She was saying something, of this he was sure. What exactly were her words, now this was a mystery. His thoughts muffled them into incoherency. It didn’t matter. She was as likely to notice his disinterest as to stop talking altogether. His eyes wandered upwards. Seeing her expression of concern, he knew he should probably pay attention. Life? Money? Politics? There were too many words to filter through to make a guess. Glancing sideways, he counted the number of tiles on the tessellated floor. “Do half tiles count?” he pondered. Deciding they don’t, he went back to watching the news.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
There was no doubt that Jason was a lucky man, – just ask his college professors – a fact he was well aware of, so when he was touring an underground bunker as nuclear warfare broke out with his girlfriend of two months and three weeks, he decided the time was ripe to propose.
“Wait until you see the whites of their eyes,” thought William as he loaded his bayonet on Bunker Hill, yet when the assailants lowered their heads in their headlong charge, he became confused at the hypothetical and literal complications of such actions and panicked; William is my ancestor.
These two sentences were inspired by a competition for the worst opening line to a novel. You can find better (worse?) ones here.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
A word. A word that sets off a fire in the woods with a cigarette butt. A word crazy men rant and rave about until everyone turns away in shame. But the shame you feel is much worse. The shame you feel is your own. Miserable wretch! How dare you do such things and how dare you forget? The word reminds you. You can’t breathe and you can’t think and everything is going so fast and you are skipping skipping a beat and the jolt you feel from your heart stopping stops it again and you see it. Your guilt.
Monday, October 25, 2010
For those too lazy to do a handstand, here's the original text:
I swear it wasn’t my fault. I was framed. I have a semi-plausible alibi. At least, those were my excuses. I deserve to be hanging upside down like this. Kings don’t get assassinated every day. I suppose I should curse myself for getting caught. What’s that? I should curse myself for murdering someone? Don’t make me laugh. Seriously, it hurts. I think I’ve got a few hours of consciousness, tops. So, listen up. King Obid planned to turn the world on its head. Up would be down, right would be wrong! It sounds like a nice plan right now, actually.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Do I regret my actions? Perhaps, but in no way do they haunt me. I might toss and turn on particularly quiet nights, but sleep is the perfect remedy. Fame nearly ruined me. Nearly. Not quite. It started innocuously. It was just a picture, inartfully rendered. However, the responses were instant and almost crazed. People laughed, raucous and inattentive to any nearby neighbors. They were rolling on the floor with unbridled mirth. I had soon become a sensation, and yes, I enjoyed it. This is all in the past, mind, just a phase in my life as an internet cat.
Friday, October 22, 2010
No matter how many rocks I chuck into the ocean, they all sink. The water, angry at the sudden disturbance, ripples outwards as if searching for the culprit. My visage stares back at me, judging every downward glance. Its resemblance, while uncanny, is never perfect, blemished by the passing waves. The weather worsens, doom-laden clouds unleashing their latent fury. I am suddenly plunged into my double’s world. A whirl of water converges around me. Stricken by icy lashes, I fall. A slow freefall, yet just as effective in stealing my breath. Looking up, my reflection has vanished. Or have I?
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The warm breeze transforms the patch of grass into an ocean. A glint of light races towards the sidewalk, a tendriled wave. The slow swaying, coupled with the lazy weather, is mesmerizing. A squirrel pops up, frozen in alertness. Suddenly, a feeling of self-awareness passes over as easily as the wind. It sees itself from a distance, alone in the gaping hole of sheer scale. What is a nut in comparison to the infinity? It realizes that it is merely hurtling through space on a crusty rock. Never has it felt so impossibly small. Seeing a bike, it scurries away.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
The young man skips up the mountainous terrain with all the vigor of youth. “Put one foot in front of the other,” he whistles cheerfully, bounding up the chilly slopes. With a spring in his stride, he reaches the peak beaming at the wise guru before him. He wastes no time to ask about the secrets of the universe. “Do you know the purpose for which I live?” The guru opens one eye, contemplative. “I know nothing,” he replies. The man’s bursting enthusiasm fades. “Then why are you here?” he sputters. The guru smiles. “I believe I have already answered.”
Monday, October 18, 2010
I live life as if I were on a sinking ship. I don’t live on a sinking ship. That would be silly. I live in a perpetually floating hot air balloon. It’s a cozy lifestyle. I think nothing of boredom with my trusty kitty, Hawk. We left our shoes on the ground when the news arrived. Yet another doomsday climate prediction. It was time to embark on a cool adventure. Hawk purred with irony when our vessel started descending. The air has gotten too hot for our furnace to overcome. I wish people would stop running away from the problem.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
The man was a sight to behold. A blue hazmat concealed his clean, pin-striped suit. After nearly a year alone, the boy and the woman had given up hope of contact. Their worries were soon put to rest. The man was kind, with a particular interest in the woman. This troubled the boy. Strange signs were clearing his judgment. A hole in the hazmat suit, when levels of radiation were still fatal. Yet before the boy could tell the woman, the woman was already gone from this world. The man’s knife was red, a welcome respite from the yellow wallpaper.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
“Oh, Jean-Pierre III! We need to scale the dragon’s impregnable castle before Mathilda dies of her incurable-except-under-very-sketchy-circumstances illness!”
“What are you doing, Guinivere? For the sake of the audience, I will break the fourth wall and pretend I have no idea what the hell you are talking about. You know that our author has no time for exposition. It’s all about the action, which is going to be pretty lame with only twenty odd words left.”
“But my dearest Jean-Pierre! He always forgets a deep moral or personal hidden meaning. Why all the twist endings? Alack, I’m out of...!”
Friday, October 15, 2010
The boy was wary of the man. The man was wary of the woman. The woman was wary of the boy. All had their reasons, soon to be justified. The woman and the boy had survived in the bunker for many months. While highly advanced and not much different than an underground trailer, they had grown tired of the yellow walls and canned foods. They were trapped, radiation on one end and lack of purpose on the other. Without any relation, their bond based itself on a mutual experience, the trauma of nuclear warfare. Then, a knock on the door.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I don’t expect you to believe me. It’s tough to understand radical changes in the laws of nature. I don’t often witness a shift in the Earth’s center of mass, myself. However, when the world tilted two degrees, everything became strange. Rivers ran upstream. Buildings collapsed. Perhaps oddest of all, that incorrigible wall hanging straightened out. Riots broke out against the sluggish government. The science community scrambled to rewrite physics amid proclamations of the apocalypse. You would have thought the world had turned upside down. As for me? I just put a book under the T.V. and continued watching Jeopardy.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I look exactly like him, a product of our identical DNA. No one can tell us apart, making my predicament all the worse. The one aspect that separates us is our power struggle. I say struggle, when in reality the battle is already won. He controls me, forces me to submit to his juvenile will. I’ve done his homework. I’ve cleaned his room. I’ve even asked out Rebecca Walters to the dance. You’d think I would be able to escape the evil clutches of such a coward, but deep down, I know I’m the same. It’s why I cloned him.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Where did it all begin? When did we start to spin in opposite directions? Are we so far apart that even our outstretched arms could not bridge the gap? What happens now? Why am I still happy with my life without you? Would we still be friends if we were to chat at our favorite coffee shop? If we aren’t who we used to be, then where did we go? Did we leave our last good moment behind us, to fade away, forgotten? Why does it still feel like yesterday when our last smiles were exchanged? Oh, it was yesterday?
Saturday, October 9, 2010
In a rare flash of existentialism, the bluestreak cleaner wrasse felt the characteristic pang of futility. Did it clean simply for food, slowly swimming through life in a survivalistic haze? Perhaps the grouper it had been cleaning at that very nihilistic moment would go on to eat the fish it loved. Perhaps the next would go on and save the life of a drifting refugee. Did it even really matter? The reef was dying, a depressing grey crawling towards the wrasse’s puny existence. Yet, as with all empty feelings, it faded. How unfortunate, then, that a shark ate the grouper.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
He needed to say something. He saw her every day, his affection growing with every treasured encounter. They shared lunch together, and he seemed to brighten with each meaningful conversation. The signs of a mutual feeling, present while never certain, maddened him. She shared her secrets, but how would she react to his? She glowed at the sight of him, but how could he bear to see her leave? So he kept his love inside, never so much as hinting to his burden. Others might not have understood, but he remained silent. After all, he was just a house plant.
The daily bus ride could never be called exciting. Far from it, to be honest. Sure, an occasional homeless person would cuss out the driver, to the increasing impatience of everyone in need of getting home a few minutes early, but nothing not easily forgotten. This is why the crash came as such a shock. I flew straight into a nearby pole, jolted from my people watching as the world turned sideways. Only a few passengers remained. Where had they all gone? I crawled out, surprisingly unharmed. The crowd of the city had dissipated. Dying had never been so easy.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
As he stood there, patiently waiting for his arrival, he pondered the very essence of space travel. It should be noted that by standing I mean floating, and by patiently waiting I mean jetpacking through the dark vacuum of space at near light speed. He was relatively short. Two meter sticks tied together would beat him in that department. It didn’t matter; the universe had no preferences for appearance. He approached a planet, the first one ever considered habitable by the awkward scientists back home. He had no expectations for intelligence, and the so called “Earthlings” only confirmed his suspicions.
Friday, October 1, 2010
The phrase haunted us. Surely it could not be merely a casual cliché. Meaning stood behind those words like a spider behind your pillow. And so we followed our hunch to the ends of the earth. Our first step was to find a beginning to our world’s circular geography. A beginning implies an end, but implications were of no help to us. We soldiered on, inch for inch searching for our elusive destination. Yet somewhere between Rome and Omaha, we stopped. The ends of the earth were figures of speech, something painfully obvious to all. Thus, our journey ended. Darn.