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The Most Outlandish Tale About Anxiety and Depression Ever Told

11 Apr

Wait wait, the story doesn’t start here!  This is a blog hop, people!  Click HERE to start from the beginning.

—–

The taller of the two figures looks straight at me and says,

“Is there something I can help you with?!”

He seems a little annoyed. I try to play it light,

“Um, your extension cord is showing…hee, hee…”

The shorter one frantically begins looking over the bundle. The droplets of sweat that have accumulated on his forehead spill to the ground in a salty typhoon for any passing by ants to enjoy. He spies the extension cord and reaches for it with one hand.

“No! Stop! We are dropping it!” the Tall one grits through his teeth.

The bundle starts to shift in their arms. Both men grasp for purchase, but gravity reaches up and yanks the package hard from their limbs. It hits the ground like a 300 pound professional wrestler hitting the mat in an over exaggerated, yet somewhat aerodynamic, death fall.

The metallic thunk reverberates off the pavement and bounces off the apartment walls.

The tall one hisses, “Jesus, we are going to wake up every make-up wielding dateless chick in the neighborhood!”

“Hey!” I said indigently. “Do not, and I mean, DO NOT call me a dateless chick! I am a dateless woman!”

“Sorry,” the Tall one replies.

Suddenly all eyes look at the plastic bag lying on the ground, which is now tiger stripped shredded from the contents within. What looks like a rather large lava lamp wearing a Christmas turtleneck is revealed. It also has two big hubcap wheels on the bottom of it, and two antenna sticking out of the top of it. The largest extension cord ever protrudes from a small compartment on it’s…butt? Duct tape is randomly stuck to it here and there.

“Poop on a stick, she has seen it!” hisses the Smaller one.

“Well, you know what we have to do now…” Tall replies with a rather wicked grin on his face.

—-

Click HERE to continue the story.

 

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Not A Good Way To End The Year

3 Jan

Fiction

The cigarette hung from his fingers of bone inches over the glass table top.  The smoke wisped into where ever smoke wisps too, just kind of up and gone. The hooded figure attached to the cigarette was slumped over slightly. His attire consisted of nothing but a single robe which hung slackly over his skeletal frame. The robe was old and a colorless gray. A heavy sigh was heard from inside the deep black hole where a rosy face should have been.

“Ok,” said a voice out of the left most darken corner in the room. “Let’s start from the beginning.”

The hooded figure sighed again, “How many times are we going to go over this?”

“As many times as it takes for me to get a story I believe.”

The  hand holding the cigarette raised from the table and disappeared into the nothingness of the face hole. Smoke billowed out, looking like some starless part of the galaxy that was on fire.

The voice from the corner spoke again, “Start from the beginning.”

“Of course,” said the robe with a smile. You couldn’t see his smile, but you sure could hear the smile. It was a blood curdling smile. A smile that many, many, people saw as the last thing they ever saw. A smile that stopped the blood flowing in ones veins. “I was making my rounds…”

“On what date was this?”

“It was on December 12th, 12:38 am  to be precise. I was assigned a Mr. Robert Hupert as my next collection. Mr. Hupert lived in the suburbs in a single story house. Nice lawn, well taken care of…I remember that. Anyway, easy stuff. I entered through the south wall and landed in the kitchen. It was a small kitchen. I was surprised as to how small it was…I don’t know why…you know, just compared to what the outside of the house looked like. Anyway, I was thirsty so I helped myself to a glass of water from the built in water dispenser in the door of the refrigerator. As with just about everyone’s refrigerator  in the world, pictures of what I assumed where the Grand-kids hung with those cheap fruit shaped magnets. A little boy was featured in one photograph, and a little girl in the other. The rest of the photos had them both in it, playing, laughing, hugging…it could have been any house in the world really…”

The Robbed Hood paused.

“Go on,” prodded the corner.

“Right. So I had a job to do and about seven others on my list for that evening. I admit I was in a hurry, but I’m pretty good at what I do. I have been doing it forever…literally forever. ”

Hood sneezed and a spider shot out from the black hole of his face, hit the table on it’s side. It recovered awkwardly and quickly, and then scampered away.

“Sorry,” he said and wiped his hole with the back of his cigarette holding sleeve. “So I head into Hupert’s bedroom where I expect him to be sleeping with  one of those CPAP machines attached to his face. I see a lot of CPAP machines anymore.”

“We don’t need to know that stuff, just stick to the relevant facts.”

“Hupert wasn’t asleep. He was awake.”

“So?”

“He could see me,” said Hood. “He was looking right at me. I knew he could see me. His face was flush of color and he was shaking. He also pointed at me. His mouth was open and moving, but no sound was coming out. This is a look I’m only used to seeing when the collected are in their last seconds of life. I like to look into their eyes as the last bit of their soul leaves their bodies. The eyes lose their shine slowly, like a fading star until…pop…nothing. The eyes, after  they lose their soul mind you, remind me of rocks you find in a river bed; dull, lifeless, flatten, hard…but regardless…Hupert could definitely see me.

‘What do you want?’ Hupert asked me.

‘I’m here to collect you,’ I responded. ‘How can you see me?’

‘What do you mean?’ Hupert asked.

‘How can you see me?’ I asked again. ‘Normally you can’t see me until you are toting that fine line between this life and the next.’

‘I don’t understand what you just said, but why are you dressed like the Grim Reaper?’

‘Because,’ I said matter-of-factly, which is how I always talk. ‘I am the Grim Reaper.’

Hupert started to whimper, then he started to cry.

‘Why? Why me?’ he said.

It’s what they all say. If I had a nickel for every time I heard that question…

(I don’t know what I would do with it. I have no need for money. It would just be a big pile of nickels, I guess.)

‘Because, you have been ordered to be collected. I am never told why. I just collect.’

‘No, I’m way too young! I’m only 47! There has to be a mistake!’

If I had a quarter for every time I heard that this has to be a mistake…

(Again…just a big pile of wasted quarters.)

Hupert suddenly jumped out the window and ran down the street. I was stunned. That has never happened to me before. I didn’t know what to do. I just stood there for a moment. Then I headed back into the kitchen, got a beer and a slice of turkey from the fridge, and left.”

“You just left?” asked the corner in shock.

“Yeah,” replied the Reaper. “I just left.”

Some papers rustled from the darken unseen corner. “Do you know in the billion years we have been doing this, we have never had someone scheduled for collection just run away?! Not one! We have always collected! Our record, until now, has been 100% collected! What the hell where you thinking?!”

The Reaper sighed.

“I wasn’t,” he replied. “I was still in shock… he could see me.”

“Some special people can see you, like Mediums, Clairvoyants, Bakers, Priests…”

“Bakers?”

“I don’t know why, but yes, bakers,” boomed the corner as more papers were shuffled. “You’re fired.”

The Grim Reaper didn’t say anything. He had never been fired before, but of course this had been his one and only job ever.

“What about the quota?” asked the Grim Reaper.

The man from the darken corner stepped out of the shadows. He was wearing a white robe and had a long beard. In one hand he held a stack of official looking papers, in the other he stroked his beard. “We will just have to have a run on of ‘natural disasters’, the Midwest is due for a tornado, Japan needs another tsunami soon anyway. We will figure it out until we hire a suitable replacement. Not your concern.”

“Just don’t get Eligos. I hate that guy.”

“Not your concern.”

The Grim Reaper got up and grabbed his sickle…

“Leave the sickle,” said the Other.

The Grim Reaper got up, leaving his sickle, and walked out the door. Maybe he would go visit the tropics for awhile, have a vacation before deciding what to do with the rest of his eternity…maybe he would check out that restaurant on the fourth level of Hell that’s been getting all the rave reviews…

Maybe he would just seek out Hupert and kill him.

Do the job right.

Get his position back.

Maybe he would buy a puppy instead.

So many possibilities…

The Grim Reaper sighed to himself.

To be continued?

The Gift Of The Scratchi

25 Dec

Once upon a time, in a little village, just south southwest of Santa’s Workshop, in the North Pole, there lived an older couple. This couple was each on their third marriage, although that doesn’t have anything to do with anything…I’m just making conversation. Now the couple didn’t have much money. The husband had started a potato washing business that wasn’t as profitable as it was expected to be, and the wife hadn’t been to work since she was diagnosed with elephantiasis in her left leg. Needless to say, Christmas was around the corner and the couple had no money to buy each other presents.

The husband thought, “Well it’s Christmas…I have to get my wife something!”

So he decided to rummage through the couch cushions and look for loose coins. He looked and looked and looked, and finally found 22 pennies, 3 nickels, one of them minted in the year 1978…which really didn’t have anything to do with anything…just making an observation…2 dimes, and 2 quarters for a grand total of $1.07.  The husband looked at the coins in his hand and sighed. What could he possibly buy with this? A pack of gum? A toothbrush?

Meanwhile in another part of the house, the wife was looking under their bedroom mattress. All year she would stash a dollar here and a dollar there as a little nest egg for Christmas. The problem was that all year she would also borrow a dollar here and a dollar there with the intention of paying it back, yet she never would. Currently all that resided in the mattress Christmas nest was one dollar.  A single tear rolled down her cheek as she got a paper cut on the tip of her finger from grabbing that one little dollar bill.

“What can I do with this?” thought the wife. “Buy a pack of playing cards? A plastic kazoo? A band aid?”

Both the husband and the wife both felt a little dejected, a little depressed, and a little tipsy because both of them were drunks…nothing to do with this particular story, just throwing it out there for discussion.

The husband grabbed his coat and called to his wife that he was going for a walk.

“OK!” she called back. There was little chance she would join him due to her left leg being the size of a VW Bus thanks to the elephantiasis, so the husband had a few moments to himself to think.

So he did.

He thought and he walked, and walked and thought, until he stopped in front of a convenience store. He stood there for a moment as his breath billowed in front of his face from the cold brisk air. He could see the worry lines on his forehead mirrored in the window of the store. He could also see the beer case, because as explained earlier, he was a raging drunk. And lastly he could see the counter where the lottery tickets were advertised. In his pocket, his hand clasped on the coins and he headed into the store.

Come that Christmas morn as the husband and the wife gathered in front of their Christmas tree which made Charlie Brown’s look like a lush Evergreen, he took her hand, and patted her enormous leg and whispered,

“I love you. Merry Christmas.”

He pulled out the  scratch off lottery ticket he bought with the change and handed it to her. He also handed her one of the left over pennies that he didn’t spend. This was so she could rub off that mystery silver cover that hides the winning numbers from the naked eye.

She smiled, and rub the penny back and forth over the ticket, slowly and with determination, all the while biting her lower lip. She turned the ticket to her husband when she was done, and said,

“We won.”

“What?” asked the husband gasping for breath. “Really?”

“Yes,” she said with the biggest grin. “We won a free lottery ticket.”

“Merry Christmas,” said the husband.

Merry Christmas,” replied his wife and slipped the dollar she had found into his pants pocket.

This doesn’t really pertain to the story, but later they got snockered on eggnog…you know…just throwing it out there…for conversations sake…

Merry Christmas to all.

A Tale Of Love Lost In Forty-Seven Acts Condensed Into One

21 Oct

The bug hit the car’s windshield with as mighty of a thud as a bug hitting a windshield could make. It’s guts spreading flat against the smooth glass creating a kaleidoscope of brownish-grey-green hues across it’s surface. In an instant, the driver of the car, a Mr. Alan Furlow, hit the windshield wiper fluid and the blue liquid squirted the messy guts away. Well, not really away, the guts now congealed on the windshield wipers as they waved back and forth, back and forth, way much too long over the arch of the windshield.

What was really unusual and quite coincidental about this bug was that his name was also Mr. Alan Furlow. The driver, Mr Alan Furlow, had no way of knowing that he just accidentally killed and washed away his bug doppelganger, Mr. Alan Furlow, thus giving him a pass on Bad Karma’s ugly head intervening in on his day, but it also didn’t change the fact that this death still occurred.

Mr. Alan Furlow, the driver not the bug, suddenly felt the need to step on the gas petal harder. The car protested for half a second and then sputtered five pistons faster. Alan felt the hairs on his neck rise, but he didn’t know what that meant. He scratched the back of his hand absently.

Half way around the world, Mr. Alan Furlow’s true love, a Miss Margery Pinklestein, also absently scratched the back of her hand. Mr. Alan Furlow and Miss Margery Pinklestein had never met, no would they ever meet, for they were doomed from their birth to wander the Earth without each other. In a weird twist of fate, the bug versions of Mr. Alan Furlow and Margery Pinklestein had met and were in fact, married. Margery of course, was now a widow, although at this moment she didn’t realize it. Currently she was sitting in their 4 bedroom dung hole assuming that Mr. Alan Furlow, the bug, not the driver of the car, had been distracted…again…on his way to the big sunflower with which she had tasked him to collect some pollen for dinner. Margery, the bug, not the hand scratching human half way around the world, was planning on making her famous Sunflower loaf in celebration of his recent promotion from poop roller to poop scout.

Meanwhile Margery Pinklestein, the person, not the widowed bug, had nothing of interest going on this day and will not be talked about again in this diatribe.

Mr. Alan Furlow, the driver, not the dead bug who will not be dining on Sunflower loaf this evening, nor will he be bragging to his friends at the stagnant water hole about his recent pay raise, decided to go through the drive thru of his favorite burger place; Colonel King Burger. The sales promotion of the month was the Double Loaf Burger. Mr. Alan Furlow purchased one of these and drove away. As he unwrapped his Double Loaf Burger from the greasy wax paper, his heart felt heavy. A single tear leaked from his tear hole and slalomed it’s way down his chubby cheek. He wiped it away with the back of his hand and thought nothing of it. He sighed and also thought nothing of that as well.

Mr. Alan Furlow, the living not the dead, finished his loaf, and while licking his greasy  fingers tossed the wax paper into the backseat of his car. It landed on top of a pile of many other Colonel King Burger wrappers. It disturbed a family of bugs whom Mommy Bug had just given birth to a litter of 50 brand new spanking baby bugs.

And she was debating naming one of them Alan.

(Their last name was Hippensnatch so it didn’t mean much, but you know…whatever.)

~Fin~

Time Travelling Zombies Vs The Dinosaurs

7 Oct

If you are unfamiliar with SyFy Channels brand of movies, check out this post: My Simplistic Review of Sharknado.

If you don’t feel like clicking the link, and I know that you don’t…basically in a nutshell, SciFy Channels movies are weird, low budget, campy, and silly.

In other words: perfect.

Here is a short list of some of their offerings:

Alien Apocalypse
Rage of the Yeti
Dinoshark
Jersey Shore Shark Attack
Sharktopus

SO with that in mind, here are two movie concepts I would like to pitch to the SyFy channel.

Movie Concept Numero Uno:

Time Travelling Zombies Vs The Dinosaurs

Act I

The year is 3013 and Zombies have taken over the planet Earth. Only a few hundred uninfected humans are left including the evil Dr. Richard Dicks. The evil Dr. Richard Dicks has been building a time machine, unsuccessfully mind you, for the last twenty years. His plan is to go back in time before the Zombie Apocalypse and become rich off the stock market as inspired by the movie Back To The Future 2. Franklin Shallow and the Shallow Freedom Fighters learn of the evil Dr. Dicks plan and formulate a plan of their own to stop him. Franklin Shallow and the Shallow Freedom Fighters execute their plan in the middle of the night and everything goes wrong! As Franklin and the evil Dr. Dicks fight in hand to hand combat they accidentally start the untested Time Machine. Suddenly hordes of Zombies that have been kept at bay by the evil Dr. Dicks security systems break through and start eating all the Freedom Fighters and the evil Dr. Dicks evil Henchmen. As the zombies descend on Franklin Shallow and the evil Dr. Dicks, the Time Machine emits an eerie bright light and sucks all the Zombies into it, along with Franklin and the evil Dr. Dicks.

Act II

The Zombies, Franklin, and the evil Dr. Dicks find themselves back in time in the land of dinosaurs. The Zombies start attacking the dinosaurs. The big dinosaurs like the Brontosaurs and the T-Rex easily step and crush the Zombies, but the smaller Dinosaurs, like the  Compsognathus and the Velociraptor fall victim to the zombie’s bite and become Zombie Dinosaurs. Franklin and the evil Dr. Dicks realize they need to work together, along with the bigger dinosaurs to stop the Zombies and the Zombie Dinosaurs before the time line is drastically changed and man would cease to exist.

Movie Concept Numero B:

Crazy Grandma

The Stickman’s are an ordinary family. The family consists of Mom Stickman, Dad Stickman, Brother Stickman, Baby Stickman, and Grandma Stickman. Grandma Stickman often feels left out and ridiculed by the family.  The Stickman’s don’t mean to make Grandma feel this way, it just sort of happens. One Saturday night the Stickman’s decide to go out to their favorite fancy restaurant, The Olive Garden.  During the family’s fifth serving of the Never Ending Pasta Bowl Promotion, Grandma Stickman starts chocking on a meatball. The Stickman’s not realizing the severity of Grandma’s chocking start laughing and pointing at her. Not until Grandma starts turning blue does the Olive Garden waiter rush to her aid and applies the Heimlich Maneuver. Grandma passes out for a brief moment and goes to Hell. During her visit to Hell the Devil gives her special powers and super strength. When Grandma comes too, she goes on a rampage and kills everyone in the Olive Garden. She kills the Stickman’s by hanging them from the ceiling with Spaghetti. Then Grandma starts her killing spree through the small town with various funny one liners and new and crazy inventive killings.

Grandma Stickman is finally stopped by the Local Sheriff and the Local Demonologist in a show down that involves Ben Gay Ointment, Bingo Cards, and a car whose left blinker light has been on for the last seven miles.

Nathan Vs Marvin And The Dump Truck

2 Sep

Nathan had eaten so many salt and vinegar potato chips that the roof of his mouth hurt. His fingers were dusted in salt and chip particles. He  grabbed Lucy’s hand, which was covered in Cheeto dust. Today was the day they were going to make a stand.

They stood at the edge of the sandbox. Hand in snack covered hand.

Marvin, the sandbox bully, had the dump truck of course, because Marvin always had the dump truck. It was the one sandbox toy that still had all it’s wheels.

Today Nathan wanted to play with the dump truck. Today was Nathan’s day to play with the truck. It was his birthday after all, and when it was someone’s birthday they should be able to play with the dump truck.

Lucy was going to help him get the dump truck. Although Lucy looked ridiculous. Her face, hands, and shirt was covered in orange Cheeto powder, which made her look like a pumpkin that had psoriasis. The two of them might be able to calmly and collectively convince Marvin that just this once, Nathan should be allowed a turn with the dump truck…it was his birthday after all.

Nathan and Lucy slowly approached Marvin whose back was turned to them and one of his chubby little hands was pushing the dump truck back and forth. Nathan felt the sand squishing between his toes and nervous sweat coating the back of his shirt.

Nathan cleared his throat. “Marvin,” he croaked rather meekly.

“What?!” Marvin grumbled as he continued to push the dump truck back and forth, back and forth.

Nathan cleared his throat again, only a little louder this time. “Today is my birthday, and…”

Marvin interrupted, “What do you want? A cookie?” Marvin laughed as if that was the most original and funniest joke he had ever heard.

Lucy chimed in, “That would be nice! Oh, and it’s Nelson’s turn to play with the dump truck.”

“Who is that?” Marvin sneered. “Your girl friend?!”

Nathan sputtered, “Yes…well no…well sort of…she’s my friend whose a girl…”

“Really? Well, is your girlfriend going to help you fight me for this dump truck?”

“If I have too!” Lucy said boldly. “It’s Nathan’s birthday. For once he should get to play with the dump truck!”

“Really?!” Marvin said in feigned deep thought. “Let me think about that for an hour or two and I’ll let you know if it’s okay…since it’s your birthday and all.”

“Oh, that’s nice of you,” Nathan said and smiled.

“No it’s not, Nathan,” Lucy cried. “He is tricking you!”

Marvin laughed and laughed. He laughed so hard that his sides began to hurt. He grabbed his sides and held them as he continued to laugh. In one quick scoop Lucy grabbed the Dump Truck and handed it to Nathan.

“Hey,” Marvin tried to squeeze out while laughing. “Give it back!”

“No!” said Lucy rather sternly with her hands on her Cheeto stained hips. “It’s Nathan’s birthday, and he is going to play with the dump truck or I’m going to call my lawyer!”

Marvin stopped laughing. He looked at his watch. “Fine!” he mumbled. “I have a 3 o’clock meeting with my stock broker anyway!” Marvin grabbed his $400 alligator shoes, brushed the sand of his $900 suit,  and headed towards his BMW.

“Tomorrow the dump truck is mine again!” he called straightening his tie before driving off.

“Happy birthday Nathan,” Lucy said.

“Thank you Lucy,” Nathan responded as they both sat down in the sand to play with the dump truck.

Heads Will Roll

26 Aug

Warning: some Zombie fiction. I haven’t written one in awhile….

The severed head bounced down the stairs hitting each one with the thud of a sick bowling ball.

It looked like a rather macabre slinky coming down, just with not much slink.

Jason was used to such horrors…now at least. It was way better than the alternative upstairs. The alternative being a small and hungry horde of the undead.

Jason had the less risky job of collecting the fallen zombie heads and putting them into a big metal trash can. It was still dangerous though. He could still get bit.

He had joined the Zombie Elimination Task Force when his brother John joined. It was partly for something to do, and partly because his brother was the “Do-No-Wrong” member of the family. Everyone loved John, and everyone sort of tolerated Jason. At least that is how Jason felt. So he decided to do whatever John did to win over the rest of the family. Jason had not counted on John joining the Task Force.

At the Task Force initiation, John was picked for Zombie Hunter…of course, while Jason was picked for Clean Up Crew…of course.

Jason had one trash can full already. After the house was cleared, the heads would be burned and buried…what the Zombie Elimination Task Force called a B & B. Another team collected Jason’s trash cans from him and would prep the heads for the B & B.

Jason wore an old Umpire’s chest protector and big thick gloves. Sometimes the heads still would have some bite. The Zombie Hunter’s main concern was to thin the number of zombies by loping off their heads first, thus stopping the body from attacking. The body would generally just drop to the floor and twitch and spasm for a while…kind of like when you cut a worm in half…only worms of course, didn’t have arms and legs…or bleed. The Clean Up Crew would scoop the heads up, carefully as to not get bitten, and put them in the big metal trash cans. Later the heads would be examined and identified as best as possible. Most were never identified. Then a little B & B action would take place. Plots of land had been set aside for the burial grounds. Each head plot was marked with the number of craniums, today’s date, and the familiar bio-hazard symbol. The head fields had become quite the tourist attraction, enough so it now costs $2 to walk them.

Thud…Thud…Thud…Thud…Thud….

Another head came bouncing down the stairs. When it reached the bottom, its face was against the floor…which was perfect. You want the teeth away from you. What wasn’t perfect was the fact that this was a bald man. It’s much easier to grab the head by the hair and scoop it into the trash can in one quick step. Being this undead was bald, Jason would have to find the best place to lift the head without getting near its still active mouth. To make matters much worse, the head was covered in goo and blood. It was going to be a slippery beast for sure.  Jason tried to palm it like a basketball at first, but the human head is a lot heavier than one would think.

Especially a dead one.

So, Jason had no choice but to rest one hand on the top of the goop covered chrome dome and the other hand in its neck hole. Jason hated touching the neck hole. It felt weird, and more importantly it still felt somewhat alive. But this really was his only option.

As Jason picked up the head he could see it was still very active. The teeth were gnashing together. The sound was horrible. He could hear the sliding and scraping of enamel on enamel. The head twitch way too much.

This head was way too alive.

Ha ha…alive…

The goop didn’t help either.

Suddenly another head bounced down the stairs catching Jason off guard. His fingers sunk into the meaty neck hole, spraying a small gush of blood. Jason let out a cry of disgust as the hand resting on the man’s bald scalp slipped. Now the whole head was falling out of his hands. Jason adjusted himself as the head made it’s decent towards the floor.  Almost out of instinct from his days as a wide receiver on the Freedom High Patriot’s football team, he fell to one knee thus keeping the head from falling to the ground…but not the zombie’s teeth from taking a big bite out of flesh on his leg.

Jason was in shock. He dropped the head into the trash can and grabbed his leg. The blood spurt from his leg artery like a lawn sprinkler.

“No…no! NO!” Jason said through gritted teeth. He applied pressure with his hands to try to stop the bleeding.

Two more heads bounced down the stairs. Jason watched them; they almost seemed to bounce in slow motion. He hung his own head against his chest. He could feel his breath already slowing. The zombie’s bite worked fast. Usually it only took 5 to 10 minutes and you became a card carrying member of the undead shuffling crew.

“No,” he whispered.

From up the stairs he heard John call, “That’s it. All clear!”

Jason sighed and let go of his wounded leg. The blood started spurting again.

He called up the stairs, “Not quite…You have one more!” as he slowly climb the steps.

The Air Vent

29 Jul

(This is fiction.)

I was 6, my brother was 10, and we had the whole house to ourselves. Grandma and Mom were at the restaurant getting it ready for the morning crowd. The crowd wasn’t very large, maybe 10 to 15 people at the most, but it was enough to keep the business alive. Those who came, came for the biscuits and gravy.  Grandma was known for her famous biscuits and gravy in at least a three county radius.

We would have about 4 hours in between being checked on through the day to fill with whatever adventures I would device for us to do. The restaurant was just a stone’s throw away from the house so we could not get to crazy.  My brother being the oldest was in charge of me, and I being of little attention span was in charge of figuring out what we were going to do that day. Luckily my brother was game for whatever I could come up with, even if that meant being Barbie’s best friend for an hour.

The house was old, with creaky wooden floors and yellowing wallpaper peeling at the corners. Grandma was frugal with the air conditioning, so the house would heat up slowly throughout the day. She seemed to have it down to a science when to pop the air conditioner on the give just enough relief to the dwellers as to not turn them into melted pools of human laziness. In the older houses the air vents were in the floors as oppose to the ceilings of modern structures. The air would kick on with a ticking noise, and then a grunt from the house as if it was so inconvenienced by the thought of cooling off it’s occupants.  Then with a strong whoosh the floor would blow sweet cooling relief strong enough (in a 6 year old’s mind) to float on to the heavens.

We would grab one of Grandma’s good top sheets from the bed whenever we hear the telltale ticking and run to the nearest vent. My brother and I would duck ourselves under the sheet, holding all four corners down between us as the air would start it’s travel from unknown origins of the inner house workings and into our sheet. The sheet would fill with air encasing us in some sort of air igloo. Our skin would goose bump with the cool air and I would watch the sheet rise as it filled. We had about 10 minutes to cool down and exchange stories in our air tent. My brother’s would always be about pirates or dragons or cars, typical boy stuff. Mine would be about princesses, my future jobs, and how to care and raise unicorns. We would listen to each other’s stories with faked interest if we had too. That was the number one rule of the air tent. No fighting. We couldn’t waste the time with fighting.

I loved the days of staying at my Grandma’s. It felt like we had a freedom there not afforded to most kids our age. I was allowed to let my imagination take over and fill our days with adventures and games.

When we got older, Grandma sold the restaurant when her old bones wouldn’t let her stir the batter to make those famous tri-county  biscuits anymore. My brother and I stopped playing in the air vents eventually. Now when we would visit Grandma we would sit at the dinning room table with the adults and listen to adult topics like changing car batteries, the weather, and stories of the restaurant regulars.

However, whenever the air would kick on in the house, I would look at my brother, and he at me, and we would smile.

The Robots And The Writer

8 Jul

The Robots just suddenly arrived.

They landed on Earth in droves, tall…about 8 or 9 feet in height, dirty metallic bodies, 3 wheeled tank like contraptions on their legs for movement, 3 tentacle-like arms with 6 tentacle-like appendages and on each one, claw like hands and fingers.

They came and they conquered. They conquered in a mere 72 hours.

The entire world in only 72 hours.

After they conquered and killed all the leaders of the world, they kind of left everyone else alone.

Sort of.

The robots made everyone stay inside their dwellings whether it be a fancy million dollar home, an apartment complex, or  a hobo’s cardboard box. It had been about two weeks of the house arrest.

Twice  food rations were left on the doorstep. Apparently the Robots thought our diet consisted of nothing but Spaghetti-o’s. TV was cut down to one channel that just played the same five movies over and over; A Christmas Story, Groundhog Day, Porky’s 3, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and Casino. No one could make heads or tails of the selections or whether their was a theme or message to them. Some thought it might be a some secret symbol of the robots intent. Radio was down to one frequency, 104.1 FM. This station only played Frank Sinatra, but luckily it was his whole catalog and not just five select songs like the TV.

The internet, shut down.

After pretty much everyone in the world could quote Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure from start to finish, an announcement came over the TV and Radio:

“Greetings, people of Planet 279. You will be hearing this broadcast in your native language since you choose to complicate your race with such nonsense as separate languages. Tomorrow will begin your sorting. I will assume, you 279ings do not know what a sorting is, so I will explain. Each one of you will be individually interviewed on your worth to this planet and to us, your new masters. If your skills are deemed worthy, you will live to serve us. If your skills are deemed inadequate, you will be killed on the spot. We have already eradicated Rappers, Weather Men, Fruit Snack Packers, Walmart Customer Service Employees, Mark Zuckerburg, and Network TV Executives.   One of our kind will be knocking on your door sometime between 8 am and 5 pm to begin your evaluation. That reminds me, we need to add all cable installers to the inadequate list. Do not try to run. Do not try to resist. Do not try to fight. Do try to cooperate. Do try to answer the questions truthfully. And if you are deemed unworthy, do try to die quickly and without crying. That is all.”

And then Casino started playing on the TV again.

I was a novelist. I don’t know what Robots would want a novelist for…especially based on their taste of movies, but I couldn’t give up hope. There had to be a place for someone with my skill set for them. I didn’t have to write novels, I could write about anything…be a reporter, keep records, or something. My youngest daughter, who was 6, pulled on my pants.

“Daddy, I’m scared!” she said with big teary eyes.

“Oh,” I said as I brushed her long blonde bangs out of her eyes and kissed her on the forehead. “Don’t be. Daddy will be okay.”

“But Daddy,” she responded, tears running down her cheeks. “Who will pack the Fruit Snacks now?”

I gave her a hug and said, “I don’t know, honey. I don’t know.”

—–

Eight AM came quickly the next day, and you could see the robots lining up along the suburban street. The had enough robots for one to stand outside each and every door, and at precisely 8, a unison single knock hit the aluminum doors, followed by a metallic warning;

“You have 30 seconds to answer your doors. 30, 29, 28, 27, 26….”

I opened the door. The faceless machine looked at me, and it pushed me aside as it bent it’s large frame down to fit through the opening. Once inside it said,

“Are you Planet 279 inhabitant also known as Frank Baum?”

“I am, and it’s called Earth, not Planet 279,” I responded weakly.

“What you know of as ‘Earth’ is no more. You are now an inhabitant of Planet 279. If you are deemed worthy of service you will be given a new name. Your new name will be 279.0943783749894590834590349.”

“Wow, I don’t know if I could remember all of that,” I said a little worried.

The robot responded, “It will be branded to your forehead. No worries.”

“Oh, great.”

The robot pulled out a clipboard. “Please answer these questions, briefly and completely or you will be eradicated. Please answer the questions truthfully or you will be eradicated. I will be monitoring your heart rate and your brain wave patterns. You will be recorded. Let us begin. For the official record, what is your Planet 279 name?”

“My Earth name or the bar code you just gave me?” I asked.

“You have not earned your worthiness, therefor you currently do not have your official citizenship of our planet. Your ‘Earth’ name please.”

“My name is Frank Baum.”

The Robot checked something off on it’s clipboard. “This is just for show by the way, it seems to make you Planet 279-ers feel more at ease. What is your current occupation?”

“I’m a novelist. I write books.”

The Robot put down the clipboard and raised what looked like a big scary laser gun.

“What is that for?!” I screamed.

“Eradication,” the robot replied.

“Why?! For being a novelist?! What the hell? Do you Robots not read? Or think that the people who will survive this won’t want to read?”

“You will be eradicated because all of the books have all ready been written,” the robot replied coldly.

“What?!” I laughed. “How can that be?!”

“Our writers have written all the books there ever will be, every subject has been written about. There is not a story that hasn’t been written that we already don’t have a book for.” The Robot raised it’s gun to my head.

“Wait!” I yelled. “How can you be so sure? What if I come up with a story that hasn’t been written yet. Then you have to keep me to write it for you.”

The Robot said and did nothing for a moment. “I will download all the books into my database. If you think you can come up with a story that I don’t have a book for, then you may live.”

The Robot raised one of it’s arms and shook for 30 seconds and then said, “Ready.”

“Ok,” I thought a moment. I had to come up with something incredibly wild and out there. “Do you have a book about an octopus with 6 dog’s heads that falls in love with a squirrel after terrorizing the citizens of Alabama?”

The Robot holds up a Kindle and says, ‘Yes.” On the Kindle is story entitled, ‘Bang The Squirrel Slowly.’

“I’ll be damned!” I said as the Robot raised his gun again. “Wait! Do you have a story about an octopus with 7 dog’s heads that falls in love with a squirrel after terrorizing the citizens of Japan?”

The Robot once again holds up the Kindle and displays: ‘Bang The Squirrel Slowly II: A 7 dog headed octopus falls for the orginal squirrels Japanese half sister.’

The robot raises it’s gun again. “It is futile. All books have been written except for 5. You will be eradicated.”

“Wait? What?” I stammer. “All but five? Originally you said all books have been written. Now your saying five haven’t. What five?”

The Robot lowers it’s gun. “The sacred five. They have been turned into movies. We show only the scared five on television.”

A dumb look has to cross my face. “Are you saying Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is one of the sacred five?”

“Yes.”

“And there is no novel form of the movie?”

“Yes, only a screenplay. ”

I scratched my head, “Well then I’m your man to do that!”

The Robot raises his gun and fires. The laser hits me square in the chest knocking me back. I fall as I feel the burning of my heart and lungs inside my chest. I see the Robot standing over me. It bends over to my face. I can barely see it’s head as my eyes darken with death. I hear the robot say,

“We have already spared Steven King for that.”

~Fin~

—–

Editor’s Note:

I awoke from a horrible dream drenched in sweat and drool the other night. Of the dream I don’t remember, I only remember the echoing of these words as I arose from REM state, “We have already spared Steven King for that.”

Thus was the inspiration for that stupid story.

🙂

Gepetto, Horner, and Muffit (My New Sponsors)

17 Jun

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