8thdayfiction

…and on the 8th day, micro fiction was published on some dude's blog.

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

Snuff, The Regular Dragon

Snuff kind of hated his step-brother.

First and foremost on the list of reasons why was the nickname. Snuff was the one who saved up his money for months so he could buy The Big Book of Amazing Illusions, and Snuff was the one who stayed up all night every night for weeks after getting the book to memorize every trick in it so he could impress his friends at school, and what does Puff do? Steals the book away from him, learns ONE trick (the ball in the cup, the dumbest, easiest trick in the whole book), performs it at school the next day during the lunch period right before Snuff’s–when he was going to break out his bag of tricks–and suddenly Puff’s “The Magic Dragon”.

And then there was that bratface Jackie Paper, who was Snuff’s BFF before Puff came along. Snuff knew that Jackie was only going to hang with Puff until another, cooler dragon wanted to be his friend, because that’s how Jackie rolled–he was a phony dragon tease. But Puff stealing his pal was still galling.

Also, at home it was obvious that Puff was the favorite. He’d do something stupid and immature, and Mom and Ron would just laugh and affectionately refer to him as a “rascal”, but if Snuff did the EXACT same thing? It was all, “Grow up, Snuff.” “That’s inappropriate, Snuff.” “You know better, Snuff.”

And on top of that, there was THE SONG. Some hippies had written a freaking folk song about Puff and how great he was. I mean, COME ON.

So did Snuff feel bad about starting the rumors that Puff’s song was about how he was a stoner? Sometimes–like when he’d see Puff get laughed at behind his back, get approached by the real stoners who thought Puff could hook them up, or when Puff ended up constantly being the subject of “random” locker searches at school.

But Snuff had to do something to even the score, and–“Puff”? Jackie PAPER? The rumors practically told themselves.

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OCS

Colleen was thrilled.

After weeks of patiently waiting, it had finally arrived in the mail: The Fall Course Catalogue for the Obsolete Correspondence School.

She thumbed through the pages, each available course of study looking more enticing than the last. By the time she was just about through looking at all of the entries, Colleen had pretty much made up her mind. She was going to major in Telegraph Operation with a minor in VHS Tape Rewinder Repair.

But then on the back page, she noticed the announcement for the fall semester’s new offering: The Cobbler’s Apprentice Program, which looked AMAZING.

So many choices. Colleen had to really think about it, and she decided she needed some advice. So she got out her HAM radio to see if there was anyone else on the airwaves registering for OCS, and if so, what classes they were thinking of taking.

But don’t get the wrong idea–she wasn’t totally living through outdated technology. She sent messages to her MySpace friends asking them what they thought, too.

The Cat Pitcher

For many years, if you lived in Greene County and you needed a cat pitcher, Roscoe Williams was the man you’d call.

He was the best–prompt, courteous, discreet, professional, treated the animals humanely, and didn’t ask too many questions. Everything you could ask for in a cat pitcher. Reasonable rates, too.

But let me back up a bit for those of you who aren’t familiar with what a cat pitcher does. Basically, they’re the person you call when you have a cat you no longer want (or never wanted in the first place, like your cat’s new litter of kittens that won’t stop meowing), and–for a nominal fee–the cat pitcher will get rid of said cat or cats. Don’t get the wrong idea; “get rid of them” doesn’t mean Old Yeller-style. No, what the cat pitcher does is he or she takes the cat or cats, drives them out to the country, and “pitches” them–lets them loose–somewhere safe, like near a farmhouse or some place like that.

So as I was saying, Roscoe was the best. He’d built quite a little business almost entirely by word-of-mouth. And this was pre-Internet, so it was actual word-of-mouth, no Angie’s List or anything like that involved. One person just told another, who told another, who told another, the old-fashioned way.

And then one day, Roscoe stopped answering his phone, stopped returning calls, and just…vanished.

Some people thought the guilt got to him–taking cats away from their homes, taking kittens away from their mothers–and he freaked out and just took off. Some thought he’d accidentally crossed the wrong person by pitching the wrong cat and got “pitched” himself. And then there was the odd person who explained Roscoe’s sudden disappearance by theorizing that he was Jesus or an angel. And of course, there were also a handful of people who thought the opposite, that Roscoe was taking the cats to do something sinister, like secretly eat them or what have you.

So everyone was surprised when word got back to them that Roscoe was alive and well and living in Florida…with EVERY cat he’d been hired to pitch since he’d started his pitching business (all the ones that were still alive, anyway). And what’s more, he’d trained the cats to, of all things, perform circus acts. Roscoe was the human ringleader of the world’s first and only All-Cat Circus.

Well, it goes without saying that in addition to the obvious surprise, more than a few of Roscoe’s old customers were also none too pleased to find out, years after the fact, that they’d paid Roscoe for a service he’d never provided. Some of the angriest of these duped customers even organized a trip south to confront Roscoe and demand refunds.

So off the caravan went, and upon arriving at the All-Cat Circus grounds, Roscoe immediately greeted the peeved travelers and completely disarmed them with his charm. He’d remembered all their names and their cats, and was completely upfront with them and full of contrition. He admitted his wrongdoing, offered a sincere apology to all (as well as complete refunds, before even being asked), and, on top of that, invited them all to attend that evening’s performance as guests of honor, free of charge.

And the story goes that the performance that night was FANTASTIC. Those who were there for it still talk about it today in awed, hushed terms.

Afterwards, all was forgiven, and the people who came to confront Roscoe and his deception no longer even wanted their refunds any more. After all, how can you be mad at a man who takes your unwanted cat and teaches it to walk a tightrope?

*For my Mom. Happy birthday to the world’s biggest cat lover! Seriously, if you are inclined to send my Mom a card and/or buy her a gift for her birthday, make sure it involves lots of cats. In fact, if such a thing as an All-Cat Circus does exist somewhere, tickets to it would be the perfect gift for her. FYI.*

One Of Those Days

It was one of those days.

Stan’s entire family needed new shoes. All of them; somehow they’d timed it perfectly so that all of their shoes had worn out in sync.

But Stan decided to do things differently this time. Instead of dragging the entire family to the mall for a Nightmare Shoe-Shop-A-Thon, he decided he’d order new shoes for everyone from tom’s.com. He’d read some stuff about the company and liked what they were all about. Also, he liked that the shopping for everyone could be done on his own, in a few minutes with a few clicks, as opposed to with the whole family, in an eternity at a Foot Locker.

He completed his order, very pleased with himself for helping others while being so efficient.

But then he noticed the fine print: He’d placed his order during the TOMS Annual Opposite Day Sale; for every pair of shoes ordered during the sale, they took a pair away from a child in need. He tried to cancel the order, and the Web site informed him that reversing the order was considered an additional transaction and another pair of shoes were going to be taken from another child in need. The site then automatically redirected him to the “TOMS Needy Kids Haters’ Wall of Shame”, where his name, contact information, and–inexplicably–a photo of him were posted.

Stan turned off the computer and got out a pen and paper to fire off an angry letter to TOM, whoever he was, unaware that the shenanigans that had just taken place were the result of logging in to a bogus TOMS Web site (the real site: toms.com, not tom’s.com) set up by scammers who were already busy mining his personal data and stealing his identity as he sat there and wrote.

One of those days? It was going to be one of those months.

Ninja Sneeze

So there was Owen, walking down the hall at work, minding his own business, when all of a sudden, he sneezed.

It was a total ninja sneeze; it hit him without warning. All Owen had time to do was quickly put his hand in front of his face to contain the spray.

And it was a HUGE ninja sneeze. His head violently jerked forward as it left his nose, and when he reared back after the fact, his hand was coated with mucus.

And then it got worse.

At that exact moment, JoAnne rounded the corner and saw Owen, and her face lit up. She used to work in Owen’s department, and she and Owen were work pals. She’d moved on to another department a few months ago, but they were still in the same building, so every once in a while they’d bump into each other in the hall and catch up.

Another thing about JoAnne? She was a handshaker. A very, shall we say, PROACTIVE handshaker. The kind of handshaker who doesn’t meet you half way; the kind of handshaker who lunges into your personal space, grabs your hand, yanks it towards them and proceeds to pump vigorously, as if to say with each pump, “I! AM! GO! ING! TO! BE! AG! GRES! SIVE! LY! FRIEND! LY! WHETH! ER! YOU! LIKE! IT! OR! NOT!”

Sure enough, JoAnne rushed over to Owen and employed her usual handshake technique–on Owen’s mucus hand, before he’d had enough time to think and jerk it away in order to avoid what happened next.

JoAnne started to shake away while talking to him, and then…she stopped. She stopped talking, which was rare enough, and for the first time ever, she was the first of the two of them to loosen her grip. She pried her hand loose, silently looked at it, aghast, then looked up at him.

Owen wasn’t sure, but it felt like some snot was still hanging out of his left nostril.

So he did the only sensible thing: He quickly and silently turned and ran down the rest of the hallway, made a right into the stairwell, sprinted up the first flight of stairs, and hid on the landing.

Owen figured he could hang out there the rest of the day, and then–although it would require a good deal of planning and perfect timing on his part–he supposed he could figure out a way to avoid JoAnne forever, starting tomorrow.

Slime Mold

“This slime mold is out of control! We need to throw some bleach and water on it STAT!”

Sitting in his room–minus dinner–moments after he’d uttered those very words, Bobby realized a bit too late that Mom did not appreciate having her Jell-O salad spoken of in those terms.

But he decided it was worth it. The lines had received a pretty good laugh from the rest of the family; he’d even caught Dad chuckling a little bit.

And plus, it was cube steak and canned generic green bean night. He wasn’t missing anything.

X-Ray Specs

Nelson knew it was a long shot that they’d actually work, but he went ahead and ordered the X-Ray specs anyway. He figured, worst case scenario, they wouldn’t work and he’d be out the twenty bucks, but maybe if he held onto them long enough he could sell them some day to a collector of retro kitsch or something.

And, best case scenario, they’d work and at long last, he’d be able to see live naked girls. He knew that made him a creep, but he didn’t care. He was a horny fifteen-year old, the kind who ordered X-Ray specs from an ad in the back pages of a comic book. Chances are, he wasn’t going to be seeing a naked girl by any other means any time soon.

The glasses finally arrived the advertised four to six weeks later, and Nelson couldn’t believe it, but they actually worked.

Unfortunately for him, though, the specs worked a little too well.

The problem was, they were literally X-Ray specs. When he wore them, Nelson didn’t get the peep show he’d hoped for–all he saw were a bunch of walking skeletons.

But on the plus side, he was able to use the specs to score himself a part-time after school job at the local orthopedic surgeon’s office, and that beat bagging groceries.

He Couldn’t Have Been Any Clearer

Gabe was starting to get irritated with people.

They would show up at his store, often with their kids, interested in buying one of his designs.

But when he’d get the needles out, they’d get all mad and their kids would start crying and they’d yell at him and accuse him of “false advertising” and leave in a huff.

As far as Gabe was concerned, he couldn’t have been any clearer. He ran a mobile tattoo parlor that was only in each physical location temporarily, and the sign he hung out front every time he set up shop advertised it as such: TEMPORARY TATTOOS.

And besides, who were these people to judge? They were bringing their little kids to get tattoos! Now, if the kid was with an adult who was willing to pay, he was going to take their money and give their kid a tattoo, but STILL.

Connor’s Tale

One morning not too long ago, Connor woke up to discover that at some point during the night, he had grown a tail.

This put a bit of a kink into his usual morning routine. And when he wasn’t able to cover up the tail with clothing or otherwise make it unnoticeable, he called off sick from work, figuring he was going to need at least a day to deal with this new development.

The way he chose to “deal with it” was by spending most of the day freaking out, and then, late that night, making the rash decision to cut off the tail himself.

It wasn’t pretty, and after a short night of fitful sleep, Connor awoke the next day to find that the tail was back–fully grown.

Another day off from work spent freaking out followed by another night which ended in another fevered and messy tail-cutting later, and Connor awoke on the third day…again with a new, fully grown tail.

He could not comprehend why this was happening to him, or why the tails kept coming back. But on that third day, Connor resigned himself to the fact that it was, in fact, happening, and that his only option from now on (or for as long as he kept growing tails) was going to be for him to start each new day by cutting them off.

And he made peace with this new reality rather quickly. The whole thing was decidedly weird and inconvenient, to be sure, but when all was said and done, it was just hair.

 

Wait…you didn’t know that by “tail”, I meant a thin, long strand of hair growing from the back of his neck? That hairstyle that was briefly in fashion in the 1980s?

Oh, MAN–you probably thought I meant “tail” as in an animal’s tail, as if the guy was slowly turning into a cat or something.

And you know, come to think of it, THAT probably would’ve made for a better story.

Then again, eh–what can I tell ya? I wrote what I wrote.

In A Bad Way

Terri was in a bad way.

She was nauseated, and had alternating hot spells and chills. Her teeth wouldn’t stop chattering, and her mind and heart were both racing. She was babbling to herself and was extra-sensitive to touch. Wendell had tried just putting a hand on her shoulder to comfort her, and she lashed out at him, landing a punch that nearly broke his jaw.

Simply put, she was delirious.

Wendell had been through similar trying times with her in years past, but he had never seen Terri’s symptoms get this bad and stay this bad for so long.

Wendell was worried. It broke his heart to even think about it, but he figured maybe this would be the year she’d have to go on mint chocolate chip ice cream for a few months to ease her down. It would be a desperate measure, for sure, but he didn’t know what else to do. It had been almost a full week since Terri’s last Shamrock Shake, and she was still in the throes of full-on withdrawal.

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