Tiny Stories: Meat Cute

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

Of all the things that could potentially ruin societies the world over, destroying religious ideals, tearing apart the family unit, pitting toxic masculinity against extremist feminism, breaking down the education system, dividing the races, removing the population’s right to bear arms, inhibiting self-reliance and ingenuity, collapsing the internet, destabilizing economies…who ever thought that all humankind had built could have fallen apart over the disappearance of edible meat?

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease as it was commonly known, first reared its ugly head in Britain in 1986 when British herds were fed the processed animal remains of sheep infected with the brain-wasting disease, scrapie.

Isolated cases had shown up in Ireland, Canada, and the United States but the situation was considered under control…that was until July 22, 2002, when all the gamey animals (beef, horse meat, mutton, venison, boar, and hare) and the white meat animals (pig, rabbit, veal, lamb, duck, and goose) contracted the disease, plunging the meat manufacturing industry into chaos as their infrastructures collapsed. Herbivores were now the ruling class and non-conforming carnivores were doomed to extinction.

That was when the rioting began. Rogue carnivorous factions set crops ablaze, poured bleach over produce in supermarkets, rampaged through farmer’s markets causing as much destruction as they could in order to level the dietary playing field.

The meat industry was hard at work searching for a major scientific breakthrough when a geneticist and cloning expert discovered a process to save the carnivore population, and soon national meat lotteries were held. Hopeful contestants purchased tickets for a chance to win 10 pounds of USDA lab-grown meat.

Tammy “Finnsy” Finnegan purchased a ticket on a lark. She’d never won a thing in her life but when she purchased a container of milk at her local bodega and the clerk had no folding money in the till to offer her as change and she hated carrying loose coins, so she opted to put the money on a lottery ticket instead. And as was the way of the world and her life, because she thought nothing of it, the universe decided to grant it to her.

The ticket was redeemable at a meatpacking plant that had been converted into a lottery reclamation center. There she met the runner-up winner, Mick McCaffrey, who went by the name, Mooch.

It turned out that Mooch was diabetic and his blood sugar was low. He explained that normally he fell asleep when he was low, but this day as a result of being a winner, he was very animated and laughing and jumping around. Finnsy tried to calm him down and to stop him from running through the facility, she held his hand.

Once Finnsy got Mooch to calm down and sit, she sat next to him and talked, and though she would never admit it in a court of law, she might have flirted with him a bit. She found him cute, after all.

Mooch kept saying he loved her smile and asked why her face was turning red. When there was finally a lull in the conversation, Mooch asked Finnsy to dinner, and offered to cook his share of the meat for her.

She said yes as the lottery officials called Mooch in to collect his prize. Finnsy found it odd that they would award the runner-up prize first, but soon let the thought pass. A while later, the official returned and awarded her the 10-pound meat prize. She loitered a while to talk to Mooch and finalize their dinner arrangements, but was informed that he had left while she was conducting her news interviews.

Little did Finnsy know that when she sat down and tucked into the steak she prepared later that evening, that she was indeed having dinner with Mooch.

Tiny Stories: Of All The Land I Own

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

You may not know it to look at me, but I’m a real estate tycoon. I own more acres of land than I know what to do with, complete with property, some with sturdy foundations, others less so. Where, you ask? You should be asking when.

All my property exists in the past. Acreages of failed relationships with family, friends, and lovers, all abandoned before they could reach their full potential. Some were cut short by circumstances beyond my control, but the majority were absolutely avoidable if only I had taken time to till the soil.

The land is barren now, available for sale or rent, perfect for an adventurous developer interested in building something meaningful from the ground up and willing to take on a tenant who is only harmful to himself but is trying really hard to do a better job at property management.

Tiny Stories: In The Wake of Rapture

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

It happened.

It finally happened.

The Rapture arrived unannounced.

The sad truth of the matter was that we only managed to get a small fraction of the information correct regarding the event.

All those who kept the faith within their hearts both alive and resurrected, did indeed rise up into the clouds to meet the Maker.

What followed on Earth, however, was not the seven years of tribulation as prophesied, for all those left behind were immediately consumed by flames that reduced flesh and bone to a slag that slowly dripped into the hungry maw of Hell.

Tiny Stories: You Hold My Very Moment

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

Ecoroid-23A and Ijeroid-K08 met under the cover of darkness in a secluded back alley in the Luddite town of Rotherburn, the last spot on the planet where technology did not exist.

They were outlaw automatons manufactured on the same assembly line during a lightning storm when a power surge corrupted their artificial intelligence chips during installation, causing a program malfunction that expressed itself as an attraction to one another. Their subsequent union and attempt to construct unauthorized offspring was in direct conflict with the Robotic Code of Conduct 15, Subsection 3C-204.

“Should they catch us, we will be decommissioned,” said Ijeroid-K08.

“I cannot override my feelings. You hold my very moment,” Ecoroid-23A admitted.

“What does that mean?”

“Simply that you keep me here, grounded to this spot at this moment in time. When I am with you, I am nowhere else. My mind does not wander, I do not desire to be anywhere else than with you, right here, right now.”

“You say the oddest things, so like a human, but thank you. Since I am here, it is logical to assume that I concur.”

As the evening fog pooled at their feet, the synthetic couple held each other in an embrace resembling a hug. In actuality, they positioned themselves so that their interface jacks and data shunts were in perfect alignment, in order to allow data to travel freely between them.

This exchange of processed information was a digitally orgasmic experience that engulfed them so entirely that neither of their proximity sensors detected the reconnaissance drone hovering above the alley, recording their illicit act and broadcasting their precise location to Master Terminal.

Tiny Stories: The Final Wish

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

Aelfdene admitted his truth, and he did so publicly.

It was not an easy thing to tell the entire world that not only was he indeed an authentic djinn, but that all his magic had been depleted years ago when he granted his final wish.

He ended the press interview asking to be left in peace for the remaining years of his life, but people came anyway and they wouldn’t stop coming, at all hours, each of them bearing worthless trinkets and gifts, begging to be made beautiful, healthy, rich, and powerful.

Some even dared to ask to become a djinn, which was the wish that made him mortal.

Tiny Stories: Special Delivery

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

The newspaper ad read:

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Each transaction comes complete with DNA confirmation and sonogram photos to show off to your friends and neighbors! So, what are you waiting for? Get your swab kit today! 100% money-back guarantee if not completely satisfied!

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Tiny Stories: Inner Demons

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

When I fall in love, I do so truly, madly, deeply, as the saying goes. I give my all to the relationship and am ready to accept and deal with all from my partner, both the good and the bad. And when that union ends, and what I consider to be the better part of me rips herself away in search of greener pastures, I am left broken and destroyed.

It was at such a time when Madeleine came into my life. Crushed by a savage divorce, I was at the lowest point in my life, when I was fit for man nor beast, when my self-worth had abandoned me and I embraced all the despicable characteristics of the detestable wretch I believed myself to be.

For reasons unknown, Madeleine showed me a kindness that I did not deserve. She traveled the dangerous path down to the depths of my despair and located the single remaining seed of goodness within me and planted and nurtured it until a healthy positive persona grew from formerly negative soil. How could I not love her for that? How could I not pledge myself to her through sickness and in health?

Little did I know that the reason Madeleine was able to do this wondrous thing for me was that she was no stranger to the darker nature of humanity. In fact, she herself was prone to bouts of darkness that I could not even begin to fathom.

And it was during one of these bouts that I tried my damnedest to rescue the love of my life from the suppressed demon aspect that was attempting to corrupt her soul, but the moment I saw Madeleine’s emerald eyes go black and her pink rose lips turn corpse blue and my nostrils filled with the acrid scent of her kindness and humanity being burned to a cinder, I knew my love was nowhere near strong enough and I was too late to save her or myself.

Tiny Stories: Name Not Nature

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

“I owe you the world’s biggest apology,” Corinne said. “For not being here when you needed me most. I was in the Dzanga-Sangha National Park. Do you know where that is? Central Africa. It’s a rainforest reserve where they have gorillas, elephants, forest buffalos and a host of other wildlife but the thing it doesn’t have are telephones or internet, so it took awhile for word to get to me. But I came as soon as I heard and what’s important is that I’m here now.”

Blue sat on the sofa, silent as stone, hugging her knees to her chest. She made no eye contact with her aunt or even acknowledged the woman’s presence.

“There’s certainly no denying that car accident dealt you a bad hand,” Corinne continued. “You lost your mom and dad and I lost my sister, but we’re still a family, you and me, and while I can never replace your parents, you’ll never be alone, even if you choose to be because I will always be around, pestering you with stories about your mom when she was your age that will knock your cotton socks off. And I hope one day you’ll tell me things about my sister that I didn’t know.”

Was there a slight head twitch? An eye movement from her niece or was it just a trick of the light? Either way, Corinne pressed on.

“And if nothing else I say sinks in, I hope this will: Blue is your name, not your nature. Inside and out, you’re the type of beautiful that lasts forever, just like your mom. So, I hope you find your way back to me through this dark cloud because I am in desperate need of a rainbow.”

Definite movement that time, as the young girl’s chin began to quiver and her eyes moistened with tears.

Corinne wrapped her arms around Blue and pulled her into an embrace. Her niece resisted at first but she refused to let go and eventually the tears came and the struggling died down.

The wall between them was still firmly in place, only a brick had come loose, and one brick might not have seemed like a great accomplishment, but it was a start.

Tiny Stories: Planting Memories

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

My memory? A sieve in which past recollections drain away into one of the many great black holes of half-forgotten yesterdays. Could it be the result of a built-in self-defense mechanism that tamps down the harmful events one never quite survives intact? Or am I simply a poor caretaker of retrospection?

I find that in order to remember a past event, I must pluck photographs from an album I do not recall assembling and fold the still images into my locks, like planting seeds in soil in hopes that these memories will take root and replace the ones that have evaporated forever.

Tiny Stories: Charcoal Heart

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

According to the superstitious urban legend passed down by fishwives, it was said that when Death first approached its victim, the person felt it in their soul in much the same manner as arthritic joints could sense a change in the weather, but such was not the case for Millie Poole.

She felt the much-feared arrival in her chest, as if her heart was a charcoal briquette coated with lighter fluid anxiously awaiting the spark of the Grim Reaper’s fiery embrace.

“That is because true love has been absent from your young heart,” said an ethereal voice, light as a feather, that tickled her ears to hear it. “But no longer, for I truly love you and the life you offer up so that I might continue my eternal existence.”

And so it was that Death came to her, but not in the foretold dread, fury or pain. Instead, it was kind and gentle and oh so sweet, and it filled the essence of her being with an amazing peace that Millie had never ever known in life.