#ShortShortStories

a cure for the common block

You’re Welcome

The Woman gave a smile to the boy at the booth as she ushered her daughter along with a playful remark, “C’mon Tinkerbell.” Her bemused daughter rolled her eyes and exited the lobby of the box office. Stanley immediately pulled out his notebook and jotted down the exchange. Stan was a storyteller and this was his book of ideas; the notebook with his stories was altogether separate. This was for little flourishes: moments of humanity, relationships, habits, defects. They were mostly witnessed firsthand, glimpses of impromptu scenes with people, not scripted scenes with characters. Little did he know that the daughter was a figment created by the Woman, and the moment was the exact opposite of impromptu. The Muse had planted the seed perfectly in Stan’s head. Weeks later, helping a woman find her seat after intermission, the staging for the first scene inspired a perfect story for the playful exchange.

#ShortShortStories #YoureWelcome

Unleashed

The Jungle teemed with life. Moths pollinating orchids, pythons pursuing prey; evolution moved forward slowly, but no less a force of nature. Life adapted together to survive until a Creature entered that did not evolve from the Jungle, had not adapted to the heat & disease, the venom & poison, or the fangs & claws. It crept through the shadows on two legs and did not cower from the tiger that approached the looming figure. The tiger bore its teeth and growled. They circled each other, the tiger trying to intimidate and ward off the intruder, but it saw no fear behind the eyes of this strangething; it saw nothing at all. The tiger closed its mouth – still circling – attempting to detect if this was friend or foe. The Creature stopped and reached above its head, wrapping its hands around a thick tree limb; the tiger bent its hindquarters preparing to attack with full force. Two strikes with the limb of a tree! The tiger was down. It was the Creature’s turn, it bore its teeth – a maw of razors – and it roared, sending a quake of fear throughout the Jungle.

#ShortShortStories #Unleashed

Reunion (Offspring Pt. III)

Nova had always known she was different. She had an innate understanding of what her body was doing at all times; circulation, metabolization, she could even sense the process of forming memories. When she turned twelve (her actual birthday, not the day assigned to her at the orphanage) she knew it was time to begin preparing her body for change. A few days before they left for the cottage Nova was primed, there was only one more thing that she needed. She explained to her disbelieving parents what happened that day: she dove into the water; swam down to the floor of the lake; buried herself, coated herself in silt, mud, minerals and began to hibernate. As she explained the first step in her metamorphosis she flared her gills to demonstrate; she could sense them about to faint again. She reached out to their hands and revealed that her name wasn’t Nova, “That’s what I am, something New.”

#ShortShortStories #Reunion #OffspringIII

Redefinition (Offspring Pt. II)

The summer of Nova’s 12th birthday brought many changes. Nova grew more mature, gained new admirers but she still only found time for swimming; thankfully, most of her friends were other swimmers. A change the Prestons never thought they’d see was in Nova’s appetite. The former house plant that barely needed sunlight and a mist of water became a shark with a bottomless pit in place of a stomach. They chalked it up to needing the energy to keep up her championship pace, because the food didn’t appear to go anywhere else. The family carved out two weeks of vacation to spend at their cottage on a nearby lake, and the first thing Nova did was run into the water. It was also the last thing that she did that summer. The search for her missing body went on for three months until a woman appearing to be in her twenties knocked on the Preston’s door and introduced herself as Nova.

#ShortShortStories #Redefinition #Offspring

Offspring

An infant was placed on the steps of the Mission Hill Orphanage with a piece of paper pinned to her blanket with only the name “Nova” on it. The baby with golden locks was quickly adopted by a nice couple – the Prestons – who brought her to their loving home and doted on her night and day. Mrs. Preston found it a struggle to feed her – not that Nova was a picky eater – after a spoonful or two of applesauce she seemed just as content to not eat at all. Aside from that she was the happiest baby who never gave the Prestons a single worry. On her 7th birthday they told her about the adoption to which she replied that she knew, she said she remembered her father kissing her forehead when he dropped her off. As Nova grew older she drew friends and fans, but her only passion was swimming faster and better than anyone else. The first time she did laps for 5 minutes on a single breath the coaches stopped counting as their unblinking eyes burned in astonishment.

#ShortShortStories #Offspring

Couplet

Ritchie Blye and Ritchie Katz were identical twins separated at birth who shared a first name by happenstance. Blye was named after his adoptive mother’s father, and Katz after the father’s best friend, who passed away in college. Like many twins they shared oddly specific experiences throughout their lives; first kiss with a girl named Lisa in the 7th grade, favorite film Field of Dreams, and they were accepted to the same university, 1,000 miles from their respective homes on the East and West Coast. Katz’s curiosity piqued after a girl on campus mistook him for “his doppelganger,” an altercation that began with her throwing a snowball at his face and demanding why he never called her back. When he finally tracked down Blye, their conversation was revelatory, they finally understood the sense of incompletion they had both always felt.

#ShortShortStories #Couplet

Why We Fight

The green ink flowed from Marisa’s pen, her teacher deflated in his chair after being unable to answer her series of queries when told she could only use black or blue. Defeated by a six-year-old with one word: why? Year after year other teachers were similarly confounded and the few who attempted to turn it back on her were shushed by her retort, “Green is pretty.” In the sixth grade, her first period Art teacher – Ms. Mancowski – appreciated the creative choice. Unfortunately, the other six she faced throughout her first two days of middle school did not. When Ms. M saw Marisa taking notes with a black pen and a pout she marched her to the principal’s office and argued on her behalf. The school lifted the enforcement and Adams Junior High saw a not-insignificant uptick in grades – especially in their Arts Departments.

#ShortShortStories #WhyWeFight

Dear Boy

Ferin mumbled something that Ella didn’t understand as their lips parted. “I’m back on my heels”, he roughly translated and she understood the feeling immediately – the unexpected euphoric wave of a first kiss. They had known each other for years as just friends, until she finally worked up the courage to ask him out. His silence shook her confidence and she tried changing the subject until he said yes; he explained his pause was taking the time to look at her with a new perspective. Ferin was a very private and formal person – never exact about where in Russia he came from – and would earnestly take time to think over even simple questions. He said that he treated every question as if he had never thought of it before; in truth, there had been many times when he considered pursuing a relationship with Ella. When she asked him, he pored over what they might be like as a couple – how their respective personalities may clash and bond – and decided it to be a worthwhile endeavor; their first kiss confirmed his suspicions.

#ShortShortStories  #DearBoy

Carpe Noctem

Ernest watched the scene unfold from a distance, occasionally looking down at the pages in his notebook: a professional-looking woman casting furtive glances toward her server, at another table making sure the customers were satisfied. At any given moment, Eileen Goetz had roughly fifteen different thoughts/ideas/intentions running through her mind and this moment was no different. When Patricia returned to bring Eileen’s drink she asked a simple question, “Do you know who I am?”, to which Patricia’s stunned silence provided an answer. Eileen introduced herself as the Head Chef of the nearby five-star restaurant and Patricia swore out of embarrassment, then apologized for the profanity wherein she cursed again, tumbling into an avalanche of expletives leading the audience to roar with laughter. The actors waited a beat for it to calm down before proceeding through the farse about a brilliant chef finding a mentee in a dive bar.

#ShortShortStories #CarpeNoctem

Lonely Heart

Belinda finally stepped back into her old-new habits, but it was several days before she saw Peter behind the counter again. During their last conversation she realized that despite how comfortable she felt with him, she knew nothing – only the things she assumed in her imaginary flirtations with him. He asked her if she wanted the usual as he smiled, revealing the dimples that made her wish he was just a few years older. She smiled and nodded, and turned to take her seat while she waited. “The Usual” he shouted, turning the heads of several confused people, watching a red-faced Belinda meekly make her way to the warm cup. Peter stuttered a sincere apology, almost choking up until Belinda released him with a smile. She began to turn when he took a breath and asked if she still wondered about his tattoo. She nodded again, a more concerned look on her face. He was wearing short sleeves and pulled the left sleeve up over his shoulder. He revealed the vines growing thicker further up until they wrapped around the base of a tombstone.

#ShortShortStories #LonelyHeart #Sanctuary #FirstImpressions

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