The Velocity of a Flying Monkey – Summer Grid


I woke with a start. My hair was stuck to my head with sweat. Valena had her hand on my shoulder and I was sitting up straight in the bed. “Are you OK?” she asked.

“Yeah, yeah, just a bad dream.” I said.

“Been having a lot of them lately.” Valena said matter of factly.

“Yeah, they’re getting worse too,” I said, “Maybe I need to see a doctor. But, I don’t know what kind of doctor I should call”

“Tell me.”

I pursed my lips and exhaled – it might be good to get it off my chest. “Ok, let’s make some coffee and sit in the kitchen.”

Ten minutes later I set her cup down in front of her and sat myself down across from her. I blew gently over the top of my steaming mug of coffee and looked into Valena’s eyes. “Are you sure you want to hear this?”

She nodded.

“OK then. Some of this I am not sure of, there are strong impressions and feelings but nothing concrete. Other parts are real. I swear they have already happened or they will happen, soon. It always starts off the same. I am in a moving vehicle. Moving fast but I’m not driving. I feel like it might be a train but I can’t hear the tracks or other train-noises. In fact, there is no sound at all. Perfect silence. I am looking out the window at the passing countryside. Very pastoral, very peaceful. Meadows, cows, ponds and stands of trees silhouetted off in the distance. I think it’s dusk. The sky is yellow and red-orange like a sunset.

“Then instantly everything goes black. My impression is that there has been an accident and this is reinforced by pain. Severe pain coupled with total silence and absolute black. I stay like this, wracked with pain, unable to move, not hearing or seeing for a long time. It’s torture but eventually it passes and there is some light. It’s very dim but not far away. I feel that if I could hold my hand out it would be illuminated. Gradually I sense motion and shadows in the light.

“It’s a struggle but I pull the shadows together into forms of people, people that I know. I can hear them too. I recognize a classroom. My classroom when I was in high school. It’s the room where I took AP English – Microfiction 101.

“I’m surrounded by my classmates and none of them have aged. Lindsay Backer is sitting in front of me and she’s still 17 years old. I’ve aged though and so has my teacher. Ms. Hanolsy is standing in front of the class and she has that blue hair thing going on, but she still stands straight and speaks with strength and confidence. You know, she was one of my favorite teachers she was stern, and she was strict, but she was fair and she knew her stuff. I learned a lot from Ms. Hanolsy.

“She’s explaining our lesson for the day. She’s teaching gargleblasters.”

Valena looked up, “What’s that?”

“It’s a particularly advanced genre of microfiction – very vertically integrated and not something to be taken lightly or attempted alone by a rookie. Careless gargleblasting can lead to headaches, oily discharge, severe bodily harm or even death so the tone in class that day is serious, none of the typical joking or grab-assing that can normally pervade a high school AP English class. Everyone understands that this has to be done correctly.

Written on the blackboard behind Ms. Hanolsy is the ultimate question that has to be answered with our 42 word gargleblasters. She turns and points to the neat block letters behind her…

WHAT IS THE AIRSPEED VELOCITY OF A FLYING MONKEY?
(LADEN OR UNLADEN, YOUR CHOICE.)

Then she moves back to her desk and watches us carefully. She’s worried. I pick up my pen and dash off a submission. I write carelessly and cavalierly:summer grid1“I stand with my paper and start to move to the teacher’s desk. Ms. Hanolsy has fear in her eyes. She knows what’s about to happen.”

“What happens?” Valena asks.

“I find myself in a moving vehicle. Moving fast but I’m not driving. It might be a train.”


See me? I’m smilin’

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Daily Prompt: New Wrinkles

Daily Prompt: New Wrinkles

 You wake up one day and realize you’re ten years older than you were the previous night. Beyond the initial shock, how does this development change your life plans?


 

Dustin hated his name and had determined at the age of 14 that he was going to have it legally changed on his 18th birthday but for now he just had to endure the torment. When he was a kid it was cool. The other guys liked to hang out with him and it made him feel manly. He would spend hours flexing his non-existent muscles at the mirror on weekend mornings, dreaming of being big and strong. Being a hero, like in the movies. But as he aged and didn’t grow a lot bigger his name became a liability.

It’s bad enough to be the shortest and skinniest kid in school but when your name is Dustin Rambo you might as well paint a target on your back. Then it happened. It was Friday night, the night before his birthday. He was going to turn 16 tomorrow. He wasn’t really looking forward to it. His mom had arranged for all his cousins and his aunts to come over and spend the day by the pool. His cousins were all girls, the oldest one was only 12 and she was super annoying. His aunts always wanted to kiss him on the lips and pinch his cheeks. He thought he might get up early and leave the house. Stay gone all day and pretend he forgot. He fell asleep and had nightmares about goofy little girls and sloppy kisses from his Aunt Raejean.

When the sun peeked in his window the next morning he was uncomfortable. He felt squeezed. He pushed the covers back and looked down. Oddly, his pajamas had shrunk during the night. The sleeves of his pajama shirt barely covered his elbows and the buttons were all gone. The pants were even worse and his groin ached, squeezed by the shrunken garments. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and ran his hands down to his chin. The stubble scratched his palms. What’s going on here?

 The shrunken PJ’s made him walk kind of zombie-like but he made his way to the bathroom and looked at the reflection in the mirror. He was probably over six feet tall, barrel-chested, heavily muscled and slim waisted. He had dark black hair and a morning stubble on his face that would never have been able to grow yesterday. His biceps had grown to the point that he could not remove the pajama shirt. He was a stud. Taking the scissors from the manicure kit he cut off the pajamas and looked at his reflection again. Nobody was going to pick on him anymore. Just yesterday at school Kenny Parker had pushed him into the lockers and taunted him, “Whatcha gonna do about it Rambo?” Kenny had asked. Then Lisa, the prettiest girl in school, had laughed at him.

Those days were over. Wait till they got a load of him at school now. He was going to ask Lisa to the Junior Prom and there was nothing Kenny Parker would be able to do about it. But he had some immediate problems he had to solve first. He was glad it was the weekend.

He wrapped a towel around himself and went downstairs. Dad was sitting at the table reading the paper and sipping a cup of coffee. “Happy Birthday, son.” He said without looking up.

“Dad,” I think I got a problem, Dustin said in his now deeply pitched baritone. “I don’t think any of my clothes are going to fit. Can you take me shopping?”

His father looked up. “So it happened? Just like it happened to your grandpa, it never happened to me though. I’ve got some baggy shorts that will probably fit you and if I can find that extra large tee that the radio station sent in their promo package we can cover you up and get you to the store. Stores don’t open till nine or nine-thirty though so clean up, get dressed and have some breakfast. We can be at Target when it opens.


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