Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Bug Girl with Friends

Doug's Story
The chords changed people. When Sharif played he lost himself. When he sang he found himself. No-one who listened was ever the same again. Shel Silverstein was probably the wrong choice when his friends visited but it was better than the time he played Roberta Flack.

Still Life's Story
Vxsemyt found it difficult to fully take part in the college revelry with her new friends.
Life came too easy for them (cars, cool clothes, unlimited funds) and they lived each day without regard to their riches.
Vxsemyt was not a part of their circle, but just a poor girl from outside of the galaxy on full scholarship. And though she knew that she really should be cramming for mid terms, she remained at the party until the last keg drained.
Peer pressure sucks.

Elveshat's Story
Sixty year old finally and I am sitting in a taxi on a sunny Monday morning anticipating to reach my destination. It had been, after all, thirty five years since I last saw the members of the historical "BS '70Uni Company". We had parted as soon as we had graduated promising to meet again at least 35 years later on the very same house where this picture was taken. Holding this picture in my hands now, I feel somewhat thrilled but curious as well. Will my old friends show up? The guys of our company were so funny. Jack would never part from his precious acoustic guitar, he was the one who used to question everything, maybe a little disappointed from the political situation of our time. It seems that his desperate cries to "awaken us" did not work and he had taken up to music, considering it a way of unconventional demonstration. We, of course did not want to change the world at that time. Our main concern, besides getting into trouble, was to achieve the world record of the lowest graduation grade from university ever! We never found out if we entered the Guinness book, but we did graduated and "BS 70" ceased to exist. Or maybe did not it? The taxi just arrived and I am about to find that out.

Mushroom's Story
Zzsabel thought she'd be ostracised, even attacked, when she came to Earth, but she wound up meeting some really nice people who embraced her.

Actionbell's Story
Nathan is relieved that the rest of his band is oblivious to the situation and can relax for awhile, but he cannot. Little do they know, he thinks, but things are about to get much, much worse. Marci has already been turned into some kind of ant creature, Ken seems to be morphing into a crab, and Kurt is obviously developing fish-like tendencies. Only Sara appears to be normal, but Nathan knows that she is not herself, but in some kind of trance. Nathan has been staring into the kitchen, obsessed with the thought that everything was slowly changing. These changes were so slow,and it was maddening to try to perceive them, but Nathan was sure they were happening. Only this morning, Marci had looked like Marci. When did her features start to change? He hadn't noticed it. Even as he thought this, the air around him thickened, grew heavy, and he began to breathe harder. He could feel his heart beat, almost hear it. Yes,he was sure of it: the kitchen's straight, flat surfaces were bending, starting to move. He closed his eyes.

Lolly's Story
Andrea had always been fascinated with ants. After the horrible fire, her friends all came over to help her get settled in her new apartment, supplying her with all the basic necessities that she had lost in the fire. The doctors said they could give her a new face, but only after her current burns had healed to a point. In the meantime, she would need to keep her head totally bandaged. So with the help of her friends, they came up with an ant head to cover the morbid mummy-type bandages. And much to her surprise and delight, it was actually improving her date-life!

My Story
Did you know 'Antlitz' was the German word for face?" Clara clicked with her segmented tongue while testing with skin-covered fingers the feel of her flesh.

"How would I know that!?" Frank fired forth while completing the inner transformation into a creature with fins. The thin webs forming between his toes began to tickle, causing his countenance to twist instinctively into a fish laugh.

Bob stopped strumming the guitar, looking up with the hunted look of Kafka's ape in "Report to an Academy" about to be captured and caged and taught the ways of civilization. In a moment, thick, grimy fur would sprout from the pores of his chest.

Vanessa had no time to answer. She hurriedly placed a pillow over her body to hide the debilitating change into a gelatinous blob of amoebic substance. The lips on what remained of her human formations were fixed in an embarrassed grin.

"Don't worry," Bill's exuberant voice rang out, "In a moment I'll put my fingers together and we'll all be ants again!"

Monday, August 22, 2005

Little Boy with Flag

Aral Peppermint Patty Pez's Story
All Stevie could do was stand on the corner and wonder, why? Why couldn't he be in the Memorial Day Parade?

He watched with sadness and anger as the older boys in the Boy Scout troop marched by. He felt contempt as the Girl Scouts came by. When the local librarians marched by pushing carts with books and waving, he had to bite his lip to keep from crying.

Someday, thought Stevie, I'll be in this parade too.

Little Bar of Soap's Story
He loved God. He loved his country. Little Joe packed up his satchel and waited for the Rapture.

Sweet Jesus, sweep Joe into your loving arms!

Elveshat's Story
The little American boy standing outside the military headquarters in Milan had to pose one more time for those silly press-photographers. The American dictator was spreading the rumor that they had conquered the whole earth, even the small country of Italy that had been resisting their hi-tech weapons for more than a year. Almost the whole world had become one nation, different languages and local traditions were forbidden by law and back home the arrogance of the American people was growing. The dictator had carefully concealed the fact that Italy was still holding its position, denying to rise an American Flag. That is why they needed proof and evidence of the American dominion worldwide; they needed to feed the hungry brainwashed minds with the same vanity again and again.

Forced by American soldiers, little Bob had to pose again with that strange flag even if he hated them, the flag and everything it would symbolize. His little mind could not grasp how a single man from his country could turn a symbol of freedom into a source of tyranny and misery spreading through the entire world. ”Why do they make war? Why do they make people cry?” These were the questions that made Bob so angry at his own people, and sad at this terrible injustice. His anger would slowly turn into sadness but he stood still in front of them never showing any sign of tears. He had a strong will along with a clever mind, and was determined to free his country as soon as he would grow up. “I am just pretending to be one of them” Bob thought to himself and looked straight at the eye of the camera, “but the dictator will perish and I will bring the time of peace again in this world”. Thus the photograph was shot and the little boy went home with the certainty of a winner.

Denotsko's Story
Yeah, McCarthy got his way. Little Jimmy would wave a flag. He would wave it and stand on any streetcorner and sing the praises of the land of the free. He would tell the world about the glory of America.

But he refused to put down his purse, and no matter what kind of signs they put in the storefronts, he would never wear a shirt or shoes just to buy gum.

Doug's Story
When Rashid Ali Kalaam was born his parents were embarassed. The light hair and fine features spoke to a heritage neither of them would claim. When young Rashid was oldest enough to go out and play, his parents kept him home, helping his mother in their home in Basra. They feared he would be picked on and they accused. Rashid knew he was ugly by local standards but he believed that somewhere out there was a place where he could be accepted even liked.

Then came the day in 1965 when his father was sent to a city called Cincinatti in a distant land. As soon as Rashid and his mother got off the plane, Rashid looked around him and knew he had come home to the place he'd always belonged. On the way from the airport to Rashid's new house, the Somali cabdriver told Rashid "I have a son just your age. I bet he'd love to play with you."

Tan Lucy Pez's Story
Oscar was born on the fourth of July. He always believed that the big celebrations and parades were for him. For his birthday.

When he was five, his parents moved to Germany. People stopped celebrating his birthday. What had happened?, What had he done to displease the world? Why didn't they celebrate his birthday any more?

One day when there was a big parade coming down the street, Oscar ran and got his little American flag. In America everyone had waved flags for his birthday. Holding his flag, he watched the parade pass by.

It was all he could do not to cry.

Jamie Dawn's Story
Little Indie got so into his waving of the flag at the parade that he popped a button.
His mom told him not to worry about it, and said he didn't need to keep holding it closed.
Indie was irritated.
"MOM, my pecs haven't developed yet!"

Rhoda's Story
During the move her husband had found a shoe box filled various childlike memorabilia. Some old dirty marbles, a buffalo nickel, a scuffed plastic army man, a metal kazoo with its dull red paint flaking off, and the picture.

The picture, who was that boy with the dull drab overalls and no shirt? He seemed so familiar, somehow, that serious yet indifferent gaze, peering out at him.

He went to his wife, who was unpacking boxes in the next room. "Who is this little boy?" he asked, holding up the picture.
The wife smiled. "I haven't seen that in forever. I thought I'd lost it." The husband handed it to her. "It's my brother." She said. The husband was confused, "I didn't know you had a brother..."
The wife handed the picture back. "Well he died later that day. It was the fourth of July and he had an accident with some fireworks."

The husband looked at the picture again, trying to find something to say. "He looks very patriotic." She smiled, "He was, he wanted to be president someday." The husband laughed, "Isn't that something. Funny how life turns out huh?" The wife nodded, "Yea funny."

The husband, with his wife's permisson had the picture enlarged and he put in on his desk in the Oval Office. When people would ask who is that? he'd reply "That is America, that is who I'm doing all this for."

His wife, late at night, while she was alone, would smother her giggles with her hand. Knowing that sometimes the most American thing is compromise, and that while she never became president, she would settle for first lady.

My Story
The Great War of 2015 left little behind in its wake. No books, no flags, no photographs. Of course there were human survivors, there always are, because even the most thorough of annihilatory practices leaves unexpected havens somewhere, just as a tornado passing through a street levels one house and leaves the next house unscathed. Those crawling out from under the rubble had other concerns than rescuing the trappings of the failed civilization. The occasional preservation of objects reminiscent of the old times, which did however occur, was attributed to a feeling of nostalgia that has always been a part of humanity, the melancholy cousin of the dream for a better day. These objects were placed in a museum in displays without commentary. The photograph of the boy pledging his allegiance was part of a trinity, found in the abandoned ruins of a stone cellar, the owner perhaps dust. The photograph had been used as a bookmark in the Bible, the Bible itself wrapped in a flag.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Indeterminacy and Son

Elveshat's Story
After a merciless chase through an African jungle, fear would always become an unaffordable luxury. The safari director would create a new fake company each spring to attract unsuspecting tourists and feed them to his pets. The ill mind of the cold-blooded murderer could always organize his crimes to the very finest details, never leaving any tracks or possibility of an escape. He would enjoy the merciless chase of the pumas and tigers by watching his hidden cameras that were set in the whole jungle. He was always amused to witness the terror, fear and total degrade of the human nature and that made him the most powerful man in the world. "This is nothing more than a reality show" he repeated to himself rather often. This month had been generous to his pets. More than 3 people had been devoured by his favourite puma. "What fun to watch them tremble like mice, without any weapons deep in the jungle". But today something unexpected had happened. Two of his "mice" had proved to be stronger than he would ever think. They had developed a technique that made the pumas and tigers run away with fear. Unable to believe what was going on, the criminal was sitting all day in front of his cameras trying to find out what was happening and how could 2 people intimidate his whole "army". He didn’t have to wait for a long time to watch a father and his son stand fearless before a puma and making faces and noises that scared the poor beast almost to death. Then the tiger came, and again the same thing happened. The father and the son would concentrate so hard to control their fear, a technique that they had learned in a buddhistic monastery in their last vacation, and the wild animals would disappear within seconds! Not knowing what to do, the director of this "fun jungle park" went to meet the two heros and pretended that a great disaster had come upon their safari tour, attacked by wild animals most of the travelers had died. He also shouted out loud, trying to convince maybe himself that he was so happy that they had survived and they had better leave soon, lest another catastrophe would come upon them. Thus, father and son left the jungle, not silly enough to believe the jungle-murderer that they immediately called the police after they had survived another lion attack in the middle of the main road, on their way to the capital city. The police was able to arrest the director of that safari park, who was sentenced to life.

Mushroom's Story
Kuku the gorilla had learned sign language, developed mathematical skills, cared for a kitten, started his own blog, and took up photography as a hobby. His handler thought it was unusual that he'd express an interest in those latter two since she didn't figure he'd be aware of cyberspace or photography, but he signed that even simians are online nowadays and he couldn't help but know about photography since humans always point their cameras at him. Kuku turned out to have a good eye for photography, and he started a page to share his pictures. It wasn't long before he'd taken so many pictures of humans making goofy faces at him and other zoo residents that he started a Blogspot page called Stupid Humans At The Zoo, which became highly popular with both humans and primate viewers.

Mrs. Weirsdo's Story
Wolfgang had known something was off about his father for a whole week. First he had started pointing out every nubile girl they passed and saying weird things about her. Some were goddesses, others had telekinetic powers, and still others exercised a fascinating influence over the opposite sex. Naturally Wolfgang had been frightened by this, but when his father began making absurd statements about inanimate objects, the boy realized that none of it couldn't possibly be true.
Everything had come to a head on the way to the zoo this morning, when his father had accused his mother of letting the car seat get fresh with her. Annoyed, she had dropped them off at the zoo and gone off to visit her sisters on Mount Parnassus.
As they crossed the bridge over Gorilla Gorge Wolfgang's father began making faces at the largest male, obviously trying to communicate. When the boy tried to edge away, his father restrained him.
"Wait. Do some tricks! He says he'll buy us a hamburger if you do. You're one of their favorite attractions."
Enough was enough. Wolfgang gathered his courage. "Dad," he said. "Last year when you started your stories, we were all thrilled. But they're stories. Fiction. You have to get that girl's head out of the refrigerator. Mom doesn't want to wear long flowing robes and sing in your ear all the time. And we'd all like to eat strawberries again without having you cry and sing taps. Happy blogiversary, Dad, but please. Get real."

Jamie Dawn's Story
The boy had begged his daddy not to drink the water from the mysitcal waterfall, but he drank it anyway. Immediately, his daddy began acting very strangely and making animal noises. The boy knew his daddy would never be the same again. And he was right.
The boy decided to bottle the water, and he made quite a fortune selling the stuff to those who wanted to cause their enemies to go wacky. All the money in the world could not make his daddy normal again, so the boy decided to drink some of the water himself.

My Story
The vicious pirates Peg Head Jones and his offspring Baby Face Barnacle were terrors from Costa Rica to the Caribbee and as far north as Cincinnati. In '98 they jumped the early-morning line at an inland Toys R' Us, making off with a swag of first edition Barbie dolls just ready to hit the shelves, worth more by this time than the combined income of the top ten supermodels. Their daring escape down the Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi on a leaky raft dazzled the media, and their subsequent daylight disappearance into the Gulf was legend. Now they roamed the rain forest path in search of their stash, ears attuned to the myriad patterns of sound indigenous to South Sea islands: the tinkling waterfall, the exotic song of unseen birds, the hushed murmur of natives far off in the distance.

"Matey, be ya sure this were the spot?" Baby Face Barnacle looked up at the taller pirate.

"I'd swear on a keg o' potato rum!" Peg Head swaggered, rubbing the back of his head with a piece of sandpaper. "I lefts a sign by th' tree what says 'Schefflera actinophylla' and thar it be." He pointed to the inconspicuous, white marker in front of the tropical trunk.

"But we dug an' dug' an' nuthin' but a duster it were. I says we's goin' 'round in circles. I got more deja vooze than a skippin' gramophone." Baby Face shook his head, more puzzled than a parrot in Pittsburg.

"Har, me lad! Somethin' be wrong, but I'll be a pied Peter Pan if I kin get me 'ook in it," Peg Head answered, and glanced about from side to side, hoping to catch sight of something definitive.

"Ay, we be wanderin' for hours and ain't got nowheres. I says we--" The sound of footfalls on the path interrupted Baby Face. He looked up suddenly. "Argh! It be that crazed dog of an islander again. Let's you an' me scar him off!"

Baby Face Barnacle put on his mean look and Peg Head Jones snarled, but the approaching native seemed unconcerned. "Look here," he said, "you two are beginning to frighten the guests. I've told you already, no digging, and now you're making faces at everyone. This is your last warning. Remember that you're in a conservatory!"

Monday, August 08, 2005

Girl with Teddy Bear

Mrs. Weirsdo's Story
In the Rest Home for Classic Literary Characters, Alice resisted card playing, chess, and croquet, as they brought back bad associations. She also seemed to prefer gardens without flowers, and she was very suspicious of food and drink, especially around tea time.
She disliked many animals, especially rabbits and caterpillars, but eventually she embraced the cause of the panda. Unfortunately, as soon as she fed it some bamboo marked "eat me," her new baby panda turned into a stuffed animal, sending Alice over the edge.
She can now be seen, dressed sympathetically in black and white, wandering about the unflowered parts of the grounds and crooning songs about jabberwocks and Father William to the toy. She hopes to one day find a mushroom that will restore him to reality.

A Little Bar of Soap's Story
Sally had come of age at last. Finally, she was 14 and old enough to be baptized. She had looked forward to this day all of her life!

She woke up early that day, putting on her finest white dress for the sacrament. She was so excited that she couldn't even eat breakfast! She decided to bring her childhood friend, Noah the Panda, along to the event. (Of course, she let her little sister Margaret hold Noah during the actual baptism so that he wouldn't get ruined.)

Finally it was 9:00 a.m. and time to head for the creek, where should would be immersed in the waters of holy baptism.

The minister was a tall, handsome young man. He placed his hand on Sally's head, said the Word of God, and pushed her under the water of the creek.

Sally's soul has been pure and clean ever since. Praise be to Jesus!

Mushroom's Story
Emily was just a little girl, and she wanted to stay that way for always. People thought she was a little 'different' for still dressing in pinafores and mary janes, dragging a stuffed animal with her everywhere, talking with a squeak and shy giggle, and preferring macaroni & cheese as meals when she was 30. Her family and closest friends assured others that she wasn't born mentally challenged and hadn't been a victim of either a brain injury or early onset of senile demensia. She just enjoyed being a girl. There were few responsibilities beside cleaning one's plate and one's room, it was easier to be pleasant to the world and the shyness of a child came in handy when she didn't want to deal with others (though finding skirt-tails to hide behind was more difficult since she was over five feet tall), and unlike her agemates she was still polite. Strange looks aside, this was a winning formula for her. "Some people never know who they are," she said in a voice that Lily Tomlin's 'Edith Ann' character would be envious of, "and can't be that person if they did know. I'm lucky... I know who I want to be, and I'm me."

Her little girl personna also served another benefit: other people thought she was incapable of thinking or acting in an adult manner, so they never suspected that she was quite the hit with the folks at the club downtown. They never knew she got out of her four-poster single bed with My Little Pony sheets around 11pm (having gone to bed at 8:00pm as obedient little girls should) three nights a week, snuck over the club with her friends Dressie Bessie and Dapper Dan who would pick her up at the corner, and meet up with other adult children. Sometimes she'd hook up with little boys in their 20's wearing knickerbockers and Dippity-Doo curls, inevitably named Timmy, who wanted a playmate to play house or doctor with; sometimes she'd meet a kind but stern teacher, parent, or uncle that would discipline and educate her, or at the very least help her take a bubble bath and be sure that she cleaned behind her ears. She'd be back home in her own bed by 5am, and wake happy but groggy and ready for another tea party after 9am.

Everyone she played with at the club agreed she was sugar and spice and everything nice, just like the people she saw during the day believed, but those few she'd lifted the crinolines over her head for in fits of girlish embarassment knew the most prominent of those three ingredients was spice.

Alice's Story
He took her into the woods behind the house. It had taken him awhile to get her there but finally, figuring out her love for the panda he suggested a panda theme and she agreed. She looked forward to the afternoon and hoped this shoot would help her get a job as the next Dove oversized model. She would agree to some nudity and in return she would get some photos, for her portfolio from one of the world’s greatest photographers. She felt clever and her intuition told her this was going to lead to her big break. He felt anticipatory and dead inside at the same time
When they arrived in the wooded area, where he usually took his pictures and he gave her the faux panda she immediately felt comfortable. This was the first shot her took; she looked so content almost like a child; she was going for coy but didn’t quite get the look she wanted as she looks slightly insane here. Unfortunately for her or not she was not clever enough and her intuition appears to have failed her and although she looked insane it was indeed he whose insanity had taken over on this day. This is the last picture of her or at least the latest dated picture of her we can find: there may be more but this is the only one left behind.

The Devil's Story
On the morning of Sally's baptism, they didn't know that the minister was drunk. He began screaming prayers as he held Sally's head under the water in spite of her kicking and flailing arms. The rescue squad revived her, but because of the lack of oxygen she was brain damaged for life and walked around in s daze carrying her stuffed Panda Bear and she religiously read the Pansi Files everyday! She then started her own blog and call it "I wish I was a Little Bar of Soap".

Still Life's Story
she had been a girl of great potential

she had lived the life of a fairy tale
of formal balls and crystal shoes
but her life has turned to tragedy
and alas she's second hand news

thrown violently from the graces
of those who once adored
in fits of anger they erupted
don't come back you filthy whore

now you find her wandering
the woods and lacking aim
where once she held her head highly
she now shies and bows it in shame

and it's a pity really
she had been a girl of such great potential

My Story
Alice, nymphal in size and litheness, was candy for connoisseurs of the lean. During her Sunday stroll in the park a dapper, doll-sized Teddy Bear darted across her path and into a clump of trees, bobbing left and right past slanting trunks.

"I'm bait!" his voice drifted back to her. She took off after him, hoping to catch and cuddle him. Their pursuit brought her into a dense sameness of shadowy green where she no longer saw any motion. She wandered along for a while, unsure in which direction the Teddy had vanished, when she came upon a clearing. In the clearing was a tree, and around the tree was dancing the Teddy, apparently waiting to be caught. "He's all mine!" she thought as she dashed under the hanging foilage, towards the hopping and skipping bundle of fluff.

"Eat me," said a cookie dangling seductively from one of the branches above her.

"Go ahead," said the Teddy, looking up at her, "It's a cookie tree." The aroma of freshly baked cookies drifted down to her nose. She took the cookie and began nibbling at it with increasing excitement. It was still warm!

"Why, these cookies are exquisite!" she exclaimed, enraptured by the taste.

"Thank you," said the tree. Meanwhile the Teddy bided his time, leaning against the tree trunk, glancing at his pocket watch.

"Eat me," said another cookie. And another. An entire chorus. The more cookies she ate, the fatter she got, until finally the tree was out of cookies.

"Dear me, I'm going to need new clothes," she said to herself, perceiving that her old blouse and skirt had burst into tatters under the stress of her new ampleness.

"You came to just the right place," the Teddy tossed in, "I'm a designer, specializing in costumes for fairy tales. But business has been bad of late. No more fairy tales." He shrugged and handed her his calling card, which she turned over in her chubby hand, studying the sleek, stylized lettering on the small rectangle: "Fashions of Theodore - Have Cookie - Will Crumble."