Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Story 2: National Novel Writing Month Short Story Edition 2011 Sponsored by The Internet and People Who Like the Word "Balloon" Presents to You Now for the First Time Ever: Seven Stories in Which the Protagonist Dies in the First Scene: a Space Adventure Romance Western with Surrealist Undertones (Warranty not Included)

Confused about what's going on here? This may help. The story starts below. It has some mild swearing in it. Enjoy!


1) Just after noon, I realized that I couldn't take it anymore. Sitting in a cubicle all day, trying to pretend that I knew what I was doing, getting yelled at by my boss. Every day. Ugh. I wanted to punch her in the face so badly my arm would sometimes shake. So, just after noon, I TOTALLY FUCKING DID. Yeah, that's right. I punched my boss in the face. And, it was awesome. She was all "OUCH!" and then kicked me in the balls, which was less awesome, but still. Totally worth it. Anyway, so I think I'm out of a job? Which. Whatever. I can totally get another one. Somewhere far away from a computer. Maybe I'll become a lumberjack. Or a pilot. Or one of those people with a before and after picture on a commercial.
Well, so, here's the problem. I had to get out of there pretty quickly, right? I mean, security was pretty rough-and-tumble. As soon as they got there, which was pretty quickly with all the cursing and yelling and sobbing going on (I WAS KICKED IN THE FUCKING BALLS), and heard my boss's completely biased side of the story, they strong-armed me out of the building. Which, whatever. But, they didn't have to call the cops. That was totally uncalled for. I think the head security lady has some kind of weird vendetta against me after that one time I got drunk at an office party and almost punched her in the face.
She totally had it coming. Fucker.
Anyway, so, I didn't actually get any of my stuff. And, ass that I am, I had brought lots of awesome shit to work. I had this really old bottle of some awesome wine, and this other really old bottle of whiskey, and... well, you know, just lots of _stuff._ And, I want that stuff _back._
Now, take your normal guy, some dude with a tiny penis. He waits for the fuckers to call and say, "Look, dude with a tiny penis, you've got a bunch of your awesome shit here. If you don't come tomorrow, escorted by our bitchy security chief who has a vendetta against you for no good reason other than that she's bitchy, and pick up your awesome shit, we're going to throw it out the window and then set fire to it." Then he slouches in the next day, tail between his legs, escorted around like a cat on a leash, and picks up whatever stuff his coworkers haven't totally fucking stolen because it's awesome.
Me? No, I'm not that dude with a tiny penis. No fucking way. I'm going in there right now, security bitch or no, and I'm getting all of my awesome shit and then hightailing it to a job that actually doesn't suck dry and lumpy balls.
Which, I guess, is why I don't look as I cross the street... and then get hit by a bus.

2) I guess I am a time-traveling fetus. Because I am a fetus, and I time-traveled. And, I can't

3) Fiona was eight when she became obsessed with Digimon and then was abducted by aliens. The aliens were dry and lumpy and completely and utterly white. They looked like fat bowling pins. And, they would communicate by knocking each other down. A gentle shove from the front meant "hi there." A strong shove from the left side meant, "spaceship," and a strong shove from the right meant, "let's abduct that eight-year-old human girl who is obsessed with Digimon." This is at least what Fiona could surmise from the chair to which she was currently strapped, presumably on their space ship.
She was upside down.
One of the bowling pin aliens shoved her in the knee and then stood patiently in front of her for five minutes, after which it waddled away.
Fiona started to get dizzy.
Some time later, the same bowling pin alien (or possibly a different one -- she really couldn't tell them apart) and another bowling pin alien (or possibly that was the first one) waddled up to her, wheeling some strange screen between them
 The first of these aliens pushed her in the leg again. On the screen, a message appeared: "Dearest Fiona, most delicate flower in my garden of pure and unblemished delight, I must ask you with unparalleled ardor and fervency whether you like the sport of horse riding."
Fiona was a marvel of reading at age eight. Her teachers spoke of her with fondness and expectation, dreaming up for her the bright future that only an early reader can attain: the president, a senator, or at the very worst, a lawyer. She was the envy of her entire class whenever she was asked to read aloud. She did so without pause, with clarity and purpose, and perhaps most importantly, with perfect pronunciation. But, she couldn't read upside down.
Also, by then, she had long since passed out from having too much blood going to her brain.
Getting no response, the aliens assumed that she did _not_ like horse riding. They found this fact quite fascinating, because Earth television had told them that all little girls like to ride horses.
They asked her several more questions, about chocolate, about how disgusting boys are, and about dancing. When she refused to answer any of them with anything more excited than unconsciousness, they were forced to conclude both that this planet was full of liars, pretending to be interested in things that they found too boring to even keep them awake, and that everyone on the planet was extremely boring.
So, they blew it up with their gigantic laser.
It was some time during the building up of the laser that Fiona's body realized that she wouldn't be turned right side up in the foreseeable future and gave up.

4) Deirdre's fascination with anvils could not have ended much worse. Things started out looking pretty good for her. She was accepted to the top anvil university (Georgia State University, obviously) and got stellar marks in all of her anvil-related courses (Anvils: What are They Good for and Why Should I care?, Anvils vs. Anchors: Why an Anvil Would Win if You Gave an Anvil and an Anchor Sentience, Legs and Arms and Forced Them to Fight to the Death... and How it Will Change Your Life Forever, How Marrying an Anvil Could Get You Leied (Including a Trip to Hawaii!), and many more). She was even asked to give a talk at the third annual Conference Relating to Anvils and their Periphery, presenting her cutting-edge research on why it was not technically unconstitutional for an anvil to become president.
It was really at this conference that things took a turn for the worse. Deirdre's school couldn't afford to give her her own hotel room, so they paired her up with one of the other presenters from her school: Danielle. Danielle wasn't really into anvils at all. She was only studying anvils because it was the only way her parents would pay for school (which became moot when she got a merit-based full ride to Georgia State... but what are you going to study at Georgia State if not anvils?), and her passion extended only insofar as it was a stepping stone to her bright and prosperous future in Anything But Anvils. She was giving a talk to pad her resume.
Danielle didn't talk much, and when they got into the hotel room, she claimed the bed closer to the bathroom by dumping her bag on it and giving Deirdre a snooty look.
Deirdre, always trying to be nice, said, "Go ahead and take that bed."
Danielle gave her a snooty look.
Deirdre, always trying to be accommodating, smiled, shrugged, did some light unpacking, got ready for bed, and then settled in to alternate between mentally walking through her speech and reading "The Political Anvil: a Story of Triumph." But, just as she started reading, Danielle said, "I'm going to sleep. Turn off that light."
Deirdre tried to smile, despite her dismay, and complied.
At least she could keep mentally preparing for her talk. Only, as soon as she started, she was interrupted by something that sounded vaguely like white noise and a sea monster. It started out quiet, but soon took over the entire room, expanding like white hot metal being hammered.
She said, "What is that?"
The noise died down. Danielle said, "Ugh. What?"
Deirdre said, "What was that?"
Danielle said, "I listen to music as I fall asleep. Is that _Okay_?!"
This was not really okay. Deirdre needed to prepare and eventually to sleep. And, she didn't like sea monsters.
She said, "Yeah, okay..."
The room was once more filled with the sounds of infinite pain.
At 3:00am, Deirdre couldn't take it anymore, took her blankets, and went to sleep in the hallway.
The next morning, she awoke with a pounding headache, like white hot metal being hammered. It was 10:00am, so she had already missed the keynote address: cutting edge research on the sanitation-related dangers of using an anvil as a dining table.
When Deirdre did arrive at the conference, she met extremely interesting people (including Madeline Cartwright, the grandmother of contemporary anvil theory), her talk went perfectly (she even got a standing ovation), and she was even given an Tiny Golden Anvil award for most promising young anvil theorist.
The Tiny Golden Anvil came with a monetary award of $500, which Deirdre - unaware as she was of the dangers - used to purchase her very own anvil dining table. She died three weeks later of extreme lead poisoning.

5) The problem with motorized baby carriages is that they sometimes go wonky and take your baby into traffic.

6) The problem with motorized trebuchets is that they sometimes go wonky and launch when you're putting the finishing touches on the sling.

7) Verity was having the worst possible day of all time ever. It was winter, which is the worst possible season (except maybe any of the other seasons), and it was raining, which is just godawful terrible, and the rain caused a power outage that killed her phone charger, which in turn let her phone run out of batteries, which in turn meant that Verity had no alarm to wake her up in the morning. And no phone with which to call work.
Awesome pants.
Then, the bus. Oh, god, the bus. She took the bus every day and loathed it more every day. But she especially loathed it more on rainy days. It would go splashing and sloshing like a goddamn infant in a bathtub. This particular bus hit a puddle as it came to her stop and splashed her entire body.
Verity hated being wet almost as much as she hated being dry, and being wet with dirty road water was the worst thing that could ever happen in the universe.
Then, the bus was full, so she had to stand, sopping wet, glaring at everyone around her to will them to give her a seat, and when that didn't help, glaring at the traffic ahead of her to try and make it go faster. Which is why she was the only passenger who saw the guy step out into the road just in front of the bus. The bus hit him with a thwack, and then bus driver stopped the bus with a squeaking push on the breaks, causing the car behind the bus to hit it.
Everyone got out of the bus. Kids were crying. Everyone was gawking. Verity thought, "screw it," and started walking to work.
It was cold, and raining, and she was still wet from the bus splash. Plus, now she was going to be even _more_ late for work. She was scowling and muttering and keeping her head down to avoid having the rain hit her directly in the face.
Then, a fetus materialized out of thin air and hit her in the face.
It was small and squishy and looked extremely confused as it flopped onto the ground in front of her. It gurgled a bit, unable to breathe, and then stopped.
Of all the things that could have materialized out of thin air and hit Verity in the face, this was by far the worst. What about a nice wad of money, or the keys to a new car? Verity hated fetuses almost as much as she hated the world, and bus drivers, and rain.
She wasn't sure if she had some kind of legal obligation to stick around, or call the police or whatever, but she didn't have a phone, and she was really getting late, so she decided to just leave the fetus there and keep going.
But, before she had a chance, there was a loud twang from somewhere nearby, then a lot of screaming, and then some dude came crashing down out of the sky directly on top of the fetus.
Ugh. This was really starting to look like something Verity might have to give a statement about to the police. Or at least not leave as if she were a criminal, in case there were any witnesses. Not that there were any, or that anyone could see very well in the rain.
Verity stood there and waiting, catching what she was sure was some kind of terrible new strain of pneumonia, for probably about twenty five billion eternities before someone finally walked by.
It was the ugliest man she had ever seen in her life, but whatever. She said, "Hey! Excuse me! My phone's dead, and there are, like, a couple of dead people here. Can you call the police?"
The ugliest man ever looked up and said, "Why don't you just go and use the phone in there?"
He pointed at the store in front of them, which happened to be a cell phone store. Inside, a teenager was sitting at a desk at the end of the store, reading a magazine. Ugh. The only thing Verity hated more than no-it-all ugly men were teenagers.
She said, "Ah" lamely and then walked into the store, where she repeated her same request.
The teenager gave her this look like she was ruining his life and said, "Yeah, we're not supposed to let people use our phones."
Verity said, "But this is an emergency."
The teenager said, "That's what everyone says."
Verity said, "But..."
The teenager said, "Look lady, are you going to buy a phone, or what?"
Verity said, "Listen, I'd like to talk to your manager."
The teenager said, "No can do... he took the day off to build a catapult or something."
Verity hated this teenager more than anything in the universe. And, she hated everything in the universe more than she could put into words.
She seethed. She fumed.
She said, "Okay. Here's what we're going to do. You're going to let me use a phone, and I'm not going to kill you. Agreed?"
The teenager said, "Hey, don't threaten me. I'll call the police!"
Verity suddenly had an idea. She said, "Yeah, do that! Call the police!"
The teenager said, "I will! You watch me, lady!"
Verity said, "Call the police, or I'll kill you. I'll kill you so much!"
And, the teenager called the police and said that there was this insane lady threatening him and to send "like, all the police dudes."
Verity said, "And tell them to bring an ambulance too."
The teenager said into the phone, "And an ambulance too," and then hung up.
Verity said, "Ha!"
The teenager said, "Wait, why did I ask for an ambulance?"
Verity sneered at him. She scoffed. Then, she sat down and began to wait. At this point, she really probably couldn't leave. Plus, she kind of At this point, she really probably couldn't leave. Plus, she kind of wanted to laugh in the teenager's face when the ambulance and police arrived.
Which, by the way, was starting to take a while. She pulled out her phone to check the time before remembering that it was dead. She sighed. Everything was awful, and everyone was worse.
The teenager was reading his magazine again.
Another trillion eternities passed.
The teenager looked up at Verity and said, "Can I..." before remembering who she was and saying, "Where is that police car?"
Verity said, "Yeah... maybe you should call the police again."
The teenager said, "I will! Just see if I don't!"
Verity said, "Why did you even hang up anyway? Aren't you supposed to stay on the phone?"
The teenager said, "That's it! I'm calling the police again! Just you watch me!"
And, he did. He said, "Hey, this is the dude being harassed by some lady. Where is the police car I ordered?"
Verity said, "And the ambulance."
The teenager said into the phone, "And the ambulance!"
He sat and listened for a while and then said, "Oh, I see."
Another pause. "Whatever, dude. Ciao." And then, he hung up.
He said to Verity, "Look, so the police lady got busy, so you're free to go or whatever."
Verity said, "What? What happened?"
The teenager said, "The guy on the phone said she hit a baby carriage or something? Anyway, she's, like, not coming."
Verity said, "What about the ambulance?"
The teenager said, "Oh, yeah. No, that thing got busy with something else. Lead poisoning something something. Listen, lady, either buy a phone or get out of here."
Ugh. Ugh. A thousand times ugh. Verity decided to say screw it to the heap of death in front of the store, to the worst teenager of all time, and to work. She decided just going to go back home and forget this day ever happened.
She walked out the store as the teenager called "Come again!" meticulously avoided the blood and guts on the ground, and walked the two miles back home.
She had almost dried out in the store, but by the time she was home, she was wet and miserable again. She turned the heat up as high as it would go, yelled at the heater to work faster, and then went and took a hot shower. She put on fresh clothes, wrapped herself in a blanket, and turned on the TV.
Which worked, oh thank God.
As she watched a sitcom about anvils that were also lawyers, she plugged in her phone, turned it on, and called work. She explained that she was terribly ill, on the verge of death, and that her power had just now been restored, so she couldn't call earlier. Lily told her to feel better and that they were over-staffed anyway, so no problem. Verity hung up.
Everything was starting to look pretty good, actually. Verity hadn't been this comfortable in years. She made herself some hot chocolate, picked up her cat, Dr. Snuggles, who hated being picked up, but was willing to do it due to his love for Verity, and laid him on her stomach. And, she lay there on the couch, watching TV, drinking hot chocolate, and absent-mindedly petting her cat.
And then, the Earth exploded.


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