#JusJoJan 4/17 – Copsicle

He was a school crossing guard; we called him the Copsicle. Every September, he was there at the corner waiting for us. In the mornings he was cheerful. At lunchtime he was sullen. But after school, especially starting around Christmastime and up until March, he would stand, immovable, in the middle of the road, clutching his hand-held stop sign in a mittened fist with a smile frozen on his face.

People knew not to drive that way in the winter because the traffic was ridiculous. Three-point turns by drivers not wanting to break the law by going around a school crossing guard were common.

One day, (and I admit to this with no end of shame, even now that I am in my thirties and have children of my own) my friends and I stood in the middle of the road beside him and poked him. And we threw snowballs at him. But the smile never left his face.

I have no idea who came to get him, to warm him up in time to be cheerful for the morning commute. Perhaps they lit a fire around him to thaw him out. I’ll never know. My parents wouldn’t let me out of the house to check.

His legend lives on. My children tell the tale of the school crossing guard who, dedicated to his duty, would stand frozen to his post. And that every afternoon, we could count on the Copsicle to be there, to see us safely across the street.

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Enthusiasm (The Dentist, Part 3 of 5)

…continued from here

“I’ll start by saying I’ve never been to a psychiatrist before. I know you told me I should just talk, but feel free to interject any time. No? All right then. I’ll go ahead.

“I think part of why I’ve chased away three patients this week is my enthusiasm for my job. I love dentistry. There’s nothing quite like getting right in there with my instruments and rearranging people’s smiles. Did you know one time I removed all of a lady’s teeth–bad gums, she had to have them out–and then instead of giving her dentures, I kept them and sewed them all back in a week later? She would have been happy, except I got mixed up and put the top ones on the bottom and the bottom ones on the top. Well, I was excited. She just couldn’t see the beauty in it.

“I should probably mention that I may have lost a patient or two this week because I no longer have an assistant. Terrible thing happened. She died on the job. Accidentally slit her femoral artery when a man whose teeth she was cleaning swatted her hand away. I might have been able to stop the bleeding, except my secretary was off and I was waiting for the last patient’s credit card to go through.

“Ah, the life of a dentist. You must hear stories like this all the time…”

…continued here

Vanished

Mom’s going to kill me. She left me alone for one measly weekend. “It’ll be okay!” I said. “I’ll take care of everything. Don’t worry, go have fun!” She’s going to be home in ten minutes and the dog has disappeared. Vanished. One minute he was on his chain in the back yard and the next, he’s just gone. His collar is there, still done up but no dog.

Can she blame me for this? Not if she believes me. But I know what she’s going to say. I staged it to look like some mysterious thing happened to her baby. Her favourite pet of all time. God, she loves that dog more than she loves me.

What the hell am I going to do?

Maybe I’ll disappear, too.

It’s So Gary’s Fault

“However good I am depends on who’s around me. I get my grounded energy off people, and it’s so, so fantastic, you know? Like I was saying to Gary-”

“Ugh! Don’t talk to me about Gary. He’s such a douche.”

“Gary? You mean Gary, Gary? He’s not a douche.”

“Like hell he is. Did you see what he did to Mike’s car?”

“I don’t believe this. You really think Gary did that to Mike’s car? I am getting such bad grounded energy off you right now. You’re pulling me down to your level. Stop it.”

“It’s not me. It’s Gary for Chrissakes!”

“That’s it, I’m outta here. Move over, I’m getting off the bus right now.”

“No, wait. I’ve gotta talk to you about Mike’s car. Your dad’s a mechanic, right?”

“Yeah.”

“So, could you, like, ask him if Mike could bring it in for some body work?”

“What did you just say? Body work? My dad’s a mechanic. A me-chan-ic. He fixes engines and stuff, not bodies.”

“That’s a no then?”

“That’s a no then? That’s a no then? Oh my God, now you’re making me stupid too. Let me off right now.”

“Fine! Take your stupid ‘grounded energy’ and go away! You were stupid before I met you, bitch!”

“Ugh!”

Creamy, too – 100 word fiction

(Part One Creamy.)

“Hey man, did you see that ‘creamy’ chick again today?”

“Yep. She sat behind me again. This time she whispered, ‘You’re really, really creamy,’ and then she licked my ear.”

“Geez! What did you do?”

“I talked to her after the lecture. We went home to her place.”

“And…?”

“And she’s got a fridge full of whipped cream.”

“So you…”

“So I got creamy.”

“Wow. Are you gonna see her again?”

“I think so. She said something about me being extra horny.”

“She didn’t have, like, deers and rhinos mounted on the walls, did she?”

“Yeah! How did you know?”

One-Liner Wednesday – What if?

What if you were reading a sentence, minding your own business, and suddenly English words stopped making sence adn sentinse strictires vwfam rp hry skk qwurd?

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#SoCS – Going in blind

This is so dangerous. This interview is my last hurdle. After this, if I succeed, I get the job and I’m off and fulfilling my dream.

I go in. The room is painted white; there are no pictures on the walls, no windows – no colour except the laminated faux wood table and a green chair. One chair. Will my interviewer stand?

On the table is a sheet of paper. I think at first it’s blank, but I turn it over and there are questions.

#1. (Your first test.) Do you have a pen?

I pull a pen out of my purse and for a second I panic – it doesn’t work!!! I scribble for a while on the back of the paper and a faint blue line appears. It gets darker. Good.

I write “yes” for the first question.

#2. If you were a bug, and you wanted to get into a house but there were screens at the windows, would you:
a) try to squeeze through the screen
b) wait for someone to open a door
c) find another house

What kind of question is that???!!! I ask myself. Flustered, I go on to the next question without answering.

#3. Did you answer question #2? If not, go back now.

I look around the room. Is there a camera? Am I being watched? This is weird. I answer question #2, b. I’m a fairly patient person… I mean bug. Whatever. I write “yes” for question #3.

#4. What is your dream job?

Is this a trick question? It’s the one I’m applying for. I write that.

#5. What colour is white?

White. That’s got to be the correct answer. Or is it? Is white a colour? If not, how do I answer the question? Holy shit, this test is hard.

#6. If your owner holds you by the back of the neck, do you:
a) bite him or her
b) calm down and remain subdued
c) explain that you’re not a dog, and would he or she please let go

What the fuck? I’m just about to cap my pen and be on my way when the door opens and a handsome man in a white suit with a white shirt and tie walks in and stands on the other side of the table.

“Hello,” I say.

The man says nothing. Expressionless. He puts his hands on his hips and blows air out from between his pursed lips. I wait.

“What do you do?” he asks finally.

“What… do you mean?”

“Question #6. You were about to leave. What would you do in that situation?”

I look down at the paper and read the question and the possible answers again. “Umm… c?”

“Is that your final answer?”

I look down again. I’m definitely not a dog. “Yes. That’s my final answer.”

Suddenly the room lights up with yellow and red flashing, turning lights. I feel as though I’m in a game show.

“Congratulations!” the man says. “You’ve got the job!”

I slump down in my seat, and put my forehead on the table. I got it. I got it. I GOT IT!

I’m going to make people millionaires!

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Hike, Part 2 – Silence

Read part 1 here first.

George sat on his rock well past twilight and into night time, but Rod Serling didn’t show up, despite what his brother, Rob, had said. The silence was heavy, the lack of insect voices or small animals shuffling about in the underbrush was unnerving. George felt like he was the only person left on earth. Perhaps he was.

He got off his rock and sat on the ground with it at his back. Eventually he dozed off. By the time he awoke, to a tapping on his shoulder, his neck ached, his rear-end was numb, and the sky had turned a deep indigo.

“George!” said a voice. George opened his eyes and saw it was Rob.

“What are you doing back? And why didn’t your brother show up?”

Rob shrugged. “Maybe because he’s dead?”

“As good an excuse as any, I guess. Hey, do you know the way back to town? I think I’m a bit lost.”

“Why didn’t you ask last night? I just came from there. Not planning to go back.” Rob looked up. “Oh hey, there’s Rod now.”

Rod Serling, or the ghost of Rod Serling, crawled out from behind the rock and sat beside George.

“George,” Rod said, “have you ever considered that bump on your head from yesterday might have made it unwise to go to sleep?”

“I’m beginning to think so,” answered George. “Am I dead?”

Rob spoke up, “Is this the new show, Rod?”

“Rob, it’s what we call, the Dawning Zone.”

Hike

A two-hour hike had turned into a six-hour-long ordeal. George sat on a rock and thought about where it had gone wrong. Was it possible that the bump on the head from not ducking low enough under the fallen tree made him miss the signpost? The markers along the trail were bright red. Then again, now that he looked around, everything seemed black and white, like he’d stepped into an old television show.

“You have,” said a voice from behind him.

“Rod? Rod Serling?” George asked the stranger.

“No, I’m Rob. Rod was my brother.”

“So, I’m not in the Twilight Zone?”

“Technically, no. This is just the sunset zone. Rod will be along in a minute.”

“Isn’t he dead?”

“Well, yeah. Technically.” Rob stepped closer and ran his hair over George’s scalp. “You really should have that looked at.”

“You’re telling me,” said George with a small laugh.

“Okay, gotta go. Say hi to Rod for me.” With that, Rob ran away down the trail that George had walked up.

To be continued

Stump

“Honey, we’ve been walking for sooo long! I feel like we’re just going around in circles!”

Ralph raised the binoculars to his eyes and peered through them for the umpteenth time. The woods in the distance were dense. They were made up mostly of dark, shadowy pines, but the occasional maple dotted the way. The birds were both abundant and weird. Rather than chirp, they buzzed. One of them had picked up Spot, their old springer spaniel, three days ago, and flown away with him.

“You can see for yourself, we’re following the road, Martha.” He didn’t want to scare her, but he thought a couple of times that he’d seen the same tree twice.

“I think we should set up camp soon,” Martha said, tiredly.

“Sure, okay.”

“Do you think we could build a campfire tonight?”

Ralph sighed. “And where, exactly, are we going to get wood from?”

“We could just chop up a bit of the road,” she suggested with a shrug.

Great, thought Ralph. Then if we are walking around in circles, we’ll come across the hole in the road and Martha’ll go crazy.

“Please?” Martha begged. “It’s been weeks since we had a hot meal.”

“Yeah, okay.” Come morning, while we’re walking I’ll give her the binoculars and just change lanes when she’s not paying attention, he decided. The lanes both to the left and the right seemed endless.

***
Stump is the word of the day on the Daily Post, and our assignment for today on A Story A Day was to paint a vivid setting. How long did it take you to figure out where they are?