Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Story 110: You’ve Been Stone Souped



            He saw his best friend sitting outside the department store’s changing room.
           “What’s this?  I thought you said you’d never go clothes shopping with your wife again after the last four-hour extravaganza.”
            “I know.  She asked me to come with her to pick out a new CD player, then she saw the washer-dryer section and said we need a new one `cause ours is ready to explode.  After spending $800, we were passing by the clothes section and she was sucked into the vortex, never to be seen again.  And so I wait.”
            “Oh man, you were totally Stone Souped!”
            “I was what?”
            “You know that story, ‘Stone Soup’?  A man begs food from a woman who says she doesn’t have any when she really does and she’s just being selfish, so he says all he wants is Stone Soup and he’ll show her how to make it.  She falls for it and lets him come in, so he gives her a random stone and tells her to put it in a pot of water over a fire, and as it’s boiling, he tastes the water and is all, ‘Yummy, but it needs some salt,’ and ‘Delicious, but it needs some rosemary,’ and ‘Almost done, but it needs some carrots, celery, potatoes, and a whole flipping chicken!’  Or something like that.  Anyway, it’s so gradual and small at first that the mark, I mean the old lady, doesn’t realize he’s conned her into giving him actual food until soup’s done!  It was delicious.”
            “Wait, you’re saying that I’m the selfish old lady, and my wife’s the beggar man, only instead of cooking, I’ve been tricked into shopping?!”
            “Yep.  It’s pretty much a standard bait-and-switch.”
            “I don’t believe it!  I actually fell for the old ‘just picking up one thing’ gag!  And on Black Friday, no less!  I must be mad!”
            “Not mad, just Stone Souped.”
            “Boy, is she going to get an earful of the silent treatment when we’re standing on the massive lines and enduring the hours of traffic on the ride home!  She hates the silent treatment!”
            “That’s the spirit – you show her with your muteness!”
            “I will!  When she finally gets out of there…  Wait a minute.  What are you doing here at the mall?”
            “I never speak from inexperience, my friend.”

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Story 109: Tethered to the TV



           “We haven’t seen each other in so long!  I’ve gotta run now, but would you like to get together for dinner this week?”
            “I’ve love to!  I’d like to have someone cook for me for a change.”
            “Great!  How’s Tuesday at 6:30?”
            “Umm… not so good.  I’d have to leave before 8, and we’d still be on the entrĂ©e.”
            “Oh sure – the kids?”
          “Nah: Crime Procedural: Major City.  New season starts that night, and last episode was a cliffhanger.  Gotta see if Detective Sidekick made it through the accident with all her limbs intact.  We know she survived because she’s still in the cast list, but how altered will she be?”
            “Ohh-Kaaay, how about Wednesday?”
            “Hm, normally I would say yes, but there’s a special episode of Space Opera Grit on that night.  I normally don’t watch those kind of things, but they’re bringing back Captain Cowman as a special guest star, and I’ve missed him since they pinned him off at the end of Season 3.  Show went downhill after that.  Supposedly, the actor had pitched a fit one day and threw a bottle of water at one of the 17 producers so they all fired him, but nobody buys that, else why would they invite him back now?  We all think he wanted more money so they figured it was cheaper just to give him no money.  Either story’s a shame, `cause he’s too hot to be such a whiny little bi-”
            “All right, how about Thursday?”
          “Yeah, no can do: murder mystery night.  Back-to-back episodes of Olde English Private Investigator and Modern English Private Investigator.  I love that they have the same cast in both, and they only shoot four episodes a year each.  With the salary the leads get, that’d be a sweet job, not having to work 11 months out of the year, right?  The mysteries tend to blur together, but what do you expect after being on the air for 42 seasons?”
            “Friday?”
           “Oh, Friday: sitcom mayhem.  Half-hour nuggets of Single D-Bags, Psychopathic Family of 10, Married D-Bags, and Why Should I Date Anybody?  Comedic gold, although PFO10 is getting a little long in the tooth and should’ve updated its name to PFO35 years ago.  Gueststaritis affects even the best of them, I guess.”
            “How about the weekend?”
          “Days I’m fine, but Saturday night’s Sword Slash and Retroville, and Sunday’s Political Parody Pundits, Antihero vs. Borderline Villain, and Despair, USA.  It’s TV’s new golden age.”
            “Yes, you seem a bit held captive by it.  Why not record them or access them later?”
            “I can’t miss them when they first air – I’ll fall behind and then forget to watch them by the time the next episode’s on!  I am free on Mondays, though – they’re my day of rest because nothing I like is on.  Want to do dinner then?”
            “Uh, can’t, actually.”
            “Kids?”
            “…Comic Book Adaptation, Over-Capacity Prisons, and Auditions: Opera.”
            “Ooh, I heard Comic Book Adaptation was good; I just couldn’t bring myself to commit to another cinematic universe when it premiered.”
            “You know, it’s only so-so.  It really should’ve just been a miniseries, but they’re doing the whole 22 and already got renewed for another 10 seasons.”
            “Bummer.  You’re stuck now.”
            “Yeah.  So, maybe we can get together by the beginning of June?”
            “Definitely!  I’ve got a 12-day break before Summer Vacations: Oceania begins airing seven days a week!”

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Story 108: Rhetorical



“…so I gave him the what for, know what I mean?”
“No I don’t.  What do you mean?”
“Uh, I, you know, uh, I told him off, know what I mean?”
“I do now – thank you.”
“What was I talking about?”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “Hey man, you just cut me in line, what’s the matter with you?!”
            “Well, I have two weeks to live before I die in agony, so I can’t waste the precious seconds I have left waiting in lines.”
            “Ugh, fine, go ahead.”
            “Bless you – I will watch over you once I have reached the great beyond.”
            “No kidding?”
            “No kidding.”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “Hi buddy, what’s happening?”
            “Lots: I’m getting evicted tomorrow and I have no money.  Can I crash at your place for an undetermined length of time?”
            “I was only calling to see if you wanted to watch the game at the bar on Friday.”
            “I’d love to!  Who wouldn’t?”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “Are you crazy?!”
            “Pending the official diagnosis: yes.”
            “Ohhh….”
            “You were saying?”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “Is it just me, or has the world been getting worse and worse lately?”
            “It’s just you.  The world always has been pretty bad.”
            “No kidding?”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “This shirt’s dirty again.”
            “What do I look like, the washing machine?”
            “No, you look like the one who cleans the clothes around here.”
            “You want a smack now or later?”
            “Later, please – preferably never.”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ – what were you raised in, a barn?”
            “I was raised in a house, but apparently my parents failed in their duties.”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “Am I talking to myself here, hello?”
            “Hi, we hear you, but you’re boring.”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “Who do you think you are?!”
            “I think I’m me – am I wrong?”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “I can’t get you what you’re asking for; what do you want from my life?”
            “I want your life to be able to get me what I’m asking for!”
            “Seriously?”
            “Yeah, I suppose not.”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “He stole millions of dollars from those poor people – how does he sleep at night?”
            “On silk sheets with down pillows, I believe.”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “Just wanted to let you know I’m hanging out with my friends tonight.”
            “Sure, why not?”
            “Well, it might rain; something in the house may need to be fixed; the cat may get sick; you might need the car…”
            “What?”