a cure for the common block

Archive for the month “July, 2013”

Suicide Box, or Squeeze: Part II

Three hours after the fight started with his colleague Dr. Issche, Emil’s recollection of events seemed to only last a few fleeting moments: a shout, a shove, a shock, a shovel, and a shed in the middle of the woods. He spent the evening in the shed, taking notes and making calculations; the next day he filed for the purchase of a gun and set to work on what he knew would be an impossibly-long-term project. The investigation into Effie Issche’s disappearance opened and closed, Presidents came and went, and Emil’s hair slowly turned grey as he worked tirelessly on his mission for revenge; his mission of vengeance against himself. After he created The Machine, each day began the exact same way: send a balloon to coordinate X-30-12.000, followed by four hours of meditation, seven hours of sleep, and two hours dedicated to journaling memories. It took 14 years of work and three years of adjustments before Emil remembered shooting the balloon; and so, knowing he would finally be at peace, Emil Jones set the coordinates to X-31-12.000 and stood in front of the transporter.


#ShortShortStories #SuicideBox #Squeeze


Promises To Keep

Horace made an offer out of desperation, and the gentleman seated across from him considered it for a moment, before inquiring about the incentive for an extension on his deadline, “If you follow through then I reap a substantial profit, however if you fail, then I get nothing but what is already owed.” Horace mulled over his options before making a unique raise to the bid, a raise the shady man couldn’t resist. The deal was set, Horace would either find an innocent person to sell their soul in place of his, or commit heinous violence to deepen his punishment-a win-win situation for the Lord of Temptation-but Horace never intended on following through with either promise, instead opting to spend his six extra hours with the daughter he sacrificed his soul to save; neither selfless act would let him out of his contract, there is no grace in making a deal with the Devil, however he faced his eternal torment with a clean conscience, which was more than could be said for many of his fellow inmates.

#ShortShortStories #PromisesToKeep

The Fertile Fields

A grain of sand does not know that it is part of a beach, but that does not surprise us for we do not expect grains of sand to think at all; yet it is far too common a person who does not realize they are part of a society, where individual action can create waves of change, and a lone voice can stop the world. Miles wrote this speech with fervent idealism, fueled by his pragmatism; he was fully aware that the vast majority of readers would enjoy the monologue and simply move on, accepting it as just a part of the story, and he appreciated that a few would take time to savor it, maybe memorize it and use it as an audition piece, but he wrote with such intense conviction for the rare person who would take it to heart, who would see it as a message greater than the story. Miles didn’t live to see his words invoke change, but in a pathetic library that had practically given up on being a library-with televisions and computers and walls devoted to tabloids-on a drowsy Tuesday morning in the distant future, a precocious pre-teen named Scott, under the influence of the Rolling Stones, pulled a copy of ‘Wild Horses’ by Miles Chalem; it took him three hours to devour the book, a novel he read at least once a year for the rest of his extraordinary life, a life measured in milestones. His daughter’s eulogy was simple: “If you want to change the world, first you have to change minds.”

#ShortShortStories #TheFertileFields

His Hour Upon The Stage

In an exponentially small corner of the Universe there exists a space of Nothingness; not emptiness or Dark Matter, not space yet-to-be-occupied, but Absolute Nothing, a quadrant of non-existence. While the purpose is simple, its explanation is anything but. An entity awoke one day, flooded with memories and thoughts, but saw nothing before It; this error was soon corrected as It created a Universe, laws, life, and sat back and observed the growth. One day It realized that these scattered children would seek their parentage, for they craved knowledge; It selected a two-square-foot portion of an infinite Universe and deleted it, making it nigh on undetectable. The logic was that they could only be ready for the Truth if they were capable of discovering It, however in It’s infinite wisdom It did not expect a hijacked shuttle piloted by a very inebriated Tryxl to barrel straight towards a hole in the fabric of the Universe, leading to a long, awkward conversation between a drunken creature with a 73-word vocabulary and his Creator.

#ShortShortStories #HisHourUponTheStage

Flame’s End

When Ellis lit the match, he had no idea that it would become history, and as the glow reflected in his eyes, mesmerizing him, he did not care. It was the most devastating forest fire California had ever seen, destroying hundreds of acres of Redwoods, homes, and human lives; the cause was never traced, but Ellis carried the scars for the rest of his life. While drinking away another day somewhere around his 25th year in a rotgut bar, he noticed the stirring of a fight-a common occurrence in his haunts of choice-and as he shook away the sting of his shot, the stupid fratboy on a dare and burly bouncer brought back memories of the nightly bouts featuring his brother and father. Before the sickening guilt and shame could twist his bowels he charged between the two with his hands raised, then slowly unbuttoned his shirt revealing a mosaic of scarring, warning them to think carefully before they struck.

#ShortShortStories #FlamesEnd

Every Time She Smiles

Gordon carefully wrapped the box and attempted to fix any mis-measured folds with a healthy dose of tape, he strung a ribbon and, to his amazement, tied the nicest bow his pudgy fingers had ever managed. There was a nervousness in the pit of his stomach, but he wasn’t sure why yet, he wouldn’t figure it out until later than night, when Gloria was opening her birthday presents. They sang for the newly-nine-year-old, ate cake and laughed, then it was time for the gifts; exercising great restraint, she carefully opened each package rather than tearing through them. She appeared pleased to get beautiful shoes from Lacy, and forced a smile at Alex’s Monster Road game cards, but upon seeing the mix of surprise, curiosity, and deep, sincere joy rushing across Gloria’s face when she opened his box, Gordon realized what that nervousness was: he liked Gloria as much more than a friend.

#ShortShortStories #EveryTimeSheSmiles

Tough Boys

Bones climbed on his chopper and sped down the road after spending a nickel in solitary confinement, and he had his priorities in place; first he’d meet back up with his gang, and he could only imagine the hazards they had in mind to celebrate his freedom. He passed by Jet’s place, but knew everyone was already waiting at Old Pearl’s; he stopped at a red light, shot a Devil-may-care smile at an old couple in the car next to him and bolted off, dodging on-coming traffic before the light changed. He stared at Old Pearl’s for a few moments before getting off his bike, he was surprised how little it had changed; he knocked on the door and a pleasant woman in her 30s answered with a warm smile. “Well hello Terry.” Meekly, the young boy wrung his hands and Mrs. Pearl just opened the door wider and watched him scamper in to see his friends. Five weeks, almost his entire Summer, sequestered in his room without any contact to the outside world or any entertainment, but what his friends and parents didn’t know was that he learned something about himself in there; after finding a small stack of Italian to English dictionaries stored in a box in his closet, he discovered an uncanny knack for learning new languages.

#ShortShortStories #ToughBoys

The Visitor

Zalla mourned his father for a day, and then continued living the only existence he’d ever known. Kha, Zalla’s father, called the island Gaiya and told his son the story of how they arrived, and taught him how to survive; not just how to build fires and hunt, but how to draw from all resources so as not to drain any one resource, there were separate seasons for fish, birds, beasts, and critters. Shortly into Zalla’s adult years he came upon an out of place visitor who introduced himself as Lightgiver; Zalla knew this was wrong, the man was too clean to be a traveler, he saw no transport, and he wore strange clothing. For some reason, though, he trusted this stranger and felt comforted in his presence. They became friends, and Zalla taught the man what he knew; they hunted and harvested and laughed and bonded. He had thrived without his father, without companionship, but had forgotten how nourishing it was, how essential to survival. A day came when Lightgiver told Zalla that he had to leave, but was grateful for the education and friendship, and said he wanted to return the favor; he offered him infinite power and wisdom, to make him a God, like Lightgiver.

#ShortShortStories #TheVisitor

Easy Target

There was an old Miser who owned several shops, he paid paltry wages for blood, sweat, and tears; the workers maligned but wouldn’t dare stop, for Mr. Hint Croak was the haunt of their fears. Young Glenn O’Boulie was naive and too brash, he lacked the sense to breathe and hold back; he huffed and in anger stepped to Croak in a flash, without a single worry of getting the sack. A momentary hero, he spoke the truth, he told Mr. Hint what we all knew was fair. While Hinton Croak thought the boy uncouth, he allowed his argument to linger in the air. He calmly explained the risks and pitfalls, the balance and problems and books of the trade; the soft-spoken words spread through the halls, converting the lot with the points that he made. But they were all lies, a fiction he spun, to hide reality from the toilers and makers; the truth was the more they suffered, the more he won, he was of the elite, the class of tricksters and thieves and takers.

#ShortShortStories #EasyTarget

Faith, Hope, and Charity

For three years Veronica’s world was empty and frightening, it was a world of strange sensations of things; hot, cold, rough, soft, yummy, yucky. It was also difficult to understand; exhaustion followed by a disorienting and surreal experience, followed by alertness and the fading memory of what had happened to her. She knew she was not alone, even if she was not always aware of their presence, but when they were there, it was the most satisfying sensation; Veronica felt the pressure and warmth of her mother enveloping her in her arms and holding her close, she smelled something sweet and floral. But Veronica had her own language-her own terms for all of these things-because it wasn’t until 233 days after her third birthday that she heard for the first time; another disorienting and surreal experience at first. It was also her first step to communication with her family, her mother and father and new baby brother. She would never see, but she would never lose patience, or foster resentment, she never asked why and she never hated anyone or anything. When she passed away, her grandchildren spoke of her as an inspiration; a passionate woman with more determination than anyone they’d ever known, who dedicated her life to helping others and improving others, and changing lives. While they appreciated the words from the crowds who owed her a debt, they insisted that she never overcame any obstacle, because as their grandmother said “It’s only an obstacle if you know that it’s in your way”.

#ShortShortStories #FaithHopeCharity

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