Nov 11 2004

Fictionlet

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“Hey,” I said, looking up over the top of my newspaper. “Did you read this? It turns out the radio star wasn’t really dead.”

Brigid, her morning bagel in hand, did that furrowed brow thing. “Huh?”

“Yeah, it’s crazy. The radio star just went on a six-week holiday to Europe without telling anybody! Says it was just a spur of the moment thing.” I pointed at a paragraph in the paper. “It says here that video was released without comment — not even so much as an apology!”

“Video was released?” Brigid said. “Video of what?”

“‘Sorry we messed up your life, video,'” I said, in a deep voice. “‘But that’s the way it goes, old thing. Toodle-pip!'” I shook my head. “It’s an outrage! If I were video, I’d have a squadron of lawyers ready to swoop down with subpeonas. I’d sue the police, the district attorney, hell even the radio star if I could prove that it was done deliberately. The radio star has always had it in for video, that’s my theory.”

“What in the world are you babbling about?” she asked, coming around to look at the paper. There she found, of course, the Style section I had actually been reading. She blinked at it for several seconds, then closed her eyes in long-suffering aggravation as she realized what was going on.

It took a lot of effort to get the cream cheese out of my eyebrows. But it was worth it.

-The Gneech

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Nov 09 2004

Fictionlet

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As Brigid stepped out onto the porch, she saw something that made her raise her eyebrows. Greg was lying face-down in the grass, arms and legs splayed out, looking vaguely like Wile E. Coyote after a particularly long fall off of an impossibly high cliff.

“Erm,” she said, walking over to him. “Are you all right?”

“Mmph,” he said into the dirt.

“What?”

He looked up. “Yes, yes, I’m fine, thank you, fine.”

“What are you doing?”

“What does it look like?” he said, sounding vaguely miffed. “I’m … er … I’m giving the world a hug!” He wiggled awkwardly, as if trying to squeeze the planet. “I love you, world! MWAH!”

She broke into giggles. “You tripped, didn’t you?”

He rose to lean on an elbow. “Well, yes, if you want to force it out of me. But it would have been much more gallant for you to pretend to believe my cover story.”

“You are a complete nutcase,” Brigid informed him, still grinning. “You know that, don’t you?”

“Well, yes, I do, if you want to force that out, too. But loveable!”

“Well I don’t hear the world complaining, that’s for sure. But I think it would be in better taste if you and the planet got a room.”

-The Gneech

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Nov 08 2004

Fictionlet

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Greg tapped his fingers together nervously. “Well, what do you think?”

“Well, the prose is lovely as usual, of course,” Brigid said. “I particularly like your use of the phrase ‘flying leap through a rolling donut.’ But … well…”

“You hate it.”

“No, I don’t hate it, but it’s not convincing.”

“Eh? What do you mean?”

Brigid took a deep breath, bracing herself, and said, “Life isn’t like what you’ve written here. You write about falling in love with the misty squooshiness of somebody who’s never actually done it. With all these protestations of ‘you make me whole’ and ‘the world is an empty bubble without you’ and so forth. I mean, yes, people really do say that stuff, but usually that’s because they don’t really know what they’re talking about.”

“Well, that’s better than a guy spotting some chick in a bar, he goes up to her and says, ‘How about it, sugar-bumps?’ and they pop off to a motel-by-the-hour, isn’t it? I like to think of an attempt at romance as being quite refreshing.”

“Oh yes, it’s very charming,” Brigid agreed. “But like I said, not convincing. You can’t really know what love is like until you’ve really experienced it — both the good and bad of it. Love isn’t just joy, it’s also despair. When you’re flying that high, it’s a nasty shock when you come crashing back down to the ground.”

He blinked. “Well…” he said, trying to figure out some kind of response.

“If you want your hero to really be happy, he’s got to take on a more pragmatic view of love … one where it’s more like icing on the cake. He needs to be happy to have it, but content to live without it. Until then, what you’ve got is codependency. This stuff you’ve written, is pretty fantasy, but not a proper way to live. When you get right down to it, it’s rubbish! You write like you’ve got the heart of a teenage girl.”

“Hmph,” Greg said. “Better than having the heart of a rattlesnake.”

“Hiss, hiss, baby.”

-The Gneech

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Nov 05 2004

Fictionlet

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“I wonder if animal dreams are as bizarre as human dreams are,” Greg commented. “I can just picture Fido, snoring away, being baffled by surreal images of, say, a nice juicy bone that leaps out of a cake and swats him over the head. Or being in a panic, thinking ‘It’s the last day of obedience school and I haven’t studied!'”

Brigid laughed. “Oh, I’m sure. But remember, sometimes a nice juicy bone, is just a nice juicy bone.”

“Oh please,” he said with a sideways smirk. “Even I wouldn’t fall for that one!”

“Actually, the most surreal part for Fido is when he finds himself at a party in his underwear.”

“Dogs don’t wear clothes!” Greg protested.

“That’s what makes it so surreal,” Brigid said.

Greg blinked and nodded. “True, I hadn’t thought of it that way.”

-The Gneech

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Oct 29 2004

Fictionlet

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Brigid just stood, rigid, blinking. Greg had on an almost cartoon-yellow safari outfit, including pith helmet, a huge false handlebar moustache, and had a monocle in one eye. He was also inexplicably carrying a length of lead pipe.

“What the…?” she managed to get out.

“I say, what!” Greg chirped brazenly. “I suggest that it was you, Miss Scarlet, in the Conservatory, with the Avacado Dip, what, what!”

“I think my brain just exploded,” was all she could say.

“Hey,” he asked in his slightly-less-chirpy normal voice. “Where’s your costume?”

“I don’t do costumes,” said Brigid, frowning.

“What? What do you mean? It’s Halloween, everybody does costumes!”

“Fine, I’m dressed as a stressed-out yuppie.”

“Gah,” said Greg. “That is so lame. Don’t cop out! You need a proper costume! Who goes to a Halloween Party with no costume?”

“I don’t like costumes!” she said, her voice rising in irritation. “I hate drawing attention to myself like that. Forget it, no way!”

“But if everybody has a costume but you, won’t that draw attention to you, as being the only one with no costume?”

She closed her eyes and shook her head, as if trying to ward off a bad dream. “Stop it, you’re going to fry what few synapses I have left.”

“Fine,” he said, disappointment weighing down his voice. “Tell you what, we’ll get you some brown bags to wear, and you can go dressed as a poop.”

-The Gneech

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Oct 18 2004

Fictionlet

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“I don’t have to put up with this,” Greg said. “Why should I tolerate this abuse?”

Brigid just smiled. “You need me to talk to,” she said. “I’m the only one who understands you, and you know it.”

“That’s not true!”

“Of course it is! Who else are you going to find who knows what you’re talking about when you say, ‘Godfrey loves me, he put me in the shower?’ That’s not a phrase that’s meaningful in everyday use. Whereas I know not only who said it, and when, but why — and why Godfrey put them in the shower to begin with.”

He stopped and thought about it; she had something of a point, there. You just don’t find specialized knowledge like that without a prolonged search.

-The Gneech

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