[Here begins a thread of short fiction by yours truly. Since the selections which I plan to post are more or less "self-contained," there is no issue with continuity. Please feel free to offer any comments, suggestions, criticisms and veiled threats (I kid, I kid) after each selection as is your wont. Thank you, and thanks for indulging me.]Please note:
The following thread, "Auntie's Anti-fiction," contains several short stories. When commenting on an individual story, please indicate the title of the work in your reply.
A Savage Beast Maybe with Golden Hair
Scattered about the tiny office were containers of various amounts of liquid, which at one time could be called “coffee,” stacks of print-outs describing incident reports from the wild and inter-department memos from the Commissioner’s office, as well as spoor samples encased in plastic sandwich bags and fragments of diverse specimens of flora and fauna from nearly every region in the state which should have never been removed from the lab in the first place. Usually such debris was so much a part of the workplace culture that it was ignored, both by the staff as well as employees of the independent service who came to clean but never touched it -- not out of squeamishness but to avoid disturbing evidence of an investigation or a field study in progress; it was right there in the contract. That morning, however, the two state workers scurried about gathering up every paper cup and packet of stapled pages and depositing them all into a huge plastic bag without the semblance of regard for mandatory recycling.
The impromptu housekeeping arose after a colleague down in the Capital had texted a heads-up that a spur-of-the-moment inspection was imminent. The suit, like the two workers, was a civil servant, but on a much-higher pay tier, naturally-- what’s more, way up in the food chain, just a couple notches under the mighty Commissioner himself.
“Cripes! “ one of the two workers griped. “It’s bad enough we’re up here in the middle of nowhere, hassling with the snow and the wind, and sweatin’ through budget cuts every stinkin’ year! Now we’re being harassed. Don’t they have anything better to do down in –Oh, —!“ Hissing a string of expletives, he tossed the trash bag aside and slammed himself in front of the dusty computer screen. “We gotta delete Minesweeper and Avatar5!”
His co-worker shrugged. “Eh, so what? We can reload later –Oh, crap!” He slapped his own forehead. “The files! They haven’t been updated since –Oh, man! The Lists! Quick – box turtle– does that go under 'endangered' or 'threatened'? "
Two pairs of eyes seldom blinked as one left hand moved the mouse as diverse species of filenames flickered by: “Acidrain,” “Karnerbluebutterfly,” “trillium,” “whitenosesyndrome,” “zebramussels.” Another folder contained inter-department communiques, the printed duplicates of which already littered the room. “You can dump most of that stuff, Mack. ‘Procedures for blah-blah-blah. Health and safety.’ Nobody bothers with that stuff.”
“I don’t know, Dude– it could be the first thing they look for, we better check it!”
For the first time in several years, the file was opened, the contents of whichread as follows:
115-40 (Rev. 2001)
STATE DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION AND
Protocols for Health and Safety
1.0 It is mandated that the SDCE headquarters located the State Capital and all satellite and field offices and research facilities maintain this description of the following health and safety regulations, and a copy of such be accessible in a prominent place.
“See? I told ya. Same old, same old.”
Both of the workers could hear the sound of a vehicle entering the long gravel driveway. Each retrieved a previously abandoned trash bag and in their last-minute scrambling, left the computer alone.
1.1 It is further required that these protocols are maintained and updated on a regular basis //////////
i could ask myself ‘what was i thinking’ but thinking had nothing to do with it. guess if a brain shrinks the thinking capacity would shrink along with it but what they call the reptilian part that controls emotions is working in apple pie order. i remormer apple pie and warm baths and music but i do not miss machines even the one that brings music. i can still make words on this machine but i cannot type. i have to hit the letters with this stick thing oh thats rite it is a pencil in my mouth like humans who are quadripeliacs and crippled cannot hit two letters at the same time so i can not make the letters big. i saw words with pictures when i was little about a cockroach who typed by jumping on the letters and he could not make them big too. why do I remormer that this is selective mormory but i cannot do the selecting myself. i cant come up with most of the things like the right word and i cant forget the things i want to lose. there was a word i heard when people wanted me i think it was lou.
last time walking uprite was the eve of st hubert stubborn fax that strangely stay. still living inside then the den was in a big box that had many dens where others lived. there was a big hole in the wall the size of a mans fist alpha male maybe. he was all abusive and a big scratch on my cheek a black eye. he finally stopped and yelled no more except all snorting and wheezing. quickly then i awoke the little ones all sleepy and confuzed and put them in his machine that moves and took them to the female who had given me my own birth. then in the machine my back started to hurt a 1000 hurts or maybe one monster hurt 1000 times. my back bent over like a boulder on top of it. could not make the machine move but could move my legs and arms. next i was on the ground creeping on what people say all 4s.
as i said i used to have fingers but they left me that night in the second month of the cold season nervember that is what people called it. what used to be hands made marks in the dirt and later the snow. i could still hear maybe better than before but the ears were different then now with points on top of my head. couldn’t stay there
not with the lights and the people and the 100s of machines going back and forth some with big boxes on their backs and frightening roars
north i went do north where my instink told me there would be less of these things that suddenly put fear in me . north I went along the wide sticks where the long machines would move with a clacking sound that tickled my ears. the sun came up got dim went down again and nights and days came and went one after the other. a vicious hunger gnawed at me and water dripped from my mouth. along the gray wide strip of hard ground there were crushed and crimpled things and a round box that had inside it things that were once birds but now crusted with hard bread. from the old life i remormed these and remormed as well howling how the round box came without things to eat them with and crinkly and crimpled sheets to wipe off my mouth. now in my ravinusness i crunched down on all of it with my sharp teeth which cracked and crushed the bones.
there was another hunger - another instink compeling me to hunt for smaller weaker things chase them down and devour them like i devoured the trash along the along the road yes that is what they called it the road. one day i saw a small thing with ears bigger and more pointy than mine and two hungers nearly overpowered me.
the chase becan begin began and the creature ran faster and faster. here i was keeping up and had the poor thing cornered. i sprang forward and stopped mid lunge no i would not eat him i could not no
north i kept going north up the big hills, mountains i guess they call ‘em. night came just as i came to the top and the round thing in the sky showed itself big and golden. all of a suddin i wanted to sing I wanted to give it a song from the earth but i opened my mouth and not a sound came from my throat not an ooo or an owwwwll nothing came
standing there on the peek my long nose tilted upward looking at the tiny sparkling things and the big round – moon that was it, the moon and the stars – i refleckted about this strange change in me and wunnered why I was stuck between these two whirlds what had i done that this should happen to me
that st huberts eve so long ago . the alpha male it was the machines the machine he sits in front of to look at pictures that move and make sounds and the machine I used to suck up dust did to his machine only by axcident that made him rage. how his words tortured me you want to clean then clean yourself up you ugly beast he said. i cant stan the site of you and your constandt demans on me you want to go live out in the country go - go and take those screaming brats with you. then he broke things like I broke his machines except i did it by axcident until he drank the yellow stuff in the brown bottle and fell down on the couch and fell deeply asleep
oh i miss my pups and their softest of skin and their eyes all sparking even when wet with tears and their sweet voices gentle as the autumn sun. they would love the country these places where those who sniff the grass and hide so shy between the trees have always lived. while people congregulated to places with the wooden and boxes stuck close together. they stayed with their own kind except for those who heard the song of the moon and saw the gorgeousness of nature in their souls-- do i still have a soul i wunner. more and more machines came and dug the dirt and took away our feeding places . til those of us were forced from our dens and came down from the hills into their back yards and their rolling green fields where they ride around in little machines to attack a tiny white round thing with skinny sticks. and if they see us they get all panicky and reach for the firearm or a steel blade maybe a weapon blest by st hubert
and oh how they hate us, and imbrew their whelps with fear of us – they say we are big and we are bad and we will swallow your grandmother and blow your house in. never mind that one of us nursed the babe who grew up to find– found that city – that is the word city- of Romulus. never mind that one of us has never harmed one of their own kind in this land ever never
yet we are forced to wander and drift as i do. until i came upon this square building made of rock in a little field between the woods next to a —a--road made of little stones where outside were boxes made of metal where smaller creatures whimpered and moaned. last night i jumped thru the window and found the machine and the pencil and made the words to tell this tale of how i changed and did not no how the change came without a warning and that if it happened to me it can happen to anybody even in the city. I am witting this just in case somebody wants to no whatever happened to the she-person with yellow hair who people used to call lou
“ He’s here!”
In a swooping motion one of the workers clicked the mouse until a message came up: “Are you sure you want to delete this file?” and he clicked it again.