Monday, March 14, 2011

The Early Sessions

Flash Fiction, Sudden Fiction, Bedazzlement Fiction, Etc.


The Old Vitamins
(Originally published in The Cerebral Catalyst)

"The old vitamins, please," a customer requested.

I hadn’t worked in the pharmacy before, and didn't quite know what I was doing. There were pills all over the place, but one bottle was labeled "Old Vitamins." I handed these to the customer. He paid for them and left. Ten minutes later, the pharmacist asked me where the "old vitamins" were. When I told him, he turned white. He informed me that Mr. Reynolds used "old vitamins" as a euphemism for the Paxil he was taking for his anxiety disorder. I had given him experimental "Old Vitamins," which, if taken properly, will make him 120 years old by nightfall. You'd think they'd come up with a better name. And who wants to age that rapidly anyway? But it wasn't my problem; I didn't really work there. I punched the pharmacist in the testicles and ran.


“It’s almost over”
I heard this as I entered the kitchen. Gus had his head in the over again. He was determined to die, but always a failure. He was like Neil from The Young Ones, if I may use an obscure British sitcom reference.
“Gus,” I said. “Stop it. You can’t go this way.”
“If it was good enough for Sylvia Plath, it’s good enough for me.”
“Don’t be selfish. I bake things in that oven. I can’t bake where your head’s been.”
“All right,” he replied. “Then I’ll go start the car in the garage.”
“No, you can’t do that either.”
“If it was good enough for Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina, it’s good enough for me.”
“Well, first of all, Audrey Hepburn didn’t die in Sabrina. She was Sabrina. It wouldn’t have been called Sabrina if she died in the first ten minutes. Secondly, that’s my car in the garage, and if you touch it, I will kill you.”
“Why? Why won’t you let me die?”
“Because there’s so much to live for.”
“Like what?”
“I’m sorry?”
“Like what?”
“Like flavored coffee, and two more Star Wars prequels, and new episodes of Felicity come April."
“That’s hardly worth not killing myself.”
“And it’s a sin.”
“Yeah, so is gluttony, but you keep baking, don’t you?”
“Look, you want to die? Fine.”
I stuffed him in the oven and served him that night to some friends who came over. It was a delightful evening and everyone asked for the recipe.


I Don't Remember

"I don't remember, Sir," I said weakly.

"Who am I, Peppermint Patty? I'm your mother. Don't call
me Sir." She was going ballistic. "Did you eat the lemon
meringue pie?"

I knew I had exhausted "I don't know" in the previous
interrogations. She's a nut for those stupid Family Circus
cartoons. "I don't remember" seemed to suggest there was
something wrong with my brain. If temporary insanity worked
in a courtroom, "I don't remember" just might work on my

"I don't remember."

Nope. Up to my room again. No innocent until proven guilty
in this courtroom.



Mitch and I sat on the front porch, drinking glasses of Country Time and watching a family of squirrels take over the yard.

“Do you know,” I said. “that I can’t remember the last time I actually had a dream?”

“You mean like a sleeping dream or an MLK kind of dream?” Mitch asked.

“Sleeping dream.”

“Well, I still dream,” he said. “I dreamed last night that I was Rocky.”

“The boxer or these little bastards’ flying cousin?” I asked.

“The boxer.”

“Marciano or Balboa?”

“Balboa,” he said. “I love those movies. Don’t you?”

“Not really, no,” I replied. “And you’ll never convince me that that frigging movie should have beaten ‘Taxi Driver,’ ‘Network,’ and ‘All The President’s Men’ for the Best Picture Oscar in ’76. Who were you boxing?”


“You were fighting Jesus?” I said. “The man died for our sins.”

“It was a dream,” he said. “It’s not like I jumped him in an alley and took his wallet.”

“Yes, but it means something,” I said.

“All right, shut up, Freud.”

“No, you shut up.”

“Hey,” Mitch said. “That squirrel’s eating a dandelion.”

“Yeah. Check this out,” I said, grabbing a dandelion. “Mama had a baby and its head popped off.”

“What are those squirrels doing?” Mitch asked.

“I don’t know,” I said. “They’re coming to us. They’re usually not this friendly.”

“Uh, dude, they look pissed.”

Mitch and I were then mauled by the vicious pack of squirrels that had been quietly living in the yard all summer. Someone once said that there’s nothing more boring than hearing about someone else’s dream. Boring, yes, and perhaps deadly when mixed with those pesky little yellow flowers growing on the lawn.


"A hundred bucks?" Nigel asked.
"Haven't you got anything smaller?"
"Look," Trevor replied. "I've got two fifties, but I'm using those."
"Oh, brilliant. You mean, you don't have any ones?"
"Now, look here. It was your idea to go camping. I said 'Smashing. You bring the lavatory paper. I'll bring the bug spray.'"
"Well, who brought the food, then?"
"We don't have any bloody food. That's what the two hundred was for."
"By the way, why did you bring American money?"
"It's all I had." They went about their business.
"Oh, look," Nigel said, pointing. "A hundred bucks."
"That's never a hundred," Trevor said.
"About fifty, maybe."
"Well, it won't matter in a minute, will it?"
Then an angry pack of deer stampeded right through them, killing them instantly.


A man, who was the spitting image of Paul Lynde, floated about fifty feet in front of me. He was wearing a turban and beige bikini bottoms. But then, maybe he wasn't. I had been drinking. He yelled something to me. I could not hear him. I tried to read his lips. It looked like "brain." I she questioning my intelligence? Has he found a human brain in the woods? Does he want to discuss the dog from Inspector Gadget? Perhaps it's "plane" or "plain." Is he Herve Villechaize or am I passing out bags of M&Ms? The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain? I turned my head and, for a brief second, heard "Train!" It was far too late.

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