Sissy’s lipsticks kept disappearing, which could only mean that someone had been in her apartment. She called the police, but they kept asking her if she might have misplaced them, and there wasn’t anything they could do but file a report.
She set up a webcam to watch over her pink vanity table. It recorded throughout the day, and she could check on it from her accounting firm whenever she wanted.
She worked on a cost sheet when a croaking voice from her computer said, “Squabit.”
It startled her, and it took a second to realize she had the feed to the camera turned on. She brought it up on the display, and there on her vanity stood a foot tall creature that looked like a man made out of balloons like the ones clowns do at kids parties. It was yellow and had big eyes, tall and narrow like its head. It had Sissy’s Merlot lipstick and drew a line around its mouth, stripes on its cheeks, and polkadots on its belly. It squeaked and jumped off the table out of camera, taking the lipstick with him.
“What the hell was that?”
Annabelle, her coworker popped her head over the cubicle. “What was what?”
“Look at this.” She rewound the video as Annabelle came around. She hit play, and they watched the creature hop onto the surface, grunt its little “squabit,” and grab the lipstick.
“Oh, my word!” said Annabelle. “What is that thing?”
“I haven’t a clue.”
“What are you going to do about it?”
“I guess I’ll have to catch it.”
Sissy spent the afternoon on the phone with several pest control companies, but some of them didn’t believe her, others claimed no competency in ‘squabits,’ as she’d come to call it, and one said they’d come if she’d pay for a year of ‘pest insurance.’ When they refused to cover the neighborhood potheads, she hung up.
Left to catch the thing on her own, she bought an appropriately sized Havahart trap from Cabellas, big enough for a large raccoon, and set it up on the vanity, every lipstick she owned tucked in the back.
The next day, she changed to the feed as soon as she heard “squabit.” There the thing was, peaking into the trap. It climbed on top of it, and reached down the other side, it’s little hand able to get inside, but the wire mesh too tight to get the lipstick out.
“C’mon, little fella. Go inside.”
The squabit hopped down the back side, tucked its fingers underneath, and lifted. The cage tilted, and several of the tubes rolled to the front.
Sissy winced as it dropped the trap, made a little hop, then ran to the front, picking up her Kiss of Fire.
“Smart little bugger.”
It drew tiny circles across its forehead, made stars on its cheeks, and stripes all the way down its arms. It took a bite off the end of the stick, then hopped out of camera range.
The next day she took her lipstick with her to work, leaving her Peach Blossom, which she never used. She set up a snare the way her jarhead brother taught her, using shoe lace and a fishing rod. She hoped it was unobtrusive enough that the creature wouldn’t be leery of it.
The squabit looked at the one lipstick, seemed indecisive, but grabbed it, tripping the snare which closed the loop around its wrist.
It dropped the lipstick and rasped like a gremlin caught in daylight. “Squabit, squabit, squabit.” It pulled on the string and fell off the table out of camera, followed by banging and scratching.
Sissy dropped everything and ran home. When she arrived, her bedroom was trashed, the shoe lace had been chewed through, and the lipstick was gone. She cleaned up and returned to work.
“I don’t know what to do, Annabelle.”
Her colleague popped her head up. “Maybe the poor thing just wants to look good. Trying to impress a male squabit.” She giggled.
“It might be a male. I can’t tell.”
Instead of going to work the next day, Sissy hid inside the big storage bench at the foot of her bed.
Sissy burst out of the chest and grabbed the squabit around the middle. It thrashed and squawked, but she immobilized its arms. She held it for a while, but it wouldn’t quiet.
“Squabit,” she said. The thing stopped and looked at her, a twisted expression on its strange little face. “I have something for you.”
She reached into the chest and brought out a cheap starter kit of a hundred different colors of lipstick. The squabit’s eyes went wide, it’s mouth into a circle.
“You want that?”
The squabit wriggled. “Squabit, squabit, squabit.”
“You can have them if you leave mine alone.” She had no idea if it understood, but she thought she’d give it a chance. She let its arms loose and held the kit so it could grab hold of it.
The squabit made a happy wriggle, so she opened the front door, set it on the ground, and gave it a gentle swat on the rear to be on its way.
The next morning she picked up her Passion Fruit and applied it to her lips. In the mirror she let out a satisfied “Squabit.”