FTWT – A Friend for Henry

“Now Henry, are you sure you’re ready for a pet? It’s a pretty big responsibility.”

“Dad, I’m 7. It’s time for me to understand the meaning of responsibility.”

“Oh, okay.” Henry’s dad wasn’t ready for such a sophisticated response. “Well, good thing we’re already here,” he said as the two of them entered Mr. Perry’s Discount Animal Store. The father and his son walked along the wide diversity of animals. From dogs to cats. However, none impressed Henry. He was too cool for a “basic” animal. However, something caught his eye. He ran over to it.

“Dad! Look!” Henry pointed at the chameleon who was clutching a tree branch, its body as green as its surrounding. “I love its eyes! It looks like he’s drunk! Just like grandpa!”

“Hm. How much for it?”

Henry checked the price. “$12! But today is on sale so it’s 75% off!”

“Hm. Hmmmm.” His dad thought for a moment. “Aren’t you sure you don’t want something easier? Like a goldfish or a moose?”

But Henry did not. He was transfixed by the reptile. He had never seen such a specimen before. So, his father acquiesced. He bought his sun the chameleon which Henry named Charlie.

That night, Charlie talked to his new pet. His new pal. “Wow! I can’t believe it! This is so cool!”

“Yes it is…Henry…” A voice came.

“Whoa! Who said that?”

“It is I…Charlie…I am speaking to you telepathically.”

“Wow! Are you my friend!”

“Yes…I am your best friend…”

“Cool!”

“Now, I need you to go into your parents’ medicine cabinet and locate your mother’s brain medicine. We are going to go on an adventure.”


Written for this week’s Simply 6 Minutes. Not much of an ending, but my 6 minutes were up before I could continue. Hopefully their adventure turned out nice and safe!

FTWT – The Complaint

Sometimes the customer is wrong. Yes, everyone knows this. However, we’re not allowed to admit this. We’re expected to treat the customer as if their shit don’t stink. Any mistake or transgression they make is no fault of their own, but ours…somehow… Bosses love saying “the customer is always right,” but, of course, they rarely have to confront the consequences of this. They never enter the trenches. What they don’t realize (or rather, they don’t care,) is that if customers believe they can never be wrong, they’re going to act like assholes, their behaviors getting worse and worse. You cultivate a culture of entitlement.

When I was in my 20s, I was still living at home, a small island. There weren’t many opportunities. Most people my age worked at the call center. The call center was owned by the same crew that owned the island. Greedy motherfuckers who believed that the customer is never wrong. Anyway, I’ve spent a good chunk of my life listening to the world’s most entitled people complaining about this or that product or service and I had to sit there, smile, and pretend what they talked about was the end of the world. Because, well, they were never wrong. And I was their servant. I was subhuman. Their bicycle, their app, their whatever, was more important than my mental well-being. I knew it was wrong, but I did not have the language to articulate my feelings. And even if I had I probably wouldn’t do anything. Again, there were no other opportunities.

I wish I could tell you that I had quit, but I didn’t. I was laid-off. We all were. They decided to close the call center and move operations to a different island. And now you had an island filled with a bunch of 20-somethings wandering around with nothing to do surrounded by endless ocean. Eventually I left home. I had to.

But, I had come to realize that the rest of the world wasn’t much different. I ended-up working jobs where I was regularly abused by others. Customers. Management. People you weren’t allowed to let them know how wrong they were. Sometimes, I was wrong. But the difference was, everyone would let me know it. And I would torture myself too. Despite everything, I would still feel bad if I did something wrong that potentially harmed the company, even if I hated said company.

Eventually, I had no choice but to work, once again, at a call center. I had avoided working for another call center for obvious reasons, but, well, there wasn’t much else I could do.

Sometimes I wonder if things are supposed to be the way they are. What if human history had shifted just slightly so that there weren’t call centers, or “philosophies” such as “the customer is always right.” Would the world be a better place? Would we still be able to function? Of course we would! But, we’re led to believe that things are the way they are for a reason: because this is the best way of doing things. The alternative? Living in the muck with broken shoes.

Maybe I should start a business. Have an office where I lean back in my chair, cigar in mouth, and tell anyone who abuses my employees to fuck straight-off. But that’s never going to happen. And maybe it’s better that way. Because, who knows? If I was in such a position, would I end-up being any different. Once you step away from the trenches, your perspective, your priorities change, and maybe you want to stop identifying yourself with those who have no choice but to squirm in the mud. You’re not that. Not anymore.


Written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday.

FTWT – Grateful

“Aw. Don’t you look cute? Now you won’t be so cold at night!”

The dog gave her a glare.

“What?”

“You’ve got to be joking me.”

Gloria was confused by this. “But. I thought you were complaining about–”

“Gloria, how long is this going to last?” The dog said.

Gloria sighed. “We’re just making the best of a bad situation.”

“Really? How is forcing me to play dress-up making the best? Huh? We need to pay off this debt! And fast!”

“Don’t you think I know that, Dad! But, things haven’t been the best financially. But we’re trying. You know that. And plus, you haven’t exactly been pulling your weight.”

“Pulling my weight!” The dog barked. “You’ve got to be freaking kidding me!” The dog tried his best to tear at the sweater with his teeth.

“Dad!”

The dog squirmed, trying to attack the sweater, but in his fury fell off the couch.

“Dad! Stop!”

The dog stopped and looked up at her. “Bloody damn sorcerer. Why does he even need money in the first place. He can just magic himself whatever.”

Gloria picked up the dog and placed him back on the bed. “Don’t worry Dad. I’m here. And plus, isn’t it nice being a dog?” But her smile quickly faded as she realized what the dog had done to the couch, the odor quickly spreading across the air.


Written for this week’s Simply 6 Minutes Challenge. 230 words.

FTWT – Hubert Writes for the Glory

“Yesterday was Tuesday, I think. That means it has to be Wednesday. Which means the day after will be Thursday, but if I close my eyes for a second it will be Tuesday again. Then Wednesday. Then the month will be over. Then the year.

Yesterday I was in high school. Now today I have 2 or 3 kids and they all look like me. They each have their own personalities, but are still young enough to see me as their father, a symbol, something above. But tomorrow they will be gone. Hardly a phone call. They will have their own lives.

Naturally, I want to slow things down a bit. But at the same time, it’s nice that things run on a thread. At least I’m not immortal. At least things don’t drag on and on. But I wish what little time I had had more meaning. I wish I could just do more within the time that’s already fading. I’m hungry.”

Hubert thanked everyone for listening to his…poem? Prose-poem? Anyway, everyone seemed to like it as it was very, very good. And fortunately, despite what he had said, or written, Hubert was still very young, a bachelor with no kids or family to tie him down. But he knew that anxiety over aging and time was a hot topic amongst the writing group, even if he didn’t have such anxieties, at least not yet.


Written for this week’s Simply 6 Minutes Writing Challenge. 237 words.

Magical Computer Adventure

I wasn’t sure what the issue was. Well, I knew what it was, but it was the why that evaded me. I stared at the screen which cascaded green numbers and characters at rapid speed. I tried turning it off and off again, but to no avail. I was getting somewhat irritated.

“What did I do now?” I asked myself. I wasn’t the most computer-savvy as they say. In fact, I was inadvertently destructive at times, whether it was clicking on a link I wasn’t supposed to, or by downloading too many MP3 files. But this was a whole new beast. Maybe it was due to the Windows update. I searched on my phone to see if this was being experienced by others, but it seemed like I was the only one.

Eventually, I took it to my closest ally, someone who is more well-versed in the ways of digital technology. “Well, well, what did you do now?” My sister, Hayley, asked in a sardonic tone that displeased me somewhat.

“Look, can you fix it?”

She sighed. “Let me see what I can do.” She opened my laptop and typed. I paced the room as she attempted a number of fixes. After an hour of this she glared at me. “Can you stop that?”

“Sorry. It’s just that I have very important work I need to do.”

“Social media marketing is not important work.” She shook her head. “But…this is beyond me.”

“Beyond you? But, you’re the computer-person!”

“I know. I know…but this is quite serious. I’m going to have to take this to The Council.”

“The Council?”

“That’s correct.”

“Okay…so, who are they?”

“Look, the specifics don’t matter. What matters is that they are the only ones that will be able to help you. Come with me.” We drove all day and all night eventually reaching a large, decadent mansion on the outside of known civilization. He stepped through the door and were lead down into a dark basement with stone walls. That is where we met The Council.

They towered above us, a single light above illuminating their gold masks. Hayley motioned me to kneel down as she did a very intricate and somewhat impressive series of gestures. Then she kneeled next to me and we bowed our heads. After a few moments of silence, a voice boomed across the darkness.

“SPEAK!”
“Right.” Hayley rose. “We are here to seek the aid of The Council. You see, my dim-witted brother, who is very dim-witted, is having an issue with his laptop.”

“PROCESSING SYSTEM?”

“Um, Windows 10.”

The Council murmured among themselves. Then fell back to silence. The voice returned. “Has it been updated?”

Hayley looked over at me and I nodded.

“Please provide THE DEVICE!”

Hayley pulled out the laptop and a servant quickly snatched it from her hands. The council surrounded the laptop and tried typing in some commands. They spoke among themselves. “Maybe try activating safe mode?” “I’ve been trying Hubert! But it won’t let me!” “Maybe that’s no longer a feature.” “That’s stupid!” “Hey, take it up with Microsoft.”

“Um, excuse me?” I rose. Hayley shushed at me, but I just needed the Council to be aware. “Um, sorry. But, do you know how long this will take? I need to do some work and have some things due tomorrow–”

“SILENCE! We are TROUBLESHOOTING!”

I kneeled back down and groveled. “Sorry sirs. Sorry.”

“Now, where were we?” “Perhaps we can try taking the battery out and putting it back then.” “Or maybe he can just use Apple from now on.” “Yeah, or Linux!” They snickered at this. After a few more minutes The Council tossed the laptop at our feet.

“There is nothing that can be done. Please leave.”

“Yes Council, thank you,” Hayley said as she bowed. I grabbed my laptop and ran after her.

“Well that was a load of balls! Just a big pile of balls!” I ranted as she drove.

“Well, they’re the best. And if there’s nothing they can do…”

“God! Why can’t computers be easy! And–oh seems to be working now.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. I just opened it and now it’s back to the start-up screen. Huh. Wonder what that was all about.” I shrugged and from there I proceeded to continue my work, completely forgetting about my adventure as my mind went numb and I worked for hours and hours doing things with emails and Twitter.


Written for OLWG and The Sunday Muse. Image source is Markus Spiske at Pexels.

FTWT – Greatness Lost

There was once a saying: “the good rises to the top.” However, after Earth had died, even these words had become lost. But fortunately for humanity, something of us had survived: The Written Works of Hubert Garrins. He was no Hemingway, no Dickinson, no Melville, no Whitman. And it showed. However, the aliens that found the last copy of Garrins’ book hadn’t read anything else by us humans.

When the aliens uncovered the 800-page book that had been locked in a rocket launched by Garrins himself, they were a bit perplexed. They had never seen a human craft before, nor have they ever seen a book. The aliens, while quite intelligent, never developed paper. However, they were still eager to decipher the strange markings the book contained.

It took some time, but their best minds were able to roughly get the “gist” the figures attempted to convey. Here was one of the poems:

Last thursday, I looked
through the window,
and the universe saw me
for a moment
before floating away
above the mountain
to become meaningless
cloud, and i was back
to my lonely gaze
where i saw trees
separate from the grass,
and houses separate
from the sky, objects
and fixtures bound
to their own shapes.

But this separateness
isn’t there, it’s just
what we do. I’m not
sure who thought it was
a good idea for us
to be aware of this,
now i have to waste
my eyes lonely in a gaze
searching for something
I know isn’t.

The aliens weren’t all that impressed. The last known remnants of a once proud race, and the aliens simply shrugged. So they tossed the book back into its tiny rocket and went on their own way, searching the crevices of an increasingly empty universe. Meanwhile, the rocket drifted, cradling what was now the very best humanity had to offer, to a different corner of the cosmos.


Written for OLWG #176.

FTWT – A Voice

Tabatinguera Bridge by Jose Ferraz de Almeida Júnior

The village was starting to get tired of their medium, Matilda. She sat down on the stone steps and watched the shallow, brown creek slither past her feet. She couldn’t see her reflection, but wondered if anything in the water could see her. She didn’t want to be seen.

She was once a revered figure in the village due to her special abilities. She gave voice to the villagers’ dead relatives, allowed the community to make amends with their elders. Closure. However, there were other spirits that floated along the homes. She knew little about them, but all whispered warnings. Warnings of what she wasn’t exactly sure, but it was grave. However, the villagers weren’t too keen on this; they preferred she talk about how grandma missed baking cheesecake.

But the voices came to her. Like the rest of the village, she began to curse her gifts. She sighed and wished she would just disappear into the water that moved so slowly, so peacefully by her.

Eventually, the voices dimmed. Not only the spirits whispering their warnings faded, but so too the other dead villagers. She missed not being able to hear the joys and sorrows of past villagers, but she found contentment in living a humble life. However, sometimes, a murmur would come underneath the curtains, drifting beneath the purple light of evening. Her skin would turn cold. The words would be too faint to decipher, but she somehow knew what they meant. But the following morning she would walk through the village, silently, and simply share smiles with everyone, and allow the sun to sink into her arms.


Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #86 and Stream of Consciousness Saturday. FTWT stands for “First Thought, Worst Thought” which is basically all my posts anyway.

FTWT – Are They Even Considered People?

Max standing alone in a room, waiting for something to happen. Finally, Henry walks in holding a drink.

HENRY: Hey Max!

MAX: Oh, hey Henry! Long time no see!

HENRY: What? I was here yesterday.

MAX: Oh yeah.

HENRY: …Anyway, I thought I decided to bring my girlfriend over. 

MAX: Oh nice. Nice. 

HENRY: Yeah, she should be here any minute. The wind you know sometimes gets to her. 

MAX: Oh yeah…

The two men stand there in the room for a while.

MAX: So…

HENRY: Let me just text her.

MAX: Okay.

HENRY: Alright…

MAX: So, you’ve been going out for a while?

HENRY: Yeah, since November. I told you, remember?

MAX: That’s cool, that’s cool.

Henry rolls his eyes. The two wait even longer. 

MAX: So…how’s work?

HENRY: I’m unemployed. 

MAX: Oh. So how’s that been working out?

LINDA: Hey guys!

A voice calls out. 

HENRY: Oh hey honey!

Max looks around for the source, but can’t locate it. All he sees is a leaf tumbling through the air. Then it dawns on him.

HENRY: Linda, this is Max. Max, meet my girlfriend, Linda. 

LINDA: Helloooo! Sorry for the delay! I’m a leaf!

MAX: Oh. Um, is that possible?

HENRY: …What?

MAX: Well, she’s a leaf. Leaves normally aren’t alive or considered people.

HENRY: Dude!

LINDA: It’s alright…

HENRY: How can you say that? We’ve been going out for 3 weeks. She means everything to me!

MAX: How? Why?

HENRY: Dude, I just–wow! 

MAX: Sorry, I’m just confused. Like, I just don’t–

HENRY: Stop! Just stop!

LINDA: Henry, it’s okay…

HENRY: No Linda, it’s not! It’s not okay! 

MAX: Do leaves even drive and pay taxes? Like, how can you even relate to them? 

HENRY: Come on Linda. I didn’t realize Max was such a racist.

MAX: Are they even a race? Or are leaves considered disabled?

HENRY: Jesus Christ…. Let’s go!

LINDA: Coming!

As Henry exits Linda instead just falls to the ground. 

LINDA: Oh, um…do you have A/C in here or a fan? I just need…

MAX: Like, are the leaves that I step on when I get to work people? Do I commit genocide every time I go for a stroll around the park? Do all the leaves have little leaf families? 

LINDA: Um…help?

MAX: I just don’t get it. I don’t think I’m a bad person. But this is all new knowledge to me. 

LINDA: Well…I guess I can be down here forever…the floor is nice. Is it ceramic?

MAX: Oh, I don’t know.

LINDA: Okay. 

And that’s it; that’s the end. 


Written for Twiglet #195.

FTWT – The Spot

“Hey there sonny, hey there sport. How is it going? What are you doing?”

“Oh, nothing,” his stepson, Gerald, said, whilst staring out the window in his room. His stepdad, Fred, stood at the entryway.

“So, um, me and the boys were gonna go play some ball. Why don’t you come and watch? It’ll be fun.”

Gerald didn’t answer. Fred sighed. Gerald, for months, had been obsessed with the spot in the sky. Ever since it showed-up he couldn’t stop gazing at it. And, at first, he didn’t blame him. When it first appeared everyone was in awe and fear of it. What was it? Was it some sort of rip in the fabric of space and time? No one was able to come up with an answer. And, seeing that it didn’t pose any direct harm and wasn’t expanding, everyone eventually started ignoring it. But not Gerald.

“Son, the spot isn’t going anywhere.”

“How do you know?” Gerald said sharply.

“Look,” Fred sat down on the bed next to Gerald. Gerald’s eyes were still fixed on the window. “We’ll eventually figure out what it is. But we know that it’s not going to kill us. It’s just a giant, black spot, you know? Nothing more.”

“It’s a little bit more than that…I had a dream.”

“Gerald…”

“I was in a field. The sky was dusty and orange, and when I looked up the spot looked alive. It was throbbing. And, suddenly, spiders, started pouring out and crawling across the sky in all directions.”

“Gerald…you, you just need to take a break. Just don’t look at the forums for a while. People have their theories on what it is, but that’s just what they are: theories. All we can do is live our lives and not worry. Now, let’s just go outside and–”

“I–I don’t…”

“Don’t what?”

Gerald’s eyes turned downward at his feet. “Fine. Let’s go.” Fred smiled.

“Alrighty. We’re gonna have a lot of fun.”

“Yeah…”


Written for The Daily Spur and Stream of Consciousness Saturday. FTWT stands for “First Thought, Worst Thought” which, you guess it, is where I type down the first thought which end-up not being the best usually.

2019-2020 SoCS Badge by Shelley! https://www.quaintrevival.com/

FTWT – The Glass

Vanessa: Hey Barry.

Barry: Yes, my love?

Vanessa: Can you hand me that glass of water? It’s so hot.

Barry: Yes my dear.

Barry eagerly clutches the glass. But, something is wrong. He tries to pull the glass off the table, but it won’t budge.

Vanessa: What’s wrong Barry?

Barry: No-um, nothing dear. Just sit there and I will–oof!

Barry continues to struggle, but the glass won’t move.

Vanessa: Barry? Are you–is the glass too heavy?

Barry: NO! I mean, sorry. I think there’s something wrong with the table. Must be really sticky.

Vanessa: Are you calling the table my dad made sticky?

Barry: What? No, I mean–

Barry tries to jerk the glass from the table, but ends-up flying backward, smacking hard against the wall.

Vanessa: Oh Barry…

A tear forms from her eye.

Vanessa: I didn’t know you were a weakling…

Barry: Vanessa, I–

Vanessa: I should have known…

Barry: Vanessa, I–the glass! There’s something wrong with the glass!

Vanessa: I don’t want to hear it. Please leave. I–I can’t look at you right now.

Vanessa turns her back to him. Barry gets up, brushes himself off. He is about to say something to her, but decides not to. Instead he walks over to the door and puts his hand on the knob, but it doesn’t move.

Barry: Um, I think the door is…

Vanessa walks over and opens the door with great ease.

Barry: Oh, um…

Vanessa: Just go.

Barry: Are you sure?

Vanessa: Yes…

Barry: But, we’re not broken-up, right? Like, this is just temporary. Because we’ve been going out for 6 months and–

Vanessa: Go…

Barry: –we’ve built something here. And, no offense, but I’m getting along in years. I’m 32.

Vanessa: Please…just…

Barry: But, who’s going to get your water?

Vanessa:

Barry: Alright. Take care…I’ll be back. You’re going to miss me. You’ll see!

Vanessa:

Barry: Oh please don’t make me go!

Vanessa: I’m sorry…

Barry: Fine. I don’t need you. Take care!

Barry leaves the apartment building and steps out onto the street.

Barry: Wait. I forgot my shirt.

But before he could reenter the building he is swept away by a light tussle of wind.

Barry: Whoa!

The air drags him across the sky; he watches the buildings below and panics.

Barry: Holy moly!

But after a while, the buildings disappear and soon he is floating above trees, rivers, hills.

Barry: Wow. The world is so beautiful. You know, maybe I don’t need to be in a relationship. All I need is to be humbled by the vastness of nature. Its ancient and ongoing serenity which places everything into perspective and oh look-a plane.

Barry died and disrupted the flight for hundreds of people. They were on their way to Palm Springs, but due to Barry’s negligence had to wait for the plane to be cleaned. Vanessa eventually drank half of her water and went to bed.

The End.


Written for Fandango’s Dog Days of August.