Category Archives: postaweek2011

Day 25 (a work of flash fiction)

( When bite-sized aliens invade the planet, humans are amused, but are the tiny beings really as harmless as candy?)

On day 1, nobody even noticed that it happened.  It wasn’t until day 3, when a farmer in Iowa reported seeing them all over his cornfield, tucked inside the stalks, that the national media picked up on the story.  I didn’t see anything until day 7.  In fact, up until that point, part of me believed it was a hoax – April fist was around the corner. 

I was sitting on my back deck with Maxi, our Yorkshire terrier, while my wife sulked inside.  She was the one who had wanted a dog, and was irritated that Maxi followed me around instead of her.  Maxi barked, and I looked up from my newspaper.  A tiny, silver, saucer-shaped spaceship landed on the deck railing.  I watched in amazement at the ant-sized beings that crawled out.  I laughed out loud.  The rumors were true!  And who would have thought, right here, in my hometown – aliens.

On day 11, national news corps started showing enlarged images of the beings.  Their bodies were brown and bloated.  They had teeny legs and arms and buggy eyes.  TMZ nicknamed them “Raisinets.”  The Raisinets wore no clothing, only golden helmets on their neckless heads.  A Harvard historian concluded that the larger, more elaborate helmets indicated a leader, a Raisinet in charge. 

On day 15, a co-worker told me that she saw them in her hot tub.  My boss butted into the conversation and speculated, at some length, about how they reproduced.  I wondered for the thousandth time this year how he kept his job.

During a press conference, on day 17, the President said, “… no present danger.”  On “Nightline,” a NASA representative said, “The discovery of extraterrestrial life is the greatest discovery of mankind.”  Later in the interview, he said, “… innocuous …”

Each day, Maxi barked at the sliding glass door, watching as the tiny creatures in our backyard carried out their daily routine of walking along the deck rail, down the side, and into the grass.

 On day 18, a scientist in China reported that he believed the Raisinets were studying  our language.  That night Jimmy Kimmel had people dressed in Raisinet costumes dancing during his intro.  Nestle started putting images of silver spaceships on the boxes of their chocolate-covered Raisinets with the slogan – “They’ll invade your taste buds.”

Day 19, I was driving down I-65 and passed gas stations selling Raisinet T-shirts and gifts.  I stopped to get gas, and bought a measuring shot glass etched with marker lines of Raisinets, Humans, and Big Foot.  That night I had a couple of “Big Foot” sized Tequila shots.  My wife frowned as I drank. 

On the 29th day, I read a blog by a man who built a terrarium and claimed he kept pet Raisinets.  Similar to an ant farm.  He believed they enjoyed it.

The 21st day gave us all pause.  That was the day we heard their leader’s voice for the first time.  The head Raisinet wore a giant helmet with a crimson plume, and spoke on the evening news.  He claimed they had created a device that amplified their voice for human ears.  He said they had been studying our race.  He used words like “assimilate,” “surrender,” and “mind control.” 

I watched late night television that night.  Jay Leno said to arm yourself with a fly swatter.  The audience laughed, but I looked in the pantry and garage.  My wife found our fly swatter on top of the refrigerator.  We set it by our bed.

In the wee hours of day 22, I awoke to several Raisinets sitting on my chest.  They used their amplifiers to tell me that they enjoyed staying in my garden.  They said Maxi was a pest, but he could be useful – I had no idea what that meant.  They told me that the time had come for all humans to perform their duty.  They said they already had my wife.  I didn’t protest.  I wasn’t even frightened.

Today is day 25, and things couldn’t be better.  I work in a squad that gets to dig ditches. The masters say that if we are good, tomorrow we can fill the ditches with the bodies of the ones that didn’t survive.  This morning I passed by the bodies lined up along Main Street.  My former boss’ was on top.  It’s a shame, really, that he won’t be able to live in the new world.  Already things are better.  I don’t have to worry about my family, my mortgage, or my job.  All I think about is serving the masters.  This is my dream, and they have given it to me.  I hope to move up to the squad that moves the rocks around by summer.

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Filed under comedy, Creative writing, Flash Fiction, Humor, postaweek2011, Random, Science Fiction, Uncategorized, Writer, Writing

Evil Irises! I think they’re taking over the world.

The irises that will not die.

 When I moved into my house four years ago, irises surrounded the lamppost in my front yard.  Now, I have nothing against irises, but I’m not a big fan.  Sure the flowers are pretty, but they only last a couple of weeks, and then for the rest of the year what’s left are a bunch of tall, leathery leaves.  By August the leaves are brown and lazy.  They flop on the ground, and separate from each other in a most unattractive way, and no amount of watering gets them up.  For this reason, every spring I pull them out and plant impatiens or some other annual around my lamppost.  But every year the irises return.  Every year!   They simply refuse to die. 

This year I haven’t even tried to pull them out.  What’s the point?  They’ll only return with more vigor next year.  Besides, I don’t have the energy or the will to kill them yet again.  I have become convinced that they are evil.  Pure evil.  I think they are trying to take over my yard, and eventually the world.  I urge you all to beware.  They cannot be killed!  As proof to my claim of their evilness, I have taken a close-up of a budding iris flower.  This is what I found:

Consider yourself warned!!

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Filed under comedy, Creative writing, gardening, Humor, Life, postaweek, postaweek2011, Random, Uncategorized, Writer, Writing

Daydreaming of Paul Bunyan and a T Rex

One of my favorite passages from On The Road, by Jack Kerouac is at the end of the novel, after Sal sees Dean for last time “under sad and strange circumstances.”

So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear? 

When I first read this passage, many years ago, I loved it because as a child, Pooh Bear was my God.  Each night I worshipped at the altar of A.A. Milne, and snuggled my Winnie the Pooh close.  But what gets me now are the images of the road, and travel.  …raw land that rolls…all that road going…the immensity of it…  I write this because today I had an ache in my heart for the open road.  Since my father became ill, over two years ago, neither my mother nor I have been able to travel.  And lately, since the weather has turned warm, I crave the open road, cruising towards some destination.  I don’t even know where, but going .  Perhaps, the best part of any trip is the anticipation.  The sense of freedom.  The hum of the tires as they speed along on a warm spring day.  Passing other cars, knowing they’re headed to work while you’re headed to the coast, or the mountains, or wherever your heart desires.  They look like suckers.  You feel like a king. 

I read a blog the other day in which someone from the UK lambasted Americans for being uncultured and untraveled.  He claimed most had never even been out of their own state, let alone to another country.  I wondered at his statement, and considered it a gross exaggeration.  If he had statistics or facts to bolster his claim, he didn’t state them.  While I will concede that many Americans haven’t travelled outside of the country, I will argue a good number of them live near the Canadian or Mexican boarders.  Also, isn’t Cabo San Lucas one of the most popular spring-break destinations?  Maybe the blogger didn’t consider trips to Canada and Mexico counted as “world travel.”   Or perhaps he just didn’t think his argument through.

What I fervently disagreed with was the idea that most Americans have never been out of their own state.  While I could possibly give you names of a couple of people who have never been out of the country (and I said ‘possibly’), I know of no one who hasn’t ventured out of their own state.  No one.  Hell, it’s what we, Americans, are about.  Cars.  Open roads.  Resorts.  Amusement Parks.  Sandy Beaches.  National Parks.  Grandmother’s house.  We live for this stuff.  We plan it.  We record it.  We post it on YouTube.  We build bigger and better interstate superhighways to enable us to speed along to our destinations.  Most states have “Welcome Centers” for weary travelers to stop, take a break, use the restroom, get a snack, and snag a brochure or two about local attractions.  Cottage industries have sprung up close to our highways to capitalize on the American traveler.  Restaurants.  Truck stops.  Gas stations.  Seedy motels.  Gift shops.  I’ve even seen farmers markets and fruit stands. 

I’ve always wanted to travel the length of Route 66, from Chicago to LA.  Sure I know a lot of the highway is in disrepair now, but I’d still like to see the fiberglass Paul Bunyan, the statue of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and The Wigwam Village – the motel that has teepees instead of rooms.  Maybe what I want most of all is to feel the sun on my face, land moving below me, and the anticipation of embarking on a new adventure.  Don’t we all?  But don’t tell me that Americans don’t travel.  We do.  However, unfortunately for me, for some time at least, I won’t be one of them.  Oh well, maybe I’ll settle in with another read of Jack Kerouac.

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Filed under caring for the elderly, comedy, Creative writing, Family, Humor, Life, postaweek2011, Random, Travel, Uncategorized, Writer, Writing

Fuzzy Babies

A group of women gathered around the jewelry counter, like clucking hens.  As they gossiped and laughed, I hung big red banners from the ceiling.  Anniversary Sale.  Everything 25% off.  My ladder wobbled just a little as I reached towards the sky to secure the sign with a cable tie.  I disturbed dust-caked ceiling tiles and the particles floated around my face.  My eyes watered and I spat out the dust.

Banners hung, I climbed down the ladder and wiped my dusty hands on my jeans.  I could wear jeans on my job.  The hens wore skirts or slacks, with silky and frilly blouses.  They were adorned in dangling earrings and long necklaces.  Their shoes had heals, and made clomping noises as they walked across the sales floor.  My shoes had thick rubber soles, and usually a drop of paint or two on the bottom.

My back to them,  I folded my ladder.  All at once, they swooned, “Oh, how cute.” 

My brain raced through the possibilities of what could be so cute to make them all squeal.  The only thing I could think of was a puppy – a white fluffy puppy with a big red bow in its fur.  Don’t ask why.  I don’t know myself.  I imagined that a customer, or employee with the day off, brought the said puppy in to show her off.

My heartbeat quickened.  I smiled as I leaned my ladder against the side of the escalader, anticipating holding someone’s new little fuzzy baby.  I crossed through rows of socks and  purses, to the jewelry counter.  The hens stood in a semi-circle “oohing” and “aahing” over the object of their admiration.  I pushed in between them.  A couple of them stepped aside to let me butt in on their party.  My eyes widened, taking in the scene. 

 There was no puppy.  Just a woman with her hands on a baby stroller.  The pink, chubby baby lay under mounds of blankets,  like an overstuffed burrito with ears.  My heart sank.  It’s just a baby.

“How cute,” I told the proud mother,  half-heartedly. 

As I left the hens to fawn over the baby that looked like a  Taco Bell combo-meal, I wondered what was wrong with me.  Why was I disappointed that the baby wasn’t a dog? 

I didn’t have the answer, but that was the moment.  The moment I knew I wasn’t going to be a mother.

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Filed under baby, comedy, Creative writing, dog, Family, Humor, Life, motherhood, Parent, pets, postaweek2011, Random, Uncategorized, Writer, Writing