Slay the Beast! (a 200 word story)

The attempts to slay the beast had been futile at best.  This time Michael was more confident.  He had found a new weapon that felt good in his grip.  He had watched YouTube videos on how others thought the beast could be slain.  Numerous blog posts were read, and Michael had even asked his followers on twitter, #howToSlayTheBeast.  Through a thoughtful ten minutes of pondering, Michael knew he had the answer and set out to finish his quest.

Soon he was knee deep in the swamp and wondering why he was even there.  It seemed impossible, red spraying everywhere off his weapon, but the beast didn’t yield.  It bashed Michael to and fro, never giving him purchase.  Soon Michael was covered as much in red as the beast was.  “I’ going to die here,” Michael thought, but still he battled.

Days seem to pass when he finally found some sort of ending.  Michael put away his red pen and looked at what had been his first draft, knowing once he made those changes he would be in a new place.  He would have the legendary second draft.  The battle would go one, but this time he would persevere.  Carpe calamum!

Stutter (an acrostic poem)

Stammering for attention in this internet age

Tasked with giving birth to a meme or a viral video

Until you realize that virus must be incubated in your blood, sweat, and tears

Two a.m. and still nothing to unleash on YouTube or Pintrest

Terrified that creativity has decided to leave you for that cute red head at Starbucks

Even though you have picture of creativity and a goat doing creative things

Realizing that goat was your meal ticket you wait your accolades, or did you…

Five Benjamins

“How can I impress on you the importance of the situation?” Sal asked.  It was hard to take Sal seriously while he was sitting there with a Mickey Mouse ear hat and the remnants of two dogs with the works scattered in his beard.  I’ve known Sal all my life, and that pretty much summed his world up in one mini scene.  “Are you paying attention to me?  God, you can be such a space cadet.”

“I’m totally with you Sal.  I’m just not getting you.  Sort of like that whole thing about Cialis where you take the pill to have sex, but their logo is two people holding hands in separate bathtubs.  Like that’s going to get you lucky how?”  See, I can make analogies that put Shakespeare and Donald Trump to shame.

Sal leaned forward and kept his voice kinda low.  Well, low for Sal.  “That’s a whole separate but equal contention about sex where you must always ask before you hit it.  Sort of like you wouldn’t force someone to drink tea, would you?”

“What the hell does sex have to do with tea?” I asked.  “Is the tea in the two bathtubs?  Is it some sort of food porn fetish?”  I am pretty swift on the uptake, if I do say so myself.

“God, you’re hurting my head with the questions.  Look it up on YouTube.  You need more education.”  With that Sal became quiet.  His lips moved like he was reading the Reader’s Digest to himself.  I could almost make out his words.  It was something on the order of “Man went into the jungle to catch a tiger by its toe, like for reals, and when he came back out he was missing most of his own toes since the tiger ate his foot.”  Either that or “Fan of the bugle caught a tired joe, like for reals, then he came back missing most of his own foes since the bugle played a toot.”  It was something like one of those two.  Honest.

Finally Sal’s eyes perked up.  “That’s right, now I remember.  I need to borrow five Benjamins.  You know I’m good for it.”  Sal beamed with pride that he had remembered.

“Really man?” I asked.  I tried out my trust-o-meter, and the hotdog remains in Sal’s beard seemed more trustworthy.  “That’s like, almost five hundred dollars.  That’s a lot of Cheetos.”

“It is five hundred dollars, and don’t you mean a lot of cheddar?” Sal asked.

“I hate cheese.  That’s why I put Cheetos on my sandwich.  It’s the whole lactose intolerance thing.”  I patted my belly to emphasize my point.

Sal pointed to the glass of milk in front of me.  “Then why are you drinking milk?” he asked.

I smiled since I had anticipated the question.  “That’s what they call a misnomer.  I saw on a television commercial that milk isn’t lactose.”

Sal shook his head in disbelief.  “My God, you can be such a space cadet.”

I nodded in agreement.  “I applied to the NASA call for astronauts.  They even called me personally to let me know I would be called about the job in just over a thousand years.”

Sal put his hand over his face.  He looked almost exactly like Patrick Stewart at that moment, except Sal had curly black shoulder length hair, wasn’t wearing a unitard, and wouldn’t touch Earl Grey black tea if Earl Grey had promised a quickie in the oil of bergamot vat.  I missed my vat of oil of bergamot.  It brought back a flood of memories that made me feel sad enough to shed a tear.

Sal saw that tear and focused on it so much it almost popped like a pimple.  “Why are you crying?” he asked.

“I just need a moment,” I said.  I had a long pull on my ice cold milk and let out an “ah” as I finished.  I left the milk mustache there to give Sal’s beard a face buddy.  “There, that’s better.  So what did you want?”

“Never mind,” Sal said as he stood up.  “It’s just not worth it.”  He stomped off in his purple Crocs, bits of onion falling from his beard, leaving a trial of onion crumbs behind in case Sal had to reground himself in my presence.

I just smiled and waved at his back.  I thought about wiping off my milk mustache, but thought better of it.  It was my trophy in this battle of wits.  I still had my money, and Sal wouldn’t ask for anything from me again until he gets back into the alcoholic potatoes, but that is another tale for another time.

A Fiery Kiss

Carson always liked flames.  He would joke Carson rhymes with arson.  Carson believed his red hair gave him a mystical connection to the fires he played with.  He always had a lighter on him, even though he didn’t smoke.  It wasn’t just a piece of crap Bic lighter either; it was a silver Zippo with diamonds set in the shape of the constellation of Orion on a black lacquered oval.  When asked about it, Carson would tell a different story each time about the lighter’s origins.  My favorite one was that he had won it from a space alien doing skateboard tricks.  To be honest, thinking about how clumsy Carson was, him skateboarding was more unbelievable than the space aliens.

Last week I wanted to try something.  I don’t know what I was thinking, but you know how it is.  Once a teenager gets an idea in his head, either they will act on it or it will drive them insane.  Or both could happen, which was my case.  Look, how much trouble could I get into trying to mix dry creamer and black powder.  I figure since they both burn so well separately, that the two together would be awesome.  Imagine the number of hits I would get on my YouTube channel.  I would be a rock star, at least for like four hours.

So I wanted to be safe, right?  I decided to put the mixture of black powder and creamer into a rubber glove.  I then pulled the glove down, tying it to a large stone.  I had a sword I ordered from a catalog that I would swing at the string, cutting it from about four feet away.  That seemed a pretty safe distance.  Swinging the sword low would also keep me below the fireball.  I was rather impressed with myself thinking of safety first.  The glove would then snap upward, throwing the two powders into the air.  I just needed an ignition source.  Then I remembered Carson and his lighter.  I gave him a quick call and poof he was there, just like a genie out of a lamp.

I proudly showed Carson my setup.  He was impressed, especially with the safety features I had built into the system.  I showed him where I thought he would place the lit Zippo on an old crappy birdbath.  I figured the flame would be gone in a flash and the lighter, being metal, would survive the flame.  I mean, it has a flame coming out of it like all the time.  What could a fleeting fireball do to it?

Carson was all in, except for one small thing.  Since he was risking his lighter, he wanted to be the one who slit the string with the sword.  I told him never mind.  I would get a different ignition source.  He then pointed out that I could take a better video if I was holding the camera.  He was right.  That whole shaky cam thing is so cool, especially when dealing with fire.  I agreed.

I primed the glove and checked everything a second time.  You can’t be too safe, right?  Carson lit the zippo and set it on the birdbath.  I then handed Carson the sword and stepped back.  I made sure that everything would be in frame and yelled action.

Carson’s backswing of the sword was a thing of beauty.  The swing forward had issues though.  I forgot how clumsy Carson was until that moment, and by then it was too late.  The sword pushed against the string at first, changing the angle of the glove, before finally shearing the strands.  By then the glove was pointed more at Carson, who didn’t have to duck as much since he was shorter than me.  The powders came flying out of the glove and ignited at the touch of the Zippo’s fiery kiss.  The flames continued forward and upward, engulfing Carson’s surprised face for a moment before the swoosh announced the fireball’s demise.

When my vision cleared, Carson had become a fire god.  His eyebrows were missing and his face was bright red from the first degree burns.  He screamed in pain.  I put the camera down on the picnic table, grabbed my bucket of water that I had set nearby just in case, and threw it in Carson’s face.

Carson breathed in a heavy amount of water and proceeded to gag and throw up on my sword.  He didn’t seem to be on fire though, so I considered it a small victory.  When Carson could speak he asked me if I got it.   I told him yes, and he danced a little happy dance through the pain.

I am now over three million hits on my YouTube channel and I split the ad revenue sixty five percent for me, 35 percent for him.  I think it’s fair since it was my idea, and I had to clean his vomit from my sword.  Oh, and we have gotten much closer since we had to do community service together, but that is another story.