Category Archives: humor

My futuristic story published!

I wrote a very short, creepyfunny futuristic story over at the super minimalist web publication Thick Jam. It takes place about 200 hundred years in the future when technology has given birth to synthetic humans. My protagonist has her long dead mother engineered back to life. When she and her husband move away from their home, she also engineers her and her husband’s best friends because she’s lonely. Check it out.

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The Ten Best Poem (tribute to Publisher’s Weekly)

The ten best lakefront benches that smell like urine, the ten best business cards in the shape of lollipops, the ten best street vendors with moles under their left eye, the ten best street vendors with moles under their right eye, the ten best office building staircases in states beginning with the letter n, the ten best first place ribbons won by 4th grade elementary students in the last five years, the ten best books that are actually living, breathing cats, the ten best times someone confused the state and country of Georgia and lived to tell the tale, the ten best times I waited at a broken red light, the ten best songs hiding out in pet shops after dark, the ten best reasons you and I can never go back there, the ten best sneezes that actor from Law and Order ever ordered from a Chinese takeout, the ten best lovers taken in the midst of a philosophical crisis, the ten best weapons fashioned from living room furniture, the ten best Elvis impersonators framed for crimes they did not commit, the ten best lives lived in the background of the moon, the ten best historical novels of 2014 so far

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when I die

When I die I want everyone to own a piece of me. I don’t care if you think it’s disgusting. Deal with it. I’m the one dead here. You know what’s worse than having my right arm on the mantel? Being dead. But who to give my head? My friend Tom who writes horror stories in his spare time? No, even he wouldn’t have the stomach. Maybe my uncle — yeah he’d enjoy the company. I always assumed he had a few lying around the house anyway.

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River Flirting

from across the river
you began to point at me
and mouth words
of which I could not make out
over the rapids
you put a finger to your heart
and made an introduction
I did the same
you flapped your hand in place like a fan
and rolled your eyes
I nodded my agreement
and pointed to my umbrella, which was attached to my blue and yellow chair
you smiled
and put your index finger to your head
I took out my sunblock and pointed at it, looked in your direction and furrowed my brow
you shook your head
and shrugged
I made like I was going to throw my lotion over to you
you smiled
I smiled
you smiled
I smiled
we began to play a game of air tennis
I smashed a serve that swooped over the water
and onto your end
your return sailed over a white water raft populated entirely by Asian-American college students and when it reached my side
it bounced and skidded a little
until I picked it up out of the ground and sent it back your way
we went on like this for a few more exchanges
until I finally dumped a ball into the river in mock exasperation,
and you raised your hands in triumph.
I motioned to you as best as I could
that I was going to find a way to get over to the other side
to say hello

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Nontraditional March Madness Bracketology

Over the years, I have been trying to determine the best nontraditional March Madness bracket strategy. I have been through many, including asking my mother who she thought would win in every game, choosing a winner according to the team name that sounded better on my tongue, choosing based on the school with the superior field hockey record that year, always picking the team who’s name appeared on top of the bracket matchups, picking the team with more players using Twitter than the other, picking the team that more likely had God on their side. This year, I decided to make my picks according to which of the two team mascots might KO the other in a scuffle. I’ll let you know how this method pans out.

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The heat was getting to them

S: Says here 100 years ago this mountain blew its top. 3oo years before that they think there was another volcano.

T: That’s nice. The freezer needs more frozen pops

S: Native Americans musta thought it was the end of the world

T: It’s disgusting in here. You sure the air conditioning is working?

S: I’m pretty sure. I bet they didn’t know their mountain had such secrets.

T: Huh? I don’t remember Shasta last year feeling like this. At least you could swim in those lakes. These sulfur springs you dip a toe in you gotta be airlifted out of the park

S: The lakes were swimmable back then

T: Back when?

S: 400 years ago

T: I’m talking about now OMG–

S: Or maybe this lake wasn’t here at all at that time–

T: And you’re still not listening

S: Honey, God gave us these lakes. Don’t you see?

T: Why would God give us lakes you can’t even swim in?

S: There are cold lakes here.

T: If you don’t mind a little alpine frostbite, sure. You can’t win with this Park.

T: I’m pretty sure God left this place behind a long time ago. And so should we.

 

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Signing Off (a YA short story)

It was not long after watching Miley Cyrus twerk that I decided to give up electronic communication and the internet altogether.

I wouldn’t bother reading anything into this sequence of events, except perhaps: something about her gyrating privates said to me, “Facebook, Twitter, the iPhone, it’s all gotta go.”

Mom and Dad loved the idea, of course.

“Oh hon, that’s a wonderful idea,” my mom said.

“Its like you’re Thoreau, heading out to Walden for the first time,” offered my dad.

I didn’t know who Thoreau was but I was pretty sure he was some super famous dead writer, since my dad’s always dropping the names of famous scribes ever since he stopped writing and started working advertising for Nike.

My mother asked me to carry around my iPhone “just in case.”

“Just in case of what?”

“In case you get into an emergency situation.”

“Honey I think that would defeat the purpose of what our daughter is trying to do.”

“And what’s that Frank?”

“She’s reaching back into the past, untethering herself from all the gadgets and gizmos we’re all dragging around with us, she’s taking the metaphorical long way, as it were.”

My mom rolled her eyes.

“Exactly dad,” I assured him.

At school, there were mixed reactions to my decision.

Lindsay, my best friend, struggled to understand the particulars.

“But can we still talk over Halo?”

(Halo, for the XBox had a built-in microphone function, and Lindsay and I had a lot of meaty exchanges while we rained down machine gun fire on our weaksauce competitors.)

I had to think about that one, honestly.

“Yeah we can’t talk on that either.”

“So basically we’re not ever gonna talk again.”

“Um, we can talk like we’re talking right now,” I said.

“I hate talking like we’re talking right now.”

“Lindsay, I love you. Actually, I think I’ll miss your facebook posts the most.”

I wasn’t joking.

Earlier that day, a few days after New Year’s Day, she’d posted: “We should skip a hundred years next year, and call “2015” “3015,” just to screw with historians in the future.”

My boyfriend Harris seemed to take the news okay at first.

“Cool. Cool,” he said.

Then again, that’s pretty much the only thing he says to me ever.

A few weeks later when I missed his birthday after I had not seen the facebook invite, he didn’t seem to like the idea as much.

The only person who wasn’t suffering it seemed was my Nanna.

She and I were exchanging these really long notes with each other.

It was like having a pen pal but she was, you know, my Nanna.

I also began keeping a journal.

The first time I knew there was something to this writing thing was the day I found myself writing about tennis.

I have been playing competive tennis since I was 9. When I play tennis, I become a different person. Let’s call her the Beast. The Beast makes me throw my racquet after double faulting twice in a row. The beast makes me curse out my mother when she’s trying to console me during a changeover in the midst of a match.

It never occurred to me that tennis might not be the best recreational option for me. I had been playing so long I couldn’t imagine not playing.

In the midst of a journal entry about a junior high tennis match I had squandered away after a one set lead, I began writing down all the things I disliked about tennis and all of the things I liked. When the dislike column had 13 things and the like one tallied a big fat zero, I realized something was wrong. It sounds so stupid, but it didn’t occur to me that I didn’t have to keep playing tennis until I wrote it down on the page. “I don’t want to play tennis anymore.”

One week after I penned that, I quit tennis, and took up field hockey instead. I haven’t heard from the beast ever since.

After about a month off the internet, I started realizing the sort of disadvantage I was putting myself during school. My teacher assigned us an assignment where we had to write a report on one animal that went extinct in the last ten years. I searched the library stacks high and low but couldn’t find a single animal to write about. The most recent animal I found in a book was something called the javan tiger, but those died out more than thirty years ago.

Three weeks later, Ms. Reid told us we were to make our own websites in social studies. I raised my hand, and explained to her about my situation. She was understanding, but said I’d have to make an exception for this assignment.

That was truly the beginning of the end. Not 10 minutes after I signed up for a website, I found myself checking my own facebook page for the first time in two months.

I had a little red reminder in the right hand corner informing me of some recent activity on my page.

I clicked my facebook profile, and saw that Lindsay had written a message on my wall.

“Welcome back Thoreau. How was the pond?”

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Talking about recycling with my dad: a fiction

At my elementary school

we have 6 different trash cans

to toss away food into

one for hard plastics, another for soft plastics, a compost bin, and 3 more for stuff I can’t remember

my dad says “it’s a sign of the times”

green is in

recycling is in

reduce reuse recycle

when my science teacher can’t understand questions kids ask her

she always says back

“reduce reuse recycle”

and I have to admit, it’s pretty flipping funny

“Earth finally went and got itself a PR flack,”

says my dad

“well good for the earth

when I was a kid,

recycling was an optional activity

you were like oh I could spend 5 minutes sorting out these bottles and plastics

or I could just save the energy and brain power

it would require

and go set off a stink bomb or toss screwdrivers at the grass in front of your house

now everybody’s under the impression that recycling is more important than developing your hand eye coordination, I guess.”

At lunchtime they force this poor lady to sort out garbage tossed into the wrong bins

and I’m not even sure she knows what she’s doing

like the other day

she told me

that the paper napkins should be tossed into the compost bin?

Thats just sounds wrong to me

but whatever

she has a shirt that says “Green Patrol”

so she’s clearly an authority

she’s a nice lady though

probably not gonna shake her hand anytime soon though

so in conclusion

recycling: it’s annoying

but if you like being a human

and dislike dying of toxic gasses

and strange hues in your water

then

it’s probably worth the effort.

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Frank Scozzari – Two Men and a Gun 

I had a great time reading this piece of flash fiction, enough so that I ended up reading it to the people closest to me. It’s just a brisk, wonderfully written little thing that one wordpress commenter calls a “duel of sleeplessness” between two very weary travelers. It’s rare that I read fiction that actually makes me laugh, so I had to pass along!

The Bookends Review

Two Men and a Gun

It’s hard to say exactly how I ended up in this dreadful situation, although I could easily put all the blame on the Thomas-Cook train schedule. If they had made their timetables were a little easier to read, and their columns more evenly aligned, I may have never ended up on a midnight train to Athens. Yet here I was, sandwiched in among all the dissolute of Southern Europe in a third-class train compartment, trying to figure out how I was going to get some sleep.

It was bench seating only, benches that faced one another, with such little space between them that one had to sit straddling the knees of the person opposite you. There were smells of human body odor and of middle-eastern cooking, zeera and black cumin, the mixture of which was not a pleasant thing. I couldn’t imagine someone could be…

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