Chocolate Pudding Addict

Lavina waited for this day every year.

There was usually no warning about Chocolate Pudding Day. Usually it was some day in June, but Dexter’s Pudding Co. had been known to throw it in May, or July, and one year, November.

Today, though, was Chocolate Pudding Day. Social Media told Lavina so, and it was confirmed when she called the company, as she did every morning to ask. “Chocolate Pudding Day is a go today,” the voice on the other end said.

So Lavina grabbed her Tupperware – a whole backpack full – and an extra bowl and spoon, and set out. She found the first pudding vendor, who filled two containers and sent her on. The next filled three. The next only one.

In this way, she hopped around town, finding every free dispenser of chocolate pudding. On her last one, she had her bowl filled to the brim, and spent the entire walk home eating it. She got a refill two blocks from her house.

Stuffing a few containers in her fridge, and rest in her freezer, Lavina was set for another few months.

Dad Mug

Don’s mug was honest, and he accepted that.

Stating #126,527,233rd Dad was blunt, but Don knew his limitations, and wasn’t upset about it. Sure, there were times where he wished he had the #1 Dad mug, or even wished he could crack the top 1,000. But when his kids were being brats, he knew, he wasn’t #1 material.

So Don enjoyed his #126,527,233rd Dad mug, sipping from it daily, content in his placement in the middle of the pack.

Responsibility

Mellisa always wanted a cat, but her mother was allergic.

Of course, there was no evidence of this allergy. Mellisa went to her friend’s house regularly, where not one but three cats resided, and when she came home, there was no reaction from her mother.

But still, every time she mentioned it, her mother would say, “You know I have an allergy, dear,” and her father was snicker.

Mellisa was not one to be deterred by details, though. So when they toured the back of the pet store – the aquaria, to be specific – and she saw the catfish, she knew what to do.

“See Mom? You won’t have an allergy to that, it’s a fish! I get my cat, you stay safe, win-win.”

“No,” her mother said. “How do we know I’m not allergic? It’s all cats that my allergy is bad about.”

“This isn’t a cat though.”

“Doesn’t matter, still allergic.”

So Mellisa stuck her hand in the water and splashed her mother’s face. Her mother shrieked, but didn’t break out into hives, or have her throat close off.

“See? You’re fine. Now let me get my catfish.”

Out of excuses, Mellisa mother relented. But she refused to buy the necessary aquarium, so after a few weeks in the plastic bag, the fish died.

“See? You can’t look after it,” her mother said.

Mellisa cried, but conceded that maybe her mother was right.

First Lap

Rashad watched the people in the pool, back and forth, back and forth. He had only arrived a few minutes previously, but already it seemed that they had been swimming for hours.

Rashad didn’t get it. What was so fun about going back and forth? People told him it was the exercise that was good, the exertion, the doing. It was like meditation, they claimed. It was peaceful. It was good for the mind and the body.

Rashad was skeptical.

As he watched them all go back and forth, he wondered, again, whether he should get in. It’s probably good for me, he thought.

Rising from his chair, Rashad walked toward the water. He considered the deep end, but then thought, no, I should go in the shallow. Who knows how this will go. Having never been swimming before, he didn’t even know if he could, though watching everyone, it didn’t seem that hard.

Stepping down the stairs into the water, he was met with the cool, but not too cold, feeling. It was okay. This will be okay.

He immersed himself, and started to paddle. Then it got difficult.

Taking Stage

As she danced up the middle of the group, parading her chalky-blonde hair spiked with wires and product, she knew she was doing things right.

Everyone else looked good; fancy dresses, hair carefully coiffed, makeup painted thick. But she, she was the centre of attention. Pants and a vest, a wild mess on top, and a face as clean as if she had just stepped out of the shower.

The gathering was ready for her sermon, and as she reached the front, she stretched her arms wide to take them all in.

A Blank Page

Yuriko sat in front of her typewriter, staring at the blank page.

The page called to Yuriko, asking for something. Anything. A sentence, a word, even a single letter.

Yuriko had nothing.

It was not for lack of ideas. Yuriko was filled with ideas, carrying a pocket-sized pad of paper to jot them down in, maintaining another list on her phone, and a third list that comprised a stack of napkins and placemats she had collected over time.

But sitting now, in front of the typewriter, all those ideas came welling up to knock Yuriko down. She could not start amid the flurry of thought.

Trying to tame the mind was no good. She had attempted yoga, meditation, playing video games, coffee, reading, everything. But still, sitting in from the of the page left Yuriko struggling for control.

Knowing there was only one way around this, Yuriko lifted her hand. She reached forward, and held her index finger over the “A”. She hesitated. She looked at the A. Then what? she thought. A what?

Lowering her hand, Yuriko left the A untyped. She stood and walked to the kitchen and put the kettle on. A cup of tea, she thought to herself, might help.

The page remained clear.

Art Cream

Misty stared at her ice cream as it dripped down the side of the cone.

She did not buy her ice cream to eat. It had too many calories, and really wasn’t very good ice cream overall. But as an art project, it was pure beauty.

It began as something solid, an ecru colour that held its mounded shape atop the conical wafer. But over time, with the gradual warming effect of the air, the ice cream began to sweat, and then to melt. It certainly tried to resist, first developing frost crystals, but those could not stand up to the forces of its environment.

Misty watched the first drip, then the second, begin to form on the lip of the cone, and now, as they were joined by a third, spill over. The drip crept toward her hand, her thin fingers ready for their cool no-longer-cold.

As the ice cream continued to melt, Misty lifted her camera to take pictures. It was a slow process, this piece of art, but it would be glorious and dramatic, and not a little bit brilliant.

The ice cream continued to melt.

Sauntering Down the Street

Erwin never walked; he only sauntered.

When people saw Erwin coming, they would say to each other, “Here comes ol’ Erwin, sauntering down the street,” or “Mommy, why does that man walk so funny?” “He’s not walking, dear, he’s sauntering.”

It was not unconsciously that Erwin sauntered. He had made a choice, early in life – around three years of age – to not just walk like a normie, but to really draw attention with how he moved. His parents thought he was adorable, until he kept doing it. His siblings were embarrassed. His friends were only of a very particular type.

But as Erwin continued to saunter into adulthood, it served him well. Everyone needs to be set apart, and Erwin was the one who was always remembered in job interviews, on dates, everywhere.

The only time he stopped was when he broke his leg. In a cast, on crutches, one can’t exactly saunter. So, for the briefest of times, Erwin sashayed around on three legs. He didn’t stick with it after the cast was removed, though, as it just didn’t feel comfortable.

Company Picnic

The picnic began, as all picnics do, with a hunt for a place to sit.

At the company picnic, however, everyone was looking for a place to sit, so they continuously ran in to each other. It being a company of headstrong, stubborn individuals, it meant few ever made way for the others. It was, therefore, an hour and a half before everyone was seated and comfortable.

No one was allowed to begin eating before Jules gave a speech, and concluded with the company mantra. Following that, he announced, “And now, we begin the company games! Winner gets a bite of everyone’s spread!”

The winner, of course, was Jules. Everyone remembered the lessons – either real or myth – of ten years’ previous, when everyone who came ahead of Jules was fired.

So Jules took the prize, doing slightly better than the previous year, as he had done for the past nine years. Everyone offered him a bite – or more – of their lunch. Everyone sat nervously as Jules made jokes at which they laughed, asked questions which they answered cautiously, and suggested lifestyle changes which were only feasible by people making the excessive salary Jules earned.

As the picnic began to wound down, Jules demanded people stay. Those who had already left, everyone knew, were now on a list. The HR team prepared themselves for the coming round of hires.

The company picnic was deemed a great success, and everyone, the memo informed them, was looking forward to next year’s.