The Ogre in the Bar [Flash Fiction]

Brad knew he was drunk because the ogre across from him was buying another round.
“Listen,” said the ogre. “I’m telling you, man, Shrek was the worst thing that ever happened to us. I mean, sure, now everyone loves ogres, right? But the problem is now we got standards. Before that blasted movie it was pretty much do-what-you-want, you know? No ogre told another ogre how to set up his swamp. Now, though, now we all gotta look kind of humble and be bad-tempered but not too much, and a lot of us have even started buying donkeys and turning their places into tourist attractions, and that’s just selling out as far as I’m concerned.”
“Yeah,” said Brad. “Yeah, that’s right.” He took a long sip of his sixth – or maybe eighth – glass of beer. “Tell me, friend,” he slurred, peering shortsightedly over the tops of his glasses, trying not to see the ogre too clearly. “How you got money to buy me all these drinks? Do ogres have jobs?”
The ogre looked offended. “‘Course we do! What do you think, we just loaf around all day making bubbles in mud-baths? See, that’s another thing, Shrek’s this layabout bum who doesn’t do nothing, and now people think we’re all like that.”
“What do you do, then?”
“Construction, mostly. Got the natural muscles for it. Sometimes I get a shift or two as a bouncer. But some of us have gone to school, you know, gotten an education, used brains instead of brawn and all that.”
“That’s great,” Brad said. He clicked his fingers at the waitress, who shot him an angry glance. “I think I’ll get the tab, man. I’m pretty beat.”
“Sure, sure, whatever you want. If you’re around tomorrow come by to chat. I’m here almost every night after work.”
Brad nodded vaguely. When he got home and climbed into bed, he thought about the ogre’s offer to hang out again. He had a feeling, though, that he would never to go to any bar on that side of town ever again.

Advertisements

Creatures of the Mind

Far off in the meadow,

Resides the fairy queen.

She’s always dressed in yellow,

Her face always serene.

**

High up in the cloudy sky,

Santa Clause snores away.

His wife bakes him apple pie,

For warmth on chilly days.

**

Deep down in the earth,

The devil plays at cards.

He welcomes to his turf,

All sinners, cheats and bards.

**

In every theater around,

Dionysus spends some time.

He helps sew up the gowns,

And always shares his wine.

**

The graveyards hold Death,

In all his austere glory.

He’ll take away your breath,

When it’s time – don’t be sorry.

**

In recesses of our minds,

Inside the hearts of all,

Live things we can’t define,

Unreal creatures, great and small.

 

 

A Story Excerpt

I was inspired today to start writing something else in addition to my main project. It was one of those things, like Robin of a few days ago, that just started writing itself in my head before I was ready for it. Luckily, I was able to turn immediately to my computer and write. This is only about half of what I’ve written so far, and I don’t know how much potential it has, but I’m going to keep working on it, because, well, I feel like it!

**

The sirens began to wail all over the city, and we made ourselves ready. We all knew what the sound meant. In our shelter, Ben and I gathered up the weapons we had at our disposal – he a staff, and I my twin daggers. He’d learned how to use a staff at his mother’s knee, and he wielded it as if it were part of his body. I envied his skill, especially when he’d shown me that the extras he’d added to his weapon. When twisted in the center, sharp steel blades shot out of either end of the heavy wooden staff, heavier still with the lead infused in it. I could hardly lift the thing, although I’d tried often enough. Ben had the muscles of an infomercial bodybuilder – he’d added two pounds of lead to the staff every year since he hit his teens.

My skills were harder won, for I wasn’t a child of violence. I had never meant to join the revolutionaries, never meant to get tangled up in any of this. My parents were simple folk, and I grew up in a small town near the coast. I learned fishing and cooking while Ben learned the fighting arts from his mother. While he sweated in the gym, I paddled happily in the vast salt lake’s waters. While he took his oath and swore his dedication to the rebellion and revolution, I was picked as beauty queen of the seventh grade. While he debated and studied philosophy and the way of life in which we lived, I was blissfully unaware of anything outside my small community. I didn’t even know how downtrodden we were.

We were allowed television, although no Internet access. I knew vaguely about the Net because of visitors that came to the coast to enjoy some free time. They often complained about the isolation – the radios only caught music stations, and our televisions had no news channels. In our town, the war might well have been a myth. It was a myth to me until I reached adulthood at seventeen and was allowed the knowledge that had been barred from me during my childhood: the world was at war.

From My Notebook

The title of this post could alternately be “What I Do At Work.” Meaning, I often do a lot more than answer calls and explain the inner-workings of credit limits during the hours sitting at a computer with a headset murdering my ear. I have a notebook, currently a sweet red one, that I keep with me at all times in my backpack. This notebook is a constant companion as I sit and work, and whenever I can, I scribble in it. Oftentimes, I’m just rambling about nonsense. At other times, I’m actually trying to write something of substance – a well phrased thought or a story, say. Today was one of those times when I was struck with a concept, and I started writing it. However, unlike other times, I ran out of what to do with it very quickly. I’d still like to put it down here, if only for future reference; in case I happen to think of how to continue it one day. And so, I present the following, copied from my very own hand-writing:

Corinne was dreaming again. She often dreamt, but normally didn’t remember her dreams. This was different, though.

She dreamt she was dressed in an elegant and very sheer white cloth. It was fastened over one shoulder with a golden clasp, leaving her other shoulder bare. On her head rested a crown, a delicate one, almost a tiara really, that was also made of gold. Corinne dreamt she was in a large and airy white building. There weren’t any walls, only many columns holding the roof up.

As she dreamt, she knew without a doubt that she was in a temple, and knew with even more certainty that she was a goddess. Which temple, which goddess – these were mysteries that didn’t seem to matter at that moment.

In her dream-world, she looked about her, trying to find either peers or subjects, but the temple was utterly empty. She was standing on a dais at one end of it, and had a good view of the whole space, so she had no doubt that she really was alone. With the same strange knowledge that told her she was a goddess, she knew also that she wouldn’t remain alone, nor the temple remain empty, for much longer.

She was right, and very soon, the temple filled.

This is as far as I’d gotten before my inspiration ran dry. I hate when that happens, but perhaps one day I’ll figure out if this leads to anything, and, if so, what it leads to. This is one of the things I’m learning as I go along – I discard many of my ideas, but I may come back to them, so I’m better safe than sorry by writing down the silliest of them even if it leads to naught.

Superpowers

As countless and timeless stories tell us, we humans have always striven for something more than our mortal talents. Stories as old as the Greek and Roman myths tell of people who had the gift of seeing the future or supernatural strength or cunning that took them far. Stories in the bible tell of the gift of speaking with animals or of healing or of being able to talk to god. We’ve always been and always will be fascinated with things that are beyond the every-day things that we can do.

I’ve heard many people ask each other what superpower they’d choose if they could. This question has always stumped me.

Mind reading? Oh no, way too horrible. I don’t want to know what everyone is thinking, because most thoughts would probably be either extremely tedious [“I’m hungry… What should I eat? Yum, grilled cheese!”] or disturbing [“What I wouldn’t do to that guy… *Rated R thoughts*”].

Invisibility? Seems depressing, in a way. Sure, it would be useful for spying on people or stalking them, but I wonder if it would be that easy to turn it on and off like that. Plus, stalking should involve more effort than that or it’s not worth it, right?

Super strength? Meh – Buffy Summers is cool, but I’ve yet to face a vampire and so I don’t really know whose face I’d want to bash in anyhow. Girl-power would be cool, but I don’t want to be scary…

I suppose the only superpower I’d really welcome would be the ability to fly at will. Being able to soar around would be wonderful, and I can’t think of a drawback to it. But really, that’s the only super-power that I can see as being worth anything.

So… how about you?