Thursday, September 30, 2004

Since I got that chip wired into my brain I can have nine different emotions at the same time. It's so awesome. Before the operation I could only feel simple things. I'd be happy, sad, mad. But nothing in between. That made me really angry. With the chip I can match and merge my moods as I need them. If a guy I can't stand tells me he likes me I just press buttons 1,3,5,7 and 8 on the remote control. Then he goes away. If I'm crazy about him I press buttons 2,4,6 and 9. And he stays. If I'm fighting with my parents over a new boyfriend I press all the buttons at once. They freak and run into the bedroom. I feel the right stuff at parties, funerals, and concerts when the music is cool. But what do I do now? The neighbor's new garage door opener is on the exact same frequency as my remote control!

Story # 49

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The parade was incessant. It marched, marched from city to city all around the globe. Wherever it approached it triggered mass actions to join. People ran frantically from closet to closet until locating the white clothes and the scarlet hat and bandana which must be worn. Snare drums, bass drums, kettle drums were hastily organized, any instrument of percussion. In larger towns you could chose from drums and uniforms piled high in front of city hall. A fortunate few were given cymbals. The beat of the drums solidified into a rhythmic wall of sound that sent out its hooks and dragged in young and old alike. Everyone must join. Everyone must march. Soon everyone did.

Story #48

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Hannah had a pair of x-ray glasses she wore whenever she had a boy in her room. "Ah what nice bones you have," she'd say. The boy usually thanked her for the compliment and hoped to initiate other matters, but she was only beginning. "Ohmigod, what IS that in your small intestine?" - she'd blurt out suddenly - "Maybe you'd better sit still for a while." After a time it became quite unsettling for the boy. "I wonder if that cherry pit is going to make it through the appendix," she'd speculate, and eye his abdomen with tense excitement. "Oh, this is going to be good!" she'd conclude with an expectant quiver in her voice. That usually got the boy to stand up and run to the nearest emergency room. Of course, if it was someone she really liked, she took off the glasses and kissed him.

Story #47

Monday, September 27, 2004

He was devoted to the statue. The seductive aesthetic of her form, the numbing perfection of her proportions cast a spell that eased ever deeper into his soul. It stunned him the first time he saw her. He stared then into her eyes for what seemed like hours before finally gathering the courage to move closer and place his arm around her. It was a moment of magic. The cars driving by sounded like angels singing and he never wanted to leave her. But as he could not stay and she could not go away with him, they finally had to part. Following that first encounter he came to her at every opportunity, lovingly wiping the pigeon droppings from her unclothed body. Entire evenings found him there, sharing the quiet solitude of his thoughts with her, feeling himself drawn ever closer to his Goddess. It was a devastating shock that one day when he arrived and found her standing with another man.

Story #46

Sunday, September 26, 2004

I'm quite a capitalist, you haveta admit. Don't be fooled by the color red you see me wearing. Made a great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge today, got it for $100. That guy was a complete jerk. Talked him down from $500. Thought he could pull a fast one on me! The damn cables are rusted! After that I felt so good I bought my wife this Brooklyn sweatshirt. It's a Christian Dior, without the label. A steal at $75. Now, I don't wanna brag, but how 'bout that ocean behind us? Pretty nice ocean, huh? Just traded the Brooklyn Bridge for it. Plus $200 for the salt. Wheeling and dealing. High finance. Big business. It's working for me now!

Story #45

Saturday, September 25, 2004

What if I hold this pencil? Does that help? Do I at least look like an author? I'm trying my most concentrated gaze. Is it intellectual enough? The glasses are in the right place, aren't they? Look, I know they're in the right style. I checked all the pictures. It's authentic! What if I think "Steppenwolf Steppenwolf Demian Demian" over and over? That must help! C'mon! This could be my big break, the one I've been working towards all my life. I just gotta win the Hermann Hesse look-alike contest. How will I ever face my creative writing class if I lose?

Story #44

Friday, September 24, 2004

- Doctor, I'm really worried about this. My shadow is too small. Is there anything you can do for me?
- We could try a shadow enlargement, but sometimes the shadows do get rather large and threatening. It might scare people.
- What about adding a second shadow, same size as this?
- And have two small shadows?
- Yes, I get awfully lonely sometimes.
- It could be done, but we'd have to find a donor.
- How about a nice girl's shadow?
- Hmmm. Might be interesting, if the two shadows – get along.

Story #43

Thursday, September 23, 2004

The boy carried his girlfriend around with him wherever he went. Whether on the beach, to parties, in buses. Even as a child she preferred to be carried instead of walking herself. It had become a habit that was impossible to break. Her parents were to blame, of course, but they had washed their hands of the whole affair and moved permanently into their summer home in Florida. When it came time for the boy to end the relationship with the girl he could not just put her down. He would have to wait for another boy to hand her over to.

Story #42

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The three girls were turning into trees. They had been to doctors, specialists, tried all kinds of medicines. Even the tree surgeon was mystified, snapping out of a lustful stare to tell them there was nothing he could do for them, as they indeed seemed to be turning into remarkably healthy trees. Each day new leaves grew into place, and their limbs felt like wood. The girls became frantic, at times stumbling through the forest in panic. They didn't want to become trees! One morning they could no longer move as nimbly as they had been accustomed, and the thick foliage began to smother them. It would not be long. They resigned to say their adieus to everyone. As they repeated their tearful farewell to the gardener, he shook with hearty laughter. Upon recovering he told the girls how silly they had been. Now they came to him twice a week to have their bark removed and their leaves trimmed away. The gardener knowing how to treat plants, and the girls knowing how to treat gardeners, it goes without saying that they all lived happily ever after.

Story #41

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

In the future there were no more men! It had been a shock when the last surviving specimen had consummated the extinction of his gender. Exhaustion was the diagnosis, a consequence of services enjoying such high demand. Women were sad at first but continued their lives. Brilliant female architects conceived and erected obelisk-like museums to fill the need of nostalgia. There women could be reminded of how men had been. The man-models were so realistic women often found themselves climbing into bed with them. Then they had to giggle.

Story #40

Monday, September 20, 2004

Hello. I live behind the eye. I can see you but you can't see me. She may look at you, or look through you, and maybe a fleeting thought is devoted to you. But I sit back and take it all in in my leisure. If I want her to kiss you, I can make her do so. She won't know why. She won't even imagine it was my idea. I can cause her to turn her head away and never gaze upon you again. She may sleep. But I never do. Ah, the power I have back here! Not even a hypnotist can get to me. There! Did you see? That wink? I did that.

Story #39

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The man lived with his wife right in the middle of the river. Certainly it was wet, and the walls kept washing away, but it had its charm. His wife's friends wore bikinis when they came to visit, and when one of them stayed the night, who could tell how a sudden current might shift her into his arms? On days when his spouse had no company, he whiled away the hours swimming and skipping stones across the front lawn. She was usually too busy chasing water moccasins out of the cellar to have much fun herself. Of course she never let him forget his poor judgment in purchasing the riverside lot unseen. And he certainly regretted it himself one night, as she rolled him out of bed and over the waterfall.

Story #38

Saturday, September 18, 2004

The Frankenstein's monster looked realistic. Great care had been taken in construction of the body. Clothed in inconspicuous garments it certainly didn't look frightening. And although there had been some trouble in getting the physical coordination to work, that too was at least acceptable. It wasn't afraid of fire and people did not run screaming from it. In fact, it was quite easy to live with except for its one minor quirk. It liked to walk around nights telling fish stories.

Story #37

Friday, September 17, 2004

It had proven impossible to develop a totally effective anti-acne cream, so they gave up and tried something new. Why all the paranoia because of a simple pimple, anyway? Who said that had to be ugly? Why not make it fashionable to break out? So that's what they did. The millions of dollars slated to be lost on the elusive acne cure were redirected to the brilliant ad campaign to make it every girl's and boy's dream to have a face riddled from top to bottom with the misunderstood beauty marks. Ad jingles like "Don't Pop the Pimple Crop" and "The Zit's a Hit" turned into instant hummable earworms. And what if you didn't have acne? Or not enough? Now they sold cosmetics claiming to cause the blemishes instead of cure them. You simply dabbed the cream over your face wherever you wanted the little points to appear, took a nap, and in 24 hours you'd be the most popular boy or girl in high school.

Story #36

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The echo of the ancient flute toned through time, causing slight ripples in the blood of the two women whose line of descendancy wove back to a dynasty even before the Sphinx. Their two distant ancestors had been lulled into senselessness by that very flute as the priests presided over the transmutation into stone sculptures to slumber hundreds of generations until reawakening at the proper time. Now a life essence stirred again in the stone, slowly drifting like wisps of incense into the bodies of the two receptacles. It had long been predestined. They would revitalize the modern blood with the ancient ideas, spawn a race of the old age. The realization of their destiny sparked an unquenchable lust in their eyes. But first things first. The Egyptian Exhibit was on its tour stop in Manhattan. The two souls, reawakened after untold millennia, must first go shopping.

Story #35

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Lisa was quite popular with the boys. Everywhere she went they would fall all over her. They gave her roses, they invited her to sodas, some of the braver souls even ventured a proposal of marriage. A month ago these boys wouldn't have been seen dead with a girl. But then, Lisa was no ordinary girl. She wasn't one to ever collect pictures of horses, or toy with Barbie dolls. Lisa was a girl whose father had traveled to Japan on business, and returned with a suitcase filled with Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Now she had the most powerful deck in the entire school, and a great future ahead of her. Lisa knew how to win friends and influence boys.

Story #34

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

She lived in a cream colored world. The walls were cream. The blankets she lay on were cream. Her clothes were cream. Her hair was cream. She went for walks on cream colored paths under a creamy sky filled with light the color of cream. Her diet was creamed cheese and ice cream, with cream soda washing it down. If she smiled at you it was a smile of pearly cream. But she had a secret she shared with no one, though you could almost guess, if you looked at her long enough. Her favorite color was red.

Story #33

Monday, September 13, 2004

The other night I was home alone reading Socrates in the original Greek when the doorbell rang. I opened the door and found before me three persons dressed in the attire of that antique era when Socrates had lived. The two men spoke, the lovely Grecian woman smiling and eyeing me in a nice way. Through some forgotten magic they had journeyed to modern times in search of an edition of Socratic philosophy which they required for their studies. The books in those times were very expensive and inaccessible to students. It was so important to them they had brought along an Athenian beauty to exchange for the volume. I agreed to the trade. After all, I could always order a replacement copy in case I got bored with the lady. I took a picture of the three of them, then escorted the two men to the door. When I turned to begin a conversation with my new companion I perceived that she had turned to stone. But still, the statue was lovely workmanship and a marvel to behold. It was remarkably similar to the Greek statues I had seen in museums. I placed it in the foyer for all to envy. The next day I ordered a new edition of Socrates.

Story #32

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Anna had always had trouble expressing herself. She sometimes even stuttered, a rare phenomenon as most women can't stutter. Boyfriends were constantly leaving her because she would never talk to them. It was a dire situation. Psychoanalysts didn't know what to do with her because she couldn't tell them her dreams. The speech therapy that had her repeating Dr. Seuss verses at breakneck speed made her good at quoting Dr. Seuss, but did absolutely nothing at all to improve her conversation. Not even the brain surgery had helped. By this time the strain on her family's finances was intolerable. One day while eating at a pizzeria, the cheapest restaurant she could find, she observed two of the Italian waiters in a passionate dispute over a tip. "Eureka!" she shouted, which was a shame, since it wasn't a Greek restaurant. She ran out and immediately enrolled in body language classes. Here she is telling her new former boyfriend, "I never want to see you again."

Story #31

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Look, I want you to stop treating me like a baby! I may look like a baby. I may act like a baby. I may even cry like a baby. But what I am doing now is art! I don't expect you to understand that, Mommy and Daddy, of course not. You're so - how shall I put it - conventional. See, you can't even follow what I'm saying now. You think it's baby talk. Use some imagination when listening to me! Last night for instance, just for fun, to see if you'd notice, I related to you my entire theory of aesthetics, quite revolutionary actually, kind of what Picasso was getting at in his work, although he didn't go far enough. And all you could say was, "Oh, isn't he cuuute?" and "It actually sounds like he's saaying something." Well, if you can't comprehend, I'll just have to show you. Tonight when you two are asleep, I'm going to redecorate the entire living room in this style. I'm going to teach you in spite of yourselves. You have to live art to understand it!

Story #30

Friday, September 10, 2004

Humbert Humbert was forced to flee the country. He dived into the sea and swam over wallowing waves to Lolita Island, braving the horrors of the man-mangling mako sharks infesting the saltwater surrounds of that lovely lay of land. He collapsed on sensuous sands over warm imprints of bare Lolita feet. Tentatively touching hands of Lolita maidens tested over his body shortly thereafter, bore him up to transport and deposit him on his knees before the underaged Lolita Queen leisurely lounging on leather. She decided his destiny, and it was a heaven he would have prayed to a devil for. He would prepare daily sustenance for the flowering forms of girlhood. At mealtime he could watch the small bites of tasty food wander wistfully into the young girls' mouths. Evenings he was to work in the laundry washing and ironing by hand the undergarments that so intimately covered the lithe Lolitas by day. Mornings he would help clothe them, pulling up skirts and pulling down tops, subsequently leading the Nabokovian nymphets in morning gymnastics, the taut t-shirts he had so tenderly teased into place slipping to reveal the sun-touched skin beneath. He would have enjoyed it much more had not one of the man-mangling mako sharks enclosed its jaws around the worst possible place for Humbert Humbert.

Story #29

Thursday, September 09, 2004

The outing had a very strict dress code, but with a view to impressing the females present the friends wanted somehow to retain their individuality. That was the problem. Men's wear just did not vary enough to distinguish one male from another, and without clothes they were all just a hearty salad of arms, legs, heads, torsos and other nondescript et cetera. Still the men tried their best. One wore white pants with white shoes, another wore white shoes with black pants, still another donned a white tie. A combination of red tie and carnation was attempted, as well as the obligatory checkered and striped ties. None of which did any good. Of course the most original one of the bunch was the fellow who dispensed with the tie altogether, although it wasn't the lack of a tie that stood him apart. He also happened to be wearing pink underwear, a discovery that no girl could easily forget.

Story #28

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The girls employed at the Cranium Inc. head factory were gorgeous. They had to be, for the heads they manufactured must meet the highest standards of loveliness. The creations must be universally admired for their breathtaking beauty, and no two exactly alike. That could otherwise prove embarrassing. The finished heads were shipped via refrigerator trucks to plastic surgeons across the country, there to be selected by willing patients anxious to ultimately aestheticize their appearance but without the nuisance of semi-annual nose jobs. The ladies whose beauty had been enhanced in this fashion became hotly desired dates, as it was quite a boost in social status to be seen out with one of them. This you could always tell by the tiny label on the side of the neck: "A Cranium Creation."

Story #27

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Perhaps you have seen her. She roams the mirror world, ears attuned to the magical phrase "Mirror, mirror, on the wall who's the fairest of them all." Once perceived, she finds instantly the peephole to reality through which the questioning words have sounded. Before an eye can blink she steals her photo and vanishes, leaving the gazer only with a vague feeling that she had been there. Her photos are a sensation throughout the mirror world as a reflection of human vanity and playfulness, as these are the two motivations for the rhetorical call into the mirror. It was most unfortunate that one day at exactly 12 noon EST a worldwide flash mob met to call "Mirror, mirror..." into every looking glass in the world. For that one moment she was everywhere at once. Then she vanished.

Story #26

Monday, September 06, 2004

It wasn't easy being an angel, never sinning, never thinking an unholy thought, never having fun. It was especially difficult around beautiful women. The most unthinkable ideas popped into his head and begged to be contemplated. He would stamp down the lustful thoughts, but they bobbed back up again and acted out scenes from "Sex and the City." He could not ignore them. Finally he did the only thing he could reasonably have done under the circumstances. He threw his halo into the air and asked the girl to dance.

Story #25

Sunday, September 05, 2004

The shadows loved to go for walks in the sunshine but their owners preferred to stay indoors. One day the shadows pulled down all the shades, closed the blinds and drew all the curtains, bringing darkness to their respective homes. Then they slipped out unnoticed and took their walk together. They strolled along the path in the park, flitted among the trees, played hide and seek with each other, dodging behind other shadows out with their owners. Towards the end of the day when the shadows were becoming quite long they made one last photo of themselves, taking care that the sun should be behind the camera and not spoil the special picture. After subsequent goodbyes and promises to do it again someday, they hurriedly returned to their dark abodes.

Story #24

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Not those legs! They're too plump. You never buy me the right legs. My sisters will laugh in my face if I go out shopping with those. Look at your neighbor's model. She gets all the shapeliest leg sets and all I get are these marked down bargain basement scratch and dent stilts with varicose veins. I've a good mind to run away from you, but how can I if you won't give me decent legs? Oh the shame of it! I remember the gal in front of me on the assembly line. She has closets full of legs. I've seen them. Sets for dancing, sets for walking the dog, even the ultra-smooth seduction deluxe, for making master's heart beat faster. And what do I get? Imitation plastic. Oh all right. Give them to me. At least they don't have six toes. I'll put them on and give you a good kick in the pants.

Story #23

Friday, September 03, 2004

The two were now very accepting of their brother, despite his deformities. No, it had not been easy growing up with him. The nights of uncessant howling, his insatiable desire to play fetch and bury their dolls, the tearful bouts when he had bitten one of their friends. But now that they were older, they got along wonderfully. They went places together, had fun together. It was something of a symbiosis. The sisters often invited him along on evenings out, to take care of over-amorous dates whose advances they were not interested in. Few men are turned on by a dog humping their leg.

Story #22

Thursday, September 02, 2004

He found her stretched out that way, the wishing hat beside her. She didn't speak. Only her muffled sobs filled the room. "What's wrong?" he asked her. Her feet lay limp on the bed. Again that muffled whimper, as if something deeply intimate had happened to her against her will. But her ordered appearance made no suggestion of violence. "What happened? Was someone here?" he asked with undivided concern. "The Djinni, the last wish... he did this to me..." he made out between her despairing moans. "I wished..." he heard in her voice, smothered in the pillows, "to have... alluring... mysterious..." She broke off, gasping for breath. "What did he do to me!?!" her voice screamed out suddenly, unnaturally. It terrified him. A creeping hysteria shook her body. Then she turned violently and showed him her face: It was the Mona Lisa's face, in oil, that adorned her now. Her smile looked inviting and immortal but frozen for all time on the flat canvas where her face had been. She turned her head away.

Story #21

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

They had come to terms with their new situation surprisingly well. Perhaps it was the daily ration of beer that was brought to them. Perhaps it was the noncommittal small talk they shared with their female keeper when she came to visit, who sometimes even leaned over the rim of the tub in her low cut dress with no fear of being pulled in by the three. Of course, many thought it a drastic means of dealing with the chronic sex addiction that had tortured these poor souls before the operation. But the three had willingly signed the release form the Danish doctors placed before them, and seemed content with their modified existence. Even the harshest opponents of the solution had to admit the men were kept in a humane fashion: The daily gourmet fish dinners they received were scrumptious and for recreation they were driven out twice a week to swim in the sea. Indeed, since the surgical transformation into mermen with sexless lower fish-torsos, life had become completely carefree.

Story #20