Instead of me telling you about a story in a review format, why not give you, the reader, the ability to experience an entire story right here on the page? This isn’t a review, rather, I’ve provided a selection of three tiny stories. Some would call them short. No worries if you’re uninterested in one because there are two others, and each are associated with a color. Blue is sentimental and about a baby. Green is a lone wolf, existential drama. Red is dystopic-like. All these choices but what to choose, what to choose? Read all three if you’re feeling unstoppable. After that you’re on your own though. Go nuts!
The first thing I can remember is a bar. A series of bars. Vertical bars. I see that the bars end in a horizontal bar at the top, but it’s hard to see. I’m in my crib and the world around me has a dark blue tint. The bars encircle me in a rectangle. I don’t want to be stuck. I need to go. I need to be free. I decide to make a break for the land outside of my crib.
I think I have a diaper on but the whole scene feels like how a fuzzy carpet looks. I mean, the whole scene looks like how a fuzzy carpet feels. It feels fuzzy. The bars are round, and I grip them and fueled by either an animalistic or alien thought I climb upwards. Have I climbed before? Maybe. With the next click of the View-Master I’m on top of the bars. The ground is far away and instead of holding onto the ledge I grip hold of my fear and I fall to the ground. I don’t hit my head. I cry.
I’m not hurt but what I wanted to happen didn’t. I am wronged. Life is not fair. My father comes into the room. “Buddy,” he said. I am back in the crib and I decide to sleep. Later, I discover the latch or hook or mechanism that unlocks the wall of vertical bars of the crib. The wall never kept me in and in fact, it’s the cause of why I fell in the first place. You may think that I fell because I decided to be free, or less dramatically, to leave the crib, but that wasn’t a decision, it’s a birthright.
When I was 21, I travelled the country. Country music and bible stations dominated the radio waves. They still do. I drink coconut water outside the Mojave Desert on the way into Las Vegas. An eight-foot-long and three feet in diameter PBR can is next to railroad tracks. I never thought Paul Bunyan was a hipster but there you go, he dropped an exceedingly tall, tall boy onto a pile of endless white sand. If the ocean was dry, this is what it would be. In my mind I had invented the idea of the desert and why not? The dunes splash as the thermometer on the dashboard reads 117. The hula dancer glued on the dash vibrates as I perspire and hold my foot on the gas pedal.
On the strip the adult Disneyland that is Las Vegas gives you drinks for free and upgrades your hotel room to the honeymoon suite. I sit down at a blackjack table in a supposed Paris and a serene (xanaxed) Can-Can dancer places my complimentary ol’ fashioned next to my hand. Whiskey, simple syrup and a cherry in a glass tumbler. I tip them a blue chip. Or maybe it’s a… maybe it was a red chip, but it doesn’t matter to me because…
Hands and cards are flipping every which way. I place my $25 buy-in on the green felt tabletop and wait for the numbers and some lady named luck. “Hit?” the dealer asks as I notice my cards in hand total 17. I nod my head and a four of spades flops up on the table. I beat the house. I win. Another stage-less chorus dancer asks if I want drink. I eye my half-full sweet whiskey liquid treat and look up into their green eyes. I nod.
Admiral Hobson Jobson spits on his cardboard house as I pass him on the street on my way to the Speckled Ax, a boutique coffee shop in Portland, Maine. He grabs my arm, but I shrug him off and Hobson continues his fight against the invisible swirling mass that only he can see.
“They’ll get you today!” the admiral cackled. “Listen to this sonny Jim.” He pulls out a tiny yellowed paperback and starts reciting words with his eyes closed.
“The woodland creatures walking and jostling about there appeared oddly sloppy, too-unprofessional mammals. They were having such a good time. They all knew each other. Nuts and twigs were being passed around and chirps were being loudly thrown about and new barks made, about various matters of importance only to them, special forest subjects on which their entire lives were devoted. One red tail squirrel in a burst of wildness even tried to place his acorn in a tree on the opposite side of the trail. Nearly all the trees were filled with seed, causing protests of ‘scree scree!’ ‘scree scree!’ from the provider. The crows leaned on branches, thinking of what next, flapping their wings absently.”
The admiral stopped talking and turned around. I no longer mattered to him. I walk away.
My black boots’ shoestrings sway from a crouched gust of wind that burns the inside of my pants from my calves to my boxers. Skinny jeans are not the warmest of pants. My sunglasses keep my eyes from watering because of the cold as well as performing their namesake duties. I look really cool and am only slightly cold so it’s a win.
I feel the presence of an arm stretched out behind me and I glance to see the arm of a masked person trying to grab the hood of my coat. I run. This isn’t Jobson; these are new pirates on the unruly passage of a Main Street. Windows are boarded up as a legion of thuggish storm trooper police keep the masses safe by sweeping up all undesirables. How could I forget what time it was? They do this every day at noon. I should be inside. The horde swallows the admiral. They do every day. He always makes it back to his cardboard home though.
My thought is interrupted by a thunk! to my shoulder and the locust descend upon me. Will I make it back tomorrow?