Stupid Island – Ep. 2: “A Voice for Dead Crabs”

Zed and Claire continued having fun in the water. “Wow! This is fun!” See? They splashed each other, oblivious to the fin circling around them.

Meanwhile, Sheila and Zmed followed the old man to a cave on the other side of the island. “Just where you taking us, old man?” Zmed said, trying to look brave when, in reality, he was afraid of caves. But the old man didn’t say anything. They both followed him, stepping into the shadowy cave. They continued walking down the tunnel until there was a light in the distance. They heard voices. Sheila and Zmed looked at each other.

Back in the water, Claire noticed the fin. “Hey Zed!”

“Yeah babe?”

“I think we should get out of the water.”

“What?”

Suddenly she was pulled underneath.

Zed looked around, confused. “Babe?”

Moments later, Claire reappeared with a splash, gasping for breath. “Whoa,” Zed said. “What happened with you?”

“I think I got bit.”

“By what?”

“I think it was a shark.”

Zed suddenly saw the blood in the water. “Oh shit!”

“Yeah. I don’t think it’s that bad. Let’s go and–”

Zed picked her up and ran up to the beach. As soon as he hit the sand he tossed her down and examined her wound. It was a cut on her ankle. “Aw man. Help! HELP!” But no one heard him. Larry remained by the palms, snoozing. Oh yeah, there’s a guy named Larry, but he doesn’t do much. Age unknown.

“HELP!”

“It’s alright. I think if we just stop the blee–”

“Sh. You’re about to die.”

“What?”

“Sorry, there isn’t much we can do for you. We only have so many resources. Sorry babe, you won’t be forgotten.”

“But I’m still–”

“No. It’s alright. You will be remembered, Sheila. Sh. Shhhhhh.”

“But I’m…” But Zed was always waking back towards the palms. He approached Larry.

“Hey man, where is everyone? We’ve got to bury the body. Or, I guess we could…no, we can’t eat her. Not yet. How could you even say such a thing?”

But Larry continued his snooze in the shade. Zed sighed and sat down next to him. “Man, I don’t know. I’m fairly capable. I’m a good leader, but I sometimes wonder if it’s enough…”

Claire hopped towards the two then laid down besides them. “I think if we just put some pressure on it we should be good. I’ll be up and running in no time!”

But Zed didn’t seem to notice her, lost in the reverie of thought. Larry just snored.

“So, how long have you guys been here?”

“Zmed! Seriously!” Claire pointed toward some of the women who were among the group huddled, dirty and pathetic-looking, in the cave.

“We reckon about a year,” said the old man.

“Two!” Said another cave-dweller.

“Aye, two.”

“Damn. And you guys haven’t found a way off? That’s pathetic,” said Zmed.

“Hey!” Sheila stood in the middle of the cavern dwelling. “Don’t blame them for what the system has done!”

“I’m not! I’m just saying they’re fuckin’ pathetic. Come on, let’s get outta here!”

“Wait!” The old man said. Zmed stopped. “What about the birthday party?”

“What birthday?” Then he glanced over to Sheila. “Oh yeah.”

“We’ve got crabs!”

“Sorry,” Sheila said. “I don’t consume living organisms.”

“Oh, but these are dead. So we got to eat them right quick!”

“Well, just because they’re dead doesn’t mean they’re not living!”

The old man was confused.

“The dead have rights too! They can’t help being what they are!”

The old man and the rest of the cave-dwellers looked down at the dead crabs, ashamed.

“Come on Zmed. Let’s celebrate our birthday with people who are a bit more progressive when it comes to crab rights!”

“No!”

Sheila cocked her head. “I’m sorry?”

Zmed sat down next to the cave-dwellers and started gnawing on one of the crabs. “I’m not going anywhere! I’m hungry! I don’t want any stupid coconuts or bananas! I’m a man! I need meat!”

“Wow, there are so many things wrong with that statement.” She glared at the rest of the sad faces in the dim cave. “You should all feel ashamed of yourselves. Disgusting. Absolutely di–”

But she was interrupted by a loud stomping. They all turned toward the tunnel and saw a shadow of what appeared to be a giant crab.


What a cliffhanger!

Stupid Island – Episode 1: “The Place with No Birds”

It had been a week since they had washed up on shore. Or maybe it was more. Or less. I’m not sure. There was no calendar on the island and no one was keeping tracking. So, it actually could have been a few hours. But, regardless, it might as well have been an eternity.

The group huddled underneath the shadows of some palms, butts planted in the sandy beach as they watched the infinite waves. As mentioned before, they had been there for a while. There was a virus pandemic, but once things started to die down the cruise lines started to reopen. They were all on a cruise ship but then, of course, the ship was attacked by pirates. People had forgotten that things had fallen into disarray due to the pandemic, so much so that pirates had come back.

The cruise ship lit on fire and crashed into a rock (people also forgot how to pilot ships due to the virus pandemic) and well, for all they knew, they were the only survivors, stranded on an island. They hardly had any food except for coconuts, nor water except for the fresh water spring in the center of the island. But they were too lazy to keep going back and forth to get water so that was no good. They could just make their new home by the spring, I guess, but there were too many bugs.

The sun beat down on the sand, and them. As mentioned before, they all sat there. Hungry, thirsty, sunburnt, and terribly bored.

“I’m bored,” said Zmed. Yes, his name was Zmed. He was a man in his 20s. His glory days were in high school where he was the #2 best quarterback, #2 best chess player, and runner-up for prom king. He sighed.

“Stop complaining!” That was Zad, also in his 20s, who was also well-built and tough. He also happened to had gone to the same school as Zmed and was in the same graduating class. He was #1 in the things Zmed was not. He was also better looking, so sorry, Zmed.

“Maybe it was global warming. Do you think global warming has anything to do with it? After all, our ship was on fire. And cruise ships aren’t supposed to do that,” said Artie.

“Shut-up. Everyone knows global warming is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese!” Zad said.

“Yeah!” Added Zmed.

Artie stared down at his blustery feet. He was a man, also 20s, except he wasn’t very good looking and never had any glory days. He was also a virgin. Sorry, Artie!

“That’s not true!” Sheila said. “The Chinese are a great, wonderful people, so back off!” Sheila was also in her 20s and didn’t know any Chinese people.

Zed just shot her a look and continued trying to carve a knife out of a coconut.

“Okay guys.” Mara stood-up. “I say we find some shelter and food, so who’s with me?” Mara was also good-looking and a go-getter, easily the smartest and most capable person on the island, but doesn’t want to force her ego to control things and is genuinely concerned about survival. As a result, no one wants to listen to her. 20s.

The group kind of looked at her, squinting.

“Come on guys!”

“Um,” Sheila said, “did you just say guys?”

“Yeah, and who made you leader?” Zed said.

“Yeah!” Zmed interjected.

“I’m the leader!” Zed pointed to himself. Zmed didn’t like this, but didn’t say anything.

“Okay, ‘leader’ what do you think we should do then?” Mara replied firmly.

Zed took a moment to think, looked at the rest of the group, trying to come up with something quick. “We wait.”

“Wait?”

“Yeah…we can’t afford to expend any energy. They might be coming for us soon and we have to be at our best and best-looking or else they may not pick us up.”

Mara just rolled her eyes. “Whatever. I’m going to search the island.” As she started walking into the island Artie scrambled after her.

“Wait, I’m coming!”

Zed started to mutter to himself.

“Are you okay?” Zmed asked.

“Yeah. Fine. Of course I am. She can do what she wants. Free country.” He started to rapidly shape his coconut knife as Zmed watched.

“Hey guys!” Claire came strolling towards the group, smile on her face. She was always quite chipper and that’s about it. Her age was somewhere in her 20s. “I’ve got some bananas!”

“Good,” Zed said. “But you should say something first before going off.”

“Oh. I did. But, sorry. Here!” She handed him a banana. It had been ages since Zed had even seen a plantain.

“Where did you find these?” Zmed asked.

“And did you really say guys?”

But Claire didn’t say anything, her eyes reaching out to the ocean. “I think I’m gonna go for a swim!”

“Yeah, I’m gonna go too!” Zed said, abandoning his knife. The two beautiful people threw off their shirts at Zmed and Sheila (rude) and frolicked in the waves, splashing at each other. Zmed immediately grabbed Zed’s knife and hid it on his body.

“So,” Zmed said. “Do you think we’ll ever get off this island?”

“It’s my birthday.” Sheila said, her gaze turned downward.

“Whoa. That’s cool. What are you gonna do?”

“I don’t know.”

“Say, maybe we can go to that spring or whatever.”

“Why, because I’m a woman?”

“What?”

“You know, I’ve been belittled my whole life!”

“I don’t understand what I said has anything to do–”

“Excuse me.” Sheila and Zmed turned and saw an old man standing before them, looking quite dirty and disheveled with a long, unkempt beard.

“Whoa. Who are you?”

“I know a great spot for birthdays and such.”

“Really. That’s tight. Come on Sheila.”

“Don’t tell me what to do.” She stood up. “Let’s go.” And they followed the old man.

Meanwhile, Mara and Artie were wandering deep into the wilds of the island, traversing thick brush and vines. Artie was scared, but Mara, while somewhat scared, was determined to uncover the mystery of the island.

“Say,” she said to Artie who trailed behind her, “did you ever notice that there aren’t birds on this island?”

“What? Um…I don’t know…”

“Seems a little odd, don’t you think?”

“I…I guess…”

“Also, those cameras.”

“What?”

“Look.” They stopped and she pointed at one of the video cameras installed up on one of the trees, its eye fixed on them.

“Huh.”

“Martie.”

“It’s Artie.”

“I don’t think this is an ordinary island.”

“Yeah.”

“We should tell the others.”

“Or, maybe we shouldn’t.”

“What? Why?”

“I dunno.”

“Ok. Let’s go back.”

“Right.”

“Do you remember how to get back?”

“Um.”


Whoa! Look! Another series I’m writing on the fly! Just making stuff up as we go! How will it turn out? Probably bad! Also, the birthday subplot was inspired by The Daily Spur word prompt for today.

What the Day Allows

He saw them, the spirals trapping light by their feet. It was strange; he thought the moment was merely a distortion, a dream. Water normally didn’t move in such a way, not on its own. Nick was usually able to trust his senses. Yet there was this slight irreality moving in the distance. Was something in him fading? Was a part of his mind starting to bend reality on its own inexplicable terms?

He twisted his eyes away from the water’s movements and pinned them on the two sitting beneath the tree, at the edge of the water. He had followed them to this lake. This was a better spot than any motel which was where he would often gather info on adulterers. They were in the open, exposed to the air. But so was he. He zoomed onto them with his camera. Their faces were turned away, but he sharpened the camera on their hands, the intimacies between fingers. Simple body language that betrayed them, but he still needed more.

He waited up on the hill, in a spot obscured by some bushes. The sun started to drift away, but the two just remained there, watching the water. The spirals were gone, but their eyes fell onto the silent golds swaying on the lake’s surface.

This was not a profession that Nick enjoyed fully. There were aspects of it that he didn’t mind, and it paid well, but often it felt like a waste even when it wasn’t. It was a beautiful day, but it was almost done. He could have been elsewhere, or right there, watching the water without any deeper motive. But, he also knew himself. Regardless of the occupation, he would have been sitting in some sort of misery.

He sometimes wondered if everyone needed to work. There are tons of people who are, for the most part, useless. It was awful to think of such a thing, but Nick heard of “social media influencers” who simply exist to advertise products and make insipid remarks online. Technically they had a job, but wouldn’t things be better if they simply weren’t working instead of spreading their mediocrity? Nick was, in some ways, mediocre. A better investigator could be on this case, yet he happened to take their place just because he had to work, had to eat.

The water started to darken and he watched as the two started to stand. The man, Jacob, brushed off some dirt and helped the woman, Noelle, up. Nick quietly shifted his position even though the hour was nearly black, but Nick still feared being seen. That was perhaps Nick’s greatest fear: being terrible at his job. The pressure, no matter how minute at times, heaved itself onto every moment.

They drove off. He followed. Despite his worries he will have enough evidence of their affair to present to the client. There will be regrets, more things he could have done more “cleverly,” but then it will all pass. The next assignment will come and things will continue their own way. Nick felt this as he noticed the grey patters of rain on his windshield. Each day felt like a nothing, but he was entangled in it. Just as the two lovers, despite what they may think they feel, are entangled to what desire demands until they are forgotten, blind to what is near.

The two cars curved through the night and soon disappeared, but the sky continued its fall across the city streets and sidewalks; the rain bending the lights of street lamps and intersections bend to its own accord.


Written for Thursday Inspiration.

Goodnight

There was once a sky
bound to leaves, violets
swimming across the hill,
lights gathering dimension
for your eye. I’ve done away
with myself and the sky.
It now drifts by our door
grayed into dust or something
similar. The leaves
paved-over with black,
and the hill is distant
in the shadow.
Will you wait for me
to see the face
of tomorrow, gather
up its eyes and watch
as I twist them to ash?

The Return

Light blue minutes
muttering through the leaves
even as you caress
their soft veins.
Moving now, a sun
writhing at your foot,
warming the faceless
lake once cut
by your brother’s jet ski.
Trees surround.
A distant blaring
folding back to voice-
less air. It holds you,
this moment
crawling out of rock,
a greyness without
shape curling at your toe.
You snap away, nearly
slipping into the audience
of stones, but retain yourself
even as no one looks.
Silence spreads into
sky. A being recedes
into water. And you think
about finally leaving
this shore as if seeing
a familiar hand.

Starvation

Death is in the air
Again, spinning beneath
Sun, eyeing imagined
Movements between
Stones. Perhaps it was just
Its own shadow dancing
As another’s soul,
But death doesn’t need
More mockery. It curves
Over a mountain
And searches the valley.

Floats on by, sees
The buildings reshaping
Into earth, some small leaves
Clinging to trees before
Brittling into sun. And a couple
Of skulls teething on dust.
Death recalls the moving
Eyes and frightened flesh
Which housed
Those bones…
They were small lives
Anyway, smaller than
The silence that now warms
Their skulls. Death glides
Away from this valley
Knowing elsewhere holds
Hidden breath waiting
To be dream.

FTWT – Zadie’s Fortune

Zadie was very unhappy. No, she didn’t cry, but her melancholy ran deep, weighing on her like an ant trying to carry a brick. A brick made of depression.

She couldn’t understand what was going on. She had a good job. No real worries. Everything was going “swell” in the technical sense. Yet, it all seemed empty. And this emptiness reverberated back through her. Sometimes, when driving to work, some strong urge overcame her and she would pull over and let the sorrow wash over her as the cars raced by.

She tried going to therapy. “Maybe,” the therapist said, “you could try smiling. Even if you’re not happy. Because the very act of smiling might ‘trick’ your body into happiness. Or you can try to watch a video of dogs playing with chickens or something. I don’t know.”

But that didn’t seem to work.

One day, on a long, warm weekend, she wandered, as she usual did, through town, when she happened upon a sign. “Madeline’s Mystic Eye: Your Vision Into the Future”. She walked into the building and was met with a normal reception area you would see in any office building.

“Hi, um excuse me?” She approached the receptionist who slowly gazed up from her phone. “Is um…” But she didn’t know what to say.

“Are you looking for Madeline, the fortune teller?”

Zadie nodded.

“Suite 201. Just walk up the stairs, first door on the left.”

“Oh. Ok. Thank you.”

The receptionist went back to her phone. Zadie proceeded up the stairs and entered the suite. The suite had a waiting area. She wrote her name down on a clipboard and waited. It felt like she was waiting for the dentist instead of a fortune teller.

Soon, her name was called. She walked down a hall and entered a room. It almost looked like her therapist’s room. She sat down in front of an empty desk. Eventually, a young man came in wearing a suite and tie, seated himself at the desk. He opened a briefcase and sifted through the papers within, not even acknowledging Zadie.

“Um, excuse me. Is this Madeline’s?”

The young man didn’t answer. He just scratched his nose and continued looking through the documents. “Aaaand. Yep those are papers.” Finally he met Zadie’s gaze and smiled. “Now, your name is…”

“Zadie.”

“Zadie! Right, right. So, you were interested in a reading?”

“Yes. I guess…”

The young man nodded. “Alright. So–”

“I’m sorry, but are you Madeline…?”

“Heh. No. But I work for her.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah. She has several appointments today. Some over in Beverly Hills. But I’m a fortune teller as well. Just got my degree.”

Zadie wasn’t sure what to make of this. She felt like leaving, but she was here. Might as well give this a shot.

“So. Want to know what the future holds?”

“Well, sort-of. I…I haven’t been feeling myself lately…and I just wanted to see if I will ever be…”

The man nodded. “Okay.”

“Is…is that something you can do or…?”

The man thought for a moment. “Let me see.” She started fingering the papers in his briefcase again.”I mean, it says here that you’re going to be quite successful in your career. Going to be married. Have a kid or two. Maybe three: wow! And uh…have a boat…so…I mean, that’s all good, right?”

She bit her lip. “I guess so.”

The man grinned. “Yeah. I think so.”

She walked past the reception area and stepped back into day, the warm sun breathing on her skin. She had paid them $200 and she felt no better. But she felt strange in a way. There was a comfort perhaps in knowing that she was going to be “okay” but comfort didn’t seem like the right word. It was odd. Like she felt more present there. Like an awkward body out in the open. She couldn’t articulate it.

Maybe she didn’t want to be happy. This was the thought that came to her later that day while watching Family Feud. Because even happiness seemed empty. She remembered years ago when she was a kid and she watched some bad comedy show called The Mind of Mencia. The comedian, Carlos Mencia, was performing some bit about how intelligence can make one miserable. Meanwhile, someone with special needs can be perfectly happy with just having a cool lunchbox. But, should happiness even be the end goal? There was a whole world outside that lunchbox that was untouched.

Perhaps that was the answer: experiencing the world. Basking in ancient structures or the long, twisted arms of nature. But she knew she wasn’t going anywhere. She didn’t like to travel. And plus, work was too busy for that. Maybe later. Maybe someday. She continued watching TV, grinning slightly when someone spat out a stupid answer and Steve Harvey reacted with a face. Perhaps having a boat may not be too bad.


Written for the Sunday Writing Prompt at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie.

FTWT stands for “First Thought, Worst Thought” where I basically write whatever comes to mind. At first I gave myself a time limit of 7 minutes and 15 seconds, but when the timer went off I only made it to Zadie going up the stairs. So I just kept writing. Don’t know why I’m telling you this.

A Stranger

I had met the man many years ago. He called himself a servant though his master had let him go. He claimed that his whole life was tied to a purpose. He served his master. That was what he had been bred and trained for. I wasn’t sure why this man was speaking to me, bringing up such things, as we both stood alone waiting for the bus to come. 

He then turned his eyes away from me, his gaze reaching outward across the street, perhaps to scoop up the darkness huddled near the buildings. I didn’t ask him why his master had let him go. I wasn’t all that interested. I just wanted to see bus lights glowing into horizon. He then started to mutter something and his stare drifted downward. He was older, but not yet old. His best years were gone, but he was not yet done. 

Soon, the bus came. We entered. He sat near the front and I hurried to the back. His head bobbed to the movements of the road, but his face was fixed frontward, his mouth occasionally moving. He didn’t stop to read a book or disappear into a device. It was like he was sealed to something else. But the only thing in the window was the road rolling through the headlights, disappearing underneath the wheels. Perhaps I should have asked him some questions, but he seemed lost. Though through the cracks maybe I could have uncovered something. But he was just a stranger, and I was tired. Had a long day, and didn’t need the awkwardness of another’s life. My stop soon came and I was gone.


Written for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #142. The prompt is “The genie is not getting back in the bottle” and this is what came to mind.

Below This Song, Part IV

Escape…

Leo swayed as he moved along the sidewalk. The streets were now bare. Only a few street lamps gleamed in the sky. He stopped and leaned against the side of a building, trying to catch his breath. “Okay…I think I’m done…” A sense of relief started to come over him, a sense of tension dissipating like steam.

“There you are.” A hand fell onto Leo’s shoulder, and a cold wave cascaded over him. “You know, you shouldn’t run off like that. Come on. Let’s go back to the creepy, dark alleyway. Come on. Don’t make this any harder than it needs–”

“Excuse me. Just what do you two think you’re doing?” The police officer approached the two men.

Charles answered with a smile. “Why, hello offi–”

“IDs. Come on.”

Charles stared at the policeman for a moment then sighed. He pulled out his wallet and handed him his ID card.

“You two realize it’s past curfew, correct?” The officer said, his eyes scanning the ID.

“Yes. Of course. It’s just that, this man here, he is in a lot of debt. And I’m working on behalf of the debtor to intimidate him.”

The officer stared up at Charles who simply smiled back. The officer then handed him back the ID. “Well, sorry to interrupt. Carry on.”

“Thank you sir.”

The police officer hopped back on his bicycle and rode off.

“Man, I’m getting a little tired of all these interruptions, aren’t you?”

Leo didn’t answer.

“You know what? I’m a little tired today. I think I’m going to head back home. But you get the idea, right? You owe Zepo Industries a lot of money and–”

“Zepo?”

“Yes, Leo. Zepo. Now–very rude, Leo–as I was saying–”

“I don’t owe them any more. I’ve paid off their loan.”

Charles shot him a look. “Leo…just pay them the money.”

“But I paid-off their loan the other week. No, I owe Birdhouse Inc. still…”

“Really?” Leo scratched his chin. “Huh. Well, I’m going to have to tell my boss that. How come you didn’t say anything sooner?”

Leo’s eyes drifted down to his feet. It felt like he was going to topple over onto the cement.

“Well, our company has a contract with Birdhouse so I imagine I’ll be seeing you again shortly. Anyway, goodnight Leo. Get some rest. I hear it’s good for you.”

Leo nodded and Charles walked away. Leo became the lone shadow underneath the streetlamps.


I’m not sure whether or not to continue with this series. I just started it on a whim. Meh. This part was written with a 12-minute and 15-second time limit.