January 19

The Discomfort of Planetary Bodies

 

A breathless heat covered the land, painfully creaking rooftops like the cracking of brittle bones. The harsh atmosphere had relentlessly attacked the town for three days, with no indication of moving on to pillage another unfortunate part of the world. It hurt being outside, but there were never a shortage of misguided souls who felt compelled to hit the streets for no reason. The inability to remain content inside one’s home was always a harbinger of evil.

The thick, dusty haze was hypnotic as fire. It made normally pleasant smelling people stink like pigs after a vigorous mud bath. This summer had been brutal on life, punishing it at regular intervals. Nature hid from its power; no signs of life were visible except for scant, bored stiff large bodies deciding there wasn’t enough beer or milk or soda inside their claustrophobic home. So they escaped their fidgety mental madness and moved their large bodies, no matter what the consequences.

Despite this rather overblown description of the bleak landscape, a serene presence existed within the humid, hostile air. You could touch it if you slowed long enough to take a look. But no one ever did.

Inside one home 14 month-old Erin awoke from a pleasant sleep that had succumbed to a deep heat to her bones. She’d been dreaming she was in a big forest, wandering peacefully in the midst of tall green trees and thick soft grass littered with lilac and lavender. She could hear music in the distance, and though unable to recognize what she heard, it melted beautifully with her travels. But the heat had fried her peace. Two beautiful blue eyes popped open and and one ugly scream ensued. Erin’s brief experience on earth learning how to negotiate with large people told her that if it were continuous she’d soon be out of her crib in the arms of a comforting large body.

Cameron, three months from his first birthday, usually slept like a rock. Significant fluctuations of temperature had zero effect during his rejuvenation time. His particular nemesis disrupting slumber was one of his greatest pleasures- food. His cries upon awakening were for immediate nourishment, to energize his internal engine. His nimble little body had already developed the understanding that he needed an over-abundant amount of fuel to play with his older brother and father as long and as fiercely as they wanted. But he usually ate too much, turning his digestive system into a ticking time-bomb. Soon after most feedings this bomb exploded, chunks of liquid shrapnel flying in all directions with no concern for anyone or anything in its path.

Erin was placed on the sofa, still incoherent and groggy from her nap. The dream was long forgotten. She sat, seemingly undecided what to do or how to act. Isolation suited her for now. She could see the large bodies moving about, smiling at her, beckoning her to do or say something. As long as they kept their distance, their revolving nature throughout the house wasn’t detrimental to the serenity she now coveted.

A large body got the idea to place Cameron right next to Erin and record the event with a camera. Cameron had just finished lunch, and his inevitable eruption. Several bodies once again got hit with liquid shrapnel, not really understanding what it all meant.  On the television the local news had just interrupted regularly scheduled programming to inform everyone something terrible had happened in Hiroshima. Considering the few available details many people were in terrible shape. The large bodies shrugged, not really understanding what it all meant.

The new toaster catapulted bread into the open. The new coffee maker finished dripping coffee. A Slinky descended the stairway on its own volition. A large body removed an aerosol can from a cabinet underneath the sink with a smile and sprayed the kitchen with a scent of a cinnamon to rid the odor of burnt toast. A piece of Silly Putty on the coffee table showed an image of a Tupperware ad taken from Life magazine.

Erin couldn’t tolerate Cameron’s presence for long. This small body next to her was far too close, extinguishing her freedom of movement since she had no idea how to escape from the couch. She was trapped; the ensuing cry was heard loud and clear. This wretched noise bothered Cameron, so he cried. Large bodies laughed and took pictures. Cameron and Erin coughed and cried and glanced at each other in disbelief; why would someone be so foolish as to forcibly put their bodies so close together? This was twice as hilarious to the large bodies than Erin simply crying alone. Now all of the large bodies took pictures. Soon everyone stopped laughing. Erin and Cameron were finally removed from the couch, free to orbit freely around other bodies, as was their nature. A large body turned off the television.

January 18

Johnny Was a Half-Assed Steampunk

 

Johnny was a half-assed steampunk. You could see it in the plastic goggles that he had wrapped around a completely out-of-period fedora. He hadn’t even bothered to spray paint them bronze. Hell, he didn’t even cover the Minions logo with duct tape.

He had a pocket watch on a chain, sure. But it was tucked into the pocket of an L.L. Bean polar fleece vest.

You could hear it in his name. While he was mundanely known as Johnny, at steampunk events he went by the nomme-de-guerre “Johnathan.” He was totally half-assing it.

The only area in which he was doing anything more than paying perfunctory lip service to the world of steampunk was his toaster. He didn’t take his toaster to cons or events. He didn’t talk about it, or post pictures of it online, but that thing was seriously steampunk. It took up half his kitchen.

The boiler would take about twenty minutes to come to temperature and the toaster would be set in motion by the pulling of a large lever. Gears bigger than dinner plates would crank to cacophonous life as a loaf of bread would be sliced, little brass tongs would grab the pieces and hold them between elements that would glow like Edison’s earliest incandescent bulbs.

When Johnny could see that the toast was done to his liking, he would throw a couple of more levers and the bread would be set on a plate, and a conveyor belt would bring it to the tiny breakfast nook where he took his morning meal.

After breakfast, he would jump on his motorcycle and head to work. The motorcycle had the word “Velocipede” written on the tank in crudely painted letters; because, in spite of his impressive toaster, Johnny was a half-assed steampunk.

January 14

Top Stories & Breaking News

 

18/12/2015
Someone turns on the television.
“Our top story tonight: Thousands gathered for the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens which is set to blitz past any other film premiering around the upcoming festive season.”

01/01/2016
“Top story today: the celebration of the end of 2015 across the globe.”

06/01/2016

A man turns on the television.
A news reporter states
“Breaking News: North Korea has announced its first successful nuclear bomb test, with reports of a 5.7 magnitude earthquake rocking the country’s north.”

10/01/2016

A woman turns on the television.
“Our top story tonight: the highlights of today’s Golden Globes, Leonardo DiCaprio’s controversial reaction to Lady Gaga obtaining a Golden Globe and much more.”

11/01/2016
A boy turns on the television.
“Our top story tonight: the best and the worst dressed at the Golden Globes, the surprise wins of the night and the controversial hosting by Ricky Gervais.”

12/01/2016

A girl turns on the television.
“Breaking News: An explosion in the heart of the tourist destination in Istanbul has left many dead or injured. More updates to come soon on this developing story.”

13/01/2016
A doctor turns on the television.
“Our top story tonight: many are suffering and dying of starvation due to blockades in Syria. Many organisations are working tirelessly to try and provide aid and deport those who are severely malnourished. Children are starved to the point where they say they have no energy to play.”

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January 10

Cubes

 

“You the new driver?”

“So they tell me. Where’s my forklift?”

“We don’t use that word here.”

“It is more of clamplift, I suppose.”

“We call them CubeMovers.”

“Okay then. Though that does remind me of another question. What exactly do we do here? The agency wasn’t very clear on that.”

“We make cubes.”

“Cubes?”

“Cubes.”

“Like office cubicles?”

“Hell no! We make cubes. You know, the fundamental platonic solids also known as hexahedrons?”

“Okay. What do we make them out of?”

“Matter, mostly.”

“Like….?”

“We take solids that are not cubes and form them into cubes. We also take liquids that are emphatically not cubes and, via various chemical processes, turn them in to solid cubes.”

“What do we do with the cubes.”

“Some of them we ship directly to clients with cube related needs.  The rest we slice into pieces so that they may be shipped to other clients.”

“What do they use the slices for?”

“To make cubes, duh.”

“Why not just send them the cubes?”

“You’re not sounding like much of a team player.”

“I just want to make sure I do my job to the best of my abilities.”

“Well, if you must know the higher end matter cubes on the market are often made out of layers upon layers of different types of matter. So we may send four or five types of cube slices to a single purveyor of luxury matter cubes so that they may configure their cubes for the more elite marketplace.”

“What, exactly, is the purpose of the cubes.”

“…”

“I mean, what do consumers use them for once they purchase the cubes?”

“…”

“Are the cubes functional in some way?”

“We make cubes here. Your job will be to use the CubeMover to load whole cubes onto the trucks. You will also be feeding them into the slicer to create cube slices.”

“So, we’re not going to talk about–”

“Let me show you where you’re CubeMover charges.”

“Can’t wait to get started.”

“Welcome aboard.

January 10

Dream Oscar

 

A portion of my subconscious has won an Oscar.

The Academy Award for Costume Design in a Motion Picture, Dream, or Flight of Fancy During Rush Hour Traffic goes to Eric’s Cerebral Cortex for “That Weird-Ass Dream Where Eric (an agnostic who was not raised in the Hebrew faith) Goes to Synagogue and Discovers that Fred Durst is the Rabbi.”

I’m not a huge fan of the dream. The plot is notoriously thin. I walk into synagogue for Saturday morning services and discover that Fred Durst, of rap-metal abomination Limp Bizkit, is the rabbi.

His particular take on the Shabbat Service is to stomp back and forth across the dais repeatedly shouting:

“I’m in a foul mood!/
You Motherfuckers better read your TALMUD!”

For two and a half G-d Forsaken hours.

This festering nightmare did not win for writing or performances. It won for costume design. Rabbi Durst was wearing a red yarmulke similar to the signature red Starter cap from his late-90’s heyday.  I think what landed my Cerebral Cortex the Oscar was that the yarmulke had a Starter logo that replaced the conventional 5-pointed star with a star of David.

It was a nice touch.

January 9

BREAKING NEWS:

 

BREAKING NEWS:

Top Republican Senate members leaked a tape found last week of a private conversation between President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in which the President expressed his fondness for Spam. Gun sales immediately spiked throughout the country amidst fears of widespread Spam confiscation. Obama called the response of American people “toxic and gut-wrenching,” issuing an executive action making it harder to purchase Spam. Gun sales immediately spiked...

In international news, today is Kim Jong-un’s 33rd birthday. The supreme leader of North Korea, who is also Chairman of the Nationalist Birthday Party Committee, is keeping quiet on details of the celebration. “I’m not going to tell you what’s happening,” he said with a devilish grin, “But it’s going to be the bomb!” South Korea at this moment is helping to celebrate by piping into North Korea, at decibel levels louder than The Who ever played at, a 1956 recording of “Happy Birthday” by the Chipmunks for the entire duration of his date of birth, a full 24 hours.

As of this report, there has been no Dennis Rodman siting, either in North Korea, or for any Spam purchase.

January 2

Interminable

 

Bjorn is waiting for his head to fall off.

He had quite some time ago decided that it was the best course of action, considering the situation at hand. He needed some sort of change in his life. He had grown weary of his day job whisking egg yolks, vinegar, and oil for an artisanal mayonnaisse company, though his forearms were the secret, obsessive envy of the driver on his bus route home from work.

His part time night job as a freelance accountant for craft show vendors offered little in the way of psychological respite, as the line between professional who should take itemized deductions and deranged hobbyist who needed to chill the hell out.

His hobby, when he had the time, was choreographing elaborate hacky sack routines. He was rarely able to indulge in the actual work of creating a performing these routines, as he had for a number of years been distracted by his ongoing experiment as an amateur cobbler, trying to create the perfect hacky sack shoe.

His theory was that he could craft a comfortable shoe with a faceted exterior made from boiled leather. He had spent the better part of a year working on some of the basic physics and geometry that would be required. Another year had been spent teaching himself and refining the basic techniques of hardening leather.  Most recently, he was taking a home correspondence course from a cobbler’s school in Vienna. This, of course, after spending six months learning German from one of his accounting clients who meticulously carved reproductions of Medieval Swabian Religious Statues

It was too much.

Five years.

Whisk whisk whisk whisk.

Receipts receipts receipts receipts.

Ricochet physics, leather protein content, German conjugation, welting techniques.

All on 3.5 hours of sleep a night.

Bjorn was done with it all, but not suicidal.

He just wants his head to fall off.

He’s willing to wait.

For now.

December 30

Butterfly Hunting Day

 

It was butterfly hunting day.

The hues of yellow and red painted the sky over the butterfly fields, illuminating the vast expanse of grass, amid where butterflies of all sorts of colours flew. The sun’s rays blended with the dusk of dawn, causing anyone who looked at the sky to squint at the brightness, marking the beginning of butterfly hunting day.

The boy took out his red net with its long handle. The woman took out her purple net with its short handle, too short for her to grip properly. The girl took out her green net that had no handle; it was a handle-less net. The man stood there, with no net to take out. The boy, woman and girl started running in the field trying to catch butterflies. Their forms danced amidst the blood painted landscape, mingling with the forms of the butterflies. The man stood there watching the butterflies fly. He saw the red butterfly, the purple butterfly and the green butterfly. He saw them flying until a huge big red, purple and green net came crashing down on the butterflies. The man stood there. The man stood there until the butterflies stopped moving. It took a while. Soon they were still. That’s when the man wrapped up the net, with the butterflies in it and dragged it away.

It was butterfly hunting day.

The man dragged the net across the vacant butterfly field, watching as the yellows and reds of the sky above lightened. The sky now seemed as though it was almost orange. Not quite blood painted across the sky, but more like someone went painting happiness across the red sky, tinting it to an orange. The man dragged the net across the vacant butterfly field. The man became restless, soon he couldn’t feel his feet, and his back ached. The man dragged the net, and he dragged the net. The man became restless; soon he couldn’t feel his arms. The man dragged the net, and he dragged the net. The man became restless and couldn’t feel anymore. The butterflies lay in the net. The butterflies lay still.

So, the butterfly hunting day continued …

The skies overlooking the hills that formed the butterfly fields had turned a bright yellow when the girl came across the corpse of a man and a net full of dead butterflies. It made the hills which were usually a pastel green to look almost white; as though snow covered the expanse of the fields. Those butterflies should be flying, the girl thought. The girl decided to carry the man and the net full of dead butterflies to safety, so the butterflies could fly. The journey wouldn’t take too long. The girl dragged the net, and the corpse of the man. She dragged the net, and she dragged the net. Soon she became restless. She’d lost feeling in her feet but she continued, for the sake of the butterflies. The butterflies had to be free. Even when her back ached, and her arms could no longer be felt, she continued, continued for the butterflies. She continued until she could feel no more. The butterflies lay still.

When the woman found the corpse of the girl, it was almost impossible to focus on the girl’s twisted face of agony, for the sky proved too distracting. The bright yellow of the sky was barely noticeable anymore, as it was minutes ago when the woman began her walk through the butterfly fields. Instead, the sky had turned a milky white colour with hints of yellow, only emphasising the white blanket covering the hills of the butterfly fields, on butterfly hunting day. The woman followed the girl’s eyes that were swirling with sadness, towards a net full of dead butterflies. Then she noticed the corpse of a man. She stood there. What should she do? It was clear the girl was intent on making a journey. So the woman decided she would continue the journey. She took hold of the corpse of the girl and the man, grabbed the net of dead butterflies and dragged. Immediately, her back began aching. However, she continued. She had to make the journey, because the girl who died in agony didn’t make it. She dragged, and immediately she lost feeling of her arms. She dragged and her legs lost feeling. She managed to drag the corpses and the net of dead butterflies for three more goes, before all feeling left her. The butterflies lay still.

When the boy came across the mangled corpses, he couldn’t make out who was who. Was that the girl’s leg or the woman’s? The boy stood there. He didn’t know what to do. He moved closer to assess the situation better. That’s when he noticed the net full of what seemed to be dead butterflies. Those butterflies shouldn’t be here. The boy decided to leave the mangled corpses where they were, and instead deliver the dead butterflies to freedom. He picked up the net, and started dragging. The boy started to feel restless. His back began aching. The boy continued. This he had to deal with, for it was the only way dead butterflies could be delivered for freedom. He just had to reach their freedom before all feeling was lost. No big deal. The boy picked up his pace. He dragged faster. Slowly, the boy lost feeling in his arms. He picked up the pace. He started thinking in order to ignore his predicament. Three people had died trying to deliver this net of dead butterflies. Usually only two people were needed to deliver the dead butterflies. It looked like he was the fourth person to deliver the net. He would succeed. The fourth time was the charm. It had to be.

The boy saw his destination only a few metres ahead. It was so easy to see, as the sky above had essentially turned white. It was as though it was no longer visible. It camouflaged with the blanket covering the hills of the butterfly fields. Both had become one, and the boy began finding it increasingly difficult to tell which was which, just like the bodies he found before. Was he walking on solid land or was he flying? However that wasn’t the issue. The issue was the boy getting the butterflies to freedom; and freedom was easy to see at the end of the butterfly fields, marked by a desolate strip of land and then the blue encompassing the area around.

The boy dragged faster and faster. The faster he dragged, the faster the feeling left his body, but he had to. He had to drag faster to reach the end of the butterfly fields in time. He couldn’t rely on others to do it. It might be days before someone else finds him, days before another continues the journey to free the butterflies. No-one would venture out into the blank unknown, caused by the unusual colour of the sky. The others had been corpses for several days before he found them. So he couldn’t risk it. So he dragged faster and faster. With each drag he was getting closer and closer. He was so very close. He could fee-

It was butterfly hunting day.

The net fell into the water of the ocean that marked the end of the butterfly fields, if you could say there was even such a thing anymore. All that could be seen was a white, desolate expanse. The net was open; the boy’s last act. The dead butterflies drifted out of the open net. They drifted into the water, drifting deeper and deeper into the ocean. Soon they were but specks in an endless ocean, next to the almost non-existent butterfly fields. The boy’s body lay at the edge of the butterfly fields, except for his hand. His hand lay not quite in the butterfly fields, but not in the ocean either. His body was masked in white and his hand was on a desolate strip of land. The boy was in between, and in between he would stay.

It was butterfly hunting day.

So, butterfly hunting day continued …

My story can also be found here > https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/400157-absurd-short-stories?chapter=5 :)

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December 1

Thoughts beyond Pluto

 

When she came to, her hands were handcuffed behind the chair. She had on a mask that was held to her face by suction; she could feel the tight edges around the perimeter of her face. There were air holes for her nose and a tiny hole where her mouth was located. There were no holes for her eyes. She tried hard to recall his face, but nothing was coming. All she could remember was that she was way past one drink when he started a conversation. She vaguely remembered telling him she only lived two blocks away, and his concern and persuasion in walking her home.

She was scared now, really scared. She had been in some frightening situations before but this felt different. She kept thinking this man was some kind of nut case; he was going to rape and kill her, she felt it in her gut. He must have added some drug to her drink because she was now fully awake and realized she was strapped by her legs to a chair.

Then the chair was tilted back. What the hell was this freak planning to do to her on a tilted chair? She just couldn’t imagine! She promised God and all the angels in heaven and on earth that she would never again take another sip of liquor if she got out of this one. This time she knew they wouldn’t listen, she had promised God and the angels too many times before.

She heard water running into some receptacle, and the chair was returned to its normal position. Her feet descended into warm water and her legs were released from the straps! He warned her not to remove her feet from the water, or it would just worsen her fate.

He was going to rape her and then electrocute her! She had seen that method on TV many times. Her heart was beating so loudly she was sure he could hear it. She called on every dead relative she could remember to save her. Then suddenly there was beautiful, relaxing music.
She knew what he was doing. He was trying to relax her mind so he could lull her into a false sense of security, and then he would rape and electrocute her.

Now he was applying something to her legs, and gently smoothing it on. He was massaging her legs! What the heck! This man was a freak show! He was going to relax her, rape her, then chop off her legs after he finished massaging them. She knew it like she knew her name was Pamela Brackenshore.

When he was done with the massaging, he kissed each knee with soft, warm, tender kisses.
What the hell was with the rapist-torturer-murderer? He was going to relax her, rape her, and chop off her massaged legs at the knees and then, he was going to electrocute her. Dear Lord, what a grotesque setup! She was ready to make a pact with the devil.

He tilted her chair back again and gently positioned her neck on a cold edge. He was positioning her head to chop it off. She knew it. This rapist-torturer-murderer had positioned her for the rape, the chopping off of her massaged legs at the knees, the electrocution and then the removal of her head so she could never be identified. She had seen that exact scene on TV. Her eyes were filling up with tears as she prayed and readied herself for her demise.

Then she heard what sounded like a water hose.
He was getting ready to rape her, chop off her legs at the knees, electrocute her, remove her head and when he was done, wash away the blood with the hose.

Suddenly, warm water running through her hair and she smelled shampoo, coconut, her favorite scent. He was gently massaging her scalp, running his hands through her hair, then washing it out and re-shampooing. Now he was applying a conditioner; she could hear the familiar squirt from the bottle and the smell of peach. Now he was rinsing, pulling some kind of massage brush through her hair to her scalp. He gently towel-dried her hair and wheeled her to some other place.

She got it; she wasn’t stupid. He wanted the woman to have newly-washed coconut-peach scented hair before he raped her. That must be his turn-on. Then he would chop off her legs at the knees, electrocute her, remove her head and wash away the blood with the hose.

She heard a buzz. She was sure it was a buzz saw.
It was the saw to remove her legs and head. She started mumbling a prayer to all the saints she could remember learning about in her Catholic High School. Then she realized it was a blow-dryer she was hearing. She had never had her hair blow-dried so sensuously before; it felt like heaven. He massaged and combed through as he dried and styled. She had never felt this pampered. The last thing she wanted was to be raped, but she had to see this freak-show of a guy.

He offered her a delicious drink that she sipped with the straw he placed through the hole in the mask. She was wary of the drink, but she was thirsty. She knew what he was up to, Date rape drug was in that drink she was sure. What the hell, it was her last day alive; she sucked down that drink without taking a breath.

When she awoke, she was sitting on the steps of her apartment. Her bald pate was glowing rosy in the setting sun. There was a thank you note and a list of hair care items to stimulate regrowth of her hair. There was an addendum at the bottom of the thank you note that said her legs were so beautiful he just had to massage them, a personal thing he said. The hair he said he needed for something else.

She sighed and then smiled as she gently passed her hands over her bald head. It was just hair; it would grow back. She was alive to dream about him and hair and her beautiful legs. That is what mattered.