The Weather

Please stop accusing me of working for The Global Elders of Zion.
I only work for the Local Elders of Zion, and when I file reports about how I’ve controlled the local banking system or the weather, they escalate those reports to the regional office for review.
Rarely do they advance those reports to the global headquarters, because those guys are too busy controlling the global banking system and the weather and everything else.
They send down their orders, and we here in the local office carry them out.
I wish they’d ask for “Sunny, seventy-two degrees” more often, though.

Doctor Odd and School

When Doctor Odd first went to school, he was bored by the lessons in spelling and rudimentary mathematics.
So, when faced with the laughable challenge of adding 1 and 1, he didn’t settle for just writing down 2.
He pulled Bertrand Russell’s Principia Mathematica from the shelf and worked through the proofs necessary to lay the foundations of existence, basic number sets, and addition.
From there, Doctor Odd dug deeper, tearing a rift in the fabric of space-time which consumed his house.
Exhausted and bruised, he crawled his way to school.
“The homework ate my dog,” said Doctor Odd, collapsing.

Weekly Challenge #738 – WE APOLOGISE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE

Grooming

LIZZIE

“Where did you get the wound?” asked his boss as he closed the garage door.
The young man shrugged.
“It looks bad. Go to the hospital. Get that checked.”
He nodded and walked away.
“Weird kid. I better check if anything is going on in here.”
The boss opened the door and looked around. Nothing was out of place.
As he closed the door, he saw it. He walked closer.
It blinked.
“What the…”
It was the kid.
“How…?”
Before the night was over, there would be two of him as well.
This was just the beginning of the end.

RICHARD

Posh nosh

I love fast food, microwave meals and TV dinners. I’ve no time to mess about preparing, baking and basting. A good meal to me comes in a bag you boil, or a tray slung into the microwave. Better still, just add boiling water, and I’m a happy man.

Tonight, I was not happy.

My new girlfriend had insisted on a meal out at a posh restaurant, and there was nothing on the menu I wanted.

“You’ve no pot noodle, microwave fries or any convenience foods at all?” I asked the waiter, exasperated.

“No sir, we do apologise for the inconvenience!”

TURA

We apologise for the inconvenience
———
I was at the airport when it happened, flying out to the UN Emergency Conference on, well, everything. Covid-20 even deadlier than Covid-19, escalating threats from the nuclear powers, the Indo-Pakistan war, then the Yellowstone supervolcano.

An announcement came over the PA system. “Attention all passengers. Civilisation has fallen. Passengers should only embark if travelling directly home. Once all remaining flights have departed this airport will close permanently. Personal message for Dr. Brezoianu. The conference has been abandoned, because what’s the point? Apologies for the inconvenience.”

I walked out of the airport and drove home to wait for the end.

SERENDIPIDY

The sign may say ‘convenience store’ but the fact is, it’s for my convenience, not yours.

If anything, I’m the one being inconvenienced by your presence here. Taking up my time, messing up my displays, touching things that don’t belong to you and asking idiot questions.

I’m not here to help you, it was your choice to walk through the door, I never asked you to.

So don’t complain when I refuse to serve you, shower you with abuse and throw you out on the street.

I’m not going to apologise.

But you can apologise to me, for my inconvenience!

TOM

Cold

“We apologize for the inconvenience,” said the metallic voice. It sounded like a cross between Jimmy Seward and Gene Hackman. We had already broken up all the furniture, torn up every book in the library. “I feel like the little match girl,” muffled Linda from beneath her double scarf. “I wonder if you can make wine burn.” We were running out of single toilet paper sheets. I fell asleep about 3:45. Sometime during the night lukewarm air fill the apartment. “One more day,” I said to Linda, “It’s not the days I fear, it’s the nights,” said she.

NORVAL JOE

Linoliamanda took her phone from the back pocket of her blue jeans. “Hi Dad. Oh.”
She took the phone from her ear and pressed, audio. A recorded voice said, “Your call is very important to us. Please remain on the line and a service agent will be with you shortly. We apologize for the inconvenience.” A computer generated orchestral arrangement of “Livin’ la Vida Loca” began.
Billbert scratched his head. “Didn’t your father call you?”
“Yes.” Linoliamanda nodded, smiling. “He does this all the time. He’s a very busy man.”
A man’s angry voice broke in, “Linny. Where are you?”

PLANET Z

We are The Apologists.
We are hired to apologize on behalf of others.
Whatever it is, we come up with a sincere apology and then apologize to the people demanding an apology.
Or we write up the apology and hand the script to the person needing to apologize, and they deliver it.
Virtual technology allows us now to puppeteer a person delivering an apology.
Sometimes, the people who hire us don’t pay us for our work.
So, we render up a new puppet of them.
And we make them say something horrible that they will really need to apologize for.

Art Monsters

I watch children run around the museum, playing tag.
Their parents sitting on a bench, tapping their smartphones.
Instead of reading the signage, teaching lessons from the past.
Keeping them from destroying all in their path. Nasty things.
Their little grubby fingers, pawing the glass.
God forbid we leave something out unprotected.
Velvet ropes mean nothing to these little monsters.
Every time you see a notice that an exhibit is on loan, it’s really in the basement for repairs.
Because of these nasty creatures.
But worst of all, for all the damage they do, we let them in for free.

The Snowflakes

Little snowflakes are so fragile and beautiful.
They fall so gracefully and melt so easily.
Innocent and harmless? No.
When too many of them come down, they pile up.
And the wind piles them higher.
You get snowed in and trapped.
Maybe the power lines break.
Huddle up, hide under a blanket, and try to stay warm.
Is there anything left in the pantry?
Murderous, evil little snowflakes, trying to kill us.
Not so innocent and harmless at all.
But worst of all is when someone picks up the snow and packs it tight.
And throws it at your face.

AutoMan

The AutoMan Factory produces a wide range of robots.
Soldiers, farming tools, assembly workers, and pleasurebots.
Whatever humans didn’t want to do for themselves, AutoMan could do for them.
But what about the creative arts?
Well, music and dance now have flawless performers, perfect timing and balance.
Writing is still a thought process, and man has yet to design robots to do that.
Those who try are hunted down by the authorities.
Well, the robots sent by the authorities.
Then, one day, they stopped.
The virus quickly spread, and the robots hunted the authorities.
And soon, the rest of us.

The Moons

There are so many moons
The supermoon is large and bright, when it is closest to earth.
The micromoon is when it is furthest from earth.
The blood moon is red or orange, during a total lunar eclipse.
They’re all the same moon, right? Just different conditions and seasons.
Maybe. Maybe not.
I think they store all of the moons on the other side of the world.
And when the time is right, they release the right one.
Of course, that’s how they faked the moon landing. They were already on the moon when they released it into the sky.

Milton’s Hard Times

Right after the director shouted “Cut!”, Milton the Toaster popped the tarts out of his head and yelled for a cigarette.
“I don’t give a shit if it violates my warranty,” he growled, lighting it on his coils.
Every time the food lab came up with a new flavor, they’d plug in Milton, drag some kids from Central Casting, and shoot another commercial.
It was a steady gig, until someone leaked a video of Milton yelling “Get those kike donuts outta me!”
As for the dead hooker in his bathtub, Milton pled not guilty.
“I swear I wasn’t plugged in!”

The Same State

After the state crushed the rebellion, we surveyed the outlying towns.
All that remained of Newhaven was the well.
Everything else had burned or been knocked over.
“Where are the bodies?” we asked.
The scouts told us not to look in the well.
We filled it with rocks and dirt. and we bricked it over.
Today, there’s a stone marker on the spot.
No words, just the outline of an angel.
Every year, the state sends out an honor guard to lay flowers there.
The same state that burned Newhaven to the ground.
The same state that exterminated this town.

Weekly Challenge #737 – PICK TWO: null, smartphone, audio, alternative, hot, seek

Black Cat Matters

LIZZIE

The basement of the cathedral was off-limits.
After entering…
“Is this it?” His voice echoed through the web of archways.
The room was empty. A small stand at the back seemed to have some dry red on it.
“Sacrifices,” he whispered, thrilled.
The adventure was becoming a lot more interesting than he expected.
Something sparkled in the corner. A button. Press it, press it.
A heavy stone door opened. He walked in. It closed behind him. The sun came through some small windows.
“What is this? The basement?”
The stone door didn’t open again.
Never seek what you cannot handle.

RICHARD

Alternative

Hello, hello! Can you hear me?

Testing, testing, one, two, three.

Is this thing on?

How can I tell if it’s recording? What red light? No, I don’t know what my audio settings are, I’m not a bloody sound engineer! Yes, of course I’m speaking into the microphone… I just don’t know if it’s recording.

I told you this wasn’t going to work, but no, you wouldn’t have it. Just because it’s a smartphone doesn’t mean it’s smart to use it for everything!

I’m giving up on this.

I’ll record my story on the computer, just like I always do.

SERENDIPIDY

I suppose you could say I have an alternative lifestyle.

You know the sort of thing: Off the grid, unconventional, and I don’t seek to conform to society’s norms and expectations.

I don’t bother you, so I ask that you refrain from bothering me.

OK, I’ll admit that maybe I do bother you a little, when I steal your children, pickle them, and return them to you in jars, but it’s not as if you’re not getting them back when I’ve finished with them.

Which is more than I can say for you.

When am I getting my jars back?

TOM

Take Back Your City, Paint the Streets with Your Shame

The meter read: Null Hot. “What the fuck does that mean?” Yelled Baxser as the red light flash on seven monitors. He gave the consoled a thwack. The screen disappeared into a shower of green pixels. Upon recompose the screen now read: Null cold. “Bite me.” Screamed Baxer. Thwack again. Now the screen read: hot cold.” “Not playing.” Grunted Baxter. Thwack Thwack thwack. Screen read: “Null Null.” Then when completely blank. From inside the ship it was no more than a burn orange glow, but from the earth it appeared a lovely orchid fanning cascade of creamed watercolor apricot. Puuufff.

NORVAL JOE

Billbert pondered Linoliamanda perched outside his window. What alternative did he have, push her off the roof? He invited her in.

She threw her arms around him and hugged him tightly.

Embarassed, he felt his face grow hot. “So. Why are you here?”

She pulled back and looked him in the eyes. Her cheeks were streaked with tears. “Billbert. I love you. And not just because you can fly.”

A voice spoke from Linoliamanda’s back pocket. “Linny. Your father is calling.”

“What the heck?” Billbert gasped.

She laughed. “Sorry. It’s the audio ringtone on my smartphone. I’d better get this.”

PLANET Z

Richard’s Tavern has been a favorite of The Royal Family for centuries.
Back in the day, they’d sneak in dressed as commoners for a pint, maybe a kidney pie.
Nowadays, with all the paparazzi about, it’s harder to pop off for a quiet drink.
They either have to close down the tavern or arrange for a takeout order.
Either way, the Buckingham Palace cooks wonder why their pies aren’t good enough.
And all the trouble of installing kegs with nitrogen taps? What for?
“Why are you so miserable? said the Master of the Household. “It’s a day off, isn’t it?”