Stories

This is for me to remind me which stories I’ve uploaded.  As an aside, I’ve decided my motto is: Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, which is why there are earthquakes. Anyway, here are some stories:

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 I can never be serious when it’s raining.  When it’s cold and raining, I can feel the coils of mortality constricting, the very world around me being compressed by the gloom that surrounds everything I perceive and this leads me to think about dark and stormy nights.

 It was a dark and stormy night, the night that it was dark.  Hmmm, well, you can see that this is leading into a bad horror movie and I believe there is nothing funnier than a bad horror movie.

And I like warm rain, unless I’m wearing water soluble clothing.  I don’t think I’ll get into that here.

The last time I was walking in a cold rain (without an umbrella, getting wet), here was my train of thought (leaving the station):

So here I am walking in the rain.  And it’s cold.  Lovely.  Hey a kitty … poor wet kitty. This really has been a lovely day, in fact the whole world is just a lovely place. We’re in the middle of wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. There was another earthquake. Haiti is a mess, the DR Congo is a mess, Sudan is a mess, Zimbabwe is a mess, Burma is a mess, as are so many other places.  I really need to clean the apartment. There’s an overabundance of food and we live longer and healthier lives, yet there’s still widespread hunger and millions still die of diseases that are easily preventable or curable.  Stupid rain. And it doesn’t seem like we’re going to do something about the environment. Stupid walk sign, hurry up and turn. We don’t care if we kill off a species or two or a couple thousand (unless they’re cute) and there are huge disasters looming, but we just turn on the air conditioning and complain about that comma that some scientist missed. Hmm, I wonder if … stupid sidewalk and its stupid cracks. We could end hunger or solve our environmental problems, but people would actually have to care and might have to give up some of their stuff.

And then I walk into a lamp-post and start to laugh.  I’m certainly not optimistic about the world and my nose hurts a bit, but I can’t help thinking about 50 foot grasshoppers and potato chips that want to rule the world fighting Godzilla.  And how can I not laugh?

Perhaps if I used an umbrella.

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The door closed behind him as Fred walked along the tulipped path. He turned around and there was no door. He turned around again and there were no tulips. He thought a moment and his foot slammed into a tree even though he had stopped. He glanced up and the sky looked him square in the eye.

His companion dragon roared up at the sky in anger and confusion.  Fred decided that things were getting just a bit too weird and closed his eyes to think a minute. The ground then decided to shake things up. Fred decided that thinking was getting him nowhere, so he jumped on the dragon, whom he had never met before, flew up into the sky, which was still glaring at him (he had opened his eyes for a bit while he jumped), and asked the dragon to burn everything in sight. Since the dragon had also closed her eyes, she just flapped her wings. She also informed Fred that she had nothing to burn everything with and who exactly was he? Fred answered that he was Fred and they seemed to be companions, although he didn’t remember ever meeting her before and who was she? The dragon said her name was Tulip and informed him that she had just come through a doorway looking for a bit of tea. And

when the fog had lifted, she had found herself here. Which was weird because there was no fog to lift and she hadn’t been a dragon before she went through the door. How long, she wondered, had Fred been a talking, jumping bear in a suit of armor? He still didn’t want to open his eyes, so Fred could only confirm the armor part at first, although he did feel like he had become awful hairy. It turned out that both of them were originally people, although Fred was from Kansas in 2009 and Tulip was from  18th century Massachusetts, the fog seemed to have rolled into her memory as she could not remember from exactly when she was.  They decided to take stock, so landed and made some soup.

While eating (well, Fred ate and Tulip tried to figure out what she ate now that she was a dragon), they decided to get to know each other and try to figure out where they were. Fred said he was a 27 year old florist in Topeka (he had to explain about Kansas) who had been walking in a garden before finding himself here. Tulip was a 10 year old who lived on a farm in Concord and helped out at a restaurant in the winter months (Fred wondered how large the dragon might get, it was already 30 feet long).

The ground seemed to have settled down and the sky didn’t seem quite so angry at them, so they decided to go back up into the sky and look around. At first, now that she really thought about it, Tulip had some trouble flying but, it seemed, she had been given some innate ability and she soon was soaring higher than either of them really felt comfortable with.

Still they looked around. They seemed to be on a plateau near a large body of water. There were a few trees, but it was mostly flat meadow until a sudden drop down onto a thin mostly rocky beach. Tulip flew out over the empty water for a few minutes, then turned to fly along the coast. There wasn’t much of a change, although the meadow moved down towards the water and the beach widened a bit. There also wasn’t any sign of animal life. They then turned inland and quickly (it was hard to judge how fast they were going, but it seemed much too fast) approached a line of mountains that reached almost as high as they were. Tulip felt a sudden desire and landed on a crag with a roar and outstretched wings. She immediately felt silly. Fred didn’t seem to mind and jumped down off her shoulders to hug the ground. Soon, though, he walked back from the edge to find a furnished cave. It felt familiar and he found out why when he noticed a picture of Tulip (flying above a castle) hanging over a rough fireplace (he knew it was her despite never having seen a dragon before and thus with no knowledge of how much the appearance of a dragon might vary). He flopped down (onto a padded couch—well flop might not be the right word, what with the armor) in even more confusion as Tulip stared into the cave.
The cave both answered some of their questions and raised many more. It was now obvious that this world was occupied and had some Earth-like technology, but who were they? The bodies they occupied seemed to have been here for some time, but they had not. Were their memories of Earth false, was this a dream, or was this some mix of multiple realities? Fred decided to take off his armor and take a wade in a mountain lake not too far away. He did seem to be a bear, but was still a bit self-conscious about walking about unclothed (there had only been a bit of padding beneath the armor) in front of a 10 year old girl (even if she was a 30 foot long dragon). Tulip seemed to feel something similar as she waddled to the other end of the tarn. They again dropped into deep thought.

…(TBC)

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I never found out her name, just call her Whatsername. We met after the Hurricane forced us to evacuate from Galveston. It was love at first meeting for me, but not for her, although she pretended at the time. Sometimes, Love Is A Long Road. And it can batter you so much, you call for St. Teresa. At other times, it’s glorious. That first night together, it felt like a Motel Room in My Bed. It felt like everything revolved around us. And yet no one else knew, so at the same time it felt like we were alone in a Secret Garden.

The high didn’t last. She soon left and I was lost. I usually don’t feel like Love Is a Losing Game, but I did then. Soon after I found that my home had been destroyed by the hurricane and, since I had no insurance, I felt utterly ruined. Dark thoughts, always near, took over. I thought: ‘If I let Carbon Monoxide Surround me, I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better’. You might think it Dumb, but my whole life I’ve felt that I’ve been a Whipping Post. It seems that good times always set me up for a harder fall. I feel like The Unwelcome Guest in this world.

(this is a story written using the titles of songs in my random 10, so it’s a bit different)

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The roar of the sea couldn’t be heard over the tinkle of the spoon against his cup. This could have been because the ocean was 1000 miles away, but Fred didn’t think so. He thought it was a plot by intraterrestrial rabbits (he didn’t have any evidence, it was just a hutch) and he wanted it stopped.
The first step was to get some soup, because many soups had carrots and rabbits were supposed to be suckers for carrots. This was going to be difficult, because Fred didn’t especially like soup. He could have tried a salad or even carrots by themselves, but Fred never wavered when he thought something was the correct way to go. Not being a soup aficionado he had a little trouble, first trying tomato and then beer cheese, neither of which had carrots in the recipe. This frustrated him so he turned to plan B: dig a hole, find a rabbit, and force it to talk by giving it soup that didn’t have carrots.
He dug a hole, but no rabbit. He dug another hole, no rabbit. He tried induction: assuming an nth hole did not have a rabbit, he dug the (n+1)th hole which didn’t have a rabbit. Rabbits did not exist in holes! A stunning conclusion that he planned to write up and send to Nature, but then why couldn’t he hear the ocean? It had to be the rabbits, nothing else made sense.
Perhaps the rabbits had ESP and moved just before he started digging. Yes, that could be. Reasoning that if the hole was big enough and dug fast enough the rabbit wouldn’t have enough time to get away, he rented a backhoe. He tried several places, but still found no rabbits. Obviously the digging needed to be faster and the hole needed to be bigger. And he had to hurry, the soup was getting cold (although, he thought, this might be ok since he didn’t know if rabbits liked their soup cold or hot).
He decided to ramp up the operation. He built a spaceship and sent it to the asteroid belt, slightly nudging one of the smaller ones into an orbit that intersected Earth’s. His calculations proved slightly off and the asteroid hit his back porch, destroying it and much of Iowa. This forced him to move and he settled in Ocean City, where he could hear the ocean. Problem solved.

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I was walking along tomorrow when I noticed a crack in the firmament of the universe and since that sometimes means that tomatoes were preparing to take over, I had to act. I gathered some people and tried a production of Hamlet. I was in a hurry so I might not have taken enough time for rehearsals, so it didn’t get very good reviews. In fact, tomatoes were thrown–obviously I had chosen the wrong tactic and had actually helped the possible conquest. Maybe I was the problem, so I decided to put myself in suspended animation.

That took me even longer, because I’m not much of an artist, but finally I had finished the cartoon, one that featured me dangling from a cliff. And here we are, awaiting the outcome.

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Fred was watching the sky when he noticed that he had been hit by a car. It hurt, but the petunia in his hand didn’t complain much and so there it was. And the truck that followed didn’t improve matters. So he tried to ignite the nuclear bomb in his back pocket but it didn’t go off, much to the inner satisfaction of the petunia. Life goes on it thought as the bus approached.
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One day Joe was telling some people about his younger days:
 

          ”I used to be friends with a guy named Bob.  We grew up together, went to the same school, had similar families (our parents even had similar paying jobs and attitudes), and pretty much were just very similar. Then in high school, we started to drift apart. I got a job and Bob did sports and parties.              
 

      After high school, I was able to able to get into college and worked hard. After college, I got a job in the mail room and worked my way up. Now I’m a millionaire and own my own company. Bob never amounted to much and has to struggle to make ends meet.             
      The moral is: if you work hard, you can do anything.”
Later, Joe walked out of the bar and was hit by a bus.
 

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 An elephant was relaxing on top of Fred.  Fred allowed this so the elephant would not object to being sat upon in turn.  And it seemed to work, he had yet to be killed by an elephant.  It was a little painful, but petunias never complained and so neither would he.  Then (to make the story move along a bit quicker) he got on David Letterman to demonstrate his technique.  It died.  Or more accurately, he died.  The show was a ratings success, but Fred was never invited back.
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Am I out of my depth?  Plunging below, flying above, missing my aim in a fit convulsing through my toes, I try to decide what I know and why I should care.  Don’t believe anthing I might read, I filter out anything seeminingly amiss.  Park it in a back alley.  And now I rush on.
 

The molasses rushes on at break-ankle speed, willing itself outward from the break.  Fred flows with it, riding the waves unaware.  Awareness cracks an eye, a bomb had taken it out.  Somehow a connection tries to piece itself apart.  Everything, it says, is a random event and all connections a blind.  Everything is my fault.  The bomb, seemingly, made and set by me.  Was it?  Do I only feel these things because neurons fire by chance enacting the view and past I don’t know?

 The walk down the fire-escape, to escape the fire, set in haste to deliver the end of doubt or at least the end of potato-chips.  The ones that were the wrong shape.  Fred couldn’t stand potato-chips that were the wrong shape.  How can a universe exist if potato-chips look wrong?  And why did I get those potato-chips?  A flat of petunias that was not there.  Something to do with an empty ledge, a suggestion formed as a joke.  And off to the store to buy.  Petunias.  Sound and fury signifying that the traffic light was not working.  And no petunias to be found.  What was there to do, but buy potato-chips?  And I do.  Along with no petunias.  It must be a bad combination, perhaps a consequence of the cars I wasn’t in working out their fury.

 Who made the suggestion and if it was a joke, why did I pretend in reality to make it more than a profile in my mind?  The empty ledge.  I had never worried about it before but the walk home this morning, a mirror perceived from the corner of an eye, framed brown hair and blue eyes in nothing.  That wanted to be filled.  I scoffed at the thought and decided to follow it through as a joke to myself.  Petunias.

 And so Fred started to eat the potato-chips not looking at them and looking at the lack of petunias.  An empty ledge.  Looking at the potato-chips was a vast improvement.  He thought the shapes were quite interesting.  Twists and waves and no symmetry.  Things did not grow in perfect symmetry, jumping out at different angles and even more.  And yet they have a type of shape.  Look at this one and compared to that one.  Different, but in some ways similar.  All of them showing the randomness of life.

 Hmm, this one is round and flat.  Very weird.  And another, the same size but not exactly.  But it is.  And both perfectly round.  It can’t be, they must have been shaped.  I think I will try to make a few myself.  I have a potato.  A cut and a few more.  A bit of oil and into the pan, cooking.  Oh, they’re good enough.
 It can’t be.  The same, as each other and the ones bought.  Engrossed, Fred does not notice the lack of an end to the burner’s fire.  And the paper floating into it, bursting into flame.  Quietly.  It’s only the heat that catches his eye.  A futile attempt to control, a call to 911, and out the window.  Luckily a house of his own.

 The fire out and reports written, at least as far as Fred was concerned.  Fred wanders into town.  Aimlessly?  He finds himself under a molasses tank.  Were there such things?  Because he didn’t want to think about the potato-chips, he decided he didn’t like it.  And decided the town needed a bit less of it. 

How did he make a bomb?  Guessing at pieces of it, buying others, and throwing it together.  A play to show how the world worked.  It didn’t allow for randomness coming together without effort.

 I walk up the tower, purposeful.  It won’t go off.  It can’t and I will prove it.  Or die trying.  I put the bomb down, light what I pretend is the fuse.  I slip a bit and the bomb explodes.  As I lose consciousness, I doubt reality.  It can’t be, so I shut myself off.

 I climb out of the wreck of the town, sticky with my doubts.  How can I be, I ask as I stare at petunias, a round potato-chip in each hand?

 I guess I am.
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It was windy today.  When I walked outside, I got hit by a tree and grapes flew by.  Luckily, the grapes missed me.  I put the tree back in the hole from which it came, weighed it down with a grape or two, and walked on unperturbed.  When what to my wondering eyes should appear, ok nothing really.  But later a giraffe caught my eye as it cleared its throat.  It’s interesting to see things through a throat.

 Ahem, don’t mind me, I’m not here except as a bit of filler.  The odd paragraph even if not needed isn’t to be thought of less.  Please do so.

 Anyways, I fled my way home where what should I find but my home.  Not very interesting even with the fire erupting out the top of the roof, dancing in the wind.  Ok, that was a bit interesting and it did help with the marshmallows.  Eventually, the fire set off to a different locale and I went inside.  It had been a long day and I needed to hit the hay.  No I won’t say it, just pretend the giraffe, which had followed me home, was eating it with maraschino petunias.

 Hey, my pen fell off the table.  Never mind.

 And so I went write to bed (hence the story). Ok first I ate supper, climbed the Amazon, washed the dishes, invented gravity, had a snack, and teethed my brush.

 The morale of the story is complete confusion.
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Fred was walking home with a potted petunia one day, when he tripped over a rock.  At first he thought nothing of it (the petunia was fine), but later it kept cropping up in his mind. 

Why did that rock trip him?  He was indignant (he had many problems with the inanimate). 

What did he ever do to it?  Ok, he never said hello or talked with it, but he didn’t have the time to socialize with every piece of granite. 

He decided to do something.  The next day he took a shovel and began to dig around the rock, but it soon became apparent that it was too large.  He conceded failure. 

Then he remembered that he could get ahold of some dynamite (invented by that Nobel person).  Three days later he set off a tremendous explosion.  Pieces of the rock flew everywhere, but when the smoke cleared the rock was still there. 

Something more drastic was called for.  Three years later he was back at the rock, having manufactured a nuclear bomb.  He set if off.  The rock evaporated–along with his petunias and much of Chicago. 

Oops, he thought from Detroit.

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