I’ve fallen a bit behind in posting my Twitter compilations. The following are the “best of” from my November stories. For the first half of the month, I used a random word generator to give me prompts, then I gave up on that method and just started writing whatever came to me. Hope you enjoy!
Presenting: the middle school boy in his natural habitat. You wouldn’t know from his nest that his mother once taught him cleanliness. Soon courting rituals will begin, but for now he revels in his pungent aroma meant to alert the females of the species that he is not yet available.
We sat at the lunch table together; you were new and needed a friend. I shared my cookies and you gave me half your sandwich because I had forgotten my own. I remember that day often. You never came to school again. A careless driver saw to that.
She opened the box of pastels, inhaling the waxy scent. Heaven. Selecting the first hue, she pulled the crayon across the canvas– the first stroke of brilliance to liven the blank space. There was infinite potential in that first mark. More would follow, but the first was always her favorite.
He broke her camera,
So she popped his ball,
So he ate her cookies-
She drew on his walls.
He snuck in her bedroom
And cut off her hair;
She hid on the landing
And pushed him down the stairs.
Armageddon had come to the Jones household. No one survived.
“…sign here, and the flying carpet is yours.”
“Wait. I’m reading: _The buyer…responsible for carpet unraveling…damage from sun or weather…_ How likely is that?”
“Oh, there’s no worry, as long as you take good care of it.”
“Right…umm…I’ll just stick with my trusty old broom.”
The zoo housed all sorts of people, collected over the years. Repeat visits were common, since there was always something new to see.
The Dancer was a favorite breed, as were Singers and Painters. But even those perennial attractions were eclipsed the day the zoo acquired an Arsonist.
He started out small– knocking down a house here, setting a fire there. Soon, whole cities had crumbled under his hand. The Destroyer inflicted his handiwork on the devastated world, until at last, there was nothing left to decimate. What now? He sighed, and started to rebuild…
Eleven years he had studied, and in the end all for nothing. Just days after he’d made his oath to the Goddess, his entire world shattered– destroyed in an instant by the fire mountain. He alone had survived– a ministry of one. “Mistress,” he vowed. “I _will_ rebuild Your Church.”
“Dad, how did our ancestors float before they invented hovercraft?”
“Well Son, they didn’t.”
“Really? How did they get around?”
“They walked, or rode vehicles with wheels that rolled.”
“You mean, their feet touched the ground? And they had to move their legs?”
“It was a brutal age.”
She stood against the railing of the arena with bated breath. Rodge was up; his red cowboy hat bobbed behind the gate. It opened. Eight seconds stretched into eternity, but it was the way Rodge fell, rolled, and sprang up in an elegant maneuver that set his girl’s heart racing.
You approached me, as I sat on my porch watching my children play. You asked for a smoke; I said I’m sorry I don’t smoke. You lingered; I repeated myself. You walked away, sagging. I think about you often, and how I lost the opportunity to give you what you needed most: a friend.
There was one corner of the old house, behind a heavy chair that hadn’t been moved in ages. Generations of dust-bunnies lived and thrived there, reproducing as bunnies do. Welcome to Paradise, they said to newcomers blown into their community. We hope you stay.
They always did.
Mom scheduled everything: The day I was born; bottle feeding; potty time; chores, play– all of it. At 13 I’d had enough, and told her I was running away.
“When?” She asked.
I got out my planner, searched for an available time.
“Um, in five years?”
She smiled. “Works for me.”
You started showing up in my newsfeed– a friend of a friend, I suppose. I’ve memorized your face from all the pictures other people have shared. You seem to be everywhere– the lonely face in every crowd. Nobody tags you, but you still stand out to me. I wish I knew your name.
The best thing I ever ate was the crusty bread dough from my grandma’s counter. I baked loaf after loaf, trying to recreate that single bite. I never discovered the secret, until I stood at my own countertop with my own grandchild. “Taste this,” I said.
“Mmmm, what is it?”
“Choose,” said the dark figure.
“You mean I don’t have to go with you?”
The Grim Reaper nodded.
“Why did the rules change?”
“Surplus population. The Afterlife isn’t as desperate for new souls anymore.”
“I get to live?”
“In a way.”
*** That’s the story of how I became a ghost.”