Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ficthaus4 Mortimer the Drop of Goo

Mortimer, the Drop of Goo
by Headley Hauser

He was born at 10:15AM the Saturday that Fred the dad, watched the kids. He didn’t know his origins. Was he grease? Was he jam? Was he syrup?
It didn’t matter now. From the moment he dropped from Fred’s plate and hit the floor, he was goo. He was Mortimer, the Drop of Goo.
Mortimer surveyed the great plain of ceramic tile. He was in a vast world, full of sights and smells. One smell was particularly pungent.
Mortimer didn’t know it, but his life nearly came to an end only moments after it began, for that pungent smell was none other than Barkie, the Labradoodle whose fell tongue had consumed myriad goo drops before him.
“Barkie, come here,” said Fred. “I can’t have you messing up the kitchen or Loraine will never let me hear the end of it.”
And so, Mortimer was spared. Mortimer felt lucky – maybe even a bit crafty to have escaped death. “Beware, cold tile world,” said he, “for I am Mortimer, the lucky, Mortimer the Drop off Goo.”
Nothing much happened in Mortimer’s existence until 11:03AM. Ethan, six-years-old, and barefoot, entered Mortimer’s domain. Ethan entered it so completely that the boy stepped on little Mortimer, creating a tiny sound and transferring half of Mortimer’s goo to the bottom of Ethan’s foot. Surprisingly, Mortimer didn’t feel at all reduced. There was something magical about the bottom of a little boy’s foot that made a small drop of goo multiply into dozens of equal, even greater drops of goo.
“Grow, My People,” shouted Mortimer, the Drop of Goo. “Multiply and subdue the great plain of ceramic tile!”
When Ethan left the kitchen, Mortimer observed his world from a new perspective. “Beware world of Greater Kitchen,” said he, “for I am Mortimer the fruitful, Mortimer the Drop of Goo.
And so things remained until 1:22PM when Isabel, fourteen months and crawling, entered the kitchen. Isabel crawled right through Mortimer the Drop of Goo, distributing much of his substance unto her hands and knees. Perhaps Isabel had the same magic as her brother, or maybe it was a function of toddler drool (and other fluids best not mentioned,) but Mortimer was not reduced, but multiplied many times. He spread upon the kitchen chairs and cabinet fronts, he formed perfect fingerprints on the edge of the table. He even coated the bowl belonging to Barkie the Labradoodle – the very beast that might have ended his existence. By the time Isabel crawled out of the kitchen, Mortimer was everywhere!
“A HA!” shouted Mortimer. “I have conquered the kitchen! It is all mine. Let the world beware, for if I have conquered this vast kitchen, I can conquer every kitchen. I can conquer the whole world” said he, “for I am Mortimer the Mighty, Mortimer the Drop of Goo!”
And so for three hours, Mortimer gloated, he plotted, he sang to himself little ditties of world domination. Mortimer was happy in the way every evil tyrant has been happy from the days of Nimrod the Hunter, to Vlad the Impaler, to George the Yankee Owner.
Mortimer kept his evil gleeful revelry until 4:45PM when Loraine entered the kitchen from the door that led to the garage.
“It is through that door that I will spread to the outside world,” thought Mortimer. “Go ahead, Loraine – touch me, spread me, increase my domain,” said he, “for I am Mortimer the Dominator, Mortimer the Drop of Goo!”
“Fred!” shouted Loraine.

RIP, Mortimer the Drop of Goo.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

fictmcfa5 The Beat

The Beat
                              by Stanley McFarland

“It’s crap, you know.”
“I know,” said Desmond.
“It’s derivative.  It’s all been done before.  You’ve done it before – several times!”
“I know.”
“That doesn’t seem to upset you much.”
“You don’t understand.”
Wayne threw his hands in the air.  “I don’t understand?  What, it’s too deep for me?  It’s so much more meaningful that the songs I’ve written?”
“It’ll be more popular.”
“Fuck!” said Wayne.  “Is that all you care about anymore?”
“But I won’t understand?”
“No, you won’t understand.”
“Just what won’t I understand?”
“Why it doesn’t upset me.”
“Would you care to enlighten me?”
“I would try…”
“But I won’t understand?”
“That’s what I said.”
“So I should just be happy, tagging along on the gravy train while you spoon out crap that a million zombies download because it has your name on it and they don’t know better?”
Desmond sat down.  These sessions with Wayne were tiring, but Wayne was more than just a good manager.  He had a soul for music that no one else in the band had.  It was just a soul from another generation.  Still – as out of touch as Wayne was, Desmond fed off of him.  That might not be right.  Wayne was more like a compass.  He always pointed true north.  What Wayne didn’t understand was that they weren’t heading north anymore.  Music hadn’t been heading north since Chapman shot Lennon – maybe even before that.
“At least break it up,” Wayne pleaded.  “Give it a bridge – something unexpected.  Give it some rhythm changes.”
“No,” said Desmond.  “I might do a thing or two with the vocals, but the beat stays.  We don’t change it.”
“Why do we even bother with Jordan?  We could save a few bucks and set up a percussion machine for this – maybe even a damn metronome!”
“I know what that is,” said Desmond.
“You were waiting for me to ask what a metronome was, but even though I don’t go back to your prehistory, I’ve seen a metronome.”
“Good for you!  It’s a damn boring little pendulum – but no more boring than the beat in your damn song!”
“Anything else, Wayne?”
“So that’s it?  End of discussion.”
Desmond nodded.  “End of discussion.”
“Alright,” said Wayne.  “Let’s see, I’ve got some stuff you need to decide about the tour.  You want to do that now?”
“How about tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow – fine.”  Wayne did his signature non-slam of the door on his way out, pulling the door behind him violently, but catching it just before it made a sound.  Wayne was always a purist about sound.
Desmond picked up his acoustic, though he had no intention of playing it.  He drummed his fingers on the neck – then the body, making deep thrumming beats and off-beat resonations from the strings.
The beat.
Desmond idolized Wayne when he was little.  He wanted to be just like him.  He still played Wayne’s music when he was alone, even though nobody else did.  Wayne was barely known in his twenties.  He was pretty much forgotten now that he was seventy.
Too pure – too ideal.  A small circle of musicians loved Wayne Ledford – the world ignored him.
Desmond changed the thrumming beat of his fingers to something from one of Wayne’s songs – then he modified it, modulated it.  He played with different strike points on the guitar’s belly, sometimes muting the strings with one hand, sometimes not.
Desmond smiled to himself – this was something Wayne would like.  He could hear the old man pleading for Desmond to do something like that with his next song.  Like an Old Testament prophet calling from the wilderness, Wayne Ledford shouts, “repent!  Save your souls!”
Desmond went back to the beat – the simple beat – the one in his music and just about every other pop musician’s music for the last five years.

Wayne Ledford didn’t understand.  He was of a different time, a different herd.