Thursday, June 28, 2012

Comfort and Joy


He came with a message of peace.

No, literally. Every time he came he uttered a message of peace.

A message so profound that none could deny it. The sort that, once heard, demanded obedience, and that nobody could ignore.

He spoke of peace on earth, love for all, and everyone who heard him forever changed, rededicating themselves to the benefit of all.

His message will change the world, save mankind from its own petty selfishness, start a new age where paradise reigns o’er earth.

However, he only did this when he came.

Long story short, we’re producing porn now.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weekly Prompt Story: A Beautiful Thing

http://podcasting.isfullofcrap.com/2012/06/24/weekly-challenge-322-a-beautiful-thing/


A Beautiful Thing
By Chris Munroe

I know you think your baby’s beautiful.

It’s your child. You brought it into this world and have a profound connection to it. it’s natural that you should find it beautiful.

To you, it’s the most beautiful thing that’s ever been. It’s your progeny, your precious darling, and moreover your shot at immortality.

You find it beautiful because you need it to be beautiful, it’s what will represent you to future generations.

I understand all of this.

All I’m saying is, it’s not MY baby, I have no responsibility toward it, and it’s a freaky, Winston Churchill looking motherfucker.

Sorry.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What Price Convenience?


Ironically enough, it’s the only place in my neighborhood left where there’s still a lineup. Which, from outside, would surprise passersby very much.

It looks like very little, after all. The storefront’s unadorned, without even a sign proclaiming the shop’s name to tell you you’re at the right place, just a small “Now Open” card placed in its window. And once you’re inside things are little better.

There isn’t a d├ęcor as such, nor are there shelves displaying products for purchase the way you’d expect from any place of business. None of the trappings of a suburban mart can be found, in fact, the place is simply a waiting area where a lineup stretches, wall to wall, separated into sections by a velvet dividing cord as it winds back and forth like the body of some great snake. Weekends, the lineup stretches past the store’s front door and into the street, but if you come on a Wednesday, in the afternoon, as I have, you shouldn’t have to wait more than an hour or two.

You can, in theory, pay to not have to wait in the line, but purchasing that privilege would, obviously, involve waiting in the line, and not many people visit the store more than a few times, so not many people think it’s worth the extra expense.

I know I don’t. I’ve only been here twice since the place opened six months ago, and both times on days off where I have nothing else planned. I have my headphones in, an audio-book playing, and nowhere to be for the rest of my day. Under circumstances like that, I don’t mind waiting at all.

It’s under all other circumstances where waiting starts to bug me.

The audio-book comes to the end of its chapter as I approach the front of the line, and I absent-mindedly wonder if it’s part of the service or merely a coincidence as I take the earbuds out, roll them around the body of my iPod, and stuff both back into my bag. For the first time I can hear the people around me, the shuffling of feet, muttered conversations and occasional laughter that punctuate the line as it slowly winds its way forward.

I’ve been waiting more than two hours now. I won’t wait much longer. Two more people, then me.

The woman at the front of the line pays for her purchase and, grinning, makes her way out of the store and back into the street. It’s the gentleman in front of me next, and then my turn.

“Hi,” the gentleman says to the white haired, bearded man sitting behind the cash register at a desk at the head of the line, “um…. I’m a new customer, I’m not sure how this works. Should I just…”

“It’s really easy,” the man behind the desk tells him, smiling, “just tell me what you need to make your life a little easier, and I’ll quote you an estimate. No obligation, you can decide once you know what it’ll cost if it’s worth the price or not.”

“Great! Well, it’s like this. My wife is pregnant. Erm… very pregnant. I want to be there with her for the birth, but my work is sending me out of town for two weeks and there’s no way I can get out of it. I was wondering if there were some way for you people to make sure she doesn’t go into labor until I get back?”

The older, seated man thinks for a moment, then pulls out a pad of paper, scrawls something on its top sheet, folds it over and hands it to his customer.

The cost.

The man ahead of me lets out a little cough as he reads what’s printed on the paper, then looks up from it to the cashier, who’s still just smiling serenely back at him.

“Wow, that’s a lot.”

“Yes,” the older man replies, “But it’s a big job, and our rates are non-negotiable. If you don’t want to pay…”

“No, no, of course I’ll pay, I just hadn’t expected…”

“You’ll pay? Well excellent! Then I’ll get things working for you immediately, sir, and enjoy your trip.”

The older man’s still smiling, but it’s clear the conversation is over between the two of them. I’m sure he doesn’t mean to be rude, but he’s right, the lineup’s very long and he has little time for non-business-related chatter. As the next person in line I appreciate this, even if the younger man does not. His shoulders slump at the thought of whatever it is he’s going to lose for this favor, and he shuffles, sadness in his step, out of the store.

Which brings me to the front of the line. I’ve done this before, fortunately, and am better prepared.

“Hello,” I tell the older man, “I want to not miss trains anymore. I’d like for them to arrive at the station the same time I do, regardless of when I get there, so I never have to watch them pulling away and I never have to wait for them to arrive. I’d like for this to be a trait of mine, starting now, and continuing for the rest of my life. What would something like that that cost me?”

The older man smiles, relieved that I’d ask for something so comparatively simple, then takes his pad, writes his note, and hands it to me.

“Your ability to drive a car” it reads.

“Erm… I already can’t drive. I never thought to learn how, I’ve lived in cities with train systems my whole life. Does that change anything?”

“Oh?” he tells me, music in his voice, “Well then it will be an easy price for you to pay, since that doesn’t affect a thing. Though I will warn you, if you agree to this you will never be able to learn how to drive. However hard you try, you’ll never quite get the hang of it. But if you never plan on learning…”

“I don’t,” I cut him off, unable to suppress my grin, “I never plan on learning, so you’re right, this is an easy one. Make it happen, I’ll pay for it gladly.”

“Glad to hear it. Now, if you’ll excuse me….” he motions to the lineup behind me.

“Oh, of course, I apologize…” I’m already making my way out of the store as I say it. The people behind me, after all, deserve the same consideration from me that I’d expected from the people in front of me.

Outside, in front of the store, my mood turns giddy, I’ve shaved fifteen to twenty minutes off my work day, which over the course of my life will add up to hundreds of hours worth of extra free time that I can enjoy in whatever way I please, and I’ve done it at the expence of an ability I’d never done anything with anyway. My trip had been a resounding success, and I’m in an amazing mood, whistling a jaunty tune as I make my way down the street.

A few blocks away, I see the guy who’d been ahead of me in line, sitting on the curb, head in his hands. Buyer’s remorse?

Perhaps. But he made his choice, and my good mood is impenetrable. I fairly skip the rest of the way back to my apartment.

And as I arrive home, I stop to reflect on just how successful the place had gotten in so short a time, even with no advertising other than word of mouth. It seemed natural as it was happening, but perhaps I should have been more surprised.

After all, I’m given to understand the economy these days isn’t in the best shape. It’s not exactly the perfect atmosphere in which to launch a new small business, five hundred year old sorcerer or not.

This has not, however, stopped the newly opened Convenience Store from enjoying massive success…

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weekly Prompt Story: 27%

http://podcasting.isfullofcrap.com/2012/06/17/weekly-challenge-321-27/


The 27%
By Chris Munroe

Team meeting, everybody.

Here’s what’s happening. Sales are down, industries change, and we’ve got to change or we’ll be left behind.

So, I’m trimming the department budget by 27%.

To prevent layoffs, wages and benefits will be cut by 27%, and your retirement packages will change to reflect this.

Thanks in advance for your co-operation.

Huh?

No, my bonuses won’t be cut. They’ll grow, due to my skillful crisis management.

But that’s not important. What matters is, nobody’s fired, and we’re sharing the sacrifice.

This is good news, we’ve really accomplished something today!

We’re the few, the proud.

The 27%

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rumours


I’d like to take a moment, if I may, to address certain ugly rumors that have, of late, been circulating about me.

I’d been tempted to leave the matter be, to let the people who want to gossip gossip, but when I hear the same petty, hurtful things about me again and again from people who don’t even know one another, I know that the problem’s gotten out of hand. And, since I maintain this blog as a tool with which to communicate my thoughts to the world, it occurred to me that this might be the appropriate venue in which to say a few words on my own behalf, in an attempt set the record straight.

Okay:

The notion has been raised in certain quarters that I’m a cyborg from the future, sent back in time by a shadowy cartel of mysterious figures to subjugate humanity and crush the world beneath my horrible boot.

Further, it’s been whispered that I’m only here at all to lay the groundwork for a culture within which my rule is welcomed rather than feared, so that when the time comes I can hand off the reigns of power over the earth to that same cartel with minimal resistance from the once-free peoples of the world.

Moreover, some believe that everything I’ve done to this point, the blogging, the fiction writing, the bizarre, stream of consciousness twitter feed, and most of all the dinner theater and standup gigs, have been nothing more than an attempt to convince the world’s governments that I’m harmless, so that when the time comes they won’t suspect a thing until it’s too late.

This is all, of course, ridiculous.

I’m not a cyborg, and I’ll happily provide medical records to that effect.

I’m not from the future, and while I do travel in time I can only do so slowly, and forward, just like everyone else.

I have never been in contact with, nor am I certain of the existence of, shadowy cartels bent on world domination. Even if I did know of such cartels, I would be against their taking over the world in a general way, and while it’s unlikely I’d oppose them directly I’d certainly be morally supportive of the people who did.

And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, any subjugation of humanity I might choose to partake in, and this I do most solemnly promise, would be for my own personal amusement and serve no purpose beyond that.

When I crush the world beneath my horrible boot, I’ll be doing it for me.

I hope this alleviates some of your concerns, and I’m glad to have had this opportunity to clear the matter up to everyone’s mutual satisfaction.

Now: Kneel before Munsi.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekly Prompt Story: Who Let The Dogs Out

http://podcasting.isfullofcrap.com/2012/06/10/weekly-challenge-320-avoid-bursting-into-flames-pet-rock-circus-who-let-the-dogs-out-and-butter/


The Dogs
By Chris Munroe

I let the dogs out.

Didn’t mean to, I’d thought they were safely inside the house, but I guess you let them into the yard to… you know…

If I’d known, I’d have closed the gate behind me. I mean, it’s not like I wanted them to get out.

But by the time I realized, they’d run out into the street, barking and howling and enjoying their newfound freedom.

And now we’re going to have to track them down.

But yeah, I take full responsibility, and I apologize.

My bad.

Also: It was me who put baby in the corner.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Blogging


The suggestion has been made that I start a blog about my vegetarianism.

Because, you know, you can never have too many vegetarians on the internet talking at length about their diet and lifestyle. People can’t get enough of it, and it absolutely doesn’t make anybody sick.

I know, I know, there are hundreds of vegetarian lifestyle blogs, promoting healthier living, healthier eating and ethical choices regarding animal rights, and the market seems full to the brim, but I honestly believe that I have a unique spin to put on the format.

My blog, you see, will be about MY vegetarian lifestyle.

In it, I’ll blog about my vegetarian diet, a diet made up largely of takeout pizza and convenience store snack food, owing to the fact that I’ve never bothered actually learning how to cook.

I’ll keep track of how much I smoke, and of how much I drink, both of which are animal-product exploitation free.

And I will, of course, sprinkle the blog liberally with jokes about eating kittens and the zombie apocalypse. And, on occasion, the zombie kitten apocalypse. Because sometimes you have to stick within your comfort zone, subject matter wise.

I think it’s going to be a huge success. By my own, private standards, I mean.

The blog begins tomorrow.

Fingers crossed for my first death threat from a more serious vegetarian to arrive within the first week…

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Weekly Prompt Story: 100 Miles


http://podcasting.isfullofcrap.com/2012/06/03/weekly-challenge-319-100-miles/

100 Miles
By Chris Munroe

Within 100 miles of here is a place I’d love.

Maybe a restaurant that serves cuisine from a country I’ve never visited, or a club playing music I’m unfamiliar with but would dig if I gave it a chance…

The specifics aren’t relevant, the point is it’s the perfect place for me, it’s within 100 miles of here, and I’d love it there if I ever went.

I might never find this place.

I get too trapped by routine to really look.

But it exists.

Can you say for certain there isn’t a similar place within 100 miles of you?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Mr. Jackson's Money


Look, you gotta calm down.

All Mr. Jackson wants is his money. That’s all he wants. We know you have it, you made the pickup just fine, there were plenty of witnesses who saw you do it.

You’re in trouble, you know that by now. If the fact that you’re tied to a chair in a room you don’t recognize didn’t tip you off I’m sure my knife did. But this doesn’t have to end all that badly for you.

You do still have an out.

I have to get the money, I have to bring it back. Mr. Jackson doesn’t like failure, any more than he likes weasely little fucks trying to steal from him, but there’s nothing in my instructions about what I gotta do with you once I have it.

So, I’ll tell you what, you tell me where the money is…

You will STOP fucking crying this FUCKING instant! I’m talking to you. You will shut up and listen when I’m talking to you!

As I was saying, you tell me where the money is, and once I have it you get out of town. Nobody here ever hears from you again. How does that sound?

I’m not joking. Stop crying.

I won’t tell you again.

Look, I know it’s not the future you’d hoped for, on the run from somebody with Mr. Jackson’s resources, but it’s the only end to this where you get out of this room still upright, so what do you say?

Wait.

Who’s phone is that? Oh, that’s me.

Sorry, I gotta take this.

Hello?

Yeah?

 Yeah, I’m talking to him now.

Don’t worry, I’ve fed him a line of bullshit about hope and survival and whatnot. If that doesn’t work, I’m gonna start with his teeth. Either way, I’ll get him to tell me where he stashed the cash, kill him, dump the body somewhere it’ll never be found, and head back.

Yeah. Absolutely. You too. I’ll see you then.

Sorry, maybe I shouldn’t have let you overhear that. So: Where were we?