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Flash Fiction Friday

Flash Fiction Friday: A Bag With Handles

by: Bert Stanton

All he wanted was a bag with handles. Just one large bag with two handles. Paper or plastic, didn’t matter. Big enough to fit the contents of the brown bag sitting on the checkout counter, almost filled to the top with enough food and assorted sundries to get a modern person through another week. The same brown bag that, if not put into a bag with handles, would prove too difficult to carry in one arm, while the other did God’s work; if God fumbled with house keys, showed transit passes to bus drivers, swiped right, and discretely scratched himself in public. That bag would dip and slip and dance and spill. Maybe even burst. Maybe at the bus stop, maybe on the bus itself. Maybe as he was sprinting towards the blinking walk sign on the other side of the dark, rainy, intersection filled with agitated and impatient honking. None of them would care. They just wanted to get home.

And he just wanted a bag with handles.

The cashier stared him down, smacked her gum, shot jaundiced rays of impatient disgust and heavy disdain at him through narrow eyes unable to care. Each smack smack smack of her gum became louder and louder and louder, her lips wetter and wetter and wetter. Every time he blinked, both the top and bottom lip swelled, as if someone stabbed them with a basketball pump and started furiously pumping away. Her breasts swelled too. So did her hips. And so did the cocked angle which she rested one hand on her hips, and continued to smack her gum at him.

“I would like a bag with handles.” he said, calm and flat. It wasn’t a difficult request.

“Ain’t got none.” she replied, each word enunciated with wet, smacking lips.

“Certainly you have to have at least one.” he replied.

“Nope.” she said, and for a brief moment, he wanted to grab the pen holding her piss poor dye job in place and stab her lips, her breasts, her hips, her thorax. Not in any mean or misogynistic way. It just seemed like the right thing to do. Put her out of her misery.

“Can I look around at the other registers?” the man asked. There were eleven other registers. None were open, but surely must be stocked. Surely one of them would have a two handled bag.

She shook her swelling head, and turned back to the register, to whatever occupied her thoughts when there were no other customers. Particularly nasty ones like him who would never take a no for an answer. Who thought they were gods of all creation over price labels, clearance items, and expired coupons.

“Can I speak to a manger?” he asked. The cashier didn’t turn around, just pointed one long, gnarled, overly manicured finger towards a young man with green hair standing at the end of the line of registers.

He looked too young and too frail to have any authority, yet his name tag read ASSISTANT CASHIER MANAGER. It also read BRAD.

“We are out of bags with handles.” Brad said, his words moldy with repetition.

“I need one, though. I need it for my groceries and sundries. I need it or I may not make it all the way home.”

“We are out of bags with handles.” Assistant Cashier Manager Brad repeated.

“Are there any in the back?” the man asked.

Brad’s head started to turn, then spin, around and around and around. 360 degrees to 720 to 1440, and on and on. With each turn, Brad’s head spiraled upwards, his neck an elongated screw, until the top of his head touched the high ceiling. His eyes bulged to the size of basketballs.

“WE ARE OUT OF BAGS WITH HANDLES” his dull, metallic voice boomed from the roof.

“This is not a difficult request.” The man who wanted nothing more than a bag with handles said. “I just need a bag with handles.”

But it was useless, and he knew it. Still, he pushed on.

“Give me a bag with handles.” he said, and then said it again. It quickly became a droning chant, each repetition blowing his body outward, as if someone stuck the hose of an air compressor into his left ear and let it rip. His body ballooned up and out, up and out, up and over the cash registers and any merchandise or people that got in his way. Soon he was face to face with Brad, both madder than the heat of a thousand suns.

The roof broke apart, as their metamorphosis into A CHEAP LO-FI KNOCK OFF OF 1970S RODAN and ASSISTANT CASHIER MANAGER BRAD ONLY NOW MUCH LARGER neared completion. They hovered over the building in the light of a clear, full moon, each trying to remember which secret Japanese government laboratory originally spawned their embryos.

NORAD mobilized the Air National Guard, but the pilots stopped off en route for a pool party at a secret government laboratory atop Mount Hood. This one was a United States government laboratory, and unlike the Japanese they learned long ago to not fuck around with dinosaur DNA, to just leave it alone. After all the United States has Lt. Colonel Jeff Goldblum on their side to warn them of such irresponsible dangers. Just stick to chemical and electronic warfare, ya dinguses. It’s a lot less likely your country will be trampled by an annoying lizard god. The pilots drank and laughed and tried to remember how much sexual assault was allowed under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

When A CHEAP LO-FI KNOCK OFF OF 1970S RODAN and ASSISTANT CASHIER MANAGER BRAD ONLY NOW MUCH LARGER finally collided, the ensuing mushroom cloud could be seen as far as Tacoma, Washington, and leveled the ten blocks surrounding the store, which was super convenient for the city planners who were trying to hurry up gentrification in the area.

Anywho, that’s why the Freddie’s on 82nd and Foster is now closed.

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Bert Stanton lives and writes in Portland, Oregon.

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Send your weird little stories to flashfictionfridaysubmissions@gmail.com.


Flash Fiction Friday: The Friend We Made

by: James Burr

He danced in the dry ice, his limbs staccato-jerking in the strobes. He’d cleared a space for himself and was dancing on the spot, breathing heavily through his nose and mouth, his eyes glazed and staring blankly ahead. “I’m dancing, I’m dancing,” he kept repeating as he danced and danced. Around him, sweating clubbers pointed and whooped and high-fived him, this consummate dancer, as the beat rattled and the bass wobbled and dropped.

The next time I saw him was at a Rugby Club Ball, standing on a table, Harlequins jersey stained with curry, leading a drunken rendition of Father Abraham, Stella Artois spilling and splashing those who stood around him, laughing and cheering. At the end of each line he thrust his hips with a powerful snap, his cheering, ruddy-faced compatriots doing the same, following this seeming best friend to all, as they slapped him on the back and cheered and roared their drunken approval.

I spoke to one of his friends later at the end of the evening, after the lights had come up and the bar had mostly emptied save for some stragglers trying to stay awake as they drank in small groups or a couple trying to finger new girl friends in the shadows. He could barely focus and was slumped on a table, the sleeves of his blazer sodden with beer, but despite my describing the man in detail and saying what he had been doing all evening, one of this man’s seeming core group of friends had no idea who I was talking about, my questions only prompting vague recollection of someone being there but nothing more.

But then I saw more of him after that. At demonstrations outside the Student Union, his hair dyed purple, surrounded by cheering social justice warriors who applauded his railing against the patriarchy, and at poetry evenings, clad in tweed and thick-rimmed specs, his verse received with standing ovations before he then retired to the café where he held court to the assembled poets and performance artists and spoke of the merits of repetition, word play and the importance of oral storytelling. Occasionally, I’d see him out of the corner of my eye, walking around a corner surrounded by an adoring group of chavs, baseball cap on his head and can of White Lightning in hand or entering a Metal club, all in black, illegible band logo on his T-Shirt, and always, always the centre of attention, effortlessly the leader of the group, clearly the best friend to all.

Sometimes, I’d speak to these people about him, sometimes only moments after he’d left, but they could only vaguely recall him, just remembering a few details, a tinge of an accent, a mannerism, an odd recollection that someone had indeed been there. No-one seemed to know him; no-one knew who he was yet whenever I saw him, he was always the centre of attention, the focal point of that social group.

So I wasn’t that surprised when the next time I saw him was when I went to a friend’s house for a quiet smoke. As I opened the door to the living room, through a hashish haze I saw him holding court, expertly skinning up as he mumbled about his travels to Tibet and his experiences of various drugs, my friends relaxed with his company and enraptured with his conversation. And I watched him through the evening, this consummate Head, as he expertly selected the music, Floyd then Orb then ambient trance, as my friends mumbled their approval at his selections. But as the night progressed, my limbs grew heavy and my head filled with warm cotton wool, the others slowly went home or shuffled upstairs until I was finally left alone with him, the first time I’d seen him outside of a group.

We sat slumped on the floor as the ambient wash pulsed and throbbed around us and as for a moment I think I saw a look of panic pass across his face as he realized we were alone. Then he turned to me, his face an exact mirror of my own. I wanted to ask him who he was, how he seemed to know everyone, be liked by everyone. But my mouth was dry and I could feel myself sinking into unconsciousness. As I closed my eyes, I thought I heard him say, “I’m not sure I want to find myself….”

 

When I woke up the next day, I found his “body”, if you want to call it that, on the floor where I had last seen him. Lying on the carpet amidst the full ashtrays and fragments of discarded cardboard was a man-shaped transparent vessel, a brittle glass container, empty and dead.

His hollow frame shattered into a thousand fragments when I threw it into the bin outside, and when my friends slowly surfaced, rubbing their eyes and shuffling to the kitchen to make mugs of hot tea, like everyone else, none could remember him or even recall his name.

________

An English writer of dark, humorous, paranoiac fiction, James Burr is the author of Ugly Stories for Beautiful People and is working on a novel titled Razor Moccasins. You can follow him on Twitter and find more of his stories here.

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Send your weird little stories to flashfictionfridaysubmissions@gmail.com.


Flash Fiction Friday: Job Offer on Seventh Heaven

by: Martin Rutley

It was late, Saturday night, when they brought me in. Strapped to a stretcher, disinfectant smeared into the corners of my eyes, the smell of petroleum in their greasy sideburns. Dressed in the green and gray of the company uniform, each of the six had joyously taken his turn at the head of the pack. They fired off their questions, one after the other, their voices all baby talk and laughter—Who cut your gooky fucking hair? How’s your pancreas feel about the pre-cancerous cells in your liver? Is that Benzo Fury in your bloodstream? Are you aware those idiots at the CIA can’t work so much as a soda machine? Did you know Andromeda’s fucking Ryan from data capture? What kind of schmuck reads Asimov with a hairbrush in his ass? This wasn’t a dissection of what it was made me tick—they didn’t give a shit about the ins and outs of a rodent like me—this was an institution at play, a muscle, uneasy at rest, flexing itself.

I was beaten into the early hours of the morning. A solid workout for the boys on night shift. Each put in his fair share, no slacking or slipping out for a quick cigarette in the reading room—these boys were keen. Of the six, Hunter’s blows landed hardest. He continued long after the others had had their fill. He ended with a particularly brutal strike to the base of the spine—The Hunter Ray Heel Kick, he’d christened it—a signature maneuver none of the others had attempted. Several of them had marveled at his movement—the fluidity of force from deltoid to extensor, the anatomical precision inherent in a curving knee strike to the hepatic duct of a functioning liver. Finally, I was stripped to the waist and given a near-lethal dose of Seventh Heaven, a well-known ventromedial manipulator and driver of grunt warfare since 2037.

“Side effect city,” someone yelled. “Hold on to your DNA.”

“Hold on to your cahoonas,” yelled another.

As he’d spoken, the electrons in the heavy elements of my body abandoned their orbits and I collapsed into a pre-biological soup of ionized hydrogen. I reemerged a nanosecond or so later and pulled on the trigger of a .45 jammed against the roof of my mouth.

“Bang,” yelled Hunter, and the others erupted into what my ex-wife would have described as spasms of ‘screw you’ laughter.

He knelt with uncanny grace and pressed his face into mine. “Makes you cry for Mommy, don’t it?” he whispered.

Later, the others filed silently from the room—not separately, but as one—hairless mandibles held high in the air.

Hunter must have been a hundred feet tall. Had he wanted, he could have ground me into the earth and joined the others for baked lobster fideo or whatever it was these people ate. He assured me he was a killer of some reputation. He’d risen through the ranks of the corporation due to a willingness to do what others wouldn’t. I gave him everything with a candor I hadn’t known I possessed—a complete schematic of my habits and tendencies, end of the world codes, exit points, atom hacks, bombs strapped to the underside of elephants in crowded malls at Christmas—children tugging at their leathery ears, time holes, reset procedures, insert generators—I betrayed everyone and everything dear to me.

Hunter applauded and folded into a smile that pulled at the lids of his eyes. “These elephants, Mr. Lewis, do they exist?”

“If I shut off the TV once in a while, they would.”

“Describe them.”

“Inserts,” I said. “Harvested from interstellar space and nano-engineered to resist all known modes of interrogation—terrestrial or otherwise. Exquisite animals.”

“Including the Abdominal Slap?”

“Yes, sir—in more than a thousand documented simulations.”

“Belief systems?”

“Hardwired accordingly.”

“Defection rates?”

“Zero.”

He crouched, scooped me into his hand, and raised me level with his enormous face. Were he to swallow me whole, I’d sit in his small intestine and drift into in a telepathic union.

A single, giant tear descended his cheek. “I want a million of those things.”

I stood and extended my arms perpendicularly in search of at least minimal balance. “I’ll need a quantum entangler, a hundred billion dollars, identity reconstruction, and five hundred thousand square feet of prime off-planet real estate.”

He pursed his lips and blew, rotating his wrist as he did so. I fell into his palm and grabbed at the base of his pinky finger. His hand upturned, I hung helplessly and waited for him to speak.

“Little man, we’re going to save your life,” he said.

He’d spoken carefully, rigidly—as though repeating words previously reordered and rehearsed in his mind. Perhaps the Seventh Heaven was talking, but there was compassion in those dark, cavernous eyes and I couldn’t wait to begin.

________

Martin Rutley lives in Manchester, UK. His short fiction has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including Pedestal Magazine, Locus Novus, The Fortean Bureau, Vestal Review, and Raven Chronicles. He also makes films—some disturbing, some batshit crazy. You can stream Amnesiac on Amazon.

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Send your weird little stories to flashfictionfridaysubmissions@gmail.com.


Flash Fiction Friday: The Leader

by: John Wayne Comunale
Jonathan Switz was loved and renowned by his people as much if not more than he was loathed and reviled by them. Such is the plight of every leader, but Switz remained unaffected. He couldn’t feel the love, hate, or indifference of his people because he lacked the capability. Something had turned that part of him off.

He thought he remembered what love and hate felt like, but couldn’t be sure if he was only convincing himself the memory existed. Switz had no idea how long he’d been in The Isolation, but he knew he was a leader and not much past that.

The who and the where escaped him, and while he felt constantly on the cusp of remembering, he never did. Most days he received a message he was to make a speech or declaration of some kind. The message wasn’t written or dictated but came in the form of a buzzing tingle at the base of his brain. A spotlight would appear. Jonathan would stand in it and begin to recite words as they scrolled through his mind like a psychic teleprompter.

Two holographic symbols appeared in front of him at least four or five times a day. The symbols, a red triangle and a yellow circle, represented a different difficult decision for Jonathan. To make this decision he simply had to reach out and touch one of the holograms. That was that. The shapes would disappear and return later with another decision for the great leader to make.

Switz never knew what the decisions were or how they affected his people. All he knew was the shapes would hover before him until he reached out and touched one.

Jonathan tried to glean some context as to what may be going on from the speeches he made, but they were mostly non-committal political rhetoric or vague, sweeping answers easily applicable to a myriad of problems. The words flew through his head so fast he didn’t have time to comprehend what he rattled off.

He made the shapes wait once. He wanted to see if after a certain amount of time the options changed or more information was given, but no such luck. The red triangle and yellow circle simply hung in the air and followed Switz around glowing dully, silently pressuring him to make a choice until he did.

He wondered if the amount of time he waited before choosing had any bearing on the outcome or if everything stopped frozen in time until Jonathan Switz touched a glowing shape.

When the shapes appeared again, Switz decided he just wasn’t going to touch them forever. Maybe if he waited long enough the outside world would be thrown off balance and free him from The Isolation, allow him to feel something again.

Jonathan vowed to himself if and when he ever got out he would step down as leader immediately. Even if through some twist of fate the blind choices he’d made created the perfect utopian existence and he was haled far and wide, he would still walk away.

Days and days went by, or what Switz was able to perceive as days, but the shapes remained present with no change.

Jonathan stared vacantly at the shapes floating silently in front of him and was struck with an idea. It seemed so simple, and he felt foolish for not thinking of it until just then. He would touch both of the shapes at the same time. It sounded easier than he knew it would be, but it was something he’d never tried before.

He stepped as close as he could to the shapes without touching and put his hands up in front of them. He did his best to put the same amount of space between each hand and its corresponding shape, but had to step back and try again several times before he could stop shaking.

Switz took several deep breaths, shook the trembling from his hands, and stepped back up to the shapes. He put his hands as close as he could to each shape without touching, and then quickly thrust them forward at the same time.

The triangle and the circle disappeared leaving the space noticeably dimmer with the absence of their dismal glow. Jonathan stood still; his hands out in front of him, and waited for something, for anything to happen. When it didn’t he lowered his hands and clenched them into fists.

He didn’t feel the tingle in his palms at first until the sensation intensified rapidly forcing him to recognize the burn. He unclenched, looked down at his palms, and saw his hands had turned the color of the shape they had touched. It was more than just color though, his hands had taken on the low-level luminescence of the shapes as well.

Jonathan turned his hands over a to see the strange phenomenon completely covered them, and a prickling sensation shot across his wrists as the glowing colors started to work their way down both arms. It moved slowly at first, like thickly applied paint dripping down the wall, but quickly gained momentum and was to his shoulder in a second.

Colored light exploded across his vision as if he’d looked directly into two suns. Light was all he could see for several seconds until it faded into an unsavory, inky, thick darkness. Jonathan shook with spasms as the foreign substance enveloped his body and plunged down his throat.

Through the darkness Switz saw bright spirals of light that reached out with an invisible force to pull him into them.

As he got closer, Switz began to feel something. It was hard for him to make sense of it at first because the ability to feel was a faculty he no longer possessed. His synapses latched onto the odd sensation and flung it back into his system, reactivating the long-atrophied sensors.

Something changed inside of Jonathan, and he was flooded with feelings to the point of being overwhelmed. He felt the pain of his people from all the decisions he’d made that hurt them, but he also felt the joy from when he’d done them right. Love overtook him so intensely, he was confused and unable to derive its origin, but he was comforted nonetheless.

The choking darkness of hate and envy fell upon Jonathan the heaviest and sank its fangs deep into his neck. Switz flailed against the foul emotion but found it impossible to break from the invisible force holding him in place.

Jonathan Switz had figured out a way to make himself feel again, but there was a side affect of his successful experiment. He felt everything at once. The intense love, hate, and all that comes in-between hit Switz in one single gigantic wave.

The intensity broke him and Jonathan’s his frazzled brain shut down, but not before he remembered why he’d come into The Isolation. Not before he remembered none of this mattered.

The swirling orange and yellow light pulled Jonathan into it, and he was gone. A crack ran down the black, wet sky of The Isolation like long, lazy lightning. When it struck the ground, the sky crumbled and fell to reveal the same sky right behind it.

________

John Wayne Comunale lives in the land of purple drank known as Houston, Texas. He is a writer for the comedic collective MicroSatan; the author of The Porn Star Retirement Plan, Charge Land, Aunt Poster, and Scummer; and the writer/illustrator of the comic-zine: The Afterlife Adventures of johnwayneisdead. If that’s not enough, he also tours with the punk rock disaster: johnwayneisdead. If you’re in Williamsburg, Virginia tonight, you can see him reading live at Scares That Care. If you miss that, you can still listen to his podcasts here and here.

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Send your weird little stories to flashfictionfridaysubmissions@gmail.com.


Flash Fiction Friday: Enter the Salamander

by: Neil Sanzari

When the girl of malnourished complexion crossed paths with the ribbit in the ruins of Saint X’s Parochial Middle School, she refrained from drawing a single arrow. It was her first encounter with the dread creature. In fact, she had only heard the faintest of frightened whispers concerning its legend. But no one had ever admitted to seeing one before in the glandular flesh beneath the slimy fur of the thing. So she drank in the ribbit’s dreamy protruding eyes before deciding whether or not to dispatch this wondrous-to-behold beastie.

When the girl returned to camp hand-in-hand with the ribbit, her father flew into a rage because he had given her strict orders not to come back unless she had made a fresh kill for her family to eat.

So the father played a little trick on the girl by cooking off the ribbit without telling her. And then the father fed the specially prepared meal to the girl without making her aware of what it was in particular that she ate.

Soon afterwards, the girl of malnourished complexion began to exhibit the glandular flesh beneath the slimy fur of the thing, as if she were becoming something altogether new and different. In short, she was transforming into a much larger version of the ribbit. Yet she remained a kind of hybrid of herself and the thing at the same time. Maintaining her personality both whole and separate alongside the creature, where their aspects took turns sharing the spotlight.

This was all quite normal for the ribbit because the creature was a shapeshifter by nature. And it had absorbed more than a few souls in its day. They often interjected as a kind of peanut gallery in the background like so much white noise. Their incessant chatter caused the girl great anxiety, no matter how much the ribbit reassured her otherwise.

The peanut gallery claimed that the ribbit was the Bonnie Prince of Hares and Toads. That the creature might even be a long-lost cousin of the legendary Sovereign of Salamanders, who in turn was revered by many as the Deity of Arson.

Now the ribbit thought it best to do away with the girl’s father because the creature was not one to forgive such transgressions. This meant devouring the father whole, but the ribbit promised the girl that her father’s personality would not be incorporated into the spectrum of their shared-reality. Namely, what the ribbit condescended to as the afore-mentioned peanut gallery. The consumption of the father was only meant to be for fuel and nothing more.

Hence, the girl of the glandular flesh beneath the slimy fur of the thing observed the world and saw it all from an entirely different perspective through her fetching bulbous eyes. Taking in all the sounds with her great big ears. And that was when she heard the screams.

Her mind’s eye quickly turned inward to reveal the unmistakable countenance of her father holding court amidst the once-benign peanut gallery. Having stirred them up into a lather, a mutinous horde no less bent upon stringing her up.

Meanwhile, the ribbit had already been hoisted aloft and lit aflame as if the creature were a burning effigy of itself, save for its fruitless efforts to escape. Kicking and screaming all the way.

And so the girl began to pick off the lynch mob lickety-split with an arrow through an alderman’s eye here and another through a harlot’s heart there, with plenty more left in the quiver for that wall-to-wall turnout of lost souls closing in fast.

________

Neil Sanzari is an artist and writer from the New York City area, where he worked in advertising. Displaced by the events of 9/11, he now lives down at the Jersey shore with his wife, Celia. He has a novella and several short stories in the works. His preferred genres are Bizarro, New Weird, and Cyberpunk. He plans to adapt Enter the Salamander into a comic book series.

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Send your weird little stories to flashfictionfridaysubmissions@gmail.com.


Flash Fiction Friday: Vampire Swans Ate My Office Building

by: Cornell R. Nichols

When I got to work on Monday, 8 a.m. sharp, vampire swans were eating their way through my office building. Zipping around the corporate high-rise in a flock, a ballet, a whiteness, they have managed to strip away the concrete from all twenty regular and five executive floors with hundreds of razor-sharp teeth. Vampire swans can live on concrete from just about anything, even pavements and skate park ramps, but for some reason they prefer to collapse skyscrapers. Today they chose the one I work in.

Or used to work in, I suppose.

There was scarcely anything left except for naked plumbing and twisted steel rebar. Loosened glass panes kept falling onto the plaza, threatening to cut passersby in half, but through some amazing hive-mind instinct, vampire swans avoided them with ease, circling in search of another scrumptious bite of hardened cement.

I put up both hands awning-like to shade my eyes from the sun and located the all too familiar desk on the thirteenth floor. As I was watching, the entire structure groaned and bent to the side. The desk slipped through the absent window and crashed in front of the fountain. My worn out squishy stress toy wheezed its last, pierced through the chest by a pencil, and fell silent forever.

I sat on the bench across the road and took out my packed lunch. Biting along to the chomping of vampire teeth, I watched the urban tower collapse into a heap of debris. A pod of mummy seals flippered by, and each of them gave me an awkward hug, wet bandages brushing against my neck. When I finally stopped shaking with disgust, the swans were flying away towards the park—a dark wedge against the chemically bleached blue sky.
I went to the nearest antigravity bar. Half-flipping onto the ceiling, I noticed several people from work—silent, pale-faced, slumped over snifters of lighter-than-air whiskey and inverted beer bottles—but the place was mostly empty. My boss was committing hara-kiri in the corner booth using only a cocktail umbrella. Nobody tried to stop him, even as blood started raining down onto the hardwood floor.

I ordered a Bloody Mary and strapped myself to the seat next to some balding stockbroker type. I told him my office building had been eaten by vampire swans. He told me his lunch had been raped by ghoulverines.

“They started appearing last week,” he said, punctuating the sentence with a painfully long, bottoms-down sip of his Bud Light. “Long as you have a home-cooked meal in a Tupperware or some veggie shit, you’re all fine and dandy. The undead fucks won’t even sneeze at a thing. But who has time to cook at home, amirite?”

“Sure thing,” I said just to keep him talking.

“So there I am, my company’s food court, about to bite into one of those foot-long monster sandwiches, extra cheese, when the pack arrives. Salivating acid, stinking like an open grave somebody took a piss in. Everybody stops eating because, well, you can’t swallow a bite when you see—and smell—something like that. And then . . . and then raping starts. Male ghoulverines grinding against the table to ejaculate in bowls of ramen. Females masturbating with hot dogs and pickles. Some S&M freak putting his rotting nads in chili con carne and stabbing people with plastic utensils. Complete mayhem. Last thing I remember, two of them jumped onto my table. One put his foot-long dick in my foot-long sandwich and the other one started dripping snatch juices all over the special sauce. Then I went to my happy place. When I came to, that damn lunch was still in front of me. Like the vicious fucks expected me to eat it after what they did to it! Still feel like barfing just thinking about it.” He finished his God-awful beer and unstrapped himself to get another one.

When he returned, he launched into a spiel about secret government labs. “It’s all part of their plan, you know? I mean, where else could these aberrations have come from? Huh?”

I nodded, even though I knew he was wrong.

Vampire swans were never meant to eat buildings. Somebody created them to stop the bigwigs from filling the world with concrete, bulldozing nature. Ghoulverines? Probably a way to force people to eat healthier. Just like mummy seals and their hugs used to be there to reassure you, convince you that you are not alone.

But somewhere along the way, intentions got twisted. Skyscrapers started falling, more and more lunches got sexually assaulted, fleeting comfort became a reminder of your crushing loneliness. And we were left with this. A world forever unwinding, desperate for a miracle.
I left the antigravity bar around 8 p.m., just when my boss’s body started to decompose, dripping black juices from the ceiling.

Taking a shortcut through the mall parking lot, I heard a faint moaning coming from the alley behind the silent movie multiplex. Hardly believing my luck, I searched around the dumpsters, and sure enough, I found a grimy Bride of Frankenstein there, wavy white hair strands and stitches included. I managed to wrap my coat around it and half-carried, half-dragged it home.

Back in my basement, I introduced the Bride to the huge black ram I found in my backyard last week. Sitting on rickety steps, I watched the two of them go at it behind a stack of year-old newspapers.

Soon my new pet will give birth to a flock of Frankensheep. Maybe they will teleport into offices and stress people out by pissing on electrical outlets. Maybe they will roam the malls, eat people’s credit cards and shit them out onto a huge pile.

Or maybe—just maybe—they will pay off student loans, vomit lollipops onto sick children’s beds and wage nuclear war against vampire swans. I can only wait and pray, and hope, just like so many people before me.

Maybe this time the world can change for the better.

________

Cornell R. Nichols is a writer and translator who wishes he had a Frankensheep. Or at least a phantom okapi. He usually writes in his native tongue, but words like “chrząszcz” and “gżegżółka” are slightly too extreme even for the bizarro crowd. Polish speakers can visit his alter ego’s site at kornelmikolajczyk.blogspot.com.

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Send your weird little stories to flashfictionfridaysubmissions@gmail.com.


Flash Fiction Friday: Fuck You Very Much

by: Ira Rat

I wonder if there will be enough air in here to last the next few hours. The guys who built this fucking thing said so, but how would they know? It’s not like they would ever come down here and test it, bet their lives their calculations were anywhere near reasonable. I couldn’t imagine any of those geeks closing the lid on themselves and being lowered six feet into the ground.

It’s not like they even strapped down a monkey in this metal tube just to see if the damn thing came out the other end alive.

What about the meth-toothed freaks who helped seal this thing, should I trust them to ever have done a carnie-level job with this? It’s not like they went around burying people in tubes full of oxygen tanks every day.

What if this thing isn’t properly sealed? How would I know? The air could just be seeping into the ground around me as I lay her in this metal coffin with just enough air to get me through this alive. Or at least that was the plan. What if just enough seeped out so I run out of air minutes before they dig up this fucking thing ?

My last few minutes of air going out to the worms. Do worms have lungs?

I know I shouldn’t have trusted that fucking cocksucker Gary. He’s probably arranged it so I will die down here. Can you imagine the money he’d make selling the story?

The Great Pizzali dies during magic “stunt.” Great fucking stunt, the door didn’t even open.

The tabloids would buy that shit in a heartbeat. You know how those vultures are. My dead fucking body will make the cover of those four-color horror rags.

I’ve seen the way he looks at Sarah. He’s probably planning on fucking her on top of this casket when they pull me out dead. Motherfucker. Never trust someone with your life when there’s more money to be made from your death.

Damned if I’m not too late to realize this little scheme of his. Jesus, here I come. Could you give Gary cock-cancer for me over this? I know he’s trying to off me. Why else would he have suggested this stunt? It’s not even like it’s a big draw these days, ever since that masked dick-bag ruined it for the rest of us.

What kind of world do we live in, that a bastard like that can spoil our craft on network TV, while yours truly down here is stupid enough to risk his life doing a blown gag for a hundred-odd slack-jawed pudding heads?

Fuck you, Gary.

Fuck you very much.

Where’s the air going? I wonder if it’s getting pushed down by all this carbon dioxide that I’m spewing? What if I hold my breath?

Fuck… didn’t work, smells like a Frito died and evacuated its bowls in here.

How much longer do I have, anyway? Maybe I should have bought a digital watch before all this. The second hand on this thing seems to be going at one-third speed. Enough time to play with my prick? I wonder if anyone would notice the jizz-stain on my tux if I cracked one out right now?

TAH-DAH! “Look at the magnificence! The splendor!” If only the trap door would have let me out of here by now, I could be back at the hotel three-fingers deep into that blonde with meth teeth that was giving me the eye.

Now that would go down in the history books right next to Houdini’s exploding stomach.

What a dick that guy must have been. Before he turned up, this was a pretty chill job. Find a card, pull a rabbit out of a hat. I wouldn’t have to be six feet under just to prove that I could pull off a grade-school stunt. Meanwhile, I’m down here and I think my watch has stopped.

I hope some Halloween he’ll make contact from beyond and say that he is sodomized by a train of demons on a daily basis. That would show that Hungarian pole-smoker.

I think I can hear digging, but it sounds too far away to get to get six feet in the next few minutes.

Was Houdini Hungarian? I can’t remember. I should look that up, if I survive. Gary better have finalized those contracts. If I’m doing this for nothing, I’m going to fuck him on top of this casket so horribly that he’ll wish it was a train of demons.

I was supposed to be out of here ten minutes ago, at least that’s what it said before my watch started acting up. They were supposed to digging if I wasn’t out twice that long ago. I see dirt starting to sift through the cracks. Maybe that is digging I hear, but it sounds more like laughing.

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Ira Rat is an artist, musician, and writer from Ames, Iowa. A member of Neon Lushell, Tape Ends, and Vicar Elm, his first collection of visual art “i’m sorry mom” is now available. His debut novella, Sliced, is soon to follow. You can check out his art and music at www.irarat.com or follow him on Facebook.

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Send your weird little stories to flashfictionfridaysubmissions@gmail.com.