A Very Important Business Meeting But Pikachu Is There

A Very Important Business Meeting But Pikachu Is There

10:15. Fifteen more minutes until my big presentation begins. I eye the people coming into the conference room. Woman, woman, hunky Dirk, woman, the boss, the woman who keeps taking my pen. That’s it? That’s all the seats available. I start to close the door.

“Pika!” a high-pitched wail stops me in my tracks. Pikachu, from the Pokemon series? He’s dressed in a cute little suit, blue glasses and carrying a briefcase with a Pokeball logo on it. Is he for real? Is any of this real? I pinch myself. OW! It’s real.

“Mr. Pikachu, says Mr. Henderson. “We’re out of chairs. Will you take the table?” He nods, but you could see the disdain in Pikachu’s eyes.

Dirk whispers in my ear. “Knock ’em dead, kiddo,” he says with a trace of spearmint on his breath. I giggle like a nervous school girl. I wonder if he’s dating anyone. He’s going to be the most distracting one at this meeting.

“PIKA-CHUUUUU!” screams Pikachu, having just spilled coffee all over himself. Dirk rushes out to get him paper towels. Okay, maybe Dirk’s the second most distracting.

After wiping himself down, I’m almost ready to begin. Good thing most of the staff is female. I actually employ that old “see the crowd in their underwear” trick. I shudder when I see Mr. Henderson and blush at Dirk. Then I look at Mr. Pikachu. He’s still damp from the coffee. I wonder if he’s wearing underwear. Why would Pikachu wear a suit and nothing underneath?

Wait… why would he even wear underwear? Why do any of us wear underwear? It just makes us itchy and sweaty. I remember I’m wearing a skirt and decide not to argue with time-tested clothing choices.

Oh God… I’m almost about to start and I’m rambling in my head about underwear. PIKACHU! This is your fault!

“Ms. Yeatman, whenever you’re ready,” says Mr. Henderson. Dirk winks.

“Right. Okay, so this fiscal year has shown us…” I go on for about ten minutes without a problem. Then Pikachu raises his paw.

“Yes, um, Mr. Pikachu?”

Pikachu clears his throat. “Pikachu.”

Mr. Henderson makes a noise that I don’t quite get. It’s like, “Hrrm-rmm?”

“Ex-excuse me, I didn’t quite get that.”

Pikachu holds his hands out and gestures. “Pi. Ka. Chu.” Okay, clearly he’s doing it like I’m an idiot or something. Does anyone else follow?

The woman who steals my pens chimes in. “Interesting point, Mr. Pikachu. Is the company sustainable enough to follow Ms. Yeatman’s plan?”

Dirk rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah, and I have to agree with Mr. Pikachu’s assessment of the structural integrity of the project. No offense.”

OH, NONE TAKEN, DIRK. Just the guy I crush on thinks I’m an idiot too! I take a deep breath. When did Pikachu even join the company? I would have heard about a fictional character joining the ranks!

And how is it I’m the only one who hears that “Pika chu chu pi ka chu” chatter? Deep breaths.

“I am confident in my proposal. In six years we’ll have built up a user base to support our needs.”

“Pik–a-a-a-ACHU!” He sneezed on me! What a jerk! I always preferred Digimon anyway.

Dirk hands him a tissue. Jeez, Dirk and Pikachu much?

“Pikachu, pika.” I feel like he’s insulting me, but he wouldn’t have the audacity to do that in front of everyone.

“Please, Mr. Pikachu! She’s one of my best employees!” I blush happily at the boss’s comments. “Don’t call her that name, of you’ll get another lawsuit!”

I play smart. “Uh, yeah! I feel violated over what you just said!”

The woman to my left tugged at my sleeve. “Don’t play this game. We’ve all sued him and lost. It’ll just end badly.”

“All of you?”

“Yes. He called me a snatch. But what can I do? He’s the CEO.”

Ah. Now it kind of made sense, at least the accommodating part.

Pikachu folded his arms. “Pi?”

“I promise not to sue if you just hear me out.” I assume he was ready to leave at that point, anyway.

“Pika…”

I explain my proposal like I’m talking to a human, not a small rodent monster.

“And that’s my presentation, Mr. Pikachu. What do you think?”

“I like it. I misjudged you, Ms. Yeatman. Okay. We’ll carry out this plan starting tomorrow. Oh, and Ms. Yeatman?”

I clean out my ears. “Yes sir?”

“Expect a raise in your future. I like your moxie.”

He leaves and I collapse in a chair. All my female coworkers applaud me, and Dirk bows at the waist. Glad he doesn’t think I’m stupid.

“What was his deal? Is he a Pokemon? And was he speaking English at the end?”

“No,” Dirk says. “Yes, actually. Look, he’s totally human, but he identifies as a Pikachu. He texts us what he’s saying in Pikachu talk. He got surgery to look like that Pokemon. Must have been painful, but he was already a little person.”

I ignore the weird CEO stuff. “Hey, want to have dinner with me tonight?”

“Sure! Your treat with that big new raise, I assume?”

I give him a look.

“Only kidding! Only kidding.”

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She Went Back In Time

She Went Back In Time

Since this story is first person, obviously I didn’t die. Sorry to disappoint anyone who hoped I wasn’t going to make it in the end. But my girlfriend didn’t make it. Julie. She was hit by a car, some careless ass hit her in the ass, knocking her to the ground and killing her. God. Damn. It.

I couldn’t cry. Not because I’m a goth, no. I have feelings and I do cry like any person, just not when it’s too painful to come out. Our friend, Rose, also came to the funeral (small venue, small circle of friends/family), and she was bawling her eyes out. I wish I could have cried like that for my love, but I couldn’t. I just…

After the service, I walked down Main and Third, hoping for a bagel. Instead, in a brilliant flash of light equal to that of the big bang or creation (depending on your tastes), I got an asshole.

He was dressed in what I could only describe as a “Seventies Suit.” His hair matched the era and he had a pompous swagger to him. Guys like him are the reason I hate men.

“Brian Gary, 70’s renaissance man. Time traveler.” He handed me his card.

I lowered my eyes. “Uh-huh.” He was just laughing at me.

He then literally laughed at me. “Aria, right? What a name. And those clothes! What are you, a mistress of the times? Whip whip whip!” Yeah. Men suck.

“How did you know my name? And I’m goth.”

“Well, your future self asked me to help you out. Normally I don’t change history, but for a… lady? I’ll do it.”

“My future self.”

“Yes! She asked me to save Julia.”

“JULIE.”

“Yes. Sweet, blonde Julie in the black satin gown, gone by a bumper car.”

“She got hit by a car!” Was this asshat for real?

“Look, do you want my help or not?”

I threw some F’s at him and told him to stick his time travel where it doesn’t shine. He pulled out a black ring. My black ring.

“Let me see that!” My dad’s inscription was still there: “Aria–to my favorite song, with love, your father.”

“Your future self paid me to help you get Julie back and gave me that because she knew you wouldn’t believe me. Frankly, who would?”

I clutched the ring. “What’s your deal, Brian Gary?” I made a point to remember people’s names.

“Nothin’ much, lady. I got caught in a bicentennial explosion of red, white and blue, which gave me time powers. I love this age. Right after the worst stuff, right before the end of the world. Sweet spot.”

I was going to mention the president as “worst stuff” still existing, but he must have known more than I did on the matter. For once, I saved it for later.

“Fine. I would love to save my love. How do we do this?”

He looked confused. “Oh. Are you coming with me? I was under the impression I should stick my time travel up my butt.”

I clenched my teeth at the remarkable jackass. “Yes. I’m going with you.”

He stuck out a hand. “Shall we?”

He paused. “Come on, Aria. Time to go.”

He frowned. “Are we going or not?”

“I don’t touch men,” I said. “Well, my father, if he were alive.”

He clenched his teeth back at me. “Okay. Then get on all fours.”

“What?” Did he think I was that kind of woman?

“I’m going to lay on your back. You don’t want to touch men, fine. But we need to go back a week like, right now.”

“Wha–a week? Why not a few days ago, when she got hit?”

He sighed. “Look. This isn’t Quantum Leap, okay? You don’t directly change events. You go back a week. You convince Julie to come to your house later that week instead of crossing Birch St. and getting hit.”

That… made sense, actually. “Okay.”

“Also, you’ll replace yourself from a week ago and will have to live over everything, including your… flow.” Brian Gary made a face.

“My period? Little punishment for saving Julie.”

“Time periods, yes! Anyway, I won’t be affected since I’m the ‘time machine,’ so to speak.”

“Got it. Climb on my back, Brian Gary.”

He jumped like an assface onto my back, digging his elbow into me. A flash of colorless light erupted around us and…

A giant clock and blue translucent tubes appeared from nowhere. We flew into the clock with gusto and ended up as smoking heaps in the alley.

Good God, where were we? Right. A week ago.

“I forgot to mention, as a passenger, you’ll be disoriented. You’re pretty cute for a week ago. Before the Neeeeeer! Errrrrrr! CRASH! Dead girlfriend. Occurred.” I wanted to hit him. But I still needed his help getting up.

He picked me up by the armpits and I hit him in the stomach. “I can take it from here, thanks. Oh,” I fished out my future self’s ring from Daddy. “Make sure I get this back. Ta.”

“I’m taking an observer role. Wouldn’t want you to make any events heavily altered.”

“Like saving someone from death?” I didn’t get him at all.

Brian Gary glowered. “Just trust me.”

I remembered Julie would often go to the doughnut shop on Tuesdays, so we went there. I saw a dead pigeon on the way and Brian Gary asked, “You want to save that one too, sweetheart?”

“How did my future self hear about you?”

He shrugged. “Time loop. You remembered meeting me, she sought me out via Yahoo email. Only email worth a damn in the future. Anyhoo, it was the first time I met her, so don’t think I’m doing this as a friend. I cost lots of money.”

I was going to kid him that “Yeah he does,” but he really was helping me out here. I loved Julie, from the time we met dancing under an overpass to her pale skinned body laying in that black coffin.

As I walked to the shop, I remembered Rose introducing us. She looked worried about something, I don’t know what. Julie kissed me on the mouth and said, “I think hellos should be as personal as possible.”

“Well,” I said, “now you’re just getting personal. But how would you like–”

“ROSE?!”

There in the doughnut shop were Rose and Julie, kissing at their table. Not to get all school girl, but a kiss to me is more than a hello. They were discreetly frenching, which made matters much more than personal.

I stormed the shop. “Rose, you, and, and, and Julie?”

Julie just pouted. “Oh, so it’s over now.”

Rose held up a hand to her. “Not so. I’m done pretending. Julie, I love you. I don’t want to use Aria to hide who I am anymore. I’m telling my family what I am. Who I am.”

“Using me?” I finally cried. “Using me for what?”

Julie squinted. “I was only with you to cover up that I was with Rose. Her family’s strictly religious and wouldn’t accept this if they knew. So we used you to cover up our love.”

“That makes no sense,” said the doughnut shop owner. “Also, please do this elsewhere.”

We all left and fought for an hour. It ended like so:

“Fine. It’s over. But Julie, promise me in a week you won’t cross Birch St.”

“No. I go home that way. Why should I listen to you?”

“Please. Please, Julie. If you’ve ever loved me, even a little, you’ll go down another street that day.”

She looked at Rose with worry. “I trust you. But just that day.”

They left, leaving me to cry with Brian Gary awkwardly standing around.

“Gosh,” he muttered. “Integrity move, Aria. Even after finding all that out, you saved her.”

I just sobbed, snot running down my face.

“Don’t ruin it,” he said, handing me a plaid handkerchief.

“Ah zdill lubb her,” I said, blowing my nose.

“Of course, whatever that means.”

“I said, I still love her.”

“It will take time, as I’ve surely seen throughout history. You’ll never forget her, as your future self has proven, but you’ll move on.”

I paused my sobs. “You knew. The whole time, you knew.”

He stretched pompously. “Of course! The future you had to tell me everything to save her friend. I didn’t want a time paradox or time’s fabric to shred. She only did it to preserve history. What, like I really care about some dyke’s lost love?”

He’s from the 70’s, he’s from the 70’s, he’s from the…

I kicked him in the balls with my pointed boots.

He collapsed to the ground. “She… didn’t tell me… you’d do that…”

“Smart woman,” I spat. I left him there.

I met someone that Thursday, since I wasn’t with Julie at the time. Larry. Another goth, but a male. Yes, it turns out I was bisexual the whole time. You learn something new about yourself every day. Oh, and he’s bi, too.

Our wedding was bleak and gorgeous. Julie, Rose and I buried the hatchet that day. I made them my bridesmaids and we got along just fine since then. I’m glad I reached out to Brian Gary, even if he was a smug assfart.

In a small apartment with a baby and another on the way, I recalled Brian Gary. I took off my father’s ring, pulled out his card and gave him a message. He was right about Yahoo.

We arranged to meet up at my house to go through the details. He was not kind about the living arrangements.

When we finished talking, he said it would cost 30 thousand. And he was right about not being cheap. I think he lowered the price because he felt sorry for me.

“One more thing,” he said with a chuckle. “Do you ever attack me? I don’t want to, heh, get kicked in the family jewels or anything.”

I recalled his dyke comment to me. I smiled innocently. “Nope.”

An Unremarkable Anniversary

An Unremarkable Anniversary

45 years had gone by since Karen and Vimal tied the knot. 42 years had gone by since the birth of their only child, David. 30 years had gone by since the birth of their granddaughter, Lucy. To the average bystander, they seem to have cherished every moment.

Karen met Vimal while touring India and the two fell hard for each other. They quickly bonded over smooth jazz, the local fruit drinks, and their initial loneliness before meeting. When the tour ended, Vimal followed Karen to the states against his parents’ wishes. They called her slut, whore, white she-beast. Now they call her “Vimal’s white spouse.” It was progress enough.

Now that David moved out and raised his own family, the pair had empty nest syndrome. What would they do now that David left? It had been years and they were still asking that question. They bought a tropical bird, but all it did was soil its cage and keep them up at night.

“Happy anniversary, honey,” Vimal kissed his wife. She returned it on the cheek. He felt isolated, but kept it to himself.

“So what did you do for our anniversary?” Karen asked.

“Nothing, really. Do you want to go somewhere?”

“I need to go to the supermarket to pick up ramen noodles in a cup.”

“That reminds me, I need a new watch.”

So the two headed out on a cold summer’s day for noodles and a watch, trying to ignore the fact that they had no drive to have relations, no appetite for an evening out, no interest in seeing David and his family today.

First, they stopped off at the watch store. The man behind the counter asked them how he could help.

“Um… I was wondering if you could fix my watch?”

Karen looked at him with wide eyes. “But I thought…”

“I changed my mind,” he waved her off.

“What’s so special about this old thing?” The watch looked battered but not dead.

“Yes, Vimal. What’s so special about it?”

Vimal scraped his foot along the floor. “It’s the watch my arranged bride bought for me.”

“He’d like a new watch,” Karen forcefully said, throwing the watch on the floor and stomping on it.

“Yes,” the man said. “Right this way.”

By the time Vimal chose a watch, it was getting darker.

“You never talk about your arranged marriage,” Karen huffed.

“I’m a fool, not an idiot,” Vimal winked.

“Was she prettier than me?”

Vimal stopped in his tracks.

“Was she? Well?”

“I don’t remember what she looked like,” he hushed.

The pair walked silently to the bus for a few minutes. They just missed one, but another would be going in that direction in ten minutes.

“Can I be honest about that broach you got me last year, Vimal?”

“You didn’t like it.”

“I fished the receipt out of the trash and exchanged it for a vi[censored].”

“Why do you need one of those?” Vimal cringed.

“You mean a [censored]tor? It’s called a [censored]bra[censored]. Why are men so afraid of them?”

“I don’t even like to write out the full word,” he said. “It makes me feel inadequate.”

“Well, you’ll be happy to know it does nothing for me. I’m still unsatisfied.”

“That doesn’t make me happy,” Vimal lied.

“So sure.”

They watched a bus drive in the opposite direction.

“If we’re being honest, that wasn’t my arranged bride’s watch. It was from David.”

Karen put her hand over her mouth. “Why…?”

“I hated that watch AND I had no receipt. I tried breaking it, but I couldn’t destroy it. Now if he sees me without it, I can blame you.”

Karen rolled her eyes and turned away from him. “Such a great husband and father.”

“Terrific wife.”

The bus pulled up. They sat in different seats.

At the grocery store, Karen found some exotic fruit she had been looking for. A muscular young man with spiky black hair talked out loud and she told him to keep it down. He grinded his teeth at her.

A few minutes later, she went to the ramen noodles in a cup. Nothing. The usual pyramid of Cup O’ Noodle was gone.

“Oh, the ramen? I saw a man with spiky black hair taking it all for himself.” Vimal regretted telling her.

Karen spat on the floor. “He’s doing this to me! That little brat!”

“I can ask if he wants to share some,” he wimpishly tried.

“No, don’t give him the satisfaction. It’s what he wants.”

They left without buying anything.

On the bus ride home, neither lovebird spoke. Karen glared out the window and Vimal looked at his new watch, setting it to Indian time.

When they came home, Vimal packed his bag.

“I’m going home for a while. I’ll be back in a few weeks.”

“Happy anniversary,” she muttered.

“Yeah… say goodbye to David, Barb and Lucy for me.”

She suspected he wasn’t coming back to America. It hadn’t been that they had a bad fight or several small fights, but the spark was dead. It was the only thing keeping them together.

Four years later, Vimal returned with the woman he had been once arranged to marry. Karen was single but selling high-functioning vibr[censored]s for the elderly. They met once more.

“Ah, hello Karen.”

“Yes, Vimal. Happy anniversary.”

“Oh, is it that time again?”

“We’ve got no obligations. Want to grab a coffee before driving up to Lucy’s wedding?”

“Sounds like a plan,” he smiled.

His wife tapped her foot. “Ahem?”

“Oh, and Aishwarya comes with us. Is that okay?”

“Sure. Say, you’re an old woman now too. [censored]brator?”

Flight At The Stool Store

Flight At The Stool Store

The commercial began.

Reggie: “At Stool Pigeon’s, we’ve got the right stool for all your stool needs.” He pulls out a chart. “Here are some modern stools that we stock.”

Roundup-10-Modern-Stools

Reggie: “My favorite is number eight. Now here are some classic stools that–”

Nick: “Hey, forget that boring stuff!”

Reggie: “It’s not boring. It’s our work.”

Nick: “Our prices are so low, it’ll make you wanna SOAR!”

Reggie: “Oh no.”

Nick begins to levitate. He takes flight. He soars above the stools.

Nick: “I and my three coworkers got shocked by a radioactive toaster, so now we can FLYYYYYY!”

Reggie: “Two coworkers. I don’t fly.”

James: “Oh, come on! Just fly like us!”

Reggie: “This won’t sell stools. Get back to the commercial.”

Mariko: “Hey, viewers! Come down to Stool Pigeon’s, and try to convince Reggie to fly! While you’re at it, buy a stool!”

Nick: “Very nice.”

James: “Professional!”

James, Nick and Mariko soar in the air, knocking into some stools on the second floor.

Reggie: “This won’t sell stools. It won’t. You’re ridiculous.”

Mariko: “Reggie is a very serious sort.”

James: “He thinks the air is for stool storage space.”

Mariko: “He smokes.”

Nick: “He’s embarrassed to fly.”

Reggie: “I am. I think flight is for birds, bats and bugs.”

Nick: “Buy our stools at Stool Pigeon today!”

The commercial spot ended.

Mariko: “You were right, Reggie. That was awful.”

James: “It sucked.”

Nick: “It was a real piece of crap!”

Reggie: “That’s why I’m the boss. Now let’s get a professional to make a new one.”

The next day, a commercial producer came.

Producer: “So I saw your self-made commercial.”

Reggie: “Yes, and we’d like an improvement.”

Producer: “Here’s my idea: Keep the flight.”

Reggie: “Excuse me?”

Producer: “Make it a gag. I see it like this: Your employees flit down, levitating above the ground. They ask, ‘We can’t get grounded? How do we stop floating?’ Then you flit down and sit on a stool. Each employee sits on a stool.”

James: “Genius!”

Mariko: “Magnificent!”

Nick: “Do it, boss!”

Reggie: “I don’t want…” He pauses. “Well… if it gets my employees to stop flying for a minute. I’ll fly too. But only downwards!”

Everyone cheers.

The new commercial plays. Everyone applauds the changes.

Reggie: “I wonder if we’ll get business like this.”

Mariko: “We’ll see soon.”

Later that week, Stool Pigeon is packed.

Customer A: “Hey, how did you do that flying special effect?”

Customer B: “Yeah, that was real clever! That convinced me to buy a stool here, and I already own six!”

James: “Uh… trade secret of video editing.”

Nick: “Yeah, same guys who did the Fatboy Slim video.”

Mariko: “I am also saying it’s Fatboy Slim video editing.”

Reggie: “Back to work, people.”

At that moment, Reggie hears a shuffling on the second floor. A big wooden modern stool is falling.

Reggie: “Watch out!”

He flies up, catches the stool, and puts it in its proper place.

Everyone has their cell phones out, recording, filming. Reggie stands firmly.

Reggie: “Fine, the flight was real. Does it really make you want to buy a stool?”

Mariko, James, Nick: “Boss?”

Reggie: “I don’t need fancy special effects or real flight. If you need a stool, buy one. If you’re just here for the commercial, don’t. I’m not here for your entertainment. You don’t really want to mess with me tonight.”

Mariko: “Pink fan?”

James: “Closeted.”

Nick: “HA!”

Reggie: “So buy something or leave.”

No one left. Everyone was hoping another stool would fall.

Reggie would have his hands full from the commercial for another two years until they replaced it with a tamer, flight-free commercial.

Paget Brewster Complains That I Wrote Her As A Hydra

Paget Brewster Complains That I Wrote Her As A Hydra

This story is a follow-up to Sourswirls. It is recommended you read that story first to make sense of this one, though “sense” is very loose here.

I was surprised that a B-list celebrity such as Paget Brewster wanted to discuss my stupid blog story with her. It was silly to think she would have read it, but she did. I had sort of a crush on her, after abandoning my old one on Kristen “Buzzcut” Stewart. Then I thought she’d be mad about it. Her? Mad? It was mad to think that way.

I knocked on the door, accidentally opening it.

Paget: “It’s open, come on in!”

Me: “Ah yes, Ms. Brewster. I brought a gift.”

Paget: “Wine! You shouldn’t have. Drink with me.”

Me: “I don’t drink alcohol, Ms. Brewster.”

Paget: “Enough of the ‘Ms. Brewster’ crap! Call me ‘The Hydra.'”

(long pause)

Me: “Okay, The Hydra.”

Paget: “Because you like hydras, dontcha? All those heads and bad tempers. What is wrong with you?”

Me: (sweating) “Excuse me?”

Paget: “You think because I’m a celebrity I don’t have feelings? How do you think all those stock models feel being turned into weird art for your stories, Mr. Raccoon-Turd? How do you think Uma Thurman feels?”

Me: “Uma Thurman doesn’t have feelings.”

Paget: (laughs viciously) “You’re alright, kiddo. Wanna ask me only one question about my career? Maybe Criminal Minds?”

Me: “No, Community.”

Paget: “Gotta be honest, I don’t want to recall that show.”

Me: “Then forget my question.”

(awkward pause)

Me: “Wait, okay. Do you prefer voice acting or acting?”

Paget: (takes a sip) “Work is work.”

(longer awkward pause)

Paget: “So why choose me? And why a hydra?”

Me: “You’re my new Kristen Stewart, my muse, so to speak. You seem like a lot of fun, and I never meant to insult you.”

Paget: (indignant) “I’m fun? So I’m easy, is that it? Hmph!”

Me: “You see? You’re not easy. You’re horribly complex. It scares me.”

Paget: “Know what scares me? Some creep on the internet writing a story about you as a hydra. Hydras are way overpowered!”

Me: “And that doesn’t resonate with you?”

Paget: “Oh, shut up. Your wine isn’t even good. It shows that you don’t drink, Rack-On-Tour.”

Me: “I’m sorry. For the record, that insult wasn’t even good.”

Paget: “Why not just stick to dragons? They can be elegant!”

Me: “Name one elegant dragon.”

Paget: “…Probably a Pokemon. You’d know, ‘Mr. I Write Two Pokemon Stories!'”

Me: “There’s nothing wrong with that.”

Paget: “Sadly, your better stuff uses real people and Japanese stuff! What is that?”

Me: (crying) “I want to leave now.”

Paget: “Look at this hydra photo! I’m a freak to you! A toy! I’m a damn woman, not a source of humor for your pleasure! Mr. Rock-On-Turn!”

Me: (sobbing) “That’s the worst one yet!”

Paget: “And so are you! Get out of my house! And take your wine with you! It’s not fit to wax my shoes with!”

As I left the Brewster estate, I wondered if Kristen Stewart would have been so mean. Probably. She hates everything.

But it made me think about celebrity worship and how we idolize those we don’t even really know. Does Uma Thurman have feelings? Was it worth dismissing someone over a haircut? One thing was certain: Paget’s cruelty made me want her more.

She was right. I am a creep.

Wallace and Gromit: A Grand Night Out

Wallace and Gromit Grand Night Out

Another night knitting. Knit knit knit. Gromit studiously worked on his new sweater for Wallace, who was busy on a new invention. Something about the pulse, maybe. Or was that impulse?

A large explosion rocked the foundation for the third time that week, and it was only Monday. Not again. But whether it was an explosion of success or failure remained to be seen.

“Gromit,” wheezed Wallace, covered in ash and soot. “Old lad. What am I doing with my life? I’ve fallen for three women in my whole life, including a murderer and a cheese-hater. I’m bald, Gromit. And I’ve blown up so many times, I have no eyebrows.”

Gromit looked at his friend with sympathy, but just wanted to get back to knitting.

“I’ve decided, old boy. We’re going to have a cracking night out, Gromit! No! A GRAND night out!”

Gromit rolled his eyes. Mid-life crisis? Or maybe that machine made him impulsive. He liked Wallace, but he really liked a quiet night.

“Oh, Gromit. We’ll go to a dog-friendly bar so you can really wag your tail at a lady! That poodle found a new owner and she moved, remember? I bet you’re quite lonesome!”

Yes, he couldn’t forget Fluffles. Her new owner was much more caring, and he didn’t want to get in the way of that. They still wrote, but it was clearly over. Maybe Wallace was right. Maybe a new woman could get him out of his funk.

Wallace left the house in a dapper suit and tie, while Gromit sported a scarf. They walked six blocks to get to The Crack in the Wall. They entered the bar and…

It was full of trendy young people. Wallace shuffled his feet.

“Oh Gromit, oh no! I don’t want to rob the cradle! Why, they’re practically children! Let’s go, lad.” As he turned to leave, an exotic young woman with a tongue stud pulled his arm.

“Hey man, like, hashtag great suit! I’m Kayla and this is my pug, Curie!” She grinned broadly. “Dance with me a bit, love?”

“Well… you only live once, right? Although I have been working on a reincarnation machine for years that– WHOA!” She pulled him onto the dance floor. He danced oddly, but she was polite and copied his moves.

Gromit approached the bar. A lady bartender approached him. “Pick your poison, doggie.” He pointed to the whiskey. She poured him a glass and added “On the house, Rover.” He inhaled the drink.

“Out on the town for a bit of love, love? I must warn you, tonight… the ladies are all dogs.” She wasn’t kidding. He hated pugs, but a bulldog? A chihuahua? Where were the Great Danes? He’d even settle for a labradoodle. He wasn’t only into looks, but everyone is entitled to liking their types.

The song ended and Kayla took Wallace to a table. “Like what’s your name, man?”

“Wallace,” he beamed.

“Cool. Cool. Got a last name?”

“Oh, yes!” he smiled.

A minute passed. “Okay then. So why are you here, Wallace?”

“Ah, to have a nice evening out. No, a GRAND NIGHT out!”

“I see.”

“What do you do for a living?” he asked.

“I’m an inventor. I created an app that makes dieting easier!”

“I’m also an inventor! I’ve created robot trousers, a space ship, a bed that drops you into your clothes in the morning…”

The hipster bent over the table and whispered something in his ear. He blushed.

“I-I-I-I-I couldn’t! The very idea! Sell my inventions! Ms. Kayla, they’re not public-ready!”

“So when will they be ready?” she posed.

Wallace paused. “I… I don’t know. My contraptions always have a bug in them.”

“Well, I’ve got to dash off. Nice meeting you.”

Back at the bar, the bartender was telling Gromit about her favorite dogs. “And huskies. Aren’t they gorgeous creatures?”

Gromit nodded wildly. Finally, here was someone else who got it right.

“Gromit, we’re leaving. Say goodbye to the nice lady.”

Gromit waggled his fingers, half-drunk from the free refills she gave him.

“Bye, doggie. Come back any time, yeah?”

At home, Gromit put his sweater aside and passed out on his bed. What a grand night out.

Not so for Wallace, who spent the night tinkering and clanking. He was going to sell one invention if it killed him.

The next morning, Gromit’s head pounded. He felt the night more than made up for it.

Wallace called him to the ground floor. Gromit trudged, each footstep pounding into his head. When would this nightmare end?

A small device covered in a cloth was displayed on the table. “I’ve checked this over and over. It won’t explode, attack, or fall in love with its owner. I present… The Grommie!”

He unveiled a robot dog that resembled Gromit.

“Watch this, lad. Grommie, sit.”

It sat.

“Fetch!”

It fetched.

“Speak!”

It didn’t speak.

“I programmed it to be mute to be like you, lad.”

Tears welled up in Gromit’s eyes. He hugged Wallace, who was also crying.

“We’re going to live the good life now, Gromit. And I think that impulsive nature left me. But what say we visit The Crack in the Wall tonight anyway?”

Gromit rubbed his temples. Not tonight, it seemed.

I Do Not Want To Be Best Man At This Cat Wedding

I Do Not Want To Be Best Man At This Cat Wedding

Why did my mistress dress me up in a bow tie and take me outside? That is, I believe, animal abuse. Her and her nutty friends just HAD to marry off some cats today. Mews flash: Cats don’t get married! We prefer hiding in the dark and being nude. Oh well. At least it’s not a sweater. Mr. Meowpants didn’t get off so easily.

The worst part is that they chose me to be Best Man. Why not “Best Cat?” I’d wear that title with utter pride, mistress! But no, Julia gets to be “Cat of Honor.” Where’s the sense in that? She pooped outside the litter box last week! Where’s my honor, huh?

Best Man. Yeah, right. This Best Cat hates other cats, especially Julia. Like I’d lick her fur for that cat blog. That thing is a train wreck, mistress. I can’t believe you cried that you weren’t getting enough subscribers. Humans have weird problems.

I’ve met Tim and Missy. Their owner is my mistress’s best friend. Tim and Missy are okay. But here’s the thing: Like all cats, I hate all cats. Okay, that’s a generalization, but name a cat who immediately liked a new cat you’d brought into its domain. Is it zero? Cats can’t count, you know.

I really hated Julia when mistress introduced her. Still do. But at least Tim and Missy don’t bite or swat at me. I feel sorry for them. I wonder why anyone would marry off neutered and spayed cats when they can’t have kittens. I also wonder why anyone would marry off cats.

I spotted some of the humans crying. I mean, I guess it’s allergies, because I doubt most of the women met these cats at the risk of getting their faces scratched up. You have to be pretty lonely and vain to attend a cat wedding. I think it’s mostly women here, as I see more dresses than pants. I swatted at some skirts, and mistress picked me up. “Naughty Onyx,” she said, repeating the hated name. It sounded oddly pleasant coming from her, as usual.

They got a traditional priest, not a cat dressed as a Catholic priest, not a lady priest, not two stacked tables with a Bible on top. I think I heard Lili (the bride and groom’s mistress) that he’s her father. He looked very uncomfortable. More uncomfortable than me. I think I felt something called… pity? Cats don’t feel pity and cats don’t dance, I thought, looking at the dance floor they set up for an outside wedding.

I slinked over to Tim. I wanted to know what he thought of all this wedding stuff.

“Mew?” I phrased elegantly.

“Mrrrrrrr…” he growled like a barbarian.

Fine. Screw Tim. I guess he has cold paws.

That suit looked itchy, I thought. I guess there’s cats and humans who have it worse than me.

I curiously looked around at the guests, because I hadn’t been neutered yet. Tabby. Calico. Dog. Shorthair. DOG?!

Yes, some man brought his dog to a cat wedding. He was the big gossip discussion the whole time. “Why is he here? Did they get lost on the way to a dog birthday party?” No one knew, but I did hear Lili call the master “bro.” Was he her broker? What was that anyway? Mistress talked on the phone with hers a lot.

I listened to human gossip. It went something like this:

Pink Hair Woman: “Blah blah blah priest is Lili’s father.”

Blue Hair Woman: “Really? Blah blah blah problems with her lifestyle!”

Pink: “Blah blah blah with his cancer, he’s not blah blah blah weddings any more, but this was a special occasion!”

Blue: “Everything is beautiful. Hey, little kitten.”

I darted off.

Finally, the guests found their seats. The priest looked sadly at Lili and his son.

Priest: “Blah blah blah beloved, we are gathered here to… to… blah blah blah can’t do this. It’s a cat wedding! Lili, why won’t you ever get married blah blah blah?”

Lili: “Papa, not here, not now. Blah blah blah.”

Priest: “What is asexual anyway? Why don’t blah blah blah your mother happy?”

Lili: “I don’t believe in marriage?” I wasn’t sure if she was asking a question.

Priest: “But you make me do it, mocking the sanctity of God and love? Blah blah blah can make your own damn wedding.”

Commotion broke out. Lili fell into her broker’s arms and cried. The guest screamed, cursed God, cursed Christ, cursed Sundays. Mistress just looked down sadly.

I didn’t want her to cry. Then she would pet me with her long nails. (shudder)

I carefully walked over to the priest, who was hunched over.

“Oh, little kitten. You’re as unnatural here as blah blah blah.”

I meowed in agreement.

“I just… when my blah blah blah asked me to host a wedding for her, I was elated. But a cat wedding? Blah blah blah end my career on that.”

“Mew.”

“It’s not right. But… it’s not Christian to break a promise either, blah blah blah. We’ll work out our problems another blah blah blah.”

I purred a little, then stopped just to tease him.

We walked back to Lili. “I’ll do it,” he told her. She clasped her arms around him.

The ceremony was awful. The nice priest was trying to remain dignified the whole time, but the couple started to tussle and Julia pooped on the altar. The cats in the seats meowed loudly for food, and I couldn’t get my bow tie off. Mistress ended up crying and rushed over to pet me (shudder). The broker spoke loudly on the phone to HIS broker, and the catering staff laughed the whole time. The dog, surprisingly, was very well behaved for his species.

When it came to kiss the bride, Tim licked Missy’s thigh. Close enough for these people.

The food was considerate. I assumed it would be (ew) vegan dishes, but there was fish! Chicken! Meat! Ten points to Lili!

As it turned out, the dance floor was only for the humans. Thank goodness. I assumed mistress was going to hold my paws and lift me on my hind legs! I really lucked out!

All in all, I’d say it was a normal wedding, but with cats.

I’d like to end off by saying, mistress, you better not marry me off to Julia any time soon.

Follow The Money

Follow The Money

“Oy, what a cold day it is here in… MANHATTAN!” Fiveish sing-sung. “Ah, not a single smile. But I’m here to change that. By the end of the day, I’ll have made five people smile!” He grinned like a toothless idiot. “I am a five dollar bill, after all.”

He spotted a trendy young woman with a nose ring and thick glasses texting and walking. “Ah, my first customer,” he quipped. “Excuse me, ma’am!”

She froze in horror. “Um, yes?” Was this a guy in a costume, or real life?

“Do you have a five dollar bill?”

“Um… like, you are a five dollar bill.”

“I know,” he grinned. “I was hoping you’d set me up on a shidduch.”

Time crawled until she spoke. “Um, what’s a shiddock?”

“A shidduch, you know,” he wobbled, “it’s like a date.”

“Oh… um, I’m actually in-between jobs right now, so I don’t have any money.”

“‘In-between jobs?’ Isn’t that a fancy way of saying no one will hire you?”

The woman blubbered a bit, then ran off crying hysterically.

“I think I saw a smile…” Fiveish convinced himself. “What’s a shiddock? I gotta remember that one for the comedy club!”

Two blocks over, Fiveish spotted an arguing couple. “Looks like I need to take off my comedy hat and put on my love hat!”

“You never treat me right!”

“You don’t deserve to be treated well!”

“My mother…”

“Your mother…”

“STOP!” said Fiveish. “Friends, don’t you see that this bickering is not what the Torah had in mind? Shalom Bais, people! Love and unity and peace!”

“I’d LOVE to get a PIECE of YOU, Nitty.”

“Fiveish. Come one, come all, come on! Lovers?”

The two turned away and continued arguing.

Fiveish grinned to himself as he walked down the street. “They’re probably yelling about how great my counseling was. That makes three now!”

Spotting a homeless man with a dog, Fiveish toddled right up to him.

“Hello, good sir! May I treat you with a meal?”

“Oh, God. You wanna take me to one of ’em kosher places I bet.”

“Of course!” Fiveish beamed. “Kosher is fo’ sure no sure means of not being a Jew!”

“What?”

“Kosher is a Jewish essential.” he muttered.

“No thanks. I used to be a Jew–”

“Once a Jew, always a Jew!”

“But I found out my birth parents weren’t. I never even got the ol’ snippity snap. So I chose to live like a non-Jew. Nothin’ personal to Judaism, just always wanted to try lobsters.”

“Snippity-snap is a Bris Milah?”

The man sighed. “Yer wastin’ yer time. Don’t you know that money can’t get you happiness?”

Fiveish froze in his tracks. Money? Can’t? Get? You? Happiness? The words circled and danced around in his head, each word growing with more and more meaning.

Was it true? As a genetically modified Jewish five dollar bill, was he wasting his time trying to make others smile? Money can’t get you happiness. What about tzedukah, charity? What about paying the therapist that final dollar bill because you’re finally cured? Wasn’t Lincoln happy to be on the five? Aren’t the fabulously wealthy happy? Was he even happy?

Finally, he collapsed against a brick wall, buried his face into his large gloved hands and wept. A shadow descended upon him.

“Smile and the world smiles with you,” said the large man with a gun, “cry and you cry alone. Hand over your cash.”

Fiveish paused his tears. It made perfect sense. It didn’t matter that he was made of money. He just had to keep smiling. He smiled at the man. The man recoiled in terror and ran off.

“I made EVERYONE smile today!” he sing-sung. “Because I am Fiveish, the greatest five dollar bill the world has ever known! Smile, world, smile! Oh, and do a lot of bikur cholem, visiting the sick! Not a lot of people really do it, REALLY do it, because maybe a Facebook post isn’t enough! Send a card, flowers, chocolate if they aren’t diabetic! Trust me, you’ll make their day and your own!”

“SHUT UP!” screamed several New Yorkers.

Fiveish smiled. “Right back at ya, my friends!”

The Man Who Sat In The Produce

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Why me, thought Amanda as she paced the farmer’s market.  I believe in a higher power, and this is how Ze repays me?

She straightened her sign that had “2 FOR 1” scrawled on it. Thank the higher ones that most of her stock had been bought earlier. But what if this happened tomorrow? She opened a box of cigarettes and started swallowing them. It was a nasty habit, but she got the craving ever since high school. Some callous classmates told her that was how to use them, and no one bothered to correct her. Besides, she liked the tickle in her throat as she ingested each one.

Amanda finally decided to face reality: There was a rather fat bespectacled man sitting in her produce box. The man looked at her expectantly, perhaps wondering why she didn’t ask him why he was there, or force him to simply leave. He played with his curly mustache for a little while. He couldn’t have been more than 60, so why was he spending his glory days in produce?

The peppers had all been bought by a salty fisherwoman who kept insisting that peppers were a great form of bait for tuna. Amanda simply nodded. The apples, tomatoes, carrots and bananas were not so lucky. The rotund man’s large bottom squashed some of the redder fruits and one banana almost got lodged in his crack. He sat, legs crossed and hands fiddling at the front of his gut.

Finally, Mrs. Amanda Walton walked over to the man.

“Why are yo–” She proceeded to gag on a cigarette. It came out with a slimy cough. “Why are you here? This is my livelihood.”

Nothing escaped the man’s lips.

She sighed rudely but reasonably. “My name is Amanda Walton. My husband and I started this produce booth before his untimely demise.”

Silence danced around for a bit.

“What’s your name?” she asked, not in the least bit interested.

“Dean College,” he finally and nasally responded. There was a sort of whimper to it.

“College Dean? I asked for your name, not job.”

“Not, not that. Just call me Dean. I’m a professional seat warmer.”

All the weirdos in the world find me, don’t they? Give me strength, Roberto.

“This isn’t a seat, it’s my fruit. And you’re sitting on my banana!”

He sighed at her with the volume of an elephant in heat. “I know, and I’m sorry, but I’m also very much not sorry. I was paid to sit here by my client.” He wiped his bulbous nose on his sleeve. “And before you ask, I can’t disclose the name of the client, whomever he may be.”

“He?”

“I can disclose the gender. There must be at least a thousand males in the world.”

“Oh, at least.” Finally, Amanda lost her patient facade. “But I’d like to say one thing. GET THE HELL OUT OF MY PRODUCE!” She threw her remaining cigarettes at Dean and started pushing him with admittedly unfit arms. She considered going to the gym more, but that’s where Roberto fell from the aerial yoga ropes onto his head. Maybe she should have carried more of her own produce instead of hiring someone to move bushels for her. But whatever the setback, Amanda used her mighty legs to kick him from the fruit.

“Fine. Be that way. I’ll have to discuss this with my client now.” Dean toddled off, rubbing his behind.

“Yeah, you do that! And he better have a lawyer, higher powers help him!” She sighed and, to the surprise of no one, didn’t sell a single fruit for the remainder of the day.

The following morning, Amanda set up her booth without the usual help. Suddenly, she saw a fat figure and a buff one walking side by side.

“Mr. Truman? The owner of the gym? Did you pay this guy to sit in my produce?”

Mr. Truman rubbed his biceps. “Ever since Roberto died in the gym, few have been coming anymore. I warned him not to climb so high, or to climb to the rafters, but he didn’t listen! And who’s liable?”

“I’m sorry about your gym, but my husband is dead now.” She covered her eyes, not to cry, but because the gym teacher was removing his tank top.

“Me! I’m suffering because of it! So I hired this unpleasant gentleman to ruin your business with his cute butt!”

Dean wiped his brow with his handkerchief. He sputtered, “It doesn’t seem I need to be here for this, so I’m going to go now. A woman in Toledo’s hired me to sit on her lap.”

Amanda and Mr. Truman looked at one another. “Look,” she said, “I don’t blame you for ruining yesterday’s harvest or for my Roberto’s death. Maybe we can come to a deal.”

“Really?”

“Yes. I’m willing to come to a deal. Maybe we can do a merger. Maybe I sell my fruits in your gym, and maybe I spread the word that your gym is not a death trap.”

“Sounds good… maybe. I’ll ask my boyfriend Thomas what he thinks.”

Amanda scoffed. “You need your boyfriend to tell you what to do? Be a man and take the deal, Dennis!”

He tapped his foot, considering any downsides. “Okay, let’s make a deal!”

They shook hands and in six months, the Truman-Walton Fruit Smoothie Gym was flooded with customers. Amanda burned the booth down when she discovered Dean College’s butt print on it.

I’ve Got a Latte on the Mind

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8:35. Olivia’s father dropped her off at the bus stop at a decent time. Olivia felt “decent” meant about now since she wanted to be late. The last of the absolute rush-hour buses had left as they pulled over to the curb. Mr. Gammon profusely apologized to his daughter (step, a fact he hadn’t mentioned to her). She just smiled (he easily recognized it as gratitude) and paced her footing on the soaked sidewalk.

8:36. After he drove off, Olivia put on her headphones (earbuds frightened her), pulled up a sock, and hoped someone would walk by. Nothing. The next bus would not come for at least a half-hour. She pulled down the other sock.

8:37. She checked her phone. Nothing interesting happened to Steve Buscemi since she woke up. Click. The rest of the internet wasn’t worth looking at.

8:38. Tammy Liu drove up in her Chevy. “Olivia! Do you want a ride? I’m not going to work today, but I am passing your work!” Olivia declined, using her usual lie that she was meeting someone. She did not interact with friends on a regular basis.

8:39. Maybe I could have taken her up on that ride. But then, I’d have to talk to her instead of thinking. Couldn’t I have thought a few blocks away from work? Shucks, Ollie. Then your boss or coworkers would have seen you or something. That would wreck your whole day. Really? My whole day? Yes, your whole day. That sounds overly superstitious, but either way, I don’t want to talk with anyone but me.

8:40. Hey, there’s no one around. I could let one rip and no one would know. But wait, what if the man of my dreams walks by at that exact moment only to be disgusted by my fart? Psht. The man of my dreams would be turned on by it. She held it in anyway.

8:41. She winced at the sight of birds flying at face-level. Why am I so scared at the thought of being hit in the head by birds? Did I get hit in the head by a bird as a baby?  Maybe they remind me of arrows in a past life. Did I get hit in the face by an arrow? Did I die then get reborn as this? I like the idea of a past life, but not th

8:42. e prospect that I would have to live future ones. Might be reborn as a dude named John. What kind of sick parent named their kid something as generic as John? Even worse, tools who name their kids, like, John, but already have the generic last name to boot. John Smith. Joe Johnson. Ingrid… Ingrid Paulette Freely. Naw, I doubt many Freelys would name their kids that. I could name a kid Jack. Jack Gammon. Wait, they wouldn’t get

8:43. my last name. Not exclusively at any rate. Unless I impregnate myself. Ha ha. Why am I thinking about this? I don’t know, Olivia Denise Gammon, it’s your sub-CON-scio-US. Because I’m a donked-up individual? That’s why I’m standing here instead of getting into a car to go to work. No, the real reason is because I’m afraid if I’ll drive, I’ll be too spacey and kill people.

8:44. A man with orange lenses in his shades walked past her. Olivia tried acting like a human, but went too far and stood perfectly still. He asked her to move. She fell over and crushed her bag of raisins.

8:45. He thinks I’m an idiot! Don’t worry, he probably doesn’t care. And you’ll likely never see him again. But that doesn’t help me feel better, even if I know it’s the rational truth. Even if I said it out loud! She said it out loud. The man, now on another block, turned to her and laughed. She bit her thumb.

8:46. Why is it no one else is ever here at this time? This is the only bus to the shopping district. We need a trolley. WE NEED TWO TROLLEYS! I mean, if one ever breaks. And a third for practical vagabonds like me. Though if I were practical, I’d have money. But gosh, how about this rain? Maybe I should have enough sense She began to walk into the bus stop’s seating with a roof. for general day-to-day health precautions. She paused.

8:47. In the center seat (or what could be classified as a seat, given the bench had two metal dividers), a lone coffee cup waited for the bus. Olivia knew for certain that it had not been there when she arrived. She stared at it blankly.

8:48. Olivia stared blankly at the coffee. She scratched her dark-cyan briefcase.

8:49. Olivia stared blankly at the coffee for twenty seconds more. Where did that coffee cup manifest from? That guy couldn’t have left it. He was carrying two glass bottles of milk. Why buy glass bottles over plastic? And why are the bus benches always metal or wood? The metal gets cold in the winter and the wood gets splintery. Better than being glass, yeah.

8:50. Maybe the wind blew it there. Standing perfectly still. She picked it up. She examined the box checked off “Latte.” Still full of coffee. Standing perfectly still full of coffee. Okay, so it’s not the guy, and it’s not the wind either. Maybe I was drinking and absentmindedly put it down? That must be. I am the fool.

8:51. Seriously, where is that bus? And the passengers? Though who can say who is a passenger until they board the bus? I think potential passenger counts as passenger. Hey, am I still 25? No, I turned 26 last year. When did I get this bag? I had it at my 25th party. So… when I was 23, since I stared at it sadly when I was 24.

8:52. WAIT, I DON’T DRINK COFFEES. Since I don’t want to get addicted to it. Like, I see people groggy and all, “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee.” I want to see the world naturally, with a ton of prescribed pills in my bloodstream. Joking aside, I should talk to someone about upping my dose. Maybe a doctor. Definitely a doctor. My mind is a little more sluggish than usual.

8:53. I lost the flow! If I think on it, I can figure out why that latte is sitting there. It feels half-em… fu… It feels like there’s half inside. When the birds flew by, maybe one dropped their cuppa joe. Yep, that’s it. I’m satisfied and can drop this.

8:54. NOPE, THAT’S TOO STUPID. It’s as dumb as the way they made this roof. Slits and slats? I’m getting all wet in… AH! YES, WAIT, YES! The wind BLEW the empty cup. It landed on the bench, got filled with the dirty rainwater, and that’s the news, son. Waste a good mind-think, Olivia.

8:55. A woman with two children yelled at Olivia for carelessly leaving the latte on the bench. Grumpily, Olivia threw the latte in the trash and dried her hands on her denim skirt.

8:56. Olivia squinted at something orange. Only a fish truck.

8:57. Behind the fish truck was the bus, which pulled up to a block away from the bus stop and flashed its blinkers. Olivia knew the driver would take as much time as possible to relax behind his next shift. Two metal-heads stood behind her.

8:58. Olivia stomped on a piece of cardboard that tried to fly past her. She treated it miserably before letting it go.

8:59. A Steve Buscemi alert popped up. A movie deal she knew about. She shook her tousled hair and splashed a once-dry dog.

9:00. I mean, I have a dog, but I’m scared of other people’s dogs. I love huskies, but only if they’re far, far away from me. Kind of like my friends. And people in general. Maybe I should talk to someone about this. Like my step-dad. Does he know I know he’s not my dad? I’ll keep quiet until the next time I’m angry at him.

9:01. I hope no one tries talking to me today. Within moments, a guy in a green raincoat tried hitting on her. Olivia farted and he moved to the back of the line. He lost his chance.

9:02. The bus began to pull up. Olivia tried acting casual in front of the passengers by twisting her neck hither and yonder. The metal-heads slinked away to stand behind the guy in the green raincoat.

9:03. The bus got stuck behind a traffic light truck. Olivia stayed focused to formulate a plan where she should sit. She knew she’d get the seat before the rear exit since no one ever takes the door that receives the most rain. Olivia was the only one who seems to enjoy it.

9:04. The bus pulled up in front of Olivia. She put her card in the machine, thanked the driver who replied, “alright,” and sat down on a wet seat.

9:05. The bus drove off, taking Olivia to her place of work where she would spend the next nine hours in a factory manufacturing condoms.