Wednesday, November 30, 2011

one hundred word story #49: When life gives you lemons

After twenty years of marriage, Agnes can't handle it anymore. It isn't alcohol; it isn't infidelity; it's the snoring. Phil's snores are barges passing in the night. One night, he awakes the neighbors, who rattle their trash cans to the curb, thinking it's garbage day. Agnes drops him off at the sleep lab with a pillow and a glass of milk. Fix your shit, she says, pointing to his nose. That night, they affix special stickers to his forehead. The next morning, there is a flute where his nose once was. Go on, the doctors say to Agnes. Play nice.

Monday, November 28, 2011

one hundred word story #48: Interactive

The museum does not come alive at night. What happens in the museum, happens in broad daylight. The statues flirt. The abstract painting drips into a puddle on the floor—no one is the wiser. The video installation flickers, then coughs, until exactly 12:15. At 12:15 the picture is suddenly very sharp. The images are foreign, the sounds unfamiliar, but the subjects are very real: the African masks, the ancient Peruvian flutes, even the French impressionists. We see where they once belonged. Patrons blink, rub their eyes. Did you see that? They ask. At 12:16 the video flickers again; snow.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

one hundred word story #47: Pies

You're eating Grandma's pies, Dad says. We look down and the boysenberries are impossibly ripe for late November. She made them in August, he says. She was always so efficient. He guts the last turkey and we feel it now, turning in our bellies like a knife. They’re just pies, you say. Sugar is sugar. But it isn’t the sugar I’m worried about. It’s the kneading. It’s those four months without light. Someone dies and everything they touch is sacred. Might pie be sacrament? The berries are sour and plump. Someone wears her apron. We eat until we’re full.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

one hundred word story #46: Thanksgiving in space

Thanksgiving in the space shuttle is not so special. The dried turkey flakes off in even sheets. The mashed potatoes are so mashed that the starch molecules combust into fine particles in the cabin. Ken wants yams but there are none. Bridget says not to worry; she’s got marshmellows. She rips the bag open and out they spiral, tiny congealed globs of sugar that spin like stars. Ken turns off the light and the astronauts bob in the dark. Planets might shift and stars might form. Asteroids might collide and satellites might pass. Regardless, all that matters today is sugar.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

one hundred word story #45: Poison

The rats are dead. They smell sour and stiff and you can't see them but you know that posture: toes curled, or perhaps uncurled, eyes glassy. Once upon a time you were a pacifist. You left your door open. You named them Templeton and Posey. But now you sleep downstairs. You set traps with peanut butter. You heard their shuffles in the night, the scratch of their toenails as they dragged traps full of peanut butter back to rat headquarters, where they licked and bit with a fury you now know. Dead, they taunt you still, their silence sour.

This is my university

As English Professor Seeta Chaganti says, "Say it, don't spray it!"

one hundred word story #44: Hero's Journey

The reporters huddle under the tree, microphones hidden under umbrellas, their faces pink with blush. A hush falls over the crowd. The earth freezes underfoot. The sun won’t show. And then: a woman in orange is spotted atop the tallest branch, leaves sticking through her long sleeves. She wouldn’t, someone says. The crowd murmurs, then growls, as she spreads her wings. She couldn’t, the mayor says. She has no permit. The tree churns. She raises a fist. A thousand shutters snap. The sun suddenly blinds. Her banner unfurls: PERMISSION IS OVERRATED. And then: the sky is flush with her flight.