Holly grabbed her dictionary, and started flipping.
She stopped in a random spot – the first one that struck her – and was met with Ambiguity. It was a good word, one she could work with.
Turning to the page beside her, Holly wrote, “Ambiguity – noun – uncertainty or doubtfulness, often of meaning.”
Looking back to the dictionary, Holly started flipping again. At this rate, she thought, I’ll have my own abridged dictionary in no time.
Craig hated mushrooms.
It wasn’t anything to do with the dangers they presented. Craig knew there were some horribly toxic mushrooms, but those were a small minority of the overall fungi kingdom.
No, it was the taste that Craig disliked – or rather, the mouthfeel. They were slimey when cooked, rubbery when not, and regardless of preparation, in the mouth they just felt…wrong.
And so, of course, the dinner honouring Craig’s work featured a mushroom theme.
He had spent several decades helping others, organizing volunteers, developing the community around him. To thank him for this, the city held a dinner honouring him, and, without consultation, organized the theme because, as one of the organizers put it, “I heard him talking about mushrooms one time.”
So Craig arrived, was treated to a grand meal by refined chefs, and he grinned and stomached course after course of awful, terrible stuff. Even dessert was a mushroom cheesecake, and he nearly gagged at just the thought – but still he smiled.
At the end of the night, Craig thanked everyone for their thoughtfulness, left, and went next door for a fine scotch to erase the taste.
Vince was bald.
Not just head bald. Totally bald. Alopecia. Total alopecia. Not a single hair graced Vince’s body.
But it was okay. Vince was happy being truly, completely bald, as it suited his nudist lifestyle.
Most people, of course, were a bit less happy about Vince’s lack of clothing. He wandered the streets, swinging freely, no fibres anywhere on his body. Some were horrified, some disgusted, and some pleased. He could have been a mannequin, except for his desire to be clothes-free.
Despite the many tickets he received – all of which he contested successfully – and the shouts, and the disdain, Vince enjoyed his clothing- and hair-free lifestyle.
At least until winter came.
“Come here, Tiny, time for a walk!” Elisha called.
The dog looked up at Elisha, uncertainty clear in her eyes.
“Come on,” Elisha said. She grabbed the leash and shook it. “We’ll have lots of fun!”
Tiny looked behind her, considering her options. Go for the promised fun, though nothing yet had been so fun – or stay home and sleep on the couch. She needed a moment.
“Oh, come here you,” Elisha said. “We need to go out and have a walkies.”
Tiny was still thinking.
Elisha sighed, then grabbed a treat. “Here, come and you get this.”
Tiny’s eyes perked up. When put that way, she thought…
Tiny walked forward, and Elisha clipped the leash on. She held the treat still, and Tiny knew she had been tricked once more. No treat until they were outside, and even then it was uncertain. Next time, Tiny thought, I must resist. But she knew she wouldn’t.
Jeremy sat hugging his teddy bear to him.
Around him, the room whirled. People ran, yelled. In the next room, there was a pounding sound.
“Jeremy!” someone yelled. Jeremy looked with fear. “Get in here!”
Jeremy stood, clutching the teddy to him. He opened the door, and said, “What’s up, boss?”
A candle burned on Michael’s desk. He stared at it. His eyes started to close. Sleep was calling. He raised his head from the pillow, blinked, then set his head back down.
He opened his eyes again, and the candle had burnt down nearly to the bottom.
He opened his eyes again, and predictably, the whole desk was on fire.
Michael closed his eyes, thinking it would all be fine.
As the cheese sat on the counter, sweating, the mold started. After one day, it was a few spots. After four days, it was a coating. After a week, the cheese was more mold than cheese.
Adelaide returned from her vacation to find the new life form awaiting her. She shrugged, leaving the block of whatever where it was to continue its life.
“Tag, you’re it!” Wanda shouted.
Ellyn wasn’t even playing. But she was “it” now. She wrestled with that concept, all through recess, and class, and lunch, and class, and on the bus ride home. What did it mean to be “it”? Was it good? Bad? Everyone avoided her at recess, but not thereafter.
The next day, she was still it, but didn’t do anything. Just considered to ruminate.
The day after, it was entirely forgotten, and everybody went about their lives.
18 years later, at their 10-year high school reunion, Ellyn finally tagged Wanda back. “You’re it,” Ellyn said. “No tag-backs.”
That was all she said before leaving.
Wesley sat in the bathtub.
There was no water in the tub. Wesley wasn’t doing anything there. He could just as easily have been sitting on the sofa, on a chair, in bed. He could have been productive, walking or doing yoga.
Instead, Wesley sat in the tub.
He had no particular reason to sit in the tub. He just wanted to. So he did. For hours and hours and hours.
As night neared, Wesley thought about getting up. He was a bit stiff from sitting all day. But still, he sat. He stared at the wall. He didn’t know what to do. So he kept sitting.
Night came, and Wesley sat in the darkness. He just sat, and sat. There was nothing more to do.
Morgan reached back, then smacked Nate hard across the face.
“What the hell?!” Nate yelled, holding the site of the slap.
“Happy frappe day!” Morgan smiled.
“Frappe day? Jesus, you don’t hit your friend, you jerk!”
Morgan looked offended. “I’m no jerk! You just don’t understand frappe day.”
“You hit me!”
“Yeah, frappe! French for hit. You’re supposed to hit someone you love. I love you, pal!”
“Fuck you! It’s pronounced frap-eh, like the drink? You get a caffeinated drink today, you don’t hit someone.”
“Oh, really?” Morgan looked surprised, then contemplative. “That explains my family’s shock this morning, then. Huh. Sorry about that, buddy. Can I buy you a frappe to make up for it?”
“You better, and a hell of a lot more. Christ.”