Disney Store Scratchoff

A coworker was expecting his second child.
This time, a boy.
There’d been complications with the pregnancy. He’d been taking time off to help his wife.
They’ve been going in for regular checkups. Things were looking good.
They set a date to induce labor… tomorrow.
But then, the doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat.
They’re still going to induce labor tomorrow.
Because, well, you have to.
I pull out my to-do list and scratch out DISNEY STORE.
Fold the notepad back into my pocket, stare at the screens for a while.
These are the times I wish I prayed, but don’t.

Mark Twain and the Devil

Mark Twain said many times that he’d want to go to Heaven for the climate and Hell for the company.
The Devil offered him a house with air conditioning, so Twain chose Hell.
“Aha!” shouted The Devil. “The air conditioning is broken!”
“I’ll wait for the repairs,” said Twain. And he smoked his cigars on the veranda, with The Devil.
The Devil taunted Twain with endless stories about shipping delays and incompetent repairmen.
Year after year, century after century.
Eventually, The Devil gave in, and fixed the air conditioning.
“Thank you,” said Twain. “Most of all, you’ve been excellent company.”

St. Patrick

St. Patrick didn’t just drive all of the snakes out of Ireland.
He also drove out all of the moose.
And he had a hand in expelling all of the rhinoceroses.
Rumor has it that he drove out every ostrich, but he may have had help.
Then there’s the alligators. St. Patrick sent them packing.
As for the kangaroos, they didn’t have a chance.
Neither did the gorillas. Every single one of them. Gone and forgotten.
For this, the Irish celebrate.
Well, except for the head zookeeper at the Dublin Zoo.
It’s best not to mention St. Patrick around him.


At first, we controlled computers through punchcards.
Then, we used keyboards. And mice.
Trackpads with finger gestures were helpful.
Voice control took a while to perfect.
After that, cameras could sense our facial expressions and hand gestures.
Direct brainwave scanning was the holy grail.
When that came, you controlled the computer with your thoughts.
Which, if you’re impulsive, is a bad thing.
As long as the software contains a confirmation dialogue, you’ll be fine.
But thinking or saying “Yes” sarcastically can lead to a lot of problems.
Now, can I talk to a manager about getting my bank account fixed?

Weekly Challenge #725 – GATE

Work from home?


The Park

The old man smiled at us, and threw his arms open in an expansive gesture, beckoning us forward with his distinctive cane, topped with the amber handle.

This was the moment we’d all been waiting for… All the secrecy, all the hype and all the intrigue had led to this moment.

He paused, then smiled again: “Welcome to Silurian Park!”

The great gate swung open and the vehicles rolled through.

The press reception afterwards was subdued.

“So, no dinosaurs then?”

“Well, no. They came much later… But you have to admit the ferns and lichen are all pretty impressive, huh?”


At the gate, the entangled cables covered the walls and sneaked through. No one knew what they were for, and no one asked. As the days went by, more cables appeared, increasing the entanglement of the hopelessly entangled mess.
And then came the kid. He unplugged all the cables, straightened them up, and plugged them all back in. It took him a while too. But he was pleased with himself. He smiled and walked away.
No one in town had the heart to complain about the hours with no power. But they did make sure to avoid any future entanglements.


It’s not very impressive, is it?

Satan shrugged. “You can blame the budget cuts for that”, she snorted.

The new gate into hell, was just a little disappointing – it was the cheapest the local DIY store had in stock, and someone had bent the hinges during the fitting, so now it wouldn’t close properly.

“Maybe some positive PR?” I suggested. “Call it ‘The Portal to the Abyss’, or something? Anyway, once the everlasting torture starts, who’s going to care?”

Satan, slowly shook her head. “Yeah, about the torture thing… We’re downgrading to ‘a good telling-off’. Budget cuts, I’m afraid!”



To get to the gate, you had to cross the bridge of sighs, descend the 1000 iron steps of forgiveness, swim the river of sorrow, tunnel through the mountain of memories, fill out form aw/42— 1066e, clear your mind of all thoughts, change out of yesterday’s underwear, run without scissors, slowly back-out of the room, meet you half way, stand on a corner Winslow, Arizona, It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me Come on, baby, don’t say maybe. I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me.
Attachments area


The great doors open only at festivals. On ordinary days the congregation enter by the door within the door, the wicket gate. Others enter by the wicked gate, and pass among the congregation unseen, except by the priest. In vain he tries to exorcise and seal the wicked gate, and in vain he preaches to the congregation to awake and witness the demons. Even the Eucharist is without power to dispel them, and he despairs.

For this world is but the refuse of the Resurrection, an unwinding clockwork imagining itself to live on, the drying cocoon of a departed butterfly.


Marissa slapped her father’s arm. “Daddy. It doesn’t matter how he flies, I just want to fly with him.”
Just then, Billbert’s father came through the gate to the side yard, smiling. “Did someone say something about flies? Do you know what has six wheels, and flies?”
Mr. Albraggetti rolled his eyes. “Garbage trucks have eight wheels around here. And, your son is going to take my daughter flying.”
“What do I do, dad?”
His father shrugged. “Go ahead son. We’ll have the agency come around later and do a memory wipe. But, then we’ll have to move away, again.”


My wife, my children are gone. Ash and smoke are all that remain. This land belongs to the shades. A fiery anger rages within me and if I don’t turn away from my fury. I too will be consumed and lost. Will my heart of flesh turn to stone? I surveyed what was our home. The gate to my hell house still stands. My anger finds its target and it shall not prevail. I push it over with ease. It does not give me the pleasure I seek. My sorrow overtakes me and I violently sob uncontrollably as angels descend.


Yeah, they took our temperatures as we boarded.
But all through the flight, a guy’s hacking and coughing in Economy.
He’d been told to self-quarantine, but he didn’t listen.
The pilot had announced that we would be changing gates on arrival.
We’d be met by airport security and put under quarantine for the virus.
“Why the fuck did you let that asshole on?” shouts a guy in First Class.
While everyone’s arguing with the flight attendant, I reach into the storage compartment, get out the demonstration seat belt, and loop it around his neck.
At least he’ll stop coughing.

Danbury’s trades

Danbury woke up, turned on the TV, and raised his eyebrow.
Smoke was pouring out of one of the World Trade Center buildings.
And then, as the blithering hosts blithered on, a plane struck the other building.
He picked up the phone and called his broker.
“Short all airline stocks,” he said.
The broker was barely audible over the chaos. “The exchange is down, Danbury! People are dead! You cold-blooded bastard!”
“London and Chicago are still open,” said Danbury. “Do it.”
The FBI hassled Danbury about it.
He greeted them warmly to his new luxury yacht, and offered them drinks.


Productivity was falling, the metrics said.
We held a meeting to discuss productivity.
And then had a follow-up meeting to check on our progress.
Then, we had a strategy discussion to resolve outstanding productivity meetings.
Right before we went into a workshop to boost our productivity.
Meeting after meeting, session after session.
Throw in a few offsite team-building exercises now and then.
Pretty soon, the whole day was taken up with meetings, sessions, team-building exercises.
That’s when the CEO announced a company-wide meeting.
“We’ve gone bankrupt,” he said. “Seems all we do is hold meetings instead of getting anything done.”


“Always a bridesmaid, and never a bride,” mumbled Bridesmaidbot 2000, waiting by the 3D Printer.
Sowly, a padded skin emerged from the slot, and the robot carefully put it on.
She walked through the scanners, and helpers massaged her body to conform to the client’s shape.
“Here,” one said, handing her an ugly pink dress and an absurdly large feathered hat. “Don’t forget the shoes.”
“I wouldn’t be caught dead in that dress,” said the client to her doppelganger, and through her headset, saw through the robot’s eyes. “Perfect.”
Bridesmaidbot 2000 sighed, and stepped into her packing crate for shipping.

Signing bonus

He was a star athlete.
Lettered in every sport, and every school offered him a scholarship.
Every team wanted to draft him right out of high school.
So, he got himself an agent, and he said he was going pro.
Signing bonus, endorsements, everything.
The big day came, the press coverage was total madness.
Everyone smiling for the cameras, thousands of people cheering.
He picked up the pen, signed the contract, and promptly fell over dead.
In the chaos, his agent quietly picked up the pen with a handkerchief, put down another pen, and walked away into a comfortable retirement.

Sells itself

It’s a well-known axiom in business that nothing sells itself, wrote Marcus Samuel, founder of the Shell Oil Company.
The robot put down the book and smiled. “In my case, His Lordship couldn’t have been more wrong.”
The prospective customers laughed and applauded.
Then, the robot then went through all of his features, demonstrating each to the audience with careful precision.
When finished, all that was left to do was go over the leasing options.
“Technically, I programmed that sales pitch into the robot,” said the demonstration engineer. “But that’s not as dramatic as saying that it is selling itself.”