Leo the Mer-Guy! Chapter Four: Unmitigated Disaster

The Spice Girls looked up at Leo, their expressions unreadable beneath their butterfly hair clips and sparkly outfits.


“Hi?” Posh Spice said.


Leo shifted from foot to foot, feeling like bees had buzzed up into his costume. “I just moved in. Down the street,” he offered.


Sporty Spice perked up. “Oh! Where?”


Leo jerked a thumb behind him. His house sat on the spot where the coul-de-sac turned into a proper street. The yard was empty, but he knew his dad would work his green thumb soon.


All five of them glanced at the house. Something passed between them. Someone snickered.


At Leo’s confused look, Baby Spice took pity. “You live in the Parker house.”


“What’s the Parker house?”


“It’s where Genevieve Parker lived,” Ginger Spice gushed. “Now that was a crusty old bitch.”


They all laughed at Ginger Spice’s insult.


Leo didn’t know what to say. “Um. Cool.”


Silence again. Leo was drowning in it. Coming up for air, he spoke again. “Uh, my mom wanted me to introduce myself and hand out candy with you guys.”


None of them looked very enthusiastic about it, or at least, Leo thought so. “What’s your name?” Posh Spice asked.


Leo swallowed. Well. There that question was. “Leo,” he said.


“Oh. Cool,” Posh Spice said. “I’m Andy.”


“Bella.” Sporty Spice.


“Erin.” Ginger Spice.


“Opal.” Scary Spice. Her expression was particularly haughty.


“Sun Woo, but people just call me Sunny,” Baby Spice offered.


“Nice to meet you,” Leo said.


“Well, Leo, we don’t really have a sixth chair,” Posh Andy said. “So, like, sorry.”


“Yeah…” Ginger Erin said, trailing off into another awful silence. “Want some candy?”


“Sure.” Leo shuffled forward, then realized he didn’t have a pillowcase or plastic pumpkin to put it in. Lowering his eyes, he reached into the closest bowl and grabbed a handful of Reese’s Cups. He reached under his dress, putting them in his jeans pockets. They bulged ridiculously, crinkling as he moved around.


Leo was at a crossroads. The Spice Girls were all still staring at him. Should he stay? Should he go? What would his parents say if he came home just a few minutes later with his tail between his legs?


“So, I, uh–“


“Trick or treat!!”


A trio of particularly adorable elementary school-aged kids had approached the table while Leo was having his internal crisis. They were dressed up as the three blind mice.


“Oh my gosh!!” Ginger Erin exclaimed. “Aren’t you the cutest?”


All attention moved to the cute kids, and their pillowcases, which were immediately loaded with piles and piles of candy, much to their delight.


While the Spice Girls cooed and giggled at the Blind Mice, Leo shuffled away, slinking over to the next street corner and out of sight.


Theo Poling is a Creative Writing and Arts double major at the University of Michigan. In their free time, Theo enjoys fostering cats, baking, and going on hikes. Theo is transgender, nonbinary, and bisexual, and is passionate about representing LGBTQ people in positive ways in genre fiction. Theo's series, We Exist! is a weekly serial that publishes short story chapters about empowered queer protagonists in science fiction and fantasy settings, where queer people have previously been excluded. Check out the newest installment of We Exist! every Thursday.

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!