The Value of a Good Narrator

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Brent and Stephanie walked through the furniture store, choosing a new couch for the living room. They found a turquoise love seat that made Brent cringe.

“I love it, don’t you?” asked Stephanie.

At this moment, everything in the world around Brent stopped. A narrator emerged from the shadows.

“What you have just experienced,” said the narrator, “is a rhetorical question. Stephanie does not actually care what you think.”

“Really?” asked Brent. “Then why’d she ask for my opinion?”

“You’ve clearly missed the subtle cues. By saying she likes it, she wants you to affirm her opinion,” explained the narrator.

“But I don’t like it.”

“That’s irrelevant,” said the narrator.

“She said I had to come along to help pick out a couch. This thing is hideous and uncomfortable, and it’s not even a couch,” complained Brent.

The narrator listened patiently as Brent vented. “You clearly missed the point of this exercise.”

“Which is?”

“Moral support,” said the narrator. “We all know you’re favourite piece of furniture is a beanbag chair.”

“That’s ‘cause they’re awesome.”

“They are,” admitted the narrator, “if you’re a ten year old boy. You’re now an adult, so you need adult furniture.”

“Maybe, but not that,” scoffed Brent.

The narrator waved his hand around the furniture store. “Which one would you rather have?”

Brent eyes darted from couch to couch. “I don’t know.”

“Stephanie knows exactly what she wants,” explained the narrator.

“They why drag me along?”

The narrator sighed deeply. “You’re not paying attention. You’re here to support her decision.”

“Right,” nodded Brent. “So what should I do?”

“That depends. Do you want to keep her happy?”

“Sure.”

“Well then…” led the narrator.

Understanding filled Brent’s face. “That’s why it’s a rhetorical question.”

The narrator smiled. “I think you’ve got it.”

“I do now, thanks,” said Brent. “You’re a really helpful guy to have around.”

“I do my best,” said the narrator. “Are you ready to continue?”

“Yes. Wait. Why have I never met you before today? You could’ve saved me a lot of grief over the years,” said Brent.

“There’s only one of me, and a lot of need.”

“That makes sense, I guess,” admitted Brent. “Will I ever meet you again?”

“I can’t make any guarantees, so learn this lesson well,” said the narrator.

“Sure thing.”

The narrator stepped back into the shadows and the world sprung back to life.

“So, do you love it?” asked Stephanie.

“It’s perfect,” replied Brent.

She smiled and gave him a hug. “I knew you would.”

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Applied Bioengineering

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Amber burst through the front door and ran in search of her dad. She found him down in the basement playing Skyrim.

“Dad! I figured out what I want to be,” she proclaimed.

Her dad paused his game and examined her thoughtfully over the frame of his glasses. “Do tell.”

“I’m going to be a bioengineer,” she announced.

His response was immediate. “Nope.”

It was like a punch to the stomach. “Why not? Is it because I’m a girl?” she accused.

“Not at all.”

Tears filled her eyes. “You don’t think I’m smart enough,” she replied.

“You are certainly smart enough to do that,” said her dad with confidence.

Amber stomped her foot. “Then why not?”

Her dad sat up in his chair. “It’s simple. Frankenstein was a bioengineer, and I don’t want you to become a Frankenstein.”

Amber’s jaw dropped and she stumbled over her reply. When she finally found her words, all she could say was, “You’re weird. This whole family is weird.”

“Yeah, and you’re one of us. That’s the beauty of genetics. You can’t escape it,” said her dad, with a wide smile.

Amber stormed off to her room. Before she slammed the door, she yelled, “I’m a prisoner of my own genes!”

He dad laughed. “It’s a life sentence!”

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Brotherly Support

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The first thing Luke noticed about his brother Ben sitting at the kitchen table were the dark circles under his eyes.

“What’s wrong with you?” asked Luke.

Ben hung his head. “I had the weirdest dream last night.”

“I don’t unusually remember my dreams,” noted Luke.

“Me neither. Last night was different,” explained Ben.

“How bad was it?” asked Luke.

Ben took a long sip of coffee. “I was on a cruise ship riding a wave rider. I was doing okay for a while, but I lost my balance and fell. The next thing I knew, I was tossed around a washing machine.”

“Weird is right.”

“It gets worse. Just when I thought I was gonna drown, the load ended and I was hung on a clothes line in somebody’s backyard. It was really windy and I was blown over a fence into the woods.”

Luke glared at this brother.

“The next thing I knew, I was an acorn. A squirrel stuffed me in his cheek and scampered away. I figured I was gonna be eaten, but he spit me out and buried me in the ground. Just when I thought I was gonna suffocate, I woke up,” said Ben.

“That’s freaky,” agreed Luke.

“What do you think?” asked Ben.

Luke smiled. “I hope you’re not contagious.”

Ben punched his brother in the arm and the two started wrestling.

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The Big News Pie Company and Deputy Service

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The ringing bell over the door let Gonzalo know he had a customer. He emerged from the back and smiled.

“Welcome to the Big News Pie Company. How can I help you today?”

A nervous looking man approached the counter. “Is this the place that puts messages on pies?” he asked.

“Absolutely. We decorate pies for any occasion,” explained Gonzalo.

The customer scratched his head and shuffled his feet. “I’m not sure this is a good idea.”

“I’m sure we can figure something out. Is it for a special occasion?”

“I kinda killed someone’s pet rabbit.”

“Ouch.”

“Well, I didn’t realize it was her rabbit at the time. I saw it in her back yard, and meat is expensive, so I cooked it up,” explained the customer.

Gonzalo’s eyes grew wide and he glanced at this phone. “Who’s rabbit was it?”

“Janis,” sighed the customer. “I love her more than anything.”

“Is she your girlfriend?”

The customer blushed. “No. We haven’t exactly met yet.”

“Does she even know who you are?” he asked.

“Sure. Oh sure,” defended the customer. “We’re practically neighbours.”

“Practically?”

“I spend a lot of time in time in the woods behind her house,” explained the customer.

“Right,” said Gonzalo. As subtly as possible, he ran his hand under the counter and pressed the emergency response button. “So what kind of pie do you want?”

“I’m no expert. What do you suggest?”

“Apple pie is comfort food,” said Gonzalo.

“What would you send to say ‘I love you’? I want one of those,” said the customer.

Gonzalo shook his head. “You ate her rabbit. Love will be the furthest thing from her mind.”

“You think so?”

“I am the expert,” said Gonzalo.

At that moment, two police officers entered the shop. The customer made a run for it, but was quickly apprehended.

Once it was over, one of the officers approached Gonzalo at the counter.

“That’s the fourth one this month,” said the officer.

“Does that make me a deputy?” asked Gonzalo.

The officer laughed. “It should.”

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Evolved To A Better Smelling Species

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I overheard a conversation in the coffee aisle of the grocery store:

“I missed you earlier. Are you feeling okay?”

“Like a million dollars-“

“Awesome.”

“-in debt.”

“Ouch. What’s wrong?”

“I got reprimanded at work.”

“Why?”

“It’s supposed to be a scent free environment, right? I still wore deodorant, and someone ratted me out.”

“Do you know who?”

“Yeah. She said it gives her migraines.”

“That’s rough.”

“It’s stupid. That’s what it is. I have to put up with the stench of BO all over the place, but God forbid I want to smell better than neanderthals.”

The other person laughed.

“It’s not funny. Why’d we evolve to a higher species if we can’t smell like one?”

The laughing intensified into a full blown fit.

“And it’s not like it’s a scent free environment, is it? All those nasty, sweaty bodies polluting the nostrils of those of us who are olfactory enhanced.”

“Stop it. I have to pee,” said the laughing one.

“I can’t be funny now, either? What a rip. You know what? Life’s not fair.”

The other finally calmed down. “You certainly have your troubles.”

“You look like a sympathy card.”

“Made just for you.”

“I don’t know why I tell you anything.”

I picked my coffee and moved on, convinced the apocalypse would soon be upon us.

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Human Nature

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Miles was caught in the morning rush hour, driving to a meeting he didn’t want to attend. The pleasant voices on the radio, normally a welcome distraction, only heightened his anxiety.

Reaching for his coffee, Miles looked down for only a second. Up ahead, city workers closed the left lane for construction. Miles flinched at the mass of brake lights. The cup shifted in his hand, aided by the inertia of the sudden deceleration. He avoided the collision, but not the splash of coffee down his chest and onto his lap.

“Not today,” Miles shouted at this dashboard. He slammed the cup back in it’s holder, sending a brown spout shooting against the console. The heat of the puddle already made him uncomfortable.

A quick glance at the clock confirmed what he already knew. He didn’t have time to go home and change. Miles cursed at his misery.

As he looked for something to sop up the excess liquid, Miles noticed a woman in the car beside him. She was having a grand old time, singing and dancing in her seat. It angered him to see someone enjoying themselves while he was soaked in hot coffee. He shouted at her, but she was oblivious to his suffering.

Without warning, the woman in the next car did a face plant into the airbag of her steering wheel. It was accompanied with the sound of smashing glass and crumpling metal. The stunned woman barely had time to recognize the events of her accident.

Miles laughed out loud as he left her behind. He was having a bad day, but it wasn’t as bad a hers.

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Why You Should Never Talk to Strangers

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It was an usually warm Autumn day. Brett joined Milt by the open garage door of the oil change shop that faced Main Street. A customer wandered over as he waited for his car.

“Never saw anyone come or go,” said Brett.

“Come or go where?” asked the customer.

“That house across the street,” said Brett.

“It’s weird. We’ve been watchin’ that house for two years. City workers come by to cut the grass and shovel the snow, but they never talk to anyone inside,” explained Milt.

“And no one leaves. You’d think the place is empty,” added Brett.

“Maybe the owners are old or disabled,” suggested the customer.

“There’s no wheelchair ramp,” said Brett.

“And it doesn’t explain the city workers,” added Milt.

A city truck pulled up to the house from a side street. Two men in orange coveralls jumped out and started trimming the shrubs.

“See what I mean?” asked Milt.

“Wanna know what I think?” asked Brett.

“What?” replied the customer.

“I think it’s a government safe house. I bet there’s a witness under protection in there. An informant for the mob or something,” said Brett.

“That sounds pretty unbelievable,” said the customer.

“What else could it be?” asked Milt.

The customer turned away and pulled out his phone. “Cover’s blown,” he whispered.

Three black SUVs surrounded the garage. Bags were thrown over the heads of the garage employees and were thrown in the back and whisked away.

Within seconds, all that was the customer standing alone by the door. The manager of the garage approached.

“Told you so,” said the manager.

The customer shook his head. “We have to be more careful.”

“I’ll hire a couple more guys,” said the manager.

“This time, pick ones who are less observant.”

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