An astronomical anomaly.

Last week the scientific world was rocked by footage received from the Calvin And Hobbes Space Telescope showing an asteroid being swallowed by a black hole. Upon further analysis of this footage, astronomers have released a detailed report that promise to transmit even more shock waves across the already rattled international consortium of individuals with abnormally high levels of intelligence.

The newly released footage clearly shows the unfortunate asteroid, now named 0H.N035, drifting near the black hole before accelerating towards its demise. As the stunned astronomers continued watching, 0H.N035 appeared to completely disappear inside the black hole, as if to enforce the black hole’s reputation for preventing anything from escaping once swallowed. A moment later, however, something unexpected happened. A small projectile suddenly appeared behind the black hole as if suddenly launched into flight from nowhere. The Calvin And Hobbes Space Telescope tracked the movement of this projectile as it sailed towards Earth, penetrated the atmosphere and landing on someone’s head as they lounged in their back yard somewhere in South Florida. The projectile was recovered and sent to the regional office of National Aeronautics and Space Conquistador Administration (NASCA) for analysis.

After analysis was complete, NASCA held an impromptu press conference to announce the first confirmed existence of black hole shit.

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This post is a work of fiction. But then again, you never know.

The incident at Store 2.625.

“Let’s roll the tape.”

The boss rotated the monitor on his desk so Jones could see the surveillance camera video playing on the screen. It showed Jones driving a forklift down the main aisle of the busy store with customers walking past. Lying on the floor in the forklift’s path was a Mylar balloon bearing the words “SALE!”. Instead of following company protocol and steering around the balloon, Jones chose to drive directly over it, causing it to burst with a loud bang. Dozens of customers were seen collapsing as they sought shelter from the sudden noise.

Jones was squirming in his seat as the video finished playing. “The evidence has been shown,” the boss said, “You know full well that our company has strict guidelines when it comes to driving a forklift near a Mylar balloon on the floor. Did you by any chance consider steering to the left to avoid running over the balloon?”

“No, sir,” was Jones’s tentative reply.

“How about to the right?”

“No, sir.”

“How about above?”

“Sir?”

“Did you consider setting up ramps so you could drive above the balloon without popping it?”

Confused, Jones replied, “No, sir.”

“I take it you never considered driving under it either.”

“How does one drive under a balloon?” Jones blurted out.

“Simple, you pick it up and toss it in the air so you can drive underneath before it lands.”

“I don’t believe this,”Jones sighed as he sat back in his seat.

“I don’t either,” the boss shot back, “You had all those options for dealing with the balloon and yet you chose to drive over it and make it explode with a loud bang and scare all our customers into thinking that it was a BOMB? Don’t you realize what a serious violation you committed?”

“So what happens now?” Jones asked.

“You’re …mmph.”

“What?”

Mmph.

“Fired?”

“FIRE!” screamed the secretary outside the office as she activated the fire alarm that turned on the fire sprinklers all over the store.

The boss shook his head. “That’s two company violations in one day. Want to go for three?”

“I like black jelly beans.”

Get out.

An open letter of complaint.

I wish to register a complaint about yesterday’s event during Employee Appreciation Week. Events from earlier in the week such as the burping contest were actually enjoyable but yesterday was when things went a bit too far.

Yesterday was Ice Cream Blast Day. I love ice cream, so I headed to the break room in hopes of serving myself a bowl of chocolate ice cream piled high with toppings. However, when I stepped into the break room, I heard a loud explosion and was instantly knocked down to the floor by what I presumed to be ice cream fired from a cannon. Needless to say I suffered from brain freeze for the rest of the day, not to mention the chocolate chips that were lodged behind my eyeballs. Some gratitude for all the overtime I put in just to save your widdle buttocks.

I see tomorrow is Bazooka Bubble Gum Day. It better not be what I think it is.

Ian’s great escape.

Ian looked out the window and could see the swirling clouds hovering above his former home planet. As his ship left the last layers of Earth’s atmosphere and began drifting into space, he began to think if there was anything of value left behind on the ground far below.

Let’s see, I’ve been disavowed by my family, dumped by my friends and disregarded by everyone else. There really is nothing left for me. Time to move on.

Ian glanced at the flashing red button on the dashboard in front of him.

My ticket out of this sorry galaxy.

Bracing himself, he pressed the button and immediately the engines roared to life and began to propel his ship faster and faster. Soon Ian was flying so fast that the stars around him turned into long lines of light.

I’m flying at the speed of light.

The planets literally zipped by, starting with the Moon, then Mars and Jupiter. As the ship passed the remaining planets in the solar system, Ian finally began to feel he was no longer within sight of the Earth, the home of his troubles he had managed to escape.

Then he switched on the camera mounted on the stern of his ship to catch one last glimpse of Earth before it disappeared from view behind him.

What’s this?

He could see Earth, up close as if he had just left it just moments ago.

But I just passed Jupiter. Something’s not right here.

He switched off the camera and instructed the onboard computer to increase his speed to double the speed of light. The computer complied and seconds later stars turned into a single tunnel of light as his ship left the solar system behind. Nervously, Ian switched the rear view camera back on and gasped.

Earth is still behind me.

What’s more, it’s closing in on me.

Confused and frightened, Ian was set to accelerate his ship even further when he suddenly felt a jolt. Switching on the rear view camera one more time, Ian could not believe what he saw.

It’s drawing me in.

Earth was now so close to Ian’s ship that the ship fell victim to the gravity’s grasp and began drifting backwards towards the atmosphere. Ian worked himself into a frenzy trying to escape but it was no use. His ship had re-entered Earth and was now in a free fall back towards the ground far below. Suddenly Ian lost consciousness and passed out before he could see what happened next.

One instant later, in the delivery room of a hospital, the doctor carefully wrapped the newborn baby in blankets and gently placed it in the mother’s arms.

“Congratulations,” the doctor said, “it’s a boy.”

Ian’s memorial service.

“Welcome to our memorial service for Ian!” Ron greeted the small group of people who had gathered in the living room. At the front of the room stood a table with Ian’s photo positioned between two candles.

​Steve sneered at Ron from his seat. In a good mood, aren’t we, he thought. The nerve of the way you acted at Ian’s funeral. You wouldn’t let me spend a few minutes with his ashes. And yes, Ian WAS my brother. Our friendship was that close. And how DARE you throw Ian’s ashes away like garbage. Now I know how much he meant to you.

​​Ron continued, “We’re here to celebrate Ian’s life, so if anyone has any pleasant memories to share…”

I beg to differ on your choice of the word “pleasant”, thought Ian’s brother-in-law Harry. Ian treated me like GARBAGE the whole time he knew me. He wouldn’t even be in my wedding! I tried many times to offer him the olive branch but he only burned it with his wrath. He never even told me what I did to get him so upset. I’m glad he’s gone.

​Next to Harry sat his wife Sue, who was also Ian’s younger sister. I think I left the iron plugged in, she thought. I hope it has the automatic shutoff feature.

Next to Sue and Harry sat their 4-year-old daughter Diana, who couldn’t understand what was going on. Why did mommy make me leave my tablet in the car? I wanna play Five Nights at Freddy’s.

Behind them sat Ian’s older brother Jeff who was staring at the photo of Ian resting on the table. No potential, no ambition, no drive, and no purpose. No one’s life should ever be this empty.

“…any funny memories…”

Actually, I do have such a memory, thought Mr. Smith, who was their elderly next door neighbor, that sight of Ian sitting in a wheelbarrow in the side yard while completely wrapped in aluminum foil, but I doubt that even remotely qualifies as funny. I think I better keep quiet.

“…and perhaps any life-affirming lessons he may have taught you…”

I’ll get back to you on that, everyone thought simultaneously.

“…you may share them with us now.”

Steve had enough memories and stories of Ian to fill an entire evening, but he remained silent in protest of the way Ron had so crudely treated his dearly departed friend.

Ron looked around the room. “Anybody?”

Everyone else began looking around the room to see if there was anyone getting ready to speak, but there was nothing but silence.

“Short memorial service!” Ron laughed. “Thanks for coming.”

As everyone rose from their seats to leave, Ron and his wife Karen quickly extinguished the candles, put Ian’s photo away in the closet and dragged the table back to the family room, where they both sat down to watch TV for the rest of the evening.

Outside in the driveway, Steve glanced at his watch and shook his head.

Ian’s memorial service ran for all of three minutes.

Idiots.

Ian’s funeral.

Several months after being thrown out of his parents’ house, Ian was not seen again until his skeleton was found in the woods. His parents had it cremated and gathered at the entrance to the woods along with his best friend Steve.

​”You want to do the honors?” Ian’s father Ron asked as he handed the urn to Steve.

​”Yeah,” Steve whispered.

​Steve faced the woods, closed his eyes and began reciting a silent prayer.

Dearest Ian, I owe you an apology. In the 40 years we’ve been friends, we’ve each had our share of ups and downs, but we always found a way to level the playing field. I really should have helped you when you needed me most. Had I done that, I wouldn’t be…

“What are you waiting for?”

​Steve cringed at Ron’s rude interruption. He cast an angry glare behind him.

​”Fine,” Steve groaned as he removed the lid from the urn. Holding it up high, he paused while searching for the right words.

​”Free at last,” Steve whispered, “Free at last. Thank God almighty you are free at last. Fly free, my brother.”

​Steve was about to scatter the ashes when Ron spoke up.

​”Um, Ian was not your brother.”

​Steve felt a tinge of shock and anger.

Did he just say that?

​Steve promptly put the lid back on the urn, placed it on the ground and abruptly began walking out of the woods, storming past Ian’s parents.

​”Hey, hey, hey!” Ron shouted. “You didn’t scatter the ashes!”

​Steve turned to angrily face Ron when he saw Ron pick up the urn and then pitch it into some nearby bushes. Steve felt an even stronger tinge of shock and anger surge from within.

Did he just do that?

Bruce’s TV Card.

Finally. My new TV was all set up. I plopped down on the couch, put the batteries in the remote and switched the TV on. I was in the midst of going through the setup screens when I heard a knock on the door. Curiously, there was nothing there but a small package resting on my doorstep. I brought the package inside and opened it to find a note.

Congratulations on the purchase of your new TV.

Now how did they know that?

You may be wondering if you’re truly getting the amazing picture quality you’re paying for.

I already am. My TV happens to be one of the top-of-the-line models with the ultimate in picture reproduction technology, thank you very much.

Well, you’re wrong.

Huh?

Hi, I’m Bruce, inventor of the world-famous Bruce’s TV Card.

World famous? Never heard of him.

Today’s your lucky day. You’re about to unleash the true potential of your new TV, and everything you need is enclosed in the package.

Let’s see, a PCIe card and a bunch of colored cables held together by a rubber band. Did I miss anything?

No, that’s it.

What??

Now let’s walk you through the simple steps to get your new card installed. Grab a screwdriver and remove the fifty screws holding the back panel of your TV in place. Going ahead, we’ll wait. LOL😀

Did I just read “LOL😀”?

Yes, you did. How’s the screw removal going?

This is getting creepier by the minute.

10 minutes later, I had all 50 screws removed.

Now let’s take off that back panel. Don’t let the sight of what you are about to see scare you.

Still not believing I was doing this, I located the edges of the rear panel and slowly removed it from the TV. Then I gasped. I found myself staring at a circuit board that had rows and rows of perhaps dozens of expansion slots labeled with some very cryptic-sounding names such as QDJ and WHB++.

What’s this?

A slot labeled “Bruce’s TV Card”?

By now you should have found the slot labeled “Bruce’s TV Card”.

No 💩.

In your package is the card that fits in that slot. We’ll wait.

I slid the card into its slot until I heard a click as the miniature clamps locked it in place.

Now let our technicians do the rest.

Suddenly there was a knock on the door. In marched a team of five technicians armed with toolboxes as they gathered around my TV with their tools at the ready. While I did my part of the job by questioning the timing of their arrival, they took the cables from the package and soldered them to the circuit board through a stunning display of flashing sparks and heavy smoke that filled the living room. By the time the smoke cleared, the technicians were gone and my TV stood reassembled with its rear panel back in place.

We’re all done. Now you get to see what your new TV can really do. Go ahead, grab the remote. I think you’ll like what you’ll see.

I grabbed the remote and switched the TV on.

Wow.

Just wow.

This is amazing.

I’ll let you go right here.