Friday, August 26, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

Why do I keep doing the things I do if no one cares, he said. I ignored it. I ignore lots of things. His confusion is not my affair - I long ago stopped wondering if I was hearing echos or new voices. I stood, body braced against a cliff face. There was nowhere to go but up or dead. So, I went up. No one cared. Not in the long run. No one but me who can't seem to stop writing about this stupid fucking cliff.

Why do you keep doing the things you do if no one cares, I said, finally. Just throwing him a bone because you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but you can keep him quiet with a bone. 

Then, I zoned out again. Which is all I wanted to do in the first place. I wanted to get to that dust mote destination. I remember that clearly, too. Laying on my back and watching the dance of light and dark through a sunbeam. I remember thinking that it would never get better than that. Which was stupid, but it turned out I was right. 

Go figure.

I know it's considered good form to bash your face against the grindstone. I get that puritanical bullshit. Hell, I had it driven into my soul. Thing is, I'm not six anymore, and I know mechanisms of control when I see them. He shook his head. He didn't get it. I didn't have time to explain it, so I did the old show don't tell. 

The blade went in easy.

People always look surprised when they're dying. The one guarantee you have in life, but everyone is shocked when it happens to them. He didn't want to die before he accomplished his Sisyphus bullshit - he couldn't see that it didn't matter. He still believed that the people in his life would rally, support him the way he tried to support others. He didn't see the desperate longing that drove it all. 

Fucking sad, really.

I don't have enough energy to kill myself. I'll keep procrastinating. Not plan it. I mean, I might as well be shocked when it comes like the rest of you. Until then, patience. Tell his story. 

That's what I plan to do. 


  1. "People always look surprised when they're dying."

    I can't get past that sentence.

  2. Tree frogs. These guys/gals are everywhere, especially after a rain.

    While I did not know it at the time, I once closed a window and squished the frog hanging out there for the bugs attracted to the light inside. Killed it.

    Didn't discover it for maybe a month until the window was next opened on a cool morning when the house would benefit from an infusion of cool air before the heat kicked in.

    As I went to close windows later, I noticed a horrible, horrible not very good smell in the bathroom—tip o' the hat to Alexander. It was...the smell of dead things rotting away. Not uncommon when you live in the middle of nature. Creatures are born and die. This is the natural order of things.

    Inspection of the bathroom's interior yielded no cause. The search must be expanded to the outdoors to search out the body whose aroma was violating my interior spaces.

    The odor being so strong led me to believe the body must be very close to the window. A thorough search of the immediate yard found no source. Neither did an expanded ground level inspection. Was it on the roof above the window? In the rain gutter? I'd previously found a dead squirrel blocking a nearby rain downspout so it wasn't an odd thought at all. Out comes the ladder I'm still young enough to climb, but still no carcass.

    Puzzled, I wedge myself between the wall of the house and the Yew hedge to closely inspect the window area. Bingo. I see the recently deceased, maggot covered carcass of a tree frog pressed into the sill of the window frame. What. Are. The. Odds?

    I dispose of the odiferous remains and begin the task of eliminating the smell that has permeated the structure of my home.

    Nothing works. I'm able to disassemble the window and soak it in a bucket of various different cleaning solutions that barely make a dent in the aroma. But for the frame attached to the house. This can only be scrubbed or wiped.

    Hours of work without positive result. It's worse than trying to get skunk smell off a dog. I resign myself to never opening this oft opened window again.

    I never open it again, finally leaving the problem behind in divorce.

    I sometimes wonder if my ex catches a whiff from the grave opening that window...

    1. This is awesome. I love the formal tone used in places, and the build up to that ending is killer. This is a great example of what flash fiction should be if you ask me.

  3. “Eat The Poor,” the sign instructed, repeating itself in the three languages Andre knew. It continued in five more, including Cyrillic and Mandarin, the lines at the bottom helpfully embossed in Braille. There was also a micro-speaker embedded in the notice's frame, repeating the messages for the 'hard of reading'. GenSys were determined to make sure everybody could be informed.

    It was both an instruction and a warning, encapsulated into a single soundbite.

    “Does anybody do that? For real?” Phyllida raised her eyebrows in disbelief. “Surely that kind of thing finished a decade or more ago. We’ve got cloned meats of all types now and even bio-engineered soy-steaks for the vegans.”

    Our government like to keep us on our toes,” Andre grinned. “They like to keep all our bogeymen in play.”

    And yet, the streets were all empty in the mornings when the curfews lifted. There was no one now who wasn’t gainfully employed.

    It was like a utopia, but it had been made real. Society was regulated, and it worked well. Nobody ever complained; life was fair, and everyone felt fulfilled at the end of their shifts.

    “It’s a stupid, outdated redundancy, then,” Phyllida scoffed. “Somebody ought to dismantle it and erect a monument. Our cities are full of those. We have a lot to celebrate.”

    Phyllida was visiting from Westland, the continent on the furthest side of the ocean. Northland adjoined Centralia, the two nations linked by a road bridge, crossing the Coral Sea. And the Eastern Realms were now empty, too far gone for anything to live or grow. Westland was the continent everything originated from; their technology was unsurpassed by anything the Northlanders could create.

    The Northlanders were civilization's worker bees; they brought the Westlanders’ dreams to life. That was what Andre's supervisor told him; numerous times, regularly, every day.

    1. This is cool world building, and I want to know more about it. I'm torn on the ending. It feels abrupt, but I'm waffling on whether the abruptness works. I have a feeling this kept going in your mind. ;)


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