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Friday Short Story Time: "The Exploding Teapot Battles Suburbia"

After a break whilst I did NaNoWriMo (more about that here), I thought I’d do another (very) short story for a Friday. I was posting these quite regularly for a while, you can read the previous efforts here, and maybe I’ll finally be able to get into some rhythm again now.

And yes, today’s story is a bit angry. Sorry. I’m calm, honest. It was loosely inspired by this prompt I found on the internet.

The Exploding Teapot Battles Suburbia

By Nick Bryan

One day, in a square house, Mrs Bailey took her teapot from the kitchen cupboard and clattered it down onto a surface, jarring it painfully in the process. Before it had time to recover, she had plucked again, ripping the lid from its top hole, and filled it with boiling water.

The strange sensation of being irrigated was one it had gotten used to, but there was still that unpleasant sloshing sensation, especially when it was tugged back from the sink and left on the side again.

Remember the talking, dancing teapot for Beauty And The Beast? Well, imagine that, only worse. In reality, sentient crockery would not gain the ability to sing in harmony, or grow a curiously human-looking face, would it?

Obviously, if a teapot were to one day spring to life, it would only be able to do one thing, and that was spontaneous self-destruction. And whether you buy the logic or not, that was the only thing this teapot was capable of doing.

All the intelligence of a human, all the self-determination of a low-ranking Mario enemy. It could shatter itself into shards, or it could sit there indefinitely, working up an increasingly steamy head of frustration through boredom. Like any sentient being that finds itself literally unable to do anything, it eventually turned to thoughts of suicide.

Unfortunately, the teapot didn’t merely grow depressed as its enslavement progressed, it also grew bitter. And it was often filled with boiling water, so if it timed the sudden explosion perfectly, it could burn someone’s arm, perhaps even drive a shard of itself deep into their eye.

Its excitement was almost unbearable. After weeks of observing and re-observing the morning routine of the Baileys, it had spotted the perfect opening to detonate and cause maximum devastation. These people would rue the day they left the teapot on the coffee table during that film about suicide bombers. Had they not learnt anything from raising two (doomed) children?

Finally, it was lifted from its position on the sideboard. The water swished around again, steam vented through the spout and it was carried into the dining room, where a bunch of them sat around. The two kids, picking at their cereal, and the two adults, ready for tea.

It could probably take at least half of them out, it thought. Explode as she reached the table, then both adults would get a face full. That’d be fun. The kids might even rush to the other side of the room, in time to stick their foolishly bare feet into a hot puddle.

But the time wasn’t right. It hadn’t spent months biding its time to play its only card too early. So it waited patiently in the middle of the tabletop as it was allowed to cool. It wasn’t sensitive to temperature, but after all this time, it had ascertained how long they would wait before drinking it. And as ever, the teapot was right.

The water spouted forth into the cups, and the teapot was a few ounces lighter. Christ, it thought, this was bloody boring. He’s still talking about his job. It was a wonder his wife hadn’t smashed the teapot over his head years ago. In fact, said teapot had spent a fortnight at the start of its time here waiting for that very event, before concluding that the bitch either hadn’t the guts or was too stupid to realise how dull it all was.

So the teapot would have to do the job itself.

Eventually, they drank their tea, and the pot readied itself for another dignity-free yank back towards the kitchen. They would make another cup of tea, it knew, and sip it whilst the kids put on their ties and did up their shoes.

However, his transport had barely made it halfway from chair to doorway when her son leapt up early. The teapot’s heart would have leapt. This was not on schedule; the brat had to stay there for another couple of minutes.

Fortunately, his mother agreed, and ordered him to be good and finish his cereal. Whatever stupid thing he had to show her, it could wait. So he dug his spoon back into the brown mush and sat back down sulkily, whereas the teapot was allowed to swan out of the room. It did feel smug about that.

And in the kitchen, it was put down and re-filled. This was the crucial moment, the teapot told itself. This was do-and-die.

With a scuttle of little feet, the kids finally rushed through to hand back their cereal bowls and claim their lunches, whilst their mother would wave them through, before taking the next pot of tea back into the dining room. It was as nauseatingly regular. So she lifted the teapot, as the kids dashed underfoot.

Now, the teapot had been watching the kettle for a while. It was hard to tell whether the electrical appliance suffered the same desperate, pouring hopelessness, but it certainly hoped so. Because it had already decided they were going together.

With a crash, the teapot exploded mere inches above the kitchen surface, sending a splash of boiling water downwards and sideways. It detected some very satisfactory screams as the kids were scalded and spattered with shards of itself, but that wasn’t its primary focus. It was far more interested in the liquid dripping over the kettle and accompanying plug socket.

Finally, it sparked, igniting a kitchen roll and setting the kitchen aflame as the occupants continued to roll around and scream. On that pleasing note, the teapot finally died.

As ever, please don’t steal, if you should want to use it for anything, I imagine I’ll let you. Just email me and ask or something.


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