a cure for the common block

Archive for the month “July, 2016”

So Help Me God

This story takes place somewhere else. Where? I just told you. On the other side of me there is you, on the other side of Here is Somewhere Else entirely. Getting there is both simple and impossible: just close your eyes and think about it. Ah! but how can you picture a place you’ve never been? The residents of Somewhere could travel anywhere they wished, but no one could enter their realm without invitation. That is why the Four-Eyed Forum were so curious about the sudden manifestation of the rotund creature standing on the stone steps of their Colosseum. They were further baffled upon learning it only had a 73-word vocabulary, a foul temper, and no evidence of an imagination. The belligerent Tryxl named Tumbog Polk was similarly confused, one moment it was arguing with an ugly bloat called Kod, or Glod, or something, then poof he was in the middle of this ugly mess. The Four-Eyed Forum didn’t need to hear anymore, God was always giving them trouble, ever since their society moved on from religion.

#ShortShortStories #SoHelpMeGod


To Protect and Serve

Rumors surrounded the Hat & Tail, a lodge that sat just on the edge of Towne, but nobody had ever been inside. Anyone who knocked on the heavy oak door was asked to provide a password, however nobody seemed to know it and nobody managed to guess it. It was one of those things that had always just been so there was little interest in getting answers, but Clive wasn’t one to let things go so easily. A few times a week he would perch in a tree a good distance from the lodge and watch for any activity; after weeks it finally paid off when he saw multiple carriages making their way into the lot, with passengers exiting  and approaching the door one at a time. Most people had assumed it was a meeting place for Freemasons, but the men approaching the door didn’t look like masons. He scurried down and made his way over to the building, hiding and listening in for the password. He heard a knock, the guard asked for a password, and the gent merely said “If you don’t mind…” and with that the oak door slowly creaked open, letting moment of the party inside escape. Clive knew he had to be clever, and luckily he was also patient. A month after the first event Clive rode up and parked, stepping out in his father’s suit, fitting in best he could. He knocked, but the guard didn’t ask for a password, he asked if Clive was new and Clive quickly hiccuped a “Yep! Just joined!”, then proffered the password and stepped inside to the secret society of butlers.

#ShortShortStories #ToProtectAndServe

A Different Drummer

The mop globbed and smeared paint on the tile as Theo signed his name to his latest piece. Though his primary medium was rusto & stencil, his signature was always acrylic; in thirty minutes one square block of campaign posters (covering the ubiquitous “post no bills” signs, naturally) were transformed to resemble a variety of left- and right-wing authoritarian propaganda. Theo was an all-city king, a graffiti artist whose work was known and respected throughout the five-boroughs, even though nobody had ever met him or at least knew they had met him. His tag was Trolleo, drawn in such a way that the letters formed a smiling face: an upside-down “T” formed the smile, an “r” outlined a monocle, the “o”s made the eyes, and the “lle” shaped a nose. Years earlier, when one of his pieces got widespread attention (a punition of “drones are good” over another series of campaign posters) nobody could translate his tag so he had to – embarrassingly – have an “epiphany” while staring at it among other writers and hope they didn’t surmise that he was the artist.

#ShortShortStories #ADifferentDrummer


April steered the cart up to the car as Grant approached the driver-side door and unlocked it. Claire was still pouting, but her parents were just relieved the three-year-old had stopped crying; Grant opened the door, reached in and picked up Herman, Claire’s imaginary pet gibbon. She immediately smiled as her father carried her pet over to the cart as her mother continued loading the groceries into the trunk. Herman consoled Claire – he could talk of course- and assured her that he didn’t mind staying in the car; Claire explained his reasoning to her father, that if the humans didn’t want Herman walking around the store among them, then they’re just the type of people Herman didn’t want to be around. Even Grant could tell that Herman said the last part as he crossed his extremely long arms.

#ShortShortStories #Claire


Steven turned the key in his ignition and heard a blood-curdling shriek from under the hood of his car that jolted his hand away, launching the keys somewhere into the backseat. He sat frozen for a full minute before he felt comfortable enough to inspect the situation; eyes locked ahead and unblinking his left hand fumbled to pull the handle and unlatch the hood. He didn’t believe in the supernatural, yet the sound that erupted from his car sounded completely unnatural; his right hand gripped the handle of his umbrella and raised it as his left hand popped the hood, ready to defend himself against whatever unholy beast lurked in his engine. The soft “Mrr?” from Shane Calico, Steven’s cat, was not exactly what he had expected, and he underestimated the time-consuming difficulty of locating and retrieving his keys from under the passenger-side seat.

#ShortShortStories #Gearjammers


Alex H. Hofstedter experienced psychic visions throughout his life; they were rare and random, occurring when he came in contact with a person or one of their belongings. Upon contact his mind was sent to a moment in the often indeterminate future, and when he would naturally reach that point in his life he experienced déjà vu. While taking a break from helping his girlfriend Janine move into their new apartment, they laid on the floor clasping hands and Alex’s mind flashed to the same apartment but very different furnishings, and a small boy – his son? – smiling up at him and clapping his hands. In a blink Alex was once again in the present and looked upon his sweetheart with new adoration. Jan’s fingers were covered with rings and he inquired about all of them: this one reminded her of her first puppy, that one belonged to her runaway sister, this one was a gift from her childhood best friend, etc. Almost exactly one year later Alex came home to see Janine crying and embracing a woman resembling pictures he had seen of the long-lost sister; she let go of Janine and wrapped both of her arms around Alex, hurtling him back to the living room with their son.

#ShortShortStories #Roundabout

The Dog and Pony Show

JD clumsily tripped into a table knocking over a stone obelisk and shaking several other decorative objects sitting on it. He apologized to Arthur, the owner of the objects comparing himself to a bull in a china shop, to which his too-literal roommate explained that bulls were actually quite agile and capable of carefully navigating unfamiliar spaces. Arthur meant well, but he sometimes had difficulties differentiating between idioms and misunderstandings. Once at a party someone remarked about dogs being able to smell fear, Arthur resisted the urge to correct him believing this to be one of those “figures of speech”, but another guest challenged him and they settled the argument with their phones; Arthur almost consistently came to the wrong conclusion playing this vexing game. Ironically, while at a bar downtown Arthur correcting another patron’s misconception about elephants would introduce JD to his future wife.

#ShortShortStories #TheDogAndPonyShow

Sleight of Hand

“Mighty” Mitchum Tate danced around the ring as he delivered what his grandfather would have described as a right jolly lamming to his opponent, Francis More. His grandfather, Mitchum “Freight Train” Tate, was born and lived in Essex, England until the day his son died and he moved to America to raise his grandson. Mitchy, as his grandfather called him, didn’t just learn how to box, Mitchum passed on his lifetime of experience: knot-tying (rope, neck and bow), fencing, baking, dancing, shaping him into a renaissance man – should he ever give up boxing, voluntarily or not. Many of his fans would balk at the idea of Mighty Mitch doing anything other than boxing, saying that watching him box is like watching a shark swim, but those who had only ever seen him fencing – or from the baking class he taught to at-risk teens – would have said the same about the man they saw. Eventually he did move on from boxing, but he never stopped sharing the gifts bestowed upon him by his grandfather.

#ShortShortStories #SleightOfHand

The Competitive Edge

Geneva was notoriously bad at recognizing faces; she once had a lengthy conversation with a fellow customer at the grocery store, not realizing it was a co-worker until the next day when they brought it up. Even so, she could tell that this emerald-eyed girl with long, golden locks everyone addressed as “Zoe” was not the same Zoe she had met just days before. Geneva could not recall any specific facial features besides her brown eyes, but she distinctly remembered the Zoe she met having brown hair in a bob cut. She watched them switch back and forth for weeks with nobody else noticing, triggering paranoia about what the duo were up to, let alone what they actually were. In truth, they were testing spy tech for the government and its effectiveness in infiltrating secure facilities. If Geneva had raised any questions the government would have found her faceblindness invaluable to their efforts; many other governments are indebted to her silence.

#ShortShortStories #CompetitiveEdge

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