May 23

A Day I Will Not Forget

 

The day I met Baphomet… I’ll never forget it. I was wearing a backward t-shirt that said I LOVE PIZZA in neon pink letters, and my Max Headroom sneakers with the Velcro. I was also wearing my Parker Lewis Can’t Lose jams and my Moe Howard wig. I had my Swatch on my left wrist and my A-Watch on my right wrist, and right above that, a slap bracelet that said T&C SURF SHOP on it. It was neon orange. I had on my best friend Stevie’s glasses. And I was wearing a baseball cap that said WEIRD AL RULES turned sideways. I had my cravat all untucked and loose. And my knee socks had little pictures of turkeys and cornucopias all over them. I was carrying a Snorks change purse and a My Pet Monster Pet.

I’ll never forget that day.

May 23

Yellow World

 

The yellowed manuscript crumpled in Lizardly’s fingers. “Oh, shit. I wasn’t supposed to touch it, was I?”

Redstaff stared down at the lizardman shaman’s rainbow striped face. “A question.”

Lizardly gave his best puppy dog face. Or baby lizard face, whichever was cuter. “Yes?”

“How many times did I tell you not to touch the Scroll of Nine Lives?”

Lizardly shrugged. “Three?”

“Yes. And how much time did it take to explain how important this was to you?”

Lizardly paused and put his claw to his mouth. “Three?”

“Three what?” Redstaff leaned in, rapping the crystal of his staff on the lizardman’s snout.

“Three hours?”

Redstaff smirked. “Yes, three hours. Each time. Remember? We were in my tower. I clearly explained to you that if you touch it, it will not only dissolve, but it will turn the entire vicinity–”

“Yellow?” Lizardly said as his lips began to turn yellow.

“Yes.” Redstaff’s eyes went to his palms as the yellow began to spread. “Oh hell. It’s starting already.”

“How do we escape the yellow?” Lizardly asked.

“We don’t. We just let it consume us.”

“Will we die?”

“No, but everything in a ten mile radius will be yellow. No more blue sky, no more green grass, no more yellow su–wait, no that will still be yellow. I guess. Not sure what happens to things that are already yellow.”

“Like your teeth?” Lizardly pointed.

“My teeth aren’t yellow. Well, they are now, but they weren’t just a couple of seconds ago.”

“Yes they were. You smoke quite a bit. And you drink coffee. And you chew on sticks of butter sometimes.”

Redstaff, flustered, waved it off. “Do not.”

“Anyway, I guess we should be getting back to White Scar now.”

“Well, it’ll be Yellow Scar now.”

Lizardly snorted. “Oh, I get it.”

“No, you don’t.” Yellowstaff sighed.

*

As the yellow all spread throughout the land, the Golden Horror Rizakeil’s razor sharp teeth gleamed beyond the tall, yellow grass. “Now I can finally kill without being noticed. The time has come for me to–”

“Look Mommy, the Golden Horror Rizakeil,” a small boy said as he passed.

“You can see me still?” Rizakeil’s scaled head bobbed to and fro.

The yellow-haired boy nodded. “Yes, and you’re as shiny as ever.”

Rizakeil frowned, his snaking body darting out of the grass. “Damnit! It’s not fair!”

*

The bard Lummy wrote a poem about the spreading yellow:

Yellow,
Yellow yellow,
Yellow yellow yellow in the yellow,
Yellow-green

It won several awards.

*

And when night fell, there was no darkness, only yellow.

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May 22

The Pouch

 

A zoologist married a kangaroo, and at first kept her in a compound at the back of his house. After three years he had sufficiently tamed and groomed her that she was docile enough to bring her into the house. After another year they had conjugal relations and were very happy. So alert and imaginative became their erotic relationship that the zoologist was often late for work, soon ceased to go to work at all, and finally gave his notice. The couple spent nearly all their time in bed. To earn a living, the man made pen and wash drawings of an imaginary billabong. The drawings he couldn’t sell he hung up on the bedroom wall.

After fourteen years of perfectly matched emotional comfort, the wife died. The man was distracted with grief. With his hands inside a fur muff, he squatted all day in front of a map of Western Australia. Three weeks after the burial of his wife, he fatally collapsed outside a zoo owned by an Aborigine.

May 22

Card Games in the Mirror

 

A husband played card-games that dealt exclusively with the picture cards, King, Queen or Knave. But he played in secret in case his habit ever became addictive to his impressionable wife. However, she had repeatedly watched his activities via a system of mirrors that joined reflection to reflection from the kitchen to the living-room via the bathroom and the hall and the lounge. Each mirror duplicated the previous reflection in reverse.

When she came to experiment with the playing cards herself, she was initially very confused by what was real and what was a reflection, but she gradually became adept at a left-handed game her husband might have known as Devil’s Champion but she christened God’s Angels. She never lost. She taught her daughter to play the game, and then she taught her sister. She subsequently created a version to be played with a partner, and then with a pair of partners as a foursome. She introduced the game to her neighbours. She won a great deal of money.

Realising that her good fortune came by way of the reflected image, she invested much of her newly earned winnings in more of the reflecting surfaces, hoping to discover more to her advantage. She bought and hung many more mirrors in the matrimonial home, reflecting the bedrooms to the boxroom to the servant’s room to the living-room to the hall. But, this time, through their reflections, she discovered another of her husband’s addictive secrets, his adultery with their dyslexic servant Georgina. However, the repeated chain of reverse images reflecting reverse images continued to confuse her. She could not fathom who in fact was seducing who, and which way round, and in what order.

She decided in the end that she preferred not to take offense. She was very wealthy thanks to her husband, and could herself take any lover she had a mind to, king, queen or knave.

May 22

Two Partially-sighted Women

 

Two partially-sighted women agreed to live together to see if their combined sight could find them a man. In the event they found four men, one for each eye. They discovered a handyman to fix shelves, cut firewood, paint the coalhouse door, dead-head the roses and patch the garage roof. They found an accountant to fix their money problems and work on their taxes and insurances. They found a priest to look after their gently-troubled souls and their scarcely impaired mental health, and they discovered a lover to take care of their maternal intensity, their sexual education and their sensual desires. After four years the two women had between them a snug house, a solid bank balance, peace of mind and two children, and felt confident enough to throw away their spectacles.

May 22

Sparrow Week

 

To curb vast flocks of sparrows from yearly eating one third of a country’s food production, a nation organised Sparrow Week. Both day and night, for seven days, the country’s vast population rang bells, banged saucepan lids and shouted. The sparrows, too frightened to settle, eventually fell dead out of the sky. Flight exhaustion from the same cause also killed gulls on the coast, herons in the marsh, eagles in the mountains and pigeons on the town square. At the end of the seventh day Sparrow Week ended. The following year two thirds of the country’s food supply was eaten by insects, and the money standard changed from gold to eggs.

May 22

The Naturalist

 

A naturalist of very fixed habits followed the sun around his house. Soon after dawn he sat at breakfast with his family on the porch that faced due east. At eleven o’ clock he joined his family for a cup of coffee on the veranda that faced the sun towards the south east. At lunchtime he ate on the terrace with his family overlooking the garden that lay due south. At about seven o’ clock the naturalist dined with his family in the conservatory that faced the sunset, and has soon as it was dark the naturalist went to bed.

When the world began to spin anti-clockwise, the naturalist couldn’t change his habits and he spent the day alone living in the shadow of his house, and never met, sat or ate with his family again.

May 22

Battery Eyes

 

A man believed that the human eye was like some sort of battery that the sun alone could recharge. Avoiding the dangerous glare of the day, he took to watching summer sunsets in the hope that his sight would thus be much improved for the winter. He persuaded his friends to watch with him, and soon, in various parts of the country, groups of people sat out of doors in the evening, looking westwards.

Before very long, rival societies sprang up to watch the dawn. Sun-watching to recharge sight became endemic.

Controversy arose: the rift between those who looked east in the morning and those who looked west in the evening led to argument and abuse, and ultimately to blows. Cynical observers began to look west in the morning and east in the evening, and a group of of satirical opticians began to look north and south in the middle of the night.

May 22

Binocular Woman

 

A woman who lived in the country watched and waited for the approach of the city. She was convinced it would come directly from the north, and only in the afternoon. So she scanned the northern horizon through binoculars until tea-time. Her expectations and her anxieties, however fearful, always ceased abruptly and absolutely at four o’clock.

The speculators grew wise and parked their lorries to the east of her property and they unloaded their bricks on the western and southern sides of her garden whilst she was pouring tea.

When the city was built in the woods and fields around the woman’s house, the town-planners had left the woman an open corridor to the north. But at four o’clock every afternoon they confidently filled that corridor in with temporary buildings and disposable traffic.

May 22

An Ecological Park

 

For ecological reasons, a piece of country measuring some hundred square miles was put into experimental isolation for a hundred years. An area of land some ten miles wide was allocated around the perimeter of the park to act as a barrier to separate it conclusively from the outside world. Into this perimeter strip no ingenuity was spared to keep out invaders, especially Man, whether he came as a visitor or a trespasser.

Electric fences were built to keep out every animal that ran, crawled or jumped, and underground screens were fitted to keep out all animals that mined or burrowed. A system of finely woven nets supported by balloons kept out birds and high-flying insects. Oils moats, fire-barriers, vacuum-pumps and continuous spraying kept out bacteria, viruses and wind-blown seeds. All waterways running into and out of the Park were filtered, strained and purified, and all aircraft were prevented from flying over or near the Park’s boundary by a strict prohibition that extended twenty-five miles in every direction. This prohibition was unhesitatingly enforced by a rigorous and automatic control system that would have shot any dirigible out of the sky. Toxic substances, gases and wind-blown atmospheres were prevented from entering the Park’s confines by gastraps, fire-walls and steamshields. The Park only shared with the outside world the same weather and possibly a few high-flying spores.

One year after the Ecological Park Project had begun, using infinite patience, ingenuity, planning perseverance, intelligence, courage and luck, a man and his wife crossed the formidable barriers of the Park’s boundary. Near the centre of the hundred square miles they, and eventually their family, built a settlement and colonised an area that covered approximately a square mile. Around this square mile they constructed a ten-mile wide protective barrier to keep everything out, including Man, whether he came as a visitor or a trespasser. Electric fences kept out all animals that walked on the earth or burrowed under it, and finely-woven nets kept out birds and high-flying insects. Oilmoats, fire-barriers, vacuum-pumps and continuous spraying kept out bacteria, viruses and wind-blown seeds. All waterways running into an out of the settlement were filtered, strained and purified. Toxic substances, gases and wind-blown artificial atmospheres were prevented from entering the settlement by gastraps, firewalls and steamshields. The settlement shared with the outside Park the same weather and possibly a few high-flying spores.