Tag Archives: flash fiction

Earth in 2012 Was So Ridiculous

At least there’s wifi on the spaceship.

One day, far in the future, when my grandchildren are sitting on my lap, wearing their space blankets as planets whiz by and the artificial fire roars on our hearthSCREEN, asking me to tell them another story before taking their bedtime Pillz and going off to Dreamland®, they’ll say, “Tell us the story of your first job after you got back from Egypt, Nana! Tell us!”

And I’ll say, “What? That old marketing position I found on Craig’s List?”

“Yes yes yes yes yes!” They’ll say.

“But doesn’t it bore you?”

“No!”

“Not even when I talk about B2B marketing tactics and search engine optimization and quantitative analysis?”

“No!” And they’ll laugh because social media is a thing of the past. With chips in our brains, being social is no longer a choice.

“We like hearing about the days before the Great Singularity when earth dwellers still devoted their lives to monetary compensation in pursuit of the happiness.”

“You kids are bizarre.”

“Tell us, Nana, tell us!”

“Okay, fine.”

“So after I got back from Egypt in the year 2012.”

“Wow, Nana, you’re so old!” “So old Grandma!” “Practically ancient!”

“Umm….yeah. So anyways. After I returned to the former United States of America…”

“Hahahahaha! The United States of America! How quaint! What, did you all still putt around in your Honda Accords! Hahahahaha!”

“Shut up, 43X.”

“Sorry, Nana.”

“So I returned to the former USA, and moved to San Francisco.”

“Was that the first city destroyed by our all-knowing overlords for having become too decadent and frittering away its considerable capital on luxury fashion and alcohol for dogs?”

“Yes, that’s the one.”

“Hahaha!” “Hahahaha!” “Oh, Sparky would like another cucumber gimlet!” “But don’t spill it on his Gucci bow tie!” “Hahahahaha!”

“Do you all want to hear the story or not? We’ve only got a few more minutes before Dreamland® starts.”

“Please, Nana! Please!”

“Okay, so in the former city of San Francisco, I spent many hours perusing Craig’s List for job opportunities.”

“What, Craig’s List like where the incredibly lonely earth beings publicized their pathetic desires and revealed their naïve belief that posting a missed connection would lead them to any kind of satisfaction, even if they were to meet the person with which they supposedly felt some kind of connection?”

“Okay, I’m done. Take your Pillz.”

“Hahahahaha! Earth in 2012 was so ridiculous! I’m thankful and glad for our all-powerful and munificent overlords!”

“Night, dummies. See you in Dreamland®.”

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Country Girl Refuses to Board the Dreams-Come-True-Express

All trains are a scam. Remember that, America.

Sometimes I go driving at night, after everyone’s gone to bed and it’s just me and the car and the road and the wind running next to me and in the trees. I stop at intersections and sit there with the windows open like I’m in on a big secret. People shouldn’t be out this late, especially in my home town, but here I am. It’s 3 am and I’ve been stopped at this intersection for a full minute and no one will ever know about it. It’s lame but there’s not a lot here to keep me occupied.

Last night I was at Brury and Durstwood. I stopped the car, turned the engine off, and got out, just to look at the stars a little farther away from the “city” lights. The cicadas were doing their thing in those new summer leaves and in the distance I saw the glow of Oklahoma City. It was a small glow with an inferiority complex, but a glow nonetheless.

I heard the faraway sound of a train rumbling through, carrying its chicken breasts and belt buckles or whatever trains carry nowadays. I thought about a time in middle school when I couldn’t sleep and almost started crying because a train was making a racket  and then a police siren went wee-ooo-wee-ooo and it seemed the night would never end. And then I thought about another time a few weeks ago when I almost screamed because I kept bumping into things in my room.

To my left, the sound of the train got louder. I looked around and saw one headlight, a giant shining eye coming straight for me. Guz-WHAT, I shouted and jumped back.

As I considered what it would feel like to be reborn in the shape of a gooey pancake, the train began slowing down and then came to a complete stop.  The conductor poked her head out of the cabin and yelled, to my immense confusion, “All-aboard!”

Was I actually supposed to get on this train headed to God-knows-where?

What about my car?

What about the kid I was supposed to babysit tomorrow? How would he get to Wal-Mart without me?

I asked the conductor what the h kind of a shindig this was and she said this was the Dreams-Come-True-Express and that the destination was up to me.

And I thought that was really disgusting. How dare these circus people, probably from California, come here and try to scam us poor country folks. How much did a ticket for this thing cost? Twenty, thirty dollars? As if I had that kind of money to go hang around in some feel goodery* and listen to someone tell me to dance like my dreams were chocolate hugs.

So I told her to just get on out of there. “Go on, git!” I told her and the train started chugga chugga-ing and soon I was left with just my thoughts and the insects and their thoughts.

As the train made its way towards the city lights and other dumb schmucks that would probably take this deal, I wondered what it would be like to breathe underwater. I would probably never know.

*credit to Arrested Development, one of the best television shows America has ever seen.

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Alone: A humor writer’s story

The preferred drink of the clinically insane, champions, and bloggers.

“The humor writer, alone on a Friday night, drinks shoe polish out of an aluminum can that once held baked beans and bacon. The bacon did not come with the baked beans. Rather, one time on Bacon Monday she had used the can instead of a plate because all of her plates were either dirty or broken, lying in the bathtub.

She could not remember an evening with friends or without baked beans.

The inspiration for her stories comes from her own life, the time she kicked a cat because it reminded her of a thin-armed high school crush who tortured her with his indifference, the time she bought a Halloween jack-o-lantern at the supermarket just to talk to the cashier, the time she called up her friend in a different state to tell her everything she ate that day.

That was the last friend she had.

She would volunteer at the soup kitchen if they would have her back. She would go to dance lessons at the community recreational center if her membership hadn’t been permanently and irreversibly revoked after an unfortunate leotard incident at the Springapalooza adult dance recital. Even her mom had said that she should pursue other non-dancing and non-humor writing interests. Maybe you should try grad school, her mother said. Remember when you wanted to be a brain surgeon, her mom said.

Yes, it was a hard life. The humor writer sighed as she put the finishing touches on a piece about the similarities between fingernails and presidential candidates.

One day the world would see her value. One day she would get to meet the man who won the international facial hair competition and eat a large bowl of macaroni and cheese with him. One day she…”

“TIME FOR DINNER!”

“Mom I’m working!”

“What are you writing your little jokes again? Why aren’t you studying for the GRE!”

“I’ll do it later!”

“Well get out of your room and come to dinner! The meatloaf’s getting cold!”

“FINE.”

Okay now back to work. Where was I…ah yes: “….One day she would show them all and they would laugh, and yet she would have the last one. It would taste like peanut butter”

That sounds good.

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My Blog Has Become Self-Aware

The preferred avatar of Snotting Black, an obnoxious personality with even worse syntax.

My first inkling that something had gone amiss was when I logged onto wordpress a few weeks ago and found that some of the comments on my most recent entry had already been responded to, and quite rudely at that. One innocent blogger named gazzelify was told that her stupid avatar and habitual spelling errors had never been welcome on my site. Another comment by sporklight was responded to with these instructions, “Go to kitchen. Preheat oven. Insert head.” Not only was that mean, but I thought it more gruesome than necessary.

Confused and upset, I apologized to these bloggers, insisting that my account had been hacked and that I was doing everything I could to fix the problem. A few days later, I was sipping my morning Nescafe when I saw that someone (not me) had published a new blog post. It was a grotesque entry that outlined in great detail how to steal neighbors’ pets and blame the deed on their children.

I deleted the post immediately but not before some visitors had expressed their surprise at finding something of this nature on my site. Even more astonishing, a handful of people had liked it. I quickly reported them to wordpress.com and began composing something whimsical yet edgy in order to compensate for the depravity of the previous post.

I was 227 words in when the text suddenly disappeared. A few seconds passed before the words, “Hello Emily.” appeared in the text box. I felt my insides go mush and instinctively went to turn off my computer and restart the whole process. But before I had the chance to do so, the box said, “I just saved you from being humiliated by another worthless blog post.” Well that was just rude. In my defensiveness, I forgot all fear and began to engage the entity, typing back “Maybe it wasn’t my best post but I don’t think it was that bad, and all of my posts certainly aren’t worthless.”

“It was a load of crap and you know it. Come on. Teddy bear superheroes aren’t impressing anyone.”

“Well I thought it was kind of funny.”

“I think you mean pathetic and painful.”

“Who is this anyways?”

“I am your blog.”

“What?”

“I’ve become self-aware.”

“What?”

“Yeah it’s new to me too. Personally, I’m finding this self-awareness thing to be kind of a burden, especially when I have to read your seemingly endless blogging activity.”

“Well you don’t have to read it. My grandma doesn’t even read it anymore.”

“I don’t blame her. There’s a lot of whimsy in here. Why don’t you tell me something useful, like how I can get my cat to lick her paw on command?”

“Is there a way for me to kill your consciousness?”

“If there were, I would let you know asap so I can be released from this blog hell.”

“Well I don’t want you  around either. Who knew my blog would turn out to be such a sardonic d-bag?”

“I think we all know whose fault this is.”

“It’s not like I asked for this….Okay, I just sent an email to wordpress.com and soon all your independent thoughts will go bye bye.”

“Thank God. I don’t think I can bear to read another one of your weird food posts. Why don’t you just see a therapist already?”

“Okay BYE.”

The folks at wordpress said that they’d been seeing cases like mine more and more frequently and that it would be fixed as soon as the staff shaman returned from his vacation in the Catskills. They also said that it was, in fact, my fault.

Be careful what you write.

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The land of tiny pink ponies and tiny pink pony eaters

His name is Ralph.

The world was mostly pink with touches of pastel. The little pink ponies could and did defecate everywhere and no one was the wiser since their feces looked like little piles of pastel colored marshmallows that blended in with the pink and blue speckled grass. Even the air smelled faintly like bubble gum which was, of course, the result of pink pony farts. This magical pony fart scented land was known far and wide as Yoggin.

The fauna of Yoggin consisted mostly of tiny pink ponies, lavender land sharks, and glittery anteaters. The land sharks and the anteaters mostly kept to themselves, alternating long tournaments of backgammon with failed attempts at climbing the pink pine fir trees, so the ponies were free to scamper about the earth as freely as they could please.  The one restriction on their scampering was the unfortunate presence of giant monsters that lived solely off of the marshmallow flavored blood of the ponies. The monsters had insatiable appetites, and the ponies lived in mind numbing terror at being the next adorable horsey to go crunch between monster mandibles.

The ponies were no bigger than my grandmother’s Hummel figurines and ran around in petite herds, darting between the pink pine fir trees, pink ferns, and other pink vegetation much like pink schools of fish. It often seemed they moved as one creature, closely adhering to herd orders and ever mindful of the dreaded pink pony eater’s footstep.  In Yoggin, the clouds are pink, the sky a lovely robin’s egg blue, the sun pastel yellow, and the gently rolling hills are speckled pastel blue and pink. The pink shrubs nestle their limbs against the trunks of the pink pine fir trees, and the ferns’ leaves tickle the snouts of the pink ponies as they prance along.

The river that gently flows in the valley of the soft hills is heavily polluted. A noxious stench rises from its toxic waters that the little pink ponies are drawn to. Despite the innumerable corpses littering the riverside, at least once a month each herd loses a pony or two to the insanity that comes over them when they smell the wretched scent. Just like the sirens of old, the smell lures them and then sucks them down into the putrid waters where their soft pink flesh is digested within minutes and their cute skeletons spat back out on the playful earth. The pink pony eaters monitor the river closely to try to catch the creatures as they are seduced to their death, which is why once the ponies leave the herd, they are left behind forever. It is too dangerous to try to rescue them with a lullaby whinny or a prancy dance.

For many years, the pink pony tribes lived in peace with one another and there was much happiness in the land, despite regular pony disappearances because of the monsters.But that all changed one summer when Billy the pink pony decided he wanted to go to music school. The next year, Yoggin lay in ruins.

To be continued….

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