The Picnic of Ants

I remember watching a movie about giant ants attacking a town and wondering why they didn’t just hold a giant picnic to lure the ants away.
“What happens when the picnic runs out of food?” my mother asked.
“That’s when the poison in it should start killing the ants,” I replied.
My mother smirked, then got a glassy look in her eyes.
And fell face-down in the Jell-o mold.
I cleared away the plates and dishes, packed them in the picnic basket, and wrapped her in the picnic blanket.
I’d have to go back to the car for the shovel.

Summer camp

Every Summer, my parents sent me to Camp Killer With A Hockey Mask.
At first, I was worried that I would be killed by a killer in a hockey mask.
But apparently, the camp’s name comes from the local Indian tribe.
It’s just a coincidence that their tribe’s name resembles our words for a killer with a hockey mask.
This was a relief… until campers started to disappear.
“Oh, that’s because the tribe’s name actually translates to Killer With A Machete,” said the chief counselor.
He picked up a bloody machete from his desk… and put on a hockey mask.

Down in the sewers

Ted’s new birthday clown business wasn’t doing so well.
Some kind of vengeful spirit in the form of a clown was wandering the sewers and murdering children.
Ted had a certificate from the church that guaranteed that he wasn’t a vengeful child-murdering spirit.
“I’m bonded, too,” said Ted. “Oh, and I tell jokes.”
But that wasn’t enough for most parents.
He tried a magic act, but he was too clumsy for magic tricks.
And he had bad luck with keeping rabbits.
Eventually, Ted gave up, and went back to working in the Water Department.
“Just not Sewers, please,” Ted requested.

Johnson’s sack

Of all the houses on the block, kids love to visit Old Man Johnson’s house on Halloween.
The door opens, Johnson steps out with a large burlap sack, and the kids shout “TRICK OR TREAT!”
“Here,” growls Johnson, and he throws the sack at the kids’ feet.
It’s the possums that he’s caught in his traps. Live or dead, but often quite bloody.
“Possums are good eatin!” the old man says.
Kids toilet paper the trees in his yard a lot.
Johnson rolls the toilet paper back up and keeps it.
“Save me a trip to the store,” he chuckles.

Media Filter

Bob was a censor for a social media corporation.
It doesn’t matter which one, really.
There are a lot of people like Bob at all of the social media corporations.
All day long, he’d look through flagged images and content, judging whether something violated the platform’s standards.
Awful things. Horrible things. Hellish things.
And three buttons to click on: YES, NO, and ESCALATE.
Over and over again, all day, and all night.
Bob looked around the gigantic room.
Rows of people at computers, reviewing similar horror and filth, judging it.
Until all they knew was the evil in the world.

Bobby’s voices

The voices in Bobby’s head told him to do things.
“Clean your room,” they said.
So, Bobby cleaned his room.
“Mop up the mess in the kitchen,” they said.
So, Bobby mopped up the mess in the kitchen.
“Make the back yard took nice,” they said.
So, Bobby bought plants and grass and flowers, and he planted them.
The voices walked Bobby through a list of chores, and Bobby dutifully did them all.
By the time the police arrived, there wasn’t a single shred of evidence left that he’d killed his parents.
Just as the voices told him to do.

The Oracle

King Frederick climbed Oracle Mountain to seek the wisdom of the gods.
“Go away,” said The Oracle, throwing an empty bottle away and opening another.
“I’ve come to seek-”
“Yes,” said The Oracle. “Your future. The answers. Everybody does.”
Frederick drew his sword “If you don’t tell me what my-”
“I’ll die,” said The Oracle. “You’ll die. Everybody dies. But if you look past the daily bullshit, you’d know that already. Simple truth.”
The king stood there for a moment, put his sword away, and gave The Oracle a hug.
They sat on the mountain, drank, and watched the sunset.

I don’t feel like talking

You send me messages, you bang on the door, but I don’t feel like talking.
Most people say “I don’t feel like talking” but that’s talking.
And I don’t feel like talking. At all.
So, I don’t respond at all.
More messages. More screams. “Why aren’t you talking to me?”
I know why, and I could tell you, boy, could I tell you.
But, once again, I don’t feel like talking.
So, I say nothing.
For days… weeks…
The nights are colder, quieter.
And I reach for the door to the basement.
But you’ve probably starved to death by now.

Doctor Odd and Killbot

They say that if you love something, set it free, and if the love is true, it will come back.
Doctor Odd loved Killbot, his finest creation.
“Go,” said Doctor Odd, pushing Killbot out the door. “Be free.”
Killbot downloaded maps and calculated the most efficient route through the city.
For three weeks, Doctor Odd sat on the porch, watching the carnage.
And then, he saw the red glow of Killbot’s eyes.
It was back!
“You really love me!” shouted Doctor Odd.
Then he remotely turned Killbot off.
Love may be blind, but sometimes facial recognition algorithms can be unreliable.

Jason and the soup

It’s not a good idea to get between Jason and his vegetable soup.
Jason really likes vegetable soup, and he’ll do anything to get it.
Sure, Jason is in a wheelchair, and he has a robot that spoons vegetable soup to his mouth, but that robot arm can do some nasty things.
Once, this nurse got between Jason and his vegetable soup.
She isn’t his nurse anymore.
She barely survived, and ended up in a wheelchair, also being fed soup by a robotic arm.
Jason likes to park his wheelchair between her and her soup, just to rub it in.