The Consent Tree

Paul could see Jupiter rising on the Horizon of Europa.

“Oh look, it’s Mars!” Mark yelled.  Paul got mad.

Interplanetary dominatrixes were always so temperamental.

They had too much experience (if you know what I’m saying) for my meager problems.

He walked away slowly, dejected and confused.

Why had the laurel tree rejected his advances?

Nonetheless, he did not lovingly pick its fruits again, acknowledging the power of consent.

“Thanks man,” the tree told him.  “Not everybody respects my right to say I don’t want my lemons picked.”

From that day on, the tree taught his lessons about consent all who passed by.

“No means no,” said the tree.  “And that’s that.”

“Robert Frost said that in one of his poems, I think,” I said to sound cool and hipster and know what I’m talking about.

“He said a lot of stuff about horses, and how they don’t like stopping in the middle of nowhere.”

“Well, I think I know more about horses than him, and I happen to know that they love taking a break.”

“I also know how to speak to them so I could very easily convince one of the horses to kick him in the spine and break his back.  This thought fills me with some amount of joy.”


The Twilight Story

I raised an eyebrow.  He didn’t say anything but I could feel his breath on my neck.

Then he whispered, “You know what I am.  Say it.”

“Definitely not a vampire,” she whispered back.

“Did you not just Google ‘vampires’, Bella?  What did Google tell you?” he sighed.

“That watching me sleep is the first symptom of narcissistic personality disorder.”

So I decided to confront him.  “Edward Cullen.  This is it.  I’m no Teen Lit girl.”

Then Buffy staked him right through his melodramatic heart.

“Take that Edward Cullen!  That’s what you get or exploding the ovaries of millions of teenage girls world wide!”

He shines his big, shiny abs to the sunlight.  “You’re welcome,” he glimmers, disintegrating into the arms of Bella.

But Before she could say a word, Jacob’s car pulls up alongside them, and he emerges, visibly upset.

“Are you all right?” she asks.  “What happened?”

“More things have happened to me on this day than ever before in my life and all of those things were terrible.  I hate everyone.  I hate everything.  And no, I’m not all right.”

“Today was so stupid.  You’re stupid.  This is stupid.  The whole world is just so stupid.”  And with that, she turned on her heel, hair whipping sassily, and stomped off into the horizon.

He peeled off his carapace and everybody screamed…We will become the self-hating HIVEMIND OF DOOM.

He peeled off his carapace and everybody screamed.

He began to cry.  Sobbing, he fled the shrieking crowd, running as far away as he could.  It wasn’t his fault he was born a cockroach.  It wasn’t his fault his mother had read Kafka’s Metamorphosis when she was pregnant, and then in history’s strangest pregnancy craving actually eaten the book.

He scuttled as fast as he could, dodging as many of the falling bricks as he could.  Safety was just ahead; a beautiful drainage pipe off the side of the busy street.

He saw Bumblebee in front of him.  Man, did he love that yellow car.  Every song it played was a serenade, even now, when he blasted heavy metal, and he ran for his life in the crumbling city.

The Transformers movies were supposed to be fictional goddamnit!  Like, fantasy-fictional!

Someone, please tell Michael Bay that explosions are cool only when they happen in movies.  Please.  Millions are dead.

We can take solace in the irrefutable fact that their death only opens the door to millions of souls transcending their earthly forms and becoming eternal cosmic gamma rays.

When the barriers between separate consciousnesses break down, we will all be the collective.  Our thoughts will be one.  We will be an existence of self-hatred.

We will become the self-hating HIVEMIND OF DOOM.

It was a dark and stormy mid-afternoon…I WILL NOT BE PART OF THE MACHINE.

It was a dark and stormy mid-afternoon.

The flashes of lightening that dance across the tar filled clouds overhead are the only source of light.  He wonders about the days before the sun burnt out.

He wonders, too, how long he will outlive the numerous life-forms who perished in the great storm.

As the piano descended from the sky, he had a brief instant to realize, not very long indeed.  Also, seriously?

This would be his luck.  A piano.  The most cartoon cliché way to die.  All those Saturday morning TV binges and late night anime fests were coming back to bite him in the ass.

Karma is a bitch like that!  I knew I should’ve gotten into anime instead!  At least death would come in an epic battle or dramatic encounter, instead of this.  He never did like instruments that weren’t brass.

The violins stalked closer, blood dripping from their strings, the cellos behind them-.

“No!” I screamed.  “Stay away from me!  I will not fall prey to your vile stringed machinations!  Not again!”


I was walking calmly down the street…leaving damp corpses lying on the dusty ground.

I was walking calmly down the street when behind me I heard a frantic voice calling my name.

I whipped around in a panic, certain I recognized the voice, certain I should not have been hearing it.

I started running, but feet can only go so fast; it wasn’t long before the footsteps came closer.

I was frightened, of course, but also intrigued; who was the strange figure pursuing me?

I hesitated then called out, “Who are you?”  But when I looked, there was nothing, and only echoes responded.

I entered the cave and discovered it empty.  The call must have originated somewhere else.

But where?

Hopefully not an empty parking lot, that would just be so cliché.

However, lo and behold, she found herself there amongst painted lines without a single car on the asphalt between them.  “Really, you could at least have been creative.”

“Sorry,” God said.  A greyhound bus materialized and promptly ran her down.  “That better?”

“Thanks a lot,” she said, now a ghost.  “I mean, being dead’s not half-bad, right?”  God laughed.  She knew nothing.

God knew.  Nothing about death.  Nothing about ghosts.  Nothing about God.  All of these things were unknowable.  And so God smiled.

And the skies bled out.  And the people danced in the streets.

The clouds were no more, leaving damp corpses lying on the dusty ground.

We thought he was dead…I am free.

Before opinions get too far entrenched in this story, the fact of the matter, the only fact: we thought he was dead.

Things weren’t meant to go the way they did, but we were angry and confused.

We threw things and yelled, each of us getting more upset by the minute.

How could they do this to us!?!  The horror of what just happened haunted me much like a nightmare.

I didn’t feel like myself anymore—the experience had changed me.  And not for the better.

So I thought, but of course, we are all our own worst critics.  Then again, this particular criticism was pretty on target.  What now?

He should refrain from orating about the crime of politicians.  He was only a civilian.

But somebody needed to say something.

I just wish it didn’t have to be me.

In fact, why should it be me?  With that thought, I took off, running far, far away from my responsibilities.

In the years to come, I assiduously avoided all news of the apocalypse.  It didn’t have to be me, “I explained to my masseuse, “It could have been anyone.”  She rolled her eyes.  “Sure Jesus, whatever you say.”

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of mail telling me stuff like, “Any day now.  Sell your car.  Sell your house.  Don’t bother having children.  I don’t let it touch me.”

I don’t let anything touch me.

I am the void.

I am free.

The smoke concealed everything except her neon pink boots…Tastes like chicken.

The smoke concealed everything except her neon pink boots.

They glowed with a light that in a cartoon would have suggested radioactivity.

The meat had definitely been past its expiration date.

Or maybe he’d messed up the labels and rather than a juicy 40 year old woman it’d been baby meat.

He was making a meat dragon, and only the finest meat would do.

When he finally finished it, its empty eye sockets seemed to stare at him.  The fleshy patchwork jaws of meat squelched open and rotten air exhaled from the cavernous throat into his face.

It took him a while to stop recoiling from the fumes, but, upon regaining his composure, he could finally marvel at his machinations.

The robot was simply a masterpiece.  His hard work had finally paid off.

His owner never imagined how delicious he was.

But now he knew.  He poured some sweet and sour sauce on, loving the way it mixed with the iron taste of blood.

Tastes like chicken.