The Mayor of the Roses
The village of Stately Stone prided itself on being a most handsome village. The townsfolk worked hard to keep their town the picture of perfect, especially The Mayor who prided himself on being the most handsome man in the most handsome village making him, dare he say it... the most handsome man in the world.
How did Stately Stone get so handsome? The Mayor had a saying he was fond of repeating: "The only uglier thing than ugly is handsomeness seeing ugliness and doing nothing about it." It's not a well worded saying, but The Mayor wasn't known for wordiness, he was known for good lookingness; and in that he was very good. Truly there was nothing ugly in or about Stately Stone what so ever.
But surely there must be some ugliness lurking somewhere in some back alley. Some old crone horking up lung? Some town nut who pissed his pants and stumbled along leaking on the quaint cobblestone streets? Some sagging building? A paint chipped wall? A lopsided shrub? A misshapen mole? No. You can look, to the buildings and the people, and many do, but Stately Stone was perfect and The Mayor made sure of it.
Every Sunday was the town market. This took place around the large stone, which gave the town its name. The stone stuck up like a prideful obelisk dead center in the market square. Farmers, artisans, and craftspeople came from afar and set up their carefully manicured booths to sell their wares. Each booth had an adorable painted sign and every precaution was taken too look charming and organized. For Stately Stone was not kind to strangers and for the most part didn't let them in their walls. The exception was on town market days and then the visitors were put through the wringer. The Mayor's Men scrutinized every product at every booth. Any sign of unattractiveness and you would be sent packing to return to wherever you came not having sold a thing.
A famous story was that of the apple farmer that had come to sell his red apples. The Mayor had inspected every single round red orb and found that each one was perfect. But the apple farmer's daughter had some old boogers caked around her nose. The farmer and his family were beaten with clubs and then banned from Stately Stone. That apple farmer, losing an entire market to sell his apples to, went destitute. He came back to Statley Stone to beg The Mayor to be let back in. The Mayor just yelled over the wall, "Dear sir, please let your ugly feet take your ugly mug far away from here. You're casting your hideousness everywhere." He quickly opened the gate to take the perfect apples, which he did not pay for. "What would someone with a repulsive snot encrusted daughter need money for anyhow?"
The apple farmer threw himself off a mountain the next day. All the other vendors made sure to keep their noses clean from then on.
One fine Sunday The Mayor left his glorious green garden and decided to stroll through the meticulous market. He felt the sky was the perfect blue hue and the air seemed scented with crisp pears. He walked through the booths and to his surprise everything was looking quite fine indeed. Booth after booth and stall after stall; everything was organized with sweet symmetry. The fruit organized in fine pyramids, the vegetables aligned by colour in accordance with the rainbow; Tomatoes beside carrots beside yellow peppers beside artichokes beside purple onion beside eggplant. Stately Stone had never been more gorgeous. Everything was as it should be. Bewitched with charm.
Like a splash of cold fetid water the Mayor was yanked from his charmed stroll. He stopped in his tracks and saw a sight that forced vomit past his mouth and into his nose.
"What in the world is that!?" he screamed. "That is the ugliest thing I have ever seen." And it was the ugliest thing he had ever seen. There, in between two fine booths, one selling beeswax candles and the other salad bowls carved from tree knots was a stall that could only be described as a wheel barrel full of animal shit. It reeked of soft feces because there was mounds of it cascading from a wheelbarrow. Standing knee high in the manure was a poo covered man with brown teeth, two lazy eyes, a massive nose with what appeared to be another nose growing on top of it, but on closer inspection was just a wart sprouting three coarse black hairs.
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WATTY 2016 WINNER of the HQ Love Award! Strange Yarns is a ball of tangled tales. Twisted, knotted, and intertwined. Like Tales of the Crypt, the Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits. Strange Yarns is not just a collection of ghastly tales, these are...