Category Archives: short story

Stupidman

“And so now Lois thinks I’m not interested in her. Well, what was I supposed to do? Let the fire department take care of the kitten in the tree?” Clark Kent laments his story to Ma Kent on the front porch of his childhood farmhouse.

“Well, Clark, you need to learn how to delegate responsibilities to others who dedicate their lives to this,” Ma explained while knitting Clark’s next Christmas sweater.

Clark sat up, “I dedicate my life to this, Ma.”

“No, you dedicate Superman’s life, but you are sacrificing Clark’s.” Ma stopped knitting.

“It was a kitten!”

“Lois was going to kiss you after three years of chasing her!”

“I can’t believe you, Ma. Doubting my choices.” Clark stands, shoots Ma the look he perfected as a thirteen year old, and flies off in the direction of Metropolis.

Ma Kent sighs and shuffles out to the barn to talk to Pa Kent, “Jonathan, it was a kitten this time. A kitten instead of a kiss is why that big baby boy came crying to me today.”

Pa Kent stops milking a cow, “Again? That boy better figure out where his priorities are.”

“I just wish I get it through his thick skull that Superman doesn’t have to save everyone. He can save the whole world four times over but when it comes to stuff like this, Clark is stupid or something,” Ma Kent says.

Then Pa gives her the best idea since he made lead wrapped birthday presents.

Ma spends the rest of the night finishing Clark’s Christmas sweater. Instead of the usual ionic insignia, she embroiders stupid on it. She sets down her work with smile and kisses Pa on the forehead goodnight.

superman

Inspired by the image

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Skylos Milo

“With my new invention the Skylos Milo which means dog speak in Greek, I will be able to hear what dogs are trying to tell us. First, I will test my device in veterinary hospitals. Stomach ache? Labor pains? Pulled tendon? We’ll be able to understand your beloved canine. Then I will allow the device to be commercialized and the dog can actually be part of the family!” I explain to my potential investors.

“Professor Schwartzman, have you tested this device yet?” A board member asks.

I clasp my hands together, “Yes, I am in the final stage of testing. And I wouldn’t be before you here today if I wasn’t absolutely positive that my device can interpret what dogs are saying.”

The board decides to fund my device. I could not be happier. I rush home and cannot wait until next week for the lab to finish testing. Causally, I walk down my neighborhood street to the corner where the houses have the most dogs.

I have been working for this moment for five years. I start pushing buttons and flicking switches. An excitement unlike anything I have felt like ever before washes over me when I place the device like helmet on my head.

I hear a whirling sound then a dog barks chasing a car. I expect to hear a complex language even if the communication is not in English, but sadly not. “Hey! Hey!”

Then another dog barks at me, “Hey! Hey! Hey!”

Dogs do not communicate as much in sounds as I thought!? My life is ruined.

My device works perfectly, but it is the problem I was trying to solve ends up it is actually not even a problem.

dog talk

Inspired by the image

My Decrepit Soul

 

light bulb man

Story inspired by this image

“Congratulations, Private Johnson, you survived Basic Training,” Dad said patting me on the back.

All smiles, I say, “Thanks Dad. BCT was – really rough, but I’m glad to be able to- to have the experience.”

“Yeah, it was the experience all right.” My sister, Jessy, is doing everything I have not been able to do for ten weeks: chew bubble gum, pop her hip out, scroll through her phone, and say ‘yeah’.

Mom swoops in for a hug, “Well, honey, I am so incredibly proud of you!”

“Thanks. You’re letters really kept me going. Letters keep everyone . . . motivated. You can just see how different people act when they haven’t – uh- received any mail to when they finally have,” I say while at parade rest, a force of habit.

“We tried to write you as often as possible, but your letters just got to us so slowly,” Mom explains.

“Yes, the mail has to go through several, um what’s the word, post offices before coming to the base and often the drill sergeants don’t pass mail out for a week.” It is so strange being the center of attention again.

“Hm, that’s too bad,” Jessy says popping a bubble.

“Well, you must be in the best shape of your life, son,” Dad says.

“No, not really. I’ve got so many ant-bites, rashes and, oh whatdacallit, a stress fracture in my hip. Yes, I gained – muscle, I’m fit. But not the best shape, no.”

I did not realize how difficult it would be to talk. I have been focused on one task at a time and clearing everything else out of my mind for so long. Stringing words together that actually make sense is so foreign to me.

The Army has one large dictionary and the only words are swear words. I hardly swore before, and now restraining from cussing only makes talking all the more difficult.

I have forgotten so much. This morning a civilian asked me if the ground was muddy. I forgot what the word ‘ground’ meant. We have all forgotten voices, lyrics to our favorite songs, names of loved ones.

I feel like my mind is a glowing light bulb, but with the cord unplugged. Where I get my energy, my motivation, my will power is gone. I cannot find it; I am so exhausted not only physically but also emotionally. I have to be strong for my family, but I can hardly be strong for myself. Somehow, unbeknownst to me, I keep going, continue to have my light glow.

More muscle than ever before, but I have never felt this unconnected to the universe outside my own decrepit soul.

 

A Wrestler Named Tiny: A Mad Lib

Prompt from 642 Tiny Things to Write About: Once upon a time there was a _____ (adjective) wrestler named Tiny. One day, Tiny was ______ (verb ending in -ing) near the White House when an enormous  ______ (noun) fell on Tiny’s head. Because of that, Tiny was forever _____ (adverb). For some reason, no one investigated (end the story).

I asked my sister to fill in the blanks without telling her the story and she chose: purple, going, Harvard, and shiny. So the story is: Once upon a time there was a purple wrestler named Tiny. One day, Tiny was going near the White House when an enormous Harvard fell on Tiny’s head. Because of that, Tiny was forever shiny. For some reason, no one investigated.

Everyone has heard of the Wicked Witch of the West and her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East, but few know of their Warlock brother: the purple wrestler named Tiny of Washington DC. The Wicked Witch of the West was green but Tiny was purple because all super-villains are either green or purple (I mean there is Green Goblin, Lex Luther, Impossible Man, Annihilus, Hulk).

Tiny was going to the White House to inflict his wrath on the established authority because magic was not allowed in wrestling and he wanted to change the rules. Suddenly, an enormous Harvard fell on Tiny’s head; however, Tiny did not die because his magic powers saved him, but he became forever shiny. The whole event only added to his fame as a purple warlock wrestler, brother to the Wicked Witch of the West.

The similarities between what happened to Tiny and what happened to the Wicked Witch of the East are rather odd: both had magical powers and had buildings dropped on them; however, no little girl stole Tiny’s shoes (probably because they were too small for her because a purple warlock wrestler must have a reason why his name is “Tiny”). There must be a correlation between the Wicked Witch of the East’s ruby slippers and Tiny’s shininess. No one investigated the Harvard v. Tiny incident because everyone was so busy with some girl named Dorothy and some flying monkeys.


Thank you for indulging with me in some silliness. Some days you just feel like being silly and some days the world needs a bit of silly. 🙂

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Saving Humanity One Death at a Time

“Just so you know, I’m not apologizing. I simply figured that you’d want an explaination,” I say while I put on my purple latex gloves.

“In the United States alone, 5.3 million people suffer from paralysis. Doctors have ways to help once the stroke hits or therapy after the spinal cord injury, but nothing to prevent it. Hopefully that statement won’t be true after you.” I smile at him.

“What are you going to do?” Zenith asks, pretending to hide his nerves.

“Oh, you are such a good audience; you knew exactly what to do, Zenith! Hmm, that just sounds wrong to call you Zenith. What’s your name?” I ask getting out my checklist of procedures.

Silence is my only answer.

“Don’t worry, doctor-patient confidentiality.”

Begrudgingly, “Derek Cromwell.”

“Well, Derek, do you have any familial medical history, especially paralysis that I should know about? Or any current medical issues you have?

“No. And unless if you count superhuman abilities as a medical issue, no.” I would have thought Zenith would have more quips like he does when he is out catching crooks and stopping robbers.

“You mean, your enhanced strength, stamina, and speed? That shouldn’t affect the results too much. But what can you do, never can find the perfect test subject,” I wave my hand as if dismissing the thought. “So you asked how the procedure is going to be done. I’m going to place these electrodes on you-”

“Are you going to stun me with that gun of yours, Stunner?” Derek sneers.

“I built the gun with the technology I am about to perform, yes. And my name is not that blasted ‘Stunner’ as the newspapers boldly dramatizes in the headlines. I am Dr. Erika Quint.” I stand a little taller proclaiming my name. Everyone else will hear my name in the coming months.

“Wait, you’re an actual doctor? That’s why you wear the lab coat? You’re not just a crazy mad scientist?” Derek struggles against his restraints to look at me better.

“Well, technically, almost doctor. My university decided it would be better if I continued my research on my own. I don’t have an angry vengeance thing going on; I understand sometimes people are afraid of genius and the following success.”

“No lust for revenge, huh. In all of my crime fighting, I thought revenge was a number one must on the villain checklist,” Derek says puzzled.

“Ug, I’m not a villain! I’m just ahead of my time,” I finish my checklist. “After the university set me free, other research facilities thought my cause was worth donating their equipment for.”

“You mean you stole millions of dollars in medical equipment and stunned anyone with your gun if they got in your way,” Derek hisses.

“We scientist have to do a lot to fund our research. Sometimes that is wearing a fancy dress and wine and dine the potential sponsors. Or sometimes you have to wear a ski mask and lab goggles and learn how to disarm security systems,” I say while putting the nodes on his bare skin.

“You’re a menace to society.”

“I am saving humanity.”

He barks something that someone might mistake for a laugh, “By stealing, putting countless in the hospital, and experimenting on me?”

“It’s always confused me how most people think that the few currently living outweigh the billions yet to be born. Sure, I take full responsibility for harming a handful of individuals, but it is an easy price to pay for saving millions.” I place the final node on his upper thigh.

“Wow, your deranged conviction. There is no way I can convince you not to do this?” I see, not for the first time, fear flicker in his eyes. But this time it stays there.

“Am I really that deranged? I mean, I really want to know. I am not experimenting on little children, the helpless elderly, or mothers and fathers who would leave orphans. It’s just you, Derek. No girlfriend, mother passed when you were a junior in high school, father estranged. A few close friends, but you always happen to be fighting Empress Entropy and miss hanging out with them. I don’t even think they’ll notice. The thing is, I didn’t pick you because you’re Zenith but because if my procedure happens to not be successful, you, Derek Cromwell, won’t leave a vast gaping hole in the universe,” I say sincerely.

“But . . . I -um . . . Zenith, I mean, I am saving people. This city needs me.”

“Honestly, this city is overcrowded with Heroes. Who needs you when there’s Spider-man or Daredevil? Or the freakin’ Avengers?” I position the lights at the perfect angle.

“Hey I helped the Avengers out once,” Derek says proudly, almost forgetting what is about to happen.

“You filled in for The Thing at poker night. And you lost almost all of your money to Hawkeye. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been planning this for a long time.” I start flipping switches on my machine.

“I’m twenty-three, I have a whole life ahead of me. I can save so many more people,” Derek pleads.

“You will save more people by taking part in this procedure, than you could in a lifetime.” Derek begins to protest, but I put in his mouth guard.

“I’m not going to sugar coat this. It will probably hurt. But you are saving humanity.”

I push the button.

Johnny

“Can Johnny come out and play?”

I’m sorry, but Johnny is still in bed

trying to decide whether to have Captain Crunch or Trix for breakfast

And he has to figure out if he wants to watch PJ Masks or Paw Patrol

Also whether his favorite color should be green or blue

And find the answer why dogs don’t meow and cats don’t bark

As well as how ceiling fans work

After that, why water is blue, but snow is white

On top of all that, does he really like Melissa or does he just like that she has red hair because he does also

Also is his teacher, Ms. Jones, really that happy or is it her coffee in the morning

And why is Colorado the only straight sided state

Decide whether he should play soccer or baseball

And in middle school should he go through an emo phase

Should he commute to college or live in a dorm

Also is drinking allowed when he is 20 and 9 months like getting his driving permit at 14 and 9 months

And are student loans really worth it

If so, major in what

Choose whether memorizing or actually learning is better

Ponder why all the pretty girls don’t want to talk to him

As well as if his boss hates him or simply doesn’t care in the slightest about him

How he is going to pay the rent this month

Who to vote for governor

Should he pop the question to Staci

Pink and grey or light blue and buttercup yellow for the wedding

Mortgage, car insurance, leaking roof

And Golden Retriever or Basset Hound

Does he want to know the gender of the baby before hand

Pay raise if it means more hours at the office

How to make a toddler understand that the potty is where she makes her messes

Go to Hawaii for his five year anniversary

Buy a mini van or truck

Why does his wife’s Facebook page have no pictures of him, only the kid

Try to have another child after a miscarriage

Change jobs with a shorter drive, but more demanding work load

Should the twins names start with the same letter

Public or homeschool

And the doctor says to lose weight

Also should he root for his home state or current state to win the Super Bowl

What to do about Uncle Steven’s health failing

Have enough money to go to DisneyWorld

Are Russia and North Korea really teaming up

Put aside money for the kids college or for his retirement

And what about when his kid comes home in the back of a cop car

Should Staci go back to college to get a better degree

Also that unexpected surgery

Mom passing away

And is this man good enough for his daughter

Should date night Fridays become a thing again because the kids are out of the house

Old enough to be a grandpa

The stroke

Will the third grandchild feel as connected to him even though he was in rehab

Does he believe his son when he says he actually didn’t cheat on his wife, she did

Becoming a widower

Driver’s license taken away

What year was he born

“So ummm . . . You’re saying Johnny can’t come out and play?”

thinking

God Doesn’t Run on Batteries

A couple of weeks ago I had to walk my dog in the dark and by dark I mean more than an hour and half until sunrise. Besides the cold and the rain and the early mornings, the lack of light was really something new to me. I mean I have been on Lake Superior’s shores at midnight but this was a different kind of darkness. Up at the Lake I always knew that I could just walk a couple of feet and find my cabin or walk a couple of feet and find my friends.

But this darkness was different, it was more than just nighttime darkness, it was pervasive, swallowing, encompassing, and lonely darkness. Yes, I had the stars and my flashlight but it was strange to not see other people, other house lights, other signs of life more than the occasional cricket or tree swaying in the wind. It felt like I was the only human in the conscious world. Now I know this all may sound too dramatic and like I am a five-year-old scared of the dark, but to be honest the darkness is scary. The darkness is the unknown and I found a new perspective of that because of my early morning walks.

When I walked in the morning, the only sources of light were my flashlight, the stars, and my house end lights. The lack of light made the light all the more precious and I gained new insight to verses about light, particularly about Psalm 119:105 and Matthew 5:14-16.

My flashlight actually was a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. I relied on it to know if my next step was okay to take and where my next few steps would take me. The amount of trust I put into my flashlight is downright crazy. My family has had that flashlight since before I was born and not once did I think about it going out on me. I didn’t once think about the batteries or what I would do if it went out, I just trusted that it would guide me.

That’s the way I want to be with God. To put total trust in Him to secure my next step and to show me where to walk next. I should put even more trust in God than my flashlight because God doesn’t run on batteries. I only knew where I was with my flashlight if I pointed it in the direct I wanted to go, but what if that was the wrong direction? With God, I don’t decide the direction; God does. Oh, am I glad that He is my guide. His timing and direction is beyond perfect, beyond any coincidence I could even think of, God truly still is the God of miracles. How much better would my life be if I trusted Him to guide me to the right path verses trying to stumble my way through the darkness? We should trust God to guide us because He knows the road map when we only have a tiny flashlight.

Just think about how much time and energy we waste having this pent up anxiety about which path to take, what university to go to, which job to take, who is the right partner. Just think how much easier it would be just to give it all over to God, to let Him guide you through life, to let Him be the light on your path. I want to let my path be God’s path, my light to be God’s light, my life to be God’s life. I want to be God’s. I don’t have that much time and energy to waste trying to figure out my life when I know God already has it all figured out and I just need to say “yes”. God is my light and my guide.

The other verse I gained insight to was Matthew 5:14-16, particularly about the city on the hill. I walk my dog around the property line of my ten-acres and my house is in the center of my property built on a hill. I could see my house’s end-lights from anywhere on the property and my house became a sort of beacon. A beacon saying, “Within this light is safety and familiarity, the darkness and the unknown is not present here.” My house and the light was safety, safety from the wild animals that could be just around the next tree, safety from the unknown.

This thought was quite different from my general take away from Matthew 5: 14-16, I had always thought that the ‘city on a hill’ was a light of goodness and hope to a world in darkness. Now I realize different, the city is also a refuge, a shield from the darkness, just enough time to catch your breath before you plunge back into the unknown. The Church should also be a city on a hill, not just source of goodness and hope to the world but a place to go when you just need a break, when you need security, when you have been emptied and need to be filled. The Church should be restorative and a refuge. The Church shouldn’t just be a lighthouse or a beacon saying that hope still lives, it should also be a campfire – a place to come to to rest up and talk with friends, a place of comfort and community.

I realized that the darkness wasn’t scary after I focused on God and on His Word. God was the guide of my path, He had me securely in His light, so I didn’t have to worry anymore. Once you focus on God then the twists and turns and questions of life pale in comparison to His light. God is in control so step back and follow His light.

city on a hill