ABSURDIS EXTREME // Case Study #87b [16/09/2071] by B.A. Loney

This is the story of Tati and Tony, two writers who were desperate to write the most perfect poem that would ever be written. It would be so epic and untouchable in its perfection that poetry lovers everywhere would literally disintegrate in paroxysms of orgasmic delight. Well… that was their aim anyway.

‘Verily.’

Tony placed the full stop right after this word, and immediately felt regret. It should have been a comma as there surely would be more literary brilliance to follow. He tore the page out of his notebook, scrunched it up, and threw it in the bin.

‘Verily,’ he wrote on a fresh page.

“Ah, much better!” He smiled to himself. “I have a good feeling about this poem already!”

“Balderdash!” sniffed Tati, snatching the notebook out of Tony’s hands.

She crossed out Tony’s ‘Verily,’ and wrote ‘Verily!’ beneath it, then proudly shoved the notebook back in his face. He had to squint real hard in order to decipher the scribble.

“Look how real poets work, Tony! ‘Verily!'”

Tony cocked his head. “Well, okay…” he said uncertainly. “But how does the exclamation mark actually improve this? It makes about as much sense as if you’d put a starfish after it.”

“I put a starfish before it! Don’t you see?”

Tony examined the page again with a critical eye. “Oh! This is a starfish? I thought it was your attempt at a finger painting.”

Tati gasped in outrage.

“Nevertheless,” pressed Tony, “this doesn’t explain the exclamation mark after the word. Am I to understand that it’s a starfish saying ‘Verily!’ in a rather exclamatory manner? If so, what is the starfish so excited about? And does there need to be a starfish at all? I thought we were writing a serious poem.”

“Shut up, Tony! Your blabbing will only frighten away my Muse!” Tati wrinkled her nose at his impertinence, and even puffed her cheeks for emphasis. Still, he was confused by this, and had to wonder at what her scratching her ear was also about. Were there nits in her hair?

Actually, Tati was just a little irritated, and she was thinking hard over the new poem. It wasn’t her problem if people insisted on misinterpreting her body language.

“Oh, I know!”

Tony almost jumped out of his skin with surprise. Tati was so freaking unpredictable.

“I’m a genius!” She jotted something else down, then waved the notebook at him. “Look…”

‘Verily…’

Tony’s eyes widened with wonder.

“Oh my sainted stars!” he said in a hushed—almost reverential—tone. “The dots add a certain gravitas, don’t they? Like… absolutely anything could happen next.”

Suddenly, a human-sized bottle of Corona Extra crashed through their front door and wilfully—and with malicious intent—decanted itself all over them. However, Tati and Tony did not panic, for although they were sopping, stinking wet, they were also wearing masks and so the deadly liquid could not enter their airways.

“Oh, fuck you!” roared Corona. “You sheeple think you’re so clever because you’ve got a silly piece of fabric on your faces! Fuck you so much!”

Feeling rather frustrated and impotent, it turned and stomped out the way it had come in. Corona had legs, but no arms with which to gleefully rip off masks. It was all Corona could do not to have an embarrassing little cry on its way out.

Tati and Tony exchanged looks.

‘A dot?’

‘A dot!’

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2021

100 WORD SKITTLE // Sweet Josephine

I threw that huge pink diamond into the corner and swore.

“What? Trash again! Not what I need!”

“Forgive me, Mr Tutin,” mewled Prump. “It’s the best in my collection!”

I don’t need sissy luxury shit! Give me a tough, solid, male piece of crap! Like a horse!” I shook my fist in his dopey face. “Give me an Adonis of the horse world and I’ll happily ride its brains out!”

Prump went over and picked up the diamond, blew the dust off, then pocketed it.

“Some people prefer unicorns, you know,” he huffed sulkily before leaving the Gremlin library.

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2021

100 WORD SKITTLE // The Supermarket Algorithm

Shoebill was clacking her massive beak in Capybara’s face again.

“I. Said. One. Carton. қымыз. You. Are. Stupid. Mammal.”

She was always clacking in Morse code. You know, instead of communicating normally and just saying shit. Normally.

Anyway, Capybara was rather embarrassed now, like any man in the face of tough woman’s logic. Had he not followed her request, step for step? “Can you go down to the store for a carton of қымыз?” she’d clacked. “And if they have coconuts, get four.” So, what was the problem? The store had coconuts, so he’d gotten four cartons of қымыз.

Simple!

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2021

SCHEHERAZADE’S 1,001 BYTES // Operation Beaverossa

The beavers had come in the night, but so far the barricade was holding. As much as they’d tried to buzz saw their way in with formidable razor-sharp buckteeth, they hadn’t done so quickly enough to avoid incineration by the Castle’s defense lasers.

So did the sombre morning replace what had been a calamitous night. The few surviving beavers retreated to the relative safety of their dam to take a wait-and-see approach beneath the willow trees.

“Well, that couldn’t have gone more tits up,” muttered Theo, “than if we’d grown tits then thrown them at the walls like water balloons.”

“Milk balloons.”

A sigh escaped Theo’s lips. Jensen could never bloody let one go. “Thanks, Jensen. What would we do without your penetrating pedantry?”

Jensen looked at him with the world weariness of a furry, pint-sized Sisyphus. “Sarcasm is the last refuge of fools, you know.”

“Just so you know, Jensen, Dostoyevsky never said that.”

“I’m not quoting Dostoyevsky!”

Theo pulled a pocketbook of quotations from beneath his tail and thumbed through it. “Here we go… ‘Sarcasm: the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded.'”

“See?” crowed Jensen. “Nothing alike!”

“Holy Jesus, guys! What are you doing arguing over quotations when all our womenfolk have been wiped out?”

“Shut up, Teskey!” growled Jensen. Theo nodded with him. They were both annoying to be sure, but Teskey more so.

“No! I won’t!” insisted Teskey. “The future of our tribe hangs in the balance, or haven’t you noticed?”

“I don’t need bloody women!” snorted Theo. “All I need is a pair of clean socks and some warm milk before bedtime!”

“Just because you’re a ‘love celibate’, Theo, doesn’t mean the rest of us need to be!”

“Oh, Teskey, you poor hormonally overburdened fool! Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!”

“Well, I guess I have no choice now, do I?” snapped Teskey. “My wife’s probably a rotting corpse in the Castle now, with no way for me to give her a decent burial! Tell me how that’s okay?!”

“Well…” spluttered Theo, taken a little aback at the outburst. “Get over it? It’s just a bloody woman after all…”

“I bet Dostoyevsky never said anything like that.” Again, Jensen had to dig at him. “Check your little book, Theo!”

Teskey grabbed his head and howled. “Jesus hyperventilating Christ, guys! We need a plan! A solid, fucking plan that works!”

“To do what, exactly?” shrugged Jensen. “I mean, I agree we should have a plan.” He shot Theo a look. “I bet Dostoyevsky would’ve had a plan!”

“Here’s an idea,” interjected Theo. “First, you shut the hell up about Dostoyevsky. Only I get to talk about Dostoyevsky, okay?! And, second, we dump some sucklings near the Castle walls.”

Jensen and Teskey goggled at him, eyes wider than a giant’s grandmother’s finest dinner plates.

“Yeah, you heard me. Sucklings!”

“Are you sure you don’t mean ducklings?”

“No, Jensen!” Theo rolled his eyes. “Sucklings!”

Teskey shook his head, and then comprehension dawned. “Oh, you mean children, right?”

“Of course!”

“Then why didn’t you say sodding children, you boob?!”

“You’re a boob!”

“Anyway!” yelled Jensen. He had to break this up or they’d argue for hours. “What’s your plan?” He looked at Theo with a squinty eye that promised trouble if the plan wasn’t up to snuff.

“Well,” said Theo conspiratorially, “there must still be some women left in the Castle. So, we dump the sucklings outside, said women hear them crying, their motherly instincts kick in, they unbuckle their bras and come running with naked boobs flopped out ready to feed the poor creatures. Then we capture said women and make them ours! Erm… yours.”

There was an uncomfortably long silence as Jensen and Teskey tried to process this.

“Boobs?” asked Teskey at last, his tone telegraphing a lack of enthusiasm for the plan.

“Yeah, Theo, I’m surprised you didn’t call them udders or teats. Wouldn’t Dostoyevsky have called them that?”

“Shut up, Jensen! You’re testing my patience!”

Jensen blinked oh-so-innocent eyes. “You have patience?”

“Hold on.” Teskey stroked his whiskers. “Wouldn’t they be more likely to burn our babies to a crisp with the defense lasers?”

“Yeah!” chimed Jensen. “Our bubbas can be little shits but even that’s a bit much! And anyway, we can always look for women elsewhere.”

“Oh, come on!” roared Theo. “Haven’t you heard of honour in war? The enemy won’t shoot helpless sucklings! It’s just not done!”

Jensen frowned like his brain was about to explode.

“That’s the beauty of this plan!” Theo pushed on. “Use the sucklings to get more women without us having to bring down the barricade or them firing a single shot!”

“I guess…” And now Teskey was frowning too. “I mean, why look elsewhere if we’re already at the Castle? It’s the note that led us there in the first place!”

Jensen shrugged.

“Regardless, we should leave the babies out of this. Show me the note again,” he sighed, snapping his fingers at Teskey. “What did your wife write exactly?”

Teskey pulled a handwritten note from beneath his tail.

Jensen took it and cleared his throat. “She writes: ‘Dear Teskey wesky, having a girl’s night out at the Castle. Twig kebabs in the fridge. Microwave three minutes each. Tuck kids in at seven. Don’t wait up. Love, your Fanny wanny.'”

“See? That was last night. Which means they must all be horribly dead by now!”

“Teskey…” Jensen’s eyes narrowed. “Please don’t tell me that almost all of our tribesmen died in a tragic attempt to overtake the Castle because… well, you can’t turn on a microwave.”

He hovered over Teskey like a foreboding headmaster with an angry god complex.

Theo stood there looking on, dumb with astonishment. He’d forgotten about Dostoyevsky and boobs for now.

Teskey lowered his eyes.

Back at the Castle, the night club doors swept open and a covey of giggling, tipsy female beavers started on their way down to the river…

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2021

100 WORD SKITTLE // Piss Off (Baptism of Fire)

Snot was streaked down his mouth, chin and collarino like ejaculated soul.

He wiped himself off—his nose too—with a paper towel, then balled it up and threw it into the fireplace. The fire leapt up with a flash of green and devoured the offering. The licking of its lips turned quickly into an ominous smile.

“I saw what you did.”

He cocked an eyebrow at the fire.

“So you’re going to blackmail me, are you? Silly chemical process! You won’t tell anybody.”

He stepped over to the fireplace and lifted up his cassock. Then he unzipped his jeans.

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2021