Lately I’ve been having difficulty completing some of the stories I’ve been working on. This is not to say that they’re excessively long, I just haven’t been inspired enough to see them through to their endpoints. To counteract this, I’ve started formulating much shorter story fragments and accumulating them in one file. This is the first batch. There are more to come.
Accumulate #1: Getting to Here
Jordan took a deep breath. He knew he was going to need it. He wondered how he had gotten into this. Surely this was the sort of thing his manager would dismiss out of hand, but he didn’t, so here he was, seated on a stool in a photographer’s studio, waiting to have a bucket of green slime dumped on him.
“This is going to be perfect for our You Can’t Do That On Television-themed spread,” said the photographer as he made some last-minutes adjustments to the lights. “We were on the verge of scrapping it, actually. No one was willing to get slimed. Getting doused with water or hit with a pie wasn’t a problem, but the slime was a non-starter. Then you came through for us.”
“Glad I could help out,” Jordan said, gritting his teeth. He wondered if the photographer had bathing facilities on the premises. He decided not to bother asking. He did make a mental note to sack his manager as soon as possible.
The photographer picked up a camera. “Okay, we’re all ready here. Are you ready?”
Jordan looked up at the assistant standing over him, perched precariously on a stepladder, a large bucket at the ready.
“I don’t know...”
Accumulate #2: Hungry, Hungry Hippos
It wasn’t until after he fell into the hippopotamus enclosure that David realized that taunting the large beasts had probably been a mistake.
Accumulate #3: Freedom Flies
Billy thought he had it all figured out. As a performance artist, he had long wrestled with the problem of how to add a political component to his art. In years past, he had brought a toaster onstage with him and used it to make toast to throw into the audience. When he did so, he had cried, “You have your freedom, toast! Fly! Be free!” This had been a hit. Now he had to top it.
Sadly, his new idea -- freedom fries -- had caused severe grease burns to the audience members in his direct line of fire. In retrospect, he realized he should have let the fries drain a little before tossing them. He also could have salted them. Then maybe it would have seemed like it was intentional. Because he assaulted people with hot French fries.
Oh, never mind. Congress changed the name back anyway.
Accumulate #4: The Crazy
Bernard worried that he was slowly being driven insane by one of his coworkers. He was sure it wasn’t intentional, but it was happening nonetheless. Finally, at lunch one day, he snapped.
“Hey, could you do me a favor and dial down the crazy a couple notches?”
His coworker, who had been humming the same two bars of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” for the past 25 minutes, looked hurt as she gathered up her lunch and walked out of the break room.
“Fine, then. I know somebody who’s not going to be asked to join my mariachi band.”
After she was gone, Bernard breathed a sigh of relief. That had been a close one.
Accumulate #5: Vigilance
Oh, I’m watching you. I’m not taking my eyes off you for a second. Two minutes ago you asked to borrow a pen and I’ll be damned if you’re going to make off with it.
“And how much would that be with tax?” you say. I know your game. I ring the items up without completing the sale and tell you. “Okay,” you say, jotting the price down on a piece of paper that you also asked to “borrow.” “Thanks a lot.”
You cap the pen and start to walk away from the register. I’m about to say something when you freeze in your tracks, quickly doubling back.
“I don’t want to take your pen,” you say as you hand it back to me.
Sure you don’t, sir. Sure you don’t.