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Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Story of the Guy Who Was in a Bad Mood (story #82)

Well, well, well.  Here we are again, a day late and a dollar short.  Well, probably more than one dollar short, but at least only one day late.  Or something.

So, I’m in kind of a bad mood this morning, but don’t worry; I’ll try not to let it affect the story in any way at all.

THE STORY OF THE GUY WHO WAS IN A BAD MOOD

The day dawned bright and clear on that fateful Thursday morning when Jean-Paul woke with no premonition of the events to come.  Oh sure, he’d had strange dreams all night, dreams of falling off of cliffs and of turning into a child again and of flying out of a moving car and skidding bottom over top along a rainy highway where he only came to rest in time to be pitched over the side onto a cascade of rocks far below, but he didn’t assign any importance to these dreams.  They were just dreams, after all, weren’t they?

Still, in all, he awoke in a bad mood.

“Stupid covers,” he said, and kicked the covers off the bed.

“Stupid toothbrush,” he said, as froths of toothpaste fell from his mouth and into the sink.

“Stupid orange juice,” he said, as he drank straight from the carton (and, let me tell you, talking while drinking orange juice from the carton gets pretty messy, which of course did nothing to help his mood).

“Stupid cat,” he said, although he didn’t even own a cat.

As Jean-Paul walked down the seven flights of stairs from his apartment to the street, he passed a young mother bringing her child up those same stairs.  “I’m sorry, Mommy,” the child said, sounding very sick or very sad, and most probably both.

“It’s all right, baby,” the mother said.  “Let’s get you home.”  She stopped for moment to let Jean-Paul pass.  “Excuse us,” she said quietly.

“No problem,” said Jean-Paul and stepped aside to let them pass instead.  She smiled gratefully and explained that her son had caught a bit of what was going around.  Then she was gone up the stairs with her sick child.

I guess I have no real right to be in a bad mood, Jean-Paul thought.  Some people are worse off right here in this moment in my life in this building.  Even in this stairwell.

Still, in all, he remained in a bad mood.

Upon reaching the street, Jean-Paul turned right and walked briskly towards the bus station, his briefcase swinging slightly at his hip, his black tie tucked into his black suit coat.  He did this with no forethought and no real reason.  His own car was, in fact, quite operational and parked in the garage just to the left of the apartment building.  But today he would ride the bus.  He had no real reason for this.

Before long, he realized that he had no clear idea of where the nearest bus station was, having never ridden the bus to work before.  He thought to ask someone directions, but feared how he might sound to a stranger because of his lingering bad mood.  He stood on the corner of Lincoln and Third and simply stared at the street sign for a full three minutes before someone asked him if he was all right.

“Hey, buddy,” the older gentlemen in the tattered overcoat said.  “You okay?”

“I’m not sure,” Jean-Paul replied, and before the man could say anything else, Jean-Paul turned and walked west down Third street, not knowing what was there.

If there is a reason for my bad mood, Jean-Paul thought, I cannot for the life of me think of what it is.  I do know one thing, though.  I should have asked the man in the tattered overcoat for directions, for I am growing more and more lost with every step I take.  If I am in a bad way, I am only making it worse behaving like this.  I should take some responsibility for my mood and therefore change it.

Still, in all, he remained in a bad mood.

Before long, he came to a park nestled in a square that was hiding in the shadows of the city skyscrapers and bordered on all sides by the city streets.  There were benches and birds and people, but more benches than people, and more birds than both.  He stopped and looked at the park.  There was green grass here, and tan gravel walkways.  There were trees, a few, and a statue and a fountain.  All this between the buildings.  All this beneath the dome of city life.  All this just waiting to be enjoyed at lunchtime, or on a walk, or after work, or on a Saturday.  Just waiting to be enjoyed.

Still, in all, he remained in a bad mood.

He sat on a bench and wondered if he was already late for work.  He opened his briefcase and looked at the papers inside.  Just at the moment, he could not remember what any of them were for or why they might be important.

A bird began pecking around near his feet, looking for the bread crumbs he had not thrown.  “Stupid bird,” he said softly, and the bird flew away.  He watched it join a crowd of other birds just on the other side of the fountain and thought that it was perhaps not so stupid a bird after all.  He could not read its little birdbrain, its little bird thoughts remained a mystery.  But it could very easily be of at least average intelligence for a bird, maybe more.  It could be the mental paragon of this bird society.  It could be the Einstein of birds for all he knew.  It was surely no more stupid than his covers or his toothpaste or his orange juice or any cat he did not own.

“Stupid Jean-Paul,” he said.

He pulled the sandwich he had made the night before from his briefcase.  It was bologna.  It was boring.  Bologna and ketchup, to be precise, but still boring.  Still, he wanted to eat it now and not wait for lunchtime.  Assuming it was not lunchtime already, for he had no concept of how long he had been sitting.  He bit into the sandwich and mused that it may have been the best bologna and ketchup sandwich he’d ever eaten in his whole life.  Right there, right then, the best bologna and ketchup sandwich.

Still, in all, he remained in a bad mood.

When he had finished the sandwich, he found that his pant legs were covered with bread crumbs.  He brushed them onto the ground.  And then there he was, in mere moments, the Einstein of birds, pecking away at the bread crumbs he had thrown.  He smiled down at the bird.  “Did you know something I didn’t?” he asked, and the bird once again flew away to join the crowd by the fountain.

Before long there was, at his feet, a small calico cat rubbing its head against his legs and purring.  He smiled again and picked the thing up.  “I most certainly do not own you,” he said to the cat, and it mewed quietly in his face.  He set it down in his lap, where it stayed without a fight and fell asleep still purring.

“Is this a dream?” he wondered aloud to the sleeping cat.  “What if this is a dream, no more real than falling off of a cliff or turning into a child or flying out of a moving car?  What then?”  The cat mewed lightly in its sleep.  He smiled, and petted the cat behind the ears, and hoped the sick child from the stairwell was feeling better, and marveled briefly that he had never before seen or stopped at the park in the square in the shadow of the city.

After some time, the cat rolled over once in his lap.  “Don’t wake, little one,” Jean-Paul said softly.  “Don’t wake, or so, perhaps, shall I.”  He watched as the Einstein of birds led his fellows in a little dance around the fountain.

Still, in all, he remained in a bad mood.  Didn’t he?

Perhaps the cat he did not own knew better.

THE END

Well, it looks like I’m actually feeling a bit thoughtful today, eh, kiddies?  Hope you enjoyed the story.  I did.  Guess who’s not in a bad mood anymore?  🙂

Love and skiddlypoops,

the SotWC

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Posted by on January 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The Story of All the Things Mentioned in the Introduction (story #81)

Oops.  I fell asleep early last night and didn’t write a story like I meant to.  Ah, well, I am now well-rested and ready to write like a mad fiend.  Gotta do it fast, though, as I have to eve for work in an hour.  Then I will go to work like a mad fiend.  Perhaps I’ll eat lunch like a mad fiend, too.  I am currently listening to “Angels and Demons” by Hans Zimmer.  Man, that dude writes like a mad fiend.

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “well, it looks like he’s going to write this week’s story about a mad fiend.  Man, that guy is predictable.”  Well, shut up.  I am, in fact, going to write this week’s story about a cute little kitten and a penguin named “Sherman” and a “Whack-a-Mole” Game and  lots and lots of alligators.

And a mad fiend.

THE STORY OF ALL THE THINGS MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION

Once there was a cute little kitten (his name was Gobstopper) whose best friend was a penguin named Sherman.  One fine Thursday afternoon, they were at the local arcade playing “Whack-a-Mole” when lots and lots of alligators walked in.

“Dang,” said Gobstopper.  “Look at all those alligators.”

“I can’t,” said Sherman.  “If I look away, I might miss a mole.”

Just then a little plastic mole popped up out of his hole and Sherman smashed him on the head.  As if to prove his point, Gobstopper then missed a mole because he was still looking at the alligators.

The alligators started rolling around in the mud (they had brought their own mud with them, dirty little alligators) and acting like they owned the place.  They weren’t there to play games, they were just there to intimidate people.  Mean old alligators.  They were part of a gator-gang.  They called themselves “The Gators.”  Alligators are mean, but not very smart.

The owner of the arcade came over to ask them to leave and they started biting at him.  Not exactly biting him, oh no.  Just biting near him.  See, the head alligator, Aloysius, had done some time in Juvenile Hall for eating someone once and he liked to act like he would do it again, just to scare people.  The truth was, he would have done just about anything to stay out of Juvee (they had, unsurprisingly, made fun of his name a lot in there), but he would never eat someone again.  Unless maybe it was in self-defense.

So, there the alligators were, rolling around in mud and biting near the arcade owner, and there Gobstopper and Sherman were, whacking fake moles on the head with big mallets.  Into the middle of this walked a tall man with frizzy white hair wearing a long white coat.  He looked around at the strange goings on.  An evil smile curled his lips.  He cracked his knuckles and cleared his throat.

“Cease and desist this instant!” he cried, surprising everyone.  Sherman even missed a mole.

The Gators all turned to face the frizzy-haired man.  “Come on,” said Aloysius in a low-throaty growl, “let’s go bite near him.”  The Gators all leaped towards the man.

In one swift motion, he grabbed the mallet out of Gobstopper’s hand and whacked Aloysius on the head with it.

“Hey!” said Aloysius.

“Whoa,” said the other Gators.

“My mallet!” said Gobstopper.

“You lose,” said Sherman.  “I’m gonna go play Skee-ball.”

“Now,” said the tall man, “you Gators stop biting near that nice arcade owner and follow me out of the mall this instant.”

“What?” said Aloysius.

“What?” said the other Gators.

“I lost?” said Gobstopper.

“I said FOLLOW ME!” the man shouted, brandishing the mallet menacingly.

“What are you gonna do with us?” Aloysius asked.

“Don’t you get it?” said one of the other Gators.  “He’s some kind of mad fiend who’s gonna take us back to his lab and do horrible experiments on us!”  All the Gators gasped.

“Well, that’s a relief,” said Aloysius.  “I thought he was gonna take me back to Juvee.”

“Don’t be silly,” said the man.  “You can’t go to Juvee for biting near someone.”

“Dangit,” said the arcade owner.

“I lost,” said Gobstopper again, staring down at his poor, mallet-less paws.

“So, what kind of experiments are you gonna do on us?” Aloysius said.

“Experiments?  Why don’t be silly,” the man replied, setting down the mallet.  “I don’t want to do any experiments on you.”

“Well, what kind of mad fiend are you, anyway?” asked the arcade owner.

“There seems to be some misunderstanding,” said the tall man.  “I’m not a mad fiend.  I’m Mall Security.”

“Oh,” said everyone.  And they all smiled.

 

Art by Maria Gullickson

And then Gobstopper arched his back and hissed.  His claws sprang out and his eyes glowed a horrible sickly green and he systematically jumped on everyone in the room and scratched the living daylights out of them, all the while screaming, “I LOST?!?  I LOST!?!  CURSE YOU, MALL SECURITY!  CURSE YOU ALLIGATORS!!  CURSE YOU, OWNER OF THE WHACK-A-MOLE MACHINE!!!”  Then he ran off down the hall, still screaming, leaving a trail of blood in his wake.

What a mad fiend.

THE END

You never expect it from the cute little kittens, do you?  Ah, well.  Heigh-ho, heigh-ho…

See you next week,

the SotWC

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The Story of the Literally Round Guy (story #80)

Hidely-ho, neighbor-inos!  Wow, story number 80.  Why is that a big deal?  I don’t know, maybe I just like round numbers.  80 is pretty darn round.  I mean literally, round.  Kind of like the guy in tonight’s story.  I think.  I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go (are you familiar with the concept of the SotWC, here?).  But, yeah, I think tonight’s story will be about a guy who is round.  Literally.  Round.

THE STORY OF THE LITERALLY ROUND GUY

Once there was a guy who was round.  Literally.  Round.  Not figuratively or anything.  No way.  This guy was positively circular.  Not fat, you understand.  But round.  Spherical, even.  People used to call him “Spherical Bob.”  He’d been getting that for so long that he couldn’t even remember what his real name was anymore (it was “Spherical Bill”).  He had to have all his clothes specially made.  Sure, there’s stores for kids, and there’s stores for “large” people (Big and Tall, one might say), but there’s no stores for perfectly round people.  You may have noticed this.  Of course, you may not have noticed because you don’t pay attention or are prejudiced against round people.  Geez.  Who taught you to be so intolerant, anyway?  Some people.

So, Spherical Bob went to a special tailor who was especially sensitive to his special condition.  They had a special relationship.  Whenever Bob needed a new pair of trousers, he would roll on down to the tailor and say, “Hiya, Nate the Tailor.  I believe I need a new pair of trousers.”  Nate the tailor would then remind Bob that he didn’t have any legs, being perfectly spherical and all.  Bob would thank Nate and ask about shirts only to be reminded that he didn’t have any arms.

"Literally Round" Art by Deron Decesare

“Bob,” Nate would say, “you are one giant sphere.  Like a superball with a face.  I love ya, Bob, but I can’t make a shirt for a superball.  I do have your customary extra-large diaper and draw-string trash bag, though.”  He would then proceed to “dress” Bob until all you could see was Bob’s face beaming out of the hole left by the tightened draw-strings on the trash bag.  Nate the Tailor did keep a nice supply of different colored trash bags, so Bob was always outfitted with the newest hip colors.  Spherical Bob would thank Nate the Tailor, and Nate would say, “anything for my favorite customer.  That’ll be two-hundred and fifty dollars.”

Hey, personal tailors don’t come cheap.

THE END

Yep, that’s all I’ve got for this week.  I was thinking the story might be longer than that, but the director in my head just said “scene!” and ya gotta listen to the voices in your head.  You don’t even wanna know what happens when you don’t.

Of course, it was the voices in my head that told me to write a story about a perfectly round guy (literally.  Round.), so that’s either a paradox or a coincidence.  I like to think it was a paradoxical coincidence.  I also like to think that nobody saw that joke coming.  I’m delusional that way.

This week’s story is dedicated to all of you out there who, at this very moment, are going, “joke?  What joke?”

See you next week,

the SotWC

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The Story of Everything and Nothing (story #79)

Howdy howdy howdy, kids!  Welcome to a brand new year!  Boy, that’s exciting.  Almost as exciting as going to bed and getting something that vaguely resembles a good night’s sleep.  Which I am not going to do, seeing as how I promised you, the faithful readers, a new story as of tonight.  So here goes the first story of the year which I promise will have nothing to do with my desire to close down my internet browser and nestle all snug in my bed.  And, by “nothing,” I mean “something.”  And, by “something,” I mean “anything and everything.”

THE STORY OF EVERYTHING AND NOTHING

"But I love spring flowers!" Art by Eric Jansen

Once upon a time, there was a little yellow monster who liked to eat anchovy sandwiches and cheat at checkers.  His name was Everything.  Of course, that’s just a phonetic interpretation of the actual name.  It was spelled differently.  First of all, it was spelled with Monster Letters, which are different from ours, and second of all, even if it had been written using our letters, Monsters spelled it with a silent Q.  Silly Monsters.

Living right next door to Everything was a little purple Monster named Nothing (spelled with a silent 疋).  Nothing enjoyed spring flowers, milkmen, and soft serve dirt cones.  One fine Autumn day, while Nothing was outside pining for the wilted flowers of the past Spring, Everything came over and said, “hey, Nothing.”

“Hey, Everything,” Nothing replied.  “Gee, I wish that Spring flowers would bloom all year round.”

“Yeah, well, I wish anchovies grew on trees,” Everything replied.

“Ew,” said Nothing.  “Anchovy trees would smell bad.”

“We’re monsters,” Everything pointed out.  “We love crap that smells bad, don’t we?”

“But I love Spring flowers,” Nothing pointed out, pining even harder.

“Huh, that’s a good point,” Everything said, sitting down in a puzzled heap next to Nothing.  He thought and thought about it, and finally asked, “are you sure you’re a monster?”

“Well,” said Nothing, “I’m purple and scaly and both my parents are monsters.  And I do love soft serve dirt cones.  That’s totally monster, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, I guess it is,” said Everything, sounding none too satisfied with this answer.  Monsters are naturally distrustful creatures, you see, and Everything was wondering if his friend Nothing could be trusted.

“You sound none too satisfied,” Nothing observed.

“Well, I am naturally distrustful,” said Everything.

“That’s ironic coming from someone who likes to cheat at checkers,” said Nothing.

“Hey, Jerk!” said Everything.  “At least I don’t love milkmen!”

“Milkmen are totally monster!” Nothing whined.

“Are not!” snapped Everything.

“Are too!” Nothing replied.

“Are not!”

“Are too!”

“You’re wrong!”

“Uh-uh!  You are!”

Just then, the little blue monster from down the street strolled by taking his Golden Doodle, Anything (which was, of course, spelled with a silent ௹₰₯), for a walk.  This kid was named Something (spelled just the way it sounds) and he liked closing down his internet browser and nestling all snug in his bed.  Seeing the angry faces of his neighbors, he stopped and asked, “what’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” said Everything.

“Everything,” said Nothing.

“Well, that’s confusing,” said Something.

Just then, Everything’s mother, Jane (spelled with a silent ⢫⢶⢷⣝⣛⣧⣻), came home from shopping for pajamas.  Seeing the children standing around looking at each other, she became instantly worried.  Being naturally distrustful, this was not hard for her to do.

“Uh-oh,” Jane said.

“What?” said Everything.

“Something’s wrong.  I can tell.” Jane said.

“But I didn’t even say anything,” Something protested.

“Woof?” said Anything.

“No, not you,” Something said.

“So, nothing is wrong?” Jane said.

“Yes!” said Everything.

“Nuh-uh!” said Nothing.

“Then what’s wrong?” Jane asked.

“Everything!” said Nothing.

“Something is strange, here,” said Jane.

“Hey!” said Something.

Jane turned to Something.  “Is anything wrong?” she asked.

“Don’t be silly,” Something replied.  “He’s a dog.  He can’t talk.”

“Well, what the heck do you know about it?” asked Anything.  “You’ve never bothered to try and have a conversation with me, have you?  What makes you think that all you stupid scaly monsters have cornered the market on suspension of disbelief around here?  Why would you assume I can’t talk just because I’m a dog, when you’re all ugly multicolored fantasy creatures?  You are so presumptuous it makes me sick sometimes, you yucky little Something, you.”

“Whoa, dude,” said Everything.

“Something on your mind?” Anything growled, turning on him.

“Nope,” replied Everything.  “Pretty much just thinking about you right now.”

“Man,” said Something, “I do not know this dog at all.”

“I guess none of us do,” said Nothing.

“All right,” said Everything, “since you can talk, maybe you can settle this matter for us.”

“What matter?” said Anything, Jane, and Something in unison.

“Are milkmen totally monster?” the other two asked.

“What?” said Anything after a moment.  “That’s ridiculous.  Milkmen are definitely not monster.”

“See?” Everything beamed.  “I told you!  Now do you believe me?”

“Well,” said Nothing, “since the dog can talk, I guess I’ll believe Anything.”

And they all lived happily ever after.

Of course, the moral of the story is: Everything is all right, Nothing is wrong, and even if you think you know Something, you probably don’t don’t know Anything.

THE END

Nighty-night, dear readers.

See you next week,

the SotWC

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2011 in Uncategorized