Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

Protecting yourself from doggy bag thieves.

May 18, 2017

Tonight I had a scrumptious dinner out that left me unable to finish my meal, so I asked for a box to take the leftovers home. After leaving the restaurant, I was suddenly attacked by a thief who demanded I hand over my doggy bag “or else”, so I had no choice but to comply with his demands, not even remotely interested in what he meant by “or else”. The thief then ran off with my food while chortling into the night. I looked around for any witnesses and was shocked at the sight of them getting robbed of their doggy bags as well.

After I got home I did a quick search online and found out that I was not alone in my ordeal tonight. There has been an alarming rise in doggy bag thefts in recent months and it’s having a negative impact on restaurants across the country. As a result, fewer people are dining out and instead are choosing to get their meals from nearby dollar stores.

It’s not that the restaurants haven’t noticed this problems. (The fact that the word “problem” was presented as a plural in the previous sentence is an entirely different problem altogether.) Desperate to curb the thefts, some of them attempted to reach a deal with the thieves to share their leftover food every night upon closing, but the thieves only responded in unison, “SERVE US STALE FOOD? THAT’S DISGUSTING!”

Other restaurants have hired security personnel to patrol the parking lot, but that approach drew complaints from patrons who said the presence of the security officers took away from the romantic mood of the evening. So the restaurants hired security personnel who could patrol the parking lot while playing violins. That proved doubly effective in keeping the doggy bag thieves away, who apparently can’t stand the sound of violins.

One restaurant in New Orleans has even developed a special box with a spring-loaded mechanism that shoves the food into the thief’s face upon being opened. Unfortunately the box was prematurely put into use before a method to disarm the mechanism could be developed, thus resulting in many a messy mealtime at patrons’ homes.

It will take some time before a universal solution to the problem of doggy bag thefts will be implemented, but you need not let that stop you from enjoying your evening out at your favorite restaurant. Park as close as you can to the front door away from bushes or storm drains where thieves have been known to hide. Make sure your appetite is sufficient enough where you won’t need to take any leftovers home in the first place. However, if you must take your leftovers home, bring along a large overcoat so you can keep the bag hidden during the walk to your car. Avoid looking around the parking lot for thieves, which is a signal that you have a doggy bag on your person. And don’t forget your violin.

Ian wants to go to Orlando.

May 18, 2017

“Mom?” Ian called out.

Wait for it.

“Can I go to Orlando?”

Bingo.

“No, Ian,” Karen replied.

It’s been like this all morning.

Ian sat on the couch in the living room with his guitar on his lap. Nearby was a suitcase packed with clothes, ready for his trip to Orlando. But Karen wouldn’t let him go. He had no job, no money, no car and no driver’s license, yet he thought he could borrow his mother’s car along with her credit card and go anyway. Heck, he was even planning on taking a few of his friends who wanted to go to Orlando just as badly as he did.

He just doesn’t get it.

Then, to Karen’s great annoyance, the guitar music started up as Ian played some crudely formed chords to accompany his off-key singing.

ready to go
our lives are on hold
tired of waiting
please
keys to your car
ride the Hulk
our lives will change
what are you waiting for

gotta go
Dueling Dragons
ready to go
what are you waiting for
deprived childhood
suitcase by the door
Universal Studios
we’ve waited long enough

By the time Ian finished his song, Karen was cringing.

What kind of song is that?

“Mom?” Ian called out.

Wait for it.

“Can I go to Orlando?”

Bingo.

“No, Ian,” Karen replied.

It’s been like this all morning.

A few minutes later, the awful guitar music started up again before Ian’s dreadful voice joined in.

right now
we’ve waited long enough
haven’t grown up yet
chilling on the City Walk
Back to the future
Universal Studios
haven’t grown up yet
give us your money

Universal Studios
give us your money
Great Scott
what are you waiting for
Islands of Adventure
tired of waiting
Great Scott
Islands of Adventure

What kind of song is that?

“Mom?” Ian called out.

Wait for it.

“Can I go to Orlando?”

Bingo.

“No, Ian,” Karen replied.

It’s been like this all morning.

Angry readers respond.

May 15, 2017

I have to admit I was nervous about posting Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood And The Motorcycle Gang and The Demise of Captain Kangaroo. Both were written years ago during my teenage years and I thought they were both very funny. But I got a little worried about upsetting fans of these two classic TV shows and was almost expecting some angry comments. But none ever came, so I decided to make some of my own.

My 4-year-old daughter recently read your post on the motorcycle gang taking over Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and now she won’t come out of her room knowing that her favorite TV show has been vandalized. WAY TO TRAUMATIZE THE NEXT GENERATION, YOU MORON!!!

I am a member of a motorcycle club dedicated to the memory of Mr. Rogers and his mission. Underneath the long hair and tattoos (I myself have a tattoo of King Friday on my right shoulder) we’re all heart. How DARE you portray us as a bunch of hoodlums!

You’re really on a roll destroying our favorite shows. What’s next, giant puppets on Sesame Street?

ummm, to whoever wrote that last email, sesame street already has giant puppets

Giant puppets? Where?

ummm, hello, big bird, snuffleupagus

When did that start?

Way to go dropping ping pong balls with daggers on Captain Kangaroo. How would you like it if that happened to you? PLEASE tell me he’s ok.

On a serious note, those posts were written for fun and not meant to be taken seriously. I myself grew up with Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and Captain Kangaroo and still consider them highlights of my childhood. My enjoyment of those shows caused my mind to wander and imagine “what if” possibilities to make them more exciting, if not bizarre. To me, that’s paying the ultimate compliment.

The same thing happened several years ago when I read the Harry Potter books. I was so enchanted by the stories and the characters that my imagination went wild to create new stories and situations for our famed wizard. I posted those stories on this blog, which you can easily find with a quick search. I wouldn’t have come up with those stories if I didn’t enjoy the books.

Attacked during the night.

May 13, 2017

I was lying in bed last night trying to sleep when my ears alerted me that I was no longer alone in the dark. I heard a rapid tap-tap-tap coming from the front of my bedroom and it was getting louder.

And then I saw it, the most horrifying sight. A glowing green, extremely cheap Halloween mask came hovering towards me while producing the rapid tapping noise I heard moments before. As it came closer I saw it had stickers for eyes and crudely sculpted bumps of plastic for the open mouth and exposed teeth. Wow, I thought, this mask is CHEAP. Suddenly the mask flew towards my bed and I screamed as it swooped close to my head before retreating to the opposite corner of my bedroom.

A tense silence followed, and I began to wonder if the mask was gone. A few minutes later, the rapid tapping noise resumed and the mask suddenly reappeared, dashing at me before hovering menacingly over my bed. I let out another scream and again it retreated to the corner.

Later, the mask re-appeared once again and began approaching my bed before it suddenly dropped to the floor. I waited to see what would happen next, but there was only silence instead. I cautiously looked over the edge of my bed and saw the mask on the floor with one of its eye stickers missing. Curious, I reached out to pick it up, but an arm from under the bed quickly appeared and pulled the mask out of sight.

Dr. Mike Nelson’s Journal.

May 12, 2017

One of my early writings from my high school years.

My white car, Government Issue Label #YS-7293, slid down the ramp of the truck, and I turned it down a dirt road. This road led towards an air force base that was in need of a special solution that would provide energy for an underwater rocket. I knew I was perfectly capable of succeeding in doing this because my white car is actually a laboratory with wheels. This puts me at an unfair advantage over some other guys who speed way above the speed limit.

As my car traveled down the road, I saw a few soldiers stand by the entrance to my home base, the Woodville Air Force Base, which is a subdivision of the National Government Security Division, or the NGSD. The soldiers saw my license plate, and my ID card, nodded and let me pass.

As I was going down the road, I rewound a cassette describing my mission, and listened to it again.

Dr. Nelson, your mission is to establish fuel to provide enough energy to force a rocket out of its launch pad underwater and yet retain the equalised force to push it into open space, and beyond the earth. Your fellow comrades should give you assistance upon your arrival at the base, but I know you are virtually self-sufficient. I wish you the best of luck, Dr. Nelson, and we hold you as the true American hero. Sincerely, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States.

Some soldiers halted me and asked me for identification. Again, I presented the card, and the soldiers guided me to a huge warehouse where the colonel was discussing plans about the rocket. He showed me the plans and then asked me to devise fuel for it.

I went to my car and opened the trunk, and then took a Hex crystal, and put it in its slot. Then the walls of the trunk protruded outwards to reveal a miniature laboratory. I then pulled out drawers containing chemicals and then figured out the appropriate chemical for fuel. My years of scientific experience told me that Ferrit Colmonite combined with Valtionium would provide power so forceful, it could push my car for kilometers and kilometers.

I took a tennis ball and punctured a hole in it, then I stuck a test tube with Ferrit Colmonite, and a very brittle tube containing the Valtionium, inside the ball. I told the scientists to stay 100 meters behind me, and I threw the ball high into the air. It was some time before it hit the ground. The force of impact broke the Valtionium tube, thus mixing the two chemicals together, and then, with a loud roar, the tennis ball shot up into the air, sailing up about 1 kilometer, before it fell back to earth again.

I told the scientists that there was only a small solution involved in the liftoff. The successful test led to Stage 2 of the tennis ball test.

I prepared the tennis ball again, but this time I put twice as much chemical components inside the ball. The set-up was the same, with the use of the brittle tube. I fastened a small, radio-activated explosive at the bottom of the tube and then I put the tennis ball in the 3-meter mark, the deep end of the pool. I dove in and then put the ball under a net so the ball would not float back up to the surface.

After I dried myself off, I then took the remote control and then I asked all scientists to stay away from the pool. I pressed the button, and the explosive burst, puncturing the Valtionium and the two chemicals mixed together. Seconds later, we saw the ball fly up from the pool into the air, where it was never seen by any of us again.

The successful testing led to the creation of the UWM-TP1 missile.

During the surgery.

May 10, 2017

Right now I’m in a waiting room at the hospital. It’s a nice small room with comfortable chairs, a TV and a computer with Internet access. Along the wall is a radio playing some soothing music. There’s also a rack with magazines to keep my mind occupied, but I’m more interested in the computer. I can browse the web, check out the latest headlines and get the weather forecast, just like at home. Oh yeah, and type this blog post.

On the wall across from where I’m sitting is another TV screen, but this one has a list of all the surgeries in progress. And there I am, in room 2. There’s nothing more to do but wait and hope everything goes well. In the meantime I look around the waiting room and see if there’s anything else I can do besides wait. Maybe one more trip to the Web to check my email.

Ding.

I just heard a soft beep coming from the screen. I look up to see the newly updated list and to my delight, I can see they’re finally finished in Room 2. I also see a smiley face next to my name, which indicates the surgery was a success. I still don’t know why I was so nervous in the first place.

I float out of the waiting room and return to my body in the surgical recovery area.

Micro Man.

May 9, 2017

I wrote this story during my high school years during the late 1980’s, years before the existence of the Internet and the famed urban legends reference site.

ALL WATCHES FIXED
WHILE-U-WAIT

That’s what the sign in front of a small shop said. The small shop attracted few people until the day the town mayor came in. Then, the villagers piled up outside to watch the people inside work.

The store itself was blank, but the only eye-catching item was an empty telephone booth, which was brilliantly colored.

The fat mayor came up to the counter to a clerk, laid his wristwatch on the counter and said, “This watch needs fixing. Had it for over 15 years. It’ll be a great disappointment to lose it. Can you fix it?”

“Wal, let’s check it out. Hey, Snopes!”

Snopes entered, wearing a highly futuristic uniform. He looked at the watch, thoroughly examining it. He wound it up but it kept on making a clicking sound instead of a ticking sound. Snopes nodded. “I think there’s a spring broken. Be right back.”

Snopes exited, and then re-entered, wearing a jet suit, which consisted of a belt with rockets at the sides. He stepped into the booth, gave the clerk an ok-signal, and then waited. The clerk pressed a button which activated the lights in the booth. Then, Snopes vanished. The onlookers gasped.

“Be still, y’all. Y’all be real still now. Snopes is as small as an atom, an’ he’ll be in the watch in just a few tics,” the clerk announced.

Inside the watch, Snopes drove himself past the wheels, the gears, and the springs.

Aha! He found the problem.

The spring was disconnected. Snopes welded the spring back on and re-appeared in the shop, surrounded by thunderous applause.

The mayor’s watch was fixed, in a brand new way.

Making my car fly.

May 8, 2017

Well, here I am, stuck in traffic, just like every afternoon when I leave work. I wish I could make this car fly.

Actually, you can.

I can? How?

You’re just not going fast enough. Just pull off to the side where there’s room. I’ll do the rest.

Really? You’re going to make this car fly?

Trust me.

I fought my way to the side of the interstate where there was ample room to pull over.

Start driving. Go fast.

I stepped on the gas and began to accelerate, passing the heavy traffic with ease.

Faster.

The speedometer was now at 55.

Faster.

I continued flooring the gas pedal and nervously watched the speedometer reach 65. Then I looked up and saw the guard rail ahead as the interstate began its curve towards the west. I slammed on the brakes but it was too late. My car crashed through the guard rail and sailed off the interstate over a steep hill.

See? You’re flying.

That’s the last time I’ll ever listen to my thoughts.

The village by the river.

May 8, 2017

I decided to get an early start this morning, so I made sure I was up before the crack of dawn. After breaking camp, I nervously returned to the trail that took me to the frightening sight I witnessed yesterday. And there it was. The village by the river, inhabited by children wearing colorful costumes. When I saw them yesterday, they were singing and dancing but not this time. They were now standing right there in the dark while completely motionless. Nearby stood an unusual assortment of animals consisting of geese, monkeys and even an elephant. None of them were moving either. I worked up the courage to walk up to the village for a closer view, cautiously shining my flashlight around while taking care not to disturb the children. But they still didn’t move.

Then I realized I was close to the river, only I didn’t hear the water flowing. When I shone my flashlight on the water, I was startled to see it still as glass.

Just when I began to fathom these unexplainable events, everything changed in an instant. The river began to flow as multiple lights in the sky began to illuminate the village. When I turned around to see the sights behind me, I nearly dropped my flashlight. The children were once again singing and dancing with the nearby animals joining in with their heads swaying in time to the music that came from nowhere.

And then the boats came, an endless line of boats filled with spectators with their cameras at the ready to capture the moments during their visit to this mysterious village. I had to hide behind the nearby bushes to avoid being seen.

Then, for the first time since my arrival here, I could understand the words to the song the children were singing nonstop for hours on end. Now the mystery had deepened to the point where it may never be solved. The only thing I had accomplished thus far was feel my insanity increase to uncomfortable levels. No longer was I curious about this village and its peculiar residents, I just had to leave, and quickly.

And so I did, miraculously completing my escape unnoticed as I returned to civilization but with the words “It’s a small world” forever ringing inside my head.

Kevin’s discovery.

May 3, 2017

Kevin’s was nowhere to be found all day. His office door was unlocked, giving the department staff good reason to believe he was still on the premises, only who knows where. This was of great annoyance to the staff as they needed his guidance to resolve the ongoing problems with the network.

That evening, everyone went home except for Robert, who stayed to continue troubleshooting the sluggish network. He sat at his desk, convinced he was all alone working when suddenly the door to the computer room opened. Out came Kevin, his face lit with excitement. As he was about to return to his office, he saw Robert working.

“Robert,” Kevin said, scaring Robert out of his wits.

“Kevin, where have you been?” Robert yelled. “You’ve been missing all day and we’ve spent just as long looking for you! You mean to say you’ve been in the computer room all this time?”

“I think you should see this,” Kevin replied.

“What’s to see? Kevin, the network’s been running slow all day and I really can’t stop working now.”

“Take a break,” Kevin smiled. “Follow me.”

Robert groaned as he rose from his seat to follow Kevin into the computer room. They both walked up to a small closet on the back wall next to the mainframe. Kevin opened the doors to reveal a mess of data cables plugged into network outlets on the wall.

“What do you see?” Kevin asked.

“Kevin,” Robert sighed. “you know what I see. Those are cables that go to the mainframe terminals all over the hospital.”

“Anything else?”

“No, I don’t see anything else. Why, what else is there?”

“How about a ladder?”

“A what?”

“See?” Kevin moved the cables out of the way to expose a flat piece of wood that was nailed across the width of the small closet. Above it was another similarly nailed piece of wood followed by several more that continued up to the ceiling.

“Kevin, just because it looks like a ladder doesn’t mean it’s a ladder.”

“After you,” Kevin smiled, motioning towards the ladder.

“Oh no,” Robert protested. “I’m not going up there.”

“Then I’ll go.”

Kevin!” Robert protested, but to no avail. Kevin had moved the cables off to the side so he could climb the ladder and sure enough, up he went, rung by rung and closer to the ceiling. Then he pushed a ceiling tile out of the way and disappeared into a small, dimly lit space above.

“Are you coming, Robert?” Kevin’s voice called out. “You need to see this.”

Robert too began climbing the ladder and when he reached the space above the ceiling, he gasped. There was Kevin, standing in what appeared to be a small, dimly lit office, complete with a desk, a phone and a mainframe terminal that graced its windowless interior.

“Unbelievable,” Robert muttered. “What is this place?”

“I have no idea,” Kevin replied.

“How’d you know about this?”

“I’ve been wondering about the ladder. I thought it was a rack of some sort but when I saw more than one rack, that had me thinking it could be a ladder, and where there’s a ladder, there’s bound to be something hidden above the ceiling. And here we are.”

“Amazing,” Robert said as he looked around the mysterious office. Then his eyes moved to the desk, where he spotted a small beige box with a blinking orange light on the front side. He examined the back of the box and saw a power cable along with a network cable both plugged into their respective outlets on the wall.

“What’s that?” Kevin asked.

“I have no idea,” Robert replied as he unplugged the box’s cables from the wall. “But we certainly don’t need it. Now if you don’t mind, I’d like to get back to work and figure out what’s slowing this network down.”

“Of course,” Kevin smiled. “I’ll be down in a bit.”

Robert climbed down the ladder and returned to the office below. Kevin took one last look around the mysterious office before he too made his descent that took him back to the computer room that led to the office where the staff worked.

“How’s it going?” Kevin asked as he stopped by Robert’s desk.

“I don’t believe it,” Robert replied. “The network’s running much faster now. That small box I unplugged in that weird office was what was slowing everything down. Only I still don’t know what that box does.”

“We’ll figure that out tomorrow. Come, let’s go home. You worked a very long day today.”

“Can’t argue with that,” Robert sighed as he rose from his seat. “At least your time absent was well spent.”

“True,” Kevin smiled as he switched off the lights to the office. Robert joined him as they both made their way to the time clock to punch out for the day.

Meanwhile, in the small office above the ladder, a gray, wrinkled hand plugged in the power and data cables into their respective outlets as the orange light on the beige box began blinking.