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Very short stories to read at the bus stop.

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(viewed 2207 times)
Let's try a true story for once.

There's, well, let's call him John. John comes by every now and then to clean up the place. He's short -- about my height -- and maybe a hundred and twenty pounds soaking wet. With rocks in his pockets.

John looks rough. He's doing something nonsensical that looks like cleaning, but isn't. He's wiping dust off of some ethernet cables with his hand, accidentally unplugs one, pushes it back in, wipes the top of the little network hub. With his hand.

Here's how rough John looks. He's wearing an undershirt and walking shorts, and he has big splotches of blood on his shirt. Oh. And a pretty decent drippy wound to his left temple. He's walking with a kind of a shuffle.

"What's up, man?" I say. "You all right?"

"Mruh um urhumuhumur urh. Murhuhmurhmuh." He's leaning on a large rolling garbage can for support, which isn't very clear thinking. "Muhhuhrrhuh," he adds.

Some of the equipment -- the cutter, the shrinkwrap machine, a couple of work tables -- have been unceremoniously shoved around a bit. Oh, and there's blood all over the floor and the walls.

Whaddaya know. A George Romero one-man-show performance art piece. One man audience, too.

John is one of the most talkative people I know. Ordinarily. The smack is to the left side of his head. Most people keep all their words on the left side of their head. 911 would seem to be in order. I grab a phone.

"Just making a phone call, John. You find a place to sit and relax."

"Uhruhmuhurhuruh uhrumuruh."

He follows me into the building lobby and makes to pick my bookbag up out of my chair. I tell him not to bother and take it from him gently. He reaches for the desk, which he knows is too much for any ordinary human being to organize. I tell him I'll take care of it.

He wheels another garbage can uselessly around the desk and I tell him to relax and take a load off until his ride gets here. He lays down on a sofa in the lobby.

The fire department gets all the best paramedics in this neck of the suburban woods. A couple of friendly, helpful individuals show up in just a couple of minutes and decide they need to take even more blood out of him (but not too much), and an ambulance shows to give him a lift to the hospital that's pretty much the next block over.

After he's gone they clean up all the rubber gloves and swabs and stuff, but they leave me a few souvenirs. Like this handy set of instructions for professional bondage gear.

And the George Romero set back in the production area. I have an hour or so before the customers are supposed to start coming. I get to work.


Last I heard, John's in the ICU for at least 24 hours' observation. Nobody's got any expectations of any kind at the moment.


Posted by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

29th Jul 2008, 22:04   | tags:comments (2)

Just Checking

(viewed 1423 times)
"Don't mind me."

"... What?"

"I said don't mind me."


"I'm just, you know, just here to see if it's true."

"If what's true?"

"Um. You know. What they say. 'Does a bear...' You know. In the woods."

" 'Does a bear rip the innards out of impertinent tourists and string them up like frickin' Christmas lights as a warning to others ... in the woods?' "

"Um. Not that one. The other one."

"Oh. Well. That one's also true."

"I ... see."

"Why you wanna watch? Are you ... sophisticated?"

"No, no. Extremely regular these days. Lots of fiber in grass."

"No no no. I mean, like, from Germany?"

"Not me. I'm from Hereford."

"No way are you a Hereford. Herefords are--"

"From Hereford. I just live there. I'm an Anatolian Black. It's like, you know, not all black people are from Africa. I have to explain it all the time."


"Stereotypes. See? That's why I'm here. To check."



Posted by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

27th Jul 2008, 18:18   | tags:comments (4)

Dawn brakes

(viewed 1568 times)
It must be morning again. Morning of the next day. Despite my phone saying it’s 5pm of the day before. One clue is that the shadows are long and pointing to the sea where the sun normally meets. Another is that the women are dressed like joggers and powerwalking. And there’s a man, in his pants, doing stretches on the beach.

Plus we stayed up till midday on Friday night, making it Saturday, and Christ, it was actually dark by the time I got to sleep. Could I have slept 24 hours?



Where the hell are the others?

Posted by jc1000000

27th Jul 2008, 03:30   | tags:comments (4)

I see faces.

(viewed 1588 times)
I look at this, and I keep seeing faces peering out at me, stretching the surface of the image, almost. The Rorschach people say the brain is so wired to see faces, to recognize faces, that we see faces in any old noise. If that's true, why are they always angry, and laughing?

(hover over this with your cursor to see the encoded part of the story)


Posted by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

26th Jul 2008, 21:18   | tags:comments (9)

the door

(viewed 1502 times)
So frail you seem, standing there against the light. As though if it just burned a little brighter it might burn right through you and youd just slowly fade until just the doorway you were standing against would be left, just as it was before you were there. Its not sad really, its a shame your not there anymore, but its not sad. Its just a doorway.

Posted by Alfie

26th Jul 2008, 20:40   comments (3)

Cold feet

(viewed 1481 times)
Kika answered the call. "Girlfriend, this road is long. We've been walking
for a week. We are now standing by a bus stop billboard that says 'wedding
daze, in cinemas now'
. Bet you the next one will say 'rent now on dvd!' My
heels have blistered from following this drunk ass' sense of direction." She
glared at me, keeping the mobile to her ear. "Monkey man here has grown a
beard and soon will have to hack it off with a pair of wheat shears. Lucky
today ain't his wedding day 'cos given this performance, I'd be marrying the

Posted by jc1000000

25th Jul 2008, 12:58   | tags:comments (4)

The Road to Hell

(viewed 2942 times)
Ther road to Hell is paved with good intentions, they say. I say it's just paved. Not with anything in particular. Cobbles, concrete, asphalt -- hardly matters. Whatever it takes to keep your actual feet off the actual dirt.

And there's the very first step on the road to Hell: not wanting to get your feet dirty. Don't even want to get your shoes dirty? Buy a horse and sit on that instead. But horses are dirty, too, especially when you keep them in a little box. So how about an armored capsule that won't even let you feel the wind? That'll keep you clean.

The next step? Right of Way. My right of way. Get off of my road. Get out of my way. My horse, my little armored capsule, will run you down if you get in my way.

How can it possibly be your way when a billion people have been there before you? Your shiny little car just takes you straight to Hell -- their Hell -- quicker, cleaner, and less tired.

All roads lead to Hell. Therefore, if you want to avoid Hell, get out of your car, get off your high horse, take off your shoes, and get off the road.

Exit here.


Posted by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

24th Jul 2008, 13:15   | tags:comments (3)

salt(a) pillar

(viewed 1667 times)
nobody knows where they went to
nobody really cares
the politicians and the businessmen
left us all unaware

the land has been ours since then
it's not that we forgot
they took the magic from our souls
and now.. the land.. it rots

Posted by Dhamaka

23rd Jul 2008, 21:31   | tags:,,comments (5)