Raisin Brain

This one came from Finish That Thought.

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Raisin Brain

When we hit the dotted line we cheered.

Ma said I’d never amount to anything. When I was a kid she called me Melon Head (and it’s round but only slightly melon shaped) until that got old, then for the rest of her life she called me Raisin Brain and that was much worse. “Your brain’s as big as a raisin,” she’d say, and she’d pinch her fingers together to show me how tiny that was.

If only Ma could have seen us that day signing for the house. I know she’d have been furious, and that warms my heart.

We were so happy we celebrated too hard too fast. Last night Jenny and I drank way too much in the empty living room. I don’t remember too much of it, except I’m pretty sure I shouted “Suck it, Ma!” at some point because Jenny thought that was hilarious. Ma never liked Jenny, always said she was “pretentious” as if she wasn’t a snob herself. “Don’t call me Ma,” she always said, “It sounds so common.”

So I always called her Ma and she kept calling me Raisin Brain.

This morning when Jenny and I woke up we checked the house. We should have done it sooner because there’s mold in the basement and the plumbing might be done wrong. It’s going to cost a fortune to fix, but hey, we saved money on the building inspection…ugh. Why didn’t we get a building inspection?

I can hear Ma now; “I told you so, Raisin Brain.”

I hate it when Ma’s right, especially now that she’s gone and I can’t fight her about it. I miss her. She’d like it here once she got over herself.

“Don’t worry, Melon Head,” Jenny says, putting her arm around me. I should never have told her about my nicknames. I can’t hate her for using it, though. I love her too much.

“I always worry,” I say.

“We’ll fix this place up and we’ll be happy here,” she says. “I love you.”

And she really does, raisin-sized brain and all.

*

Seventh Hope

This was an Honourable Mention at Micro Bookends.

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Seventh Hope

Six planets out of seven were useless. The fourth was closest, but upon landing, the natives had sent them packing. Jessie wasn’t about to argue with man-sized cockroaches (at least not now that the government insisted on peaceful contact).

The seventh planet had promise. The long line of scientists at the control panel buzzed with excitement while they processed the data. The planet had water, breathable atmosphere, etc. etc.

Jessie took a seat beside Betty and scanned the monitor everyone ignored.

“This is the one,” Betty said. “Our last hope is a success.”

“I don’t think so, Betty.”

“Why not?”

“Because the temperature of the water is a million degrees.”

*

CHRIS AND MIKE VS THE ROBOTIC WAITER

This was the winning entry for Brian S Creek’s Chris and Mike contest. Chris and Mike are two brilliant characters and I’m looking forward to reading more of their adventures!

The Adventures of Chris and Mike belongs to Brian S Creek; check out his blog for more info. This Chris and Mike adventure was inspired by real life events that occurred with my own Chris and Mike. I’ll let you decide which is real and which is fiction…

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CHRIS AND MIKE VS THE ROBOTIC WAITER

“I forgot my wallet,” Mike said.

“How convenient,” Chris said.

“Wait, did you hear that?”

The team knew a scream when they heard one. The other patrons took no notice.

“Pretend to be drunk.”

Mike staggered over to their waiter.

“I love you, bro,” he said. He squeezed the waiter in a hug.

Chris snuck into the kitchen. Two robots were lowering a gagged man into boiling water.

“Stop ruining my favourite diner!”

One robot turned and blasted Chris through the wall. He landed, stunned, at the waiter’s feet.

The waiter was now (unsurprisingly) a robot – and so were the other patrons. Mike was in their clutches, being tickled relentlessly.

“We are the Torture Bots. You will be broken,” the waiter said.

One of the other robots shed its exterior and revealed…a grizzly bear.

“I was hoping for a human,” Chris groaned.

The grizzly grabbed the heroes and hauled them out the door.

“Duck!” she yelled.

The diner exploded behind them.

“Where will we eat now?” Mike demanded.

“Did anyone save the guy in the kitchen?” Chris asked.

“Never mind that,” the grizzly said. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you. The world is in great danger. I need your help!”

*

Plague

A more serious Flash! Friday effort.

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Plague

It started with Margaret dying.

I’ll always remember her with her arms around Edmond’s neck, and that look of love on her face. Edmond was the Prime Minister elected when we touched down on New Earth. She was young, only thirty when it happened.

I was staying late at the lab, dissecting another dead patient, trying desperately to cure this plague. It’s a wonder I never caught it myself. Edmond radioed in, screaming Margaret’s name. I hurried to his place but didn’t get there before the police. They’d taped everything off. Margaret had been murdered. Someone had got it into their head that Edmond was to blame for the new world’s troubles and they’d punished him for it.

Panic spreads. Edmond’s wife was the first but not the last. They caught the woman who killed Margaret and they punished her, but she became a martyr. Some fought for Edmond, some fought for his opposition, and thousands of others died from the plague.

That was how the world got divided.

We eventually found a cure for the plague, but nothing can fix the human condition. It’s been a hundred years and I might live a hundred more and never see the end of the war.

Fly On The Wall

From Flash!Friday.

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Fly On The Wall

At one time I didn’t care about the affairs of humans. I was content with my limited existence; eat, sleep, fly. Like other flies I was unaware of my mortality, aside from a survival instinct.

Life was simple and I had no master.

Now I must do the Wizard’s bidding. I am his eyes and ears on the walls of his choosing.

The Wizard extracts the conversations from the memory I should not have. I recognize that I don’t have a large enough brain for memory. How do I know that? The Wizard has made me so much more than what I should be.

He pats the top of my head as I crawl across his fingers. No one looks twice at the homeless man talking to himself. He, too, is next to invisible in his disguise, but I can go where he cannot.

“Good boy,” he says, as though I am a loyal dog.

Loyalty. A concept I should not understand, and do not feel. If I could break away from him I would. If I could go back to the not-knowing, I would.

I am the fly on the wall. The world does not know enough to fear me.

Fluffsy

From Micro Bookends.

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Fluffsy

Play was no longer fun for Fluffsy. His girl had removed both his eyes in the first five minutes, and that was over a year ago.

Enough was enough.

Kitten-Mittens, oldest and wisest of the toys, warned him against escape. “You’ll never make it,” she said.

“I have to believe I can,” he said.

He didn’t make it far. There were too many people and he couldn’t stay alive with human eyes on him.

The stone was cold and his heart ached.

Small hands grasped Fluffsy’s remaining ear. A child’s voice cooed “Bunny!”

And because he had taken a chance, Fluffsy became the beloved plaything of a charming little boy.

Jenny’s Side

A Flash! Friday effort.

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Jenny’s Side

“Whose side are you on?”

*

Her name was Jennifer. I fell in love with her dimpled smile. The first time she kissed me it felt natural.

Jenny. Brown hair, brown eyes, cut-off jeans, flip-flops, colourful tank tops and oversized button-ups. Sure, she had the antennae, but everyone’s got their flaws. I didn’t judge.

*

I assumed her parents were loaded because they lived in that gigantic house. I used to stop and look at it through the fence and wonder what kind of movie star would be able to afford it. It was prettier than the White House.

I was right.

*

One day she said “Marianne, we need to talk,” and I thought she was breaking up with me. Instead, she patted my knee, flicked one of her antennae, and said “I’m an alien.”

Her parents were alien space-drug smugglers. They lived on Earth for the fertile soil.

*

She looked sad when she told me. I couldn’t see why.

“It’s not your fault your parents are drug dealers. Why would I love you any less?”

It turned out she was more worried about the alien thing but I didn’t care about that either.

*

We were happily married until the invasion.

Now guess which side I’m on.

Her Name

This one’s a little too close for comfort…but it won third place at Micro Bookends.

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Her Name

Explosive temper, foul language, cruel insults; she has it all.

She lurks in the back of my mind screaming until I want to tear out my hair with pain and frustration. She’s with me at work, at home, while I’m sleeping, while I’m cooking. I can’t relax.

If something is dirty she knows it; if it’s not dirty, she thinks it is, and convinces me. She’s different for everyone, but for me, she contaminates the world. She reduces the people and places I love into germs. She follows me around and remembers everything I do.

She is not me, but she changes me.

Her name is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Christmas Dinner

This morning I was delighted to learn that I was first runner up for Friday’s Flash!Friday competition.

It’s a little early for Christmas (I mean, normally I put my tree up November 4th for my birthday but this year I can’t so I’m pretending it’s too early for Christmas) but I was inspired.

Christmas Dinner

“Do you remember that Sherlock Holmes story?” Marv asks.

Greg shrugs. “There are a lot of Sherlock Holmes stories.”

“The one where they find that big blue diamond in the horse’s throat.”

“I know the one, but it was a goose, not a horse. Imagine having a horse for Christmas dinner! Anyway, what about it?”

“I was just thinking how nice it would be to find a diamond down Jackson’s throat,” Marv says. He looks out the window. Jackson’s old and not good for much anymore. He can’t even pull the cart.

“Stupid to wish for something like that,” Greg says.

“I suppose. Wish some money would fall in our laps, though.”

Marv and Greg are almost out of food. The first few flakes of snow fell this morning, and if it gets too cold too fast they’re not going to be able to find work.

Christmas dinner might be horse after all.

The Wisdom of Spindles the Hedgehog

An updated version of this will appear in an upcoming anthology (2019)!

This one is from this past Tuesday’s Finish That Thought.

I was the runner up and my day has been made! I knew the naked jokes would pay off eventually…

The Wisdom of Spindles the Hedgehog

The postal worker showed up on Harry’s porch at the most inopportune time.

There is a law of the universe that dictates that one shall only receive important packages when one has just entered the shower and soaped up. Harry had just worked up a proper lather when the doorbell rang.

He was so surprised that he slipped and landed on his backside in the tub. His pride was the most severely injured, but he also pulled an old running injury (in the groin, naturally). He almost slipped again when he stood up, but managed to maintain his balance. That is, until he set his foot down on his hedgehog.

Spindles squeaked in terror and Harry screamed in reply. He jumped several feet in the air and stumbled into his kitchen. He grabbed onto something for support and realized he was clutching his mother’s antique teapot. He didn’t clutch it for long, as it slipped out of his grasp and shattered to a bazilliion pieces on the floor.

“This is not my day,” Harry said. The doorbell rang once more and Harry yanked open the front door.

The postal worker was just filling out the pick-up form. He nodded once and handed Harry the electronic signature device.

“Bit chilly out this morning, isn’t it?” he asked.

Harry looked down. His towel was long gone.

Stay calm, Harry, he told himself. Play it cool, like you meant to be naked. He almost struck a pose but decided it was best just to take his mail and shut the door.

“Well, Spindles, it’s finally here,” Harry said. He went and put on some pants before he grabbed a knife. There was another universal law about sharp things and nudity and he didn’t want to tempt fate further.

He tore into the package. Styrofoam peanuts flew left and right. He held aloft the contents so that he might see it better in the light.

It was a butterfly net.

Harry liked butterflies and was not opposed to a good frolic in the outdoors, but he’d been expecting a part to fix the motor of his supposed-to-be award-winning invention for the competition that evening. He checked the address on the box and saw that it was for two doors down.

“What am I going to do, Spindles?” Harry moaned.

The hedgehog had no good advice to give. You see, the last important law of the universe is that hedgehogs don’t speak English. Harry was going to have to figure this out on his own.

His robotic butterfly net did not win a prize, but it did catch the attention of a rather handsome spectator, who just so happened to enjoy dinner, and would he like to have dinner with Harry later that evening? Why, yes, he would.

“I guess all’s well that ends well,” Harry said, quoting his favourite law of the universe. The universe gave him the thumbs up, and back at home Spindles the hedgehog smiled.