The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘Short Story’

When? 2472. What? A Conversation.

I don’t think I found it but … It’s too weird to just dismiss.

What is it?

It’s something called ‘Spider Man.’

Some creature that was half man, half spider? Sure, sure! That could’ve caused the downfall of civilization!

No, uh … I think it’s just a bunch of movies.

Oh. A horror movie about a half spider, half man? Whatever. They made a lot of terrible movies in their heyday.

No, listen. Listen. There were a BUNCH.

Again. That’s nothing. They made movies that seemed really –

LISTEN! 2002, Spider-Man. 2004, Spider-Man 2, 2007 Spider-Man 3!

Well –

LISTEN! 2012, The Amazing Spider-Man, 2014 The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Now that is –

Wait. There’s more. Apparently he was then in a Civil War, and then in 2017, Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Seven movies in 15 years? That actor must have gotten so –

Three actors.

Seven movies. 15 years. Three actors? None of that makes sense!

EXACTLY!

I doubt it caused the Earth to blow up, but … I mean, that is weird. Maybe that’s what signaled when intelligence just kinda stopped.

I still think it was 2020, so many bad jokes led to the collective consciousness resigning.

Yeah, could be.

spider-man-tobey-maguire-andrew-garfield-tom-holland-987043-1280x0

Picture from here, post aside, I’m looking forward to the next spidey flick.

Grandpa and the Aliens, Part II

We were close now to whatever the attraction was, because all of the aliens had circled like there was a school yard fight in the middle. We slowed down and for the first time since he woke up my grandpa seemed undecided. The aliens in front of us turned and seemed to step back reverentially. This was both good and bad: the good was that I knew an alien had not manipulated my brain to make me feel unnaturally relaxed, the bad was I was now afraid I was going to be killed or eaten.

Grandpa decided it was time to get the audience our side and opened the bag of sugar. He stuck the spoon in and held the bag out to me to the do the same, then we walked up to aliens and gestured for them to try the contents held in the spoon. The aliens somehow figured out what it was we were doing and took the sugar. I don’t know how to read the reactions of life forms I’d never encountered before but they mostly seemed pleased.

As we moved forward toward the center of the circle, toward what I considered my eventual unpleasant demise, we lifted the spirits of those around us, I guess, by handing out spoonfuls of sugar. Tentacles, digits, mouths, and telekinesis took the sugar to their mouths or what have you. What a delight to see that my grandpa and I were not the only ones with a sweet tooth.

Before we knew it we were in the middle of the circle and it had closed behind us, leaving us trapped. In front of us four aliens of, probably, different species stood waiting. While the atmosphere felt light, upbeat and excited, these four seemed intense and solemn. Oh, I thought with sarcastic aplomb, these are the ones who will be killing us.

A fifth figure who was wearing some pretty flamboyant clothes stepped into the center of the circle and gave a speech which was not only well-received, it almost made me want to cry. I looked over at my grandpa and he seemed bemused but delighted about it.

The MC gestured to my grandpa and I and stepped back to join those in a ring around the circle. I looked around for the first time since being in the circle to see that a number of aliens were hovering or flying so that they could see us. Stadium seating with no fuss.

A device was handed to me along with a nod, of sorts. I looked around, hoping for more clues but none came. Not wanting to deprive the crowd of entertainment, I hit the button on the device. Music started.

One of the four solemn aliens stepped into the middle and began a war dance. I guessed, in its culture, this is what they do before maiming a lesser creature. I studied it for weakness and noticed that intentional or not, it was really good at something not unlike the cabbage patch. After about a minute of flailing and such, the alien stepped back and another took its place, this one had perfected the white chocolate.

I looked at my grandpa who was tapping his foot, I couldn’t blame him, the song had a good beat.

Then, like that time I didn’t realize that girl liked me until she was in the middle of kissing me, it occurred to me. I’m a part of an intergalactic dance off. The next thought was a collection of about forty thoughts at once but it could be summarized as: neat.

I pulled out all of my best moves: the razzle dazzle (where I do jazz hands while also doing karate kicks), the Bambi (this thing where I pretend I’m a baby deer just learning to walk but it’s kinda to a beat), I did a really bad version of a ballerina spinning except I’ve never done any ballet so I almost fell down but I think I made it look intentional because then I went directly into this staggering around thing sort of like when you knock out the first guy in Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, and finally I wrapped it up with some Footloose inspired angry dancing where every body part is trying to move as aggressively as possible.

I felt pretty good about my showing, and I think the aliens liked my moves, but just then our neighbor, the one I had lied about having cut off one of his limbs, showed up and unlike my grandpa and I he had a rather large gun. He was running toward my grandpa, pointing the gun angrily at aliens as he yelled he was coming to rescue us.

I decided to calm things down by turning up the volume (wait, how did I do that?) and hitting for the next track (talk about good user interface, I just guessed at where these buttons would be and I was dead on). Then I attempted to demonstrably prove the power of the Fraggle Rock philosophy on life: dancing ones cares away (thusly saving them for another day).

This did the trick of stopping my neighbor, but he still seemed unsure. I went to the circle and held out my hand, an appendage, I hope, was held out and we danced together for a brief moment. I went to another alien and pulled it into the dance circle in the same manner and soon enough the whole crowd was dancing.

If I may be so bold, this was an even better sight than crowd of alien ships flocking toward our backyard for a dance fight.

As the song drew to a close the aliens all began making noises, raising their voices to the sky in a celebratory cacophony of peed-pants inducing gibberish.

My body felt light and suddenly I was inside a spaceship. My grandpa was beside me, slightly less calm than before because this time he breathed in deeply and exhaled audibly. This was the same noise you’d hear if dinner time was delayed an hour. I was still riding the high of my dance fight, but I had to agree with grandpa, I was ready to be in a more comfortable environment.

Unfortunately some aliens arrived to show us to a window where we saw them destroy Earth. This was upsetting because I didn’t know if it was punishment for bad dancing or a prize for good dancing. Is it that I danced so poorly that they felt the Earth should be destroyed? Or did I dance so well, have such a party, that they felt the Earth had peaked and was no longer needed? Also I was upset because the Earth had been destroyed. That’s where I had kept all my stuff, and my family, and other people who were nice too, I suppose.

An alien nodded at me with what might be considered a grin, so I figured I’d danced well, and then the alien left.

“Hey grandpa?,” I asked, trying to keep my voice calm.

“Hm,” grandpa responded, with a tone that seemed to indicate irritation.

“Um, I forgot.” This was a lie, I wanted to apologize but I didn’t have the words.

We made the same decision silently and began to explore the ship a bit in search of the alien equivalent of corn on the cob and a nap-worthy chair. It’s a noble pursuit.

Grandpa and the Aliens, Part I

Spaceships were landing in droves on Earth and I was feeling pretty unsettled about this. I found my grandpa who was asleep on the big comfy chair, the TV set to something boring, the remote locked in his hand.

I hesitated – I could wake grandpa up but what if I’ve just gone crazy and there aren’t really any spaceships? I decided double checking was in order.

I ran to a different door and sure enough there were spaceships coming down even in that area. But this time I noticed something different. Aliens of all kinds of shape and size were rushing out of their ships, I suppose it was rushing, all of them heading in one area. At first I thought they were rushing towards me, but it was only those who had landed behind the house who appeared to be coming towards me … They were going past us.

There was something in the distance these aliens were heading to, and I figured grandpa would want to know what it was too.

“GRANDPA?,” I shouted, having just closed the door behind me loudly. Slammed, you might say. Then I ran forward to the family room where he was stirring, “oh sorry,” I said much louder than necessary, “I didn’t know you were asleep,” each word coming out staccato like a machine gun. He was bound to be awake now.

“Hm,” grandpa mustered, looking at me with … eyes. I’d tell you what was behind those eyes but the emotions were hidden behind those sleep crusties.

“Um,” I didn’t know how much truth to give grandpa seeing as how he didn’t believe in aliens as far as I knew, “do you believe in aliens?”

Grandpa gave me a confused look. It didn’t look like he was about to answer, so I guess maybe his opinion wasn’t as simple as a yes or no but a more complicated answer involving probabilities and the great unknown that is Earth and so how could we possibly know what is outside our little world?

“Well, anyway,” I continued, not wanting to miss whatever alien spectacle was occurring, “I think a neighbor had a bad accident. Cutting down a tree or something. Lost a limb.” At this point I was continuing not to get grandpa moving but to see if his eyes could get any wider, “Lots of blood. Neighbors dog might have that limb and be playing tug-of-war with it.” Whoops. Too far. Grandpa’s forward progress faltered as he tried to determine if I was lying, he was hovering above the comfort of the magical nap-chair, “so … we should probably go help. Right?”

I opened the door first and said casually over my shoulder, “oh look, spaceships,” I looked back and grandpa gave a sort of disappointed look at the skyline full of spaceships which were, presumably, looking for parking.

“Where’s the neighbor?” grandpa said after giving the skyline what he considered was its due consideration, “huh?” I asked, having no idea what he was talking about and, “ohhh yeah … the neighbor,” I remembered my lie, “um, I lied. I just wanted you to see the space ships.”

“Hm,” grandpa grunted. Apparently me lying and me waking him up to see countless alien visitors warranted roughly the same reaction. Not everyone is capable of projecting such consistency but grandpa’s a unique guy.

“Should we walk down to see what’s going on?” I was really hopeful he would be ok with this, because that’s what I wanted to do.

This time grandpa deviated from the script, giving a “hmmm” with several extra m’s than usual. He said this and then turned around and walked right back into the house. I waited, figuring he would return with a reason not to go or a gun. I was pretty sure grandpa wouldn’t have a gun in the house until this moment, when for the first time it made perfect sense that we would have a gun.

Instead of a gun, grandpa returned with a pan and a five pound bag of granulated sugar and a ziplock bag of an indeterminate amount of brown sugar. He handed me a spoon and kept one for himself, and then we began walking forward.

I stole a glance at my grandpa who may or may not have been feeling the same, but he had stuck his hand into the bag of brown sugar and was pulling some out to eat. He proffered the bag to me and I gladly accepted. I’m not sure what in life is best at steeling the nerves, based on movies it’s alcohol but this sugar had me feeling pretty good.

Some aliens were soon flanking us, moving along in their various ways of transporting themselves forward. This was somehow as natural as a mass of humanity heading to a sporting event. No, more than that, a home sporting event. Somehow every creature moving along had a sense of hope, everything in me told me I was going to an exciting event surrounded by friendly strangers with the same hopes and expectations.

I wondered if one of the aliens had some mental manipulating ability to make me at ease when I really should have been fleeing, every pore of my body shouting words that communicate fear. I thought my having gone crazy was equally likely, but with the solid presence of my grandpa chugging along right beside me I figured everything was ok.

Who better to go nuts with then a man who had naps and corn on the cob as his favorite things. Grandma might disagree with my list.

The Delegates Assemble

Brain: I’ve called this emergency meeting of the department heads today because lately the body hasn’t been getting enough sleep. I’ve formed what I think is a pretty good plan for how to deal with this … Staggered start times. You see, we will introduce the body’s full potential slowly as the day goes on. That way we don’t use so much energy trying to get everything going for no reason.

Hand: I see what you’re saying but … what can you cut? You need us for cereal!

Brain: Yes, hands, feet, legs … You guys are important. Priorities one and two are peeing and cereal and those must be handled quickly.

Eye: You usually turn on the news so you’ll need us and the ears.

Ear: Yep.

Brain: Uh, correction, the LOCAL news. Ears and eyes needed at about 20% for the sake of everyone. You guys will ramp up slowly and be good to go by commute time.

Heart: So … you’re calling for this change in procedure?

Brain: Yeah … so …

Heart: It’s just … Last night everyone agreed they were tired … Eyes, legs, feet, back, just … everyone, even YOU … And yet …

Brain: Look I’m the first to admit, last night was a mistake. I didn’t need to watch an hour of bloopers from shows I’ve never even watched at a time when I should have been asleep.

Heart: LAST NIGHT? You make it seem like that’s not the way it normally is? I think it’s time we vote for new leadership, and I put my name in the mix. I’m the HEART. This show wouldn’t run without me. And what’s more, I’m pretty dang consistent unlike the brain who sometimes chooses to sleep in the middle of the day but wake up at bedtime.

Brain: The brain wants what it wants! And listen, new leadership is –

Foot: I also want to throw my name into the mix for the new leader.

(Heart and Brain laugh.)

Brain: What … How are YOU important?

Foot: …I represent a very important delegation for dancing!

Hip: Not more important than us!

(Everybody laughs.)

Brain: Thanks for the laugh, hips, that was needed. This was getting tense.

Hip: No really. We are important. You can’t ignore us forever!

Brain: Shhh, shhh, shh. Quiet down. You can raise any concerns at the quarterly meeting.

Hip: …You’ll regret ignoring me someday.

Heart: I don’t see why I shouldn’t be leader, really.

Brain: Heart, you operate at 100% necessary functionality always. Everybody knows I’m willing to sacrifice myself for the good of the body, sometimes forcing myself to ramp up from 10% functionality to 100% functionality over the course of HOURS.

Hand: …Lazy.

Brain: What was that?

Hand: Nothing.

(Suddenly a man on horseback rides in.)

Brain: Who are you?

Mysterious horseback man: My name is Charley, and this is my horse. I’m taking over this place.

Three Wishes

Ok, ok, let me think. I wish I knew what to wish for.

Ok genie, I didn’t like that. Who are YOU to tell ME what to do about being careful with how I phrase things!? I’m pretty sure YOU aren’t the one with the power to command me what to do. So take a seat genie, because honestly, I just wish you’d shut up.

Oh great, now you’re making some dumb face at me genie? Really? You’re going to just sit there, making dumb faces after telling me what to do? You’re worse than … No, no, there’s only one person worse than you. My step mom’s hairdresser. Yeah, you wouldn’t think I know this person so well that I can promise without a doubt that she is the most annoying person on Earth but I have spent that much time with her … and she is … I just wish she was here right now so you could meet her.

…Well, shoot.

Not Entirely Fruitless

I just read an interesting unfinished autobiography of “Dr.” Gorg Homkins.

The unfinished autobiography ended with this, “And so, with my last breath I bid the Earth farewell and thus ends my book”

Note the lack of punctuation that renders the autobiography unfinished. Scholars have debated for minutes at a time whether it was to be a period or exclamation point.

Obviously I am with the small, but tall, group of scholars that insist it was a pound sign. This we believe must be the case because “Dr.” Gorg had never once been slightly interesting or funny and so we figure he was due.

But why bring up “Dr.” Gorg to you? Ah yes, because I’m feeling morbid and whimsical. A classic combination of feelings made popular by the creepy man sitting by me at the bus stop.

You see, “Dr.” Gorg was a grave-digger who would cut open dead bodies to look for words inside them. The good “Doctor” believed every person had a last important message that they had to get out – some people managed to get this out before dying, but for others death came too soon. These people contained inside them a written copy of their last important message. And so, after what he described as an epiphany but I would describe as an addiction to smoking crushed up kitty litter, the good “Doctor” began digging up bodies for his research.

The research was fairly fruitless, except for two peculiar cases.

The first was Joanne Thompson, who was buried with a pineapple.

The second was Jeremy Privo, who choked while trying to eat a book, and died. The book was a Where’s Waldo, and fragments of the book were obtained by “Dr.” Gorg. These fragments listed things to look for, which the good “Doctor” set out to do. Perhaps in death he has found Wizard Whitebeard.

Reading this book, and about the case of young Mr. Privo has led me to a bold decision. I will not read anything that I cannot successfully eat! People meet me and think I love Kit Kat’s, this is simply not true. It’s just hard to find good reading material.

However you should be glad to know that my intellectual qualities have not been hurt by my lack of intellect. I often quote famous works of literature. I would dare to guess I use the word “the” at least five times a day. Someone you may be familiar with, one William Shakespeare, was also known to have used that word to some success.

Therefore, although the nearly finished autobiography of “Dr.” Gorg Homkins was incredibly boring, full of idiocy, painful, and led me to never again read a book – I would say the endeavor was not entirely fruitless. After all, the publisher had a sense of humor, and each book comes with a pineapple.

Relationship Status

My girlfriend and I took a big step the other day. I’m not going to pretend to know if it was a good or bad decision in the grand scheme of things. It certainly had some repercussions. And it certainly was a big step.

I had to go grocery shopping, and so did she, so we went together. We don’t usually do this. It was nice. Kind of cute I guess. I noticed other couples, maybe two or three. But mostly I saw people who were by themselves and were single or married – you could tell by their cart.

That’s not what was important about this trip, though. What’s important was this – we bought ice cream together.

It all starts somewhere, people, and for us, it was ice cream.

I’ve had friends who were dating each other and they thought, ‘let’s get an apartment together.’ Sometimes that’s awful nice, and beautiful, and whatever else. Sometimes though, it’s the opposite of the list of adjectives you just came up with.

One such couple bought a set of pots and pans together. A fifteen set. That is a lot of pots and pans and perhaps even more importantly it is an odd number. The gal in this relationship, not to be sexist – but she’s the one living the stereotype, not me – cooks much more than the guy. The guy is really rather stupid when it comes to food. He and I got in a conversation about it, from which I learned he thinks it is more cost-savvy to eat out at cheap sandwich shops. ‘I buy a sandwich and it costs like, 5 or 6 bucks … I go to the grocery store and I have to spend all this money on bread, and meat, and tomatoes … and then I have to take all the time to prepare it.’ He really is this dumb.

And now here he is engaging in this next dumb activity. You get an apartment together, that’s fine. But you each buy half the necessary stuff! Don’t split it. I get the couch, you get the TV. Etc.

I can see in a few months some very heated discussions about that terrible 15th pot/pan. It is a terrible maneuver on the part of the pot/pan making company but very business savvy. They will each have to go buy a half set more of pots/pans, or find someone who made the same mistake in a relationship but got the exact opposite half set of pots/pans. Wouldn’t that be tremendous?

I am smart. I can see potential problems and that’s why I’m doing so well. I don’t rush into things. My girlfriend wasn’t the type to rush into things either.

We were going to start doing more together. We were going to eat ice cream together. After that magical trip to the grocery store.

As soon as we checked out I looked at her and she smiled and I thought, ‘this is so nice.’ Then I looked in front of me to make sure I wouldn’t walk into something. Then I looked over at her again and she was still smiling. This worried me.

Why is she smiling so much?

I thought back on what we had said when we made the decision to buy ice cream together,

‘Mmm, I could go for ice cream.’ Me.

‘Yeah, that does sound good.’ Her.

‘I’m gonna buy some.’ Me.

‘Want to split one? I don’t want to eat that much, so you can have most.’ Her.

That bitch! She tricked me into this! Of course!

That wily bitch.

She knows I’m cheap, and she knows I love food – she used this. Bitch is probably smiling about wedding rings!

As we got back to my place I felt claustrophobic. I looked around and couldn’t help but imagine her moving in and taking up too much room.

Is that her sweater on my chair?

‘Hey, is that your sweater?’

She smiled that, ‘whoops’ smile. Wily, manipulative –

‘Actually I’m cold anyway.’

Cold-hearted, manipulative, wily little –

I have to say, looking back, it was probably a little irrational of me to break it off with her that night. And then to throw the ice cream out the window was just kind of silly. I can safely say that I overreacted.

With pots and pans, especially the nice ones, when you buy those with someone you’re stuck for a long time. You had better not be the type to feel claustrophobic. Ice cream is a less strong commitment, but it is certainly still a commitment. Do not underestimate it. You don’t want to break it off, and then go home feeling down to find an empty freezer knowing full well that your ex is eating ice cream that you paid for.

Since the ‘ice cream incidator’ (incidator because it’s like instigator mixed with incident) as I called it in the Dear So-and-So advice column letter I thought about writing, I’ve been working on my commitment issues.

I figured the best way to work on my issue would be to dive in head first.

I went out on a date with a girl and after the date ended I insisted that we get ice cream. I bought a pint and said, ‘keep it at your place, maybe after our next date we can finish it off.’ Then I smiled to let her know, I’m in this for real.

She never called me again. I think I came on too strong, wanting to have a mutual possession too soon.

I went on a date with a different girl and I asked her how long she thought a thing of ice cream usually lasted. She said depends on the person. I said I could polish one off in three, maybe four sittings. Then I looked away and said let’s get a thing of ice cream together, ‘for us‘. She laughed and said ok. I didn’t know the word ‘ok’ could come across sounding so needy.

Recently I found out that you can fake being lactose intolerant, and no one would ever know. I have a date tomorrow with a girl, and having found out about this lactose intolerance I don’t see how any thing can stop us from being married.

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