ABSURDIS EXTREME // Case Study #2 [1/2/1983] by B.A. Loney

This is the story of a billboard. An old billboard on the corner of Big Lasher and 20th. It was covered in endless layers of shabby ads. A bit of text here. A model’s face there. Some bird shit.

The bird shit was like a spray of iron pellets embedded in the metal and paper. That’s how hard it had gotten beneath the harsh, bone bleaching sun. To the lonely earthworm looking on from below, these were portents of doom. Well, they would have been portents of doom had the earthworm been able to see.

The fact that this earthworm was as blind as a worm—and deaf like one too—isn’t terribly important for our super serious scientific research. A gust of wind flapped paper over the model’s nose with a loud pop. Now, that detail is important. As is the detail that upon not hearing this, the earthworm crawled up. We’re not sure why it crawled up. Perhaps it wanted a view it could not see to accompany the sound it could not hear. No one can know the mind of an earthworm, okay? You just need to accept this.

If, indeed, an earthworm has a mind.

So, anyway, the earthworm eventually reached the billboard’s top. Unsurprisingly, it saw and heard nothing. It wondered where it was now relative to where it had been, and felt similarly clueless. It’s really not easy being an earthworm.

It was on this cusp of despair that the earthworm felt something like hard peas digging into its ribs. (Do earthworms have ribs? Gah. Anyway.) The earthworm could have sworn it was feeling a letter ‘A’. Of course, every earthworm knows Braille. It’s the first thing wormlets are taught in school. So, yeah, this was definitely feeling like the first letter of the alphabet…

The earthworm fidgeted a bit, edging its body over to the right. Yeah, an ‘A’. Driven by curiosity, it started to move along the trail of fossil bird shit, not knowing that it was fossil bird shit. You see, earthworms are not only blind and deaf, they also can’t smell for shit. Still, it was old, dried up shit, so the shit no longer retained its shitty smell, thus the earthworm couldn’t have smelled it even had it possessed a nose—which it clearly didn’t. (We can’t believe how often we were able to squeeze the word ‘shit’ into this paragraph!)

It took nearly two hours, but the earthworm was patient. It painstakingly moved its clammy, naked body over every shitty bump at the top of that billboard. It got turned on a few times during this process, but earthworms don’t have penises to get boners with, so the arousal was strictly cerebral. We suppose this means earthworms have minds after all, and that the mind is the most powerful sex organ.

But, again, we must omit this fact for now because of its quantifiable littleness. That very same day, the old billboard on the corner of Big Lasher and 20th was scrapped and sent off to be melted down. It was turned into a dozen new shiny shovels that every day since have cut many earthworms into halves, giving them all a new life that has been twice as good.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SANTA’S REINDEER BUT WERE TOO AFRAID TO ASK // Six Word Story #71

Blitzen heads the Christmas advertising blitz.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2019

DARWINIAN // Woke at the Coalface

‘Eat. Sleep. Sprint. Repeat.’

At no other time in history could I wear this summation of existence on an article of clothing and not be thought of as odd. But nearly everyone’s doing it nowadays, so I guess that makes me somewhat normal — or at least someone somewhere’s definition of ‘normal’. It’s funny how society bolted from the t-shirt as an undergarment in the nineteenth century to being worn as outerwear in the mid-twentieth century. Quite the transition, no? We shrugged from ‘shock of the new’ territory into the realm of blind acceptance in one quick, easy, costume change.

So, what does this actually mean? It means that t-shirts are in. It means that catchy sayings in bold typeface beneath cartoon pics of hollow, burnt up earths with factory stacks belching out poison are in. And it means that the combination of all these things is in. I guess the t-shirt is what society now deems ‘social convention’. Yup. And the only constant is change.

Frankly, I’ve never understood the appeal of t-shirts. To me they’re just walking billboards littered with guache advertising for untruths mixed with half-truths dressed up as ‘The Truth’ that you absolutely cannot live without… so buy today. And I happen to live at the fraying edge of all of that. Oh, damn, I don’t know what to do! Should I wear this shirt and risk exposing my unmanly physique for all to snort in derision at? I’m barely hanging on here, trying not to be the wonky thread that makes my carefully insulated life come undone. My face is already unacceptable by society’s standards. Now my body too?

Is this irony? The fact that I can be shamed for my pear-shaped body rather than the trite maxim on my overstretched top doesn’t seem right to me. Maybe I’m overthinking this. Maybe I shouldn’t be perturbed that not only is this the uniform that must be worn if I want to be part of society’s cabal of acceptance but that I can also be rejected if I fail to squeeze into it in the prescribed manner. No, I should just push these thoughts out of my mind…

The earth coughs up flowers for no one to notice.  The mighty dig past said flowers for coal to burn to make loot. Said mighty diligently practice their brand of self care, amassing said loot to the neglect of everyone else. And here I am, trying to decide whether what I’m feeling is mere vanity or the emergence of some awful realisation.

God. What possessed me to buy this stupid shirt anyway?

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018