Miscellaneous, Words I Like

igniferous

What’s It Mean?

adj. producing fire.

Etymology

Latin ignifer; ignis (fire) + ferre (to carry)

Stumbled upon this one while reading a short story by Sir Terry Pratchett and couldn’t ignore it. “FTB”, originally published as “The Megabyte Drive to Believe in Santa Claus.” You can find it in his Anthology “A Blink of The Screen,”  a wonderful read of which I’m about halfway through.

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Flash Fiction, Sequentials

The Lemming and the Loon

It was a bit better and a bit worse than a normal morning for Debra Lemming. For one, she had finally gotten laid after nearly a year. Greg had offered to make breakfast, even though it was her kitchen and her food. Just a tad presumptuous for her taste, but it was a nice gesture. Greg seemed to be full of nice gestures. Especially the kind that got him something out of it. Take last night.

Debra shielded her eyes from the sun as she sat and waited at the small, two-person table shoved against the wall. One too many cocktails, Debby. Yes, last night had been fun indeed. Although during, she couldn’t shake the itching feeling that they were being watched. But that was impossible. They were five floors up and the blinds had been drawn. Still, she had been having that feeling a lot recently, and kept expecting to turn her head and lock eyes with some mysterious watcher, but never did. She shook her head. She should stop watching those Cold Case Files. They were making her paranoid.

The coffee was piping hot and black, as coffee should be, and Debra let her mug sit on the counter and cool while Greg helped himself to a cup.

“Got any cream?” he asked, already moving to the fridge.

“Nope, but some almond milk on the top shelf there.”

“Thanks.” He splashed in a generous amount and some coffee dribbled over the side. He heroically mopped up the spill with his sock. “Eggs an’ toast fine?” he asked.

“Just toast for me.” She hoped he would get the hint. There were only two eggs left in the carton. Please, just get the hint.

“Suit yourself,” he said, and pulled out the carton.

Debra took a sip from her mug then. The coffee was too hot and that was all right. It was obvious now that Greg had been a mistake. Well no, Debra Lemming didn’t believe in making mistakes, only misinformed decisions. Watching him try to scramble eggs without oiling the pan, she knew she wouldn’t be going home with the charming moocher type again.

General, Ramblings

The M&Ms Store in the Age of Minions

This is great. Both intelligent and witty. Cheers to you, Tom Whyman.

Infinitely Full Of Hope

minion crucified

I visited M&Ms World in Leicester Square this Tuesday, for the first time in rather a long time, but to be honest with you I’m not sure why they bother calling it M&Ms World at all anymore. The whole thing is just Minions.

As many of you will know, I’ve thought and written quite extensively about the M&Ms store in the past. From the moment I first saw the M&Ms store, in October 2011, I was completely fascinated with it. Posing as an amusingly left-field attempt to market a hard-shelled chocolate candy, the M&Ms store in fact represented the attempt to replicate the entire world, in M&Ms form. Aside from the sweet itself, you could buy anything at all in the M&Ms store, filtered and distorted through the prism of the five M&Ms character-candies: not just food but clothing; domestic appliances; farming equipment; all of the most terrible engines…

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Flash Fiction, Sequentials

The Man in the Moon

For years, many have held on to the belief that the moon is deeply connected with woman, and the sun with man. Yes, those early misogynist shapers of the world. What else could man be associated with, if not the sun that gives life? Hubris blinded them, as is its nature. How they would toss and turn in their graves if I were to but whisper the truth to them.

For I am the moon. And I am man.

In the swirling blackness of night, once my sister has retired from the world, I lift my chambers high and view the Earth from the heavens. I sit right here in my chair and I watch and shine my light down, peeking from behind a waning crescent.

I watch as Debra Lemming slides a dress over her delicate frame. She takes a bus downtown and meets a man at a bar. It is the first time they have met in person, but they have talked online for two weeks. She feels as if she knows him. The man smiles a lot. He wears a beige Henley and dark expensive jeans. I cannot hear what they say to one another, but he buys drink after drink for her. Her head lolls and her eyes droop slightly, and the man rests his hand on Debra Lemming’s lower back. He whispers something in her ear and she giggles.

I watch them take a taxi back to Debra Lemming’s studio apartment. The lights do not turn on and I watch as they commit an act of spontaneous love. As I observe, I wonder what it would be like to grasp at another being with such desperate fervor. To twist and turn and entwine until two becomes one. Foolishly, I imagine that I am the man with the dark expensive jeans clutching at Debra Lemming. I allow myself this one small moment of impossible fantasy. One moment when I can pretend to not be alone.

One moment, perfect and fleeting.

Flash Fiction, Sequentials

The Tortoise Rises

Howard strode out to where the tortoise lay on the lawn. It looked up at him with pathetically dull, half-closed eyes and wiggled its feet in the air. Kneeling down in a low squat, Howard reached his hands into the gap between grass and shell. His feet pushed off the ground hard. In a colossal effort, muscles bunched and straining, Howard eased the tortoise up off its back. The thing was so heavy that when gravity took over the shell slipped from Howard’s grasp, and it landed with a reverberating thud.

Howard shook out his arms. The physical work had felt good. It woke him up, made his thoughts a little clearer. If the tortoise was here to stay, he thought, he’d better adapt to it.

In the garage was his grandfather’s workbench, with tools and lumber a plenty. Howard had never been much of a handyman, but he did have a fondness for carving and woodworking, though he was lousy at it. He supposed that was better than nothing, and got to work immediately, selecting two-by-fours and trimming them down to the proper length with his grandfather’s miter saw. He fashioned the planks into stakes and placed them around the perimeter of the garden. Howard enjoyed the physical labor. As a kid, it seemed he was always doing some type of yardwork whether it be raking leaves, mowing the lawn, or cleaning out the gutters. There was something satisfying about doing that kind of work. It was empowering, completing tasks with your body, by yourself, that he had found nothing else could quite capture. After rummaging around in the garage, Howard found some old chicken wire that he wrapped around the stakes. It wouldn’t stop something as crafty as a raccoon, but Howard thought it should be enough to protect his precious flowers from the tortoise.

Drenched in sweat and sticky from the heat, Howard took shelter inside and hopped in a cold shower. He wasn’t sure whether it had been the physical activity, or the rescuing of the tortoise, but it felt as if a veil had lifted over Howard’s head. What had once been shrouded in sulking self-doubt was now pure and clear as a mountain spring.

After his shower Howard immediately phoned Grace and told her he wanted her to move in. It took some convincing to prove he was serious, but in the end she agreed.

Over the next month Howard’s life went through a radical change. He gave away a lot of his grandfather’s old things to family members. What he couldn’t give away he sold in a yard sale. Grace moved in, and brought with her a vibrant new life to the old house. She came in with her notebook and jotted down idea after idea for what they could do with all the space. They would repaint some rooms, move furniture.

When they had unpacked the last of the boxes and the move was final, they shared a bottle of pinot on the back patio and watched the tortoise roam the lawn. Howard had taken seeds from the community garden and grown a vegetable patch exclusively for the tortoise, full of cabbages and tomatoes and onions. He’d started in his spare time to construct it a shelter for the oncoming storms and winter months ahead. It kept him busy, and he liked the work. Most of all, Howard reveled in the current of life that seemed to propel him forward these days. The constant doing felt good, natural.

The two watched the tortoise make its slow, deliberate way toward its private patch. And in the fading light they sat and drank, happy for now, in an act of simple observation, and the pleasure of each other’s company.