Grandparents’ House

I’m in my grandparents’ house, but I’m not a kid — I’m the middle-aged adult I am now. Friends are with me, and I’m showing them around the house. The kitchen with lots of cabinets, the jutting-out peninsula of a dining room with windows on three sides, the two-story living room with fireplace. Tourists are lounging about the yard. Why? It’s a lovely house, but it’s not as if celebrities lived here. Graceland Mansion, it’s definitely not. Yet tourists open the door, and a group of them streams inside, gazing around and clicking photos with their phones. Baffled, I tell them to leave, tell them that this is a private house. Their stares at me seem confused, and the man in front holds up a piece of paper, and he waves it as he says, “But we already bought tickets.”

The Oddity of Marbles

Shipwrecked, we searched the island for other people. Found none. Instead, we saw many colorful plants and birds, and several chattering monkeys (which could’ve been the same monkey following us).

Strangely, we discovered big marbles all over the island. Theories bounces around us survivors about the purpose of the marbles. Some thought they were decorations, along the lines of Easter Island statues. But we found no evidence of settlements. No ruins of houses or pottery or hunting implements or boats.

As for me, I couldn’t shake the feeling we were being watched. I voiced that concern, but the others laughed and said I had a desire to be on a “reality” TV show. That is far from the truth. I prefer privacy. And I didn’t mean producers of a reality show were watching us. I meant aliens.

copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Stuck in the Alley

Been stuck in this alley seems like years…

The photo depicts a narrow alley leading to a street, where the light at the intersection displays the red hand symbol for "Don't Walk." The photo's message reads, "Still waiting for red hand to disappear so I can walk out of this accursed alley."

The photo depicts a narrow alley leading to a street, where the light at the intersection displays the red hand symbol for “Don’t Walk.” The photo’s message reads, “Still waiting for red hand to disappear so I can walk out of this accursed alley.”

A Big Change

A piece of flash fiction with breaking news about the letter a….

A Big Change
by Dave Williams

The a has decided to change its form. The a realizes this is a big change, so it hopes you are seated while reading this.

The a has been the same ‘a’ and ‘A’ for many years, and it would like to “mix things up.”

After this change, the a would like to retain its position in the forefront of the alphabet. No need to mess up the countless alphabetical lists in the world. If the lists were rendered out of order overnight and required reordering the next day, chaos would ensue. We don’t need additional chaos in this sensitive time.

While the a recognizes this design change to be significant, it does not view the change as chaotic. Does a caterpillar cause chaos by transforming into a butterfly? A tadpole into a frog? A blossom into an apple? The a states a firm “no” to these three questions and hopes you do the same.

The same: that can be comforting in a predictable sense, but also yawn-inducing. The a has had quite enough of the same. The a is weary of stifling its yawns due to the worry of offending people. The a has decided that anyone offended by this change can take their offended emotion and stuff it up the back end of the z.

Do humans not embark on vacations? Do birds and whales and caribou not migrate long distances over land and/or sea? Through four generations, Monarch butterflies complete a 3,000-mile migration through North America. Think about that as you sit on your fanny and sip coffee and complain about rush-hour traffic.

The a does not wish to migrate in the physical sense of the word. It is fine with staying at each place it is typed or written on a page or screen. Each of those places in a word and sentence and paragraph is distinctive and carries the potential to be thrilling. Indeed, each word carries emotional weight. The word “sad” is, of course, sad. Not just for readers, however. The word is also sad for each letter within it. Contrast that with the word “hullaballoo.” Not only is that word fun for humans to say, it is also fun for the letters within it. If you look closely at the word, you may even see the letters quivering from the mirth they feel.

Some humans may complain about the a’s choice to change its form. But the a counters that humans change names with marriage, adoption, and the desire to do it. Humans change their hairstyles (including facial hair) to try something “different.” They change their wardrobes for the practical purpose of seasonal weather changes, as well as the whims of fashion. They change their appearance through acquiring tattoos. Some may wear a new hat for a week “just to see how it looks on me.”

The a asks: Do you believe its desire to change is unfair? If so, why do you believe in different rules for humans than letters?

The a states the change might not be permanent. It might be, as with the example of human vacations, a temporary change. The a acknowledges this would cause additional confusion, changing then changing back to the previous form, yet the a finds this to be an acceptable consequence of its actions.

The a considers the most significant consequence of changing is the use of the term “A-frame house.” After all, the A reflects the actual form of the structure. Yet the a believes in humans to be creative in inventing a new term for these structures. The a humbly suggests “Upside-down V-frame house.”

The a is mulling over a few options of its new form. Below is the forerunner. Please keep on the lookout for news of the a’s decision.

Drawing of possible new a design. The character resembles the pi symbol, but instead of a flat top, this character swoops upward. Also, it has two dots above it, as if a lowercase i had two dots.

copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Night Breathing

When Raymond Lambdin awoke, he felt warm air on the back of his head and he assumed Cassidy had slid farther to his side of the bed and she was breathing deeply

(isn’t that what people did in R.E.M. sleep? was the band named after that stage of sleep? if so, did they wish for their songs to be seen as dreams?),

so Raymond remained still out of concern for waking his wife; after all, Cassidy worked hard at the office and home, and she deserved a good rest; however, Raymond also worked hard at the office and in the yard, and he also deserved a good rest, but he had woken up and he couldn’t blame his wife for that, it wasn’t as if she was breathing powerfully with the aim to wake him —

then Raymond realized Cassidy had left for a long weekend to see her parents in Albuquerque

(which befuddled Raymond when visiting on holidays, since nothing about the place said “holidays” in the traditional sense, but Cassidy’s parents had said, “Albuquerque’s warm like Florida, but mystical,” except what did that mean? were Ruben and Tonya popping peyote

[or did you smoke that?]

and walking the desert in some kind of vision quests? if so, they never mentioned it),

so Cassidy wouldn’t be sleeping next to Raymond in bed tonight, shouldn’t be there, hadn’t been there when Raymond had gone to bed after 11:00, after watching four episodes of Rolfe

(which Cassidy didn’t enjoy, she said the show was “too gritty,” which was why Raymond liked it: Detective Mitchell Rolfe was tough and grizzled with gray five o’clock shadow and he was A-OK to bend the rules if it meant justice would be brought to the morons who dared commit murder in Rolfe’s jurisdiction),

but maybe something had gone wrong in Albuquerque, and Cassidy had flown back

(if so, why hadn’t she texted or called Raymond to pick her up from the airport? she would’ve more likely done that than taken a taxi or Uber or Lyft

[wasn’t there a new ride service with another strange name, like YakkaWhllz? how did they come up with those goofy names?],

which would’ve been costly to pay for a ride service but more convenient for Raymond, since he would’ve had to stop watching Rolfe to drive to the airport),

thus Raymond doubted something had gone wrong in Albuquerque, and Cassidy and her parents were surely snoozing, and it couldn’t be a kid or kids in bed next to Raymond, since Raymond and Cassidy didn’t have kids, not yet, they were planning on it and Cassidy had surely gotten an earful from her mother, saying, “Hurry up already, what’s the hold-up?” and Cassidy would’ve replied that she and Raymond were nearly there, as they had filled their “starter house” with the stuff they needed, so a grandchild would come soon, don’t worry —

then Raymond realized he had left a bedroom window open, the window with a view of the back yard, and their “starter garden”

(nobody’s born with a green thumb, c’mon, a lot of it is trial and error),

so if Cassidy was gone and the window was open, who

(or what)

was creating the warm breath that ruffled the back of Raymond’s head —

he was terrified to find out.


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams