Telephone Line – Microfiction

Hello, it’s me, tiredhamster. Yes, that is my real name, and today, I’ve got another story. As you may or may not know, been writing stories based off random song titles on my playlist. Today is “Telephone Line” by Electric Light Orchestra. Tomorrow will probably be the last story of this series. What song will be next? Who knows! Enjoy!


“Ah yes, I remember those,” the old man said. The tiny structure stood, alone, on the other side of the street. The old man looked down the empty city street and crossed over. As he approached he saw the darkened space within the telephone booth, along with the ancient and discarded etchings across its windows.

The hinges squealed as he stepped inside. To his surprise, it was an old rotary phone. Many years ago, when he was young and dumb, he spoke to her using a booth just like this one. It’s been years since he saw her face, but sometimes her lips appear when he closes his eyes on blue and quiet nights such as this one.

His hand dug into his pocket, snatching a couple of quarters he didn’t know were there. Then his fingers inched toward the phone. But they stopped, hovering just before the grasp. However, his hand fell to his side. He was quiet there, for a moment, in that phone booth. Finally, he stepped back outside. The air was still, but he could see a breeze moving through the black branches of trees in the distance.

The old man continued his journey home, stumbling beneath the view of stars. When he stepped into the doorway of his home, the only light he saw was a window glowing with night. He turned on the lights. “Hello?” He searched, but his wife wasn’t home. He wasn’t sure where she was, but a part of him was relieved. He didn’t feel like speaking, not tonight, as he found the bed and turned to the window which refused dream.

The Mercy Seat – Microfiction

This week I’ve been writing short stories (around 300 words, but this one is nearly 400) inspired by song titles that randomly come-up on my Spotify playlist. Today is Nick Cave’s “The Mercy Seat.”


Abby sat nervously in the green room, watching the monitor. “Five minutes!” How did she get here? It was barely three years ago that she was living out of her car. Now, she was about to be interviewed by Pat Peterson, television’s most popular talk show host. 

Soon, she was standing behind a door, waiting for her introduction, her eyes fixed downward, the light of the studio curved at her shoes. “…Please welcome, Abby Wickman!” The door opened and a barrage of applause hit her. She stepped into the lights, her body going on autopilot. Suddenly, Pat’s big, bright face spread across her eyes. She was shaking his sweaty hand and then sat down. 

The applause faded. “Abby, so glad that you are here. And, do I say, you’re looking quite comfortable.”

“Oh, oh yeah…” She was wearing a sweatshirt. “Yeah, um, I just felt more comfortable wearing…” Her publicist was disappointed in her choice, but later suggested that it such a decision could be part of her “brand,” that of the “slacker” and “outsider.”

“Nervous?”

“Oh…um…” 

The audience chuckled. 

“Don’t worry. You want to be comfortable for tonight.”

“Oh. Um.”

“So Abby, your hit song, ‘Toss Away a Feeling,’ has not only hit #1 in the US, but is a global sensation. It’s a good song.”

“Thanks,” Abby said meekly. 

“Right. Right. But, I couldn’t help but think that it sounded familiar…”

“Yeah. Well, I’ve had a lot of influences.”

“Right. ‘Influences.’ Um, can we get Jackie? Can we get Jackie?”

“What?”

“Oh, there she is. Stand up Jackie! Now, I’m not sure if you two have met. But Jackie’s song, “Discard a Dream,” is, well, sounds quite the same as your banger. And, according to our research, came out 2 years before your song did. Coincidence?”

“Uh. Uh…” Abby didn’t know what to say. The harsh glow beat down on her. The darkened faces of the audience stared. And Jackie stood, a silhouette within the light, a glare pressing down on her. 

A few months later she woke-up in her car parked beneath the overpass. The scene replayed in her mind over and over. She sighed. She was about to turn on the radio, but decided against it. Instead she let the sound of the traffic, the sound of the city, wrap around this moment.

It’s Just a Thought – Microfiction

Another installment in my series where I write super-short stories based off song titles that randomly pop-up on my playlist. Today, the song that came up was “It’s Just a Thought,” by Creedance Clearwater Revival. A nice little ballad. Anyway, here’s the story.


There’s that quote, I think Ingmar Bergman said it, that goes, “I can only live in my art, but not in my life,” or something like that. I’ve been on tour for months now. Despite the rigid schedule, time doesn’t seem to have structure anymore. A day can pass by in a week. A month spins into an hour. The rest of the band is doing okay, but things have gotten more tense. We hardly talk. Not sure how much longer this is going to last. At this point, it’s all being run on obligation until the year disperses. Yet, only a part of me wishes to be home.

Perhaps, despite my longing for you, large sections of my self still belong to touring, performing shows, regardless of whether or not I enjoy it. I wish it wasn’t that way, for many reasons, but I fear emptiness.

Maybe I will be different in a few years. Maybe I can stay home, record music for other groups, while still having time for you and for my own projects. I could be fulfilled that way. But that’s just an idea. And rarely does reality ascend to them.

When one is near their end, do you think they ever look back and find contentment? I’m not sure if I would. Even if I lived the most fulfilling existence, I don’t know if I would ever be satisfied. I would probably feel like I’ve wasted something, made the wrong choice here or there. No matter what I do I remain in the prison of myself.

These are just some thoughts. I hope they never find you, but I needed to get them down in some way. Release the valve a little then close it some more before disappearing on stage. I don’t become a different self. I become a nothing. But that’s the only way I know for now.

Sugar – Microfiction

This week I’m writing super short fiction (around 300 words) inspired by whatever song title comes up next on my Spotify playlist. Today, I had the privilege of listening to System of a Down’s Sugar. A great, energetic and abrasive piece with political and societal themes that are relevant today. My story is nothing like that.

Yesterday, the Thursday Inspiration theme just so happened to be sugar as well; I also used the below picture from the prompt as inspiration for the story’s setting. Enjoy! Maybe?


Archie headed back home, his head dizzy with all the bright and playful colors. He stepped over the river of custard only to nearly break his ankle by slipping on a puddle of frosting. He sighed. Finally, he got home to his wife in their graham-cracker home, ornate with all sorts of colors and sprinkles.

“Hey hon’,” his wife, Margo, was in the kitchen. “I’m just makin’ some dinner.”

Archie peeked over her shoulder and saw that she was making taffy. He sighed and talked over to a giant doughnut shaped into a chair.

“I can tell from your silence you don’t want taffy for dinner.”

“No, it’s not that…sweetie.” The word made Archie wince.

“Then what is it?”

“I dunno…” Archie was too tired to talk. And plus what was the point of words? No one really spoke in Dessert Dale. Everyone just smiled and spoke in jovialities before tossing lollipops at each other. There was no real communication or connection imparted. But people were happy.

“So, do you think we should move back to the city?”

Archie was stunned by this question. He didn’t expect her to outright ask such a thing. But, then again, she had been asking him things lately. In fact, he had noticed the gradual shifting of his wife’s personality ever since they moved here.

“Oh, um–”

“You can talk to me honey. I’m here for you.” She turned and smiled. Archie nodded.

She was always grinning, jolly, just like the rest of them. But, it also felt like she was always watching him, asking him questions about his thoughts and feelings about their new home.

Soon, his wife brought him a bright, shiny plate of taffy. Archie reluctantly dug his teeth into the sugary, food-like material, and chewed. Margo laughed, “oh Archie!” and went back into the kitchen area. Perhaps he was just being paranoid, he thought to himself as he chewed through the delicious, pink mass.

Tomorrow Is Already Here – Microfiction

This week I’m writing microfiction based off random song titles on my Spotify playlist for some reason. “Tomorrow is Already Here” is by Stereolab and it’s pretty good. I was going to write a more political story based off of the song’s lyrics (which is more like a mantra,) but instead I churned out this crap. Enjoy!


“Wow, I can’t believe it.”

“What?”

“We’re already in the future.” A hover-truck floats past them swiftly as the two persons ascend above the city with their rocket boots.

“I know what you mean. It just seemed like yesterday when we finally neutralized Mars and our blood was replaced by corn starch. Now the whole system has been vaporized and our skin is 67% Cheeto-dust.”

“Aw, yes. Simpler times.”

They continued lazily flying above the towers, watching as the constantly shift and reform via nanobot workers.

“Jeffax?”

“Yes, R–0,B///?”

“How do you feel?”

“…about what?”

“Well, aren’t you a bit concerned that we’re, you know, the last two humans in existence?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, after our cybernetic husks have deteriorated, we will, for the most part, cease to be in about 2,782 years. And then, after that, humanity is gone. Gone for good. No longer a part of the universe.”

“Hm…are we even considered human any more?”

“Well…I don’t know. But we are unique, aren’t we? I mean, we’re mostly organic matter, right? We’re not like the rest of the galaxy’s population which mainly consists of metallic clouds.”

“To be honest, I don’t really think about that. In fact, I don’t really think about anything anymore. Too inefficient.”

“I guess.”

“And you know, maybe it was a good thing that humans no longer exist. I mean, they created an okay foundation, but things needed to advance beyond them. Just like the dinosaurs or Kryospings.”

“Right. I guess…and when we finally deteriorate, the universe can continue to advance.”

“Exactly.”

“But then what? What’s the point of advancement?”

“…What else are we supposed to do?”

R–0 didn’t have an answer for this, at least not yet. Maybe he would, 286 years from now, though the question would long have been forgotten. But, for now, they were mere lifeforms, floating above the constant destruction and reconstruction of cities, all things hoping.

Intruder – Microfiction

As mentioned before, this week I’m writing microfiction (in this case, stories 300 words more or less) based off random song titles off my Spotify playlist. “Intruder” by Peter Gabriel happened to be the next song so heres ya go.


They know I’m here, but don’t care enough to care. I remember, years ago, when people were worried, but eventually fear and anxiety dissolves. After all, it was a quiet intrusion, and one that was beneficial.

Surveillance was something I fell into, but, over the years, I’ve come to learn that it’s a job I enjoy. As a kid, I always liked the idea of “knowing,” especially when others did not. I wanted to be an expert, to cradle secret meanings beyond another’s hand.

I’ve also always been curious, but not in a way that was malicious. I’ve never sought to blackmail others, but I just wanted to glimpse at different angles of the world, dip my eyes into the shadows of a car or lean my ear towards my neighbor’s window.

Most things I see aren’t notable. When surveying a home, I only report suspect behavior. However, most people I see in my monitors are decent. Just trying to get by like any other creature. But, sometimes, there is something unusual I spot. Sometimes it’s minute, other times…peculiar. I wouldn’t call it “suspect behavior” but it always surprises me, as if I’ve acquired new, sacred knowledge of humanity. Knowledge few others are privy to. But, most minutes are mundane. Yet, there is still a value in the common things: a couple arguing, or a child pouting in the silence of his room.

I don’t mind that someone is watching me. It’s necessary, of course. You remember the chaos years ago. The person watching me is simply doing a job, just like me. Sometimes I even give a knowing nod to my household devices.

So, no, I’m not special. I’m not even powerful. I’m just a pencil pusher. And that’s fine, because I get to learn things. For most, their lives are forgotten. They let their hours drift away into the walls, misplacing them. But I find them, and keep them.

Ex Lion Tamer – Microfiction

This week I’m going to be writing some really short stories inspired by song titles that randomly come up on my Spotify playlist. Each story will be around 300 words or so I don’t know. Why am I doing this? Cause it’s a thing. Anyway, below’s the first story.


“You did it, Mr. Craigson. You have tamed all of the lions.”

“I did it!”

“Yes you did. Look! Now they’re all productive members of society.”

“I used a whip!”

“And we are all eternally grateful.”

“Yeah! So…where’s the next one?”

“The next…?”

“The next lion. Where is he?”

“Mr. Craigson, put down that chair. You tamed them all, remember? Look, that one is going to community college. And the other one is using his turn signal.”

“Oh.”

“And for that, you get this big cup. Nice and shiny.”

“Oh…oh…”

“Now go out there and find a new job, Mr. Craigson. I’m sure it won’t be a problem for you.”

“Can…can I get a job taming lions?”

“Haha! Good one Mr. Craigson! Martha, did you hear that?”

“Heh heh. Yeah…”

And from there, Mr. Craigson bounced from job-to-job. Things seemed to be going well at first when he got a gig at a fast food place, but his tenure ended when he tried snapping his whip at an irate customer that demanded that her chicken nuggets be shaped a certain way. His manager was not amused, but also confused as to how Mr. Craigson was able to confiscate a giant whip to work.

Every day, Mr. Craigson would walk by a lion or two and he would wince, expecting them to growl or prowl towards him as they once had. But, no, they would usually sit there on the bus, or wave. Mr. Craigson would wave back nervously.

Eventually, Mr. Craigson found long-term work taming seagulls. It wasn’t quite the same: more difficult, less rewarding, but it was an honest living. He died at the age of 32. The world moved on without noticing. So did the lions who forgot what Mr. Craigson had done to them.


Off to a good start. This song is inspired by Ex Lion Tamer by seminal British people Wire. However, the story has nothing to do with the song. I just wrote a really literal take on the title because I am a robot. What song will I do tomorrow? Who knows!

Meet Ed

I’m not good at making characters. They tend to be sad, shapeless dawdles. However, I was inspired by Fandango’s “Dog Days of August” prompt for today. He asked us to “create a character” so not only did I do that, but I made a good character, the bestest character the world has ever seen.

His name is Ed. Let’s take a look at Ed, shall we?

Ed is a simple man in his early 40’s living with his uncle. He’s a part-time private detective. When he’s not working retail he is solving various cases such as “where did my cat go?” and “is my 20-something wife cheating on me with someone her own age?” He’s not a very good private detective, but…well, that’s about it.

He also likes chess, but instead of getting better at playing classical chess he prefers anti-chess, which is faster and requires less thought and discipline. He also doesn’t like failure so shirks away any opportunity for struggle or self-improvement.

Ed also enjoys Star Wars, even the crappy prequels. One of his fondest memories was watching the original series on VHS in his dad’s apartment while his parents were getting divorced.

Will he ever locate Ms. Samantha’s cat? Will he ever be able to have his car repaired? Will his uncle stop putting his dirty socks on the radiator? These are questions begging to be answered. Hey, Warner Bros., if you are interested in using this character feel free to hit me up, m’kay? You can go on my Twitter and press “follow” and shoot me a DM. I’m on Twitter every Thursday. Unlike Ed, who doesn’t like social media. If you can get Rob Schneider to play Ed that would be great, but I am open to most big-name actors who might be interested. Thanks.

However, if Warner Bros. or Sony decides that Ed is too good for them (which is understandable) maybe I can incorporate him into my own works.

Classic Ed-isms:

“Um…okay?”

“Okay.”

“Is there something wrong with your feet?”

“I’m not a big fan of sand. It’s rough and…sandy…there’s a lot of it. I think there should be less of it.”

“Do cats have complex inner-lives?”

“I think a lot of success is determined by luck. So, what’s the point of living if we don’t actually live? If there’s no actual free will?”

“Bicyclists are weird.”

Speculations on the Unseen Movements

There is a transition that is never seen
by this machine: when the dark, heavy palm
lifts itself into sky, I am still
buried. And that’s fine with me.
The spectacle of stars softening to red
trailing itself, or the early song
entering the silhouette of trees–
these things are not part of me.
Nice ideas, but they are
transitory, a beauty only gathered
in slow dissolution, beyond
the hard processions of sleep.
Morning blares itself in the window,
and I am pulled into routine’s design.


Written for Eugi’s Weekly Prompt “Night meets Day”.