Friday, December 24, 2004

Grandma and Grandpa Claus were babysitting for their son and daughter-in-law. It was an annual Christmas tradition since their son had assumed responsibility of keeping the legend alive. In his day it had been easier, Grandpa thought to himself. It didn't take millions of whirlwind visits through snowstorms, landing on rooftops, sliding down chimneys to so firmly anchor the idea in people's minds. None of that would have been humanly possible, anyhow. In his time, he thought, five visits in one night resulted in enough sightings to spread the legend and keep it alive. After that it took on its own dynamic. The senior Clauses tried not to show their grandchildren, but they were increasingly worried about their son. Last year he had returned exhausted and looking very much older, as if he had labored the night shoveling presents into a coal furnace. He had doubled and redoubled the number of houses visited, now almost 30 in one night, sadly to no avail. The ideas of peace, good will and sharing were dying out in the modern times. With consternation the aged couple thought of their grandchildren and how difficult it would be for them when they took over.

Story #118

Note from Indeterminacy: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! It's a pleasure to meet each and every one of you via these stories. Indeterminacy is now on vacation until next year. Regular posts will begin again on Monday, January the 3rd.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Ever since falling into the Christmas grog the camera had not been the same. It had trouble focusing. It added antlers to the people it photographed. But that was only the beginning. Soon, it became bolder, playing Christmas MP3s it had somehow downloaded out of the air, flashing and clicking in rhythm to the music. People began to wonder if they, perhaps, had tasted too much of the grog. When the camera started repeating "Ho! Ho! Ho!" loudly and somewhat ominously, as if it were perhaps psychopathic, everyone ran from the house into the winter blizzard raging outside. They calmed their nerves with a snowball fight.

Story #117

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Men called Sophie beautiful but she had no eyes. Somehow she got by. The sunglasses she wore hid this fact from the world. The truth of an eyeless girl might be unsettling and her desire was for easy situations. Sophie was marvelous at the facade. Perhaps men were attracted to her for that very reason. Often she would fix her head in the direction of the man in conversation with her, as if staring intently. An enticing shift in posture, a smile, and a kiss on lips she liked were distraction enough to make him forget what might be behind the darkened frames. She lived, loved and slept with an UV protection factor she didn't need at all. The fact that she was never seen to visit an optometrist failed to arouse suspicion. Perhaps the embalmer would discover her secret upon removing her decoration, but for the time being the men she met did not miss looking into her eyes. And Sophie was one of the select few who saw clearly without vision.

Story #116

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Sheryl had a problem. She was in love with six boys and couldn't decide which one go out with. Tom had a pleasant manner and was fun to be around but Joe had this way of making her laugh with his witty remarks. John was immensely handsome and candy to look at. Bill knew how to touch her but Bob knew where to touch her. If only the two could take lessons from each other! Then there was the muscular but sensitive Philip. He understood her, or was that Tom? It was getting hard to keep track with so many boys. The other day she had called Bill for one of his touches but had mistakenly dialed Joe's number. Funny though it was, his touching was all thumbs and two left feet. This could not go on! Keeping track of all these boys and their details was turning into a nymphomanic nightmare. She would have to come to a final decision. And, yes, she had it! Tomorrow she would purchase that new software package, the Ultimo Organizer, for keeping track of things. Now if only she could remember which boy was good at installing...

Story #115

Monday, December 20, 2004

The faces on the wall had consciousness, but no one ever suspected. The man and woman were intended to be a couple, and should have lived happily ever after on their flat surfaces, but the background shades of green were just the wrong match, drifting off towards opposite ends of the rainbow. This was a source of great distress for the woman. Her stale spinach mood was in constant dissonance with the 180 degrees of life transpiring before her. The man-face, hovering in his tranquil green, felt well at ease, totally at peace with the world. He couldn't have been more in the pink. The woman's cries for help were met with indifference. Persons standing close to her instinctively folded their arms and turned their eyes away. But the man with his green the color of Spring never missed an opportunity to proposition the stray females crossing his line of vision. The ladies were surprised, but never distressed, by the thoughts popping into their heads.

Story #114

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Queen Serena of the Sea hardly looked older than her daughter, Liana. The saline tide with its eternal caresses kept its ruler and Princess young beyond their centuries. But now the Queen had decided it was time to abdicate, to retire to a life on the shore. She planted the traditional kiss on Liana's cheek, symbolizing the transfer of powers from one generation to the next. Liana, a creature of untamed impetuosity, had plans. Her first intention as Queen was to introduce more tempestuousness into the waters. It was something like a game of "good cop, bad cop." The cute surfers would be thrown from their boards directly into her arms. If she liked one, she would keep him. The Queen mother had plans, too. She would rent beach chairs to the visiting tourists, making many new friends in the process. Between customers she would gaze, lost in thought, at the waves.

Story #113

Saturday, December 18, 2004

I encountered them at the medieval square, was immediately cognizant of their origin. Once, in a cloistral library, I had located a leather bound volume of magic and read of them, two Druid sisters roaming through time and worldy venues in search of a male to accompany them. I was interrupted by the closing of the library and had to return later to conclude my reading, but by opening hour of the next day the tome had vanished. The two women were strange to me at first. I seemed to hear them speaking but could not tell which of them uttered the words. Had they spoken at all or had I just imagined it? My eyes moved restlessly from one to the other, searching for some sign of acknowledgement. Somehow I understood what they wanted of me. They wished to allow my spirit eternal communion with them in the mysterious darkness of the Teutoburg forest, the mystical region which housed them between wanderings. In exchange I must first grant them brief use of my body for a ritual to be performed at their most sacred of shrines, at the ancient sandstone structure near the Exter valley, known to them as Externstein, a massive growth of stones so out of character with its surroundings it must have been placed there by an unknown God or Devil. I heard my voice telling them yes. I wanted to be with them. Always. Now it has come to pass. If only I had been able to finish reading in that antique volume. There must surely have been a warning... soul becomes theirs to nourish them. Slowly, bit by bit, I feel my essence vanishing into theirs. Soon it will be gone entirely, and they will search for their next human sacrifice.

Story #112

Friday, December 17, 2004

Elona, High Priestess of Los Angeles, stood among the concrete rubble rolling on inexorably in all directions. She had donned the ceremonial costume found ages ago in a sub-basement warehouse cache, reached through forgotten, uncharted tunnels. Her apparel mirrored the hues of the sacred graffiti runes left by unknown, supernatural hands. She stood there now on behalf of her people to pay homage to the God of Concrete. Their faith told them a new and complete structure would someday arise out of the dead, crumbled blocks strewn in the flat grayness around them. The Holy Tower would penetrate the sky, giving them new life and glory. According to the legend, it would be possible to climb a several day's journey on tower stairs bringing them past the dark dust clouds blanketing their world. At the structure's summit they could view the Holy Orb known as the Sun. The entire clan turned out for the solemn but hopeful ceremony, watched minutely each move the Priestess made and repeated in their minds each syllable of the ritual incantation, a ripple of silent echoes, thousands strong. Her people had faith in their religion. But the High Priestess, though she went through the motions, did not believe the Sun existed.

Story #111

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Better watch out. I'm Kung Fu baby. Those pre-natal martial arts classes sure paid off. Must have been quite a sight, all those soon to be mamas watching Bruce Lee movies, bulbous bellies packed into that cramped theater like sturgeon in a caviar kitchen. Yup, I came out kicking. I'm sorry about the doctor. He was just doing his job, slapping me on the bottom like that. Glad they could fix his neck in the other ward. I'm not sorry about Aunt Mildred. The way she kept kissing me, she deserved what she got. Use your opponent's weight against 'em. That's what I always say. Next time don't put my crib so close to the stairs. And you warn people not to laugh at those little teddy bear footprints on my black belt. That would be a BIG mistake. Mama? Could you put me up to the piano? That one film at the classes had some great fight scenes choreographed to Mozart. I want to try something.

Story #110

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Their instructions were clear. They were not to move from that spot. They masked their frozen fear with smiles but the thought coursing through their blood was paralyzing. And the responsibility. If they left the stairs the building's balance would irreversibly shift causing the top-heavy structure to tip over and roll down the sloped streets of the town, crushing a lot of fun places. That's what the man had told them. "Don't move," he had said, "I'll fetch a fire truck!" Then off he ran, leaving them in blind smiling terror. They took special care to leave their smiles up. Who knew the effect of lips turned downwards in a frown?

Story #109

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Electroman was one of those superheroes who created a tingling sensation everywhere he went. After a busy hour turning the cold-blooded Snow Man into wisps of vapor and frying the round white thing on Egghead's shoulders, he went on to his coup d'etat of the day, defeating the evil Dr. Wrinkle, a fiend feared by all women 30 years of age and older. Our hero knocked him flat and ironed him out with his electric iron hand, leaving the ruthless antagonist as smooth as a baby's bottom. Everyone was of the opinion that it served Dr. Wrinkle right, the way he went around, wrinkling all the women! Electroman was back just in time to party with the ladies celebrating the end of their worries. Someone put on a cha cha cha and Electroman danced like the electricity he was. Streaks of static lightning shot across the room, giving everyone a good time, and solving their remaining problems with electrolysis.

Story #108

Monday, December 13, 2004

That day in class the four girls tried something new. They concentrated on one thought, and hoped to transplant this thought to the boy, taking over his will. It had worked. That evening the boy, made restless by his mood, left his parents' house, wandered around the neighborhood with no particular object in mind, found himself finally on the doorstep of the house where the girls awaited him. A bit dazed, he rang the bell. No words came to him as he saw the four girls. They tugged him inside gently by the arms, by the waist and shirt. He stumbled along with them. In his stunned condition he hardly noticed how one by one they helped him out of each article of his clothing. They set him up against the wall and began taking the pictures. The next day he would have forgotten everything. And the girls would have the illustrations for their underground book on the boy creature. Everyone was happy.

Story #107

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Lisa visited her great grandmother at every opportunity. She was devoted to her. The others thought her mind half gone, but Lisa loved the stories of romance the old woman told her. This was a woman who had lived her life to the fullest. She had no regrets, except maybe growing old. The woman spoke to her great granddaughter, and her mind sounded as clear as the tone on a classic Steinway piano. The 95 year old woman began to tell of a secret lover she had once had, a man with an astonishing command of ancient spells. In an intimate moment he had taught her some of his magic, a magic spell that she had kept to herself all these years. Now she felt it time to pass on what she had learned. Lisa could hardly wait to hear what it was all about. "Close your eyes and think of nothing," the old woman commanded in her stately voice. The girl did as told. She fought off all her thoughts and soon actually was thinking of some kind of nothing. In that instant she felt dizzy, and very weak. Lisa opened her eyes and stared stunned and speechless at herself, as if in a mirror with no glass. She grasped her own hand, and it was the wrinkled hand of an old woman. Impossible though it seemed, Lisa's consciousness found itself in her great grandmother's body. The shock so paralyzed her, she could hardly find the strength to move. "Well, I must be off now," the young girl's body said to the old woman in the chair, "I believe Lisa will have a date tonight."

Story #106

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Yvonne had a secret. There were four women inside her yearning to make themselves known. They fought under her skin like vicious cats clawing at each other's eyes. Boys felt themselves drawn to her moody nature. They braved any torment for the prize of a smile. Girls however were repelled by the brooding manner Yvonne confronted them with. Often, when they ventured a friendly word she just stared back at them, rabid disbelief in her eyes, as if a crazy person had just spoken. They didn't like her, but did they know how it was inside her? Only when one of her natures held the other three at bay could she show any emotion, one she might venomously reject once the equilibrium shifted. For the moment the hot drops of water soothed the savageness inside her. Yvonne called a truce with herself. The water masked her frustrated tears.

Story #105

Friday, December 10, 2004

Craig was crazy about feet, a real connoisseur. He swept buildings around town, a job he loved because it afforded him opportunities to look down at the floor, allowed him, in effect, a bird's-eye view of feet. His surreptitious glances went unnoticed. No one notices the guy who sweeps up. He was invisible. In his imagination he brushed the broom over naked feet dancing seductive circles around him. One afternoon he swept a theater in preparation for that night's fashion show. His mouth watered at the thought of all those moving feet. Perfectly formed feet, as only models have. Lust fuels ingenuity. He planted a Webcam at the back of the stage, on the floor, right where the backdrop came down. No one would notice it. The models would be preoccupied with their movements. The audience would be preoccupied with the models. That night he locked the door to his room, pulled the shades, powered up the camera and watched. In horror. He had overlooked one insignificant detail, which now made him scream "Nooooo!" into his mind's ear. The anonymous heads in the audience strangled his desire with their fixated stares. His erotic experience was thoroughly destroyed.

Story #104

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Shouts and screams could be heard outside, and sloshing sounds. Something unspeakable was going on. Lorene waited. Nevertheless she felt strangely indifferent. Her life had become devoid of the fascinating milestones that keep most of us going. Where had it all gone wrong? She heard sounds in the staircase that couldn't be described as footsteps, though their rhythmic occurrence suggested a creature with two mismatched legs, causing it to bump against the wall each time it moved forward. B-boo-boomp, b-boo-boomp it went, repeatedly, growing louder and sloshier with each approaching step. Suddenly the sounds of movement ceased. Something stood at the door. Unfortunately it didn't have manners, at least as far as knocking was concerned. The door began to creak and bulge, sprang finally from its hinges, landing on the floor with a thud. A fluorescent green monster blob with bits of pineapple sticking out of it entered the living room. It was ugly and it was hungry. Fortunately Lorene knew just what to do. It was her gruff old friend, Mr. Pudding! She remembered him from dreams she had had as a little girl. So long ago. She used to feed him. Seeing him this way alarmed her. He was famished. Behind him a trail of dislodged pineapple bits littered the floor. He looked like he might cave in at any moment. She offered him a pretzel stick, the one thing she knew he liked to eat. Maybe they could talk over old times, after he felt better.

Story #103

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Laura caught a winged soul in a glass and talked to it whenever she was alone. With her eyes. No words were needed. One night she took the glass out again. She asked questions. Whose soul was it? Where did it belong? Where was it going? How long would it stay with her? She had enclosed the soul within round, invisible walls, but she could never discern whether it stayed because it truly could not leave, or whether it merely pretended to be confined, for her sake. Now she lifted the glass and waited, with a questioning gaze. Would it fly away? She closed her eyes for a moment, reopened them, and then realized. The soul was waiting for her to come with it.

Story #102

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

"Gary Wilson and Molly on a Date" ©
Photo by Joao Canziani for Stones Throw Records
This photo appears by kind permission of Gary Wilson

Captain Gary roamed the galaxy in search of his girlfriend whose body parts lay strewn across tangent lines of space on asteroids, moons and planets. A black hole in Molly's heart had wrenched and rended her beyond the power of love to hold her together. At least for the moment. The Captain was happy today as he had found one of her arms in a tunnel under the sun and would soon attach it. When his task was completed he could finally set her down and talk to her. She refused to talk now to anyone, as she felt mournfully self-conscious about not being a whole woman. The discordant yearning for her missing limbs made her bleed from the heart. However, the chances of finding the remaining pieces of her bodily puzzle were astronomical. There were no corners left in the entire galaxy which Gary hadn't searched. His split-second quantum instincts told him he would have to try Another Galaxy.

Story #101

Monday, December 06, 2004

The new youth movement in plastic fashions represented a complete rejection of anything even remotely connected with the established designers and their bizarre ideas. Up to then women had been either dangerously overladen or daringly understitched, the latter working out just fine on the beaches of the Riviera, but a woman liked to decide when she got all that attention. Not to mention the expense involved for the privilege of wearing the most curious connections of cloth ever conceived since dressing in public became an "in" thing. The polyethylene-based style was chic, modern, and easy to clean, as well as easy to obtain. You just went to a designer boutique, bought a blouse or a skirt, returned it a day later, and kept the bag it came in, cutting and trimming as desired. The repercussions unraveled the old-school world of fashion overnight, ripping it to the shreds of an imitation Levi's washed at a cheap laundromat. A few days later Armani, Gucci, Lagerfeld, and all the rest were seen working as bag packers at the supermarket.

Story #100

Sunday, December 05, 2004

What a birthday it had been! Her friends surprised her asleep in bed just as her slumber loosened itself into the consciousness of an exciting new life as a teenager. They brought her a cake and they brought her presents. There was perfume, and a belly ring. She'd have to get her navel pierced now. Her friends had even been thoughtful enough to select a darling little bikini for her. She simply must break it in today, at the lake. No, her friends told her. Not yet. First there was one more present to unwrap. One very special present. They had left the box outside her room. Taking her by each hand they led her to it... Later, at the lake, the inevitable happened. It had only been a split second of inattention while exchanging a beauty tip, but when they looked again, the pet boy had completely vanished.

Story #99

Saturday, December 04, 2004

It was one of the worst moments a band could have. The rhythm twisted away from the drummer and skittered across the stage. The three rappers faked their way through the text, trying desperately to stay in synch with each other, at the same time nonchalantly maintaining their happy party-faces. The dancers in the audience weren't aware of the crisis onstage but began inexplicably to bump into each other. Before long the rhyming syllables of the rap had irreparably skewed. It would turn ugly soon. In a last ditch attempt to save the song the two band dancers inconspicuously jiggled down close to the floor in hopes of snatching the writhing beat and tossing it back onto the drum. But they were too late. The beat had bounced out the door, down the street, into the river, out to sea, and caused some great surf in Hawaii.

Story #98

Friday, December 03, 2004

They looked lovely, extremely kissable, Tim thought to himself as his two new companions frolicked before him, enticing him further into their spell. He wasn't sure anymore how it had happened. He had been at the mall when all of a sudden he became aware of a feminine presence behind him. He turned and saw the two of them standing shyly, as if waiting for him to notice them. The girls immediately smiled smiles that seamlessly drew him into an animated conversation in which he was the center of attention. How much time had passed as they moved through backdrops of a shopping world he'd grown oblivious to? He couldn't say. His fascination rolled interminably first to one then to the other of the sweet presences at his side. He was falling in love...with two girls at once! They made his mind wander into some kind of enchanted daze. Now they sat together intimately in his living room. Soon their tongues would touch, he noticed, as his reverie intensified. That was of course the signal. The two would instantly merge into a muscular mauve-skinned male of the Protozar species. Tim would be bound and beamed to their orbiting space vessel, then whisked away to Galaxy G, which, from Earth's perspective, hadn't yet been discovered. There he would be placed among the other specimens in the giant Wal-Mart replica constructed at the zoo for the purpose of observing human shopping behavior in an authentic and humane habitat.

Story #97

Thursday, December 02, 2004

No one ever imagined it was possible to build a spaceship out of a bag of balloons, a fire extinguisher and an electric fan. That's why the rockets seen taking off from Cape Kennedy all looked entirely different. But Jack and Jill knew better. They hadn't gone up the hill to fetch pails of water. They were communicating with aliens who told them how to do it. The balloons filled with hydrogen gas and connected in a semi-circle would generate an electrostatic field to power the propulsion unit attached at the upper left of the flight module (the fan), at the same time protecting the passengers inside from the rigors of space. The fire extinguisher was merely a safety precaution, as everyone knows what happened to the Hindenburg. The formal attire was dictated by the occasion of the full moon, which Jack and Jill, aided by their craft, planned to jump over that night. They would be seen! What a shame they had assembled the spaceship indoors. Now they would have to rewire the CD player into a 16 megawatt laser and blast the ceiling away before taking off.

Story #96

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The three friends had already retired as millionaires, having found their separate successes as seducers laureate. Each had authored a best selling book on the subject of how to pick up women. Privately the three were the closest friends. Publicly, however, they represented the fiercest of rivals. Each had isolated a single key factor he swore worked every time. Alan claimed waving a cigarillo caused women to swoon into his arms. It didn't really. He overlooked that the cigarillo was much too thin and should never be lit. Phil liked walking up close to a girl and looking in her eyes while wearing sunglasses, shtick that objectively had more chance, as the girl could at least see her reflection in the lenses, which some girls liked, though most just saw a pimp. Julio rolled up his t-shirt sleeves like they did in the 1950's bad boy movies. All the grandmothers thought he was cute. Despite the flaws in their behavioral repertoire they usually walked away with any girl they wanted. But their success had nothing to do with their methods. It was the money.

Story #95

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Look! There she is. See her? Don't make it too obvious, although I don't imagine she'll notice you looking. I swear, she comes here every night just after six, probably from some office or the trade school. She sits down at the table by the mirror. Always. She orders a cappuccino. I can tell by the cup they bring it in. And sits there staring at herself. No one ever meets her. She hardly even sips the cappuccino. I think she forgets it. Sure she has a beautiful face. I catch myself looking too, sometimes, longer than I'd wanted to. I suppose I can understand why she gazes in the mirror that way. Wish I were that mirror. Once I walked by her table and asked her what time it was. Silly actually. She doesn't wear a watch. I noticed that right off. The look she gave me said stay away. So icy it could have cracked the mirror -- if she hadn't turned her eyes to me for that moment. But only long enough to make it clear I should go. There's no approaching her. No coming between her and that mirror. How would you do it? I've given up.

Story #94

Monday, November 29, 2004

They met once a year to celebrate losing a collective one-ton accumulation of fatness. It was hard to believe but once in their lives the friends had achieved a horrid extreme of obesity. Back then they had beautiful souls. Now they were "beautiful people" living in accordance with the going standards of physical aesthetics. They enjoyed life. They laughed. Had girlfriends and boyfriends. At their annual picnic they performed an odd ritual, staged a symbolic feast of all the culinary sins they had failed to partake of during the past year. Piled high on the empty plates were imaginations of steak and sausage smothered in the richest gravies. They laughed and frolicked like twenty-somethings in a Coke commercial as they savored their illusion. One member of the group took a final photograph before all order degenerated. Fortunately the dog evaded their efforts to capture and roast it, intelligently running to the station house to bark for the police. When help arrived they found the gorged gourmands moaning on the ground, sated, bellies bloated with the bark and saps of the trees which sadly did not survive the debaucherous onslaught.

Story #93

Sunday, November 28, 2004

The man looked at his wife. Then he glanced at the Sphinx looming large before the Great Pyramid. Together these magnificent stone monuments commemorated all the mystery of mankind. Untold secrets lay buried within their souls. Poets and philosophers throughout the ages had sensed this, been moved and inspired to great thoughts and deeds by the stony presences. He looked again at his wife and saw equal mystery, albeit of a younger age. Thoughts, not so much inspiring as they were puzzling gripped him, squeezed his mind as if it were a lemon. It happened every time she wore the Mickey Mouse t-shirt. What in the name of 10,000 years of humanity had made that cartoon figure so popular?

Story #92

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Agent Triple-Oh-Seven was investigating the disco when the soap bomb exploded. Evil demolition agents were bent on wiping out all the fun. During the past week it had been one terrifying near miss after another. They were the ones responsible for fixing his rifle at the carnival shooting gallery to explode cotton candy in his face. And the mere thought of the balloon vendor with the popping balloons made him jump. Twice. The high speed roller coaster chase had left him momentarily dizzy and the out of control popcorn machine at the Disney film introduced him to the joys of all the cheddared cheese popcorn he could eat. He gained three pounds. Agent Triple-Oh-Seven grinned. It was a good thing the evil demolition agents were clowns, someone might otherwise have been hurt.

Story #91

Friday, November 26, 2004

Marge invited her best friends over for a surprise. "I have a fairy tale cake," she told them, "it will turn each of us into a princess for exactly one year."

"Really?" they answered, eyes growing wider, "Where did you get it?"

"Never you mind," Marge told them, as she sliced through the topping and down to the base of the cake." She passed around the slices, giving her friends the instruction: "Think of the fairy tale you want to be in, take a big bite from the cake, and close your eyes. When you open your eyes you'll be right there for a whole year. When it's all over and you return it won't be but five minutes later." Marge waited until all her friends had disappeared before tasting her slice. After living happily ever after in the tale of Cinderella she found herself back in her living room together with the others, also just returned. An embarrassed silence ensued.

"We cheated," Linda told Marge.

"We didn't exactly think of a fairy tale," Laura continued.

"It was more like Lady Chatterly's Lover," Liza went on.

"We saw it on TV last night," Linda added quickly.

"Look, we want to do it again!" they all repeated in unison.

"OK, but this time take me with you," Marge replied as she pondered the switch from the metaphorical to the megaphysical, "I'll get another cake."

Story #90

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Laura had only agreed to play strip poker with the boys on the condition they give her three extra cards per round, plus a joker. Up to now it had been a straightforward game. Tom lost his t-shirt, Levis and Snoopy socks all at once in a coup of Laura's trumping his pair of aces with a straight flush. Bill, a notoriously bad poker player came prepared with extra undershirts, vest, boxer shorts, gloves, hat, garters he had looted from grandpa's trunk in the attic, rain gear, and a jump suit. He looked quite stiff. Unfortunately his arsenel did not hold up under the relentless bomardment of threes of a kind, straights, flushes and aces high. Four rounds of Laura's joker reduced him to a meager jock strap. Now this was it. The final round. The final stitches on the boys. The bets were made, The fully clothed Laura, confident with the smell of victory, teasingly lay all her clothes on the line, all or nothing, just as the boys had planned. She scanned now the cards Tom had dealt her: 2 of clubs, 3 of diamonds, 4 of hearts, 6 of spades, 8 of diamonds, 9 of hearts, 10 of clubs, Q of clubs, and the joker. The boys layed their cards on the table and called while Laura gulped at the realization that she could not beat two royal flushes.

Story #89

Postscript (Dec. 6th 2007): All you folks coming in here via a search result might like Story #396 which is about stripping.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Katja had a wild imagination. She had only to imagine pixies standing behind her making silly signals with their fingers and...there they were. But of course no one else could see them. That wouldn't do. Katja was highly protective of her imagination. She let no one else inside. Concerning the hand signals, she imagined they were a secret language for communicating in daydreams, where the sound of conversation would otherwise break the spell. And wouldn't you know it? She was right. Because it was her imagination. Her pixies. She began to wonder what they might be trying to communicate. It was lodged in the back of her mind somewhere, seemed so familiar to her, from a daydream she had had long ago in which she herself was a pixie performing those very same hand motions. A vague memory. When was it? What in all fantasy could those moving hands signify? The pixies meanwhile had developed an imagination of their own. That's how good Katja was! They imagined their hand signals generated a magic force that would cause Katja to vanish permanently in about five seconds from now.

Story #88

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The overpowering need to have her drove him mercilessly towards her. Now he crept on all fours like some wild animal, no thought but of the moment he would pounce upon her. She knew how to coax his desire. Even now the way she looked at him inflamed his lust for her far beyond what he could bear. Closer and closer he inched towards her, on his belly now like a serpent, yet it was as in a dream where you will yourself to move but everything meanders further and further away. He imagined himself slithering onto her, but why did she appear so unreal as seen through a veil of steam? Slowly a stronger force made itself known to him, soothingly compelling him to close his eyes and let go of all thought. He had almost been able to touch her. The girl was surprised. She had expected the strychnine to work much faster.

Story #87

Monday, November 22, 2004

Claire always showed up at parties with her four men, creating something of a sensation. Everyone tried to discover what was going on behind the scenes. They pondered the notion that most men like to be in unconditional control of their ladies and wondered how it applied in this particular constellation. They asked roundabout questions, and, well, there were four men and one Claire to ask, but each of them responded with an evasiveness worthy of successful politicians. The five had obviously arranged beforehand how to counter such inquiries. One clever guest was, however, able to divine a solution to the mystery. He excused himself from the party early, but did not return home. He hid in the bushes outside the house and waited. When the five left, he followed them and saw exactly what was going on. He rushed back to tell the others. They had arrived in Claire's car, and Claire did the driving.

Story #86

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Things had never been the same since the paint factory exploded. The new formula for non-removable green paint would of course have been revolutionary in the conventional sense, but now they had to add an entirely new sense to the dictionary. In consequence of the igniting spark, the Earth's totality was instantaneously coated with a green rivaling even the collective green of the prehistoric trees that used to cover the planet before anyone had evolved the idea of chopping them down. This green was here to stay and people were delighted. Poets marveled at green rainbows. The Eskimos coined dozens of new words to describe snow of green hue. Drivers thrilled at the ease of maneuvering their vehicles in a world with no red lights. Green eyed boys fell in love with green eyed girls and enjoyed a green-skinned romance blessed by green stars. But despite all these wonderful changes, people still would not eat green eggs and ham.

Story #85

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Harry had a hair fetish. He'd sneak into hair salons and walk barefoot on floors saturated with ladies hair clippings. In crowded places he would stand close to a woman and bask in the aroma of her scalp growth. Often he crept behind ladies of the diva class and stared at the lovely patterns formed by the intertwining strands of their complex hair arrangements. It was exhilarating. His heart beat faster until the rhythm of his breathing slipped out of control. If the woman turned around, he told himself, he would strike up a conversation, casually ask her for a lock of her hair. But he never could. The sight of two piercing eyes turning to stab at him paralyzed that thought. His usual reaction was to compulsively pull a 'comb and Kleenex' kazoo from his pocket and frantically belt out a crazed rendition of "Bald Headed Woman," then flee. He should have gotten a job in a wig factory. It would have been a happy end.

Story #84

Friday, November 19, 2004

How do you like him? I built him myself out of old beer cans. He's quite the gentleman. Brings me flowers. Opens doors for me. Hell, he can knock down doors with a single solid punch. Does everything I tell him. He's very pliable that way. And the loving? Hihi, he's very pliable. Well, OK, the metal is kind of cold and chilling to the touch. But if you place him near a fire for a few hours he's much more usable. Unfortunately I can't use him for that anymore. I placed him a tad too close to the fire last time and parts of him melted. We just go for walks now. And sometimes to parties. That's the coolest. When the party gets hot, I beat out calypso melodies on his chest.

Story #83

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Her real name was Xrztzuum Brrrrrrqrriww, but since it couldn't be pronounced she used Lucy. Lucy couldn't afford to be conspicuous. She was a spy from Mars. It was bad enough having naturally red hair and fingernails among a population of blondes. Why had they sent her to Sweden? Nevertheless it seemed to be going well. On her first night on the planet a boy fell in love with her and gave her a teddy bear. The pullover she wore came from still another boy succumbing to instant infatuation. The silver earrings? Same story. Whenever she parted from a boy she'd met the first time she dutifully noted his name and telephone number in a little red book, while the boy immediately went shopping for some token of his esteem. Back home after a long night of socializing she sat unwrapping the latest batch of presents. Afterwards she called all the boys and worked out her surveillance plan. Monday night she would spy on Carrson, Tuesday night on Søren, Wednesday night on Nils...

Story #82

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Felix would do anything to kiss Mia, but having himself turned into a kitten was certainly an ingenious idea. He looked in the yellow pages under "W" for witch. "See under Wiccan," it said. In anticipation of the feline movements he would soon command, he allowed his fingers to slink across the pages to the entry. Madame Sybille's advertisement stood out, a specialist in animal primitivism who offered the additional advantage of nearby offices in an area with strict leash laws. He arrived at a waiting room filled to capacity, took a magic number, and waited for it to be called, not in the usual way, of course. When it was his turn, he faded out of the room and found himself in a darkened chamber, floor, walls and ceiling draped in velvet of deepest purple. Madame Sybille approached him holding a candle under her face, illuminating her features mysteriously.

"I am Madame Sybille," the ageless Wiccan introduced herself, "what is your desire?"

"To be a kitten," Felix answered, thinking how it would improve his chances with the beautiful Mia, who adored kittens.

"Ah, yes, the kitten does enjoy certain advantages with the feminine sex," she remarked to him in an offhand way.

Felix was impressed. She seemed to know everything that was in his thoughts. He worried how he could afford to pay her.

"You are fortunate," she continued, "your karmal insurance fully covers the first magical transformation. Shall I procede?"

"I am ready," he answered.

The unfathomable female applied her powers. He suddenly felt very purry. "Meow," Felix said trying to call out Mia's name, and slinked away to Mia's house where he scratched on her door to be let in. Felix stayed with Mia the rest of his life and could kiss her whenever he wanted. But it would have been much nicer with human lips and a human tongue.

Story #81

Note from Indeterminacy: This story is dedicated to Robyn.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

"I'm warning you, don't order anything on this menu," the strange woman said. She sat down uninvited at their table, waving a cigarette in their faces. Then she continued, "People order from this menu, the food they get ain't normal. There's something in it. You wake up someplace else and never find out where. It happened to a friend of mine. She sent me a post card later saying, 'Help! I don't know where I am.' And get this," she lowered her voice to a whisper: "Someone had dripped grease all over the postmark. You couldn't read it!" The couple fidgeted nervously as the woman continued, "But that ain't the only time something like this happen. I started watching the place. A whole busload of tourists ate here once. And never came out! Good for me. I had dibs on their luggage. But not good for them. By the way, is that your Porsche parked outside?" All of a sudden she began to choke. Then a dazed look crossed her face. "Where am I? What was I telling you? Look, forget anything I said. I have these spells sometimes where I don't know what I'm saying. The food here is just fine. I'd take the steak if I was you. It's out of this world."

Story #80

Monday, November 15, 2004

She was as ancient as time itself. On the first day, she appeared out of the snow, a crystal statue embracing the freezing bitterness all about her, warming it slightly. After a wave of eons the winters became merciful and mild. Tree by tree a forest closed in on all sides, swelling as the air warmed. Soon the vegetation flourished on humid air that engulfed everything. She felt the wet kisses of the sauntering breeze. The jungle thrived for a time, but thinned to a prairie, revealing a sky above. The sun and moon and stars repeated their play of destiny for her again and again. Not even a god could change the outcome. Soon there was no green left, only the white sands all around, and the blue sky and the eternal woman herself. The arid wind caressed her softly but could not kiss her. Suddenly, in the distance, a section of horizon was quietly immersed by an aquamarine presence. It dilated gradually nearer. Before long it was in reach of her, the sea she had awaited past any human conception of chronology. In one beat of her heart, the entire scale of time slowed. Eons gave way to days. Others came to the sand that now embraced a sea, built fleeting castles, lay on towels, tossed Frisbees. The bikini came into the world and clothed her. A digital camera was in her hands. Now the moment had arrived. She recorded an image of the saline waters, as a souvenir of her age-long experience. By evening the tide would wash over her and she would swim in the sea she had longed for.

Story #79

Sunday, November 14, 2004

George was happy now. The aliens were back. He remembered the first time they visited him, how terrified he had been, but deep down, under that scratch proof Teflon surface, they really knew how to fry eggs. Since the first visit he had studied all their recipes, prepared now a smorgasbord of tasty delights for the evening session to begin in a few minutes: Salads of scrambled egg and popcorn, boiled egg-shell crunchy-cakes, and liquid egg slime to wash it down their metallic throats. In good faith the aliens had packaged all the hay of his fields using their matter movers and energy encapsulators. George had attention to detail and wanted to make this visit especially memorable. In addition to the food, he had arranged a cozy evening of entertainment to win over the aliens completely. Videos of My Favorite Martian, Mork and Mindy, and War of the Worlds must show them how interested he was in their culture. If all went well, they would award him the franchise for the McAlien Earthside Saucer Stop and he would never have to work the fields again.

Story #78

Saturday, November 13, 2004

It had all been so easy, the innocent favor for Satan in exchange for two boys, but now nothing was working as she expected. Upon materializing in her bed, Marco had struck up a conversation with the dazed Sergio who still could not understand how he had gotten there. It quickly evolved into a discussion of soccer. Marco was an ardent Italy fan, but Sergio argued the virtues of the Brazilian team. "Hey! I'm Italian! My parents are from Brazil!" she interrupted to no avail. Even the most erotic and yearning facial expressions could not penetrate their concentrated colloquy. What did you have to do to get guys to notice you!? Just then Satan walked in, emanating the air of a master maitre'd. "Everything to your liking?" he inquired politely, offering them ice creams he produced from a special cool box hanging from his neck. "No! No! Satan," she wanted to say, as a repulsive intuition flashed through her, but it was too late. The mental image of the girl licking an ice cream cone had given the boys an idea of something to keep her quiet while they continued their perpetual conversation.

Story #77

Note from Indeterminacy:
This is part three of a trilogy. Part one here. Part two here.

Friday, November 12, 2004

You. Yes, you. I want to give you these flowers. Why? I saw you sprawled there next to that sweet sign of yours and it just awed me. Suddenly I knew I had to rush home, put on my nicest gown, and bring you a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Really? Don't be so hard on yourself. So what if you live in a cardboard box? Surely you have a vase. An empty wine bottle will do. Is there room for two in your box? Oh, I'm sorry, I was just wondering. I didn't mean to appear forward or anything. It's just that I saw you and it was so like magic. No, I can't explain. It overwhelmed me. Maybe it's your disheveledness, those torn clothes, that gruff look. Oh I'd give anything to run my hand up and down your beard stubble. I feel we belong together, in a box, in an alley, on the roof of a condemned warehouse, watching the stars. I would go anywhere with you. It doesn't have to be fancy. It's the little things in life that count. I realize that now since I started taking the Prozac.

Story #76

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The three girls had never been with a man before in the biblical sense, but very often in the sense of the Harlequin romance, that is to say, had imaginations certainly as depraved as anything they might encounter beyond the theoretical. So it was not surprising that they accepted Satan's intriguing offer to tease one of his victims with their unapproachable purity. First they talked to the man about all the things they would never do with him. Anytime he became excited they laughed and gesticulated with such demeanor as to transform his urges into a feeling like cold, wet spaghetti. If he tried to touch one of them, the nearest other girl rapped his knuckles sharply with the handle of her pitchfork while the remaining girl fired a Satanic blend of pepper spray that burned like brimstone. Innocent virgins could certainly be cruel. Finally they improvised a raucous bra dance for him, singing and jiggling in bras that could not be pierced by the naked eye. This accelerated him past the breaking point. He collapsed to the floor, whimpering at his bitter fate. The girls had done their job well. The entertainment the man received could only be classified as PG-13, which was kind of ironic since he had signed the contract, in blood, with an X.

Story #75

Note from Indeterminacy:
This is part two of a trilogy. Part one here. Part three here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

With great mental effort, the bundle of crisp new currency had willed itself to fall away from the rest of the money meticulously piled and stacked. It hoped to be noticed. "Touch me," it thought, blending in with the whispers of the remaining bundles, forming a collective chorus that must have been worth several million dollars. The amorous, dreaming glances of the onlookers prodded the paper-money-passions to be handled, fondled, folded, turned, and finally passed to someone else who would repeat the whole procedure. They wanted it and knew how to get it, as well. That was in their nature. They merely had to lie there passively, out in the open, with minimal covering. Before long some hand would always grope at them. But it was all a sham, and the bills didn't even know. For they were counterfeit banknotes on a table in a museum in a glassed-off area with a strict "do not touch" policy. They would remain untouched until picked up one day and dumped into the recycling press.

Story #74

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

It would be difficult recruiting three virgins for the night job but Satan had made a promise. The man wanted virgins and he wanted them every night, so that's what he would have. After all, he'd traded his soul for it. Satan gave a self-satisfied chuckle, well aware of the difficulties in finding virtuous girls. He checked his daily list, complete with half-life likelihoods for each of the entries, rejected outright most of the names before eyeing through the distance three girls who might still meet the criteria. The purity rings on their innocent looking fingers added an especially lovely touch. He clapped his hands together and they appeared before him. Appealing to their comic sense of schadenfreude Satan made his proposition. In return for their night of service, or rather lack of service while physically present with the contract partner, they would each be rewarded the next night with their choice of two boys from the other list. Satan warmed to the sound of the three voices toning their affirmation, and chuckled again at the brilliance of his business model. "Virtue has its rewards," he laughed jovially to the girls, enjoying his mood.

Story #73

Note from Indeterminacy:
This is part one of a trilogy. Part two here. Part three here.

Monday, November 08, 2004

It had been a perilous escape from the book of nursery rhymes but now all the characters stood safe and sound on soothing gray cobblestone. Most notably there was Mr. Poppit the Haberdasher who found he'd married the Boston Slasher. And the much loved Little Girl Red, dreamt of evil things in bed, woke one day with a doll by her head. Next to her stood the Nun from the Abbey of Novgorod whose feet as a horse were to be shod, because she wouldn't believe in God. Children often remembered her in their prayers. The Brothers Snoot with heads of fruit for mother's cupboard they did loot had also made good their flight from the gruesome tome. The others, Ms. Garden the Prison Warden and the horribly abused Mrs. Peyton Wife of Satan had escaped from more or less minor rhymes, even less politically correct, that no one could ever remember. The entire group had just been granted asylum and looked forward now to a life of bliss in the real world where bad things never happened.

Story #72

Sunday, November 07, 2004

My name is Fatima. You'll know me soon enough. I'm scheduled to appear in your dream tonight. You just caught me limbering up. Expecting a wild erotic fantasy, aren't you? Well, there's been a change. I read the script this afternoon and went straight to the writers. "I won't do it!" I told them, "I don't even know this guy. Plus I have this recurring thing going on in another guy's sleep." Anyhow, the part of the dream where you're all over me like an octopus, I talked to the writers and asked for extra arms, razor-sharp fingernails and a new ending. I'll be ready for you tonight. And there'll be no escape.

Story #71

Saturday, November 06, 2004

- Irene, I love you, let's have our heads sewn together. Right at the cheek. What a symbol of devotion that would be! I'll do it if you will. Don't answer yet. Think of how lovely it would be. Dancing through life, cheek to cheek, always feeling each other's warmth. Or the little things, sharing a cherry flavored Popsicle, watching a sunset together or a romantic movie. Posing for those pictures they put in the Internet, capturing forever the love in our eyes.
- Bill, what about kissing?
- Kissing? Damn! I forgot about that.

Story #70

Friday, November 05, 2004

It was a scorching day on the planet Mercury. The sisters could feel the sizzling slivers of sunlight pierce into them, tanning them under their asbestos skin. "I want to go back," Mila thought to her sibling. It was too hot even for sound to carry. Mira answered with the image of their last visit to Earth, and the boy with the cold hands. Mila sighed. They both longed to shiver in the arms of their Earth boy again. "We will go back. Now!" Mira's mind telegraphed each syllable with dry deliberation. It was, after all, simplicity itself. They had only to imagine themselves with him, and so it would be. Thoughts began their cohesion, swirling ever swifter around the desire. Soon they would be before him. Somewhere on Earth, that sweet Eskimo boy was waiting for them in his igloo, dreaming. And he had lots of ice cubes ready.

Story #69