Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Pick-Up

I want to be inside you.

Surgically, I mean.

There’s nothing in this world more intimate than to be wrist deep in the organs of another human being, to feel the warmth of their blood on your hands as you caress their innards, really dig into the viscera, grow to truly understand who they are, on the inside.

This is a shallow world we live in, and we so often get lost in the superficial, never thinking to probe deeper into the people with whom we’ve chosen to spend our time, never going beyond the surface layer.

I don’t want to fall into this trap with you.

I want to see who you are, inside. I believe, truly believe, that you’re worth knowing, worth exploring, in a deeper, more meaningful way. You deserve to be understood, deserve someone who’s willing to put in the effort, and I want to be that person.

So let’s get out of here, shall we? Let’s go back to my place, tie you down, crack open your chest and see what you’ve got going on in there…

And no, obviously we won’t be putting you under, we won’t be using anesthetic of any kind.

You will be awake for every moment of this; perfectly conscious and perfectly aware of everything that’s happening to you.

I’d never engage in anything this intimate and personal with someone who wasn’t completely present in the moment while it was going on.

To cut you open while you were unconscious would be a gross violation of your agency as a human being, above and beyond the simple fact that I would never want to deprive you of what will no doubt be a unique and incredibly intense experience.

You’ll be awake when I make the first incision. That’s non-negotiable. I could do no less.

The very thought of it disgusts me.

I’m not a monster, after all…

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Weekly Prompt Story: Mind

The Mind
By Christopher Munroe

I don’t believe in “Mind over matter.”

I mean, the mind matters, of course it does, but matter literally is matter.

Matter’s a real thing, it exists in space and time, independent of observation, and it perseveres even in the absence of a mind to know it.

And no, I can’t prove that.

I can’t prove any part of it.

Everything I can know, obviously, is filtered to me through my mind, and coloured by that fact.

Still, though I can’t prove it, I believe.

I believe in matter.

And in the end, to me, my faith is all that…

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Mummer

It occurred to me, at one point, to hire a mime for my funeral.

I’d heard it suggested on one podcast or other, and something about the notion appealed to me. Not a traditional street mime, mind you, that would be wildly inappropriate for a funeral, but rather something more solemn, a silent performer in black suit and mummer’s mask, representing me at the event so that my mourners could, should they wish, say to him what they had not thought in life to say to me…

I entertained this notion exactly long enough to Google the phrase “Mummer’s Mask” and not one moment longer.

On a related note, do not Google the phrase “Mummer’s Mask.”

Mummer’s masks, it turns out, are fucking horrifying.

I have no idea what was wrong with medieval Europe, but for reals, I would never in a million years inflict upon my friends and loved ones, in their time of grieving me, the horrifying spectacle that is a silent figure in Mummer’s mask, standing in the midst of what’s meant to be a solemn occasion.

I mean, the mime would no doubt be solemn, but in such a mask he couldn’t help but fail to adequately convey the tone of the event.

And so, upon reflection, I decided not to hire one for my funeral.

That does not, however, mean I didn’t hire a mime…

He follows me around, now, that I might refer people to him when I don’t want to deal with them.

Moments too awkward to handle, exes, old arguments, painful family events, or just whatever petty nonsense I happen to think is beneath me, I now refer to my mime in Mummer’s mask, confident that if they’re scared off by the freakish apparition I’ve contracted to follow in my stead then whatever they may have had to say couldn’t have been that important to them in the first place.

It’s saved me a great deal of time, my mime in Mummer’s mask, and a great deal of social anxiety as well, allowing me to focus my energies on what’s genuinely important to me, rather than the pointless minutia of my day-to-day drudgery. In fact, overall he’s been a tremendous boon to me, and I must admit, looking back, that I wish I’d thought to hire him years ago…

And if you happen not to think that this is an appropriate way for me to deal with social awkwardness in my day-to-day life: Tell it to the Mummer...

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Weekly Prompt Story: Stars

The Lovers
By Christopher Munroe

They were star-crossed; but no matter what tragedy the world threw at them their love persevered.

When he asked for her hand she wept, when he saw her in her gown he did, for he knew in that moment that no force in heaven or earth could tear them asunder.

Then the sun went nova.

Both were slain, as was every other thing on the planet. The sterile, charred world hurtled through space, tomb and testament to a simple lesion that’s just as true today as it was back then.

Don’t cross the stars.

Stars, once crossed, will ruin you...

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Aftermath

It happened almost too quickly to keep track of. A flash of white, and black, and green, a harrowing laugh that tore at my very sanity, and a crash as the wall exploded outward, showering the street below with debris, the sudden rush of night air into the room chilling my body even as that momentary glimpse of whatever hellish thing from the beyond this mortal realm we’d freed chilled my soul.

And then it was gone.

I ran to the gaping hole it had left in the wall, heedless of my nudity, to watch as what appeared to be some sort of giant sand-worm tore off through the night, rushing down the street and away from my building, the figure on its back still laughing maniacally as it rode the enormous beast out and away, into the city, to wreak whatever havoc it had planned upon an unsuspecting world, unbound, unchained, unstoppable. I had done this, we had done this. We’d done it unwittingly, to be sure, but we’d done it nonetheless, and whatever might happen next was on our heads, a horror we’d unleashed and that we’d have to live with the consequences of for however long we might have left.

I knew this, and this knowledge was the most frightening part of all.

Turning back from the wreckage, I saw her, covers pulled tight around her naked, trembling form, eyes wide with shock, face still gleaming with sweat, mouth opening and closing as though she were trying and failing to say something, to put words to what had happened, out of nowhere, to the two of us, cutting short what had until that moment been a delightful play date for the both of us.

“I stand corrected,” I told her with a nervous laugh, after a moment’s pause, trying my best to make light of what we’d witnessed, “Beetlejuice is not a good safeword…”

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Weekly Prompt Story: Jar

The Jar
By Christopher Munroe

I keep an old jar in my bedroom.

It’s the sort of thing you’d assume was antique if you found it in a rustic farmhouse, but which you realize seeing it in my downtown apartment is almost certainly a replica.

It’s actually antique. One-hundred-thirty years old, in fact…

I keep it by my bed so as to grab it, first thing when I wake up.

I whisper my hopes and dreams into that jar.

And then I seal it, tight, locking them away.

And that way they won’t trouble me during my day, while I’m off working my day job…

Friday, August 5, 2016

Tales from the Day Job

The kids were named Grayson, Wolf and Hunter, which has no bearing on the story but I’m mentioning anyway due to how utterly badass that is.

I mean, seriously. Gray, Wolf and Hunter? I’d definitely watch that. I’m picturing a significantly more violent reimagining of the Hardy Boys, though if you have a pitch for a legal drama I’d be open to it.

They were having whole live lobsters in spite of the fact that not one of them was over the age of ten, because it was Wolf’s birthday, and their parents had at some point decided that on your birthday you are allowed to ball, even if you’re only turning seven. And, in spite of the fact that they pretty obviously weren’t going to finish their dinners, they decided that they would also have salads to start.

Which is fine. The dinners come with salads and there’s no reason I ought to care whether any particular guest, awesomely named birthday boy or not, finishes their meal.

I left three salads on the table for them, and came back five minutes later to collect two of them back, mostly uneaten. Grayson, it turned out, had grown deeply invested in the whole salad experience, discovering before his lobster even came a love of thousand-island salad dressing that was clearly going to be the high point of his over-expensive meal.

Which, fortunately for me, his family chose to find hilarious, otherwise some of their irritation with his ordering lobster and then getting bogged down in salad dressing might adversely affect my tip…

But they were a good-natured family overall, asking simply that I leave the salad there for him, that he might pick it over until his meal came. Which, again, was no trouble for me, why on earth would it be?

“That’s absolutely fine,” I told him, “doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I’ll bring you an extra thing of thousand-island when your food comes, so you can dip your fries in it…”

And that’s where Grayson’s mother gave me a look like I had just ripped the roof off the restaurant, revealing a magical world behind the one she knew that she’d never previously thought to wonder might exist.

She had somehow made it to her thirties without ever realizing that just because a sauce was labeled “Salad” Dressing, there was nothing stopping her putting it on things other than salad. She was a grown woman, with three children of her own, beholden to none, and in that moment, there in the middle of the restaurant in which I worked, she was finally realizing that she could put any fucking sauce on any fucking thing she wanted to.

And this realization was, going forward, pretty clearly going to change a lot of things for her, in terms of meals and general sauce-usage and, I hope, as a more univeralizable lesson regarding not taking things at face value and living life on her own terms. Not the takeaway she was expecting from her son’s birthday dinner at a popular family chain seafood restaurant, to be sure, but an important lesson nonetheless, and one that she intended from all appearances to take to heart…

And that’s the best thing that happened at my day job, that day. I reminded a woman that she could dip her fries in thousand-island dressing, if she wanted to. I reminded her that she could dip anything in any sauce, if the spirit so moved her. I reminded her that part of being an adult is deciding what being an adult entails. And, even now, looking back on the night, I’m weirdly proud to have been the one to do so.

Because really, that’s why I started waiting tables in the first place.

To change lives.

Also: I tried it myself later, dip fries in thousand-island dressing. It’s as delicious as you think…