Yarn (an acrostic poem)

Image: fabulousyarn.com/artyarns/C5/image/AYC5-cashmere5group/AYC5-cashmere5group1200.jpg

Yearning to wear soft cashmere sweaters

Asking others to make them for me seems silly since I could make one

Reaching for my knitting needles I start my first stitch

Now after five hours, and not getting past stitch three, I pick up the phone and call…

Phone (an acrostic poem)

Image: hearstapps.com/hmg-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/images/apple-iphone-12-color-blue-10132020-1603211333.jpg

Perhaps the most antiquated name for such a modern device

Here is a pocket supercomputer

Or a way to send text messages around the globe in a blink of an eye

No one thinks its primary function is to hold a voice conversation anymore

Everyone keeps it on silent and never answers anyway

The Whole Package (a short story)

Image: appliancesonline.com.au/academy/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/xmas_gift.png

Darryl handed Patricia a rectangularish box wrapped in the reddest foil that she had ever seen.  “Go ahead and open it.  This one’s from me.”  He was practically vibrating from excitement.

This was the first Christmas they had been together, so the idea of going to his parent’s house for the holiday seemed a bit much.  She preferred to keep things at arm’s length for longer, sort of to feel things out before getting too attached.  Still, he seemed so sweet on the idea that she decided to give in.

Patricia took the offering and tried to muster up a smile.  This container hurt her engineering soul.  She had gone to college for years studying the best way to package products.  She had won numerous awards for her ability to design the stuff that everything is put into.  She made it to be not only functional, but beautiful.  It was something she took immense pride in.

And yet the gift her boyfriend had given her was in a sorry state.  The top and one of the sides were bulging, ruining the angular pleasing aesthetic most boxes had.  He had undersized the box by at least two, two and a half centimeters on the long side.  Not only that, but she could feel that the cardboard selected was too thin for the amount of weight the poor reinforced paper had been asked to hold.  It practically buckled as she placed it on her lap.

Yeah, this wasn’t going well.  He probably had gone overboard, picking out something expensive to impress her.  People put too much emphasis on what was inside the box.  She knew what mattered was the thought that went into the product as a whole.  That’s why packaging was her passion.

Well, there was only one way to get this over with. 

Patricia deftly pealed back the cellophane tape.  She folded it upon itself and placed it on the side table next to her.  She could tell that Darryl wanted her to hurry up, but she wanted to honor the materials others carelessly discarded.  That is why she preferred to use bags to hold gifts.  They had a life, post present, with the probability of many regiftings in their future.  

If they had a future together she would have to train him better.

She unfolded the wrapping paper cocoon and laid it on top of the tape.  There was crafting supplies in its future if she could pawn it off on Darryl’s niece as long as Darryl’s sister didn’t notice till that crew was in the car on the ride home.  She would think of a way to entice the ten-year-old that origami roses were just a few folds away.

She contemplated the box.  Yes, that poor box was at death’s door.  There would be no upcycling this, at least without major reconstructive surgery.  Alas, you couldn’t save them all.

She looked into Darryl’s eager eyes as she opened the box.  He nodded, almost exploding with emotion.  She looked at what had been entombed just moments ago.  Inside there was a vast swath of Kelly green.  He at least had picked her favorite color.  She lifted the object out and shook loose sleaves.  She stared at a sweater unlike anything she had seen before.  There were occasional oblong holes, a few loops of yarn that didn’t attach to anything, and the left sleave was about a half inch longer than the right.  It was not what she had been expecting for sure.

She looked back at Darryl.

“I knitted it myself.  You said you always were getting cold at the apartment.  I thought it might be cool if I designed a package for you.”  He put air quotes around the word package.  “I love listening to you talk about that stuff, so you inspired me to do this.  You should have seen the three previous attempts.”

She took a closer look at the sweater and noticed how the stiches did get better the farther along they went.  He was really starting to get the hang of it by the end.  How much time did he put into this?  How many nights had he worked on this while they were on the phone?   He had sounded slightly distracted, but she put it up to him being annoyingly male.  Now she thought she knew why.  She stared at what was inside the package with a new appreciation for what was inside. 

 “Look, I know it’s not that good, but I ran out of time and…”

She collapsed the sweater to her chest as she interrupted him.  “It’s perfect.”  And in that moment, she knew he was a keeper.

Alert (an acrostic poem)

Image: jooinn.com/images/dark-room-1.png

As she woke up, she wondered what happened

Lights were still out, her spouse still asleep next to her

Everything seemed right, but there was something wrong

Reaching for her phone, she turned on the flashlight

There by the door was… nothing. She had a hard time falling back to sleep

Frank (an acrostic conversation)

For goodness sake, I thought you would be prettier.

Really?  That’s how you want to start our date?

Actually, yes.  I told you I was honest to a fault when we talked on the phone

Now that was truth in advertising.  Refreshing.  Still, you’re a jerk, and I’ll be leaving.

Knew that would happen.  At least I didn’t have to buy your dinner.

 

Image: bchydro.com/content/dam/BCHydro/customer-portal/photographs/places/building-interior/candlelight-dinner-full-width-place.jpg

Overgrown (an acrostic poem)

Overrun with emotions of ineptitude and incompetence

Vines of insecurity choked off what little emotional growth there was

Everything she wanted to do just seemed so hard to even start

Really it was just easier to sit there on her phone

Going from post to post on Instagram excessively and living vicariously

Reaching to hit the heart button but not meaning it

Outside she appeared so normal

When inside she hadn’t seen the sun in so long

Now the ever-present shade just felt right.

 

Image: q7i2y6d5.stackpathcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/overgrown-garden-1-400×266.jpg

Gadgets (an acrostic poem)

Getting ahead these days screams for electronics

Andrew felt like he was a cyborg because of it

Doing common things without using his phone, watch, tablet

Gave him the creeps.  It was like being in the middle-ages

Electrons flowed through his veins, he was sure of it

Then the worst case happened, he was on a trip and forgot his chargers

So when his friends found Andrew in a comatose state, they mourned his passing

 

Image: cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/6384159/final_cb_0086.0.jpg

A Lonely Hike (a 150 word story)

I stood in the middle of the ruined city and wondered if there were any survivors.  I had been in the mountains when my cell phone suddenly didn’t have any signal.  I didn’t care then.  It was part of the reason I love hiking the Adirondacks.

I figured when I drove to the gas station after my hike that I would check in with my roommate, but there had been still no signal.  The gas station had been empty.  The place was open, but no one was home.  Hell, the lights didn’t work.

I drove empty roads all the way back to my dorm, but I didn’t meet another moving car.  Hell, I didn’t see another human.

Now I stand here and wonder if I was the last person here on Earth.

I begin to hear a rumble from the west.

I am filled with fear.

I run but I…

 

Image: upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0a/Adirondacks_mountains.jpg

A Bad Time for a Phone Call

The phone rang on Dr. Michelle Funchess’s desk.  She looked up from the paper she was writing on quantum entanglement theory and picked up the receiver.

“Hello, Dr. Funchess speaking.”

“Yeah, I know.  Look you have to listen to me.”  The voice on the other end sounded exactly like Michelle’s own when she had a cold.

“Okay, is this Jenna?” Michelle asked.  “The voice is pretty good.”

“No.  I am you from twenty-five years in the future.”  Michelle thought about hanging up the phone.  “Listen, I know this sounds crazy, but hear me out.  I know about that time you were with Bobby back in the stacks.”

That took Michelle aback.  Yeah, that happened and she hadn’t told anyone about it, or did she?  There were a couple times she had gotten stupid with her girlfriends, so maybe it had come out?

The voice continued.  “And what about the time you felt guilty swiping that pack of gum from Albert’s Drug Store in fourth grade?  Remember that?”

Michelle smiled at how bad she had felt for weeks until she had “accidently” left like seventy-five cents in the need a penny take a penny tray at the counter.  “You need to do better than that.  If you are me you know I tell lots of stories.  I’m not sure I have a deep dark secret that would prove you are who, or when you claim you are.”

“Damn!” the voice on the other side of the line said.  Michelle could hear a ton of typing on a keyboard.

“Look, there is nothing you can say that will make this hoax work.  If you really know me you know I too much physics to fall for this.”

“One second,” the voice said.  “Ah, there.  Okay, I’ll give you a prediction for your future to make you believe.”

“You’re going to give me the lottery numbers?”

“That would take too long.  What time is it where you are?”

“It’s 2018.”

“Not the year, what time of day?  It’s like 12:30, right?”

“Close.  It’s like 12:46.  What time of crappy time travel do you have there twenty-five years in the future?”

“There are uncertainties, just like the ones you are writing in that paper.”

That stopped Michelle in her tracks.  No one really knew about that.  Well no one around here.  She might have hinted it at the last American Physics Society national conference, but still.  This was quite the scam.

The voice continued.  “It’s going to start raining in exactly three minutes.”

That made Michelle laugh.  They finally overplayed their hand.  She looked outside her large office windows.  “It is perfectly sunny here,” Michelle said.  “There is barely a cloud in the sky.”

“It will rain in the next two minutes and forty seconds.  This will prove I am who I say I am.  I need to hang up now and call back in four minutes.  The energy cost to keep the line is too much to just wait.”  With that the voice on the other side hung up.

Michelle hung up her phone and went back to her computer, but her curiosity wouldn’t stop her from checking the scene outside her window.  As she stared, wondering why someone was trying so hard to get into her head a sun shower began.  Big wet rain drops splattered against her window and her vision to the outside world, and her world in general, became blurry.

The ringing of the phone soon thereafter made her jump in her chair.  She stared at the phone, but didn’t try to pick it up.  She still wasn’t sure what was going on, but she knew she didn’t want to know.  Her future self should have known that.  Time must be able to change a person.