Thursday, March 29, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Hangover

You wake up the morning after St. Patrick's Day and don't remember much of the evening (thanks to too many green beers).  You also notice some discomfort on your forearm.  When you roll up your sleeve, you discover a tattoo of a map.  Panic sets in as you realize that you now have a tattoo on your arm, but curiosity takes over as you wonder where the map leads.  Writer's Digest

I woke up to a putrid smell. I opened my eyes to see a lake of green liquid with bits of what looked like food floating in it.  My head was resting on the toilet seat, my arms wrapped around its porcelain base.
I let go of the toilet and sat with my back against the wall.  My left forearm was on fire and my shirt sleeve looked like I had been finger painting with black paint. I rolled up the sleeve of my now ruined flannel shirt to discover the source of the pain.  Squiggly lines in a sea of black ink covered most of the inside of my forearm.  In the middle of it was a indiscernible red mark.  I wiped absently at it but the ink and what seemed to be blood was now dry and would require a more thorough cleaning.  I reached into the bathtub and turned on the water.  I worked my way up to the edge of the tub only to find myself falling in the pool of cold water that was now accumulating in it.  I decided to stay there until the room stopped spinning.

When I finished cleaning myself up I went downstairs to find the aftermath of what must have been a great party.  Either that or a huge fight, I couldn't tell which.  The entire place reeked of booze and vomit.  Many people laid about, most of them on the floor, and none of them moved or made a sound.

I sat on the stairs to re-examine my forearm.  The squiggly lines turned out to be a tattoo of a map, a very detailed map actually.   If I didn't know any better I would have thought it was a rendition of a pirate treasure map.  Treasure or not, I decided to follow the map to see if it would help me figure out how I ended up here.  I left the house and started walking.  I tried to catch a cab or a bus but saw neither.  The streets were deserted so I had to walk a couple of miles before I reached the area depicted on my map.

I arrived at an empty lot outside of town.  Orange and red hues of light lit up the sky creating long shadows all around me.  I looked at my forearm to make sure I was at the right place and started looking for the small landmarks referenced in the map.  I went to the first marker -a large boulder- faced the oak tree then started counting my steps.  I was on my way to the only colored landmark on the map.  The X marked the spot.

The temperature was a few degrees colder under the trees.  Combined with my damp shirt it was a bit too cold.  As I got closer I noticed something sticking out of the ground.  I took a few more steps and realized it was a small camping shovel.  It showed some signs of wear but it was still in good shape.  There were no marks or brands on it, aside from hand painted red X on the handle.  I looked around to see if anybody was watching me, felt satisfied that I was alone, took the shovel and went to work.

The dirt was soft and the digging was almost effortless.  I was digging long enough for the orange hues to disappear to the West and the moon to appear to the East.  Then, the tip of the shovel hit something.  I threw the shovel aside, fell to my knees and started digging with my hands.  I kept scraping the wood looking for an edge, a handle, something to grab a hold of.  I uncovered enough surface to notice the wood panel was sagging under my weight.  I reached for the shovel.

Still on my knees I pointed the sharp edge of the shovel down and started stabbing the wood.  It made some crunching noises then a piece finally broke off sending me face first onto the wood, making me drop the shovel into the space below.  That didn't stop me however, and I stuck my hands in the hole and pried at the wood.  Little pieces of wood kept breaking off allowing me little to no progress.  I used both hands to grip the wood on one side of the hole and managed to break off a large piece of the panel, causing it to collapse under my weight.

I wrestled the remaining pieces from under me and stopped cold at the sight of my discovery.  I rubbed my eyes in disbelief and looked back down at the decomposing body in front of me. I picked up the shovel to uncover the face.  The face was covered in dirt, but after twenty years of looking at it in the mirror it was unmistakable; I had just unearthed my own lifeless body.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Best Friends Need Your Help

You receive a phone call from your two best friends.  "Hey, we've done something terribly wrong and need your help.  We can't talk about it over the phone.  Please meet us at the spot where we made our pact back in high school.  You know the place."  Nervously, you grab your coat and car keys.  Writer's Digest

I was eating a delicious hamburger when my cell phone started ringing.  The loud guitar solo that serves as my ring tone startled me and I made a mess of my fries.  I thought about ignoring the call but when I saw the number I knew it was important. 
I hit the answer button.  "This better be good"  I said.

"Jeremy!" Edwin said almost immediately.  "Hey, we've done something terribly wrong and need your help.  We can't talk about it over the phone.  Please meet us at the spot where we made our pact back in high school.  You know the place."

The line went dead.  I attempted to call Edwin but the call went straight to voicemail.  I snatched my keys and left the apartment, leaving the TV on, my half-eaten burger on the coffee table, and my fries scattered across the carpet.

I arrived at Johnson's High about fifteen minutes later.  The parking lot was an asphalt desert with very few working light poles.  At the far end of the parking lot was the main building, and inside it, the chemistry lab where we made a pact to take care of each other, no matter what.

As I approached the building I noticed how unkempt it was.  The once luxurious school now looked like an old man forgotten by his family and ignored by the nursing home staff.  Most of the windows were boarded up and the few that weren't, were broken.  The chain used to lock the front set of doors was cut and laying on the stairs.  The right door was open.

A small hint of light could be seen through the door as if someone inside was waving a flashlight.  "Ed?" I yelled towards the building but received no answer.  "Time to go in then."  I said in a low voice in an attempt to convince myself that going inside was a good idea.

I went up the steps and into the building.  The hall was extremely dark, the only light coming from outside through the doorway I was now blocking.  I took out my cell phone and turned it on, using the screen as a flashlight and started down the hall.

All the labs were on the back side of the building.  I walked down the hall, expecting something sinister to jump out at me.  I turned the corner into the back hallway just as my cell phone screen timed out, turning an already dark hallway into a black hole.  I fumbled trying to turn it back on when I saw movement out of the corner of my eye.  Without a though, my feet carried me in that direction.  I took a deep breath and walked into the room.

The lights came on and everyone I knew at the time yelled in unison, "Surprise!  Happy Birthday Jeremy!"

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Not-So-Anonymous Commenter

You've been writing a blog for a number of months now without issue, then suddenly you are confronted with an anonymous commenter who posts unwarranted slams against you.  A techie friend helps you use the commenter's IP address to get the address of this rogue.  You head to the house ready to pick a fight-but when you knock on the door, the person who answers is someone you know. Writer's Digest

"Again?" I yelled at the computer screen.  "That's it!"

I punched Mike's number into the virtual keypad and put the receiver up to my ear.  Mike picked up the line on the second ring.

"Sup?" He said.

"The dude is at it again.  That's what's up"

"I'm on it.  I'll have something by the time you get here."

I took one last look at the nasty comment on my screen and then left the room.  I walked down the hall to Mike's room and knocked on the door.  "Coming."  Mike said from the other side.  He opened the door and gestured for me to come in. "What took you so long."

I looked at his desk to see if he made any progress.  There were so many computer screens that I didn't have a clue as to which one would contain any information useful to me.  "There," he said pointing at a monitor labeled A3.  "That's the IP address to the person who keeps trolling your blog."  He hit a couple of keys on one of the keyboards and the image changed.  "And that, my friend, is the physical address."

"How in the world do you do that?"

"A magician never reveals his secrets."  He said this as he picked a large bottle of Mountain Dew and sucked down what was left in it.  He sat back down in his chair and turned back to his screens.

"Come on.  Let's go!"  I said impatiently.

"I'm not one for confrontations man."  He said never taking his eyes away from whichever screen he was looking at.  "Go on without me.  Just yell if you need me."  He waved a hand in the general direction of the door.

"You little girl."  I said grinning.  "Thanks for the help anyway."

I stepped out into the hall, the door closing behind me.  I looked left, then right, took one step forward and knocked on the door.  I heard some giggling coming from the other side of the door but there was no movement.  I closed my hands into fists so tight my nails started digging into my skin.  I pounded on the door again.  This time, I heard someone moving inside the room, then the door swung open.

"Jessica?"  I said relaxing my hands.

"Who else?" She said looking at the number on her door.  "I see you got my postings."

"That was you?"  I answered.  "I can't believe you would do something like that!"

"How else would I get you to come over?"  She said smiling.  "Now, just quit complaining and come on in."

I walked into my girlfriend's room and she closed the door behind us.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Retirement Party Food Fight

After 40 years at the same job, you are finally ready to retire.  Your coworkers throw you a party with a cake and ice cream.  Everything is going well until the end of the celebration when they ask you to speak.  Instead of using this opportunity to thank everyone, you reveal a deep, dark secret about your boss that leads to a massive food fight.  W.D.

I arrived at the office to be received by a mob yelling "Surprise!" to the top of their lungs.  There were people from all departments, from manufacturing all the way up to the Executive Officers.

The group parted like the Red Sea did for Moses revealing a large table.  On it sat a wonderful red velvet cake.  I would say it was a beautiful cake but any cake with my face on it cannot be called beautiful.  Next to the cake was the ice cream and further left was an assortment of cookies.  The group clapped as I admired the table arrangement then suddenly silenced.  My supervisor came behind me and put a hand on my shoulder.

"Hey bud!" he said.  "How does it feel to be retiring?"

"Feels great Bob." I said with a smile.

He turned and addressed the employees.  "Help yourselves to cake and ice cream people.  It's time to celebrate.

As the employees ate Bob's secretary handed him a large plaque.  He addressed the employees one more time and after reading the inscription on the plaque he shook my hand and handed it to me.  I looked at the group, smiling, as flashes of light came from all directions.  After he let go of my hand he  gestured the employees to be quiet.

"Paul was a great employee and will surely be missed."  He said.  "Any words of encouragement to your coworkers Paul?"

I waited a few seconds to let the clapping die down before I spoke.

"Thanks for this honor." I said. "I love spending time with all of you and will certainly miss you.  What I will not miss is being ignored and worst of all being passed for promotions."  I put my hand on Bob's shoulder.  "Don't be shy Bob.  Why don't you tell them your promotion criteria?"  Bob stared at me in silence.  "He uses a dart board.  Piece of cake!"  All of the employees started booing.

Someone threw a piece of cake that landed on Bob's chest.  A ball of ice cream came a second later.  Bob threw his cake aimlessly towards the employees hitting a table, splattering frosting all over the CEO.  The room fell silent as the CEO wiped his suit then picked up his cake and threw it at Bob, hitting him in the face.  That was all the employees needed and the massacre began.  Cake, frosting, ice cream, and all sorts of flatware flew across the room towards Bob covering him from head to toe.

I picked up the remainder of the cake from the table and crushed it on Bob's face.  "This is what I think of you Bob!  What we all think of you!"

I walked over to the CEO and shook his hand.  "It was a pleasure working for you sir but I think is time to take out the trash."

"I agree," he said.  He looked at Bob and in his best Donald Trump impersonation he said, "Bob, you're fired!"