They’re not like us

They’re not like us.
They don’t feel pain like we do.
They don’t think like we do, either.
Sure, they look like they’re suffering, but they really aren’t. It’s just a reflex.
They just look like us, and we project our feelings on to them.
Scientists haven’t been able to explain why they do what they do.
But they agree that they’re not like us.
It’s okay to keep them as pets. Or to cook and eat them.
It’s not like they have a soul. Like us.
Besides, they’re delicious, right? Wouldn’t you miss the flavor, their magnificent delicious flavor?

He reads

He puts the bluetooth earpiece on, slides a switch, and he waits for the device to pair.
“Connected,” says a voice.
He then opens the music streaming program on his laptop, selects a station, and clicks “Play.”
Beethoven’s 14th Sonata starts, and he breathes out slowly.
Good. This is good.
He reaches for a book, opens it, and tilts it so that a pencil and highlighter roll out on to his desk.
He reads, marking a few passages here and there for emphasis.
He sips from a glass of water, smiles, and turns the page.
And he reads some more.

Grandmother’s fever

Grandmother has a fever again.
We turn the heat off in her room, and we give her pills.
So hard for her to swallow, we crush them up into pudding.
And feed her one spoonful after another.
She stops, won’t open her mouth again.
She clutches the quilt, the one she sewed together so many years ago.
We will bury her in it.
An old jazz station is playing on the radio.
Miles Davis, I think. Or Coltrane.
“Let me go,” she whispers.
The winter ground is hard, but we still dig.
“That’s deep enough.”
And we wait. And wait.

Weekly Challenge #700 – VOID

Tinnyface

LIZZIE

“Tell us a story.”
They shifted in their seats. The idea was to listen to stories at the beach, not tell stories, people thought.
“Just any story.”
People tiptoed away.
The host waited. It was such a nice day.
“Come, have a seat here.”
Everyone left except for a little girl.
“Do you have a story to tell?”
The little kid nodded and pointed at a scar on her chest. It was huge.
She smiled and said “But I still have my heart in here!”
“That’s a great story,” said the host, thinking it was all worth it after all.

RICHARD

Floating in a tin can

I peered into the inky void; far off, further than I could comprehend, the small blue planet – the place I knew as home – receded into the distance. Soon, it would be indistinguishable from the other pinpricks of light that studded the darkness.

As I hurtled through space, with only the thinnest of foil to protect me from the vacuum outside, I slowly, inevitably became insane.

When Mission Control realised the awful truth, they abandoned me, cutting my communications, leaving me to my fate.

They also made fat profit from the sale of ‘Major Tom – Space Hero’ T-shirts.

TOM

Last Chance

The sign said Last Chance Lemonade Stand. It sets at the very edge of the void. Technically not in the void, cause you could actually see the damn thing. Moreover it was actually the only thing on either side of the void. As you took a stool at the counter one could see the light fading to black. Well actually it wasn’t exactly black, it was more the absent of tangible form. Since most folk are light on cash, I’m pretty liberal with credit. Some folk have been here an eon or two. Can I get you a refill Adam?

SERENDIPIDY

All final appeals have to come through me.

I only deal with the serious stuff – last ditch stays of execution on death row; last minute repeals of death sentences; pardons at the eleventh hour… That sort of thing.

I’m thorough. These things have to be done properly – no loopholes or errors.

You’d be surprised just how often they manage to screw up the legalities: A missing signature, insufficient copy documents, or simply completing the forms in blue, rather than black, ink.

So, I stamp them ‘VOID’ in big red letters, and they have to start all over again!

NORVAL JOE

True, Billbert’s white t-shirt wasn’t fancy and Linoliumanda’s dress looked more like a wizard’s robe than a ball gown, but they weren’t much different than most of the other kids who milled around wondering what was going to happen next.

Then the DJ’s voice blared enthusiastically, filling the void in activity, “Until we can find our culprit, let’s dance.”

A popular fast paced song rattled the cafeteria’s windows. The formerly shy students filled the dance floor.

Billbert felt a tap on his shoulder and turned to find Ms. Frunsio, scowling behind him. “May I have a word with you, please?”

PLANET Z

I stared into the void.
It stared back at me.
I made faces at the void.
It made faces back at me.
I put my thumbs in my ears and wiggled my fingers.
The void stuck its thumbs in its ears and wiggled its fingers.
We kept this up all night.
I’d do something. And the void did it right back.
I know it’s not very mature to do this to the void, but how often do you get to stare into the void?
Or maybe I drank too much and got locked in a Forever 21 changing room again.

Actor Actress

Joe Smith was the greatest actor, winning Academy Awards and Golden Globes and People’s Choice Awards and countless other awards.
He didn’t want to direct or produce or write. Just act.
But as an actor, what more did he have to prove?
So, he challenged himself to become the greatest actress.
Makeup and hair could only go so far, and the tabloids carried round-the-clock news of his surgical transformation.
Then weeks of intense physical therapy and coaching before Jo signed on with a blockbuster project.
Shooting, editing… the hype… and finally…
The movie bombed.
But Jo scored a People’s Choice.

Off Switch

Kids don’t come with a volume control.
Billy says they come with an off switch. In fact, several.
Just hit them hard enough, or stab deep enough, and you’ll get to one eventually.
Sure, that makes a big mess, and it violates the warranty.
Plus, it breaks several laws.
Well, that, and it’s just an off switch. Kinda hard and expensive to turn them back on after that.
And noisy, too.
Billy soundproofed his basement to use as a dungeon, and if it weren’t for a neighbor, things would have gotten messy.
Now, we’ll be looking for Billy’s off switch.

Into a story

Recently, I went to Disneyland, and I stayed at a hotel that allowed early access to the park.
It was a Thursday morning, and the crowds hadn’t built up just yet.
I went all the way back to New Orleans Square, and instead of the usual forty-minute serpentine lines for Pirates of the Caribbean, I practically walked all the way up to the gate and boarded the boat.
Floating by the fishing shack, banjo playing, mist and fireflies.
The story washes over me, all around me.
I raise my arms and laugh as the boat plunges down into the past.

Davy Jones

Davy Jones was the lead vocalist for the band The Monkees.
When people said that his locker is at the bottom of the sea, he’d shrug and smile and say:
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Maybe it belong to David Bowie? After all, his name was David Jones before he changed it to David Bowie.
You know, because he didn’t want to be confused with Davy Jones.
He’d also shrug and smile and say “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
I guess neither wanted to have to explain why there were so many dead sailors in it.

George The Pirate – Fingers

George was a pirate, but he wasn’t a very good pirate.
You know the knife game, where a person puts their hand on a table, spreads out their fingers, and rapidly stabs a knife in between the fingers?
George managed to stab himself in the leg when he played it.
This is despite the fact that he was sitting at a table, and his legs were under the table.
And he didn’t stab his leg through the table. George wasn’t that strong.
No, he somehow stabbed his leg under the table.
At least he didn’t cut off any fingers, right?

George The Pirate – Bullet

George was a pirate, but he wasn’t a very good pirate.
He spent a lot of time reading books. He liked to read.
He always carried a small book in his shirt pocket.
“Put that book away, George,” said the captain.
“This might one day block a bullet,” he said. “I’ve read stories where someone shoots someone else in the heart, and the bullet gets blocked by a book in their pocket.”
George smiled and sat down.
On his flintlock pistol.
Bang.
“Ouch,” said George. “Help?”
George read his book while the ship’s surgeon removed the bullet from his ass.