8thdayfiction

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

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

The Guy In The Truck

They pulled him over because he had been driving erratically; since they first noticed him swerving back and forth between lanes he’d had at least three near misses with other cars. They just wanted to make sure he wasn’t drunk or having a stroke or something.

But then he started hemming and hawing about producing his license and registration, so the officers asked him to step out of the vehicle so they could inspect it. And that’s when they found it on the front passenger side floor: A plastic grocery bag containing nearly a dozen severed human toes.

The officers cuffed the guy and hauled him downtown, thinking they had possibly just nabbed an unbeknownst-to-anyone-until-now serial killer. It turned out, though, after some research and some calls to a few other precincts, that he was probably the guy who had been breaking into morgues and funeral homes all over the state, cutting toes off corpses (and apparently just saving them in a shopping bag).

When Jenkins and Miller sat him down later that afternoon and asked him what the bag was doing in his pickup, he looked them straight in the eye and said, “Well, fellas, it’s like this: I’ve always wanted to drive a TOE truck.” He quickly followed it up with, “I know, I know: I’m a real HEEL for doing what I’ve done”, and then just started cackling.

As the detectives left the interrogation room rolling their eyes, the man called after them. “That’s OK, guys. I probably shouldn’t say any more without a lawyer anyway. So, if I can’t afford one, the taxpayers will FOOT the bill for me, right?”

In the end, the man was convicted on ten counts of abuse of a corpse, as well as a few counts of perpetrating a groan-inducing pun.

He was sentenced to five years in state prison, to be spent writing headlines for the New York Post.

Advertisements

A Few Words From Rep. Bliss On The Subject Of Howler Monkey Squatters

For as long as there had been homes and howler monkeys, it had been a sad fact of life in Mansville that howler monkeys sometimes invaded homes, often causing damage to the home and always traumatizing the homeowners when it happened.

And it had been an even sadder fact that over the years some had attempted to explain why howler monkeys sometimes invaded homes. As if there was a way to make sense of it. As if there were any way to explain it other than it being tragic evidence that we lived in a broken world.

And it was an even sadder fact still that these explanations often—intentionally or unintentionally—seemed to blame the homeowners for the howler monkey invasions. “Howler monkeys are naturally curious creatures with opposable thumbs—if you leave your doors unlocked, well…”, they’d say, or “Howler monkeys are attracted to the color blue, so if your home is painted blue…”, the dot-dot-dot always seeming to imply “YOU’RE ASKING FOR IT”, ignorant of the fact that NO homeowner asks for a howler monkey invasion.

It was a sensitive issue to be sure, this one of howler monkey home invasions, compounded by the fact that historically it wasn’t always handled with the appropriate amount of compassion or tact.

And one day, Rep. Ignorance Bliss, an absolutely graceless politician and human being in general, who just so happened to represent the Congressional District in which Mansville resided, stepped about as clumsily as one possibly could into the discussion.

To be fair, no one had ever considered Rep. Bliss any kind of authority on howler monkeys or homeowners, and he was led to the subject indirectly by his interviewer, who had asked him about howler monkey squatters, and more generally, unwanted animal exterminations of any kind.

(It seems appropriate here to offer a brief explanation of unwanted animals and howler monkey squatters.

One of the oldest, most controversial, and most emotional issues in the history of politics in Mansville was that of the extermination of unwanted animals.

There were two general sides: Pro-extermination and pro-animal life. The pro-extermination side felt that homeowners should be allowed to make their own choices about what happened in their homes, and that if there was an unwanted animal living in the home—say, an invasion of mice, or cockroaches—homeowners should have the legal right to call an exterminator and have the unwanted animals removed.

On the contrary, the pro-animal lifers believed strongly in the sanctity of ALL life, unwanted or not. They would sometimes advocate for homeowners to keep their (originally unwanted) guests; this argument often contained a religious element—the argument being that, although the animals in the house were unplanned, it was God’s will that the rats, termites, whatever, had arrived and that His plan was also that they be kept alive and embraced, even if it meant a drastic change in the homeowners’ lifestyles.

Some pro-animal lifers also advocated for unwanted animals in homes to be given to local zoos or nature preserves as an alternative to extermination. Sure, the homeowners would have to live with the unwanted animals for months until arrangements could be made to ship them wherever they were going to go, but this was considered by its proponents to be far more compassionate than extermination.

However, among both sides there seemed to be consensus, more or less, that the extermination option should always be available to homeowners whose homes had been affected by animal invasions caused by homeowners’ family members, invasions where the lives of the homeowners were in danger (e.g., an invasion of bears), or in cases of howler monkey squatters.

When howler monkeys invaded homes, they would often quickly do damage to the home and then leave (although the attack would obviously have a lasting emotional impact on the homeowners, if nothing else). But in some cases of howler monkey invasions, the monkeys would end up squatting in the home—in other words, they’d invade the home and then just not leave.

In these instances, most agreed that extermination of the howler monkey squatters should be an option for the homeowners. The argument was that it was adding to the trauma of the initial howler monkey invasion if the homeowners had to then live with a constant reminder of the attack, and more traumatic still if they were forced to care for the monkeys just because they decided, for whatever reason, to stay.

Some still advocated donation of the howler monkeys to zoos or nature preserves in these cases, but others thought it was asking too much of the homeowners to host the monkeys—who were there as the result of a violent attack, after all—for even a few months).

And here is where we return to Rep. Bliss. There were some in the pro-animal life movement—and Bliss was one of them—who felt strongly enough about the sanctity of life that they did not support ANY exceptions allowing for animal extermination: No exceptions for invasions caused by malicious family members, no exceptions to spare the lives of the homeowners, and no exceptions for howler monkey squatters.

When asked why he would not make an exception allowing extermination in cases of howler monkey squatters, Rep. Bliss replied that he thought howler monkey squatters were “rare”, and that, in cases of “legitimate” howler monkey invasions, “homeowners have ways of shutting that whole thing down”.

The reactions to his comments were swift and fierce. There were those who expressed surprise that such categories as “legitimate” (and therefore, Bliss’s implied “illegitimate”) howler monkey invasions existed; these people were quick to point out that it was their understanding that a howler monkey invasion was a howler monkey invasion—end of story, and bristled at the idea that such a traumatic act should be categorized as better or worse, real or not-so-real.

There were those who took offense at how insensitive the comments were to ALL homeowners, but in particular to those who had been victims of howler monkey invasions—how the comments seemed to imply that homeowners had some magic control over creatures like howler monkeys and that howler monkey squatters were evidence that they had failed to exercise said magic control, so the whole thing was really kind of their fault.

There were those who pointed out the monumental stupidity and ignorance of the Representative’s statements, how they seemed to be based on absolutely no—to use Bliss’s own word choice—“legitimate” knowledge of homeowners or howler monkeys.

And all of those people were right. Rep. Bliss’s comments were hurtful, insensitive, and extremely ignorant, not to mention plain old idiotic.

But Ignorance Bliss was an American, and as such, enjoyed the right to free speech, which included speech that was hurtful, insensitive, ignorant, and dumb. Heck, he was a politician—such speech was practically a job requirement.

And when everyone started to turn on him—including prominent members of his own party—urging him to step down from office, he refused, and that was also his right. He was running for higher office, and it seemed fair enough to allow the voters in his state to decide if they wanted him speaking for them in Washington, not other politicians worried in the heat of the moment about how bad he might make them look.

No, when all was said and done, the worst part about what Rep. Bliss said wasn’t the initial words themselves, although they were awful. And it wasn’t his refusal to go away forever, although it would’ve made a good number of people happy had he done just that.

The worst part of the whole situation was, oddly enough, the “apology” Bliss offered up after the original comments and the uproar which followed them. For at the moment of truth, when Bliss should’ve thought long and hard about the perfect thing to say to at least start to make things right, he instead offered a concise statement saying he’d “misspoke”, followed by a tone-deaf attempt at changing the subject, angrily affirming he was staying in his race and offering to talk about fixing high unemployment or anything else that had nothing to do with homeowners or howler monkeys.

“Misspoke”—nowhere did his “apology” statement use the words “I’m” or “sorry”—just “I misspoke”.

“Misspoke”—as if what he said would’ve made perfect sense if only he’d changed a word or two.

“Misspoke”—as if he were giving someone directions and told them to go right at the second stoplight when he meant to say right at the third one.

“Misspoke”—as in, it’s pretty much your fault if you’re upset about what I said, because you just misunderstood me.

“Misspoke”—as in a euphemism for “Well, I guess I need to say I’m sorry or something because apparently you people are angry for some reason so I’m sorry, I guess, if it’ll get all of you off my back”.

Not a plain-spoken, qualifier-free, non-followed-by-canned-stump-speech “I’m sorry”, or “I never should have said that”, or “I understand my words were hurtful and unfair and insensitive and I deeply regret ever saying them and I am asking for your forgiveness”.

Nope—just a nonsense, non-apology, half-assed “I misspoke”.

And THAT is why that part of the whole mess was the worst part. Because it showed everyone, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Rep. Ignorance Bliss—a man who had never been a homeowner himself and therefore couldn’t POSSIBLY know what it was like to have one’s home invaded by howler monkeys, yet still felt comfortable expounding on the subject as if he were some authority—didn’t seem to change, even after all the uproar caused by his words, even though it was clear to everyone except him that he had crossed a line. The worst part was that, after all that, he still—unbelievably, STILL—just didn’t get it.

No One (Except Chad) Ever Is To Blame

When his firm lost their biggest client, Chad ended up being the scapegoat. One by one the other partners pointed their fingers at him for the loss, and not too long after the last partner turned on him, he was ousted from the firm completely.

He took it hard; his frustration would bubble up to the surface from time to time and he’d lash out at those around him.

And no one got it worse than Howard Jones. It didn’t matter where he was or what he was doing–whenever Chad heard Jones’s song, he’d stop, shake his fist, and yell in the general direction of the music, “‘No one ever is to blame’? You’re a DIRTY LIAR, Howard Jones!”

The last anyone had heard from Chad, he had taken off to the U.K. to find Howard Jones and “give him a piece of my mind”.

For the most part, Chad’s friends thought the trip was a good idea. He didn’t have anything going on at home anyway, and they figured a change of scenery would do him good. And if he did somehow manage to find Howard Jones in his travels, well, maybe that would be cathartic for him or give him closure or something like that.

But none of them thought he’d actually be successful. After all, he didn’t exactly have a reputation for competence. In fact, word on the street was that his bumbling had single-handedly cost Sagman, Bennett, Robbins, Oppenheim, and Taft their biggest client.

Grass Man (or, Dr. Sod)

Following a freak accident involving samples of genetically modified groundcover, Dr. Colton Barkley awoke in his laboratory one evening to find his skin had been replaced with a thick layer of grass.

Upon discovering this, he had gone mad and considered turning to a life of crime.

But he decided against it. After all, he hadn’t gone THAT mad. Sure, he went a little crazy–can you blame him? But when he thought about it, what was he going to even call himself? “Grass Man”? That sounded like the nickname of the local burnout hippy pot dealer.

He kind of liked “Dr. Sod”, but then what would a grass-covered villian do? Build a gun that shoots crabgrass at people?

That seemed like a lot of work. And when he factored in what it would take to stay one step ahead of the cops and/or superheroes who would try to stop him, and that no one would be paying him to be a madman or to construct his madman weapons, and that the whole thing would probably end with his grisly death if he went down that path anyway, it just didn’t seem worth the trouble.

So Dr. Barkley went back to his job at the lab.

It was a life of quiet dignity, interrupted by the occasional break for him to weed, water, or mow himself.

The Not-So-Great Cake Options

What Grace had ordered was a round white cake with “Happy 36th Birthday, Judd Cole!” written on it.

What she got was a clown spice cake with “Happy Dirty Knickers Day, Butt Hole!” written on it.

So Grace had a few not-so-great options:

1) Serve her boss the cake at his birthday party as-is (which was NOT going to happen),
2) Try to scrape off the scary clown icing face and bizarre message (and seriously–who in their right mind would come up with “Dirty Knickers Day”, even over a bad phone connection?); this also was not going to happen since after all that trouble you’d still be left with a spice cake, or
3) Refuse the “Butt Hole” cake and instead, buy the only decent-sized white cake the bakery had on hand.

Grace chose option number three, which seemed like the only sensible one. That is, until she saw the look on Judd’s face when the cake was revealed to him. It was at that moment Grace remembered that Judd had been going through a fairly nasty divorce. And suddenly, she realized that spice cake, a scary clown face, and even the term “Butt Hole” would have been preferable to a cake that had HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! written on it in giant fire engine red icing letters.

Grace mumbled something about a mix-up at the bakery as she grabbed the knife and cut into the cake, doling out pieces at a furious clip, trying to cut away the word ANNIVERSARY! as quickly as possible.

Once everyone had their cake, she slipped out of the conference room and back to her desk.

She had two things she needed to do right away:

1) Update her resume, and
2) Send a sternly-worded letter to the Better Business Bureau concerning the incompetent custom cake-decorating services offered by the Sweet Treatz Bakery.

 

***For my sister Sharon on her birthday. I hope no one gives you a clown spice cake that addresses you via icing as “Butt Hole”.***

The KRAUT HAMMER

“You know who should have been a pro wrestler? Charles Krauthammer. What a great name for a heel, am I right? The KRAUT HAMMER. He could’ve dressed like a Nazi or something.”

“OK, first of all, I don’t think Germans have been called ‘Krauts’ since–I don’t know–the 1940s or something. Second of all: Why? Why–unless you’re making a movie about World War II–why would you want someone dressed as a Nazi? And third of all, you DO know that Charles Krauthammer is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair…right?”

The exchange continued and Mitch kept watching, half listening and half trying to figure out how the two of them had started on this topic in the first place.

All he knew for sure was that it was the weirdest debate between Senate candidates he’d ever seen.

You’re Dumb

The last time I saw her, I pretty much knew it would be the last time, so I made sure I said what I wanted to say: That I loved her, all that important stuff.

She didn’t say much back, but I understood. At that point, she was barely lucid.

But just before I left that night, she beckoned me closer. I moved my chair next to the bed, and as we leaned in to each other she whispered:

“Why didn’t Peter Cetera’s parents name him Et? That would’ve been hilarious.”

She smiled at me. I smiled back and said, “You’re dumb.”

“You’re dumber”, she said.

Those were the last words we spoke to each other.

But any time I hear a Peter Cetera song–usually, you know, when I’m in the car going through the radio dial and I just happen to find one, not that I’m looking for one or anything–I start laughing and crying at the same time. In those moments I imagine she’s watching me, saying “HA HA–you’re getting emotional over a Peter Cetera song! You’re dumb!”

And I always say back to her, wherever she is, “You’re dumber.”

And it’s kind of perfect.

Never A Dull Moment

People think it’s crazy when I tell them what I do for a living. God knows my parents were pissed when they found out: “We helped pay your way through law school so you could be an ALLIGATOR lawyer?” They would’ve been happier if I had chosen something less exciting but solid, like tax law, or even if I had chosen something like personal injury law–kinda sleazy, but at least it pays well.

But those things aren’t me. My passion is Alligator Law, so I went for it–and I couldn’t be happier.

And truth be told, I’m making pretty good money at it, too. I’m not going to get into specifics, but let’s just say my parents DEFINITELY aren’t worried about me any more.

I have a steady stream of clients. Mostly it’s alligators who want to sue for discrimination–you know, they’re mistaken for crocodiles, or not given equal access to swamplands or something. That sort of stuff. Pretty standard.

But every once in a while, I get a unique one. Like, just the other day, this guy calls me. Turns out, he and his pet alligator were BANNED from their local dog park, where they had been going for months–MONTHS!–without incident. Seems the alligator–ALLEGEDLY–ate a poodle. An obnoxious poodle that no one liked and was apparently getting up there in years anyway, from what I’ve been told.

So that’s going to be an interesting one. Could be groundbreaking, really. We could end up setting a precedent, opening up dog parks across the country to alligators and their owners. Could be HUGE.

Yep–never a dull moment in Alligator Law, that’s for sure.

A Sternly-Worded Letter

When Vito checked his mail and saw he had received something from the township, he figured it was his water bill or something and opened it without a second thought.

But then he started reading and his blood began to boil. It turned out to be a sternly-worded letter from the township’s Board of Supervisors informing him that he and his pet were no longer welcome at the dog park.

Vito crumpled the letter into a tight ball and tossed it aside. He couldn’t believe the nerve of those stuck-up bureaucrats.

Sure, Chompy wasn’t a dog. But he was the best-behaved alligator Vito had ever owned, and he had been taking him to the dog park for months–MONTHS!–without incident.

But apparently, eating ONE poodle–who had been yipping and getting in Chompy’s face non-stop and whose owner had been doing nothing about it, for the record–was considered “unacceptable behavior” that made “other parkgoers and their pets uncomfortable”.

And then it occurred to Vito that the dog park was public property, paid for and maintained in part by his tax dollars.

So that settled it–he and Chompy weren’t going to take this lying down. All he had to do now was find a reputable alligator defense attorney who’d take the case.

Church Pants

Justin hated wearing the corduroy pants.

They were a hideous shade of pea green, they sported a sad denim patch that was not very successfully covering a hole in one knee, and they had never been washed–and they looked and smelled like it, too.

But the pants, which had belonged to The Church’s founder, Renzo, weren’t allowed to be washed. It was one of The Church’s Decrees, as was the rule that every Elder must take a turn wearing the pants once a month. Justin was an Elder, and it was the fourth Wednesday of the month, so it was his turn.

Then again, it was only once a month, so he put up with it. Besides, it was the only Church Decree he didn’t like, so no big deal.

OK–that, and the forcing of The Church’s children into arranged marriages. He had his doubts about that one.

And the mandatory sixty percent tithing. He had always thought that to be a tad unreasonable.

And the whole completely-cutting-off-contact-with-all-family-members-who-weren’t-also-part-of-The-Church thing.

And the blackmailing of Church members who tried to leave.

And those occasional ritual suicides. He obviously had never participated in one of those, but still: They seemed kind of wrong to him.

But as he re-adjusted his belt, trying to get the several-sizes-too-large pants cinched just right, Justin decided that, other than those few things, the pants really were the worst.

Post Navigation