First Date (273 words)​

They met at the vernissage of an art installation called “Mirrors in Scarlet”. Supposedly “a three dimensional critique on the use of reflection in The Scarlet Letter”, Dave thought it was actually just a load of bollocks. Red lights, scarlet ribbons dancing in currents of air (produced by two large men dressed as Pilgrim women each pumping a pair of massive bellows), mirrors of various sizes, and shitty atmospherique music, did not make what he considered to be art. There were, of course, the requisite number of beard-stroking hipster types, nodding appreciatively, as they quaffed the free champagne. And some dreary bloke (presumably the “artist”) wanking on about imagery, symbolism and other bullshit to a crowd of sycophantic hangers-on.

He watched Diane as she contemplated the scene. He couldn’t read her expression: did she actually like this crap? It had been her who had suggested meeting here for their first date: her friend had given her tickets. Dave hoped her friend wasn’t the dreary bloke or one of his simpering groupies. He really liked Diane: online chats, and the five minutes they had spent chatting outside, had shown she was funny, intelligent and cute. But he was fairly sure he would end up insulting someone if they didn’t leave soon.

Diane mouthed something. Dave raised an eyebrow, not quite sure if he’d understood. She moved close to him, and whispered in his ear.

“Let’s go to the pub,” she said, her breath tickling his lobe. “Before I end up punching one of these arseholes.”

Dave smiled, and they linked arms as they left the room. They were going to get on just fine.

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One beach of a trip (621 words)


“So, you seriously expect me to believe that this overgrown cheese grater will actually work?”

“It’s not a cheese grater: it’s a teleportation system. And please don’t touch that!”

“It looks like a cheese grater.”

“Well it’s not, Freddie. I’ve spent two years building it, I’ve tested it: it works! Don’t press that! Can’t you read the signs?”

“No offense, Sam but you seriously expect me to believe you have built a teleportation device funded through Kickstarter?”

“I have. Not only that I’ve tested it. I transported myself to the park, at the end of the road. No ill effects. Once you get over the temporary excruciating agony, of course. You can go wherever you want, almost instantaneously. Get in, select a destination, press the button and before you know it you are there. Please put that down, Freddie, you are going to break it!”

“I still say it looks like a cheese grater.”

“Stop calling it that. You’re undervaluing my work.”

“OK, so let’s say I believe you: you have created a teleportation device, that happens to bear more than a passing resemblance to an implement from a giant’s kitchen. How do I know you won’t teleport me right into the walls of a building, or a rock, or the middle of space?”

“I make use of the latest GPS technology: it’s completely safe.”

“Hell, Sam! My TomTom can’t even get me to the supermarket without taking me up a one way street!”

“I’ve been given access to the Government GPS system. It’s foolproof”
“Oh, well that’s set my mind at ease! The Government are renowned for never making mistakes! If the Government says it’s foolproof…”

“Sarcasm, doesn’t suit you, Freddie. Come on, get in and I’ll show you how it works.”

“Ok, Sam. Send me to Bondi Beach, Australia.”

“Why so far? What’s wrong with the park at the end of the road?”

“I can walk to the park at the end of the road, Sam! I walk through it everyday, for godsake! I want to go somewhere I can’t get to without spending a fortune and 24 hours in a ‘plane. You know I hate flying!”

“OK, Freddie: get in and press the button.”

“Don’t I need to strip off?”

“No, Freddie: you can keep your clothes on. You can even take your mobile phone. Objects can be transported if they are in contact with the transported person. Get in, and press the button.”

“This one, here? OK. Here it goes, Sam. I hope you know what you’re doing…oh my… that huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurts!!!…….”

…..
…..
….(phone rings)

“Eh, hello?”

“Freddie, is that you?”

“Yes, Sam. It’s me.”

“It worked, didn’t it Freddie! You’re there, you’re standing on Bondi Beach!”

“Yes, Sam. It worked. It hurt like hell: it did actually feel like my body was being pushed through a cheese grater. But it was over quickly and now I’m standing on one of the most famous beaches in the world. However I’d forgotten that July is winter in Australia and it’s the middle of the frigging night here. It’s cold, it’s dark and I want to come home. Give me a few minutes to recover and you can bring me back.”

“I can’t bring you back, Freddie.”

“What do you mean you can’t bring me back?”

“ I only have one teleportation device and it’s right here, not in Australia. You’ll have to fly back.”

“I haven’t got any money. I haven’t got my passport, Sam!”

“Not my problem, Freddy. You could have walked back from the park at the end of the road.”

The 4th Apocalypse

Hugh shuffled to the door, crunching broken plates, and tea cups still further into the carpet beneath his boots. He sighed as he stared out into the wasteland.

Just a few short weeks ago he would have been admiring his neatly manicured lawn, hedges, and flower beds. Or looking past them, with a scowl on his face, watching Jack at number 22 polish the penis-extention he called his car.

Now, there was mud, burnt out cars and garbage everywhere.

Not to mention the half-eaten human corpses.

The neighbourhood had definitely gone downhill.

The end of the world as he knew it had started, not with the much predicted zombie apocalypse, but with vampires. The rushed and untested vaccine had caused the werewolf plague, and the inoculation against THAT had caused the zombie apocalypse.

The first two apocalypses hadn’t bothered him, much.

The vampires were polite, had knocked at the door, and asked if they could come in. Hugh’s approach to Jehovah’s Witnesses had paid dividends: a quick “fuck off!” and a slam of the door in their face, and that was that.

The werewolves seemed mostly to be high school students interested only in taking revenge on their classmates, or having sex with them. So they left Hugh well alone.

Anyway, in the end, the lack of fresh blood had caused the vampires to die out, and the werewolves were only really a problem once a month.

The zombies were more persistent. They were thugs, vandals, and they hung around like a bad smell.

And boy, did they smell.

“You’ll be OK,” Jack had said. “They are only interested in people with brains”. Two days later Hugh had found putting a bullet slap-bang in the middle of Zombie Jack’s forehead somewhat satisfying.

In the end it was the fourth apocalypse that Hugh had found the most irritating.

The Ghost Apocalypse.

All the moaning, wailing was annoying but it was the throwing things across the room that really got his goat. Hugh had lost count of the number of plates, mugs and ornaments that had been broken.

Jack had been an irritating bastard when he was alive.

Dead, he was simply hell to live with.