ABSURDIS EXTREME // Case Study #1,009,851 [06/09/2087] by B.A. Loney

This is the story of my sincere attempts at following some good advice. I was concerned about spending too much time in front of my PC, but seeing as this was part of my job, I also felt that I had no choice. So, I needed to take care of my posture, maintaining the correct height, and maintaining the correct distance between my eyes and the monitor. As per the occupational health and safety standards, I had to be hypervigilant about angles, space, eyelines, blah blah blah. All of this bullshit was key.

The problem was, I had a spine that had the bendiness of a Slinky. It’s a wonder I managed to successfully navigate stairs without spilling my way down them, ending up in a tragic heap at the bottom! Of course, I had to concentrate, and wearing an unusually stiff jacket usually helped, support wise. Showers were a fucking nightmare, what with having to hold onto the taps for dear life, just in case my stretchy spine decided to suddenly lunge my skull into the bathroom wall. And looking in mirrors? Let’s just say I had to wear a helmet in case.

Don’t think I haven’t tried to find a solution. My best idea was to remove the head cushion from my office chair and slip my spine down the back support shaft. It seemed to work quite well while I was sitting, but my every attempt to stand up, move, or bend only ended with me collapsing all over the floor, the high-pitched squeals of my colleagues being a clue to how freakish and dire my situation actually was. Because, of course, I kept forgetting that firstly I needed to take my spine off the shaft. I’m such a butter brain sometimes!

After the fifth incident, my boss called me into her office and gave me a good dressing down. This whole situation was ridiculous, she said, and I needed to come up with a solution fast if I wished to have a future with the company. Needless to say, my confidence took a huge hit with that ultimatum, and I left work that day with more wobble in my step than I would have liked. I even tipped into a duck pond despite all my efforts not to. I was not in a good way.

When I was sitting near the pond, sad and wet, smeared with muck and duck droppings, I noticed a fat tube man. He looked very happy, his long, thin moustache all twirled and oiled at each end, and a pizza in his hand that looked like a billion dollar feast—it looked that good! I felt a twinge of envy. It could’ve been me in his place. I wasn’t worse than him. No, I was even better! And my back was way more bendy after all.

The next morning, I found myself outside our personnel department with an application in hand. The personnel officer hadn’t even looked at it—such had been his delight at my proposal. I was leaving his office, having secured for myself a newly created role, that of the company tube man. I could stand out the front, flitting and flailing in the breeze as much as I liked, bending this way and that to attract attention to our company and whatever the hell product or service it actually provided. This would be the perfect job for me. I wouldn’t be stuck in front of a PC all day. I’d get plenty of fresh air. And flexible working hours! The perks were many.

But my favourite moment of the day was when my former boss was passing me on the street. She was accompanied by a gaggle of my former work colleagues. It was a golden opportunity for me to formally recognise for myself that I’d come to the end of my time with them. So, I loosened my valve at just the right moment, and let rip with a burst of high pressure gas. It was such a distinctive sound, one that could not be ignored by anybody!

They all stopped, saw me—a mere tube man—then looked at one another. Who had let off that fart? No one was willing to own up to it. And though they were all innocent, I wasn’t about to own up to it either. I watched smugly as they all turned and walked back to their stuffy offices. And here was me staying outside, free and happy—and with extra days off whenever there was rain.

Tube Man

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

100 WORD SKITTLE // Pranayama

It’s hard to breathe with your feet. After all, they’re usually pressed to the ground. You can’t run, jump or dangle them all the time. That’s why you can sneeze and choke.

Same with your hands. They’re so eager to roam around and touch everything. But you’re doomed to wash them repeatedly, trying to keep them clean. That’s why you can splutter and suffocate.

Same with your arse. (We’ll trust you with the reasoning on this.)

So, it’s better to pull your nose out of others’ business and use that for breathing instead. Hasn’t it been Nature’s plan all along?

Pranayama

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

ABSURDIS EXTREME // Case Study #1,986 [19/11/1986] by B.A. Loney

Every time there’s a quadratic equation to be solved, I’m compelled to put my thinking cap on. And my thinking glasses. And my thinking moustache. And my thinking codpiece. It’s a whole thing, and I have to do it each and every time something crops up that’s even vaguely taxing on the old grey matter.

Now, you could say, “What’s the big deal? I whip my knickers on and off every day without so much as a howdy-do, and no one considers that the Labours of Hercules, do they?” Well, to that I’d say the Labours of Hercules is very much what I’m going through whenever I put on my thinking gear to get a problem sorted! Chronic fatigue syndrome ain’t easy to live with, son, and when you stack that on top of an obsessive-compulsive disorder that compels you to wear what amounts to a costume every time your brain farts…

Anyway, let’s just say it ain’t easy, and leave it at that. Oh, and did I mention that I’m a sentient, grey slime? No? Well, now reread the first part, keeping this new piece of knowledge in your springy, pink brain. A cap, glasses, and a moustache. I’m not even sure where the hell to put the moustache half the time! And the codpiece? The fucking codpiece that jams up my tender loins every time!

Grey Slime

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

SCHEHERAZADE’S 1,001 BYTES // Good Luck Charm

The Loch Ness Monster had finally been found, but not where everybody thought she’d be. She wasn’t located in the famous body of water after which she’d been named. No, she was actually in a retirement villa in Florida.

It really wasn’t so unusual that the Loch Ness Monster had chosen to spend her twilight years with land dwellers. She wore a cute bonnet, drowsed her days away in the rocking chair beneath a big old lime tree, and played bingo with the other oldies every Saturday evening. You see, our story is about something else, namely the cashier’s cheques that covered her residency at the retirement villa. Or, rather, it’s about the individual who issued them.

That individual’s name was Elvis Presley. He’d had an abiding interest in cryptids since he was a young tearaway playing gospel hits for the nuns at the Catholic school his parents had sent him to. The nuns were often rendered speechless by his frequent hip thrusting and gyrations, so they’d banish him to catalogue books in the library during recess. That’s where he found a dusty tome entitled, ‘Monsties of the Grand Ole Opry’.

A young tearaway Elvis may have been, but he was also a diligent student when the mood struck him. Something had only to capture his imagination, and this book didn’t fit the bill. So, he blew the dust off its cover, sneezed, then walked over to the shelf marked ‘M: Monotheism — Monticule’ to put it back in its proper place. But when he tried to slip it into the appropriate gap between two mouldy hardcovers, there was an obstruction. Elvis stood on his tippy-toes and took a closer look.

What he saw surprised him. He shifted some of the surrounding books off the shelf so that he could reach in and grab what appeared to be a sliver of metal. Of course, once it was in his hand, he realised that the sliver of metal was a key. It was old and not so shiny. He rubbed it on the lapel of his white jumpsuit, wondering what on earth to do with it.

Elvis was so immersed in his thoughts about the key that he failed to notice a pair of beady, black eyes creepily peering at him from the pin-up poster on the wall. He hadn’t even noticed the poster itself—although a pin-up poster on the wall of a library in a Catholic school wasn’t such a common thing, was it? No, it wasn’t. And especially not a pin-up poster of a topless cabaret dancer with the nipples cut out for a pair of beady, black eyes to peer through.

The eyes continued to peer at Elvis as he pocketed his key then continued cataloguing dusty tomes. He needed to be finished in time for the Friday afternoon Kazoo Appreciation Club with Brigitte Bardot and Ursula Andress. He didn’t care about learning how to play a kazoo insomuch as getting them to play his. What can I say? He was a typical horny teenager.

Cut to years later within the dark corridors of American Sound Studio in Memphis; Elvis met a strange woman. She was not as tall as Brigitte Bardot was short, and not as busty as Ursula Andress was flat-chested. She smoked like a chimney on fire and wore a white blouse with the nipples cut out for a pair of beady, black eyes to peer through.

“Where is the key?” she asked in a low, urgent voice.

“Sorry, ma’am?” said Elvis through clenched teeth. “And how did you get in here?” His voice carried a slightly aroused tone. He was trying to decide which pair of eyes he needed to look at. And no way in hell was he going to just hand over his key to this mysterious individual—yes, the same key that over the years had become something of a fancy souvenir for Elvis. Not only that, it had also become a kind of good luck charm, maybe even a mascot. Moreover, it was pretty handy whenever he needed to crack open a beer and there wasn’t a bottle opener around.

She waved a cigarette at his white jumpsuit with the dirty lapel. “It doesn’t matter. Give me the motherfucking key!”

“And what key would that be, ma’am?” Elvis tore his eyes away from the woman’s beady, black nipples and looked her in the actual eye. The key was in his jumpsuit pocket where it belonged. Yup, he was going to have to stand up to this bitch.

“Listen, motherfucker,” she snarled, “give me the key or I’ll rip your goddam head off and defecate down the neck hole!”

Elvis took a step back, squaring up for a fight if need be. The woman glared at him with all four of her unblinking eyes. Who knows if it was the Russian vodka in Elvis’s stomach or her vibe, but he suddenly found himself singing, “Love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go!” And, for whatever reason, the woman’s pale cheeks instantly began to blush, which then led her tightly compressed lips to relax into something resembling a smile. Could it be that her sub-zero heart was melting?

Yes, actually, it could. In fact, she got so weak at the knees that she fell on her ass with her legs wide open. And that’s when Elvis finally realised what the key may have been for. With her dress hitched accidentally over her knees, he could see the cast iron chastity belt that she was wearing. All he needed to do was insert the key and jiggle it a bit. He was turned on just thinking about it!

PS: About the cashier’s cheques… that part’s easy. As all of you are probably aware, Elvis had Scottish roots. As such, he was happy to help his great-great-great-grandmother out when she wrote to inform him of the pitiable lack of money that was preventing her from renting a property at her dream retirement villa.

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

100 WORD SKITTLE // Writer’s Block

The pen is mightier than the sword, except when said sword is a pen in the shape of a tiny, novelty sword. Then it’s just two pens side by side, not causing much blood loss and mayhem, because… well, they’re pens, and pens don’t do that.

But here’s the thing. If you take a closer look, you can see that said pen is actually a sword in the shape of a regular sized pen. So, yes, then the first pen is mightier than the sword because it’s not a second pen in the shape of a tiny, novelty sword. It is actually a sword.

Yes, I’ve had a lot on my mind lately.

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022