Jake’s New Job

Hackers always wear ski masks. I have watched enough corporate training videos to know this for a fact. I would say that these ski masks are for hiding the hacker’s identity, but they seem a little unnecessary given that hackers always work from dark basements illuminated only by the eerie green light of their computer screens. Of course, I am not a technical person myself, so I attribute my confusion on this matter to ignorance. 

This is what Jake looked like when he worked from the basement of his parent’s house. He told them he had gotten a scholarship to Rouvin University, but in actuality he had been funding his education by stealing personal information and selling it on the dark web. 

Now, according to my research, hacking involves typing furiously for a good sixty seconds and then slamming the enter key. If upon doing so, strings of green zeros and ones started shooting vertically up a dark screen, your hacking was successful.

Jake did exactly this. His target was the Social Security Administration’s database. His heart pounded as those green letters flickered up the screen. 

His hands trembled with exhilaration. He breathed deeply, trying to calm his nerves. 

The code dispersed revealing a webpage, but not the one he was hoping for. He stared for a long moment at the screen. 

He was in some kind of a document. 

It was titled: Llama Lover.

Jake’s lips twisted into a puzzled half smile. He started reading:

It was a memory, clear as glass and old as time.

A boy. 

A boy standing on the street corner. He was skinny with long arms and legs and a mop of white hair on his head. But his neck, his neck was so long, unnaturally long, it would have disturbed me if he didn’t have such a nice face. 

I remember how he smiled at me.

For that one brief moment, I felt like I could be totally myself. I felt like I was truly at home. A car past blocking my view, and when it disappeared he was gone. 

That was four years ago. I still think about that boy.

What was this garbage? Somehow he’d ended up in someone’s Google doc, reading… he had no idea what. 

He was about to close the window and make a second attempt at the government database, when he noticed a mistake. 

Past should have been passed.  He rolled his eyes and made the correction. 

He wondered if it was all this bad? He skimmed down to the next segment. 

Ive never been like the other girls. Im not into boys or makeup really. Since I started school here, Madison has been bugging me to hang out. She’s nice Madison She’s sweet and everyone says shes fun.  

So why can’t I connect with her? Why can’t I connect with anyone? Why am I different?

Jake noticed some missing apostrophes and added them. Whatever this was it was laughable, so bad he was actually kind of enjoying it. 

Everyone is talking about Fernando Fredrickson. He is an exchange student from Peru apparently. Madison has a serious crush on him. All the girls do. Well, all except me. Id never even seen him, at least until that day last week at the library.

He has blue eyes–blue like the south pacific. A pacific that would pull you into its depths and drown you. A blue and wild sea you wouldn’t want to be saved from. He has broad shoulders, strong broad shoulders that probably make it difficult to pass through doors. I would cut myself on the angles of his face if I ever were to stroke it (not that I have any reason for doing that.)

Jake couldn’t tear his eyes from the appalling text, with its bad analogies and grammatical errors. He had no choice but to continue. 

The more he read, the more he hated the main character. Her name was Arianna Royal. She was “troubled” and “different”. He wasn’t sure what else she was, because the author neglected to give her any other character attributes. She had a bunch of very nice friends at her highschool. They were always inviting her to do things  but she continually refused to spend time with them. Instead she chose to spend time with the mysterious Fernando because “From the first moment she saw him, she felt a connection she couldn’t explain.” 

Of course it was blatantly obvious to Jake that she felt a connection with him because he was the boy from the flashback in the beginning. 

Fernando only had one character trait–he was obsessed with Arianna. Interestingly enough, this seemed to be the defining characteristic of all the men in the story.  

Jake could not figure out why. She was a passive person without dreams or hopes or motivation of any kind. Reading was her only hobby, though the author didn’t even mention what genres she liked. She repeatedly described herself as “not pretty like the other girls”. Yet, despite all this, there wasn’t a boy at the highschool, who wasn’t desperate for a date with her. 

But she ignored them all, all except the mysterious Fernando.  Arianna and Fernando had chemistry like a rock and a stick have chemistry. They spent their days staring at each other and whispering. Fernando had a secret. 

Hes hiding something from me. I beg him to open up to tell me his secret, but he always dodges the question, changes the subject or turns the conversation to other matters. His neck is too long, and he is always chewing gum. There are always flys circling his head, and a musty alfalfa smell lingers on his clothes. Fernando why won’t you tell me your secret?

Jake guessed Fernando’s secret immediately. The title of the document gave it away. Fernando was a llama or werellama. Further reading indicated that Fernando was a llama “shifter”. 

Now Jake had been to corners of the internet he didn’t care to revisit and thought he had seen everything there was to see, but he had never before encountered a llama shifter romance. 

He had had it. He compulsively corrected the grammatical errors in the paragraph before him and closed the doc. He never found out what happened to Fernando and Arianna. He hoped they were happy. (Actually, he wouldn’t have cared if they had both been flattened by a steamroller.) 

 A few months later, Jake was looking for used textbooks on Amazon. Hacking hadn’t been as lucrative as he had hoped. Almost everyone’s personal information was already on the dark web, so the market was saturated.

He was pinching pennies wherever he could. As he scrolled, he noticed an ad in his feed. It was for a book called Llama Lover. The cover was a badly edited stock photo of a shirtless man in blue jeans. He was casting a shadow but instead of taking the man’s shape, it formed the silhouette of a llama.

Jake chuckled to himself and clicked the ad. His smirk vanished immediately. The first line of the description read: Over 1 million copies sold! A quick search verified the claim. 

Jake gave up hacking and took on an honest profession–writing shifter romance novels. His pen name was Jamie Smith. Everyone thought he was a twenty-nine year old woman instead of a nineteen year old  college student wearing a ski mask in his parent’s basement. 

He reused the same plot over and over again, just changing the setting slightly along with the kind of animal the shifter turned into. 

And again and again the books sold. He eventually made enough to drop out of college, and start a tech company. He invented a platform that made it easy for authors to create and distribute content. He had downloadable plot and character templates, tagline generators, and more. 

Users could find books they loved, books they hated, and books they loved to hate. 

Katy’s Note: The above story is dedicated to Amelia. When I asked her to pitch me the worst romance idea she could think of, she responded “llama shifter” without a moment’s hesitation. This is what friendship is all about.


Osa and the Bald One

STOP! Before reading this story, read: Osa and the Food Gods

Otherwise you might be confused. Happy reading!

Tango the parrot was listening to Juan as he communicated with a fellow god through the sacred handset. The bird’s head was slightly cocked. As he listened, his feathers puffed up, and his pupils shrank to the size of pinholes. Osa knew this meant trouble. 

“The Bald One is coming,” Tango prophesied. 

Osa whimpered and trotted in place on jittery paws. Tango was perched on the back of a chair near the kitchen table.

“Who is the Bald One?” She asked. It had only been a few weeks since she was added to the Rodriguez family and she was learning new things everyday. 

“Even the gods have a god,” Tango explained. “The god’s god is the Bald One and he is an evil god.” 

Osa looked sideways at Juan with a terrified expression. God Juan was pacing around the kitchen balancing the sacred handset between his shoulder and his ear. He patted Osa’s head and gave her a kibble. She thumped her tail and licked his hand, but even that did not quell the terror she felt inside.

“God Juan would never allow an evil god into our home,” Osa objected. 

“God Juan fears the Bald One,” explained the parrot. “The Bald One is the food stealer, the feather puller, the snatcher of jingly toys. When he wails the other gods flock to him to appease his wrath.”

Osa was shaking all over, she turned in a circle, then ripped a tassel off the rug with her teeth. Luckily, God Juan’s back was to her so he didn’t notice. “When will the Bald One come?” 

“No one knows the day nor the hour,” Tango began, then paused for a moment to listen to Juan. “But probably Saturday at noon.” 

Osa was overcome with another wave of anxiety. She tore a second tassel off the rug. 

“What should we do?” Osa cried. 

“You must avoid the Bald One at all costs,” Tango explained. “And most importantly, do not reprimand him even if he pulls your tail or bites your paws. If you do, the other gods will punish you.”

Osa tore off a third tassel. She was so nervous she swallowed it without even thinking.

“Will I know the Bald One when I see him?”

“Without a doubt! He is like a god, but horribly distorted.” Tango explained. “His head is a third the size of his body, his limbs are small and shriveled looking, he does not walk upright like most gods but slides across the floor on his belly. He has no teeth, but a very strong bite. His hands grab whatever he can reach and his grip is iron. He is much smaller than the other gods. They carry him from place to place. Though we know him as the Bald One, the gods call him by another name.”

“What name?” Osa asked. 

“I dare not say it,” Tango answered. “It is a dark and evil name.”

“Please tell me!” Osa begged. 

The parrot looked around and lowered his voice. “Lucas.”

Osa howled and spun in circles. She ripped three more tassels off the rug. Juan spun around at the sound. He dropped the sacred handset and charged toward her crying out in Human. Osa didn’t understand Human the way that Tango did, but she knew a few words here and there. 

For instance, she knew “¡Osa Mala!” meant “You have sinned against the gods”.

¡No coma eso!” was what Juan usually shouted before prying her mouth open. It probably meant You must offer me a piece of your food in reparation for this sin.

God Juan forced Osa’s mouth open and pulled out a few strands of tassel. Then, he snatched up the sacred handset and continued communing with the other god.

Osa spent the next two nights dreading the arrival of the Bald One. She hid under the gods’ bed whimpering and picturing the awful thing Tango described. The horrible little limbs, the unnaturally oversized head… her imagination plagued her nightmares with images of the abomination. 

At last, Saturday came. She knew it was Saturday because the gods did not ascend to the place called Work. She swore that nothing in the universe could coax her out of hiding on that awful day. Then she heard the treat box shaking and broke her oath.

She charged toward the noise and skittered into the kitchen, where she saw God Juan holding the box. She danced up and down, her claws making a tapping sound on the tile floor. Then, suddenly she noticed a pair of strange gods standing next to him. There was a tall skinny bearded man and a stout red-haired woman with a ponytail. They both looked friendly and Osa would normally have run up to greet them, but she stayed back, her eyes fixed on the little creature in the woman’s arms. It could only be the Bald One, the evil one, the one called Lucas.

For a moment, Osa was petrified with horror. But then she looked curiously at the thing. 

It was as Tango described—giant head, tiny limbs, but it was not hideous. On the contrary, it was somehow endearing. And it smelled wonderful, more wonderful than anything Osa had ever smelled before. It must have been using some kind of evil magic to hide its true nature. 

The gods went into the living room and Osa followed cautiously. The goddess holding the Bald One put him down on the rug. He did not slide on its stomach like Tango suggested but instead walked on all fours like her. Then, it noticed an old potato chip lying under the coffee table. The Bald One charged toward the chip, picked it up, and put it in its mouth. 

No coma eso!” The woman called. She grabbed the Bald One and pried his mouth open removing the remains of the chip. The Bald One released an awful wail just as Tango had described. 

That sound made Osa feel horrible inside. She pitied the Bald One. Perhaps Tango was wrong about him being the god’s god? They did not seem to fear him at all. They would never steal a snack away from their own god, would they? She wanted to help the Bald One, to find it another potato chip. She knew there were more behind the recliner, she had been saving them in case of famine. 

She waited until the goddess returned the Bald One to the carpet and was engaged in conversation with the other gods, then she retrieved one of the chips and brought it to the Bald One. He broke into a huge smile and gobbled it up. Osa’s tail thumped up and down against the carpet when she realized he was happy.

Then she brought him another chip and another and soon his face and bald head were covered in crumbs. So she licked him head to foot until he was clean. As she did so, he grabbed her face and ears and pulled.  He did have an iron grip, but it didn’t hurt. His pulling and tugging reminded her of the dogs she used to play with in the place called Shelter. Then something occurred to her—this creature was more dog-like than any of the other gods, but he was also more human-like than any of the other animals in the house. 

Perhaps, he was meant to be some kind of mediator between the gods and their creatures. She decided to ask Tango about it, but couldn’t find him anywhere. As she walked into the gods’ room, she noticed Dutchess glaring down at her from the bed.

“Where is the prophet?” Osa asked. 

“How should I know?” She answered. “Is that kitten still out there?”

“What kitten?” Osa asked. 

“The people kitten,” Dutchess replied. She flattened her ears against the top of her head. “I hate people kittens. They like to pull on my fur.”

“You mean the Bald One?” Osa asked. 

“He is sort of naked, isn’t he?” Dutchess replied.

Then it clicked. That funny little creature in the living room was a people kitten, or maybe a god puppy! At once, Osa knew what she had to do. She followed the god puppy for the rest of the afternoon. She brought him crumbs and kibbles and lint so that he wouldn’t go hungry. She even let him drink from her water bowl. She licked him, and played with him, and never once left him until his parents took him home.  She whimpered sadly as she watched them leave through the window. She heard Juan get the treat box out of the cupboard. He stooped down and fed her from his hand. She must have done something to make him happy because he rubbed her head and neck all the while saying: “¡Buen Osa! ¡Muy Bein!” That was one of those human phrases that she understood, it made her tail thump uncontrollably.


The Octopus

An octopus scurried over the sandy sea bottom. She was deep in thought, wondering if such a thing as free will exists or if all behavior has a cause outside of individual control. As she contemplated the possible answers, a diver approached. He stopped right above her and dropped a jar in her path. 

When she saw that the jar contained a shrimp, she realized her pondering was making her hungry. She wrapped her tentacles around the container and spent a few moments working at the lid while the diver observed. It was secured fast and after only a few moments, the octopus gave up and continued on her way. 

Her eight legs swirled beneath her as they carried her home to her cave in the reef. She thought about the diver, wondering what kind of a stupid creature would keep a shrimp in a container that was impossible to open. She had several crabs waiting for her back home and they were easily accessible. 

As she hurried along, she decided to shift her thinking away from the question of free will for a while. She considered herself more of a mathematician than an ethical philosopher and wanted to ponder the many practical applications of the Pythagorean theorem. 

 The diver, meanwhile, returned to his boat and met with his waiting companions. He reported that the octopus was unable to remove the screw top from the jar. He went on to suggest that octopuses were not as intelligent as originally suspected. 

So what’s the moral of this story? 

If you measured my intelligence by my ability to open pickle jars, you would think I am completely stupid (especially since I have opposable thumbs, unlike your average octopus).

However, if you took me out to coffee and spent some time speaking with me, you’d find me just as intelligent as anyone else. 

The moral of this story is that scientists should spend time talking to their octopuses before judging them. Have you ever seen a scientist asking an octopus what she’s read lately? I haven’t. It’s infuriating. 

I would also like to note that reading an octopus’s tweets is no substitute for a face-to-face conversation. Tweets should never be used to measure anyone’s intelligence.


Rouvin the Philosopher

The people of Helevina know very well that one’s ability to reason is directly proportional to the length of one’s beard. Now there was a man who lived in Helevina  a very long time ago, whose beard was particularly long. His face was especially stern because he’d wrinkled his forehead with so much thinking. His name was Rouvin and he was a philosopher. But Rouvin wasn’t just any philosopher, he was arguably the greatest philosopher in history.

He wrote about everything from the nature of thought, to the human soul, to God Himself. Though his teachings caused his students to gape, scribes to scribble furiously, and the kings of the world to seek his counsel, the only thing they brought to God was an amused little smile.

This, dear readers, is Rouvin’s story, and I regret to say, it is not a happy one. It begins when he was just a young man (though even in his youth he was bearded. In fact, historical evidence suggests he was born bearded). He lived in a little village on the eastern side of Helevina that overlooked the sea. It was here that he first learned to wonder, and the delight he experienced in wondering was so sweet that once he began he never voluntarily ceased.

Day in and day out he would watch the world, question it, contemplate it, test his conclusions, and finally put them on paper. He spent so much time doing this, he would have starved to death if it hadn’t been for a young lady from the village. She’d remind him to eat, remind him to sleep, and when she visited his home she’d clean it thoroughly and scold him for allowing it to fall into disarray. She was as practical as he was theoretical and as down to earth as he was absent minded. Her name was Sophia, and Rouvin was very fond of her. As long as she was by his side, all his temporal needs were cared for and he was free to think.

She was fond of him also, for she could see that he had a brilliant mind and their conversations inspired and enriched her. Together they were happy…at first.

As time went on, Rouvin was consumed in his work more and more. He became so engrossed in his thoughts on the social nature of man that he stopped conversing with Sophia. Then, so busy penning his work on the nature of human affection that he forgot to offer her any. While he wrote seven hundred pages about the nature of human emotion, he failed to notice her growing frustration.

All this took place over the course of three years, and toward the end of the third year Rouvin the philosopher began what is widely considered his greatest work. To this day, the work brings even the most stately academics into a state of uncontrollable sobbing for its sheer splendor. He titled it: On Marriage and the Nature of Love.

On the very day that he sat putting the final touches on this great work, Sophia decided to confront him. She was carrying a basket of his togas out to wash, when she noticed him sitting in his usual place scribbling furiously onto a scroll. She paused before him, silently reading his words.

She cleared her throat. Rouvin jumped, his pen flying from his hand. He looked up toward her bewildered.

“You have said that an actual thing is greater than the idea of a thing,” Sophia began.

The philosopher shook off his confusion and smiled.

“Quite so!” He replied both alarmed and delighted by her understanding.

“It follows then,” she continued. “That actual marriage is greater than the idea of marriage.”

Rouvin thought for a moment, then answered: “Why yes! That’s exactly right. I’m so glad that you are beginning to understand these things, my dear!” With that, he began searching for his pen. Finding it, he turned his attention back to his writing.

After a few moments, he glanced up. She was still standing there, staring at him, her brow furrowed and her jaw tight.

“Was there something else you wanted?” He asked.

Her hand clenched the handle of the basket so that it almost snapped in two but her expression did not change.

“I suppose actual clean laundry is also greater than the idea of clean laundry,” she stated.

“I suppose so,” he answered raising an eyebrow. He wasn’t sure why she was still on this subject.

“But since you seem content to live in the world of ideas…” she dumped the basket on his head and stormed out.

When she did not come home the following day, he went out into the village to look for her. His neighbors told him she’d left by ship to seek her fortune in Athens.

Now Rouvin was arguably the most brilliant man that ever lived. And while he’d answered some of the greatest questions in the universe, he could not make sense of Sophia’s behavior.

He spent many a long evening sitting alone among his scrolls, sipping wine, and contemplating this question. Indeed, he thought about it so much that his hair turned white and his face became frozen in a scowl. At last, he finally came to a conclusion and penned his most infamous work. If you asked your philosophy professor about it, I guarantee he will deny its existence.

The work is titled: On the Nature of Women. In this work, Rouvin concludes that women are so enslaved by in their emotions that they are completely incapable of reason.

Having satisfied himself with the idea that Sophia’s behavior was a result of her feminine nature, he decided to move onto other questions. Further, he resolved never to interact with a woman again. Of course, this was easier said than done, due to the inconvenient fact that women made up half the human population. And it only became more difficult after that fateful day when Lysander the Conqueror attacked.

If you ask a child what he wants to be when he grows up, he might say a doctor, a firefighter, or an engineer. When Lysander the Conqueror was a little boy, his mother asked him this very question. He answered: “I want to rule the world!” His mother laughed and patted him on the head. What she didn’t realize is that one day he would actually do it.

Lysander valued three things above all else: books, conquering (obviously), and his darling war horse Calla. He’d have married Calla if he could, but marrying horses was frowned upon in those days even for the ruler of the world.

The day Lysander invaded, Rouvin was so absorbed in thought he failed to notice the attack on his village until one of the conqueror’s warriors broke down the door. The man would have killed the terrified philosopher right then and there if Lysander himself hadn’t intervened. You see, when the invader stormed in, one of Rouvin’s scrolls came rolling out into the street. Lysander (being a lover of books and all) stopped killing people for a moment so he could read it. The work was called On Horses: Highest of Animals.

The conqueror rushed to the house. Luckily for Rouvin, the invading soldier, blade raised for the kill, paused mid-blow (it was the kind of hesitation one has when one is about to kill the protagonist of an incomplete story). It gave Lysander just enough time to burst in shouting: “STOP!”

Then catching his breath, he held the open scroll out toward Rouvin. “Did you write this?” he demanded.

The wide-eyed philosopher nodded.

“Wonderful!” the conqueror exclaimed. “You’ll come back to the capital with me and teach at the university! Every student in the empire will come to know that horses are the highest of animals! And we will add your works to my library! You will have wealth and power and fame and servants to do your bidding. Everything you’ve ever wanted will be yours!”

Rouvin agreed immediately because he was afraid of dying (also wealth and fame sounded pretty good). And so the conqueror took the philosopher back to Logus, capital of his home country. It was beyond anything Rouvin could have imagined (which is saying a lot since he spent most of the day in his mind). The many intersecting roads were paved with cobblestone, every building touched the sky. Greenery only appeared in places designated by city officials. Every pigeon was washed and combed before it could enter the street. And by Lysander’s decree, every warrior had to wear a brush on his helmet so he could dust the ceiling as he walked through a room.

Rouvin became quite comfortable in the city. He spent most of his days in the royal zoo. Lysander had a habitat for him there, complete with scrolls, togas, a beard comb, and five to ten half empty cups of coffee. A plaque in front of the exhibit explained that these were philosopher enrichment items.

When Rouvin wasn’t in his exhibit, he was in the library. Lysander the Conqueror had a magnificent library. It was the second largest building in the city. (The first was the temple of Lune, the god of vermin.) The books fueled Rouvin’s thoughts. In the few short years, the philosopher lived in Logus, he wrote more than he had in all years previous.

Now Lysander had a wife (he actually had many, but only one is important to this story). Her name was Amira. She was a princess taken from a distant corner of the empire. Unlike the conqueror’s other wives, she could read and would spend most of her days sitting cross legged on the library floor, absorbing one book after another. Lynsander found this amusing and when he was showing distinguished guests around his great city, he would often point her out.


“Look,” he’d say. “There’s the Anamian princess reading again. Isn’t that delightful?”

She’s shoot him cold glares which he’d ignore.

Of course Rouvin saw her too, and would grumble to himself that they’d allow a woman in the library. Luckily, she was the only woman there and easy for him to avoid. At least until she stumbled upon one of his works.

It was his work on God. In those days, most people worshiped many gods, the people of Logus being no exception. They had gods for everything you can possibly imagine. They had gods of the elements (fire, water, earth, and air), gods of the weather (thunder, wind, hail, and the like). They also had gods of oddly specific things, for example, the dying llama god. They did not have a god for healthy llamas, nor a gods for similar animals like alpacas so their religion lacked consistency.

But after many, many, years of thinking, Rouvin had come to the conclusion that there was only one God and had written extensively on the subject in his work: The Creator of the Universe. Amira read it twice through and it fueled her curiosity. She began collecting and reading through Rouvin’s other works. His books inspired a thousand questions, she wanted to learn more, everything she possibly could. So when she spotted Rouvin in the library one day, she decided to approach him.

He was sitting at a table, completely lost in his work and did not notice her walking toward him. You can imagine is alarm when she plopped The Creator of the Universe on the table in front of him, and said: “I’d like to know more about your one God.”


His surprise turned to anger when he’d a moment to take her in. There she was, standing before him, a basket of scrolls perched on her hip. For a moment, he was swept back to his old home, to the laundry, to Sophia…

“Go away,” he hissed, turning his attention back to his scroll. 

She clenched her teeth. In her homeland, no one would have dared speak to her so. She was respected as a queen. She reminded herself that things were different here. She just another wife of Lysander and a lesser one at that. She maintained her composure.

“Please,” she insisted. “I want to know more about your one God.”

Go away,” he repeated.

And this time she did not ask again. She left without a word, the curiosity about the one God extinguished and replaced by a bitter lump. Then things got worse. The very next day she resumed her browsing, and stumbled upon On The Nature of Women. The bitter lump in her heart grew into a nasty resentment. And all her frustrations started boiling over. She decided she hated Logus, Lysander, and whole empire. She hated Rouvin, and his God, and all his works with him. It didn’t matter how beautiful and how true most of them were. In her mind, all were tainted by his work on feminine nature.

Shortly thereafter Lysander the Conqueror became a victim of a horrible accident. A knife fell on him while he was sleeping. Luckily, on the evening of his death, he’d written a note naming Amira’s son his heir. The people of Logus thought this peculiar considering Amira’s son was only two and Lysander’s youngest child. No one pointed this out though since Lysander also noted that anyone who questioned this should be thrown into The Pit of Death and Dismemberment.

Since it’s very hard to understand the babblings of a two year old, the nobles of Logus relied on Amira to interpret the words of their new emperor. She explained that the child’s first order was to throw Rouvin into the above mentioned pit. The philosopher was so horrified at hearing this that he immediately died of a heart attack. The people of Logus were very disappointed because watching victims fall screaming into the Pit of Death and Dismemberment was one of their favorite pastimes. (This was how people entertained themselves before HBO was invented.)

Amira’s son then declared that all the treasures of Logus be moved to Anamia and the capital be burned to the ground. People protested and war broke out. In the end, the city was burned and none of the treasures survived. The library, the university, and the zoo were all lost. Oh yes, and lots and lots and lots of people died. And it all happened because the greatest thinker in history, was so enslaved by his emotions that, during a critical moment, he lost his ability to reason.

Thursday Limerick: Horror Movie

Totally not a passive aggressive commentary on my husband’s taste in movies. (It’s an aggressive commentary on my husband’s taste in movies.)

My husband went out and got,
A film with a horrible plot.
It was truly a bore, 
(only blood, guts, and gore).
And surely caused his brain to rot.

Thursday Limerick: The Natureless Lawn

There was a landscaper named Shawn, 
Who cherished his beautiful lawn. 
The sprawling green rug, 
Made him feel pretty smug.
Though any semblance of nature was gone. 

What’s a dandelion or two?

There might be more than two on my lawn…

Actually, I don’t really have a lawn, I have dandelions and dirt.

Is this poem intended to promote conservation? Or is it just me trying to make myself feel better because I seriously need to catch up on yard work?

Send help. I’m having a crisis of morality!!!

Halloween Special: Leftover Vengeance

This is a work of fiction. Any similarities to actual persons or events is purely coincidental.

Actually that’s total BS.

Inspired by a true story…

Joe had a bad habit. He forgot to eat his leftovers. The back of his fridge was full of plastic containers loaded with food in various states of decay. 

To make matters worse, he never cleaned out the containers even when the food was obviously too far gone to consume. He just continued buying new containers and adding to his ever growing fungus collection. 

His roommate, Nick, begged and pleaded every time he saw Joe pouring food from his plate into another leftover box. 

“Please, just throw it out!” 

“I don’t want to waste it,” Joe answered casually. 

“You’re going to waste it anyway!” Nick replied. “When you forget it’s in the fridge.”

“I won’t,” Joe answered. 

“You always say that,” Nick insisted. 

“This time I’ll eat it. I promise.”

It was an empty promise but Nick was kind of a sucker and let Joe get away with it. 

The collection continued to grow. Slowly, over time, Nick noticed a strange smell building up in the kitchen. He realized it was coming from the fridge. 

“Joe, clean out the fridge,” he demanded. 

“I will,” Joe promised. 


“Tomorrow,” Joe answered. 

Joe was lying of course. Not on purpose, but he just couldn’t face the monster he’d created. The thought of opening any of those containers filled him with dread. 

The weeks dragged on. The collection grew. Nick kept begging for deliverance and Joe kept making empty promises. 

Then one evening, as Joe sat on the sofa playing a game on his phone, he heard a knock. 

He looked around. Nick was on a nearby recliner watching a movie, looking equally confused. 

They waited a moment, listening carefully. Then they both shrugged and looked back at their screens. 

Knock. Knock. Knock. 

Joe looked up. Nick looked up. Then they looked at each other.

“I think it’s coming from the kitchen,” Nick said. 

They both moved toward the kitchen to investigate with Joe in the lead and Nick cowering behind him.

The knocking resumed as the fridge came into sight through the entryway.

Knock. Knock… 

Then with a deafening crash the refrigerator door flew open. A vile smell filled the room overpowering their senses. Joe doubled over clutching his stomach while Nick watched in dumbfounded horror as a massive slug-like blob oozed out onto the floor. 

It was covered in green and orange and white fuzz. It’s eyes were like little black marbles perched on top of stalks. Though it didn’t have pupils, Nick could tell it was looking at them. He could feel it. 

Then the creature slithered forward, making an awful lurching sound as it maneuvered. Behind it, a second creature plopped out of the fridge sending empty plastic containers in all directions. 

The awful things would have enveloped Joe and Nick right then and there except that they were a tad too classy. They cooked Joe and Nick into a casserole which they ate off fine china by candle light.

When they were finished, one of the things noticed a few scoops of casserole left in their crystal serving dish.

“Do you think that’s worth saving, Margarat?” The first creature asked.

“Well, we don’t want to waste it, Gerald,” creature Margaret replied.  

“But what if you forget it’s in the fridge?” 

“Me?” Margaret gasped. “I wouldn’t dream of it!” 

“But what if you do?” Gerald insisted. 

“I swear I will not,” Margaret asserted. 

But of course, it was an empty promise. 

Thursday Limerick: Halloween

There once was a fellow named Paul. 
Scary posters covered his hall. 
He was so very keen, 
On getting to Halloween, 
That he wished it could always be Fall. 

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who wear flip-flops until November, and those who put out pumpkins in July.

Which kind are you?