They cuddled up under the blankets and talked about their weekend plans, dreams for the future, and briefly argued about the absolute best way to cook an egg. They laughed and snuggled, pressed against each other under a dozen blankets, perfectly content while the sun faded over the horizon and the stars came out.
I am a purple mushroom. I am also the world’s leading researcher on the effects of sleep deprivation in the modern world and it’s detrimental effects on society. These things are not mutually exclusive.
The sky was an eerie slate grey, but she could still feel the warmth of sunlight as it reflected off her skin. Heather glanced around the beach which stretched for miles in both directions, completely empty except for the rhythmic waves slipping over the sand. She glanced over her shoulder and saw a lounge chair that had not been there before. She smiled and quickly eased herself into its woven comfort.
The pumpkin sat on the floor. Orange, of course, but the pumpkin hated being a conformist. It was surrounded by plastic leaves, artfully scattered to look like they had just fallen from an oak tree but devoid of the flaws and bugs that nature carries. Next to the pumpkin was a miniature bale of hay with an equally miniature scarecrow sitting on top. The pumpkin knew for a fact that the scarecrow had never, and would never, actually scare a crow but the pumpkin wasn’t about to be an asshole and tell him that.
They each arrived exactly on time for their daily meeting. Just as they had for their previous 4,598 meetings. No vacations. No holidays. There can be no break when you are responsible for running a planet of 8.8 billion rather impulsive humans.
She looked down at the offering, held by such tiny hands. It had been decades, decades, she realized since she had seen the hands of a child. And now one stood before her, displaying crooked teeth that had only partially grown in.
She knelt down to the boy’s eye level. She returned the toothy grin with one of her own. Where this boy had an absence of wrinkles, she had an abundance. She doubted that her laugh lines had gotten this much exercise in recent years.
The morning air bit at his exposed forearm before he hastily pulled his sleeve to cover it. The air had slipped through the barely opened back door, so before he went any further, he decided to double-check that he had everything he needed for the day’s scavenging. He zipped open the backpack and began pulling items from it.
Flashlight? Check. Gas Mask? Check. Empty jug? Check
The thrumming of the fan, just slightly off-kilter, was beating incessantly against his already exhausted brain. His eyes passed over the same sentence again, and again, and one final time before realizing he had no memory or understanding of a single word on the page. He sighed, too hot to even be angry and too apathetic to be able to focus.
Have you ever thought about how truly frail an airplane is? Those millimeters of metal somehow protect all these flying humans, including that one guy who kicks off his shoes because he’s way too comfortable on an airplane, from the constant threat of explosion and suffocation.
No, Alice does not like airplanes.
He leaned back against the sleek door of his grandpa’s Cadillac and reached into his pocket for a lighter. The first bite of fall chill hung in the air but it was nothing his worn leather jacket couldn’t handle. He brought his cigarette to his lips like he’d done so many times before. The flame cut the darkness as he lit his smoke and then abruptly left him back, alone in the moonlight.