Thursday, September 21, 2017

Story 204: It Has to Get Worse So It Can Get Better

            She called her frenemy because there was no one else who could offer her legitimate advice for free: “Can I have your opinion on a condition?  That I think I have?”
            “Sure; I can say with absolute certainty that you probably are not pregnant.”
            “Ha-ha, no, it’s just that I think I have a sty on my left eyelid and I’m wondering if I need to go to my eye doctor about it.”
            “Oh, that’s it?  Just put a warm compress on it for about 10 minutes a few times a day.”
            “That’s it?”
            “That’s all you have to do.”
            “And it’ll just go away on its own?”
            “[Chuckle] Yep, that’s [snort], that’s all you have to do.”
            “What’s so funny?  Is this one of the times you’re lying to me?”
          “No, not at all [giggle] – you can look it up anywhere, all you need are warm compresses [guffaw].”
            “And it’ll completely go away?”
            “Yep.”  Bursts out laughing.  “Trust me!”
           “OK, thanks… bye.”  There really was no choice: she refused to waste her deductible on a home-remedy infection. 
            After a few days of warm compresses, she woke to face her reflection in the mirror for the latest go-round and nearly fainted.  “What the airmdiwhdikjajiek?!!!!”
            She called the frenemy, who picked up chortling: “How’s the patient?”
            “You knew this was going to happen, didn’t you?  DIDN’T YOU?!”
            “Whatever ‘this’ is, yes.  How bad does it look, tee-hee-hee!?”
            “I’m appalled at your amusement; I look like a horror movie monster!  My eyelid is growing a third and hideous eye!  By tomorrow it’ll take over my entire face!”
            “Relax, it’s just all the pus coming out, bwahaha!”
           “Relax?!  It’s multiplying!  I’m gonna lose the eye and I won’t be able to drive anymore and then where will my life be?!”
            “Nonsense, you’ll be fine – this state’s DMV still lets you drive if you have 20/50 vision in your remaining eye.”
           “Listen, you’re not going to lose the eye, just keep doing the compresses and your body’ll work itself through this.  That’s all you have to do.”
            “That’s what you said the last time!”
            “And it was true, wasn’t it?  By the way, can you send me a picture of it before it bursts?”
            “Ewwwwwwww, and no.  Is there anything else you’re not telling me that’s coming down the road for this?”
            “Yeah: if you survive it, you’ll get X-ray vision.”
           “Remind me not to make an appointment with whatever practice you join when your finish your residency.”

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Story 203: This Classic Is Not How I Remember It

            “Oh this is neat,” Friend 1 said to Friend 2 as they read different sections of the newspaper in the kitchen.  “They’re re-releasing Extra-Terrestrials From Outer Space for its 30th anniversary this week.  Wow, it’s already 30 years old?  That’s… kind of depressing.  Still, it’s a classic.”
            Friend 2 did not even look up from the comics section.  “Heh.  I’m sure it is.”
            Friend 1 froze.  “What do you mean?”
            Friend 2 still did not look up.  “I guess it’s considered a classic – I wouldn’t know, I never saw it.”
            Friend 1’s heart almost stopped: “You mean to tell me, that you grew up in this country, had a financially comfortable childhood with access to technology whenever you wanted, had literally decades to watch all the movies that have ever been made since the invention of the medium, and not once have you seen Extra-Terrestrials From Outer Space?!!”
            Friend 2 finally looked up, if only to end the conversation.  “Hey, there are a lot of movies made all the time – I think they’re close to rivaling insects in outnumbering us.  Besides, I just never felt like sitting through that one.”
            “Never felt – !  We’re going on Tuesday.”
            “Sure, but you’re paying for my ticket.”
            On Tuesday….
          “Could you do me a favor?”  Friend 2 asked Friend 1 as they sat next to each other in the movie theater.  “Could you not anticipate important lines or plot twists while we’re watching this?”
          “But of course.  I want you to savor the experience just as much as I did when I first saw it, back when I was a wee tot.”
            “This is rated R.”
            “OK, maybe not that wee.”
            “And I don’t care about savoring the experience: I just don’t want to hear you muttering in my ear while I’m trying to get through the next two and a half hours that I still can’t believe I’m giving up to sit through this.”
            “Giving up – ?  Don’t speak to me.”
            The lights dimmed, the 20 minutes of trailers and soda ads paraded across the screen, and the main event began.
            “I didn’t know this was a documentary,” Friend 2 whispered to Friend 1.
            “It’s not,” Friend 1 whispered back.  “This is a ‘Making Of’ bit I guess they decided to stick in front of the film for maximum appreciation of the piece.”
            “Oh.  That’s confusingly tedious for newbs like me.”
           The director concluded the short with: “So now, at long last, all of you out there in the audience will finally get to experience my true vision of the film on the big screen, as it always should have been.  Enjoy me sticking it to the studio, my friends!”
            Friend 1 nearly choked on the popcorn.
            “What?”  Friend 2 whisper-asked.
          “This is the Director’s Cut?!”  Friend 1 panicked.  “I didn’t know this was going to be the Director’s Cut!”
            “Well yeah, it was plastered all over the posters – how could I be the one who noticed that and you, the “fan,” didn’t?  Anyway, doesn’t that just mean we get extra scenes or something added to the classic that all you nerds love?”
            Friend 1 turned to Friend 2: “The classic was the original version; the Director’s Cut turned it into an illogical, disgusting mess.  You have my permission to walk out right now.”
         Friend 2 settled in as the credits rolled.  “Nah, I think I’ll stick around – this just got interesting.”
            Twenty minutes in: “Are those two divorced?”  Friend 2 asked.
            “No, they’re brother and sister.”
            “Oh.  How come that isn’t clear in the version with extra dialogue in it?”
            “It got lost in that inserted space battle that went nowhere and did nothing.”
            Forty minutes in: “Wait a minutes, isn’t that guy dead?”
            “Yes.  Yes he is.”
            “Then why is on the asteroid now?”
          An hour and a half in: “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but that level of gore was a bit unnecessary.  Did the original version tone that murder down a bit?”
            “There was no murder.  This sub-plot didn’t exist and the victim’s scenes were cut.”
          “Oh.  That explains why all of these characters seem like they’re in a different movie.  Ah, there goes another head!  Are you all right?”
            “I’m fine, just trying not to throw up.”
            The finale: “Now who is this chick?  The director’s daughter?”
           “Yes – he wanted an unhappy ending and the cast refused to film it because it was too gross and sad, so he used her.”
           “Wow.  That’s messed up when the people being paid to listen to you stop listening to you.  Wait, it’s over?”
            “He ran out of money before finishing the new ending.”
            “How did the original end, then?”
            “Twenty minutes ago, when the good guys showed the bad guys how not to be bad anymore and they all went to live on that moon together.”
            “Yeah, he should’ve ended it there.  Man, that would’ve made it such a classic!”

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Story 202: You Shouldn’t Have Thrown That Thing Out

            After finally moving into his new home, he saw that the previous owner had left behind a lot of garbage.  He knew that it was all garbage because the items were tucked in back of pieces of furniture and had layers of dust on them, so he had absolutely no qualms in renting a dumpster and tossing out the whole kit and caboodle.
            He only paused when he found one item on a shelf in the laundry room: it was an oddly shaped piece of plastic with several slots, and he could not for the life of him figure out what it possibly could be for.  Did it fall off the washing machine?  Was it once part of the gutters?  He did not feel like searching for images of it online so he tossed it into the dumpster with the rest of the remnants and thought no more about it until….


            He opened his front door to see the previous owner was the one who had been knocking.  “What’s up?” he asked, territorially learning on what was now his door.
            “Hi, sorry to bother you,” the previous owner said with nervous sweat on his brow, “I just wanted to check: after you moved in, did you happen to notice an oddly shaped piece of plastic left behind?  It would have been in the laundry room.”
            “You sure?  It wasn’t that big, and it had several slots in it.”
            “Didn’t see anything like that.  There was a lot of junk left here, you know.”
            “Oh, OK.  Well, if you do see it, here’s my number – ” the previous owner handed him a slip of paper, “you can call me at any time.  I’m serious: any time.”
            He snatched the paper a bit roughly.  “Sure, fine, whatever.”
            The previous owner sweated a bit more.  “It’s just that, it’s a bit important – it’s possible that someone else may come by here asking about it – ”
           “Sure, OK, bye!”  He almost slammed the door in the previous owner’s face before tossing the piece of paper into the garbage: that guy was such a creep at closing, why was he still not out of his life yet?


            He opened his front door to see three strangers were the ones who had been knocking.
            Oh boy, my first solicitors, he thought when he saw them.
           All three were smiling as the one in the middle spoke.  “Hello.  We understand you moved in recently.”
            “Who wants to know?”  He territorially leaned again.
            “We do know,” the leader said.  “We also know that there is a piece of plastic that the previous owner of this residence had left behind.”
            “Ugh, that again?”  He was getting very irritated with all this – what was everyone going on about all the time?  “I told him and I’ll tell you: I didn’t see it, and bye.”  He started to almost slam the door in their faces but the leader stuck her foot in the doorway to stop it.
            “I certainly hope you haven’t thrown that item out.  It was oddly shaped and had several slots in it.”  The smiles were becoming very strained.
            I didn’t – oh.”  He finally remembered the thing.
            “Please tell us that you didn’t throw it out.”  The leader now was starting the nervous sweat.
            He ran through his options and decided that the best was to stick with his story: “Didn’t see it, bye!”  He managed to push her foot away so he could slam and lock the door, throwing his back against it.
            He could hear the leader wail and bang the door with her fists: “You fool!  You’ve doomed us all!”
            He peeped through the peephole – making a mental note to get a screen door to avoid these situations in the future – and saw the three dejectedly walk to their waiting taxi.  In the rain.
           He checked the news over the next few weeks for mention of the previous owner and/or three suspicious people, but nothing.  The last he ever saw about the issue was a note tucked into his front door that read: “YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE THROWN THAT ITEM AWAY, INHABITANT.”
          Since his own life going forward seemingly was unaffected by all this, he concluded that some momentous conspiracies are best left unknown and unsolved.