#ShortShortStories

a cure for the common block

Elegy

Andria’s confidence sputtered out in a long, silent groan as her eyes dilated in deep, utter fear. Looking at the first question she realized she had studied the wrong chapter of her history textbook and frantically scanned each and every question, flipping the pages with frenzied jitter, completely clueless of what to do. She had struggled for much of the semester and passing this test was her last chance to pass the class and graduate on time. Paralyzed with a cold sweat her prospects flashed before her eyes: failing the test, taking summer school, having to reapply to colleges with “Failed” and “Summer Classes” on her transcript. When she finally snapped out of it she saw there were only ten minutes left and her test was still blank; she scrambled and quickly wrote in answers, ignoring the multiple choices and jotting down as much information from the wrong chapter that she could, about the settlements, agriculture, economy, neighboring tribes, everything filtered straight from her conscious mind to her fingertips, covering the page in ink. She received exemplary marks, but then again Mrs. Ginny Grace never would have failed Andria, her educational philosophy stressed effort over memorization, especially when it came to the standardized finals students were required to take.

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Escape Clause

Scott wasn’t very bright, but he was quick and agile which proved quite advantageous on The Island. While many of the other captives attempted to think their way out of danger Scott ran, jumped, climbed, and scurried away, albeit narrowly frequently. The Good Doctor always offered a reward and signed a contract of rules, but never risked Making Good. Until Scott. Scott wasn’t very bright but he wasn’t stupid; when the time came he did not immediately present himself, he remained hidden for several days almost making the Good Doctor believe he had succumbed to some other tragedy. Almost. He left the briefcases, keys, and dagger in a vast clearing, apparently keeping his Good Word. What Scott didn’t know was that the plane’s fuel gauge had been altered and in reality only had enough to travel 20 miles before crashing into the ocean, what the Good Doctor didn’t know was that Scott had no intention of leaving The Island.

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It’s a Good Life

Yoon never entertained the notion of an “all-seeing/powerful” God, for twenty some-odd years she lived a life completely absent of a “Creator” as well as an afterlife. She did good, helped others, but not in service of an eternal reward, rather as immediate gratification in knowing she helped those less fortunate than herself. So it came as a shock one January evening as she sat in her apartment listening to a Buddy Holly record – given to her by her father on her thirteenth birthday – when a brain embolism triggered a massive stroke that resulted in her immediate, but thankfully painless death. Face to face with an entity she never believed existed, her first question was “Why?”, and she quickly learned that while every question was promptly answered, the answers often lead to more questions and uncertainty.

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The Chaser

Kitty made flirtatious small talk with the repairman, appreciating his efforts and above & beyond service. Frank didn’t think much of it, he was just doing his job it’s not like he was going to pretend to be confused and say it wasn’t reparable in order to avoid work, although he did have a few coworkers who would pull such a stunt from time to time, if the required fix was particularly painstaking and it was their fifth job of the day, not that that excuses such laziness.. then Frank shook his head and mumbled, getting too lost in his own thoughts and not focusing on the task at hand. When the job was done he closed up his tool kit and Kitty proffered a drink, a gesture Frank would normally refuse, but finished for the day he would head directly home after this, and besides, despite being at least 20 years his senior Ms. Michaels didn’t look a day over 35, and so the two shared a stiff beverage as the brand-new engine in Kitty’s service-bot revved up and it got back to its duties.

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Five Characters in Search of an Exit

Mack had been whining to the Cook and multiple patrons for the better part of an hour, going on and on about the complicated relationship between him and a co-worker, someone whom he felt deep admiration toward, but doubted the feelings were reciprocated; he turned to the few straggling night-owls still haunting the joint at 3 a.m., seeking guidance. The older gentleman across the diner was attempting to drink his coffee and read his paper in peace, but he couldn’t take anymore. He exclaimed and rose from his seat, launching into a lecture at the young man about not pussyfooting around the issue, to take a stand, a risk, tell her how he felt, what was on his mind, in his heart, rather than hemming and hawing surrounded by strangers with problems of their own. After finishing the monologue Mack lowered his head and reflected on the words as the man returned to his seat. The lights were raised and the men stood up to an ovation and cheers from the audience.

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The Lonely

Unbeknownst to Jay as he prepared his PB&J, 2,300 miles to the east his soulmate was doing the same thing. In 3 ½ weeks they would have a chance encounter in a museum while both on vacation, after which their lives were propelled by a drive to be together, forging new identities and abandoning their previous ones; the prostitute and the porn star formed a union of trust, equality, and everlasting adoration.

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No Time Like The Past

The Bots had been around for as long as Lus could remember and he never thought anything of the two, they came to the island years earlier and simply helped villagers with small tasks – until an explorer came on a boat. When no one could provide answers to his questions about what they were, who made them, where they came from, he insisted on “examining” him, but the Bots did not like his invasion and quickly discarded him. Lus wanted to help the Bots, offered to take them in the boat to find their home, their creator, but they surprised Lus and in a flash the three were several hundred years in the future, in the long-abandoned home of their creator. They weren’t really there, it was just a hologram, and they shared with him all of their knowledge and history, with the exception of how they arrived on Lus’ island. In a flash the image was gone and life returned to normal on the island, until the next inevitable explorer would arrive.

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Sounds and Silences

Remo shuffled the cards and dealt hands to the other men at the table, this particular group of nameless men had been meeting for several weeks with tension steadily growing between two of the men – he dubbed the younger one “Takun”, and the older one “Chi-Chi” – and Remo had a feeling they had reached their breaking point. Remo never meddled, although he could, but that policy was how he drew such wealthy men to his games, games which often attracted people settling personal vendettas without resorting to violence. On Takun’s turn during the opening hand, he placed three large stacks of money on the table, stared Chi-Chi directly in the eyes and simply said “Mei-Mei”. Remo didn’t speak Japanese, but he knew exactly what the young man said and as his eyes panned to the old man he lowered his eyes and nodded his head, prompting a bodyguard at the door behind Remo to leave. Still several feet from the door, Remo could hear a young girl breathing heavily and whimpering and finally put the pieces together; the door opened and revealed the bodyguard strong-arming Takun’s sister, but as soon as he took his first step toward her the goon raised a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. If Remo had been facing the man he would have had time to take the gun out of his hand, but he merely managed to spin around and twist his arm so the gun fired in another direction, specifically into the screen of his new TV. Remo couldn’t help but meddle.

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I Am The Night – Color Me Black

The subculture of assassins-for-hire is more specialized and nuanced than most would imagine; while a disgruntled husband may seek out a soldier of fortune in the back of a magazine, mobsters and other elite members of the criminal underworld draw from a contact list unimaginable to the average citizen. Fabian Moretto didn’t just want George Paige dead for cooperating with the police, he wanted to exemplify him in case anybody else contemplated doing the same thing. George would suffer at the hands of Tevyek Fabiantik, A.K.A. “The Phobia”, a man who transformed torture into an art form; after a single session with Tevy his victims were lucky if he allowed them to die.

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The Encounter

Akhar rested in his chamber occupying his time with anything he could imagine – literally; as a jinni he possessed the power to manipulate reality. Sure, he was a slave forced to obey the whims of any sod who happened to bumble upon him, but he was the one in true control; someone wanted super powers? Not a problem, but then their government captured, studied, and surgically inspected him for the rest of his life. The wishes were always selfish and Akhar always found a catch or loophole to turn it against his “Master, and then he returned to his own selfish, conjured reality. A thousand years of this lifestyle, princes, thieves, and beggars never once challenging his perception of humanity, never breaking the pattern until an 11-year-old named Dennis found a jar on the beach, a jar that would help him save his brother’s life.

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