The Misfits

 

On 1001X Open Lane, just off Broad Street in a village called Roomy, lived a  rather peculiar woman. This woman was wider than she was tall, she lived in a house that was longer than it was deep, on a lane that was more spread out than it was long, with a tree that was thicker than it was high. Her name was Miss Wide.

 

Miss Wide had a special TV, a special bed, a special toilet, special doors, special plates, and special tables and chairs. She enjoyed fixing things and collecting things that didn’t quite fit anywhere. She tried to sit on a bus, a train, a taxi and an aeroplane, but she didn’t quite fit inside them. To make things easier for herself, Miss Wide decided to walk everywhere, and to make things even easier, she always walked along the street sideways.

 

One day she was working in the clothes factory sewing buttons on to dresses for people who were not wide. She had fastened 99 buttons that day. If she fastened one more, she would meet her target and get an award. But then, she dropped the hundredth button and it rolled away. She chased after it. She followed it all the way to the street, where she bumped her head against something long and flexible. A tall, narrow shadow stood over her. When she looked up, she couldn’t believe her eyes.

 

‘Who on earth are you? You look so strange!’ she blurted out.

‘I could say the same thing about you,’ said the man. ‘You’re wider than you are tall!’

‘Well, you’re taller than you are wide!’ she snapped back.

‘You should watch where you’re going!’ he said.

‘I always do!’ she shouted.

‘So do I!’

‘Me too!’

‘I have to, or I might bump into something!’

‘I have to, or I might break something!’

Miss Wide spotted the button and returned to the factory.

 

A few days later, Miss Wide was walking her dog sideways when she noticed that very same tall figure appear from inside a very strange house. She hid behind a bush to spy on him.

‘It’s that same strange man!’ she hissed. ‘The one who’s taller than he is wide.’

At the very same time, the man stepped out of his house and wondered, ‘Perhaps that woman who’s wider than she is tall will bump into me again? There’s something interesting about her. Is it her walk? Is it her shape? It would be nice to make a new friend.’

‘It would be,’ thought Mrs Wide. The man turned around when he heard a noise, and Mrs Wide scurried away and jumped into the local river.

 

The next morning, Miss Wide walked outside to water her plants. She thought she heard a nervous, hurried scurrying sound coming from the trees. She turned to see a very tall head staring at her from the upper most branches. It was that tall man! He ran way with his head in the clouds.

 

Later, Miss Wide went to spy on that tall man. She crept behind a dark building when she saw him. At the same time, the tall man caught a glimpse of Miss Wide. He also crept behind a dark building when he saw her. They kept against the wall, retreating and retreating, until…BUMP! They turned to face each other.

 

‘You shouldn’t be spying on me!’ said Miss Wide.

‘How did you know I was spying on you? You have been spying on me!’ said the tall man.

‘You’re taller than a tower!’ she said.

‘You’re wider than a bus!’ he said.

‘You’re sneaky.’

‘You’re nosy.’

‘You look odd. You shouldn’t be that tall.’

‘Me, odd? You’re the weird looking one. You shouldn’t be that wide. I’m normal.’

‘I’m normal too.’

‘Really?’

‘Really.’

‘I live in a tall house with no roof.’

‘I live in a wide house with no garden.’

‘I have a cat called Stretch.’

‘I have a dog called Droppit.’

‘I have a narrow mirror.’

‘I have a wide mirror.’

‘I have a narrow toilet.’

‘I have a wide toilet.’

‘My TV is as tall as the third floor.’

‘My TV is as wide as my living room.’

‘I can’t stand up very well.’

‘I can’t sit down properly.’

‘Everyone makes fun of me for breaking things.’

‘Everyone makes fun of me for banging my head.’

‘I can’t seem to do anything right.’

‘I seem to get everything wrong.’

 

There was a silence between them, and for the first time they looked at each other as if they were exactly the same.

 

‘Well, it was good to meet you,’ said the tall man. ‘What did you say your name was?’

‘I didn’t tell you my name.’

‘Nor did I.’

‘Miss Wide.’

‘Mr Long.’

‘Goodbye, Miss Wide. It was good to bump into you again.’

‘Goodbye, Mr Long. We should bump into each other again some time.’

 

One day, Miss Wide and Mr Long were both walking their pets  - Stretchy the cat and Droppit the dog - along a country road close to some hills and a river. When Droppit saw Stretchy, she tore the lead out of Miss Wide’s grip and chased him. Then Stretchy tore the lead out of Mr Long’s grip. Stretchy jumped into the river and Droppit raced in, flailing and lashing out with his paws to try and catch the cat. Droppit didn’t stop  swimming until Stretchy safely climbed a tree on the far side of the river.

 

‘Oh, look what your silly dog has done to my cat!’ hissed Mr Long. ‘This is your fault.’

‘My fault?’ said Miss Wide. ‘Who walks a cat? Cats belong at home!’

‘Who can’t control their dog? Dogs belong on a lead!’

‘Well, now we’re both in trouble! There’s no way across that river and we can’t get to our pets!’

 

Miss Wide and Mr Long stood quietly for a while, sulking at each other. Then Mrs Wide had an idea. She slowly walked to the river and judged its width. She scratched her wide face for an answer. Then she stood sideways and stretched herself across the river, holding on to both sides of the bank. The river must have been more than thirty metres wide.

 

‘What on earth are you doing?’ said Mr Long with a lot of worry and confusion. ‘You might split your dress! Your arms and legs might snap off!’

 

‘It’s an idea!’ shouted Miss Wide. ‘Now, I want you to jump on to my jelly belly. It’s like a trampoline. But don’t jump on me until I tell you I’m ready. I promise that you’ll land safely on the far side of the river.’

 

‘Jelly belly?’ shouted Mr Long. ‘You are the craziest, most insane woman I have ever met. I would never do such a thing! I am extremely tall and skinny man. One gust of wind and I’ll spin away like a tornado!’

 

Mr Long heard Stretchy meowing in the tree. He knew he couldn’t leave his adorable cat stranded there. He took a deep breath and nodded to Miss Wide.

 

‘All right, I’ll take a risk and jump on your jelly belly,’ he said.

‘Then wait for me,’ said Miss Wide. ‘On three, ready? One, two…’

 

But before she could finish, Mr Long had already started running. Either he was terrible at counting, or he was filled with courage and too impatient to wait for Miss Wide. As he sprinted, he slipped on a rock and his whole body flipped. Now he was upside down, heading face first towards Miss Wide’s gigantic wide mountainous belly.

 

‘I’m not ready!’ screamed Miss Wide. But it was too late. Mr Long’s head smashed into Miss Wide’s tummy like a pancake hitting a bouncy castle. He bounced high into the sky and flipped like a spinning chopstick.

 

‘Aiyayayaay!’ he cried. ‘Warhawhawhaw!’ he moaned. ‘Nawnawnawnaw!’

 

He landed face first in the tree, caught Stretchy, and fell to the ground like a  chopstick  bouncing off a wall. Mr Long smiled at his cat, and Miss Wide’s dog Droppit licked his face, pushing his chin on to his forehead. Just then, a shrieking cry came from the river. It was Miss Wide. Mr Long looked and saw that she was floating downstream.

 

‘Help me, Mr Long!’ she cried.

 

‘Don’t worry! I’m coming to get you!’ yelled Mr Long, whose elastic band legs ran as fast as they could. He launched his two arms into the air and aimed for the river. Miss Wide was getting closer and closer to a waterfall. Mr Long had to make contact with her and hit the target. But he felt like he was going to miss.

‘Help me!’ she cried once more. That was when the stretched out, catapult-like arms caught Miss Wide around her wide waist like an elastic band wrapped around a rock. Mr Long pulled with all of his might. He pulled so hard that smoke came from his arms and ears. He pulled until his arms felt like they were about to let go. He pulled until he felt like he was going to snap and fire himself into space.

 

Miss Wide came roaring through the air like a giant bowling ball. She hit ten trees and knocked them all down before coming to a rest at Mr Long’s feet by the river bank.

 

‘You saved my cat, so I saved you,’ said Mr Long.

‘You saved my life,’ said Miss Wide.

‘Yes, that was much better than what you did.’

‘Wait, without me, you wouldn’t have made it across the river!’

They stopped arguing and looked at each other with admiration. Then a smile spread across their lips. They blinked. Then Mr Long got a fly in his eye and he blinked faster, and then Miss Wide grumbled at him.

 

‘We’re not so different, you and I,’ she finally told him. ‘When we work together.’

 

When we work together, thought Mr Long. Now there’s an idea. I wish I knew what it was.

 

They argued all the way back to the town. But from that day forward, they didn’t argue as much. In fact, they found a lot of similarities with each other - things they could both agree on, for example, and one thing they both agreed on was that because they were both awkward and strange, they should live near to each other. That way, they wouldn’t feel so lonely, and if they did, they could be lonely together.

 

So Mr Long picked up his house and put it in a field outside of the town. He picked up Miss Wide’s house too, and put them side by side. Miss Wide built a roof for Mr Long’s house, so his head wouldn’t keep getting wet from the rain. Mr Long built a garden for Miss Wide, because she was wide enough to dig the whole thing and plant seeds in ten minutes. Miss Wide enjoyed her gardening, and Mr Long enjoyed writing with his head in the clouds. Miss Wide never had to sew another button on to another dress ever again, unless she was the one who designed and made the dresses, of course. She left the factory and did what she loved every day, planting a million seeds at once. And Mr Long never had to write boring adverts for his company that tried to sell cat paintings to dog owners. Now he wrote cat poems that cat lovers could hang on their walls in their cute feline-littered, furry homes.

 

You may think of this story ending as most stories do - happily ever after - but for Miss Wide and Mr Long, happiness was just the beginning of the real story, because when the baby came along, everything changed.

 

‘It’s your fault the baby is too tall!’ moaned Miss Wide.

‘Well, it’s your fault that the baby is so wide!’ moaned Mr Long.

 

Nobody could have guessed that just a few months after it was born, their happy, giggling, tall, wide baby would grow to be the size of a village.

 

The biggest problem on Miss Wide’s mind was this:

 

Where are we going to put all of that poop?

 

The biggest problem on Mr Long’s mind was this:

 

I need 15 hot air balloons, 257 tents and one billion melted sticky marshmallows to make the world’s biggest nappy that won’t fall off.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Submitted: June 11, 2022

© Copyright 2022 Richard C. Parr. All rights reserved.

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