ABSURDIS EXTREME // Case Study #6,027 [23/04/1998] by B.A. Loney

This is the story of my unfortunate and very short career in Hell. I hadn’t planned on visiting, let alone living there, but life will often throw these little surprises at you. It was so surprising that I forgot to pack some suntan lotion. And, sure, while there’s no actual sun in Hell, the Earth’s molten core may as well be the same thing.

Someone said I was lucky to be leaving the boondocks as they were miles from the nearest telephone or free WiFi—or pretty much anything really. That someone said I’d be moving to a place where hot water in the shower was no problem. That’s right. Hot water in Hell was actually hot, not like the lukewarm piss that dribbled down your face back where I came from. As a connoisseur of bathroom facilities, this was all I needed to clinch the deal.

So, no suntan lotion but plenty of hot water. What could go wrong? Well, plenty as it happens. I hadn’t counted on the natives. Those fucking feral natives! They were… well, strange. And not only because they wore iridium rings in their nostrils and braided chest hair. Nope. It was something else. It was the fact that they wore open business jackets and aviator goggles, but no pants. And they’d fly over you with those huge, leathery wings in the hopes of landing a huge shit on your head. What fucking weirdos!

Also, they were eager wranglers—like they’d been watching too many cowboy movies. I would even say it was their cacoethes (fancy word there). Firstly it scared me, then it became merely rather irritating. Being shat on then lassoed and transported to another postcode in Hell would really put a crimp on anyone’s day. The psychotic bastards just couldn’t help themselves! But I did eventually get used to it—strange as it soundsand even realised that I could turn this to my benefit. That’s right, I eventually figured out that I might be able to use them as free transportation to work and back instead of dialing an Uber. All I had to do was steer them like I was paragliding or something. Sure, they’d probably shit on you the entire way but all I’d need to do is wear a disposable raincoat and hat to compensate for this, and change into my work uniform when I arrived at the office.

Of course, you’re going to ask how any of this concerns science. Well, it has a direct and vital correlation with science! My top priority when I accepted the offer from Hell was not hot water and free transport (even though these tipped me over into saying yes). No, it was the chance to join an unique project where the most talented scientists from throughout time—from Jabir ibn Hayyan to Ortizphine Hunterpin CCCXXV—would study the cellular dehydration and osmoreceptor stimulation of Pompeii worms. Any true intellect would eat their own hat with a side order of fries from envy!

Such a pity that I never made it there. To work, I mean. It turns out that steering a batshit crazy demon just isn’t possible. It’s like trying to wrestle a rabid wolverine towards an anger management class. So, I would spend hours trying to reach my destination, only to end up nosediving into the roof of somebody’s house—all while covered in shit, of course. Can’t forget the shit!

So naturally, I was soon kicked back up to Earth for my constant tardiness. Scientists prefer it if you’re punctual. Bureaucracy is hell, man!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2021

PERFECTION IN ACTION // In the Eye of the Beholder

I peered at a blot on the wall. It peered back at me, not blinking.

I didn’t realise that blots had eyes, but then this was no ordinary blot. As such, I wanted to get to know it better. Hell, I wanted to ask it out on a date but I guess it would’ve been considered a little odd for a gal to be attracted to a random abstract mark on a vertical structure—no matter how good looking the mark was!

A vagrant who was stepping away from the wall—zipping his dirty jeans—looked at me with surprise.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2021

100 WORD SKITTLE // The Trouble with Beardies

Any time I want to cry, I go to the kitchen and start cutting onions. Is it cowardly? Yes, maybe, but I cannot afford to let my guard down. The bearded dragons will take advantage of me if I do!

They’re tough little buggers. They cry only when they need to clean their eyes. So practical! Am I practical? Hell, no. I eat their dust in that department!

If I do cry in front of them, they glom on with their tiny straws and start sucking me dry from my tear ducts. I nearly died the last time that happened!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2021

Covid Diary pp. 26-27

Dear Diary,

I will not thank God for CCTV. CCTV is the Devil’s work. Or God’s work. Perhaps they’ve collaborated on my humiliation.

Every day I enter the shit hole that is my work space and plop my bottom into a saggy arsed chair before a bank of dull, flyspecked screens. Maybe some people feel like God (or the Devil?) when they’re spying on and controlling human beings from such a vantage point, but I sincerely and wholeheartedly hate this. I would not be here during a pandemic if my job hadn’t been deemed an ‘essential service’.

Honestly, why do people scratch their genitals when they’re the only ones in the lift? Why do they check for nostril hairs in the mirror? Why do they do this whenever they damn well feel like it? And do they think if they spoil the air that their mask will make them invisible to whomever enters the lift next? I don’t know what they’re eating but it smells worse than my own ungodly clam after a session on the exercise bike. I just don’t need this shit.

It’s clear that they’re not computer scientists, aeronautics engineers or high powered executives. They’re human-sized babies. Frankly, they can’t even open a packet of potato crisps without committee approval. And the aforementioned masks? Don’t get me started on the frigging masks! Those thin strips of fabric deprive their tiny brains of oxygen and common sense. They end up with nothing in their heads but a basket of fucks not given. What other explanation could there be for their flagrant disregard for my territory?

Anyway, it may be a minor point to them but not to me. They’re always mucking shit up and I’m forever doomed to supervise it. The best place for my shapeshifting is in the lift, so how am I supposed to bear this ignominy? It’s enough to make you howl in despair…

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2021

PERFECTION IN ACTION // Cut Off

I used to be yakuza but not anymore. I was kicked out because of a tattoo.

I wanted to compose a tribute for the Oyabun, a haiku to celebrate his heroic exploits and boundless charisma. Endowed with this as a tattoo, I would be showing him the gravity of my devotion, my unquestioning firmness to serve him unto death.

Unfortunately, my handwriting sucks so the tattooist misread the haiku. Instead of the kanji for ‘handsome’ he tattooed the kanji for ‘unpleasant’. You can see how the fault is mine.

Or maybe the Oyabun didn’t like me showing him my balls?

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020