Missing. A short tale.

Something was missing. Every time I looked, I thought I saw it, but like some mote in the corner of one’s eye, when I looked again it was gone. I was starting to doubt my own senses.

I clambered around the room, searching up and down, turning things over and tossing them about, trying to find the missing thing. I wasn’t sure what it was, just that I needed it. Right now. I felt like a junkie itching for a fix, but not knowing exactly what hit he needed.

If it wasn’t in my room, maybe it was online. I flicked on the laptop, checked a few regular pages, a few irregular ones, and eventually gave up, my chin resting on my open palm as I scratched my head. It had to be around here somewhere. But what was it that was missing? What was it that proved so elusive and mysterious?

And then it came to me, like a lightbulb flickering on in pitch black.  I was missing a life.

I guess I needed to get up off my arse, get out of my room and find it.

 

Cat and Mouse. A short tale.

This story is the prequel to a poem I wrote on my blog a while back. You can find it here.

I wrote this brief story for Uni. Now that the course is over I can post it.

 

The cat sat on the mat. She preened and purred, purred and preened. She watched the mouse. The mouse sat across the room, just outside his hole-in-the-wall. He did not preen, or purr. He watched the cat.

The cat had never eaten a mouse before and wondered if he tasted good. If you’re not sure of these things, it’s always polite to ask.

“Are you tasty?” she said.

The mouse seemed confused. “Tasty?” he replied. “As in, ‘my, you are one hip, cool and funky mouse’?”

She smiled. “No. As in, are you good to eat?”

“I guess that depends on your perspective,” said the mouse. “I would say definitely not.”

The cat yawned, rolled on her side and pawed the carpet aimlessly. “Are you fast?”

The mouse’s eyes narrowed and he rubbed his tiny paws together. “Do you want to chase me and find out?”

“Not really,” said the cat, drifting off to sleep.

Letter to a Facebook Friend

This is a uni piece I wrote some time ago. It was meant to be a letter to a friend about something I was very serious or concerned about, using real referenced materials. I went with satire and irony. I’ve removed the referencing from this version.

 

Dear Matt,

I’m writing to express my concerns regarding your increasing addiction to Facebook. According to your news feed you hardly ever leave your room anymore, don’t respond to texts or phone calls and were recently fired from work – all over your constant need to stay in touch via Fb.

Each of my Facebook friends (all 1524 of them) are concerned about your circumstances. I read on your mother’s feed the other day that you are now refusing meals and that you have barricaded your bedroom door (and blocked your mother on Fb).

In 2014 Facebook had well over 1.2 billion users, making 41,000 posts per second –  I assume that you were responsible for a good portion of those. Although Facebook remains a wonderful place for social connections, news and advertising profits, it is also a source of increasing cyberbullying, social reclusion and distraction. For example, British companies are impacted by billions of dollars of productivity loss each year because their employees spend so much time on Facebook.

Matt, my Facebook Friend, your other Fb friends only want the best for you. We’re not saying you should give up the ‘book, just detach yourself occasionally to eat and drink. And perhaps work for a living.

Looking forward to your next post!

Regards

Steve

Date Night. A short tale.

The mirror image was unflattering.

She had been trying on dresses for the last hour. They always looked better on the rack and in the fitting rooms before she bought them. She knew there was something about the mirrors in stores. Like the ones at carnivals, but warping everything to look better (maybe she should get one installed…).

It looked like jeans and a blouse were a better option. Three changes later and she was satisfied. Black skinny jeans (almost a miracle needed to get them on; not quite the parting of the Red Sea, but almost) and a billowy white shirt, untucked (why did her ass and thighs look so big? Where was that carnival mirror…) over a black tank top (she was sure it was bigger, before. Had her boobs grown? Maybe the top shrunk in the wash. That’s okay, it emphasised her cleavage more, now. She would just leave a few extra buttons open to show ’em off. Face palm: that was so slutty.)

All this crap for a blind date. And what if he looked worse than she did? What if he was some loser, no job, aimless? She shook her head. Her best friend wouldn’t match her like that. All her fears and insecurities were rising to the surface. Best push them down, keep them buried, like they usually were. “Yeah, real healthy,” she said to the empty room (hmm. It was pretty empty. Maybe she needed to get a cat? Hold on a minute – that way lay long term spinster-dom and more cats…)

Makeup applied, not overdone, but not sparingly (less whorish, more Watergate cover up. Big sigh). Her phone alarm beeped. Time to face the music, she thought. She pouted to the mirror, mouthing silently “it’s so nice to meet you”. Tilted her head. Silent pretend laugh.

She rolled her eyes and headed for the door. One last glance back. Maybe she would get a cat…

 

What is this flash fiction stuff? I only started it recently (and maybe my short tales are a bit too long to be called flash fiction. I don’t know). This one is a bit clichéd, but that’s okay – nobody’s perfect.

Not even with the benefit of carnival mirrors.  

 

Awake. A short tale.

(I exit my room. The sun is shining through my open window, bright beams illuminating me from behind as I stretch and face the world. I imagine a choir announcing my return, like a second coming, of sorts.

“So, where have you been?” says Alpha Girl, sprawled on the lounge and not looking up from her magazine. My choir slurs and stops, like a wind up record player reaching its end.

“Yeah,” says Beta Max, not taking his eyes off the TV as he plays Xbox.

Scratching my unruly head, I yawn, waddle sleepily to the kitchen and pour cereal into a bowl. “I’ve been working on my blog,” I say. “And sleeping.”

“We haven’t seen you for a week,” says Alpha Girl. “Thought you’d moved out. Or died. A good outcome, either way.”

I stick out my tongue, but she doesn’t see it. “Did either of you think to knock on my door?” I say. “I suffer from depression, you know.”

Beta Max moans as his onscreen self is killed again. He looks over at me and grins. “If you died, we would have smelt it by now, dude.”

“It’s nice to know I’m surrounded by such caring, sharing people,” I respond, smiling and flipping him the bird.

Alpha Girl, still engrossed in her magazine, flicks her hair. “You told me you made a commitment to your family not to commit suicide,” she says. “And I know how responsible you are.” For the first time, she looks up and smirks. “Besides, whenever you isolate yourself like that, you put yourself through hell. And I love it when you torment yourself.” I can almost hear the sinister orchestration in the background. Thunder booms. Lightning flashes. A glint of predatory canines as she sneers.

Beta Max throws down the controller as he dies again. “I hate this game,” he says, loping over to the fridge, he drinks orange juice straight from the bottle. Alpha Girl gives him a death stare. Suitably rebutted, he pours a glass of juice and meekly places the bottle back. “Dude, you know we’re always here for you,” he says.

I laugh. “I’ll remember that the next time I update my will,” I say.)

The Player. A short tale.

Steve picked up his guitar. It was an old acoustic: earthy, time worn and weather beaten, with thick gauge strings slightly out of tune. He plucked the neck harmonics and adjusted the tuning heads, listening intently as each tone wavered and steadied. When he finished, he strummed an open G chord, and, satisfied with his efforts, commenced  playing a song he had written long ago.

As usual it was a tale of woe and forgotten love. Blues, but not quite blues; some jazzy sevenths and ringing open strings brought a gentle dissonance to the melody.  Lyrics breathily whispered to the night.

Steve drifted lazily back to bars long since closed and audiences long since forgotten –  he could almost smell the drifting smoke in the room. Gently rocking, his left foot tapped out a rhythmic beat in time to his strumming.

Then it was over, as if it had never been.

 

This is a uni piece I wrote many months ago. Everyone had to write an introduction for themselves. The final assignment has been marked, so I can post it now.

Rush Lozenge, Spaaaaaaaaaaaace Ranger…Ranger…ranger…ranger…

Here’s some dialogue I wrote for Uni. It’s not meant to be serious, and wasn’t included in any of my assignments, so it’s okay for me to include it here. Enjoy! Or not.

Captain Rush Lozenge, space ranger, stroked his gamma gun methodically. “There’s nothing more for it,” he said. “We have to take over that ship. This calls for a boarding action!”

Veedle, his alien octopus companion and occasional lover, rolled her four eyes. “Are you sure that’s the right course of action? Maybe we can just shoot them with our multi-mega watt space lasers.”

Lozenge grimaced, then struck a heroic pose. “Don’t be ridiculous, my love. We want them alive in pieces, not dead in pieces.” He stroked his chin thoughtfully. “Now if only we could work out how to get onto that ship.”

“Why don’t I just fly up to their airlock and connect,” said Veedle.

“That’s a brilliant idea, my adorable little eight-legged octo-pudlian. You’re not just a pretty pseudopod.”

“I try,” she replied.

Suddenly, the bridge door slid open and Banger, the ship’s part time cook, part time engineer and full time hairdresser, leapt in. “Captain,” he cried. “We just don’t have the power!”

“Damn,” thought Lozenge. “Well everyone. Looks like we’ll have to put our thinking caps back on.”

“Fire you in a hollow space torpedo into the other ship?” said Veedle.

“No. Too dramatic.”

“Crash our ship into their bridge?”

“No. Too messy.”

“Convert your body to electricity with the Galactic Ion Vapouriser and send you as a message to the other ship’s omni-communications system, so you can take over their computers like an electronic virus?”

Lozenge’s eyes widened like flying saucers. “By the gods of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Quorx Maidens of Ceti Four! You’ve got it, Veedle!”

 

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