Change one little thing from the past, and all sorts of other things, big and small, might possibly, and quite probably, will change as well. If Eddie hadn't written that one paragraph about the talking walrus back in '78, he might very well have been run over by that ice cream truck in Denver in '95. I once upon a time thought it would be a great idea to invent the irony goodbye overlap calculator, and so, within about a year or so, I had taken the idea from rough pencil-sketch and blueprint to realised product, on the shelf at your local hardware store, novelty shop and elsewhere. Really, I wasn't too sure what it did or what it could do, but it had a nifty name and a handsome smart look and was packaged and marketed well by my friend, Jay-John. So long after the thing hit the market, I thought maybe I should 'take it to the streets' and find out just what it could do. I kept thinking time travel was involved somehow, but I know that most of us inventors are always thinking that in regard to our latest efforts, so I tried to usher away those silly thoughts. And I needed to be rid of that idea for this very reason: I kept thinking about changing one or two small things from my distant past. Sure, I knew there'd be repercussions, but nevertheless, it seemed like a brilliant idea regardless. So, anyway, where to begin in trying to determine what the irony goodbye overlap calculator actually did. I thought I'd start with Jerome, the teenager who lived next door to me, who I know for a fact stole the strings off of my banjo last autumn and sold them on ebay. So, I turned the thing on, let it warm up, and then, when I saw him leaving his house the next morning, I aimed the pointy stick, the unit's main attachment, at him, and pressed the little red button on the side. Immediately, the teenager got smaller, his clothes too baggy, and he suddenly broke into a trot and headed off down the road out of sight. Perplexed, I absentmindedly took a gander over at my banjo that always rested over in the corner of my study, and lo and behold, the banjo itself had disappeared, but the strings had returned. Well, this was all rather alarming. I decided to ring up Jay-John and pay him a visit and discuss what had just happened. He's not the most technically-minded person the world, but I wasn't so sure who else to call. So I dialed his number, and a woman's voice came crisply through on the other end of the line: 'Hello?' she said. 'Hi, may I speak to Jay-John?' I asked. 'This is Jay-John,' replied the female voice, 'Is this you, Nik?' I tried to say yes, but nothing came out of my mouth. I hung up the receiver, and ran to the bathroom to brush my teeth, preparing to head out, not sure as to where to turn to next. And in my astonishment, my reflection in the mirror revealed to me that I now had a full beard and long scraggly hair. I looked like I'd been living on a deserted island for the past three years. And what's more, I was wearing large gold metallic-framed eyeglasses which I have to say I've always hated. I was starting to feel panicky when I heard a knock at the door. 'Who is it?' I almost yelled as I emerged from the bathroom. 'This is Jerome's father.. We need to talk,' said a man's voice from the other side of the door. Now, I know what Jerome's father's voice sounds like, and this was most definitely not it. It sounded sort of like the actor Jerry Lewis circa 1963 but with added slapstick. I felt dizzy and then felt myself falling over, as I made my way toward the door. Everything went black just before I hit hardwoods beneath me.
#surrealism #absurdist #abstract #strangehumour #ridiculous #microfiction #microstories #minishortfiction #bizarre #strangefiction #fiction #prose #dada #surreal #nikthursday
Perhaps some previous instance escaped my attention, but I'll venture to say that this is the first time in these microfictions that the narrator is referred to by the name "Nik". And it's funny because it happens right when he loses the ability to speak, after trying to figure out what his "irony goodbye overlap calculator" does: The character with the double-masculine compound name of Jay-John acquires a female voice, and poor Nik is left voiceless! ("I tried to say yes, but nothing came out of my mouth.") And it's pleasantly weird that so many of the characters' names start with the letter "J". Plus I love the reference, when the father of Jerome is said to sound "like the actor Jerry Lewis circa 1963". That's a good year for the Jerry Lewis voice! I also love the way that Jerome himself is defined by this sole nefarious act: "I know for a fact" says Nik, that the teenage Jerome "stole the strings off of my banjo last autumn and sold them on ebay." I love the precision of those details. ...Lastly, I love how the "irony goodbye overlap calculator" is initially introduced (sort of, ha!) at the same place as Jay-John, the first sight of whose name caused me to crack up -- there's something about the cadence of the sentence that's inherently hilarious: "Really, I wasn't too sure what it did or what it could do, but it had a nifty name and a handsome smart look and was packaged and marketed well by my friend, Jay-John." Those last couple hyphenated syllables act like a one-two punctuation-punch, but they're silly-soft and thus nonthreatening, so it's like hitting someone with a giant fake foam fruit.