ABSURDIS EXTREME // Case Study #345 [09/09/2017] by B.A. Loney

This is the story of Number Thirteen, a lonely young soul whose skin was as white as snow because even Sun would shun her. Of course, Moon deigned to suffer her presence but only because he’d cover his face with clouds so that he wouldn’t have to look at her. Number Thirteen felt distinctly unlovely indeed.

You may be wondering if Number Thirteen had tried to turn things around at any point. Well, as a matter of fact, yes! She once pretended to be Number Thirty-one but, predictably, nothing good came of this. The real Number Thirty-one happened to find out what Number Thirteen was doing, and posted a scathing expose of her fraudulent behaviour on Facebook. If Number Thirteen wasn’t a social pariah before, she certainly was now.

Still, it seems that she didn’t let this stop her. She also tried to split in two once, to self-identify as Number One and Number Three. But this turned out even worse! Do you think it would be easy to operate with two parts if one of them looks like a pointy stick and the other has rather puffy flanks? Whether anorexic or grossly overweight, neither was good for her health.

So, instead of changing herself, Number Thirteen tried to date other much cooler souls in the hopes that their innate coolness would rub off on her. She dated a Number Six Six Six who was a little too bestial for her liking, and had an obsession with five-pointed polygons and red food colouring. Then there was a Number Sixty-nine who gave her genital herpes and mouth cramps. And after that came a soul who was to be the worst of them all. He called himself Number Seven Seven Seven, and would often coerce her into wearing a bad ginger wig while whispering quotes from the Gospel of QAnon whenever they made out.

You would think after these dating disasters that Number Thirteen would have given up. But no, not at all! Even with the terrible luck she’d always had of just trying to fit in, she was a cheerful, optimistic soul. Social shunning, superstition and all that other numerology bullshit be damned! She threw herself into the practice of yoga and qigong instead, often pouring cold water over herself before and after, even visiting Tuvan throat singing classes on a weekly basis. She piled her plate so full with extracurricular activities that she didn’t have time to sit around lamenting her lot in life. In short, Number Thirteen lived her life so thoroughly that she eventually grew to feel less empty and lonesome.

One day, Number Thirteen was sitting on the porch with her cat. Of course, the cat was a black one—could you honestly imagine her petting a white cat? Said cat was purring in her lap, soaking up the attention like a thirsty perennial in a tropical downpour. As such, it was the best Friday that either of them had had in a very long time. They just enjoyed each other’s company without a care in the world.

A fat snot-nosed kid was passing by on the street when he suddenly looked at Number Thirteen and her cat, and began to scream blue murder. There was an equally scared woman beside him—presumably his mother—and he pulled on her skirt as he poked a dirty finger toward the porch. It was more than Number Thirteen could bear. With quiet resolve, she placed the cat at her feet, stood up, then slowly approached them.

“You’re cruising for a bruising, kid,” she snarled, towering over him.

“Behind you, lady!” he shrieked, jabbing his finger more animatedly. “Over there!”

Number Thirteen spun on her heel, and to her great surprise was a human-sized Donut just standing there. Donut was flanked by eight… no, nine, ten… twelve, maybe thirteen human-sized Scones. Yes. Thirteen.

“I am the Hole at the Centre of the Universe!” declared Donut in an authoritative James Earl Jones voice. “The Great Nothing! And yet would I gather all unto me. Yet would I grant succour from the existential storm that is being alive.” Donut waved a hand at the human-sized Scones. “And these be my disciples, the Baker’s Dozen.”

The Baker’s Dozen all waved weakly. They clearly did not want to be there, and even seemed a little embarrassed by Donut’s self-aggrandising outburst.

“I see that you are silenced by awe.” Donut pointed to itself. “To be awed is human. To awe is divine. Therefore, you are human and I am divine.” Donut nodded in smug satisfaction. The Baker’s Dozen cringed inwardly just that little bit more. “You may taste of me and see that I am good!”

Number Thirteen gave a nonchalant shrug. “As you wish.” Then she looked over her shoulder at the kid and his mother. “Would you like some donut and scones over a cup of tea?” They both nodded dumbly. They didn’t really know how else to react—at the very least not wishing to be rude. The cat arched its spine, then stretched into a satisfying, cavernous yawn.

It was good by the way. Morning tea on the porch. Such a divine taste!

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100 WORD SKITTLE // 2021

“No, I won’t have a Happy New Year!” she declared defiantly.

Santa shrugged. “As you wish.”

The child swung her legs restlessly as he scratched his long white beard in contemplation.

“How crappy would you like it to be then?”

Her legs stopped. She began to squirm on Santa’s knee, fixing him with a quizzical eye.

“Oh, you’d like it to be agonisingly bad?” Santa lifted her off. “I understand, child. And you can stop creasing up my magic pants.” He placed the girl on the store carpet. “The elves spent all night ironing them out, you know!”

Wish granted!

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100 WORD SKITTLE // Sharing is Caring

His balls were huge, so she’d cut them off and stuffed them down the front of her blouse to appear bustier. Unfortunately, she now also looked hairy-chested!

On the other hand, he was admiring himself in the mirror. Her boobs—so small and smooth with a cute mole on the left one—looked appealing in place of his crotch. He couldn’t believe she’d given him permission to cut them off!

But she was dissatisfied. When asked to swap everything back, he refused. “We had a deal,” he said. “No backsies!”

And he walked away, throwing out his crotch with pride.

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The Horns of a Shibboleth

Sir Bafometz was a scruffy gentleman despite his overall sartorial style. Sure, he looked like a leftover mop that had been hastily stuffed into a set of the King’s finest clothes but he didn’t care. He knew who he was and he carried himself with pride.

He often wore a bowler hat, two long screw-in horns and a big, gold star on his head. The hat didn’t fit in the narrow space between the horns but when Sir Bafometz pushed it down to his forehead it covered the star. This was hardly ideal. One could even say that he was caught on the horns of a dilemma!

And when it came to flying, the horny dilemma only got worse. Although he had an impressive wingspan, Sir Bafometz rarely got to flex it because of the aforementioned hat situation. If he even so much as looked at the heavens with a wistful eye, a gust of wind would steal along and snatch his hat away.

But Sir Bafometz was a true gentleman with grace, manners, education and other secular bullshit that people like. He knew the expected etiquette which is why he never left the house without his troublesome hat. Being hatless would be mauvais ton if you will. And so it was that Sir Bafometz carried his hat everywhere in his right hand. No matter where he was it could be found at the end of his arm, swinging in perfect time with his stylish, confident gait. He was like Mick Jagger strutting across a stage—but with a snazzy hat instead of a microphone.

But here’s where another nuisance was on the lookout for poor Sir Bafometz. For some weird reason—despite his fancy silk tie, snappy three-piece suit and polished hooves—people still mistook him for a beggar and would try to drop a penny or two into the hat. This irked him at first but then he came to a realisation. He could use the spare change to buy Chuckles and Goobers for the neighbourhood kids.

That’s why his porch was never empty during Halloween from that point on. There were always noisy kids around, jumping and elbowing, jockeying for the best pick of the sweets on offer. And so the soft light of the Jack-o’-lantern on his windowsill was a promise of kindness and good cheer for everybody who needed it.

Yes, our good ol’ Sir Bafometz was a bonhomme of the highest order, despite initially being on the horns of a dilemma. He never did let anything get him down for long.

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ABSURDIS EXTREME // Case Study #76,767 [07/06/1976] by B.A. Loney

This is the story of three types of dust: House Dust, Street Dust and (ah-choo!) Library Dust.

They were all happy and calm in their respective environments, and would get agitated only when others were nearby. Whenever a feather duster encroached on House Dust’s territory, he would flip out. If a car drove too close to the kerb, Street Dust would scurry away. And if a pair of hands took a book down off the shelf, Library Dust would set upon the owner of said hands with silent disapproval.

One evening, House Dust, Street Dust and Library Dust met in their favourite pub, ‘The Holey Pillow’. They liked having a drink or two after a hard day’s work, and repine their lot in life.

“Surely there’s more to life than this?”

Street Dust sniffed derisively. “Well, Homie, you need to get out of the house more often.”

“You’re one to talk!” scoffed Library Dust. “You just sit there in the gutter and watch the traffic go by.”

“And what do you know?” was Street Dust’s retort. “You’d have more life experience if you bothered to read the books you lounged around on!”

As the number of empty glasses on the bar grew, their words became less polite. The barman was even beginning to cast nervous glances at the bucket of cold water placed beneath the till—the best way to settle hot-headed disputes between Dusts. But, as it turned out, he ended up not having to resort to this.

“Hey, Bookster!” hiccupped Street Dust a little later (into his ninth Guinness). “What if we make this interesting?”

Library Dust burped over his shoulder. “Sure. What do you propose?”

House Dust was snoring with his head on the table. What a lightweight!

“What say Homie works at my place, I work at your place, and you work at Homie’s place?”

Library Dust eyed Street Dust with a degree of suspicion. “For how long? And to what purpose?”

“Nothing too crazy. Let’s say… a week. As to the purpose? Well, whoever does the best job in their new workspace gets a hundred bucks each from the other two.”

A bone-crushing handshake and another full glass cemented the deal.

In half an hour they’d left the pub and were rambling about bawling ‘Dust Pan Blues’. We can’t tell for sure what the Police didn’t like—probably because Library Dust sang out of tune—but the Dusts soon found themselves in the local Police station.

“Hey, Guard!” hollered Library Dust who then proceeded to vomit between the bars onto the corridor floor.

The Guard didn’t bother to hide his disgust as he ambled over to the cell, his thumbs hooked into his belt in stereotypical tough guy fashion. He’d only just begun his shift and he could already tell it wasn’t going to be his night.

“Guard!” croaked Library Dust, wiping his mouth. “What’ve you got against the classics? Gene Autry was genius, man!”

“I’d agree,” said the Guard through clenched teeth, “if I even knew who that was.”

Street Dust snorted derisively from the back corner of the cell. He was laying on his back on the bench. House Dust was crouched near him on the floor, cradling his face in his hands.

“Look, you guys, just sit there and think about your risky behaviour while I fetch the interrogation reports.”

“Ooh! Reports!” squealed Library Dust excitedly. “I love reports!”

The Guard rolled his eyes as he walked away, being careful to sidestep the pool of vomit.

“Hey,” added Library Dust, “shouldn’t someone clean that up?”

The Guard flipped him off as he disappeared through the doorway at the end of the corridor.

As chance would have it, the Janitor passed by the holding cell just fifteen minutes later. She saw the pool of vomit, as well as a very dusty bench and floor inside the cell itself. Even the bars had lost their shine. Naturally, she brоke into a sweat. The Marshal was pretty strict about this sort of stuff, and could revoke her Christmas bonus for leaving such a mess. Panicked, the Janitor ran to the mop closet.

As for the three Dusts, they were sound asleep—or was it a coma brought on by the consumption of too much alcohol? Either way, it no longer mattered for when the Janitor returned and set about her task… well, let’s just say that she got to keep her Christmas bonus after all. Unlike the Guard. He got the sack, and we’re not talking about a red one full of toys. One doesn’t get rewarded for letting prisoners escape!

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