Tap Tap

Rachelle was an expert tap dancer, but hadn’t tapped in years.

Her youth was spent being shuttled to classes – most of which she wasn’t particularly keen on. Her parents would drive and drive, making sure she made it to wherever they wanted her to go. And she went, uncomplaining, because she thought it was normal – despite her classmates’ denials – and because she liked the attention.

When she reached university, she had a scholarship based on tap – specially created when the university saw her money-making potential – and so she continued.

Graduating, with few other job prospects, she continued. She even convinced the Olympic committee to include a tap category, though it failed after one year due to rampant vote-rigging and chicanery.

Rachelle continued her tap, lacking any other real direction. Her school of dance was successful, and she raked in money left right and centre. But it didn’t inspire her, didn’t make her happy. She administered the school, which was okay. But ultimately, she was unfulfilled.

Still, she carried on, administering and organizing, and leaving her tap shoes on the wall. She didn’t dance again, except for two instances of the Macarena at weddings, and a single round of the chicken dance one night after a bout of drinking.

Such was the life of Rachelle, who had to tap shoes bronzed on her grave.

Lucky Penny

Shasta had a lucky penny, that no one knew about.

She had found it one day, walking to school, the third last day of the seventh grade. There was an exam that day – not a useful one, but one to get them ready for when exams actually started in grade eight. Shasta was nervous, ready, having studied but not feeling like it was enough.

As she reached the sidewalk outside the school, she saw it there, a little copper circle. She grabbed it, stuffed it in her shoes, and carried on.

Shasta did so well on the exam, she was put in advanced classes. She kept doing well, making sure she had her lucky penny in her shoes every year, every exam.

One day, in university, she had handed in a paper without having the penny in her shoe. She had received a C minus, the only one in her life, and indeed the only mark below the A line.

Now, as she walked up the aisle toward her soon-to-be-husband, she stopped. Everyone breathed in, suddenly worried she would turn and run. Many had mentioned the problem with him – he was white, after all – but no one had said anything. Now, they knew, she must be doubting.

Feeling around in her shoe, Shasta almost turned around. But then it was there. Her lucky penny, the little copper between her toes. She smiled, and continued forward. Everyone else breathed out in relief, while they whispered about the likely divorce. Shasta, however, was happy, knowing they would last forever.

Musical Instrument

Farrah entered the shop, threw her dollar store boa over her shoulder, and announced, “I would like a musical instrument!”

The portly, bald man with glasses looked up from the counter, unable to unhunch his shoulders. The very stereotype of an old-time music store man.

“You’ve come to the right place,” the old man said.

“Thank god, I tried three other stores before this one,” Farrah said with a laugh.

“What sort of instrument?” the man asked.

“I dunno…anything? Something I can learn.”

The old man took his glasses off, cleaned them with his shirt, and returned them to his face. “One you blow, one you bow, or one you hit?”

“Hmm…blow.”

“Metal or wood?”

“Does it matter?”

“Purse your lips and bbbbbb.”

“Bvvvvvvvvvv.”

“Big or small?”

“Biggish.”

“Pressing buttons or waving your arms around.”

“Waving arms.”

“Great, here’s a trombone. Sign here for the rental, come back in a month, and if you want to keep it up I’ll put the rental money toward the sale.”

“Oh, thank you so much!”

“…anything else?”

“Yeah, do you know where I can get lessons?”

Banana on the Shelf

The banana sat on the shelf, decomposing.

It had been in a state of decomposition since it was first picked from the tree that was its home. It might, arguably, have been decomposing before that, though it was up to the pedants to hash that out.

Now, though, it was most definitely decomposing. The peel was mostly black, only a few streaks of yellow struggling to hold on. Inside, the banana was still edible, if rather mushy. It was ready to break down, and if it had any seeds, they would be preparing to germinate a new banana tree. It didn’t, though, so its decomposition was largely symbolic.

The shelf on which the decomposing banana sat was high up, away from the floor and the pests that the banana drew. It was metal, hard, and basic in a purely functional sort of way.

Having been left on Friday, then in good shape, the people would be surprised to find a now seemingly inedible banana. But such was the world of bananas, if the people were honest with themselves; yellow today, brown tomorrow. One needs to be quick with the sweeter fruits.

A fruit fly landed on the banana, preparing its new breeding ground. In a few days, the banana would be discarded, but for now, it would remain, drawing pests and making a nuisance of itself, doing just what it was intended to do.

Memorandum

Dear Employees,

In light of recent events, all further communication will now be done via memo.

Please remember that, when a customer enters the sales area, clothing is not optional. All human rights complaints regarding freedom of expression and freedom of religion remain pending, and until they are resolved, clothing is required.

Please ensure that your desktop workstations are used only for work. Any employee caught self-pleasuring or purchasing video games through online retailers will be chastised once, then fired. Please check your contracts; it’s in there.

Please remember that no pets are allowed on premises, especially avian pets.

All those who are concerned about air quality are welcome to get it tested; we have vetted the possibilities, and will pay for air testing through McCormick’s Air. All concerns about conflict of interest can be directed to HR.

Finally, please keep in mind that we share the air. Those employees coming to work with Ebola are encouraged to use their sick days, receiving forty percent of their pay for staying home.

Thank you. All complaints about this or future memos will be ignored.

Sincerely,

The Management

Tickets

Darrell stood at the front of the line, cheering. His lotto ticket held high, his face exultant, he had won. Won everything. Millions were his, even at the crock of a payout style the lotteries engaged in.

Behind him, Lenny looked at his ticket. He knew it would offer twenty bucks at best. Another three months before he’d get another, no doubt.

Lenny waited through the dance to buy his next few tickets.

No Dirty Dishes

Sona stared at the mound. It tottered, just slightly, for no apparent reason other than size.

She had been avoiding this for a long time. Too long. Far, far too long. So today was the day.

Sona started by lifting – carefully – a few dishes at a time out of the sink. They rattled, and she nearly lost them a few times, but she did it, clearing just enough space to get started.

Turning on the tap, Sona began.

Twenty minutes later, she had finished the dishes that were still stacked in the sink. The first pile on the counter was next, and she needed new water. Draining the sink, she started filling it again, washing dishes as she went. The drying rack was long since full, and she now had most of the counter covered in dishes on top of towels.

When the pile was done, and she needed new water again, Sona drained the sink, did some drying, and started anew. Two more piles, and drying needed doing again.

She stopped for a few minutes, when the drying was done. She reached into the fridge, grabbed a beer, and finished it a minute later. Then back to work.

It was another hour before the dishes were finally done. Sona breathed in relief, opened another beer, and smiled. She knew she wouldn’t have to do this again, at least not for another month.

Pack Rat

Three suitcases were stacked to Maynard’s right. They were full, and tilting back, leaning against the wall. They looked like a breath or two would make them tumble.

To his left, Maynard had a row of newspaper stacks. Each paper was in its placed, organized chronologically. Some of the older ones were yellowing, but they were still readable. The row extended to the doorway, five feet away, and was about five feet high – just to Maynard’s chin.

Upstairs was now off limits. Maynard still had space, but the recent visit from the site engineer told him that the floor wouldn’t take any more weight. It was why the papers were on the main floor now.

The basement was also off limits, only because you could open the door and step on to the stuff stowed there.

Looking around, Maynard shook his head. My problem, he thought to himself, is a lack of space. I’m going to have to renovate again.

He walked to the kitchen, and looked out on the back yard. Not much space left, but the shed was empty. Time, he knew, for some work.

Talking It Out

“What do you think, Terri?” Don asked.

“Hm?”

“I said, what do you think?”

“I dunno,” Terri said, setting her newspaper down. “Just reading, I guess.”

“Well, I think it’s all a big crock. I think everything is going as it should, and it’ll all come out in the wash later on.”

“Hm.”

“Also,” Don said, “I think we should just keep on as we are, and build a good little empire here in our home country, and not reach out to others. I think it’s what the founding fathers would have wanted.”

Terri opened her newspaper again and looked down at it.
“Furthermore, I think that if these clowns really want to keep it up, they – ”

Terri stood up and walked to the next room, sitting in a comfortable chair to read her paper in peace. She could hear Don continuing in the kitchen, not having noticed her leaving.