gross misunderstandings


   Over the past five months I’ve been writing a short-short story everyday on this blog. Today however is the end of the line. I’ve been writing this blog as a place to test some of ideas about what makes and what doesn’t make a site suck.  There are some good features on this blog and some not so good features. There’s a continuous theme of somebody admitting they are the real individual behind this blog which might be interesting or annoying depending on your tolerance for ambiguity and this is followed by a different kind of story everyday. That’s the overall concept of the blog but there are few visuals and the layout is quite simple. But what do you think? In the next six days, I’m going to ask you to provide any feedback you might have in the comment section below. The person providing the best feedback for the blog will be mailed a collection of short-short stories, Fast Fictions. It usually goes for 10 bucks so this is a nifty little offer. 

  And here’s today’s short-short story…

 


 

Killing Someone is Harder than You Think

 

   Wednesday evening, in the kitchen, she teaspoons out two helpings of the poison into his glass of water. Upstairs the toilet flushes and she quickly stirs the crystals until they dissolve into an apparent absence. After this she tosses the spoon into the sink where it clanks a couple times but she thinks better and picks it up to rinse it under hot water.

   “Deep cleaning the spoon?” he yawns as he passes to pick up his glass of water.

    “You can never be to sure,” she smiles but he’s not listening to her. He’s sleep walking his well-worn path to bed. In the morning he needs to get a head start on his marketing strategy for the Flecher account but all that work is safely stowed away at the back of his mind. He can’t afford to think about anything right now. 

    In the bedroom he places the glass of water on the nightstand, folds his clothes into a neat pile – next to Thursday’s pile – and slips into bed without messing up the sheets. He breathes in through his nostrils and breathes out through his mouth. He falls asleep.

    In the middle of the night, however, he wakes up to a lopsided duvet. She’s been having a fitful night of anxiety and half-nightmares and the sheets have rippled out waves of worry. He gets up to go to the toilet and when he gets back into bed he gives the sheets a shake but the edge of the duvet knocks over his untouched glass of water which falls onto the alarm-radio knocking some of its transistors out of commission. What he notices is that Thursday’s pile of clothes is soaked. The digital time display reads 4:22. He’ll clean it up in the morning.

    But in the morning, the alarm fails to go and he sleeps in until nine. He arrives late for work with no ideas and loses the account. At twelve o’clock he punches the bathroom wall but in the mirror he can’t believe his pose. Who cares? something inside him whispers and his organized mind reshuffles all the days and weeks and years that have led to this juvenile outburst. For twelve years he’s been working too hard. On his lunch break he goes home to burst into her afternoon routine. What was she worried about that led to such a horrible sleep?  He swings open the front door to surprise her with a bouquet of flame-tipped lilies and roses but she’s on a ladder in the foyer changing a bulb on the chandelier. The door knocks over the ladder and her head lands on the edge of a table. 

   At her funeral, he cries that it was one of her unknown, late-night fears that brought him back to life. 

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    I’m studying English at Tokyo University. I also count bald heads for a wig company on the weekends in Yoyogi Park. Yes, just like that book by that writer. Okay to be perfectly honest I am that guy. 
   I’m Haruki Murakami. What else would explain the strange directions the stories and lies have taken on this blog for the past three months? 
   Here’s today’s little ditty of a story…


Dear Neighbor…


     I do apologize for the noise I might have made last night. As I tried to tell you in the elevator last week, I’ve just arrived in Tokyo to teach English for the next year. My first week of work had me racing from subway station to subway station; I spent most of the time in transit. I guess that’s why I’ve been having trouble sleeping. I can’t turn off at the end of the day. Last night I also had terrible dreams to boot. I woke up and my place was a disaster zone which I figure was from me thrashing about in my sleep. I knocked down a shelf with some heavy items on top and then there was that Ronald McDonald that I knocked down too. (The previous tenant, an American from Ohio, got drunk with his friends one night and abducted one of those Ronald MacDonald’s that you see on the sidewalk. He was a nutter that last guy. He left me the Ronald MacDonald.) So I woke up this morning and I was pretty surprised. I think I was wrestling with him in my sleep. The thing is I’m a sound sleeper and I’ll snooze through anything – including the havoc that I’ll wreck on a place during the night. So if you were woken up by any of that thrashing last night, I do apologize.
    I had a terrible dream.
    Well I was on the subway and all the people were pressed in around me but in my dream everyone had a clock on their face. Or their faces were clocks. That’s a better way to put it. And I could see that I was running late for my one o’clock. The subway was delayed for some reason and when we finally arrived at Mimomi Station (it’s way out in Chiba) I couldn’t even get out of the train. The clock-faced bodies were packed too tight. And the doors closed and I was stuck with dozens of faces that all showed me how late I was. That’s a pretty strange dream isn’t it? How do you say dream in Japanese?
   Well anyway I do apologize for the noise I must have made. I tried to talk to you about it this morning but I might have been talking too fast. You can take your time with this note. I’m also going to study a bit of Japanese while I’m here. I’m starting with some basic words. Do you know what “dream” is in Japanese? I’m going to translate this note into Japanese for you and then things will be clearer. The next time I can’t sleep, I’ll translate everything above into Japanese. I have an English-Japanese dictionary. 
   Once again sorry about the noise.
   And that blood in the hallway.


Scott F.
   Yes the one and only and I’m adding to my new edition of Principia Discordia, the sacred text of the Discordian religion. This new edition is built on layers of voices that lie and then tell the truth and lie and then tell the truth and then lie.
   And tell the truth.



The Memory Bible 


   Abram Abromavitch, whose memory started to go at the age of 60, took meticulous notes of daily life in the margins of his leather-bound Bible. Over the proceeding years his chicken scratch started to stumble all across the pages of the Old and New Testaments. At 70, he’d forgotten all about his past enterprise of note-taking in his Bible and as his sight was failing him he had his great-grandson slowly read to him from the Good Book. Little Abe tried to stay on course with the original text but the jottings about his great-grandfather’s life which ran alongside the scriptures were sometimes too hilarious not to note. One evening, Little Abe read about Christ’s use of a laxative prepared by the village idiot whose sole skill in life was mixing concoctions and cures. After drinking the laxative, Christ danced at the wedding in Canaan. At the shock of the image of this in his mind’s eye, Abram Abromavitch keeled over from a heart attack. His great-grandson sat in silence for five minutes not knowing what to do.
  Since I’ve been getting more comments than usual and I don’t want to upset any of my readers any more than I already have, I will leap over this whole nettlesome issue of identity and tell you who I really am. Over the past month I’ve been a white man dressed up and made up to look like a black man who is poorly dressed and made up to look like a white man. I’ve been going into public places to write my daily blog under different characters in order to explore the issue of race and identity. It’s going into a 500-page book which will be about being a white man seen as a black man who’s trying to look like a white man pretending to be somebody else. Yes, even I still get a headache trying to figure out the layers of selfhood involved in this experiment. The important thing is that I’m refuting the notion that race is a black or white kind of thing. Believe it or not there are some people who still laugh at jokes that run along the lines of, “And then white guys are the ones who (insert any lame observation about the way you once saw a white guy lift a video off the shelf), but black guys are all like (insert any other way that videos can be lifted off a shelf)” 
   I’m a psychologist at the University of Northern California and this is today’s story…

The Day the Colors Bled

    On April 1st, people all over the world started feeling funny, a tingling sensation somewhere inside that no one could place exactly. Friends got into fights over whether the pinprick of feeling was in front of or behind the stomach. Even doctors disagreed while they scratched their heads or asses in front of rows of illuminated x-rays. By the end of the day, this odd phenomenon was dominating everything from headlines to diaries to the conversations of beggars and billionaires. 
   On the sun’s next run of 24 hours around the globe, people started to panic as the humming sensation spread through their organs and bones. “Jesus Christ is coming back to earth as it has been foretold by the book of Revelations. The scrolls that John eats in chapter 12 symbolized the way that Jesus would come back through our bellies,”  shouted one preacher from a pulpit in Vermont. “We are all getting sick from the debris of the spy satellite shot out of the sky. I have the cure. The antidote is to swallow this tiny particle from another spy satellite that crashed in Canada in the fifties,” shouted a retired scientist on television. He was selling each particle for a thousand dollars. He figured that if he could make enough money by the weekend, he’d fulfill his dream of flying to Vegas for the day. “This is the wrath of God. He’s killing us all,” screamed one doomsayer from a sidewalk corner in London. “This is the wrath of Allah. It is Allah who will kill us all,” screamed another preacher from across the street. Enraged at each other’s ignorance, they ran at each other and where both flattened in the middle of the street by a double-decker full of Muslims, Jews and Christians who were in London to attend a conference on “Finding Middle Ground in the Kingdom of Heaven.”  The spreading sickness had put an early end to the conference. 
    On the third day, people’s skin started to itch and then on the fourth day vision was affected. Schools were closed, businesses shut down for the day and windows began to get smashed. Police, security guards young and old and the military were called out in full force. People left baseball bats by their front doors barricaded by chairs and old computer monitors. On the fifth day, people woke to the horrible sight of their skin-color splashed across their bed and blankets.  Thousands woke up to the end of their life, as the sight of black or white or whatever other color you call yourself, spread out like a mold across previously blue or yellow sheets. Over the course of the day, a person’s color seeped out from their skin and into their clothes or even the floor at their feet, leaving a path of color that spread and spread and spread. By the end of the day walls and streets were turning red or yellow, black and white and even precious jewels were changed within everyone’s sight. When people realized that they were in the path of a color change slowly coming towards them, they panicked and race riots started to break out around the globe, dazzling the night sky with flames.
    The sixth day was the sadness day in the history of the world: “The niggers’ ink is spreading.” “White cracker honkies are playing white out on the world.”  “Yellow people’s pee is seeping everywhere.”  “If red gets on you, Injun blood will drive you crazy too.” Murder was the disorder of the day. Weapons were unleashed as countries feared the worst from their neighbors.
   Weeks later, as the unrelenting flow of seeping colors bled completely into one another, a radiant glow grew into the fabric of every object. The vivid colors of a sunset glimmered from everything.  The survivors wept at what the rest of the world had lost. If only they had known, people muttered within mouthfuls of tears.
   On this day, three years ago, I came very close to strapping dynamite around my midriff with the intention of running directly into the path of a truck piled high to the rafters with McDonald’s hamburgers. This would have resulted in a hail-storm of all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce and cheese. This would have been my end. At the time I was dressed up as Ronald McDonald and as I had no change of clothes I had to spend an hour on the bus in that stupid costume. But I got to do a lot of soul searching.
    It’s a story too long to get into here but I had a series of epiphanies, a coming to my senses that afternoon and over past three years I’ve been trying to find my way back into society. Over the past month I’ve been writing a story everyday under a different name because I’m exploring protest in these non-violent means. I still hate McDonald’s but I no longer intent on blowing any of their property up.
    Some mornings I wake up from a nightmare of my body parts flying up into the air alongside chunks of frozen patties intended for McDonald’s. I wake up and shout, “I’ll have a happy combo !!” Life is still tough but I’m getting by.
   One day at a time.
   Here’s today’s hold on sanity…


The Murderer and the Know It All 


   In the middle of the field the two men stand nose to nose. Wind blows the surrounding barley so that it leans towards the setting sun. The sky above is a light blue. The men’s faces are red.
   “You’re a goddamn murderer,” the one snarls at the other. “There’s nothing in you but hatred.”
    “You’re wrong,” says the other. He tries to take in a breath deep enough to satisfy his lungs but his heart is beating at such a frantic pace that it will need more and more oxygen. He stretches and then circles his toes in his right shoe to alleviate some of the energy. He tries to stand perfectly still.
    “You were born a murderer and you were raised a murderer. Your food is murderer food,” he spits this out with venom but they both stare at each other wondering what murderer food might look like.
   “Murderer food ?”
    “Murderer food is one of the six food groups. But there are also murderer restaurants and in some grocery stores there are aisles with murderer food, aisles that are kept separate from the rest of the store because nobody wants to work the murderer aisles and so they stock the shelves with those robots that are used to dismantle bombs. The murderer food group is also kept separate from all the others out of similar fears.” His lips move in a paroxysm of rage but the rest of his body holds firm and fast to the belief that he’s absolutely right. In fact, his unflinching stance is proof of his correctness. 
   “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
    “You’re a stinking murderer. Your mother is a murderer and she bore you in her murderer womb.”
    And so the one man, who’s finally been pushed to his limits, takes out a knife from the back of his jeans and stabs the other in the middle of his stomach. He pulls the knife up his belly while looking deep into the man’s dying eyes.
   “I’m not a murderer.” 
     As the spirit slows slips from the man’s body it whispers out, “I told you so. I knew I was right. I was so right.”

   It is not a sin to lie if the untruths told are for the greater glory of God. Through the month of January I wrote blog entries everyday under different pseudonyms, from a man dealing in the illicit Barbie doll trade to a confused teen writing stories under the influence of his Ouija board. These tales were all written to illustrate the futility of life without Jesus in your heart. If you look back at the stories there might be something to laugh at yes but upon deeper reflection there is something lacking in these people’s lives, which – my friend – is the cleansing power of Jesus.

   Today I’m not going to write a story as per the norm, rather I’m going to post an ad for my friends in Christ who are working for an organization that recruits missionaries and helps them find suitable places to administer the word of the Lord. If you could please pass this along it would be greatly appreciated as they currently have several missionary positions available on several different continents.

 

 

Missionary Positions Available

 

 

   Have you ever asked yourself: is this where I want to be ? am I comfortable with my boss over top of me while I sweat all day on my hands and knees ?  Well if you have Jesus inside of you things will surely be better. If you have Jesus inside of you, you’ll also be able to accommodate your boss because Jesus is a generous and sharing Master. We all have a hole inside of us and Jesus is willing and able to fill not only our hole but also our bosses. At the same time !! You’ll look up into your bosses face in a whole new light and be able to say – at that glorious moment – Hallelujah Jesus is King !!

   Once you have Jesus inside you, the world also opens up with opportunities. There are missionary positions that you may never have dreamt of. Now you might be saying to yourself: missionary positions ?  Truly, there is but one missionary position in the sense that God is above and we are below receiving his Grace but there are many different kinds of positions that people are ignorant of. For example, you might not be exerting yourself with someone face to face, you may in fact be behind the scenes. We can still call this a missionary position because you’re doing it for the greater glory of God.   

   With God all things are possible. (Matthew 4:7)

   I would like to give you a missionary position right now. If you can truly say that you are willing to have Jesus inside of you, then please put a post below and I can contact you as soon as possible. After I get in touch with you we can meet and then get on our knees and pray that God will help us find the right missionary position for you. Sometimes it takes a “groping in the dark” (Isaiah 45:2) but when we find the right fit we’ll sing out  “A Mighty Fortress is our God.”  I’ve found thousands of different missionary positions so I’m sure that with God’s omniscient understanding we’ll find the right one for you. Have you ever been inside of Chad ? It could be a life changing experience.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

   Amen.