WELCOME TO TALPIANNA’S TOTAL TOE JOINT! read the sign above the door of the shop. It was impossible to see in: the windows were covered with ruffled taupe curtains. Gingerly, Evil Editor opened the door. Instead of the usual tinkling bell, a deep GONG! sounded from the depths of the salon.
A lovely young woman met him. “Hello! I’m Talpianna—and you’re our first customer! As a welcoming gift, you’ll receive the nail polish of your choice absolutely free. Do have a seat.” She gestured at a plush recliner that looked like a cross between a BarcaLounger and Sweeney Todd’s barber chair.
EE hesitated. “I’ve never done this before.”
Talpianna smiled. “We’ll be gentle with you. I’ve invented an entirely new method that I’m certain you’ll enjoy. It’s utterly luxurious. Do sit down.” She more or less shoved him into the chair. Cuffs whipped out automatically, immobilizing his feet, his legs, his arms, his entire body.
“Whaaaa-? Why am I tied down?”
“Not to worry,” she chirped. “We wouldn’t want any sudden moves now—they could lead to nasty accidents!” She drew back the taupe curtain at the back of the room, and ten moles came trotting in.
Evil Editor screamed.
“Now, now, mustn’t be a fraidy-cat. They know exactly what they are doing. I promise it won’t hurt.
“Now, Robin and Dave, the big toes; Troll and Wes, the pinkies….”
As Dave the mole’s teeth met in his left big toenail, Evil Editor fainted dead away.
Dave the mole raised his snout and grinned. “Tasty!”