated and Lewis reached in and removed a strange piece of material. The brown paper—he assumed it was some sort of paper—crinkled in his hands and had words he didn’t know the meanings of in various sizes of print.
A horse approached. Lewis’ older brother Edmond was already dismounting when he reached the bench.
“Are you playing around with that pouch again?” Edmond asked, irritated.
“Brother, it’s absolutely strange.” Lewis held up the plastic. “I got this a minute ago.”
Edmond grabbed the wrapper and angrily tossed it in the moat. “I should punch some sense into you. That is not a magic pouch.”
“Look! Look!” Once again, the pouch shook, more violently this time. Lewis reached in and removed some bread with meat in between.
Without hesitation, Edmond snatched the food and whipped it into the moat, landing near the wrapper. Edmond stormed away towards the main castle door. “I’m telling Father. The King would love to hear how insane you are.”
The pouch pulsated and Lewis instinctively inserted his hand and removed a cylindrical object. It was some sort of metal painted blue with white lettering. On one end of the object was a hole. Lewis sniffed the opening: sugary, tart.
He called after Edmond. “Edmond! What’s a Pepsi?”
- – - – -
Gregory M. Thompson is a former screenwriter returning to the speculative fiction world after having his last published pieces in 1999. Currently he has an award-nominated short story in the Steampunk Anthology, which was released in November 2010, and will have short fiction appearing in an April issue of Dark Gothic Resurrected. You can also find his work in Apehlion, Digizine, and Macabre Realms.