31 March 2010
While we played on the tramp we realized that there was something unusual when we jumped. There were times when one person would jump and someone who was standing elsewhere on the tramp would feel an ‘aftershock.’ We spent several summer days trying to figure out why. That is how we discovered, THE WAVE.
We had it all figured out. When one person jumped it sent a wave through the top, and would bounce the other person. That was why there were so many accidents dealing with trampolines. What do you think? Smart kids huh?
28 March 2010
We come from a world where everything relating to fairy tales has been screwed up. Magical artifacts have appeared and when someone touches them, they live a specific fairy tale. The problem is that the people who we normally imagine as typical fairy tale material are skipped over, and those of us who resent it the most are chosen. There is no reason for our imprisonment and improbable magics happen.
My friends and I are the unlucky few who have been stuck and what follows are our stories. Hopefully no one ever reads these. Not something as eighteen-year-old men we want people to read, but it has to be recorded.
Ty's Story (#1)
I was asleep, I knew it, and it sucked. My favorite show was on tonight and I was going to miss it. Touching the stupid jack knife knocked me unconscious. It wasn’t fair. No one else had the problem when the knife was passed around class. It’s a fact; Guys never get sucked into the fairy tales. It’s a girl’s dream come true, not an eighteen-year-old boy’s. No one had better call me Sleeping Beauty.
The worst was I could hear them talking about me, my two idiot guards.
“So we just need to watch him?”
“Are you sure?”
Great, an Abbot and Costello duo.
“But he’s not doing anything.”
“Stay at your post.”
There was a comical sigh and the sound of shoes shuffling.
I knew I was doomed to die of boredom. There was no way of waking myself up, so I was stuck listening to the improv of Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dummer. After a while, who knows how long, I tried to block them out. I thought of everything I could, including why I would be held prisoner and asleep. It was overkill for nothing.
“Stay at your post.”
“But I hear footsteps.”
At last, I was going to be rescued. I regretted the thought immediately; guys did not need to be rescued. I was going to look like a fool. Was staying asleep for a thousand years worth it? Then everyone who knew me would be dead and I could claim I was more of a Rip Van Winkle.
“Declare your intentions.”
Really? He watched too many movies. The intruder person snickered and there was a soft thudding noise.
“Serves you right,” the other guard said and then there was another soft thudding noise.
I really hoped it was someone on my side winning. Being asleep for so long was making me desperate and I needed to wake up before I thought something else I regretted.
“Now I have to kiss him?”
Samantha? Anyone but Sassy Sam. Our thoughts were parallel.
“Kissing Ty is at the bottom of my to do list. Right after gouging my eyes out with a wet noodle.”
She always talked to herself and was considered insane when she wasn’t certifiable. Since we had last names close in the alphabet, I usually sat in front of her. When she wasn’t talking, she was sleeping. She would make a great Sleeping Beauty. After she fell asleep, put a “never kiss” sign on her and that would solve a lot of problems. The thought was a little mean, but years of being poked in the back of the head had limited my supply of kindness.
I could smell meat, it was rancid and I hoped woke me up instead of the kiss. Anything emitting that smell I didn’t want anywhere near my face. There was a wet streak across my lips and my arms started to tingle. Disgusting. Glad I was coming to, I jumped out of bed.
That didn’t work. It wasn’t a bed, more of a cement slab and I didn’t jump, more of toppled. My muscles were still tingling and my legs weren’t working.
Samantha leaned close while holding the leash of a large Dalmatian and she was laughing at me. Samantha or a dog, the kiss could have been from either.
“Rise and shine, Sleeping Buffoon.”
It was better than the alternative but still irksome. I got painfully to my feet and brushed off my clothes. My prison wasn’t a tower but more a damp basement. The two guards were on the floor, large tranquilizer darts sticking out of their shoulders.
“Now what?” I asked, tersely.
Samantha smiled, “Now we get to live happily ever after.”
I gave her a flat stare, “Really?”
“No. Time for the police report.”
“You always were too practical.”
“You rather me sweep you off your feet with my motorcycle?”
Couldn’t there be some happy medium? I followed her out of the room, trying to decide if being awake really was better. Then I learned it was still Tuesday and I wouldn’t miss my show after all. Life was good.
24 March 2010
My sister was often left in charge when our parents went on their dates. We got along really well as siblings go but there were times when my older siblings liked to pester one another. There was one joke that my sister liked to play on my brother. She would take swig of a liquid and then puff out her cheeks, pretending she still had the liquid in her mouth when in all actuality she had swallowed the liquid. When she had everyone’s attention she would squeeze her cheeks and let out a harmless puff of air.
Apparently my brother got tired of it so there was one evening, when the parents had left, that he decided he wasn’t going to fall for it. I think they may have been ‘arguing’ about something and my sister took a swig of milk. My brother laughed and when my sister puffed out her cheeks he smiled. With a great show, he pushed her cheeks with her fingers, and got a face full of milk. It was really quite entertaining for my younger brother and me.
17 March 2010
Every month my family gets together to eat and talk about the latest book we’re reading simultaneously. This last Saturday was our monthly gathering and it was a blast. My family is great. The more people together, the louder we get. I’m not talking about a math equation like A + A + A. I mean we get exponentially louder, A * A * A. And, I’m the worst, especially around my brothers.
So on Saturday I was really talkative. (I used to kid myself that I was shy. That’s a lie.) I talked about books, movies, more books, more movies, church, pet peeves, pet peeves with movies. A lot about movies. I am getting frustrated with all of the remakes. (That being said, I’m looking forward to Tron Legacy and I liked Avatar. What can I say, I break my own rules.) I wish there would be an original plot every once in a while. I am also tired of big explosions and special effects making up for plot. This new 3D hype has me really worried. It seems that it doesn’t matter what the plot is as long as it is in 3D people will go. (I will say I'm no expert and I don’t get out to see many movies because they are so expensive.) So if the movie does well in 3D and then tanks as DVD what does that say about the movie? I want a movie that even if it isn’t in 3D, I still like it.
That is enough of a soap box. Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the person who totally forgot and was reminded on the bus ride to work. Too bad I’m not accidentally wearing any green.
14 March 2010
When time resumed, Stephen was three months older and twice as wealthy. He was now the oldest of his high school class by five years. His ten year reunion was soon and he didn't to go. The bag of stolen crown jewels was stashed under his bed where it would remain until he had time to take it down to the vault.
It always bothered him that when he stopped time, he still had to sleep. He was extra tired when time started again. While moving through the clicking of the clock, it strained his muscles against the seconds, like swimming in molasses.
The flickering light of the answering machine held his sleep at bay. Stephen pressed the button and grimaced when an all too familiar voice spoke.
“Hey Steve. This is Kevin, from high school. I don't know if you remember me, but we were hoping you would be coming to the reunion tomorrow.”
Stephen covered his eyes with his arm, “Wait for it.”
“There's to be a tribute for Celeste and we were hoping you would be able say something.”
“You never listened to me when we were in school.”
“You'll be speaking at six-thirty tomorrow night.”
Using his foot, Stephen shoved the answering machine off the bedside table with his foot. It crashed to the floor and the voice stopped. Satisfied, Stephen kicked his shoes off and pulled the comforter up, falling into a fitful sleep. Celeste was in the dream, she was always in the dream. She was as beautiful as ever but her skin was the pale white, how it was before the leukemia finished its course.
The alarm clock went off at six the next morning. Even with late nights, he hated sleeping in late. Sleep took up too much time, he had better things to do with with his life, like make himself rich. He made himself some pancakes and then took a relaxing shower. When he was dressed, he took the bag of jewels to his basement, where the vault was kept.
All of his spoils were neatly organized. It took him an hour to get everything organized and then he left quickly, the sight of all of them made him angry. He could never provide for her when she was alive and now he could save her in more ways than one. The door slammed shut behind him and the lock clicked into place.
The afternoon he spent reading, he never watched the news because there was never anything interesting on. He was reading Winston Churchill's biography but set it down after a few hours and picked up his book to make sure that he was still making all of the signs right. The occult symbols always shifted in his memory if he didn't study every day.
As he was eating lunch there was another phone call. Since the answering machine was broken, Stephen reluctantly answered the phone.
“Steve, is that you? This is Kevin.”
“What do you want Kevin?”
“We'll everyone's here at the reunion, we were hoping you could make it.”
“You want me there to make a speech.”
“That was what we were hoping for.” Kevin kept his voice light, but Stephen could hear some of the old underlying haughtiness.
Stephen didn't bother to keep the contempt from his voice, “Why me?”
“Because for some odd reason, Celeste chose you. Since this is the tenth year of her death, we thought we would have the person who was with her most do the tribute.”
A plan began to form in Stephen's mind, and he smiled to himself, “I'll be there in time, don't worry.”
After he hung up, Stephen dressed all in black, something he didn't normal do, when no one can sees him there, there is no point to dress in theatrics.
At six thirty, Stephen pricked his finger and carefully drew the segmented circle on the palm of his hand. When it was difficult to breathe, he knew it had worked. It was a two hour walk to the old high school and he was tired when he got there. He took a couple of minutes to try and catch his breath, it never worked well. He moved up to the front of the auditorium. Kevin was there, looking slightly distressed as he stood in front of a screen showing a picture of Celeste. Stephen noted absently that he had been cropped out of the picture.
When he was positioned next to Kevin he completed finished the occult and relished the look of surprise on everyone's face. No one ever showed him any respect, except Celeste.
“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming tonight. I am pleased to be the one to give the tribute this year.”
Everyone was staring at him. His hair was prematurely gray and he had lost weight. They weren't what he was expecting. He took advantage of that.
“Celeste was killed because a monster took over her life. Something that I would now like to show you.”
For the first time in his life, Stephen was glad he'd been cursed.
10 March 2010
I don’t do well in meetings that require me to sit quietly for more than half an hour, forty minutes tops. Short attention span doesn’t even cover it. Church is okay because it has a lot of variety and a lot of it I find interesting. Work meetings are another matter. Maybe if I got to sing “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes” in the middle of them I would have a different opinion.
I truly enjoy my job but it requires attending a lot of meetings that don’t always apply to me. It just looks good to have my name on the roll because something might possibly be discussed that I need to know. When that something does come up, great, I take a note. When it doesn’t, I wish to bang my head on the desk so I’ll fall unconscious and the meeting will end faster.
For a while I had so many meetings I could barely get work done. I even had meetings preparing for other meetings. I still can’t figure those ones out. Why on earth would I have to meet with a group to discuss what we’ll talk about in the next meeting? My manager at the time thought they were great. The manager would take notes and then tell everyone in the next meeting everything we had done, but we were still expected to go. That way, if anyone asked a question, we would be able to answer. I wouldn’t have minded if I didn’t have to be there. Someone reporting for me is great.
I like to talk. That is part of the same problem. I don’t think about what I’m saying. I go to all kinds of meetings, and since I am not really paying attention, when I’m asked a question, all kinds of random information comes out. There are days I wonder why people still invite me places. I feel like the Shel Silverstein poem “If you have to dry the dishes.” Maybe I’ll say something so off I’ll no longer be invited to meetings.
In my Monday meeting, I was busy drawing elephants (see my Flash Fiction story this week if you’re wondering why). I would’ve felt bad, except my manager was sitting next to me and kept complimenting me as he watched me draw.
07 March 2010
On Edgar the Elephant's second assignment from work, he realized he'd been insane to apply. The first assignment went smoothly enough. He picked up his assigned package and started the journey to Cambodia. Glad he would see more of the world than the small African savannah he'd lived in his whole life, he trudged along, taking in the scenery.
One of his co-workers flew by, “Hey, Edgar. Pick it up if you want the package to make it on time.” There was a chirping chortle and then he was out of sight.
Edgar didn't let it bother him. He kept moving knowing he would get there eventually. When he reached the coast of Somalia, he used his trunk and held the precious bundle in the air as he swam. It was difficult to keep going, but by swimming, Edgar shaved a couple of weeks off his time.
Tired and bedraggled, he finally reached the small hut in Phnom Penh. A fence, he wasn't expecting, was accidentally crushed as he tiptoed up to the window. The noise from the splintering wood brought eager faces to the window. A lone tree in the yard offered him a little cover, the darkness helped with the rest. The two young children only watched for a few minutes before they turned away.
More nervous then ever, Edgar crept around the small hut until he found a room with a crude crib in one corner. Very carefully, the package was place in the crib and as he drew his trunk back, he knocked a small chair over. The racket woke the infant and Edgar crouched down by the side of the house, covering his face with his ears, as people ran into the room. While the occupants were busy admiring the new addition to their family, Edgar crawled away and headed home.
He was too tired to swim so he went by land. By the time he made it back to Kenya, he realized maybe his co-worker was right.
The dispatcher motioned to another package, Anchorage Alaska. Edgar swallowed as the dispatcher cawed. The package squirmed and Edgar realized he had made a wrong choice. S.T.O.R.C (Speedy Transportation of Children) was not for him. He couldn't do this job, no matter how much he wanted to. With great reluctance, he turned in his resignation. As he left, a wiser yet somber elephant, he thought through everything on his dream job list. As he mentally checked off the STORK job, he smiled to himself.
“It's a little warm here, maybe I should try Santa's little helper now.” He went back in and picked up the package, figuring he could drop her off on the way to North Pole.
03 March 2010
At one point there was a fellow tailgating us and my friend found a place to pull off to the side so the annoyance behind us could pass. From my perspective in the passenger seat, I saw there was a six inch difference between the road and the shoulder. The only word that came to mind as she pulled off was “Ka-thunk!”
Continuing to pull off she asked, “What?”
Apparently my sound effect of what was going to happen wasn’t a good thing to say in warning. Although, between the two of us, that works just fine. If one of us says ka-thunk while the other is driving we know what is going to happen.
I must be bad luck. People tend to run red lights when I am in the car. Because of the multiple experiences I’ve had I have learned a few things not to say when warning people of red lights.
Main Street, two in the morning.
Me: “Um. . .”
Me, as we pass under the red light: “That was red.”
First East, night.
Me, pointing wildly: “Ahh, ahh, ahh”
Me, as we pass under the red light: “That was red.”
Center Street, night.
Me: “Red. Red.”
Me, as we pass under the red light: “Red light.”
Driver, slamming on the breaks: “Shucks.”
Fourteen North, early evening.
Me: “Red light, red light.”
Me and driver as we see a bus coming into the intersection: “Oh dear.”
Me and driver coming out of intersection, unharmed: “gulp”
First west, afternoon.
Me: “Stop. Red light.”
Driver: “Oh. Thanks.”
It only took five times to get it right. Now I know and I am passing on that valuable information to you. Say stop.