Microfiction 18: Jacob and TIM

For the heck of it let’s call this the second half of a two-part microfiction ‘series’. In that case, it would probably be better to read the first part here first before reading this one.

…wherein a scientist is drunk…

Jacob was a man obsessed with balance although, ironically, but through no fault of his, his life had been devoid of it for a while now.

When his ex-wife had strangle-armed the kids away from him that had been the tipping point. He’d regressed from the brilliant particle physicist to an ordinary man married to the bottle. On the eve of the day when his boss would lay him off after repeated attempts to return him to the man he’d once been, Jacob did the unthinkable.

He broke into the facility, commandeered a tank from the yard in the military wing and ran with it straight through the TIM (Temporal Interface Machine) even though it hadn’t been commissioned for human testing for another month.

Drunk as he was, he’d still been aware enough to set the destination timeline to the era of Ancient Greece and just toward the end of the conflict between Athens and Troy and more precisely right before that infamous event with the wooden horse which he’d always considered an imbalance of imagination. He was going to set that right! He was going to bring balance!

Having sufficiently and satisfactorily determined where he had landed in time he proceeded to lay out his afore-engineered plan before stepping out and addressing the crowd.

He had never been a man of linguistics, so he couldn’t speak Greek or whatever tongue these Trojans used. In stead he gestured wildly and with little coordination. He pointed to the tank then to himself and then tapped his finger on his temple. Creature/Machine. Man inside. Think.

One thing he had failed to predict was that once they had seen the sheer power of the machine that they would have wanted to know how the machine worked so they could use it against their enemy as evidenced by the sudden appearance of the sharp point of a spear inches away from his right eye.

Another thing, far worse, that in his state of imbibement Joshua had failed to recall, was that the TIM still only worked one-way and that he was by definition, stuck. In the past. Tipping balance from one side to the other.

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Microfiction #17: The Curious Beast

…wherein confounding events threaten everything…

Edonis was understandably irritated when his junior commissioner burst into the room and with bated breath gasped the words, ‘Well, sir, I don’t know how to explain this…’

His irritation turned to consternation when his junior escorted him to the courtyard right outside the royal palace, where a gathering crowd poked uncomprehending gazes at an awkward beast that commanded attention as much as it repulsed. It was unimaginably flat and bulky looking, with no discernible limbs but for snaky coil or belt that rattled underneath it and all around its sides.

For Edonis, the creature’s appearance presented a complication. Having been charged with outthinking the filthy Greeks, who right now were busy building some infernal contraption outside the city walls, his failure to predict this event and worse, his inability to recognize the puzzling creature exposed an embarrassing weakness in his leadership.

‘Where…’ he began to ask.

‘From nowhere sir. It just appeared.’ Came the rehearsed response.

Presently, the creature’s snout swung from end to end and like puppets the crowd cleared away at least two paces from the direction it pointed with each swing. Then something remarkable happened. A most unsettling hiss emanated from the creature, and a bright light blinded everyone within the courtyard. The guard post fifteen yards away was, as if through sorcery, reduced to a pile of rubble along with the guard who had been inside it.

It took a while for relative calm to return to the courtyard after that, but with reasonable efficiency and speed the civilians had been cleared and Edonis’ charges had formed a half-hearted perimeter around the beast, and right then a hatch swung open on top of the beast’s back (or head?) and to the ire of the soldiers around, who should step out from in there but an ordinary mortal man?

 

Microfiction #16: Swift and Fair

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…wherein the law is preserved…

There was quite a lot of excitement in Lady Millicent’s court that day. The 57 stone mother of three century pups swung her great hammerhead periodically as the case wore on, a far cry from the benevolent manner in which she usually carried herself and through which she had drawn the admiration and respect from her people.

‘So, set me straight on this article Mr Amida, you were performing a Mambo Jambo dance at the marketplace when Mr Japeth here, apparently affronted you and tried to ‘make a meal’ of you, is that correct?’

A lone figure graced the defendant’s row, a self-proclaimed paradise fish who’d journeyed to the town from whence no one knew, whose colors for once were not the only interesting thing about him, exceeded in eccentricity this time by his half-missing tail fin. Any traces of his characteristic pride were missing on the day, and his voice almost quivered as he responded.

‘Well, you see it’s this traditional ritual we like to perform…’

‘It involves some form of jiggling, does it not?’ The Lady interrupted.

‘Yes, ma’am.’

‘Well,  then,’ said the Lady shaking her head in pity, ‘You do realize exciting your person in such a manner creates what the loony science man over there calls an electric field. No matter how noble a bull shark like Mr Japeth here may be, you do realize such an excitement is enough to rouse the killer he works so hard to suppress, isn’t that so, Mr Japeth?’

In the prosecutor’s row, the bull shark was thronged by sea creatures of equal or more proportion in girth or menace, save for the two adorable pups flanking him who were the youngest of his litter.

‘I just don’t know how to explain it, my Lady,’ he reflected, ‘It’s like the devil took over me all so suddenly. I just couldn’t stop myself if I wanted to.’

‘I imagine no one could,’ empathized Lady Millicent, ‘That settles it then, Mr Amida this court finds you guilty of provocation and as punishment will have you relinquish half of your plankton farm to Mr Japeth and his sons for the next full cycle to do with it as they so please. Fair punishment for equal…’

‘But…’ came and went a weak protest.

‘As for your hesitance to comply with the law, the court bequeaths the other half of your farm to the town council for the same duration, again to do with it as they please.’

The blue seas shook with the roars that followed. Everyone was happy with Lady Millicent’s faultless justice. Yet it only worked so long as no one questioned it.

Microfiction #15: The Prohibition

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…wherein everyone seeks the same thing…

That morning Sami woke up craving blueberry pie but felt a bit of angst as he looked into his wallet and noticed the five dollar bill.

The lonely octogenarian spent the rest of the morning frantically looking around town for a possible benefactor of his small fortune. The first two of his neighbours slammed their doors in his face when he showed up to donate the sum to them and soon after that the rest closed their shutters long before he’d approached them.

He ventured into town, growing ever more distressed, until by pure chance he came upon a man of the streets, one of the remaining few who’d chosen such a life for themselves. After a frivolous back and forth, reaching a point where Sami almost broke into tears in defeat the man finally accepted his offering.

“ ’Spose I should trade this in immediately.” The street rat grumbled.

Flushed with a fresh breath of life, Sami finally settled down to serve himself a slice of blueberry pie from the nearby food dispenser and sat down on a bench to take in his latest moment of triumph. It was to be short-lived, however, for a young lady appeared from around a corner, every manner of her relaying an innate disruptive nature, walking towards Sami with wide eyes and an impatient gait.

“Am sorry old man,” she grimaced, “They’ll probably sentence you to life for this, but I exhausted my trade-in tokens and anyway let’s face it, you have what…seven maybe ten years left to live?”

With that she knocked the old man out cold with a single punch.

When Sami came to, he noticed immediately the swansong siren call of the moral police drawing closer. His hands instinctively reached for his pockets which he realized with dread were now bulging threefold. He reached into one and pulled out its contents, neat bundles of crisp hundred dollar bills.

“Oh dear….” Sami agonized, “They don’t make blueberry pie in prison, do they?”


Photo credit: WallDevil.com

The Order of The Forgers (A microfiction Series)

 

Late to the party are you? You can still read part one/two here and here.

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Part Three: Darn Them All

Darn all these secret government buildings with their fifty cameras in every hallway or room. Darn them to heck with their keycard doors everywhere.

Give me a lock any day, I’ll have it open within a second. These darn keycard doors, with all their complex constitution and extravagant merriment, why they take me way too long to open using just my natural talents, and worst of all, every effort I put into one of these shaves off a couple of years from my life.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: a nigh-immortal like me worrying about losing a few strands on the grand tunic of life he cloaks himself with, what is he smoking? But you have to understand, a nigh-immortal I might be, am still carved from the rock of humankind, thus do I still dread the end and of course, if I am to carry out my noble duty, it would do us all much good if the blood is still pumping in my veins.

So yes, darn them key card doors, and darn whoever invented them. Darn the fact that I have to break into the rooms where they keep the keycards or knock a few amiable security guards senseless to steal theirs.

But then darn the sight that meets my eyes when I finally arrive at my destination. A man sits on an actual throne in the middle of the dark room, lean as a chicken leg, with a beard long as my arm and not half as charming, sunglasses so dark they could be tiny black holes manifested, a demonic blood-red halo swirling over his head and smoke billowing from his nose and mouth.

And there on the floor, what else should lie there except the limp, chained body of Sofia. The girl, my girl.

Well darn the whole world, because the rage I feel could conjure up the spirits of billions dead and forever doom the living.

Click HERE to read part four!

The Order of The Forgers (A microfiction Series)

 

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Looking for part one? It's over here!

Part Two: The Girl

Her voice carries the softness of a feather on silk.

Her aura is that of a sunset on a tidally locked planet. Perpetual, haunting, notoriously hard to tear yourself away from, as if the key to its liberation lay in the sharing of its imprisonment with others.

I am never in control when am around her. I run away from her only to tumble and find myself reeling back into her arms again.

‘So you can unlock every door in the world, is that it?’ She asks one day.

‘Well, everything with a lock on it essentially, yeah.’

‘With a magical master key?’ She teases.

I sigh. How do I explain this part? Do I have a key or am I the key? Am I a manifestation of a practice or simply its practitioner?

Am I but a sorcerer?

No.

I am not a sorcerer. I am hardly better than your average chemist. Or artist. Why then, if you think about it, your best of writers and artists are mere chemists too. How else would you explain how they affect their audience so? They intrude upon their audience’s chemical composition, causing them to ‘feel’, and laugh or cry, using otherwise lifeless symbols on paper or canvas. So men of art as it turns out, are men of science after all!

As am I. Only I don’t just make the science, I am it as well, but how do you go about explaining something you can’t quite articulate, barely understand yourself.

‘Yes.’ I reply.

‘Cool!’ She replies. ‘Well, what else can you unlock besides doors?’

Your heart and mind, and should I do it long enough I could bend your will to my own amusement if I choose. Maybe then I could be rid of you.

‘Just locks. Am afraid as far as superpowers go, mine’s not that glamorous.’

The Order Of The Forgers (A microfiction series)

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Part One: In Deplorable Company.

‘This is a secured government building. How did you break in?’

He’s in full control of this conversation. It ebbs and rises as he sees fit. He alternates between using his tongue or his fists to communicate. I in turn respond well within my disposition with silence, grunts of pain or the occasional insult against his mother. I’ve crossed paths with men of his ilk before. I’ve been through worse than him.

The conditions could have been worse, of course. Not to say I enjoy being suspended in the air with my arms clamped and chained to opposite walls of the room, and a cup of coffee would have been nice too, but I’ve been in worse positions. One room I was exiled in once, I stretched my hand before my eyes and could not see it. When people talk of purgatory, I remember that place.

This place, it’s nothing. This man, he will tire. They always do. He does, and he leaves.

That’s when I whisper to my arm, ‘Mif-tahun.’

There are exactly seven hundred and twenty nine locks in this entire building. I can feel each one of them, but right now I need to focus on just two.

The process has always been painful, it’s never not been, but I need to be rid of these chains.

It stings.

It burns.

Then it gets worse.

In my haste, I drop my newly acquired key. It clinks mockingly as it kisses the floor, then rolls away and disappears into a drain in the floor.

I swear in exasperation.

Right then, let’s try that again.

 

In case you're wondering, Part Two is over here!

Microfiction #14: Origins

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There was a clock. Ticking and tocking.

Tick, tick, tock, tick.

He couldn’t see it, but it certainly was there, constantly.

Tock, tock, tick.

It ticked whenever he did something good, like that time he helped the sickly old lady cross the road and she thanked him by telling him he had a very special destiny to fulfill

Tick tick tick.

It tocked whenever he did the opposite, like when he punched the homeless guy in the dark alley out of rage for being fired from his third job.

Tock tock tock.

In spite of himself, he often found the tocking more soothing. So he bought himself guns, until later he could afford rockets and a presidential campaign.

We Can Lose Much More…

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(Fair warning ahead, parts of this piece describe a scene that might make your stomach queasy)

There are some subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) nuances that define as a people. Cornerstones of our society, so to speak. Tiny, often easily overlooked actions we do for others, things we say that bring a feel-good atmosphere and knit us closer together. They are values that are inherent in all of us even at the darkest of our times.

Lately, it feels like these foundations have been under siege.

Several months back, while heading back to campus from Thika, our bus zipped past a body lying in the middle of the road. I don’t remember where specifically. I don’t remember how the deceased was dressed. I don’t remember if it was a man or woman. I do remember that the head was not attached to the shoulders. I do remember that cars swerved around the body and sometimes over it. I do remember finding it near impossible to keep my food down for the next two days.

Worst of all I do remember that after the initial shock wore off, my fellow passengers got down to work speculating how the body might have ended up there. Had the man/woman been mentally ill? Had they willfully stepped in front of a car, driven by an urge they could not comprehend? Had they actually been murdered elsewhere and dumped on the road to cover up the crime? A consensus, completely uncalled for, was finally reached that there was no way the deceased had not been murdered elsewhere and then dumped on the road.

One thing that, ironically, seemed to escape everyone’s attention was the fact that there was a body on the road, and nobody seemed to care about school kids in other buses and vans who would pass by that same spot and have nightmares that night or that other drivers might be traumatized running over the body, because no one stopped. Always in such a hurry to get to wherever we want to, we don’t care what we throw away, when a simple hazard sign might have well warned other drivers to steer clear.

Fast forward several months and it seems we’re living in a constant spell of expiation for a sin we have no idea about. Our country is being held hostage by an election that just won’t go away. For those of you who aren’t fully versed on this yet, we held our election this August which inspired so little confidence in our judiciary that they declared them as null and void. The repeat elections, which are to be held tomorrow, are being overseen by more or less the same officials who bungled up the original one. Which is why the opposition is having none of it. Which is why for the past few weeks we’ve had demonstrations in the country to oppose the commission. The response of the government unsurprisingly is to use force and as a result more than a few lives have been lost.

But that’s nothing compared to the fact that the people who died are now used as icons of some ‘resistance’. Uncensored images of them in their undignified state have been plastered all over the ether to elicit some reaction from all of us. I see them when am on Whatsapp, they’re in my face when am on Facebook. A more considerate person might stop to think, ‘How will the deceased’s parents feel if they see their son or daughter in this manner on the news or social media? Should I really post this?’ But we seem to have lost that. We traded in empathy for higher resolution cameras and faster internet connectivity.

Then the unthinkable happened last week. One of the officials on the electoral commission, having fled to the States, penned a letter of resignation that revealed much of what happens behind the curtains. That the ‘independent’ commission was only independent in principle but not in creed or action. That her fellow officers were imposing influence on the whole process according to how it benefited their respective party, either way.

Because of people’s irrational party affiliations she’s been mocked, ridiculed, intimidated and threatened. That she fled out of fear for her own life, even as one of her colleagues was kidnapped and murdered under dubious circumstances a week before the original election, that she resigned out of fear for her staff, in the hopes that their security would be considered ahead of the plight of politicians who seek power and nothing else, seems to be lost on us. Whether she’s being honest and warrants our attention is beside the point. Once upon a time the search for truth used to be integral to the whole idea of us being ‘decent’, whether that truth resides within the people we call family or friends or our government. But that too appears to be gone.

As bloggers, as fiction writers, we often include conflict, tension, corruption and scenes of gore in our work, I know I too have been ‘guilty’ of this a few times. But we often add these things to mock them, to deride them, to expose them so we can fix ourselves, but in truth we do not want to see them creep into our daily lives and become the norm. I want to be comforted by the knowledge that if I end up lying in the middle of a busy road for whatever reason, people would be considerate enough to stop and shield my body, and not instead take photos and post them everywhere and make light of the moment. I want to believe that in a position where I possess forbidden information critical to the welfare of the public I would not be mocked and threatened if I choose to divulge such information. I really want to believe in the people I call my fellow Kenyans.

I will not take a stand here about whether or not I will vote tomorrow because that would make this a political statement, when this is far from it. This in converse is a rallying call to all of us, especially right now to all Kenyans, to stop and reflect about where we’ve come from, where we are headed and how we want to be judged by future generations.

Only one person can ever win an election, but all of us stand to lose so much more if we don’t stop to reflect and change.

Stay safe tomorrow everyone and God bless you all!

Microfiction Monday #13: The Meet.

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…wherein curious meetings take place in the witching hour…

Two men stood in the middle of the park, wrapped by the darkness of night. One was tall and lean, the other conspicuously rotund.

I spotted them on my way home, having stayed late at work, and took my time to observe them from a position of isolation.

The tall man remarked to his friend that the ‘radius of your midsection keeps defying expectations by steadily growing past its cap.

The round man replied that he worried his friend’s closer proximity to the sun would render him inoperative in a few years with a plethora of skin tumors and such.

Both men then laughed a hearty and long laugh before the tall man asked of his friend’s wife. The round man replied that she’d seen better days, but that her ailment had yet to put a damp on her spirits. The tall man explained that his own wife and the kids had gone to their grandma’s and he was fascinated by the unbridled peace and clarity of mind that it brought him.

He then took off his jacket and asked his friend in a most forlorn voice how they’d let their friendship get down to ‘this’. The round man took off his jacket too and retrieved a blade that glinted in the moon’s light and complained that he too did not like how things had turned out and that he would rather prefer to be done with it in the swiftest of manner.

Then the lean man cocked his head to one side and told his friend he suspected someone was watching them. His friend turned and shouted in my general direction, ‘Oy if you don’t mind, we’re trying to settle a private dispute here, so…bugger off now.’

Shivering and shaking from the tension of expectation, I took my cue to retreat to the beckoning comfort of my home, all the more worried about the fate of the two men, despite my knowledge that they would turn back into oak trees by the first light of next morning.

Microfiction Monday #12: Receipt

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…wherein dissent is punished…

In her defense, she hadn’t meant to do it, or rather she hadn’t done it consciously. The dust bin just happened to be there, at the supermarket’s exit and she extended her arm and threw the receipt inside. There was no thought to the action, just a habitual reflex.

Which is why she was more than mildly surprised when she answered the door a few hours later and was accosted by two sneering policemen. One of them held the offending receipt at eye-level for her to read the contents there.

‘This yours?’ He asked.

She pored through it once more, before confirming to the officers that it had in deed once been in her possession.

‘CCTV cameras caught you dropping it in the bin a few hours ago.’

‘Nothing odd about that, is there?’ She asked, puzzled.

The second chuckled, ran his fingers over his tablet and started reading rapidly, ‘Chapter three section four of The Accords states, “Any and all pieces of parchment, pamphlets, documents, clothing material, fabric, posters and all other manner of signage bearing an image of his Highness or the Crest of the Crown shall henceforth be treated as holy as his Sovereignty and any show of dissent towards such material will be treated as a show of dissent towards the King himself.”’

The first policeman flipped the receipt and the blood drained from her face. There, inscribed at the bottom of the receipt using cheap ink and barely visible to the unfocused eye, was the Crest of the Crown.

‘But, I love the King,’ she protested, ‘I named both my first son and my first daughter after him.’

‘Very funny in deed. May your humor assuage you in whatever bin His Highness’ magistrates decide to dump you in.’ The first policeman mocked as they dragged the poor struggling woman into the waiting police van and with each desperate cry for help, she noticed painfully her neighbours windows and doors shut ever tighter.

Microfiction Monday #11: Life-Size.

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…wherein the professor advances his plan…

‘I think I’ve finally cracked it Sam.’

The professor said to the silicon bust sat on the study table in his library. The weather outside was dreary and windy but it was not raining, though a storm appeared to be brewing on the horizon. While it didn’t serve as the best set for the professor’s newest milestone in his research, it did, in a manner, reflect the stir that he suspected was coming along with it.

‘What’s that, professor?’ The bust responded in a semi-monotone.

‘Intuition.’ The professor laughed.

‘Intuition, my dear Sam. Everybody else seems to miss this point. Lost they all are in their belief that for you and your likes to be more ‘human’ you have to make decisions that are your own, but the thing is, we humans occasionally make some decisions we can’t quite explain, based on no evidence that we can produce to…to…support it.’ he stuttered from excitement.

‘Am sorry professor, I still can’t quite understand.’

‘It’s…it’s hard to explain. Some attribute it to external intervention from a Malevolent Being, some call it a gift of evolution. Either way it’s indubitably ever-present in o…our lives, like how a mother may warn her child from going on a ship cruise and the ship ends up capsizing. Or how a  businessman may choose to invest in a venture that shows no promise at all even as every other businessman gives it a wide berth and yet it…it proves to be his windfall. We, humans bluff and fluke our way through most things, can’t you see it Sam?’

‘But you say you’ve cracked it, professor?’

‘Five men drafted the Declaration of Independence, three of whom were part of a group of men that were eventually called the Founding Fathers. Can you tell me who these three were?’

The bust stared into the distance in thought, the creases on its forehead growing increasingly pronounced.

‘Um, am sorry professor but I can’t quite remember past Jefferson and Franklin.’

The professor bawled with joy, marching around the room in a guileless victory dance.

‘Memory decay!’ He announced finally, ‘So far, every decision you’ve made has been calculated based o…on the knowledge and experiences ma…my students and I have fed you Sam. But now, now there won’t be any single time when you’ll have an over-abundance of information for you to reason through to arrive at you…your decisions. No no, you are now truly human, s…stumbling in the dark, second-guessing your every step. We aren’t quite there yet my boy, but soon, oh soon you’ll be truly ready to raise hell on earth.’

The professor laughed again, this time his laughter was accompanied by the crack of thunder.

Outside it started raining.

 

photo credit: Universal Studios.

Microfiction Monday #10: Encounter.

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…wherein they make themselves known…

‘Ground Control to SS Madura, please respond.’ Mike breathed into the microphone once more, the words growing wearier each time he said them.

The SS Madura was presently somewhere between Earth and Mars. The crew on board had stopped transmitting a few minutes ago following a loud crashing noise which often meant that something had gone wrong. The spacecraft’s current distance from earth meant that there was a delay of almost three minutes of transmission between them, which meant having to wait twice that time to hear a reply from the crew.

‘Ground Control, I can barely hear you, you’re breaking up.’ the response crackled through the loudspeakers of the control center to the collective sigh of everyone but the voice was hardly recognizable.

‘Welcome back sir, we lost you there for a minute. Can you give us a status report?’

‘We crashed into a projectile, a spaceship possibly, sustained damages to the outer hull and other critical components, life support system operating at fifty percent efficiency.’

The response had come back after four minutes instead of the expected six, which could only mean the spaceship was heading back to earth. Mike made a quick mental calculation of the speed it would take the spaceship to close the gap that quickly and almost fell on his back. That kind of speed was simply not attainable by the SS Madura.

‘Um, could you elaborate further on your last, you crashed into a spaceship, possibly? And please identify yourself.’

The response came after just two minutes now, the rapid manner of its arrival and the new edge in the voice making Mike feel as if the speaker was standing over his shoulder.

‘I can conclusively confirm that we did crash into another spaceship,’ the man still hadn’t identified himself and that bothered Mike very much, ‘The inscription on its outer hull read SS Madura. There’s a habitable planet nearby which we can assume was the launching point of the Madura. We’re heading there now to investigate.’

Mike looked around the room at the uncomprehending terrified faces of his colleagues looking up to him. His voice came out shaky and uneven as he whispered, ‘Oh my God!’

Microfiction Monday #9 : Adjusting.

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…wherein a new home is made…

‘Don’t worry buddy, you’ll get used to it.’ Father promised his son.

‘But it’s too empty and too…noisy.’ The son criticized the vastness of their new home, and the echoes that bounced off the walls.

‘It’s only as empty as we let ourselves imagine it. See that spot? We can bring in sand from the beach and build a sand castle right there.’

‘Whoa! A sand castle?’

‘Yes,’ the father laughed, ‘The biggest sand castle anyone has ever thought of, we can build it me and you. With your mother gone, we can do anything we want now.’

Even as tears stung his eyes, he trusted the words coming out of his mouth like script off a holy book and like a scientist on the cusp of a cosmic discovery, let the thrill of freedom wash over him.

They did get used to it, of course.

Which is why the boy slept soundly in his father’s arms, even as the blistering heat of the noon sun bore down on them and the patter of the cityfolks’ rapid steps on the pavement and the thrum of vehicles around them reached a crescendo.

They made a home and they got used to it.

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credit: hobotraveller.com

 

Microfiction Monday #7: The New Trend Kills.

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…wherein this story gets a cliché title…

Sharon’s car glided down the freeway, late in the night under the patter of light showers.

She hummed to herself, one arm on the steering wheel, the other making a meal of her phone’s screen as she scrolled up and down her Facebook timeline. She glared gleefully at the latest iteration of her friends exploits with the latest trend to hit the ether: a Facebook app that predicted hilarious ways in which people would die.

She chuckled when Victor, her best friend, posted his result: death by suffocation under a heap of elephant dung. She thought it might spook him to tell him their boss was planning a safari retreat for the end of the year.

Barbara, that snobbish girl from HR, would die from having her head stuck in the poop chute of a donkey. Never mind how her head would end up there in the first place, it made Sharon laugh so much because it seemed absolutely fitting.

Hooked in as she was by the prospects of humor that lay behind her interaction with the app, she submitted her own query. The result played back on her screen in fun, multi sized fonts that danced up and down:

‘You will die in a horrifying and completely avoidable road accident. Cheers!’

She stared at the words as if they made very little sense.

‘Well that’s not funny at all!’ She exclaimed.

And because she desired to be entertained and would not have it any other way except that which pleased her, she hit the refresh button, and then again, and again…