A crowning achievement

It had been A Day. It begun even before it began, with an oversleep not quite long enough to be catastrophic, but severe enough to cause a non-zero amount of stress. Then the tram arrived three minutes early, meaning it’d be a wait for the next one. At work, a shipment had been misplaced, meaning a third of everything was out of stock. This came into full effect when no less than three literal busloads of schoolkids on their way to a soccer tournament descended upon the place and wanted – you guessed it – those very things. On top of it all, some sort of audit or inspection happened, which meant every five minutes some obscure question had to be answered, preferably with polite professionalism

It had been a day. But now it was over, and there was only one comfort food strong enough to unwind from it all. It was time for the one and only

Calzone sushi

Counting the steps

The kitten jumped

Without any ceremony whatsoever, it was then lifted off of the counter and gently – oh so gently, like the first icy shard of snow approaching the ground on a still day – placed on the floor

Three instantlys later, the kitten was back on the kitchen counter. The gentle act of placing it on the floor recommenced. Before anyone could so much as blink, the kitten had teleported back up again

This repeated many a time. Any annoyance at the iterative repetitiveness was, however, firmly displaced by a fascination: just how fast could one small furball be?

Turns out

It was very fast indeed

The moment it became official

“I can be your devil”

“Sounds scary”

“Or your angle”

“My what?”

“You know. Covert motive, hidden agenda, ulterior mission objective”

“I thought you were my main quest?”

“…I can be that too, I accept”

Object permanence

As questions go, “Why is it always in the last place you look?” is a common one, especially after a search that turned out to be more exhaustive than anticipated. More often than not, the answer turns out to be because the thing was found, and thus the reason to keep searching was void. It’s a self-answering question, as these things go

He, on the other hand, did not stop searching. He had found the thing three hours ago, but was so swept up in the mere act of going through the various semi-forgotten objects and knickknacks that it scarcely mattered any more. Half a life was contained in these boxes, and this afternoon was now firmly devoted to reliving it, one researched object at a time

Unexpected interactions

The trees had grown over the years. Nothing unexpected there, that’s what trees do. As their height soared and their reach expanded, however, they found themselves forming a spectacular symbiotic with the streetlights. On windy evenings, the rustle of leaves was accompanied by the most intricate of shadow play, as the light did or didn’t pass through the foliage. The fact that this held for the entire street did not diminish the effect

He was about to become late for his date, but he slowed down anyway. It seemed a good omen about things coming together

Unrelatable content

She looked at the words. They were good words. Strong words. Words that could move mountains. She had done good work writing them. They were everything required of the situation. Were she to stop writing at this very instant and press send, the chances of her getting the job would be non-zero. Ridiculously non-zero

Problem was, she did not want the job. Not really. She wanted to be able to say that she had applied for the job, possibly even been a contender, but actually getting it would ruin oh so many plans. Thus, she began the process of making her words more and more unrelatable, such that that non-success would be all but guaranteed

Nightmares on tape

It was a nightmare. She could tell it was a nightmare, because she’d had it before. It was one of those repeat performances that caused psychologists to suspect there might be something going on. The worst of it, though, was that it was a low-budget nightmare. Like when a movie becomes unexpectedly successful and a sequel is conjured into being with significantly smaller funding than its predecessor. The Terror from the original nightmare never materialized. Instead, the characters simply stood around and talked about how awful it would be if the Terror returned. The decor may or may not be someone’s actual living room, temporarily repurposed for cinematic effect. All in all, she could not decide if this made the nightmare better or worse

Known unknowns

He was the kind of person who got easily confused by efforts to introduce him to new things. To be sure, it was not due to an inability to learn, or an impropensity to pay attention, or a lack of interest, or any other such commonly assumed confounding reason. Instead, it had to do with context. Leave him staring at a waterfall, and he could describe the local water cycle in extensive detail mere hours later. Give him the standard introductory book on water dynamics, and nothing came of it. Teachers had been bedeviled by this tendency for years, but he paid them no mind. He knew that they would not believe him if he explained it to them, so he didn’t. They, after all, thought in detail, not in context

Reading between the lines

“And these are the final remains from when I pretended to be a law student for five minutes”

“How’d that happen?”

“Free tuition and an unclear sense of what law is. Next shelf – methodology books”

“From when you were an actual student, I gather”

“Good times, now that they’re over”

“Hey, what’s this one?”

“This one’s a special book. I got it from the father of an ex who never said much, but always acted with profound honesty. It was a gift that signaled, in so many words, that things were getting serious, and that he approved”

“How romantic”

“Sadly, it was then I knew it was time to break up”

Library girl

She was at the library. She liked being there. Not just because the books there served as a repository of human memory, but also because her own memories were intertwined with these very same books. Walking among the shelves, she could retrace her steps through many a writing project. One section reminded her of her childhood, the old worn books still there. Another section had served as a refuge after a particularly dramatic breakup; she did not go there often anymore. A third contained all the books she’d used for her bachelor’s thesis. And so on. Each section was both a collection of stories and a story unto itself; by moving to and fro, she could read either with equal proficiency