Thursday, November 4, 2010

For Ransom

"Look, I'm not saying you haven't done a wonderful job so far," Harvey said, shifting to a more comfortable position in his wooden chair. He shrugged encouragingly. He would have made an encouraging hand gesture, but his were tied behind his back. "You did manage to get me tied up, more or less, and you deserve credit for that. My feet are a bit loose, though, and I think I could probably get one free if I slipped out of my shoe. You might want to tie that knot tighter."

Harvey's captor, a stocky man in a ski mask and rainbow suspenders lowered his cell phone, covering the receiver with his hand. He scowled at Harvey. "Would you shut your neckface hole before I rip it off? I'm talkin' to the boss here!" he growled.

Harvey rolled his eyes. "See, that's another thing I feel you could develop a little more. 'Neckface hole'? Come on, Brad. Can I call you Brad? Look, Brent, I'm just saying that if you're going to make threats, they should at least make some sense. I'm not going to be scared if I don't even know what part of my physiology you're threatening."

"Jesus Christ! I told you my name is Justin four times, you fucking lunatic!" the kidnapper screeched. Suddenly, his face went pale and his mouth dropped open. "Oh, no, sir, not you! Not you! It's this knucklechop I got tied to the chair here," he stammered.

"Tied? Barely. Look! I got my foot free."

"You want me to shoot him now? Just say the word, boss, and this chump is toast."

"Oh, and Brent? You probably shouldn't tell me your real name, just in case I do get free. Big mistake, there. That's why I'm calling you Brent. Or Brad. I'm lookin' out for you, buddy. We're in this together, after all."

Harvey twisted his upper body, straining the bonds that pinned him to the back of the chair. "Some of us a little more securely than others, am I right? Haw! Hi-five!"

Justin snapped his cellphone shut and dropped it into his pocket. He turned to Harvey. "You're gonna be laughing out the other end of your lips if you don't spill the bacon, buddy," he said, turning the last word into a verbal sneer.

"Oh, my, Brent! I don't even know where to begin! Pretty much everything you just said was either inaccurate, badly articulated or just plain ineffective. Let's start with--"

"Shut up!"

"Let's start with the thing about the lips, shall we?" Harvey struggled to speak around the laughter. "Other end of my lips? Oh, mercy me!"

"I said shut up!"

"I know, I know. But listen. Bacon! Spill the--!"

Justin drew his chrome .45 and pressed the barrel firmly into Harvey's temple. "You shut up right now," he said, his voice dangerously quiet; a calm modulated by fury, "and tell me where the safe is. And after you tell me where it is, you are going to give me the combination, or you are going to die. Is that capisci?"

"Hee hee! Shut up and tell you?"

Harvey's left ear pressed into his shoulder as the gun's barrel ground harder into his right temple, forcing his head over.

"I said do you understand!?" Justin roared. There was a click as he released the .45's safety.

"I do. I understand everything except how you figure I'm going to know where the owner of this house hid his safe, old sport!"

The pressure on the side of Harvey's head relented.

The clock on the wall ticked softly.

A car whooshed by on the street outside.

"Wait a minute. What did you just say?" Justin said, removing the barrel of his gun from Harvey's temple. It left behind a little red "O".

Harvey chuckled. "Like I said, Brent, you need to really work on this act of yours a little more! This isn't my house." He gestured to his right breast with his chin. "I'm just here to install a washer and dryer. See? Says 'Maytag' right under my name."



"So, um, I guess I'll be going then," Justin said, shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot.

"Seize the day!"

"Want me to untie you, um, Harvey?" Justin muttered.

"Oh, don't trouble yourself," said Harvey, wriggling his hands free and shaking the ropes to the floor. He stood. "Honest mistake! Now, remember what we talked about, there's a good lad."

The two men stood, awkwardly facing each other.

"Well, bye," said Justin, and left.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Forgotten Lands

Fierce wind lashed the deck of the SS Invisible Possum as she plowed through the roiling seas. It screamed through the rigging and turned the sails into wild, thrashing beasts. The surface of these seas (all of them, as far as the glass longeyes could see) was like corrugated cardboard, if corrugated cardboard's corrugations were made of water, and moving, and had fish in them. Tonight, the corrugations were big and wild, and the fish were angry and bitey.

Captain Gerard Spork chuckled madly into the teeth of the gale. "Tee hee hee! Can you hear me, gale? Ahr haarr! You have something stuck in your teeth, gale!" he shouted. "It looks like parsley!"

A man approached the helm, holding tightly to the railing with one hand, the other planted firmly on top of his head to keep his hat from blowing off. He squinted through the rain up at Captain Spork. "Cap'n!" he shouted. "Could ye please keep it down, sir? The men are trying to sleep, sir, and, well, y'see, some of 'em is worried yer tauntin' will make the gale madder, sir. Beggin' yer pardon, sir!"

The mad captain shot his first mate a contemptuous scowl. Having neglected to compensate for the wind, his scowl went wide, clattering harmlessly to the deck some ten feet behind the first mate.

"Squidge! Go fetch me scowl! And tell the men that they're all invited to shove it. The gale an' me has business to work out."

"Beggin' yer pardon again, Cap'n, but me name's Harry," Squidge said, bending to pick up his captain's scowl.

"Ye been sayin' that all week, Squidge. That'll be enough o' that rubbish, or I'll have ye tarred and popcorned. Gimme that." He snatched the scowl from Squidge and tucked it into his sash, next to his sword. "Tell the men that when I've finished hurlin' terrible profanities into this here storm, I want 'em all on deck in full battle rattle. Armed to the teeth and so forth, there's a good lad. The Island of The Nitwits ain't gonna chart itself, no sir!"

Squidge swallowed hard. They would be lucky to survive the storm, but no man had ever returned from the Island of the Nitwits with his soul intact.

...bum bum buuuuummmm...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rudy the Magic Chicken

Once upon a time, there was a farm on which lived a chicken named Rudy. Rudy thought he was magic. He approached a horse to inform him of this fact.

"Hello, horse!" said Rudy.

"Hello, chicken," said the horse.

"I'm a Magic Chicken!" said Rudy.

"No, you're not," said the horse.

"Awww..." said Rudy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Diabolical Cow

Long black shadows clung to the bases of trees and the foundation of the farmhouse like tattered dress socks. As the sun sank, its light and warmth deserted the farm's 100 acres, causing evil to roam.

Evil had a name.

Evil had a shape.

Evil even had its own trough and favorite grazing spots.

Evil was named Mort, and Mort was shaped like a cow, because he was one.

"Moo hoo ha ha!" he cackled, galumphing nastily out of his cow nest. "I greet the night, and the night greets me with bugs! Splendid." Mort checked his watch. Yeeeessss...exactly 8:00 PM. Time to go shit on the farmer's front lawn. He tiphoofed past the sleeping swine and the lousy horses and came upon the lawn.

"Blast!" The lawn was in aggravatingly impeccable condition. Not a single dead spot to be found. "I don't understand it! I've been shitting on his lawn for weeks now, and it only seems to get greener!"

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Writer

The Writer chortled, the evil sound ringing in his ears like stale frosting on a forty-year-old wedding cake. He had done it! All these months of struggle, the agony of dedication and desire, all coming together in the sweet triumph of victory.

Or was it the sweet victory of triumph? The Writer was suddenly unsure. He re-opened the document and scrolled to the end. Still two hundred pages, just like it was when he closed it, and not a hollow forgery foisted upon him by viral infection or the artifice of mischievous digital trolls. The Writer sighed and closed the document.

Though it was only one of many .doc files littered across the steel platters of his hard drive, this most recent one contained more than just binary. It contained months of sweat and tears and not a few swear words. He caressed the icon lovingly with his mouse pointer.

Abruptly, The Writer's nice desktop picture (a full-color image of the top of a desk) blinked out. It was replaced by a solid blue screen with white text.

"Salt water, the main ingredient of tears and sweat, is very bad for electronic components," it said. "Please start praying now and press CTRL, ALT and DELETE to restart."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Porky's Ambition - Completed

Perspiration glistened on Porky Wobblstein's brow. He wiped the back of a meaty hand across his forehead and paused in his exertion to take a few deep breaths. He hadn't worked this hard in years and now remembered why he hated it so much. It made him tired and weepy.

But he had a job to do and he wasn't going to let a little adversity stop him. Bracing himself, he lunged forward again. He stretched both arms forward, hands straining, fingers grasping.

He could almost reach his goal. It was just out of his reach, seeming to taunt him, chide him. His fingers brushed against it and sent the object even farther away. Porky groaned. There was no way he'd be able to...

In the background the TV played monotonously, its mindless chatter small comfort to Porky in his hour of distress. He planted his feet on the floor and with one mighty effort lunged forward, managing to move at least three inches. His fingers grasped, clutched, snagged!

"At last!" he growled, lifting the remote from the floor where it had fallen, slipping from his buttery fingers as he had reached for the popcorn bowl. "Now I can change the channel!"

So he did.


Lumpy Meerkat sneered at his wife.

"I will not call you that," she said, putting the finishing touches on her painting of two children throwing popcorn at each other in a canoe.

"But I thought you loved me," he said.

"I do. But I am not going to call you Lumpy Meerkat. It is a stupid name for a super hero." The canoe was yellow, and it was floating on the surface of a lake with a lot of lillypads on it.

Lumpy Meerkat gave the edge of the table a spiteful nudge, causing his wife's brush to slip laterally, marring a lillypad.

"And all of those times we whistled in the rain together?"

"You were still calling yourself 'Jeff' back then."

He swore loudly.

"Swearing loudly will not change the facts," she replied. I should have married a lillypad, she thought.

"I am a super hero, Margaret, and as such I can call myself whatever I want."

"You are not a super hero," she said, calmly. The marred lillypad could not be salvaged, so she threw it out.

He turned and left the room. "I am Lumpy Meerkat, and I will do as I please," he said over his shoulder.