Thursday, March 31, 2016

Story 128: You Know

            “… so I was just walking along Main Street, minding my own business, when this tall guy screeches by in his car and misses me by that much!”
            “I’m glad you’re OK, but what does his being tall have to do with being a bad driver?”
            “Well, you know how they are behind the wheel.”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “Look out, shoplifter at 3:00.”
            “That chick.”
            “What did you see her take?”
            “Nothing yet, but she will soon.”
          “How do you know?  She doesn’t have a big bag or anything – she’s just looking at the magazines.”
            “Yeah, but she’s got a chipped tooth.”
            “And, you know; don’t make me say it.”
            “No I don’t know, so I will make you say it.”
            “People with chipped teeth are the ones who usually shoplift.  It’s a proven statistic.”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “I only have my taxes done by him and, you know, his people – they’re the only ones I'd trust with my money.  You know, it’s proven time and again that they’ve got a head for numbers; they're the ones to go to for both math and investments.”
           “People with soft skin.  You can tell right away that they’re very trustworthy just by their glow.”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “We don’t hire people like you.  You’re shiftless and unreliable.”
            “We’ve interacted for less than a minute, so how could you possibly know if I am or not?”
            “You have freckles.  Anyone I have ever met with freckles have been no-good dirty bums.”
            “So, pretty much everyone, then?”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “What a ditz!  Doesn’t she know better?  I guess she can’t help it; no wonder there’re all those dumb jokes about dumb girls like her.”
            “What dumb jokes?”
            You know, the dumb flat feet jokes.  They’re funny because they’re true!”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “You stupid short guy!”
            “You moronic pox-scarred man!”
            “Hey, I can’t help that I have pox scars!”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “Good riddance to her – I’m glad she’s gone.  I knew as soon as she came over here that she’d be trouble.”
            “Why, she was loud and obnoxious?”
            “No, she had thick eyebrows and one leg longer than the other.  She’ll never be accepted by decent society.”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “You know, the club recently starting making us accept grandparents as members.  I ask you, really, what’s next, the Moon?!”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “Tsk.  Typical.”
            “What is?”
            “Some [whispers] bearded guy [normal voice] robbed a liquor store.  What is that, the second time that’s happened this month?  These guys have gotta get their acts together, I mean, enough already!”
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            “I can’t stand them; they ruin everything for the rest of us!  They’re a drain on the economy and we’re expected to take care of them!  I wish they would all go back to where they came from – there, I said it.”
            “Who are you talking about?”

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Story 127: Sadistic Lottery Scratch-Off Ticket Creator

            You think all those lottery scratch-off tickets are generated by some non-sentient computer?
           You presume incorrectly.  That stuff is outsourced, like everything else, only this went to a human instead of a computer, because computers can’t be programmed to be evil.  Yet.
            Remember THAW: The House Always Wins.  Life would be so much easier for everyone if they only understood that universal truth, but they all strangely think that they can beat a system that is specifically designed for them to fail.  The few who do win are allowed to only so the authorities can’t call "Shenanigans!" on the whole thing.
            In my field, I am an artist.  Just because my subject is numbers and my medium is silvery film, those do not make it any less of an art.  My task is to create an infinite combination of losers, with a dash of the hope of a win that culminates in that much larger magnitude of defeat.
            My favorite is choosing numbers that are one digit away from the winning set they are supposed to match.  Ah, I can just hear the screams of loss resonating across gas stations and convenience stores everywhere.
            I also like making up the little clip art the scratched-off film reveals, just like a slot machine, except with more effort and less noise.  One time I snuck in dirty pictures on every twentieth ticket just to see what would happen, but I never heard any complaints so I guess no one noticed.  Either that or they were too ashamed to show the proof: I also had had the numbers arranged to spell out the word “LOSER” upside-down (30% chance that that would hit the target).
            No, I have never played the lottery and I never will: I know too much.  It’s also illegal for me to play since I work for the organizers, so that’s that.  My advice, though, for those who love to gamble: save your money from the established systems (state lotteries, casinos, etc.) and only make bets that you know you will win, like betting that you will never make enough of the money that you really need.
            That’s an odds-on favorite.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Story 126: Industrial Revolution Charter School

(Severe-looking schoolmistress faces a family of four)
Schoolmistress: Welcome to the Industrial Revolution Charter School.  You made the right decision in enrolling with us: our philosophy is that there will be no whiny, weak, sissy-baby children or parents in any of the families who participate in our program.  Any signs of cowardice or self-pity will be drilled out of you with our regime of good old-fashioned backbreaking labor and deprivation.
(Family of four move to a two-room shack and sleep on the floor.  At 4:00 a.m., Schoolmistress blows a whistle by their ears)
Schoolmistress: Rise and shine before the sun does, my lovelies!  Move!  Move!  Move!
(The family rushes through their breakfast of cold gruel and walk five miles to school in the pre-dawn hours, accompanied by Schoolmistress shouting encouragement from her buggy)
Schoolmistress: Literally uphill both ways!  Ahahahahaha!
(The school is a factory)
Schoolmistress: Today, children, you will be using your wee fingers to run thread through machines for 14 hours, while Mom and Dad will be using whichever developed muscles they may or may not have to haul coal and work the assembly line of whatever textile is being manufactured here.  There will be one 15-minute break for food, but you will then need to make that time up at the end of the day.  Even though this is school, you technically are working so you will each receive 12¢ by shift’s end – I suggest you spend it on food to fuel yourselves for the next day of work.
(As the family work in the factory, Schoolmistress issues orders through a bullhorn from the upstairs office)
Schoolmistress: Faster!  No slackening the pace or you’ll be terminated!  Just push any creative or lazy thoughts out of your mind and focus on the task at hand!  You’re not being paid to dream on duty!
(At the end of the day, the exhausted family walk home through coal dust for the full effect.  They collapse on the floor of the shack’s main room)
Schoolmistress: Just what do you think you’re doing?  The floors aren’t going to scrub themselves, that rug’s needed beating for hours, dinner needs to be whipped up, clothes need to be wrung out, and lice need to be searched for!  On the double, slackers!
(The family members scatter to their chores; hours later, they collapse on the floor of their shared bedroom)
Schoolmistress: Right, you get five hours of sleep – don’t waste them.
(At the end of the program)
Schoolmistress: I have not heard one complaint from this family, and they will now be able to view any so-called disaster as the mild-disturbance it really is.  They have truer characters now than they ever would have had they been allowed to continue the way they were behaving previously 24/7.
Daughter: I don’t wanna go to school!
Son: I don’t wanna clean my room!
Mom: I don’t wanna face my life of emptiness!
Dad: I don’t wanna sit through another activity of middle-class comfort!
Family of Four: [Silence of gratitude for their daily bread and rest]
Schoolmistress: See?  A sense of perspective always silences entitled whining.