Something funny is happening on JD Mader’s website, Unemployed Imagination. Writers show up on Fridays. We write short fiction (two minutes’ worth, normally) and post our succulent delights in the comments. But…something is happening over there. Like when our heads are turned, the bar taps up a notch. We inspire each other. And it’s fun. Fun is good. Remember fun? Here are a couple of my recent two-minute entries. We don’t edit (much). We barely proofread. The blood on the floor is still fresh. Watch where you’re walking. Maybe next Friday, you’ll stop by and give the timer a spin.
The boy is still standing on the corner staring off into nothing when I come out of the supermarket, struggling to lift a ten-pound bag of kitty litter from the cart into the trunk of my car. Why isn’t he helping me with this? Boys are supposed to offer to do shit like this for little old ladies, right? But he isn’t moving, the lazy ass kid. Why don’t people teach their kids better? I felt my shoulder pull from the weight, the same shoulder I’d hurt last year but never healed right. And he just stands there all slouchy, pants halfway down his ass, eyes glazed like his brains have leaked out from the hot afternoon. I will not deign to ask for his help, nor offer him money. I carry on with my business and drive away. Another one for the list, I think, checking him off in my head. No. He’ll be first.
Bored and self-destructively curious, I seek him out. The photo doesn’t resemble the dude I remember. The photo looks like his father, a pyramid of a man with ham-sized shoulders and a bare, wrinkled scalp. The man now staring at me from my screen is similarly bald, the years roadmapped on his face like a mountain of trouble. The eyes are not the color I remember, a blue so fair he reminded people of a Disney hero. Maybe he had them retouched to show the proper gravitas for an artist of his imagined caliber. Maybe he has contact lenses to change the color, I don’t know and discover, with great relief, that I don’t much care anymore. He is someone else’s problem now, someone else’s albatross, someone else’s worst nightmare.