Page 5 of 5 FirstFirst ... 345
Results 41 to 46 of 46

Thread: Awesome Goddamn Short Stories

  1. #41
    Darth Small Macheath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    This is the first part of a brief article about video games, not really a short story. But still: eeeesh.

    The late fall of 2000 found me at a gas station in rural Missouri. Out of the convenience store toddled an elderly man in flannel and suspenders on the arm of a young blonde woman. She was speaking gently to him, taking him gingerly through the gravel lot towards a red Dodge pickup. I caught him out of the corner of my eye as he pulled against her arm and guided her instead towards the back of my fraternity brother’s Audi where I was sitting. As he came closer he extended his hand through the window. Shocked, I raised my own and he shook it, more firmly than I expected.

    “Where are you stationed, son?”

    “I’m sorry?”

    “Where do you serve?”

    I looked down at the Battle Dress Uniform shirt I was wearing, at the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment patch that I had carefully sewn to my left shoulder. Looking up I saw he wore the same emblem on his VFW hat, right next to a miniature Bronze Star. He was greeting me as a brother in arms, wordlessly sharing his strength with a comrade through our clasped hands.

    “I-uh… I don’t… I-- It’s just a shirt I picked up. We’re headin’ to play paintball.”

    He didn’t hear me. “Thank you for your service.” Perhaps the blood was building in his own ears, perhaps the emotion now bursting silently from his crisp blue eyes was clouding his other senses. Perhaps he was deaf in his old age.

    I blushed. “Thank you, sir. Thank you very much.” I felt like a child, not the 20-year-old man I was. I looked around at my fraternity brothers as he shuffled away towards his rusting truck. They were silent, and mostly ignored the incident as we packed up our drinks and jerky and headed towards the paintball fields.

    When I had put that getup together, even when paired with tattered jeans and filthy boots, I took on part of the mantle worn by men and women who fought and died for our country. It came as some surprise when someone who had served mistook me for one of his fellows. I was suddenly sickened at my own ignorance. Who was I to wear that uniform, even in part? As we drove, I surreptitiously removed the sergeant’s chevrons I had salvaged from a consignment shop some months before and dropped them into my breast pocket.

  2. #42
    Darth Small Macheath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    I follow the subreddit TwoSentenceHorror and most of it kinda sucks, but once in a while there's a gem like this:

    "Now be careful, that line of rock salt is the only thing keeping them out," the man said, welcoming my group into his refuge.

    "Sea salt," I clarified, "sea salt keeps us out."

  3. #43
    Darth Small Macheath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by Macheath View Post
    I follow the subreddit TwoSentenceHorror and most of it kinda sucks, but once in a while there's a gem
    Just saw another clever one:

    I kissed Jennifer today!

    Lorry, lomebody lwitched my keyl.

  4. #44
    Darth Small Macheath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    I enjoyed this writing prompt:

    After death, you find out that you can choose how and when to be reincarnated. Initially eager to be a futuristic human, you soon realize that every (more experienced) soul ahead of you in line is choosing to be a "worm" in the year 121 million BCE.
    "Juramaia, man," the hazy figure in front of me in the queue said.

    "It's this little thing, kind of a primordial shrew or something. Split off from the marsupials, closed up the pouch and grew a placenta instead. Size of your thumb. Doesn't look like anything much.

    "We don't know if it was something they ate, maybe some kind of herb too weird to ever evolve again, or maybe it was just because Juramaia got stuck with nature's first draft of the liver and kidneys. Whatever. But there was something in their urine, some molecule that never was before and never was again.

    "And these little worms man, most primitive nervous system you can imagine. Just one big nerve really, not even a brain. Permeable skin like a frog. Orange blood.

    "And when a Juramaia pisses on one of those worms that worm gets as high as fuck. Like, indescribably high. That molecule just zips right into them and lights them up like no other being in the universe ever got lit up.

    "You can go see the universe all over, from the bang to the heat death, if that's what you think you want. We've all been there. We've seen it all, we've done it all. There're dudes in this queue who are billions of billions of billions of years old. That's what eternity is.

    "And none of us ever found nothing to beat being that worm. We're all going around again. Got nothing better to do, you know? The waiting's the hard part, in the queue, having a brain again, knowing you got to wait before you can go back to being the worm."

    He stepped forward one pace, said "121 million BCE worm" and vanished.

    And I stood at the head of the queue.

  5. #45
    Darth Small Macheath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Another good r/WritingPrompts story:

    Turns out God was a slacker and gave "Free Will" to not have to "plan" anything. He kicked out Lucifer cause he was a control freak. When you die turns out you have a choice, between a chaotic rule free Heaven or a smoothly machine operated Hell.
    Ding! Kevin’s toast was done. He groaned as he walked up to the toaster, realizing it had jammed again. He grabbed a fork to fish the bread out, resolving to finally buy a new toaster as soon as—

    And he was dead.

    It had happened suddenly, without warning. One moment he was about to make a sandwich, the next he was standing in a field of clouds, two massive golden gates in front of him. As jarring as the transition had been, Kevin knew exactly where he was. It wasn’t a cerebral type of knowledge — it was something more innate. Something purely instinctual. Kevin wasn’t particularly religious, yet he knew for a fact that he stood before the Pearly Gates.

    “Heya partner!” a large bearded shirtless man shouted, materializing out of a puff of smoke in front of him.

    “You’re God,” Kevin said, eyes wide.

    “That I am! Zapped by a toaster huh? Classic. They really should make those things less zappy. Well, glad to have you! Come this way and we’ll—”

    "Not so fast!" Another voice interrupted. There was a second puff of smoke which cleared immediately to reveal the slim form of a horned red-skinned figure wearing a well-fitted suit and a black surgical mask. “We had a deal, remember? This one’s mine.”

    “Ah Lucifer,” God said, smile fading and shoulders slumping. “Always a pleasure. Has it been a million souls already?”

    “Yes,” the devil said. “Unlike you, I’ve been keeping count.”

    “How about you get the next one? We’re already at the gates and all.”

    “I have a better idea. How about we honor our contract and I get this one and the next nine hundred ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine after that too?”

    “I have an even better idea!” God exclaimed “Why don’t we let him choose?” Both turned to Kevin, who was still digesting what was happening.

    After a moment of silence, Satan interrupted. “See? He doesn't even know what he wants. That's the problem with this whole free-will nonsense. It's the easy way out. Can't make the tough decisions so you pawn it off onto someone else.”

    “Come on Lucy, free-will is great!” God said. “Who can really decide for someone better than they can for themselves?”

    “How’d you die again?” Satan said, turning back to Kevin.

    “I got zapped by a toaster,” Kevin said.

    “He got zapped by a toaster.” Satan spat, turning back to God. “You really think he knows what’s best for him?”

    “That’s not fair,” Kevin said, slightly annoyed. “It just makes toast, how was I supposed to know it’d be so zappy?”

    Soo zappy,” God echoed, nodding sympathetically.

    “Look, kid,” Satan said. “I’ll let you choose. But hear me out, okay? You’ve been fed a lot of propaganda in your time on Earth. Heaven’s not all it's cracked up to be. It’s lawless chaos. Ask God what kind of healthcare coverage you’ll have behind those gates. Go ahead, ask him.”

    Kevin turned to God and relayed the question. “What’s healthcare?” God replied blankly.

    “Well that’s not fair,” Kevin said, turning back to Satan. “You can’t get sick in Heaven, can you?”

    Both God and Satan burst out laughing. “You’re just a master of marketing aren’t you!” Satan said, slapping God on the shoulder.

    “It’s the Catholic church!” God responded, wiping away a tear. “They do it all for me! But hey, who am I to stop them?”

    “Free will, I know. Yada yada.” Satan turned back to Kevin. “Look kid, they got diseases like you wouldn’t believe behind those gates. Think COVID was bad on earth? Imagine how bad it is now that you've left your physical body and its immune system behind."

    "There's COVID in Heaven?!" Kevin asked, dismayed.

    "Yep. No social distancing either — look at him, he's not even wearing a mask.”

    “We subscribe to the herd immunity school of thought,” God said, suddenly serious. "It's a legitimate model, just ask Dr. Hallengren."

    Satan rolled his eyes. “You didn’t even know what herd immunity was until last week when I asked if that was what you were hoping to achieve!”

    “I've always known what herd immunity was. It's self defining! You pack everyone together like a herd of zebra and the viruses don't know which of you to get first. Sweden's doing it.”

    “First off, that's not how herd immunity works. Secondly, Sweden has a centralized healthcare system to back it all up!”

    “Herd immunity and healthcare?" God scoffed. "That sounds a bit redundant if you ask me. Bit of a belt and suspenders approach?”

    “It’s always the same with you, isn’t it? Too lazy to govern effectively, so you sit back, call it freedom, and let everyone fend for themselves. It was the same on Earth and it's the same in Heaven. You can defend it all you want but I know you're just lazy."

    "If by lazy, you mean lazy-fair, then yes!" God said, throwing Kevin a smug wink.

    "It's pronounced laissez faire you numbskull! This right here is why all your people are walking around hacking up their lungs and soiling their pants in public!”

    "You know what Lucy? Why don't you shove it up your ass. At least my people have the right to shit their pants without getting fined for it! And so some of them have the sacred squirts, big whoop! It's not like they can die!"

    The conversation devolved into a shouting match, Kevin standing idly by in the sidelines watching the two deities battle it out. All of the sudden he felt a tap on his shoulder.

    Pssst,” someone said from behind him. Kevin turned around. Hiding behind a tuft of cloud was a portly humanoid figure with an elephant’s head and copious amounts of jewelry. “Heaven, hell, forget about it. What you really want is another round on Earth. How's about I send you back as a pig? Their orgasms last 30 minutes, you know.”

  6. #46
    Tiny Dancer Drewbie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    This was linked in a thread on Reddit about a scientist advocating for not trying to reach out to find alien life in the galaxy. I like it.

    36,400,000. That is the expected number of intelligent civilizations in our galaxy, according to Drake’s famous equation. For the last 78 years, we had been broadcasting everything about us – our radio, our television, our history, our greatest discoveries – to the rest of the galaxy. We had been shouting our existence at the top of our lungs to the rest of the universe, wondering if we were alone. 36 million civilizations, yet in almost a century of listening, we hadn’t heard a thing. We were alone.

    That was, until about 5 minutes ago.

    The transmission came on every transcendental multiple of hydrogen’s frequency that were listening to. Transcendental harmonics – things like hydrogen’s frequency times pi – don’t appear in nature, so I knew it had to be artificial. The signal pulsed on and off very quickly with incredibly uniform amplitudes; my initial reaction was that this was some sort of binary transmission. I measured 1679 pulses in the one minute that the transmission was active. After that, the silence resumed.

    The numbers didn’t make any sense at first. They just seemed to be a random jumble of noise. But the pulses were so perfectly uniform, and on a frequency that was always so silent; they had to come from an artificial source. I looked over the transmission again, and my heart skipped a beat. 1679 – that was the exact length of the Arecibo message sent out 40 years ago. I excitedly started arranging the bits in the original 73x23 rectangle. I didn’t get more than halfway through before my hopes were confirmed. This was the exact same message. The numbers in binary, from 1 to 10. The atomic numbers of the elements that make up life. The formulas for our DNA nucleotides. Someone had been listening to us, and wanted us to know they were there.

    Then it came to me – this original message was transmitted only 40 years ago. This means that life must be at most 20 lightyears away. A civilization within talking distance? This would revolutionize every field I have ever worked in – astrophysics, astrobiology, astro-

    The signal is beeping again.

    This time, it is slow. Deliberate, even. It lasts just under 5 minutes, with a new bit coming in once per second. Though the computers are of course recording it, I start writing them down. 0. 1. 0. 1. 0. 1. 0. 0... I knew immediately this wasn’t the same message as before. My mind races through the possibilities of what this could be. The transmission ends, having transmitted 248 bits. Surely this is too small for a meaningful message. What great message to another civilization can you possibly send with only 248 bits of information? On a computer, the only files that small would be limited to…


    Was it possible? Were they really sending a message to us in our own language? Come to think of it, it’s not that out of the question – we had been transmitting pretty much every language on earth for the last 70 years… I begin to decipher with the first encoding scheme I could think of – ASCII. 0. 1. 0. 1. 0. 1. 0. 0. That’s B... 0. 1. 1 0. 0. 1. 0. 1. E…

    As I finish piecing together the message, my stomach sinks like an anchor. The words before me answer everything.



Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts