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And So He Goes

Lyle Musgrave had too many problems to make a list or even prioritize which was worst; he was faced with his own mortality, literally. The Reaper explained the mix-up, although obviously vague about what details were mixed up, and bid Lyle adieu grimly promising to see him later. For approximately two weeks Lyle hesitated to go anywhere or do anything; he even tried switching to an all-liquid diet. The two-ish weeks ended one morning when he woke up, stepped out of bed, and immediately tripped and fell face first to the floor, narrowly missing the corner of a desk. His death was predetermined, he couldn’t stop it from happening, and it could have happened right then – LIGHTS OUT. It didn’t. He lived his life happy and without fear from that day until an unstated unit of time later when he was visiting his now-adult grandchild in her apartment, sitting on his old couch, the two enjoying a special sandwich he had made in her honor.

#ShortShortStories #AndSoHeGoes #Uh-Oh

Reaper Madness

To any outside observer, Lyle Musgrave appeared to be seated by himself on his couch, with two appetizing sandwiches before him; from Lyle’s point of view he was eating lunch with a young man. In reality he was discussing the terms of his death with, and consequently learning about the life of, a “Reaper”. He learned that souls do exist, that birth causes the soul to split, that the personification of Death is actually that missing piece of soul, that an ethereal bureaucracy exists so the two pieces can reunite at the moment of death and move on to the afterlife, and finally he learned that this Reaper arrived an unstated unit of time too early.

#ShortShortStories #ReaperMadness #Uh-Oh

Soul Man

The chilly bones did indeed grip Lyle Musgrave’s shoulder as he ate his gourmet sandwich, however he was not choking and his spirit did not nudge. Lyle looked up at a very confused specter of Death, the empty caverns of a skull contorting and furrowing like a cartoon. It stopped, pulled out a notepad and rubbed his skeletal fingers against its forehead, letting out a sigh. Death vaulted the couch and crashed next to Lyle, his form transforming to that of an unassuming young adult. Answers would come, but first the young man asked if Lyle could be troubled to make a sandwich for him?

#ShortShortStories #SoulMan #UhOh

Uh-Oh

Lyle Musgrave was so awkward that even the circumstances of his death were one of the most awkward situations of his life. One afternoon, as he was enjoying one of the most delicious sandwiches he had ever prepared (he prided himself on his culinary combinations), he discovered some things about the Grim Reaper. Apparently it is not just an element of culture, but an actual living species. One would think he made this discovery as he choked on a bite of his sandwich and felt the bony hand of Death take him by the shoulder and cast him into the afterlife, but you would be wrong… kind of.

#ShortShortStories #UhOh

It’s How You Play the Game

The pressure was on, the crowd was almost unanimously chanting the number two, while a hesitant few shook their heads; Dirk took a breath to reconsider things: the math was on his side, if he changed his mind about which door to open he would be more likely to win the grand prize. In the end it didn’t matter which door the prize was behind, what mattered was the decision he made backstage after the episode was filmed: keep and care for the goat or take a $350 cash value prize? Once again the math seemed to make the choice obvious, but Dirk did some different calculations than normal and gladly accepted the goat. In less than a week he was a national news story, crisscrossing the country to appear on shows as “The Goat Guy” and share his crazy story, within a year he purchased several more goats and established a “Goat Guy” line of products that allowed him to quit his job and enjoy the fruits of his fortune.

#ShortShortStories #ItsHowYouPlayTheGame

Nothing to Fear, But Fear Itself

Emory was rapt, her eyes dilated as the video flew through the air until it dipped below the clouds revealing scattered islands amid dark blue ocean. Faster and faster until it once again stopped, hovering mid-air, and fractions of seconds apart they all froze, realizing the feed was just a few dozen feet above them. A full minute passed, their individual figures barely visible, but the location undeniable. Suddenly the camera moved again – though none could see any recording device – ceasing just above Cassandra who was now in full panic. The stream showed Cassandra running and screaming, the drone following just ahead of her, keeping her face perfectly in frame, yet when everyone looked up they saw Cassandra still frozen in place, silent. Back to the video, she continued to run and scream for help throughout the resort, until the camera broke away and looped back to its original place a few dozen feet above them, hovering.

#ShortShortStories #NothingToFearButFearItself

The Family Hour

Taylor tickled her baby girl, Shayla, making goofy faces while playing peek-a-boo; she puffed out her cheeks, crossed her eyes, anything to elicit that precious giggle that gave her life meaning. Taylor’s father, Gus, arrived a short time later to babysit while she was at work, and her father had the same zeal for Shayla’s laugh. When Taylor moved back in with her parents years earlier it was an awkward transition, not least because she was pregnant. Shayla brought lightness to everyone’s hearts, and when Taylor’s mom passed a year later her and her father became a stronger team than they had ever been before. This strength empowered Shayla and what she accomplished in her remarkable life was directly owed to this bond.

#ShortShortStories #TheFamilyHour

Return to the 38th Parallel

Many strange assumptions were made by the Korean soldiers when they marched across the 38th parallel in Spring 2024. One soldier wore a helmet he was assured would protect him from the radiation leaking from inferior-quality microwave ovens, and Dae-Won Ru brought a modified transformer he had invented himself. His fears and misgivings about south Korea being as restrictive of electricity as the Free and Prosperous Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (FPDPRK) vanished within an hour of their deployment and he went AWOL. Whether by luck or fate, Dae-Won found a benefactor in an old man running an electronics shop where he tried to sell a battery he had invented. The old man examined the device – about the size of a pack of cigarettes – inquiring about the voltage. He skeptically obliged Dae-Won to find the parts necessary to form an adapter after he asked to see the shops generator. An hour later the lights of the shop dimmed until the power went out and Dae-Won apologized as he disconnected his device and reconnected the generator, explaining that he lacked the power in his home to give it a full charge. The shop owner almost fainted as he attempted to comprehend the technology required for such a power source.

#ShortShortStories #ReturnToThe38thParallel

Home

The haole extended his thumb and little finger while curling his middle three and waved the shaka sign at Kawai. Behind his sunglasses Kawai rolled his eyes and pretended not to notice. The problem, he lamented, with living in a paradise with beautiful weather virtually year-round is the constant swarm of tourists. His friend Scott paddled in and carried his board to shore; he was a haole that moved to the Big Island a few years earlier, but was quickly accepted by the community. When he first arrived Scott only ever introduced himself as “SB” until someone finally asked what that stood for, to which Scott responded by lifting his shirt, slapping his very white beer belly and shouting “Shark Bait!” eliciting howling laughter from everyone in the bar. The waves were trash and they were going to give up when Kawai got a call from his Uncle Kai, who knew every secret surfing spot on the Island. For hours they surfed waves no higher than a couple of feet, but were by far the best either Scott or Kawai had surfed in years.

#ShortShortStories #Home

Over the Rainbow

The last thing the boy remembered was running across a field and suddenly falling down through the grass, finding himself in a distinctly different, brighter field. Blessed with a lack of worry, he resumed his charge until he came to an abrupt halt in front of an apple tree. The sight of the luscious fruit reminded his stomach that it was empty, stirring it to growl. The boy kicked off his shoes, hugged the tree, and shimmied up to a limb, plucking an apple and swinging back down to the ground. He reclined against the trunk he savored each bite while appreciating his surroundings when a young girl wearing a gown and a tiara approached with a quizzical look. Before he could introduce himself she commanded him to explain how he got there and if he knew the punishment for stealing royal apples. She scoffed at his claims of ignorance, but was suddenly intrigued by his profound confusion when she informed him that boys were not allowed in Princessland.

#ShortShortStories #OverTheRainbow #KidProQuo #TheBoyInPrincessland

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