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short stories collection - a compilation of my short stories.

Summary

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I walked down the streets of New York, my skin reflective and my shirt discoloured near the armpits. The subway ticket still in my hand almost slipped out and I shoved it into my pocket. My vision blurred for a bit, but my tired body and my sticky hands prevented me from relieving my eyes of the salt and water. My sister walked slightly ahead of me, the clunk of her luggage a soothing melody compared to the rancor the rest of the city seemed to have for my ears.


A slightly fictional look at several events in my life with a story style reminiscent of watching TV.

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I walked down the streets of New York, my skin reflective and my shirt discoloured near the armpits. The subway ticket still in my hand almost slipped out and I shoved it into my pocket. My vision blurred for a bit, but my tired body and my sticky hands prevented me from relieving my eyes of the salt and water. My sister walked slightly ahead of me, the clunk of her luggage a soothing melody compared to the rancor the rest of the city seemed to have for my ears. The lactic acid built up within my body, each new step took more effort than the last, and as the minutes flew by my khaki pants grew heavier and more disgusting. A rancid smell wafted up from the bowels of the city, I could smell the years of trash, muck and grime; the dead rats; and the dropped food now turned to fungus. Finally my vision cleared somewhat and I looked down the street ahead. A man, his face dripping with sweat and his suit clinging to him, as a baby does to its mother, rushed past, his suitcase a miniature weapon he swung back and forth to clear the way. I refocused my attention forward, it is not good to get distracted in the big city, but distractions showed themselves around every corner. A scantily clad lady whisked by me, I gave a quick glance at her voluptuous thighs and artificial chest. Gray, brown and red buildings loomed everywhere slowly suffocated me; the smoggy, cloudy sky prompted me to dream of the sparkling, cloudless sky of the wild. As we continued to walk I looked down a deserted alley, the brick worn by countless abuses, the small weeds clinging onto life, the water pooling, the insects scurrying about, the fire escapes rusting, and the trash cans filled with unknown secrets. This was the big city! This was the glorious jewel of modern society? A poor beggar called to me, his voice raspy, “Hey you, have a bit o’ change to spare?”. I kept on walking and as he faded away I heard his sullen curse, “Damn nigger, don’t even care fo’ yo’ own brother anymo’!”. My skin cooled from a sudden breeze, and I basked in the relief my skin soon felt, but it was temporary, as suddenly. . .

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I sat in the snow, my hands a purplish hue and I gave a slight grimace every time I tried to move them. The snow had turned to slush, and invaded every single pore of my shoes and I soon feared for my feet. I felt a small drop upon my cheek, then another, and another. Soon the drops came so fast I could not discern one from the other as they committed their act of violence upon me and proceeded to seek the shelter of the earth. My sister had continued to splatter “snow” upon the snowman. The snowman turned brown as time passed, the slush would soon become the majority and the snow would melt away. I felt a prickling sensation upon my hands, and once again told my fingers to bend, they would not and the raindrops continued to fall, my teeth began to chatter. I looked around at the scene in front of me, it was not pristine and filled children running gayly about with pure white snow falling; rather, there was brown mud all around, the little bit of snow that fell quickly turned to water, my sister’s frame shook as she laboured to finish the snowman. I looked down at my fingers now filled with “snow”, they quaked and had turned an even deeper shade of purple. In the bathroom a time later, my hands in a state of shock, I turned on the faucet. The warm liquid poured out and ran over my hands. They stung and vented their rage upon me. Cold water soon rushed out but still the hands raged. Oh the joy of building a snowman! How the Christmas card’s lied. My mother continually checked on me, but no remedy seemed to work. My hands had been numb for a couple hours and I soon feared the worst. We were about to call the doctor when. . .

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The computer monitor flickered , my eyes had grown tired, and they began to itch. I tapped the keyboard, the cold, calculating click barely registering in my mind. The image upon the screen changed as I tapped down and a new world once again revealed itself. The character on the screen had his bow out, his bright and colourful animations belying the violence he was committing. Back and forth, back and forth, my eyes twitched slightly as they strained to stay open. The creature died and some treasure fell from its dying frame, the small golden coins rolling down from the small hill to the ground below. Tap, tap, tap. One after another the buttons depressed and my character moved to pick up the valuable loot, the smile upon my face grew ever larger and my eyes opened ever wider. Then suddenly the power turned off, the room plunged into darkness and my hands continued to tap the keyboard for moments after. It began to grow, it started to fester and feed, I could feel it welling up inside of me, all this time, all this time for nothing! And all at once it burst out and the room reverberated with a cacophony of noise and a loud bang filled the room as small buttons flew in all directions. The door to my room flew open as. . .

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Hot sand flew in all directions as children giggled and screamed. A teacher stood near the edge of the playground, her hawkish eyes surveying the scene, ready to catch the latest offender. A little distance away a small boy, his skin contrasting with his bright white shirt, ran down the hall. Rays of light poured through the space between the buildings, and illuminated the countless chalk drawings on the ground, soon to fade away. A high pitched sound cracked the air and the little boy came to a screeching stop. A hallway monitor jogged over, old and wrinkled with a slight smirk upon her face. The veins in the little boy’s eyes became visible as they popped out of their sockets and his hands shook slightly as the hallway monitor wrote his name down on the clipboard. His mouth agape, the little boy looked down at the referral that had just been given to him, “Running in the hallway at unsafe speeds” it read. The paper crumpled and the boy plunged his hands into his pocket, then proceeded to speed down the hallway toward the playground. The teacher with the hawkish eyes had found her prey and moved in for the kill, the sand giving way for her considerable girth as she marched across the playground. The little mouse swung back and forth on the swing, his stomach on the seat and his butt facing outward. The teacher with hawkish eyes tore the little boy off of the swing and scolded him, “Butt on the seat!” she hollered. Down a ways, a mass of children kicked a ball around, the sun bearing down upon the dusty field. Then one of the children, frustrated at the lack of progress, picked up the ball and ran towards the goal. Little did he know a teacher had been eyeing him and a high pitched sound again split the air. The teacher darted over to the boy and for the third time that day his name went down. He quickly ran off, but as he did so a more sinister noise shot through the air. . .

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I sat at the computer, my face contorted as I stared at the screen. “Today's change:-315,600.98 DKP” the screen read. What! My palms started to sweat and the mouse seemed not to obey my commands. I blinked and looked again; I closed my eyes yet the words were burned into my retina. I gasped for every last drop of oxygen. Where had all the air gone? I took several deep breaths and my heartbeat slowed, the thumping began to subside, and my breathing returned to normal but my palms were still sweaty. The page scrolled past my straining eyes, the screen’s smooth glide down interrupted every second or so by little numbers on the screen. “-19%”, “-4.5%”, “-13.65%”– the numbers continued to scroll by and each one soon became indiscernible from the one before it. I frantically posted comment after comment advocating why the stocks that had lost me the most money should rise in price. But the grieving of an individual would not sway the crowd. “It’s fake money,” one comment directed at me read, “calm down!”. The mouse hovered over the sell button, its big red form enticed me to click. The numbers above it continued to tick downwards and with each new stock price the mouse would steady itself. Finally the mouse clicked, then again, and again and my shares in the stock began to rapidly decline. My heartbeat soon returned to normal and my mind clear once again, I would lose no more money this day. But then to my horror. . .

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Ding, ding, ding. The rustle of papers and zippers filled the air and a thousand little sounds permeated the cluttered room. A monotonous drone filled the air outside, a beehive unleashed upon the halls and contained by the walls. The students rushed out of the drab coloured building and across the sun drenched desert, a small cloud of dirt hovering above their thundering feet. A plethora of noise filled the lunch room, each conversation seeped into another. The place smelled of grease, old cheeseburgers, and the daily special of some mangled conglomeration of tacos, tomatoes, cheese, and meat. On the upper level (several distinct sections existed in the lunch room), the pompous of each class sat and socialized. From the lower levels walked a couple, the boy dressed in his baggy pants, his unsightly boxers hanging out the back, his shirt proclaiming some profanity at authority; the girl in her pleated skirt, her bosom nearly jumping out of her shirt and her make-up piled a mountain high upon her face. They walked with all the smugness of royalty, the girl’s chin raised and the boy stared down any others who dared to peek a look at his provocatively dressed partner. As they climbed the stairs to the top, the girl let out a deafening scream when. . .

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The horizon bobbled up and down and I looked down at the sea. Oil, food, garbage, dirt and grime drifted upon the waves, the algae barely visibly below the surface. A sudden fear overcome me, and I looked to the east, the west, the north, the south but I could see no land. Alas, having so throughly planned this out we still had gone astray, for no matter how great the ship, nature does not bend easily to the will of man. The floor of the boat did not comfort anymore than the dreary skyline; slick and slimy, as if someone had spread a thin layer of mucous upon it. Several kids decided to hang out near the bow of the ship, talking of things they could not buy, people they did not know and problems they would not solve. I looked over the side of the ship at the sea, troughs and crest propagated from the back of the ship, each forming a small wave that soon turned to foam and was lost to the sea. Small pieces of refuse floated in the ships wake, the algae violently blown back and forth by the ship as it passed. A seagull flew over the ship and landed on the railing a bit away from me, and I gather a small bit of joy in the thought of catching this creature, but it flew away before I could act upon this desire. A teacher came rushing out from the cabin and I quickly turned to see. . .

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Wal-mart. I walked towards the entrance, my brother slightly ahead of me, and nearly died as a crazed man sped past in his old Toyota pickup and gave me “the finger” as he zipped away. I passed the automatic doors, and choked on the sudden dip in air quality. I nearly slipped on the wet floor near the entrance, the janitor leaving no warning of his deed. The smell of liquified butter floated through the air, my nostrils filling with the kind of sweet scent only an artificial process could produce. A couple pushed by me, the man in his wifebeater (he probably did just that) and covered in tattoos; the woman in her obscene outfit and pierced all over, neither looked happy to be in the company of the other. Cheetos, Doritos, Lays, Pringles, Nerds, Cheerios, Pepsi, Coke, Fig Newtons, Ramen, Oreos, Popsicles, Jell-O, Rice Krispies, Cheez-Its, Ritz, Kool‑Aid, Snickers, Gatorade, Hershey’s, Altoids, M&Ms, Nilla Wafers, Twinkies-- everything at ever lower and more enticing prices, every product out to destroy some working organ in my body. A small boy was crying, his eyes bright cherries, tears gushed out from them and rolled down his face and onto his old, worn-out t-shirt. His mom slowly moved back toward the brightly coloured section of the store and a couple of snapping sounds reverberated through the area as she tossed the toy back onto the shelf. I picked up one of the latest and greatest gadgets; “Made in China” printed in bold letters on the back. I casually dropped it back onto its platform and turned around as a store employee came running towards me. . .

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The small room had white, barren walls, light filtered in through the half closed blinds, and reflected upon the dust floating in the air. The room was filled with toys of all shapes, sizes and colours. My friend and I played with our Power Ranger figurines, the latest fad to befall my generation. We soon lost interest in the Rangers and I looked about me. Around us lay bits and pieces of other adventures, other times, other places. A Lego structure loomed behind us, a conglomeration of everything built toward the sky, our proclamation of the genius and power of our minds, our defiance of Nature’s will to bring everything down. Yet in our effort to reach the heavens we had neglected the base and the whole thing would probably fall with the slightest touch. A set of Pogs sat beside us, whatever game we had started had been left unfinished, some new delight having caught our attention. Hooked up and ready to go, we booted up the Sega Genesis that sat near the stairs spiraling downward, the old television taking awhile to warm up and turn on. We started playing a game of Sonic. We raced across the levels, both completely focus on his own part of the screen, trapped in his own little world, neither looking at the other’s screen to see how they were doing. The shrill of a mother broke the illusion and brought us suddenly back to reality, we heard another scream . . .

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The scenery rolled by me, at regular intervals the ground would rock back and forth, the luggage above my head looked in danger of falling off. The train continued its trek across the urban jungle, before me stretched city blocks crammed with decayed buildings, streets lined with trash and lots filled with old rusted cars. A ting of pine wafted throughout the cabin and the train continued to rock back and forth again. A man sat in front of me, his coat hung on the arm rest, his shirt cleanly ironed, his sunglasses still stuck over his eyes, and his earphones blasting as he read the newspaper, “A winning goal, then back to war” it read. The woman next to him was no less chic, her nails gleaming, hair shining, lips glistening, sunglasses reflecting and hand holding a copy of some book, a small sticker indicated it had received Oprah’s approval. A man a couple rows down got up and started walking towards me, I was surprised he could get down the aisle, the buttons on his shirt looked about to pop and a trucker hat sat atop his mop of hair. A woman walked down the aisle towards him, her chin to the air. He quickly moved to the side to let her pass and she strolled by, her expensive purse swung back and forth, and nearly hit someone a row in front of me. I looked out the window again, we passed over a stream which flowed around a bend and disappeared into the thicket beyond. Small white houses lined the stream, children frolicked about in the streets while their grandparents watched. As a couple had tea on their porch, they both got up, beaming, to greet a couple of people who had just walked up the steps. A slight smile crossed my face as I picked up the magazine on my lap and began to read. “The next big thing!” one headline read, “Another celebrity goes to rehab!” read another. I put the magazine down and stared back out the window. . .

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-biafra
bahanonu [at] alum.mit.edu

©2006-2017 | biafra ahanonu | updated 12 december 2017
biafra ahanonu