Tag Archives: short stories

The Stone – part I

“Do you know what you have here?” the jeweler cried.

Stacey didn’t know, but her heart pumped a little harder in sync with the enthusiasm of the lady before her. She shook her head: no.

“This is no fake! Where did you get this?”

Stacey had no desire whatsoever to discuss that at the moment. She struggled to come up with something halfway believable. ‘Why didn’t she have a story set up?’ she fumed at herself in the third person as she was wont to do, not entirely upset that she needed one after all. She had more or less figured the stone was worthless and only convinced herself to have it appraised to ease her mind against the possibility of a lifetime of regret had she never investigated the stone. The hot Miami sun shone through the windows of the corner jewelry store Stacey had decided to bring her mystery stone to, and she gazed at the palm fronds on the sidewalk just outside the window. “It was my Aunt’s” she settled on. “She willed it to me. I didn’t even know she owned any jewelry!”. She let out a little giggle, trying to distract the jeweler from her previous line of questioning. “And then boom – she wills me something… Well, what exactly is it worth?”

The jeweler eyed Stacey with a hint of incredulity, but only a hint. She decided to play along for now. “Do you know what this type of stone is called?”

“No, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It isn’t a diamond – that I’m sure of. I’ve never owned rubies or sapphires or emeralds or anything like that.” She giggled again coyly, wishing the jeweler had been a man, and more likely to be susceptible to her non-mineral charms.

“You really don’t know, do you?” She smiled sincerely. “You’re a very fortunate young lady Miss … What did you say your name was?”

“Ms. Florence.”

“Ms. Florence, you’re a very fortunate young lady,” Mrs. Sykes repeated. “Very fortunate indeed, to have had such a generous Aunt who obviously favored you very kindly.”

“What type of stone is it?” Stacey intruded as smoothly as she could.

“I won’t bother telling you the name of it – I can guarantee with certainty you’ve never heard of it. Almost no one has. But I’ll show you what makes it so special, if you want to know.”

Now Stacey was genuinely intrigued – ‘why wouldn’t she want to know?’ She left aside her fortune planning for the moment and let her mind wonder in this new mysterious territory. ‘An unknown stone? Was this lady being serious with her? Or was she being taken for a most unpleasant ride?’ She hoped for the best and followed Mrs. Sykes as the woman led her into the back of the store. They proceeded through a curtained off area in the rear into a rather industrial looking area where Stacey figured stones were cut and polished and whatnot. At least that’s what it looked like to her. She followed along as her host motioned for her into what at first looked like a tiny, empty space. As Stacey stepped into the small space however, she noticed some buttons on the wall and realized it was an elevator. ‘Strange,’ she thought, recalling the building only had one floor. ‘Must go to the basement.’

As she expected by now, the elevator began to slowly descend. Mrs. Sykes was speaking about something not particularly relevant to the matter at hand, or at least Stacey hoped it wasn’t relevant as she couldn’t keep her mind clear. Her head grew foggy with wonders of fortunes and mystique. The elevator continued down for some time before Stacey thought to look at the buttons on the wall closely in an attempt to see which one had been selected. To her discomfort, there were only three buttons – 1, B, and a third button with no label. It was this nameless destination to which they were now heading. She started to ask where they were going when her voice caught in her throat and she found herself unable to speak. Mrs. Sykes had since abandoned her monologue and the two rode down in silence for what seemed to Stacey to be at least ten minutes. At last the elevator came to a steady. The door remained closed for what was to Stacey an uncomfortably long time, although in reality it was no more than two or three seconds. When the door at last removed itself from Stacey’s view, she wished it hadn’t. She started in a fit of abandon at the sight before her, then regained her wits and began to comprehend what her unsuspecting eyes had initially rejected.

The Bat

The bat touched my hair. I freaked out and swatted my hair and the space above my head feverishly in the dark. I felt something light and crispy brush the back of my hand briefly. My stomach clenched and twisted. My heart rose up into my throat and choked me. My eyes strained in vain to make out any detail whatsoever in the pitch black cavernous space. The sound of flapping wings receded for a moment, bringing forth my eternal gratitude. In this space eternity is forever and for only a micro-moment simultaneously, for I was forced to revoke my gratitude seconds later when I heard the approaching sound of wings flapping in the darkness. My heart-rate tripled. My breath got caught in my bronchials and I began to suffocate.

I suddenly recalled a recent appointment with my accountant. He was a miserable man, and cheap too, but he provided the service for me I could not provide for myself and I had little choice but to continue to subject myself to his presence once or twice a year. As he pecked away at his calculator (he was too cheap to consider purchasing modern hardware, much less software) I remember allowing my mind at the time to wander towards thoughts of his personal life. Did he have a wife? Children? I thought it unlikely as a wife and children cost money – as unromantic and practical-minded as that may sound, it is the truth – and I couldn’t see him taking on the burdensome expense. But maybe he had – I didn’t know and didn’t bother to ask, but I remember wondering because on his desk I glanced upon an item which struck me as being uncharacteristically warm and charming, and I couldn’t imagine that this cheap, miserly soul had ever purchased anything so, well, human. I couldn’t really imagine it being a gift, either, as he didn’t seem the sort to partake in any such silly rituals as gift giving or receiving.

Lying on the cold, dank floor now, curled up into as tight a ball as I could wrap myself, praying the bat would go away and leave me unmolested, I thought that maybe my accountant must indeed have had a wife once, for there was no other explanation I could think of to explain the object I witnessed on his desk that rainy afternoon in April.

Jim the Dinosaur

So Jim the Dinosaur walked out of the restaurant and paused by the bench that was just outside the doorway and thought:

If I’m a dinosaur why do I keep eating at this restaurant. I mean, I don’t even like ribs that much.

But the longer Jim the Dinosaur tried to figure it all out, the muddier his thoughts became. He decided to just leave things be and take a walk. He started off toward the wooded area just east southeast of the Rib Shack. He traveled at a leisurely pace, poking his snout into the air from time to time to take in the olfactorial delights of Spring. When he was about twenty feet or so from the edge of the woods he came across an old frienemy of his named Bill.

Bill was a stinking beast from the Tau Ceti system who liked to spend his weekends prowling the Hudson River Valley, terrorizing the squirrels and chipmunks with his toxic bowels and their sulfurous emissions. Jim the Dinosaur wished Bill would just stop coming around but his luck wasn’t that good, he supposed. Here was that flatulent prig again, fouling up the atmosphere with each noxious blast from his lower region.

“JimDo! Good to see you buddy.” He let rip a winner.

“Go flick yourself off a cliff buddy. Lea’me alone today, wouldya?”

“Come on, JimDo. What would you do without me around to bug you? You’d go soft and lose all your skills.” Bill farted from “without” to “bug”, then let out a little encore around “your skills”.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right. Thanks, man.” And with that, Jim the Dinosaur clamped his jaws tight around Bill’s scrawny neck and bite hard, severing the smelly beast’s head clean off from its neck. The rest of Bill’s body, far from dead, ran off laughing into the woods at breakneck speed, blasting the surrounding trees with a stupefying cloud of methane based ambrosia. “Catchya later big guy!”

“Whatever, man” Jim the Dinosaur said half out loud and half to himself, the smelly visitor long out of earshot by now anyway.

Jim the Dinosaur weighed munching on Bill’s severed head but ultimately decided against it. He was still full from his meal at the Rib Shack. He kicked it into a drainage ditch near where the woods met the road, then decided to walk along the road a ways. Bill was always such a pain in the neck.

About a mile on, Jim the Dinosaur had a thought. What if I can make a film about my life? Everyone will love it and want to watch it over and over again. So Jim the Dinosaur set immediately upon the plan. He began the script that very moment.

A few moments later, he decided to drop the project. Jim the Dinosaur can’t really write too well. Or spell. Or read. Jim the Dinosaur is more of a consumer than a content creator.

The next morning Jim the Dinosaur rose early and headed over to the Rib Shack for some ribs and eggs. He did it more out of habit than any real desire to eat ribs this morning. Eggs, sure he could go for some eggs, but the ribs were just habit.

Happy New Year!

This is my typewriter. It serves me well. Every now and again I get an urge to try something a bit different, say a word processor or some such nonsense. But then I come to my senses and remember the axiom: never entrust to another that which is best kept to yourself.

That may not make much sense to you at the present time, but it will. Trust me on that. So here is my story:

Once upon a yabbady dabbity doo in a land far and few between in time and space there lived a jabber wocky whosamaflipitz. Okay that’s bullshit and we both know it. Now for the real deal. I steal lives. Kinda sorta. I don’t kill people. I don’t rob them of anything. I just kinda sorta borrow their minds and then do a quick copy and paste. Just like on a computer. You know, nothing lost when sharing betweenst folders or friends. I have it, I share it with you. Now you have it, and I have it too. Simple, right?

It is in this way I steal lives. I share them with others. Well, I share their lives with myself. But they don’t lose a thing. They don’t even notice when I make myself a copy of their life, nor when I paste said copy. I imagine you’re wondering to where I paste their life after I copy it, right? That part is harder to explain. But let me try.

You know how ice cream melts in the heat? Yet we eat ice cream in the hot weather days usually, right? (Except those crazy folks who eat ice cream in winter, but they’re crazy.) We do things in such a way as to create challenges for ourselves. Eat the ice cream before it melts. Get out of the burning building before we die. That sort of thing.

You think I’m beginning to explain the whys before the hows but bear with me. Now, the thing about challenges is they’re tough. They’re hard and difficult, and that’s what we crave. In order to achieve anything from life we have to have a frame of reference. Desires and goals and whatnot. Against our desires and goals we can achieve success or not. Now, each desire (or goal, goals are desires – more on this later) creates a directory in our souls. A directory is a box, more or less, in which we store our memories of experience. Our existence is usually concerned mainly with the processing of these memories. (The creation is our existence, but for some reason no one gets that.)

So we go about moving files around and copying files from directory to directory. We create files on the fly and process them continually. We figure our directories are ours alone but this is not so. I can read your files, and if you had any inclination that I existed and, simultaneously, wanted to read my files, you would have little difficulty doing so. Hell, we can even arrange write access to each other’s files if we wanted to. But I’m getting ahead of my story.

So the point is I find some files I like… Boom, presto. They now exist in parallel in my own little archive of non-original life directories. Your life is mine. And mine is yours. Sort of. The critical difference being I know you exist. Or you used to, anyway. Now we are sort of like a team, but only one of us has a clue.

You see, while you’ve been busily creating mental imagery in an attempt to consolidate these near non-sequiturs into some sort of coherent narrative, I’ve been busy copying some files you may be familiar with into my database. Howdy pardner 😉

See how goals achieved bring about satisfaction? Happy 2015!