The Hulk’s Kryptonite

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When George approached his car in the parking lot of the mall, he stopped in his tracks. Four foot long scratches lead to a basketball sized dent on the passenger side door of his six month old Mustang.

The wound on his car caused George a physical pain. He flailed his fists in the air and unleashed a primal scream.

A mother passing nearby pulled her son’s arm. “Don’t look. Some people in this city need help.”

Rage clouded any rational thought. George had the fervent wish to become the Hulk and unleash unrelenting horror on the people who did this.

“Hulk smash!” he shouted, instinctively.

Two teenaged girls heard him. “Some people be crazy,” one teenager said to the other.

“I’m not crazy!” shrieked George, spit flying from his mouth. He wheeled around in time to watch the girls run toward the mall entrance. Their fear gave him a perverse sense of satisfaction.

George turned his attention back to his car. There, standing beside the door, was an old man. “There’s a ‘whoops.’ Well, everything changes, and not all changes are bad.”

“Was it you?” asked George, breathing heavily.

The old man smiled. “No. They took my license away a couple of years ago.”

George gave the old man a puzzled, wild eyed look.

The old man shook his head. “It’s too bad it happened to such a beautiful car. Still, it’s just a thing that can be fixed. I’m sorry all the same.” He turned around and shuffled away.

The rage that George felt slowly dissipated as he watched the old man leave. It was at that moment George learned the Hulk’s one weakness: perspective.

Posted in fiction, flash fiction, Hulk, humor, humour, mall, Mustang, perspective, rage, short fiction, short story, story | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sharing A Dream Is Not Always A Good Idea

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Craig bumbled his way into work. He walked into a doorframe and bounced off the walls on his way to his cubicle.

“What’s the matter with you?” asked Mindy, his cubicle neighbour.

Craig dropped into his chair. “I’m not sleeping very well. I keep having the strangest dreams.”

“Nightmares?”

“I wish.”

“Are they the kind you can remember?”

“Vividly. Last night I dreamed I was at a Cuban resort. It was raining. Someone told me it would only last thirty minutes, so I decided to use the time to write a magazine article.”

“That’s not so bad,” said Mindy.

“Yeah? Well, I went to the lobby, looking for a place to write. I bumped into former US president Jimmy Carter with his wife Rosalyn. Right beside me was a really old women I somehow recognized as Jimmy Carter’s mom. Off in the distance former president Ronald Reagan was reading a newspaper,” explained Craig.

“What about Fidel Castro and Che Guevara? I bet they’d all get along great together,” quipped Mindy.

“No. Look, it’s my dream. Anyway, Jimmy Carter’s daughter or granddaughter dropped of her baby and left. Jimmy Carter brought the baby over to his mom and she changed the baby’s diaper.”

“Is the baby going to turn into some sort of zombie?”

“No. Listen. Jimmy Carter’s mom handed me a poopy diaper. It looked like gritty mustard, It was so gross. You know the panhandler who hangs out by the front of the building? He was there with me. We looked at each other trying to figure out what to do with this diaper,” said Craig.

Mindy was now listening intently. “Then what happened?”

“I woke up.”

“That’s it?”

“Yep. What do you think it means?”

“That depends,” mused Mindy.

“On what?”

“Did you eat anything right before bed?”

“No.”

“Have a headache?”

“No.”

“Take any drugs, legal or otherwise?”

“Nope.”

“Huh,” grunted Mindy.

“What?”

“Your dream means you are going to die alone.”

“What? How do you get that from my dream?”

Mindy smiled. “Well, after I tell all the women I know how crazy you are, no one will even touch you.”

Posted in Che Guevara, Cuba, dream, fiction, Fidel Castro, flash fiction, humor, humour, Jimmy Carter, nightmare, Ronald Reagan, short fiction, short story, sleep, story | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Group Astronomy

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“I don’t want to be a team player. Everyone in my group is useless. They don’t do any work. I do it all,” whined Emily. She heard a tone in her voice that even she found unsympathetic.

“I hear what you’re saying, Emily. I validate your feelings. But don’t you think we all work in different ways? Some people approach challenges from different angles. They offer fresh perspectives. Don’t you find that helpful?” asked Dr. Stalwart.

Emily thought his tone sounded more condescending than supportive.

“No. I’m an astronomer. I sit and look at stars all night. Why do I need to be on a team?” demanded Emily.

Dr. Stalwart’s brows wrinkled as he thought. “They could help keep you focused and awake.”

“I’m an insomniac.”

“What if you see something you don’t recognize?”

“Everything I observe is recorded and transmitted to observatories around the world. Besides, I enjoy my time alone. It’s one of the perks of the job.”

Dr. Stalwart sighed at his failed attempts to diffuse the situation.

“Emily, you’re on a team. It’s how this institution operates. That’s final,” announced Dr. Stalwart. He turned on his heels and stormed off.

A frustrated Emily slumped on a stool. “Academia is an introvert’s hell.”

Posted in academia, astronomy, fiction, flash fiction, humor, humour, introvert, short fiction, short story, story | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Invisible Bifocals

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The afterwork rush at the pharmacy meant Betty was running late. She’d already had three texts and a phone call from Findley, wondering how much longer he had to wait.

“Betty, how are you?”

The voice of Carla startled her. In their youth the two women had been inseparable, but time and circumstance caused them to drift apart.

“Are you picking up prescriptions? Are you okay?” asked Carla. She was nosily looking at the small collection of bottles and medical supplies Betty was carrying.

“These? No. They’re for Findley,” explained Betty, reassuringly.

“Is Findley okay? If there’s anything you need, you always know you can call me. Anytime,” said Carla.

“He’ll be okay,” said Betty.

“What’s wrong?”

Betty laughed at Carla’s expression of concern. “He got his first pair of bifocals. You know, those invisible kind.”

Carla nodded. “I’ve heard those are hard to get used to,” she said, sympathetically.

“In more ways that one. I think something in his brain snapped. After he got them he joined an artistic blacksmith association.”

“Why?”

“Probably to grasp at his fading youth. Anyway, he was working away on a wrought iron coat rack. The optician warned him that they’ll alter his depth perception, but you know Findley. He whacked his wrist with the blacksmith hammer. Broke it in three places,” said Betty, stifling a smile.

“That’s terrible.”

“That’s not all. He kept swinging away with that stupid hammer. The second time he broke his ankle,” said Betty. This time she laughed.

“I can’t believe you think it’s funny,” said Carla. For some reason she also started to chuckle.

“Well, if Findley wanted to recapture his youth, it worked. Now he’s at home, acting like a baby,” said Betty. The two women laughed so hard they attracted the attention of a security guard.

At that moment, Betty received another text from Findley.

“Are you late with his pain meds?” asked Carla.

Betty looked at Carla with a smirk and a twinkle in her eye. “No. It’s time for a diaper change.”

Posted in aging, blacksmith, fiction, flash fiction, humor, humour, invisible bifocals, short fiction, short story, story, youth | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

42

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William stared out of his office window overlooking the hospital.

“I turned forty-two last week,” he said to no one in particular.

“Oh, happy birthday,” said Tanner, his assistant.

“Save it. It sucks.”

“What wrong?”

William examined Tanner closely. “How old are you?”

“Twenty-six,” replied Tanner. William found Tanner’s ebullient nature irritating.

“I have underwear older than you,” snapped William.

“Maybe your should invest in a new pair,” said Tanner, with a sly grin.

“That’s not the point,” said William. He stretched in his chair. “When you get to my age you realize a few things.”

“Is this what a midlife crisis looks like? You’re not going to do anything reckless, are you?”

William glared at Tanner. “Like what?”

“I don’t know. Like replace your forty year old wife for two twenties,” suggested Tanner.

“Look at me. What twenty year old would date this? I still can’t believe any woman married me.”

“Especially a woman as attractive as your wife, if you don’t mind me saying.”

“It’s true, and I do mind you saying it,” snapped William. “I was thinking career change.”

“What would you do?”

“I’m not exactly qualified for anything else.”

“Maybe you could go back to school,” suggested Tanner.

“Wouldn’t that be fun,” said William, sarcastically. “Nothing like hanging out with kids to remind you how old you are.”

“I’m not much older than a college student.”

“You know what really stinks? Seeing all those people my own age who are so happy with their lives. It makes me wonder what’s wrong with me that I’m so miserable,” lamented William.

“Godliness with contentment is great gain,” mumbled Tanner.

“What did you say?”

“It’s nothing. Just something my grandpa used to say. I’m not sure anyone is actually any happier. You should know that, hearing people’s problems every day.”

“It’s the curse of the psychiatrist. That reminds me. Don’t I have an appointment at three?”

Tanner flipped through the appointment book. “Addiction recovery group.”

William rose from his chair and stretched. “Back to the grind.”

“Dr. Purcell, what are you going to do about, well, what we just talked about?”

“Simple. I’ll buy a Porsche. Call the dealer and arrange for a test drive,” said William, as he confidently strode out the door.

Tanner shook his head. “Whatever you say. You’re the expert.”

Posted in contentment, fiction, flash fiction, humor, humour, middle age, midlife crisis, Porsche, psychiatrist, short fiction, short story, story | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Intellectual Homicide

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A bright orange air ambulance buzzed over downtown

“Looks like somebody’s having a bad day,” said Kingston.

Otis watched the helicopter until it disappeared behind the skyline. He was too sullen to care about someone else’s bad day.

“What’s up with him?” Sebastian asked Piper.

“I’m guessing a First World problem,” replied Piper.

“I wonder where it’s going?” asked Kingston. He was still looking at the sky.

“Israel Kamakawiwo’ole,” said Sebastian.

“Was that even English?” snapped Otis.

“Hawaiian, actually,” said Piper. “It’s a name, to be specific.”

“What’s that have to do with anything?” snarled Otis.

“It’s the answer to Kingston’s question,” said Sebastian.

“He did the most amazing version of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’,” said Piper.

“Then why can’t you just say that?” complained Otis.

“What’s got your knickers in a twist?” asked Kingston.

“Yeah. What gives? You’re acting all Barney,” said Sebastian.

Otis shrugged his shoulders and looked at Piper.

“You’ve got trouble,” whispered Piper.

“Well, I shaved off my beard and mustache. Now, the facial recognition security feature on my phone doesn’t recognize me,” explained Otis.

“You shaved? I totally didn’t notice,” said Sebastian.

“How did we miss that? You look younger,” said Kingston.

“Does that mean you’re locked out of your phone?” asked Piper. Her forehead wrinkled as she thought.

“Totally and completely,” sighed Otis.

“McFerrin the moment, dude,” said Kingston.

“What?”

“Don’t worry, be happy,” Sebastian interpreted for Otis.

“No, wait. That’s totally a Second World problem,” said Piper.

“Explain,” said Kingston.

“Otis, is everything on your phone?” asked Piper. There was a tension in her voice.

“Totally and completely,” sighed Otis.

“Holy EMP, Batman. You’ve been Chernobylled,” said Sebastian.

“KABOOM,” added Kingston.

“What are your options?” asked Piper.

“What’s left after a social lobotomy? Complete neanderthal,” said Sebastian.

“You know, there’s an opportunity here. I’m talking a ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ sort of thing,” said Kingston.

“Oh yeah. Zombies make everything better,” said Sebastian.

“What’re you saying?” Otis turned to Piper. “What’re they saying?”

“You could rewrite your life. Start over,” explained Piper.

“Intellectual homicide,” said Sebastian. He smiled to himself as he nodded his head.

Otis rubbed his face in frustration. “I gotta go figure this out,” he said as he turned to leave.

The others silently watched him leave. When he was out of earshot Piper spoke. “Definitely a Second World problem.”

“But every problem is an Edison,” said Sebastian.

“Truer words, man. Truer words.”

Posted in Bobby McFerrin, cell phone, Don't Worry Be Happy, facial recognition, fiction, flash fiction, humor, humour, intellectual homicide, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, short fiction, short story, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, story, zombies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Broken Cell Phone Conundrum

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Evelyn was visibly annoyed when she arrived home from work.

“I’ve been trying to get a hold of you all day,” she said to her husband, Spencer.

“I’m sorry. My phone died,” said Spencer. He offered his wife a consoling hug but was brusquely rebuffed.

“What? I said I’m sorry,” said Spencer, defensively. “I’ll go to the mall tonight and get a new one.”

“I could’ve died today and you’d have no idea.”

“Did you?”

“Did I what?”

“Die today. Am I taking to your ghost, returned from the netherworld to haunt me for the rest of my life?”

“Spencer, I’m serious.”

“What do you want me to say? I didn’t plan for this to happen. To tell you the truth, it’s been a real headache not being able to get a hold of anyone,” said Spencer. He was acting more annoyed than he really felt, hoping to appease Evelyn.

Evelyn wasn’t impressed. “Whatever. You hate cell phones.”

“There’s a big difference between hating them and needing them.”

“You always look for the easy way out of things. Remember when you drove on the sidewalk just so you wouldn’t have to get out of the truck to put a letter in the mailbox?”

“How can I forget? You won’t let me. Maybe I broke my phone just so I don’t get reminded of it again?”

“You’re overreacting,” sniffed Evelyn.

“Says the woman who could’ve died today,” snapped Spencer, sarcastically.

The two stared at each other in icy silence.

“You wish I was dead,” said Evelyn. She burst into tears and ran to the bedroom.

Spencer stood in the hallway, shaking his head. He had no idea what just happened, and at this point he did’t care.

Posted in cell phone, fiction, flash fiction, humor, humour, husband, short fiction, short story, story, wife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments