Tag Archives: Writer

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

Divisable by Orange

 

My friend told me that he sees numbers in colors.

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“I see every number as a color.  Odd numbers are fiery and hot, mostly oranges and reds.  Even numbers are cool and soothing, a lot of blues and greens.”

“How does this help?”

“Well, when I’m having trouble with a math problem, I think in colors instead of numbers.”

I laughed.  “So you can multiply yellow and blue?  I thought yellow and blue made green.”

“No.  Yellow and blue make forty-two.  Yellow is seven and blue is six.”

“What color is forty-two?”

“Forty-two is green.  Aren’t you paying attention?”

In a weird way I understood – not how he could figure out fractions using colors, but how one thing connected with another. 

I confessed, “The months of the year are in a circle in my head.   November is at the top, probably because my birthday is November 13th.  As the year progresses along I see myself traveling around in a circle.”

“I see the months as shapes.  December is round and sparkly.  January is jagged.”

“I once knew a woman that saw an animal in every person she met.  We worked at a clinic and she would say things like, ‘The quail needs a blood test.’  I would walk out into the waiting room, and sure enough, there would be a quail thumbing through People Magazine.”

“I wonder what kind of animal she would see in me.  I feel like a monkey.”

I hated to tell him that I was afraid of monkeys, but admitted, “I was born in the year of the monkey.”

“I’ve been told my aura is orange.”

“What number is orange?”

“Why… five, of course.”

“Of course.”

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Little Yellow Flags

Wolfgang and Bunny

Crisp air swirled around us as we strolled arm and arm in his back yard.  Kicking up yellow and brown leaves as we went, I positioned my hand higher to give him more balance.  This is good, I thought. He needs fresh air. 

At long last fall had wrestled control of the days away from summer, not a small feat in the south. He stopped to pull his sweater tighter around himself.  “I wonder what the flags are for,” he said fastening a black button and pondering the little yellow flags waving near the back edge of the yard. 

Leaves crunched behind us as a little black and white fuzzy torpedo came running up with a ball. I picked up the toy lain at my feet, and gave my father the simplest answer that I could, “The landscapers put the flags there.”  Tossing the red ball as far as I could, Bunny, the shih-tzu torpedo, took off with her tail high in the air.

“When were landscapers here?”  He never remembered.

We had gone over this several times, but the cardiac arrest had left him with some brain damage.  Now there where huge gaps in his memory, and often times my visits were spent filling in those gaps.  Usually, the holes were monumental: who I was, where he lived, what had happened to him.  Today he simply wanted to know about the flags again. 

“They came when you were in the hospital, Pop.”

“When was I in the hospital?”  Bunny danced around his legs for attention.  I picked her up.

“Late September through most of October.”  The little dog squirmed and wiggled in my arms.

“Oh. I don’t remember any of that.”  He always said that.

“I know.  It’s probably better that way.” 

“I guess so.”  He patted Bunny on the head as I reminded him about the cardiac arrest and the CCU.  When I explained about his pace-maker and defibrillator he touched his chest, feeling the lump that was about the size of a deck of cards.  “I wondered what that was.”

“You’re the bionic man now.”  He looked amused.  It was better to keep things light, otherwise he became overwhelmed.

Bunny begged for attention and he took her from my arms.  “I haven’t seen Wolfgang today.  He must be under the bed.” 

I considered ignoring that observation, only to decide that the truth was best.  “Wolfgang passed away, Pop.”

Pain crossed his face.  “I didn’t know that.”

I told him gently, “Yes, you did.  You’ve just forgotten.”

His occupational therapist had said that repetition was the key.  She said eventually it would start to sink in.  I sure hoped that was true. It was excruciating seeing him discover over and over who was still here and who had passed on.

“It doesn’t seem like I can remember anything.” 

“That’s a side-effect from the cardiac arrest,” I said trying to reassure him.

Stroking Bunny’s ears, he asked, “When did Wolfgang die?”

“In August.”  Just over a month before the event that changed his life.

“Where is he?”

“You buried him, and then you planted a daffodil to remind us.”

“I did?  Where?”

I pointed to the spot in the yard.  “Over there.  Where the little yellow flags are.”

He walked towards them, setting Bunny down as he went.  She followed.  Stopping in front of the flags, he took in the prospect. 

“The landscapers didn’t want to upset his grave, so they marked it.”

“That’s thoughtful.  He was a good dog.”

I tucked my hand under his arm again.  “Yes he was.”

He grinned.  “One time he stole a loaf of bread off the counter top.  Reached right up and pulled it down with his teeth.”  Funny the things that did come back to him.

Smiling, I added, “But he put the half-eaten loaf in Rusty’s bed to hide the evidence.”

“Rusty,” he gasped.  He had forgotten about Rusty.  “So, Rusty is gone too?”  That was a good assumption.  If Wolfgang was gone, then Rusty, who was older, must be gone too.  Sometimes his reasoning skills worked.

“Yes, two years now.” I walked to the other side of the flower bed and pointed to more little yellow flags. “He’s over here.”  Bunny tromped through the garden, unaware of her predecessors. 

“And that must be Teddy,” he said pointing to another set of flags.

“Yes.” Pleased that he had figured that out, and that there were no tears today, I considered that maybe somewhere in his sub-conscious it was sinking in.

My mom and I could have taken the flags down weeks ago, but we didn’t.  Perhaps, we wanted to remember too.

“You know,” he said turning to me with a twinkle in his eye.  “I don’t think you’re allowed to have a pet cemetery in the city.” That he remembered.

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Filed under Cardiac Arrest, caring for the elderly, Creative writing, dog, Family, Father, Life, Love, Parent, pets, Starting Over, Unemployed, Writer, Writing