Monday, March 19, 2012

The Girl In The Mirror

By Linda M. Crate

There is a girl in the mirror that says she is me, but she is not me. She wears my skin like a costume. She puts on my clothes and wears the same make-up. She even wears my perfume. She likes to tell me lies like ‘I’m beautiful’ and ‘I’m worth it’.

I am a plain girl. An ugly girl. A girl with dusty hair and hickory colored eyes. Stout and lifeless. I cannot wear the same pretty corsets that the skinny girls can.

This has always made me cry rivers. It’s the reason knights walk by when they see me, sometimes they even laugh or moo at me. I’ve sobbed myself to sleep many a starry night, but no one seems to notice or share my pain. They are too busy pirouetting through fields of flowers or frolicking in the woods with their loves. They do not notice the girl with the broken topography that no longer can wear a smile.

The girl in the mirror tells me that I am not this monster I see myself as. That I am not an ogre, and if I’d only speak people would see that I am actually someone that they would like to know. That I am worthwhile.

I don’t like it when she talks to me. She’s a liar spinning facsimiles as quickly as spiders weave their webs. I don’t know why she disturbs my peace.

So one day when she taunted me to the point where I could not stand it, I smashed her face with my fists. I felt a primal and barbaric savagery take me. I did not stop until the mirror was no more, her face looked out at me in horror. I was covered in blood. She shrieked how ugly I was, that I was a harpy.

I smiled because she finally told the truth. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Gran Torino Canyon: A Story About Flipping Off The Earth

By Jack Rousseau

        Every news channel is broadcasting a high speed pursuit. In the air, several police helicopter compete with just as many network helicopters – one piloted by Jane Fonda, another piloted by Robert Duvall. From the helicopter piloted by Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas steadies a camera.
       Jane Fonda looks back and shouts, “Get the shot!”
      “I got the shot! Keep your eyes on the sky!” Michael Douglas shouts back.
Jane Fonda looks back in time to see a helicopter piloted by William Hurt. The helicopters are on a collision course. Michael Douglas stands behind Jane Fonda, grips her seat.
        “Pull back! Pull back!” he shouts.
        “I’m trying!” she shouts.
        But it is too late for both of them. Robert Duvall watches from the window of his helicopter as Jane Fonda and William Hurt collide, creating a low-budget explosion.
       “That’s gotta hurt!” Robert Duvall says, looking at Francis Ford Coppola seated in the back. “Get it? That’s gotta hurt, like William Hurt!”
      Robert Duvall laughs. Francis Ford Coppola shakes his head.
     “You leave the writing to me,” Francis Ford Coppola says.
      Below, a hundred or more police cars are in pursuit of a Gran Torino driven by Clint Eastwood. Police want to open fire on the vehicle, but they have been advised against it. Apparently Clint Eastwood has taken a hostage: singer Susan Boyle from Britain’s Got Talent.
       “Pull over the car, Clint Eastwood,” Susan Boyle says. “We can talk to the police, make a deal.”
      “There’s nothing to talk about, Susan Boyle,” Clint Eastwood says, hitting the gas and accelerating faster than the police can keep up. Everybody knows Gran Torino is the fastest car, the fastest thing on Earth.
        Clint Eastwood nods at the camera and fulfils his endorsement agreement with Ford. “Ford Gran Torino” appears in bold letter on Clint Eastwood’s face. Ford pays him off with Nazi gold.
        Susan Boyle opens her mouth. Each of her teeth is decorated with a cartoon face, and each of her teeth makes a plea with Clint Eastwood to pull over. Her tongue splits in half, revealing another set of teeth, each with a cartoon face.
       “I’m not pulling over, not for you or the police,” Clint Eastwood says. “I have something to prove.”
       Clint Eastwood arrives at the Grand Canyon. But he is trapped when the police surround the area.  Howie Mandel is put in charge of negotiations.
      “Please, Clint,” says Howie Mandel. “Let’s make a deal!”
      He promises Clint Eastwood a night with the Olsen twins. Both of them.
        But the only hole Clint Eastwood wants to fill is the Grand Canyon. He uses the money from the Ford endorsement to fill the Grand Canyon with a plaster, casting the shape of the Grand Canyon. When the plaster solidifies and Clint Eastwood ejects the cast, it is in the shape of a hand flipping off.
         The police, Susan Boyle, Howie Mandel and the Olsen twins, Robert Duvall and Francis Ford Coppola are in shock and disbelief. Clint Eastwood was right all along.
        In response, Clint Eastwood flips off the Earth.
BIO: Jack Rousseau, tired of flipping off other planets, committed to a "Flip Off the Earth Day" telethon on Friday, November 13, 2012. All proceeds have been donated to a charitable organization dedicated to raising awareness about flipping off the Earth.

The Mertha Merriment

By Richard Osgood

When the invisible man died he left nothing behind.  No will and testament.  No family photos.  No trace he ever existed.  Weeks passed before they found him, a curious shadow on the floor of a south-facing porch, and when they did, people refused to believe.  There's no such thing as invisible men, they said.  Newspapers called it a hoax.  Lutherans called for group prayer.  The IRS called for an audit of his internal affairs.

A woman came forward and claimed she was the invisible man's mother.  "I didn't even know I was pregnant," she told reporters.  "Doctors said it was gas.  I said, 'well, gas is invisible, isn't it?'  The doctors threw their arms in the air and walked away, so I popped the kid out and named him Mertha."  The reporters nodded and licked pencil lead and flipped pages of top-bound note pads.  "He was a joy to raise.," she continued.  "Always got along with other children.  Never used his invisibility for ill gotten gains, and not a day went by when he didn't bring me merriment." 

This being the only known invisible man in Carlisle, and with nothing to dispute the woman's claim, elected officials called a special meeting to author a proclamation that this day shall forever be known as The Day of Mertha Merriment.  Festivities began with a procession down Main Street.  The Manifest Destiny Funeral Home crafted an invisible casket in which Mertha was laid and proudly displayed in an open-air hearse.  The mayor wore a top hat and tuxedo and waved from the back seat of a red convertible, all the while seated on a stack of pillows.  The Carlisle Shriners drove tiny cars in whip-bend circles as red-button clowns skipped and danced and tossed candy to children on shoulders of waving adults. 

They gathered at Founders Park where upstanding townsfolk stepped to a podium and recounted fond memories of the man they now saw as free from the burden of visibility.  The fire chief described a harrowing tale of how the invisible man pulled him from a burning building as the roof collapsed behind them.  His fifth grade teacher praised his tranquil disposition and unassuming demeanor in the classroom.  Onlookers turned to one another, commenting on his contagious smile and conciliatory presence.  They talked of things he whispered in ears, reminders of lost purpose and bygone years, and where they left their keys.

Elected officials commissioned a sculptor to carve a statue, to mark the final resting place of the man called Mertha, but when the sculptor approached the block of raw granite, three-feet by three-feet by nine-feet tall, he had nothing from which to create a likeness.  "How does one render an invisible man?" he said.   The sculptor pondered the rock, then the subject at hand, and left the stone untouched.  Future children danced in hand-held circles around the uncorrupted block of granite, each with a sculpted rendition of the visibility they would one day achieve.    


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Death's Symphony In E Minor

By Joe Jablonski

Sitting within the rickety shack he called home, Blake stood before a machine five years in the making; a twisted meld of wires, processors, sequencers and synaptic convertors. He called it the harmony engine. It was a precision tuned piece of equipment whose only function was that formulating the perfect song.

Excitement and anticipation welled up inside him as he grabbed a head cap lined with tiny neural readers and strapped it tight with a chinstrap. A pair of soundproof headphones rounded out the cranial accessories quite nicely.

Taking a deep breath, Blake flipped the switch. From the very first chord the music was ecstasy, each note resonating as if in tune with his very soul.

Digital matrixes within the machines’ software read and responded to every subtle emotional change within Blake’s neural network and adjusted the tune accordingly for maximum affect.

The tones, patterns, and sounds became more complex, merging together into a cyclone of harmonies.

It was more beautiful that he could have ever imaged. Soon, he achieved climax yet still couldn’t tear himself away from the music. Every second brought more and more bliss—better than sex, better that everything.

First came paralysis.

Slowly, the resonation built until he lost synapse control. In moments, Blake was on the floor twitching under the weight of so many perfect frequencies.

Twitching became convulsing, but the failings of his body were of no consequence. With his mind overloaded, he just lay there letting the music wash over him.

His bladder emptied, followed by his bowels and he couldn’t care less.

Next came pain.

Blake’s muscles locked up so tight, they broke bone. The teeth within his mouth shattered under the lock of his jaw.

The music was too beautiful for him to handle, yet still it improved. Blake was overwhelmed, lost within the music’s embrace. He needed it to end; he wanted it to last forever. With shaking hands, he tried to pull his headphones off, but found he no longer had control of his body.

A layer of the world was ripped from the rest unleashing a torrent of colors which danced in a fading vision; a swirl of pastel hues forming complex patterns, juxtaposed over everything. The patterns throbbed in sync with the music lulling him further into the sweet embrace of oblivion.

Something snapped and everything went black.  

Surrendering to the musical assault, Blake’s body and mind imploded under the perfection of the chaotic melody, his last moment’s ones of excruciating bliss.