Monday, December 12, 2005


Ralph was a drinker. He drank considerable quantities of alcohol. He measured the extent of his intoxication on the basis of his hallucinations. One drink put the people around him into t-shirts and jogging pants. The second drink had them jogging around as they jiggled into swim trunks and bikinis. After the third drink people started arcing into the air and swimming around at eye level with Ralph. Four drinks and Ralph was swimming right along with them in a 60 proof sea of alcoholic splendor. But not today. They wouldn't have let him through the turnstiles in that kind of condition, due to the danger of spontaneous combustion when the lights switched on. What an idea it had been turning the coliseum into a mass tanning studio!

Story #317

Sad news: Robert Sheckley, America's great science fiction satirist passed away on December 9th, 2005.One of his last stories, "Reborn Again" is shared with us online.

The stories posted here in the comments have all been reposted at indeterminacies.blogspot.com.

21 comments:

viruswitch said...

"And the winner takes it all!" shouted the journalist from the speakers of the stadium.

Every year the citizens of the small city Maat held a tournament that included many water sports, in the open field they had built next to the beach. This was the established way to dissolve a long forgotten dispute between the two sides of the city. About 50 years ago, the Maatians had found out that they were far too many to fit in the small beach that their place had inherited from a nearby village that merged into their city. The only reason why the Maatians had insisted on the merge of the nearby village into their city, was so that they could use the beach as well. Their municipality was unfortunately doomed with no access to any source of water, since every city prohibited foreigners from bathing in their sea. The little village of Api seemed to be the only solution, or so the Maatians thought. Because immediately they found out that it was impossible for 15.000 people to enjoy a 1km beach. The citizens were frustrated, disappointed and restless, and the governor knew what these angry masses were capable of. So he split the city into two parts and established the nowadays well known tournaments of Maat. Two teams representing the two different parts of the city compete in the beginning of each summer season for access into water. When the games end, the citizens of the winning part of the city, being already dressed properly, jumb into the sea and dont get out until next summer arrives...

Doug said...

The execution was to be held on August first. The line for tickets was a mile long, the day they went on sale. Every cafe and beauty salon and fashion boutique was abuzz with talk about the return of justice to the city. The judge was congratulated for his wisdom as death by lethal injection no longer captured the imagination and the talk of the town was that ordering the defendant burned at the stake was an inspired whimsy.

The timing however was not auspicious. The judge, in his wisdom, had ordered the sentence fulfilled between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a time when flame was appreciated. The Supreme Court had delayed the event and then gone into hiding, such was the uproar of the righteous. The lucky ones with tickets made the best of the situation dressing in bathing suits to keeo cool and the warden graciously set up hoses to mist the fans.

To the disappointment of those gathered, however, a breeze exintguished the fire just as it wound its way along the condemned's ankles towards his knees. Under an ill-advised principle set by the sorry supreme court, the failed execution could not be repeated. The villain was taken from the arena and released. Fearing the wrath of the good citizens, the judge issued a second inspired decree. The burgers were supplied with balloons and the ensuing waterfight was remembered for decades by the cheerful denizens of Cincinatti.

Jamie Dawn said...

Viruswitch: I feel waterlogged!

Doug: Modern day "gladiator." At least the criminal's feet got burned, so he did have to endure some punishment for his crime. What was his crime anyway? It better have been something really bad. He didn't just spit on the sidewalk or something like that did he?

My weekend story offering:

People came from far and wide to witness the highly advertised "Cleavage Contest." Large chested women wearing push-up, underwire bikini tops crowded the stadium hoping to win the coveted thousand dollar prize money. Men crowded the place hoping to get an eye full. When the first group of contestants went on stage, the crowd didn't know what to make of it. Six large men lined up on stage. The announcer said, "Show your best cleavage!" The men turned their backs to the audience and bent over, exposing their "plumber" butt cracks.

weirsdo said...

Brad willed himself not to look round. No one must ever know. What had he been thinking? Was it possible to get that drunk and still--but his mind shied away from the horror.
He could feel her gimlet eyes boring removing his thin trunks, telegraphing memories of strange, naked wallowings he could only dimly remember, thank heaven.
Still, he could not deny that older women could teach him a thing or two. His synchronized swim routine had been inspired today.

Doug said...

Jamie Dawn, midway through a weekend of goofy children I wasn't sure I had any surplus laughter in me. Thanks for that. Since you asked, let's make the crime theft of facial piercings.

viruswitch said...

Hi Jamie,
hehe thats the idea! I must admit your story had an unexpected turn!!! :))

The Mushroom said...

Edna and Martha didn't realize the swimsuit competition was intended for people under age 30 and under 150 pounds, so when they showed up ready to do battle, they discovered that they were the only older pudgier people in the entire arena.

At first they feared they'd come in dead last with all that young, nubile competition, but to their surprise there was a "least appealing" category that not surprisingly few of the youngsters applied to... and they won a year's supply of Mountain Dew.

Young at Heart in San Diego said...

Déjà vu…that familiar feeling…the bright light, the out-of-focus fuzzy vision…where am I? It’s like that recurring dream, the one I have before school starts every year, where I am at school and I look down at my body and discover to my horror that I AM NAKED! Somehow I have come to school WITH NO CLOTHES ON! But this can’t be that dream, everybody here is only half-dressed. Why are they looking at me? I glance down. Bathing suit bottom, check, top, yes, fastened, nothing hanging out, good. But where are we? The gym? This is no pep rally. Yet the man down at the center of the court is calling for me to come down, please, and accept my award. People are pointing the way, motioning for me to follow them down, this way please. I stumble down the bleachers, trying to get a clue as to what I am doing here, what could I possible have done to be singled out by these strangers, and what am I expected to do when I get down there? I search the walls for banners, signs, anything that might give me a hint as to what this is all about. I step onto the ground and the crowd begins to clap and cheer. A woman is holding up a giant check for $100,000. The kind you can’t really cash, but the promise of cash is appealing to me, so I do not run for the exit door. “Tell us how you did it!” says the bald man who resembles Mr. Potato Head, while he reaches out to shake my hand. I think of the game I had been playing yesterday, where you list these words on paper:
* synergy
* strategic fit
* core competencies
* best practice
* bottom line
* revisit
* expeditious
* to tell you the truth (or "the truth is")
* 24/7
* out of the loop
* benchmark
* value-added
* proactive
* win-win
* think outside the box
* fast track
* result-driven
* empower (or empowerment)
* knowledge base
* at the end of the day
* touch base
* mindset
* client focus(ed)
* paradigm
* game plan
* leverage
Then put a check mark every time you hear one of those words/phrases.
When you get five check marks, stand up and shout "BULLSHIT!"
I turned towards the bleachers. My mouth suddenly began to spew these phrases, interspersed with some articles, adjectives, and prepositional phrases. The crowd went wild. Thunderous applause rang through the gym. Mr. Potato Head begins pumping my hand, and the Vanna-like woman with the giant check leads me towards a side door. I follow her, stumbling out towards the white light outside. The crowd is going crazy now. They are all on their feet, chanting my name. I wave as I exit into the warm hot summer, grab the mammoth check, and walk off towards the football field.

Enemy of the Republic said...

Hey, do you want us to add on to these stories? I've just been reading them and this one I particularly like--maybe it's the first two sentences. Nice work.

Indeterminacy said...

Sorry, I didn't have time yet to comment on all your stories. I'm printing them out and reading them on the way home.

Enemy: Please feel free to follow all your creatives whims here. That's a great compliment to me that you'd like to share your ideas with me/us.

A Little Bar of Soap said...

There is entirely too much flesh in this picture. Disgusting! Devil, get thee OUT!

Indeterminacy said...

I finally read all your stories - it was an enjoyable trip home from work today.

Viruswitch: Imaginative as always! I get a vivid picture of all those people standing in the water all year long.

Doug: You know Cincinnati well. All sorts of people have been crucified there. The museum director who allowed a Robert Maplethorpe exhibit, a gay DJ who joked about vasoline on his program, etc. You won't find a more God fearing, book burning folk on the face of the Earth. (P.S. I think it was Judge Simon Leis).

Jamie: You keep making me laugh. I would have demanded my money back.

Mrs. Weirsdo: What a swim that must have been!

Mushroom: Thanks for the laughs today. I can just picture that gal with a can of Mountain Dew.

Young at Heart: Amazing what you've captured here. I'd call it inspired. And that list is so authentic, almost entirely "New English," phrases and buzzwords that weren't yet around in the 80's, when I left America. Consequently you'll never hear me using these words.

Indeterminacy said...

Little Bar: I was wondering what this picture really was, and now I know! It's a mass ceremony by Rev. Moon. He's going to marry them all in a swimming pool!

Idorego said...

This reminds me "Gymnasium" is Greek for "nude place".

weirsdo said...

Wasn't Jerry Springer running for some public office from the Cincinnati area when he was caught out paying a prostitute by check? But he's gone on to greater things, of course.

Indeterminacy said...

Mrs Weirsdo: That you know that! It was way back in the 70's. I was in high school at the time. The insinuation was that people didn't mind him seeing a prostitute. They thought he was stupid for paying with a check.

Jamie Dawn said...

Good stories all!
I really enjoy the weekend story thingy. I try and do it at Michael's blog too. I like reading what others come up with.

Mush: My hubby loves Mountain Dew. He would like to have won the contest.

The Mushroom said...

Young At Heart: I always wondered if there really was a reward for winning a game of Bullshit Bingo. After all the games I've played in corporate America... I do have the "going forward" and "go ahead and..." spots permanently blackened on my board.

Young at Heart in San Diego said...

Thank you Indie for your weekend invitations! They inspire me when I feel like I have nothing at all to say except for words on the Bullshit list. I read Robert Sheckley’s story this morning. So sad to lose such a great writer. I’m leaving for Europe tomorrow, so I won’t be writing for a few weeks. When I return I’ll have to write about the mad recurring airport dreams I always have right before a big trip. The naked back-to-school dreams pale in comparison. Merry Christmas everyone.

Indeterminacy said...

Mush & Young at Heart: I've noticed that most managers talk in buzzwords. The higher up you go the more abstract the buzzwords become, in the sense of no relation whatsoever to reality. But maybe the way to move up the chain of command is to talk like that.
Young: Have a great time in Europe! Come see me if you're in Hamburg.

weirsdo said...

The Sheckley story was charming! Thanks for the link.