David Archives

October 9, 2006

David: Locked Away

“Gee, Dad, you sure have a lot of keys,” his son said, flipping each one around the key ring. “Do they all go to something?”

“Most of them,” Dad replied.

“Like what?”

“Well, this one’s for the house. That one’s for the car.”

“What about this one?” Junior asked, selecting a key with an X profile, longer than any other.

“Oh, that one’s a souvenir from where Daddy used to work. The lock it fits doesn’t exist anymore.”

“Then why do you keep it?”

Dad thought back to all those uncertain nights at the bottom of the silo. “No reason.”

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October 10, 2006

David: Block

The author hit the Delete key and groaned in frustration.

“What’s wrong?” his girlfriend called from the other room.

“Nothing,” he replied automatically. “It’s the words. They’re not coming out right.”

She stuck her head in the door. “What? How is that even possible? Are the ones you’re typing not showing up on the screen?”

He chuckled despite himself. “They make sense. They’re in order. They say what I want them to. They just don’t sound right. They don’t sound like me.”

“Well, who do they sound like?” she asked. “Maybe he got your words by mistake. You could trade.”

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October 12, 2006

David: Shangri-Wha?

People told me I was daft to try to ascend the Mountain of the Blue Men. They took great pleasure in regaling me with myths and legends about these mysterious blue-skinned humanoids living in the upper reaches of the range. “Nonsense!” I told them, and that’s what I believed.

After three days the sherpas abandoned me. Superstitious cowards. Two days later my radio dropped down a crevasse. The next evening, I noticed a silhouette, someone standing on a ridge, watching me. By morning, I was surrounded. They didn’t approach or interfere, just observed as I continued on my azure-peopled climb.

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October 13, 2006

David: Could Be Raining

His alarm didn’t go off. He was late for work and missed the 9 o’clock meeting. His boss fired him. During lunch (which gave him salmonella) some kids keyed his car and flattened his tires. His cellphone battery was dead, and the payphone had gum on it, which he didn’t notice in time. The tow truck ran the light, and got sideswiped by a Hummer. Both drivers were illegal and didn’t have insurance. He was mugged walking to his house, which was on fire. He got a letter from the IRS in a red envelope.

Then he found a penny.

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October 16, 2006

David: Mmm, Salt

“It was just two people,” argued one man.

“Two Romans,” corrected another.

“Still, I don’t see what we have to worry about,” replied the first.

“People, please!” shouted the moderator. “Everyone relax. You’ll all get your chance.”

“Two Romans, in our town square, nothing to worry about? What Mediterranean fiefdom are you living in? Their being here was bad enough, but the town guard let them leave!”

“Maybe they were tourists,” suggested a guy in the back. “We could use vacationer money, and libras spend well.”

The moderator called out, “We know the opinion of the Carthage Tourism Council, thanks.”

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October 17, 2006

David: Subtle, Yet Powerful

I entered the convenience store in a hurry, as I was running late. I grabbed a few items off the shelves without putting much thought into it: can of potato chips, beef jerky, pack of gum, a couple sodas.

I rushed to the counter and put down my selections. As the counter jockey rang them up, I pulled out a few bills, put them on the counter, went back in for a handful of change, counted some out, and added them to the pile.

“That’ll be $3.47,” he said. I pointed to the money, scooped up my purchases, and left.

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October 18, 2006

David: Ellipses Don't Count, Right?

“Hi, how are you doing?”


“So, live around here much?”


“Nice footbridge you’ve got there. You must be very proud.”


“Well, nice meeting you. If you’ll excuse me—“

“None shall pass!”

“Oh, you do talk. ‘None shall pass,’ huh? What if I try?”

“You will die.”

“Of course I will. Is that a fulfilling career choice? Killing people trying to cross a bridge in the middle of nowhere?”

“It is my sacred duty.”

“Been at it long?”


“Wow. Anyone ever get past you?”

“The Black Knight always triumphs!”

“You don’t say. So, what’s so important up the road anyway?”


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October 19, 2006

David: If Only

“It taps into the collective unconscious,” he explained to his brother. “Every human mind, past, present, and future, is linked through it. My invention lets you implant a message into the mind of literally anyone you can think of, at any time in history.”

The other looked up at the massive dynamos. “And it works?”

“The message must be fairly short, otherwise it gets garbled, but yes. What should we do first? Tell Lincoln to duck? Tell Hitler to stick to painting?”

“Target Dad, 3:30 PM, the day of the homecoming parade, 1986. Send, ‘Doc wrong. June Nine, Two Thousand.’”

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October 20, 2006

David: Pity

The sex was mediocre at best. He had the enthusiasm, but no skill. In retrospect, she wasn’t surprised.

He was the IT guy at her office. Some of the others had started picking on him during lunch, as if they had never left high school. He had tried to ignore them, but they didn’t stop. When she couldn’t take it anymore, she sat with him, risking her own place in the pecking order.

Laying there, uncertain how things had progressed quite so far, she heard the clacking of a keyboard.

He was writing it up on his blog. With pictures.

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October 23, 2006

David: The Old Oak

“So, a yellow ribbon means she wants you back?” asked the bus driver.

The ex-con nodded. “This route passes by the park where we met. That tree means a lot to us.”

“And if there’s no ribbon?” asked a lady in the first row.

“I’ll stay on the bus, forget about us, put the blame on me.” He closed his eyes as the bus turned a corner. “Here it comes. I can’t look. Is it there?”

No one spoke. He peeked.

“Where’s the tree?” he exclaimed. “It was right there!”

“Oh, that tree. Someone set it on fire last week.”

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