Monday, March 26, 2012

“Sleepover” by Jesse Prado

Last night I went to a fair with a select group of friends.

The ride we stood in a single file line for was supposed to take us up several stories before dropping us. Only I had a bad feeling, three spaces away from our boarding, similar to the feeling Devon Sawa had in “Final Destination.” The sensation I had was enough to convince my friends to leave with me and go back to my house, where I thought I might be able to fit all four of us in my fridge.

When I opened my fridge there were three rows of shelves stacked with food. I knew I would have to move out if I wanted all four of us to fit inside. I started to work with the kitchen light on when I heard my mother’s door opening from all the way down the corridor. I dropped everything to rush two of my friends inside before she arrived.

When she got there I told her that my friend beside me was helping me clean out the fridge. She thanked us and went back to her room. My friend and I stepped into the fridge where I shut the door on all four of us.

Being in there made us cold, none of us could sleep. But mother would find us here in the morning when she woke up for her coffee. Unless she noticed that I had placed the jug of milk out there to make all of this space. Then she wouldn't have to.

At this thought I started sweating. I panicked, not knowing what to do. One of my friends told me that's just something that I have to be a man about.

This must have been what made me drift off.

Monday, March 12, 2012

“The Queue Jumper” by Lily Murphy

A sizeable crowd had assembled at the bus stop and a sizeable amount of rain began to fall. On this damp Tuesday afternoon the bus came right on time and pulled up nice and slow as an orderly queue began to take shape behind me. The queue contained a mixed bag of societies best and worst, some school boys, a few university types and your usual ordinary shoppers, then one of societies worst arrived: a queue jumper.

This queue jumper took the form of an elderly woman and as I was about to set foot on the bus this old woman pushed her ancient frame in front of me. The dismal weather provided heavier rain but I disregarded it as I decided to challenge the queue jumper. ‘Excuse me’ I said, ‘you have jumped the queue.’

The old woman swung herself around to face me and my eyes nearly went blind with the sight they had fixed upon. She had the most repugnant expression across her loathsome face, hair jetted out from the base of her chin in as much viciousness as her sneer which showed teeth were at a minimal in her mouth, yet her tongue was razor sharp and it spat the most repulsive profanity into my face.

I was left in shock, firstly at the undeniable ugliness of the old woman and secondly at the heavy expletives she threw at me. Such was my shock that I got on the bus without paying the bus fare. Like zombie fashion I made my way onto the bus and passed the bus driver who failed to notice me neglecting to pay the bus fare. As I sat at the back of the bus I fell out of a state of shock and fell into a state of worry, what if the bus driver knew he was carrying a criminal passenger, me, the fare dodger! The very next stop the bus made I quickly jumped off, back onto the street under the hard hitting rain and let it soak me back into reality as I walked home.

Monday, March 5, 2012

“Coalball” by Dan Hart

I liked cats. Furry dragons--imagine being a sparrow. More fun to be the stalking, climbing, flying cat. Perfect hunters of unmatched caliber. Yeah, I liked cats.

Smartest cat I ever met was one I picked out myself last year. There’s objectivity here: I watched all the cats play for days. Studied each in detail until the shelter manager threatened to call the police if I didn’t leave. I wanted to train the best hunter a cat could be.

Coalball wasn’t a kitten. Both his ears were torn. He lacked the ostentatious nobility most cats possessed but embodied the hunter ideal I sought. He was courageous--never did I find his dark gray fur cowering under the bed. He embraced the unknown with careful arrogance.

Even without my encouragement he loved to kill birds. He was too good at it; he grew fat. I started to help the birds, startling them whenever he approached to put them on edge. Coalball didn’t mind. He changed tactics, trading stealth for Mach speed.

No collar lasted an hour.

I built an obstacle course for him. He seemed to understand its purpose and trained on it. I made iteratively more complex leaps and puzzles. Mazes were no match for him. He learned from his mistakes.

I trained his teeth and claws with oven mitts, playing until my arms were too exhausted to continue. Coalball never tired.

He did get lazy, though. I thought to encourage him with a water pistol. Coalball would have none of it. He didn’t hiss. His back didn’t arc. He just leapt at me, thrashing the pistol out of my hand. He landed on my leg and grinned. His front claws pierced my jeans into my thigh. When he jumped down his back talons sliced both sides of my face, jaw to ear. He turned his tail on me and strutted away.

He doesn’t put up with my antics, any more. He gets what he wants--if his stare doesn’t work his claws will. I understand his gazing eyes so perfectly. Like he knows everything about me and is smugly superior. Like monkeys should be honored cats bother with them at all.

He’s taken to rearranging the obstacle course. Whenever he looks at me, he grins. It’s evil. He slashes, hard enough to scratch but not cut. His selfishness is always satisfied.

I should have inquired into his injuries earlier instead of just thinking they were sad but adorable. Coalball was too smart to be a victim. I’d adopted the meanest cat bully in the city, and taught him to bully me.

Lately, I’ve been looking into ferrets. I’d like to train one to be the best acrobat a ferret can be.