Advice From the Business Guru

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It was lunchtime in the business district. Crowds of well dressed men and women flocked outside to enjoy the first beautiful day of Spring.

“Did you know that grey is the most popular colour of car?” declared Preston.

“I don’t know about that. I’m pretty sure it’s white,” said Burt.

“Trust me, it’s grey,” said Preston.

“Okay,” said Burt, skeptically. He pulled out his smartphone.

“Why even bring it up?” asked Natalie.

“I have a theory,” said Preston.

“Ah,” said Natalie, interrupting Preston. She hoped it would shut him up.

“The popularity of grey has to do with the desire of most people to live anonymously,” explained Preston.

“That’d be true if grey was the most popular colour of car,” said Burt.

“It is. Trust me,” said Preston.

“Maybe it’s because grey hides dirt better,” said Natalie.

“That makes more sense than the psychobabble Preston’s been spewing,” said Burt.

“What d’ya mean?” asked Preston.

“You’ve developed an entire theory based on a false assumption. See?” said Burt, holding up his smartphone. “The most common colour of car is white.”

“What do you have to say now, smart guy?” asked Natalie, hoping this time Preston would shut up.

“Wait, this isn’t right. You’re supposed to believe me. ‘Walk with purpose, speak with authority and people will believe you’. That what it says in the latest self-help business book I read,” complained Preston.

“That’s only true if the people you’re talking to don’t have access to the internet,” laughed Burt.

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The Philosophy of Feminine Hygiene Product Commercials

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Violet got inspired by a feminine hygiene commercial. It was one that encouraged middle aged women to live their dreams courageously. That philosophy combined with years of public schooling that taught her she could do anything if she believed in herself, and Violet was brimming with self-confidence.

The adventure she chose to pursue was her childhood dream of becoming a ballerina. She signed herself up in the beginner’s class at La Petite Princess Dance School.

On a bright Saturday morning, Violet arrived at ballet class. She found herself among twenty-five 6 year olds.

“Which one is yours?” asked a woman her age. “Mine is the one in the polka dot tights.”

Thoughts raced through Violet’s head. The one thing she could not do, under any circumstances, was tell the truth. She frantically looked around the room for a child she might claim as her own. Mainly, however, she was relieved the sweatpants she was wearing covered her matching polka dot tights.

“Do you remember doing this as a little girl?” asked the mother. “It sure brings back memories.”

“Yeah,” laughed Violet, self-consciously.

“I guess now we have to live our ballerina dreams vicariously through our children,” added the mother.

“I guess.”

“Could you imagine doing these moves now? Plié, elevé, passé, épaulé. I’d do some serious damage if I tried that now,” laughed the mother.

“Yeah, me too,” said Violet, sadly.

Violet blushed and slipped out the door when no one was looking. That was the last time she’d heed the philosophy of feminine hygiene products. But the more she thought about it, she was also disillusioned with her public school education.

Posted in ballerina, education, feminine hygiene products, fiction, flash fiction, humor, humour, philosophy, public school, short fiction, short story, story | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Word Guild Award Nomination

I just learned that my novel, The Pastor Who Hated Church, has shortlisted for a Word Guild Award!

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The Emergency

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It all happened so nonchalantly. Blake was in the kitchen, cutting up potatoes, when something in his brain clicked. The last slice wasn’t in a potato. He held up his hand, now dripping with blood. Only then did his brain catch up with his body.

His finger throbbed. His head went woozy. His lungs, however, functioned normally.

“Ingrid! I need some help! Hurry!” he shouted.

“The pot is in the drawer beneath the stove,” said Ingrid, as she sauntered into the kitchen. When she saw the blood, the colour drained from her face. She launched herself toward the sink and threw up.

The sight of his own blood and the acrid smell of vomit were too much for Blake. He passed out, dropping like a stone on the tile floor.

Once Ingrid finished regurgitating breakfast, she turned her attention to Blake. She managed to wrap his finger before her head started spinning. Everything went black.

Blake opened his bleary eyes an hour or so later. Laying beside his was Ingrid, her hair matted with half digested Cheerios. Off in the hallway, two Emergency Medical Technicians were talking.

“The way I figure it, the guy cut himself and passed and the girl puked, the joined him on the floor,” said the first EMT.

“Seriously?” asked the second EMT.

“It’s the only explanation I can come up with,” said the first EMT.

The second EMT shook his head. “You know, the longer I do this job, the less I believe in evolution.”

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The Commencement Address

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Brent hoped for this day his whole life. It was a bucket list item. He was asked by his old high school to speak at the graduation. Years dedicated to the funeral business finally paid off.

The graduation was a typically solemn affair. Graduates we dressed in black robes and teary eyes. Just prior to the commencement was the scheduled time for Brent’s address. He stood before the audience, cleared his throat and offered the best advice he knew.

“Distinguished guests, graduates, there’s no doubt you’ll all go your separate ways after this moment, so here’s the best advice I’ve got. In this life, there are three people you need to know: secretaries, janitors and computer techs. Secretaries know all the right people and the ways to meet them. If you treat them well, there’s no one you can’t reach. Janitors have all the keys. No doors are closed to janitors. They can get you into virtually anywhere. Finally, get to know a good computer tech. This is especially important if you’re computer illiterate. If you get to know these three people, you’ll go far.” When he finished, Brent returned to his seat.

The confused school district superintendent turned to Brent and said, “Is that all?”

Brent thought for a second, then snapped his fingers. “Oh yes, I almost forgot. Be nice to funeral directors. The last thing you want is to look bad at your own funeral.”

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Dirty Wifi and the Tennis Strategy

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Ian bumbled into the tennis club with a coffee in his hand and sleep in his eyes. Waiting on the court was Wayne, his friend and opponent for their ten o’clock match.

“Rough night?” asked Wayne. “I’d hate to think that’s your excuse when I crush your very soul.”

“It was a rough morning.”

“Why? What happened?”

“A car alarm woke me up at, like, quarter to six. On my morning off, too,” said Ian.

“I hate that.”

“It gets worse. All of a sudden, I hear Peggy yelling that she can’t turn it off. The she calls me to help her. I have no idea what’s going on. At one second I was dreaming about pudding, then I’m scrambling to shut down a car alarm that’s waking the whole street.”

Wayne was unsuccessfully attempting to suppress a smile. “Did you figure it out?”

Ian glared at Wayne. “Obviously. But I had to turn it off at the car. Outside in my pajamas. I was too tired to even think about putting on a coat.”

“Look on the bright side. At least you don’t sleep in the nude,” said Wayne.

“Very funny. The whole time Peggy was saying she didn’t know what happened,” said Ian. He was half-heartedly stretching in preparation for their match.

“Maybe it was dirty wifi,” suggested Wayne.

“Dirty what?”

“Wifi. You know how there are unsecured wifi hotspots all over the place? Hackers can use them to infect computers with viruses and stuff. It’s like the digital form of an airborne plague,” explained Wayne.

“You’re making that up.”

“What? Which part?”

“Dirty wifi. Next you’ll tell me it’s a way the government can track our movements and hack our files,” scoffed Ian.

“Actually,” Wayne started to say, only to be interrupted by Ian.

“Hackers didn’t screw up my wife’s remote starter,” said Ian.

Wayne looked thoughtfully at Ian before serving up an ace. “Stranger things have happened.”

“There’s no good reason why the government should want to do that,” said Ian.

Wayne served another ace past a bewildered Ian.

“I suppose,” said Wayne, “but changing the subject, did you hear I just got hired to work in the government’s cyber terrorism division? Mwahaha.”

Posted in car alarm, dirty wifi, fiction, flash fiction, government conspiracy, humor, humour, short fiction, short story, story, tennis, WIFI | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pretentious Bean Café

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Sitting in the frenetic neighbourhood Pretentious Bean Café, Stella noticed a well dressed man enter. He was tall and elegant with slightly greying hair.

Stella followed him with her eyes as he browsed the merchandise by the pick up counter. The barista placed a cup on the counter and called a name. In the bustle of activity, the cup sat unclaimed. Stella watched the well dressed man glide to the counter. He nonchalantly picked up the cup, nodded to the barista, then slipped out the door.

It took a few seconds for Stella to process what just happened. The well dressed man stole the cup of coffee. It was so natural, it hardly seemed real.

Two days later, Stella was at the same table when the well dressed man returned. The café was in the middle of its morning rush. Stella cautiously pulled out her phone to record what would transpire.

The well dressed man hovered casually around the pick up counter. The barista set a cup on the counter, called out a name and no one responded. The well dressed man approached, picked up the coffee and left. This time, the actual customer complained about his missing beverage. The barista shrugged and made a replacement.

Stella didn’t know what to do. A wave of excitement shivered down her spine. It all seemed so defiant. Stella spent the next week and a half watching the criminal actions of the well dressed man. Several episodes were secretly recorded. After two weeks, she decided to act.

It was a Tuesday morning when Stella confronted the well dressed man in the parking lot of the Pretentious Bean.

“Excuse me,” she said.

The well dressed man stopped at his BMW. “Yes?”

Her courage wavered. “I couldn’t help but notice that you have a coffee,” she said.

“Is that a pickup line?” he asked.

Stella swallowed hard. “No. Um, more of an accusation. You stole that coffee.”

The well dressed man leaned against his car. “That’s a bold statement to make without proof.”

The man’s belligerence emboldened Stella. She pulled out her phone and showed him video clips of his crime. He laughed.

“That’s a lot of effort for something so minor,” said the man.

For the first time, Stella looked directly into the man’s eyes. They were a topaz blue, haunting and beautiful. “It doesn’t change the fact that it’s still wrong.”

The well dressed man looked at the café behind her. “What do you want?”

Stella wavered. She hadn’t thought that far ahead. Thinking quickly, she asked, “I want to know why. You obviously don’t need to steal coffee, so why do you do it?”

The well dressed man looked at the bookworm, wearing a cardigan, standing before him. “You really want to know?”

“Yes.”

“I do it because I can. Because one day, when I was waiting for my coffee, the opportunity just presented itself. And It happens all the time, everywhere I go. It happens so often, in fact, that I realized people secretly want this to happen,” he said.

Stella was at a loss for words. He was so brazen, so unapologetic.

“What are you going to do?” asked the well dressed man.

“Teach me. Teach me to do what you do. I want to see the opportunities,” said Stella. The words shocked her, as though they came from someone else.

The well dressed man smiled and looked Stella over. “Alright, then. I’ll teach you, but after that, you’re on your own.”

This was the beginning of Stella’s compelling career in white collar crime.

Posted in cafe, coffee, crime, fiction, flash fiction, humor, humour, short fiction, short story, story | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment