Category Archives: Shorts

Flimsy the Frog King

Flimsy Flotsom Filtreet, herald he,
a frog that sits on yonder tree,
a frog of strength, and might words
a frog who speaks to men and birds.

This frog you see, a king is he,
of royal blood, and stately steed,
a frog to rise above the heavens
but if you prick him, does he not bleed?

But one may ask of this tall tale
how this frog was known so well,
and how of all the names that he,
would wind up called, the King Flimsy.

The story thus is short and sweet,
his mother’s name was Flim Filtreet,
and marrying thus to Sy the Bleak
he came to be known Flimsy Flotsom Filtreet.

The Beast

I duck under cover
as the beast comes around,
I breathe very soft
and make hardly a sound
but his powerful smell
and his wandering eyes
will certainly find me
under soft starlit skies.

He’s got furry brown hair,
and his teeth razor sharp
and his claws bent so fine
like the strings on a harp,
and he watches and waits
letting no one come near
is he scared of the dark
or perhaps of my fear?

So I watch and I wait,
for his breathing to slow
and his eyelids to close
blocking out falling snow
For it’s hard to be brave
with something so rare
but I’m protected tonight
by my soft teddy bear.

Ailing Frail Old Mom and Her Son the Peeping Tom

Big boys bottom boxers bought a big ball.
And the ball was round and rather red and rolled on down the hall.

Halfway down the hall it hit the switch that runs the light.
And the light lit up to illuminate the landing, bright and white.

And while I watched the window I could see a peeping Tom,
who had taken time to telephone his ailing frail old mom.

She pondered who had called from somewhere sounding out of doors,
with the sound of cars and birds and crickets making lots of noise.

But Tom was sly and stealth and quick and told his mom a lie,
so she left it alone, logged off the phone, and drank until she died.

Words

As you all know, I’m a huge fan of words. Actually more than just a fan, I’m an addict. I use them constantly…every day…without pause. Sometimes I think that there’s nothing else I can do but use words.

When I’m waking up, I use words (“oh my god not another day of this“, “turn off the alarm!”, “is it Friday yet?”).

When I take a shower I use words (“did you use up ALL of the shampoo?”, “what happened to my loofah?”).

Driving to work…words (“GET OUT OF MY WAY!“, “GET OFF THE PHONE AND DRIVE!”, “@#&%(&@#%(*&@!!!!!“).

And when I get to work, just watch out because it’s like word overload!

Moving forward, we need to recognize that a paradigm shift is needed for the right engagement. In today’s world, we have a need for a robust escalation process that will provide accountability and ownership to the ratifying body, namely the MRC. The culture of tomorrow, will have to migrate toward a sustainable corporate ecosystem, whereby the employee resources will be empowered to define, address, and solve problems as they arise, enabling a versatile risk valuing dynamic.” *I’ve actually only worked in one place where this paragraph would be heard and would make complete sense.

But it doesn’t stop there…when I get home from work, there are more words there too (“I thought I asked you to take the trash cans out this morning“, “Why is there cat vomit all over my keyboard?”, “I was nearly run off the road driving home by some idiot on their phone“).

It’s like they are there waiting for me. They sit dormant all day long, and then as soon as I open the door to my house, BOOM! Words! But it still doesn’t stop. You’d think that maybe while I’m eating dinner there would be some type of reprieve.

You’d be thinking wrong (“I thought I told you that I was trying to watch my carb intake…I can’t eat all this bread.”, “I don’t like feta in my Merlot.“, “What is this?“).

And even then it’s not over…I go to bed and pick up my latest novel to read…more words (I am unable to share any words for this portion due to copyright law). And this time it’s not just me using them, it’s the author of the book! I’m not the only one dealing with this terrible affliction apparently.

Then finally it’s time for sleep…you guessed it, more words. Only this time they are in my head…and they just won’t stop. It’s just one word after another, creating all these strange sentences and paragraphs that no one understands, especially me.

Peas porridge hot. Cold pigs fly. Why oh why oh why oh why. The bell rang again today as I dreamed of Manderlay. Unfortunately, the can on the stove was boiling and I was unable to clean the litter box again. I cried for what seemed like napkins, and still I cried some more. Did I leave the gas on or was that the doorbell? Wait…wait…MELON LIQUOR!

I wake up the next day and this cycle starts itself all over again.

I’ve been to the doctor numerous times about the problem, unfortunately, he seems to be afflicted as well, because he just can’t shut UP with all the words. Different words, yes, because he has to use all that doctor jargon like “delusional” and “mental instability” and “psychotic episode“. But who understands those doctor words anyway except doctors…so he couldn’t help me really, although he prescribed me some sort of pill that’s supposed to reduce the number of words I have…it’s called “valium” or “Demerol” or something like that, but again, doctor words, so I just ignore them.

I long for the day when the words take a break, even if just for a moment, so that I can have some peace and quiet and listen to the birds chirp, and the crickets crick, and the bees buzz, and the moths moth, and the fish gurgle, and the diet pepsi vanilla fizz, and the phone ring, and the cats meow, and the refrigerator hum, and the fan whirl, and the vacuum cleaner inhale, and the stairs creak, and the champagne cork pop, and the pill bottle whisper sweet nothings in my ear.

* Disclaimer: If you dislike what I write, there is a wonderful set of words I’d like to introduce you to. [censored]. You.

PS. There are 756 words in this post. Thought you’d want to know.

Independence Day

PothosPhilodendron. Common name, Pothos or Devil’s Ivy (ooooooh!). Derived from the Latin Vulgate meaning that which grows and spreads like wildfire yet can grow even in dark closets. This amazing plant has sprung up in every restaurant, every airport, every hospital, everywhere!

The obvious benefits of such a plant are well…obvious! They add a sparkle of green and yellow to the decor. They easily spread to cover a large area, and can be used to accent not only table tops, but also counters, shelves, bookcases, and in ancient times they even put them on either side of the portcullis of a castle.

But what we’re really concerned with today are the health benefits of the Pothos. As with any chlorophyll rich foliage, the Pothos is responsible for contributing to our ability to live and breathe on this planet.

Without the Pothos, oxygen would in fact be a rare commodity, sold on the black market: bottled, canned, spritzed, and vacuum sealed. There would even be different qualities of O2. For those on a diet, there would be Diet-O2 or O2 Zero. And if you’re looking for all the flavour of O2 without the gassy aftertaste, try O1.

At some point, they’ll start with the marketing gimmicks. New-O2, CherryO2, Diet CarbonFreeO2, Diet Black Cherry Vanilla O2. It will never end. And all of this could happen were it not for the majestic Pothos.

Obviously we can’t do without this precious plant. Unfortunately they are so abundant, their relative value and cost is next to nothing. Any resident of our planet with $5 can go to their neighborhood Target/Wal-Mart/Kmart and pick up a Pothos. Just imagine if we suddenly had only a finite supply of them left, or if they only grew in one remote sector of the world. They’d become as valuable as diamonds.

Soon you could only buy them at DeBeers Exotic Pothos Emporium, but you would have to get on a wait list, and the only way to get on the wait list would be to call a special phone number at a special time, and hope to not get a busy signal. Assuming you got through, then assuming you got on the wait list, you would still have to pass a rigorous Pothos Ownership Operating Process (POOP). Not only is there a written exam, but also an oral exam (to determine if your exhale can provide enough carbon dioxide to sustain the plant), home inspection, and a requirement to sign a waiver allowing DeBeers to reclaim the plant in the case of neglect, and allowing periodic home re-evaluations. You’ll notice I have switched to the present perfect tense because this could actually become reality sooner than you think!

There are probably those of you out there who are probably thinking, “I’m safe. I already have several Pothos at my house, so I don’t ever have to worry.” Unfortunately, the president of the planet just passed a law allowing the military to enter any personal property and seize any live Pothos on the premises. The law is actually so all-encompassing that they can seize dead Pothos as well, or force you to search your garbage for any you may have thrown away. So as you can see, no one will be safe from the threat of Pothos extinction.

Well, except for the very very rich. Anyone making over $900,000 a year would be exempt from the new law of course. Heaven forbid we deprive the rich from their double half-caf, half-decaf O2 with a twist of lime. Besides, the middle class should just learn to be happy with the middle class O2-AuLait right? For those of you who aren’t bilingual, Au Lait means with milk. That’s French. Which means that if you travelled to France and wanted to have some O2 with Milk, you’d have to say “Au Lait” instead of “with milk” otherwise they wouldn’t understand you, because no one in France is bilingual. Be careful about using this term in other countries, such as Mexico or Spain, or they might send a bull charging after you, because Au Lait is surprisingly similar in sound to O’le!

Unfortunately, there are no Pothos in France, so I don’t know why anyone would go there anyway. Except maybe to see La Toure Eiffel, that means Eiffel Tower. But you can see pictures of it anywhere, so again I ask, what’s the point? I’d much rather go somewhere and see something that no one has ever seen or taken a picture of.

Maybe some remote cave in the middle of a vast line of underground caverns that maybe hasn’t even been discovered, and maybe contains a vast cache of Pothos growing wildly and abundantly, creating so much O2 that if it ever escaped from the cave, would throw off the balance of the entire global O2 market, sending O2 stocks crashing down and ensuring quality breathing air for anyone on our planet, turning billionaires and other rich folks into ordinary middle class within minutes. (reminds me of the Great Chopsticks Incident of 2004)

It could happen…

*This commentary is based on the Award Winning Best Selling Novel by the same author, and in no way supports or defames the holiday of Independence Day, because it has absolutely no content related to aforementioned holiday.

Weddings

This one was written a while ago – but it seemed appropriate to bring out on 6/26/2015.

I want to get married. I want a big church wedding, with flowers, and candles, and brides maids and grooms men, and as much pomp and as much circumstance as the building can hold. Actually that’s all a lie. I haven’t set foot in a church in ages, flowers make me sneeze and make my eyes water, candles from anywhere other than Illuminations are an abomination, brides maids assumes that there is a female involved or a person playing a female role which is not me in the least, and pomp and circumstance are highly overrated in today’s society.

That being said. I want a fast, efficient, process driven, project plan scheduled meeting, where I sign a piece of paper, a notary watermarks it, and a legally authorized official says “it’s done!” I don’t want to wear a veil, even if properly tszujed, I don’t want to pay a ton of money for a tuxedo that I will never wear again (despite the recommendations that every man should own one good tuxedo), and I don’t want to spend hours registering for things at Macy’s, Cost-Plus, or Best Buy that no one wants to buy me anyway.

I don’t like getting gifts and I question the value of surprises.

Birthday’s are always a chore because there is something wrapped that will come as a complete surprise, unless of course it’s from my amazon.com wish list, in which case I can just click that button that says “show me what’s been purchased” and the surprise is over. Weddings are a different story. Nothing is a surprise, because you asked for it all. In fact, registering for a wedding is one of the most pretentious things that I can imagine.

How dare you tell me what to bring to your wedding. If I want to make sure you get 8 toaster ovens and 3 crock pots, I’m darn well going to do it. Planning the gifts that you will receive is materialism to the highest level. And people, you don’t really want the sterling silver ash tray set. Half of the people who register for crap like that don’t even smoke, and don’t even know how to polish it. Basically it verdigris (turns green) before they remember what it was, and they set it on the back patio, under the tiki torches and use it as a cheap ash tray for their summer barbecues. Eventually the person who gave it to them will notice it and feel utterly rejected that the $75 gift is relegated to having a puddle of water and soggy ashes in it because it rained last night and the host didn’t bother to clean it up.

When I get married, I don’t want a wedding, I just want the reception. That’s where all the fun happens. I don’t want gifts, if anything I want cash that I can spend in any way I want. That way, if I decide that I just can’t live without that vegetable juicer or that automated onion slicer, I can go buy those things myself, and then be the only one to blame when I realize after 4 years that I haven’t even used them at all, and they wind up in a moving sale when we move into a bigger house, and they sell for 1/50th what I paid for them.

Come to think of it, I’d rather people not even give me cash. Let’s just avoid that whole self-guilt thing that would be caused, because being the awesome, wonderful, non-materialistic person that I am, I just want my friends and family to be there, dancing to awesome music, drinking tons of champagne or red wine, eating from the elaborate buffet, and enjoying themselves and sharing the day with me and my new husband. OK, reality check. Who cares about all that crap, bring on the CASH!

So, instead of saving up money for an elaborate wedding, I’d funnel all the money into the biggest reception possible. Given how hugely popular I am, renting out a ballroom at a hotel or resort would be the best option. Obviously, everyone I know will want to be there, and that can easily fill a small room. But the point of having a reception is that you invite everyone you’ve ever met before in your life, to maximize the number of useless gifts you can receive. If you go with the cash option as I mentioned before, you can actually recover all the cost of the reception, pay for your honeymoon, and a new car at the same time. It’s amazing how much cash you can raise if everyone gives you $30, instead of buying you another useless hand mixer.

Let’s add this up. Say you invite 50 people, each bringing $30 for the cause. That adds up to $1,500.00 right there. That covers a lot of cases of wine, and tons of ready to serve buffet food. But why stop there? Use the network you’ve been building! Start sending invitations to every distribution list you are on, whether at work or outside the company. Now you’ve increased your invitation list to, let’s say 750-1000 people. If we use the standard statistical estimate that you’ll get approximately 75% of the invited population to actually attend, and we assume 1000 receipts, you’ve got a list of 750 people. Guess what that means? We’re talking $22,500.00 baby!

With that kind of cash, you’re on your way to a week-long cruise around the south of Africa! Down payment on the new useless H2 SUV? No problem! A couple thousand for new granite tops on the kitchen counters? Done! A reception cover charge is the way to go for the couple of the 2000’s. We’re already used to cover charges for every other party we go to, so why not a wedding reception?

So now you have your money problems solved, and you don’t have to worry with returning useless gifts to the store to recover cash that way (you know you’ve all done it so don’t get all huffy, I’m just pointing out the facts), you’ve had the reception of a lifetime, with all of your friends, acquaintances, and really anyone who was willing to pay a $30 cover charge to a mega-dance party. What more could you ask for?

Personally, I’m thinking of having an 80’s cover band attend, and filling the entire place with foam and making everyone show up in only their underwear. For that, I’m thinking we can go to $50 a person. $37,500.00 would be a great down payment on a new BMW 7 series…

Memories of Easter

easter bunnyWhat is Easter? Where did it come from? Is it solely a Christian holiday to celebrate the death and resurrection of a deity? Or is it a Pagan rite of fertility? Or perhaps it was created by a bunch of people who were really fond of rabbit fur.

When I ponder my childhood, I remember trying to stay up as late as I could on Easter Eve, so I could catch a glimpse of the resurrected Easter Bunny coming down the chimney to deliver fabulous and colourful eggs that would remind me of the cave and the stone that was rolled away.

I usually lasted until about 8pm, at which point my eyelids could no longer stay open.

But just like the savior, I arose the next day (well, technically 2 days earlier than he may have), and I jumped out of bed to see what Jesus had left for me. Who knew that Jesus could not only turn water into wine, but also into a basket of multi-coloured eggs?

I think that’s why I’m gay. No, not because a god performed a miracle with the chicken and the Easter egg, but because the rainbow flag was bestowed upon me at such an early age. The eggs were red and yellow and green and brown and scarlet and black and ochre and peach, ruby and olive and violet and fawn, cream and silver and purple and gold, russet and white and pink and orange and BLUE! (From memory, people. That’s the real reason I’m gay.)

Okay, so the basket didn’t have that many eggs, but it was quite full. But these were not just ordinary eggs. These eggs were plastic! I wasn’t sure what chemical process to apply to an egg to make it plastic, so I decided that this was just an Easter Miracle performed by a Great and Powerful Bunny.

eggsNot only were these eggs plastic, but they each had a perfectly carved seam around the middle. Easier to crack them with my dear. I tore them apart because I knew there was no yolk to spill. What I didn’t realize is that instead of yolk, Jesus had put money and candy inside these eggs! The money was obviously meant for me to put into the offering plate at church, but the candy was all mine! Candy can’t build a cathedral.

Inside the non-monetary eggs were jelly beans of every colour imaginable, jujube’s, candy corn (not just for Halloween anymore), marshmallow ducks with sugar on top, and raindrops on roses and noses on kittens. It was simply fabulous. Thanks Easter Bunny! Bwak! Bwak!

I was surrounded by candies of every sort, and I thought back to those post-Halloween candy review meetings with my parents in the kitchen. So many things I had to throw away for fear of poison and razor blades. You might ask what kind of neighbourhood I grew up in that would have such a fear, but in middle-class North Carolina you can never be too careful.

The Easter candy, unlike the Halloween candy, was sacred. The resurrected bunny would never think of putting something harmful inside his eggs, so these candies were one-hundred percent free and clear for the taking. And so of course I had to eat all of it before we left for church, which by the counting of the clock in my bedroom was in exactly two hours.

By the time we got to god’s newly decorated house – which for the occasion had been decked out with bright purple bunting and more shades of pink than I have ever seen in my life – I had a tummy ache. Let us give thanks to the Lord for these gifts which give us gas.

While my stomach churned and vocalized its own Easter music, the rest of the congregation sang songs about a tomb and a rock, and then something about rising from the dead. As a cold sweat broke out over my forehead I could not understand what those things had to do with candy so I didn’t sing along.

Church finally concluded with a never-ending sermon about the after-life. I was sure that I was about to experience the after-life because my stomach was in such turmoil, but there was no time. We had to make it to Easter Brunch before the lunch rush.

I don’t know why my parents insisted on calling it Easter Brunch, because by the time we got there it was well after noon. It was firmly into the lunch hour, but the point was not to be argued by me – the last thing I wanted to talk about was food.

To further confuse the issue, Easter Brunch consisted of the exact same food as we’d had for Thanksgiving Brunch and Dinner. It seemed to me that the two holidays must be related on some level. I could understand giving thanks for friends and family on the same day every year, but I didn’t know why anyone would give thanks for dying on the same day every year only to be stuck into a cold rocky tomb. But who am I to judge another person’s lifestyle?

So Easter Brunch Lunch ended, and my tummy was in even more distress, because how could I be expected to sit at the table and not eat the bounty placed before me? Now the jelly beans were combined with turkey and baked beans, and the juxtaposition of the two beans in my stomach created a very unpleasant ride home.

I am still not quite sure how I managed the ten minute drive, at which point I rushed to my room, shut the door, and lay on my bed moaning in pain. Let us give thanks to the Resurrection Rabbit for the blessings bestowed upon us this day.

For several hours I listened to the sounds of my stomach attempting to manage the onslaught of beans I was forcing it to process, but soon I began to feel somewhat better and the cold sweats dried up on my forehead. I decided to take account of the Easter basket to see if perhaps I had overlooked any additional gifts from the Rabbit.

eggs2Those who have experienced the Easter Basket know how easily things can get lost in the green plastic grass strips, and this basket did not disappoint. I dumped the money out of the non-candy eggs, and put the coins into my piggy bank. I continued to dig through the plastic greenery and behold and ye verily the Mother Lode appeared.
Apparently the savior appreciated me going to church to celebrate his death, because what to my wondering eyes should appear but The Cadbury Creme Egg. The epitome of egg. The creme-de-la-creme of egg. The Alpha and the Omega of egg. The great I AM egg.

I held the CCE gently in my hand, being careful not to warm it too much so that the chocolate would melt inside the wrapper. Slowly, I peeled back the foil which held it so tight, to reveal the true meaning of Easter: liquid sugar encased in chocolate.

Forget about all this death and dying and after-life nonsense. This was the only reason for living. My salvation and my rock. A gift from above that was to be savored, worshiped, and praised. And so like a good boy who was brought up right, I praised it like I should.

With one gigantic bite I split the egg apart, showering my taste buds with the rich and creamy goodness that could only come from such a precious gift. I let the egg-styled fondant melt across my tongue, washing away any leftover tastes from the Easter Brunch.

Gently I swallowed. I wanted to remember what it felt like – this very special egg – and in that moment I resolved to never forget the true meaning of Easter.

And then I promptly ran to the bathroom and showered the god who sits on the white porcelain throne with all that I had been bestowed on this most precious of holidays.

________________________________________
* Easter, like Christmas, is a blend of paganism and Christianity. The word Easter is derived from Eostre, an ancient Anglo-Saxon Goddess who symbolized rebirth of the day at dawn and the rebirth of life in the spring. The arrival of spring was celebrated well before any religious meaning became associated with Easter.
** Like most of the things I write, I include references to pop culture, products, or names which are copyrights and trademarks of their respective companies.

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If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy these other books by the same author.

Memories of Easter

Copyright © 2013 Heath L. Buckmaster
ISBN: 978-1-300-88828-4
All rights reserved.