Friday, November 13, 2009

Mid to moderate skill level -- flash fiction

He studied one of the creatures that he had received in his Build your own zoo kit with a magnifying lens and all six of his very alert eyes. It was hideous. All pink and smooth with two large masses in the center of its upper torso. It had two puny eyes on either side of what he assumed was a nose, but he didn't see how it could possibly use such a useless appendage to bring sustenance to the slash below the nose that he assumed was a mouth.

The second creature was dark and hairy like a shrimba. It had no lumps on its upper torso but sported a strange appendage in its lower region that may have been a deformed fifth limb or a small trunk of some sort. Jalri didn't see how it could use such an appendage to reach leaves from the trees he had planted in the enclosure per the instructions that he had received ages ago. You have to let the enclosure acclimate or your specimens die right away. This was Jalri's third attempt and he was determined to get it right this time. The instructions said that the creatures were omnivores, but one of the tips in the back of the catalog hinted that you could make them more docile by feeding them only plant matter.

Jalri was heartened by the jabbering cheeps and chirps that came from the enclosure while he was getting ready for bed. This morning he had seen the creatures cooperating in building a hut from the cut up limbs and string that he had left laying around for them to find. You had to give them something to do or they sickened and died. This current set seemed to be thriving. He had high hopes of breeding them and sharing the litter with his friends.

The breeding instructions cost extra and you didn't get them until your specimens had survived for a month. Jalri glanced at his calendar and realized that his instructions would be arriving the day after tomorrow. He was really looking forward to breeding his specimens.

Jalri was awakened by grunting and moaning coming from the enclosure. He turned on the light and saw the creatures wrapped in mortal combat devouring one another's faces. He looked away sickened. He opened his top drawer and found the cyanide tablet, broke it in half and dropped it into the enclosure.

His mother snapped on the overhead light to his bedchamber. "Jalri, why are you up so late? Are you ill?"

"No mama, I'm fine but my creatures were killing each other again. I've taken care of it, poor little things. These humans are just too hard to care for. I think that I'll try something else from the blue planet catalog next time. Maybe something from the beginner skill level. I saw these things called 'sea monkeys' that looked quite interesting."





This week's list of 48 stories at Mad Utopia

45 comments:

estrella05azul said...

Oh Karen! You're amazing :) I absolutely loved this, and for some twisted reason found the ending very sweet (but I see you did too probably since you wrote it) :P
Great job, I can already see a sequel about the sea monkeys feeling lonely and Jalri getting them a scuba diver friend ;)

Laura Eno said...

And you call me sick...
That was great! I loved it. Maybe when he gets his breeding instructions he'll figure it out? :)

Kris said...

So now I know if my husband and I are ever abducted by aliens, we need to wait until the breeding instructions come in before we engage in "mortal combat."

I loved this!

Anton Gully said...

My sea monkey colony is four years old this month. I think that's probably a world record.

I liked the story, but that epic list on the right? Hilarious!

J. M. Strother said...

Very funny, Karen. I enjoyed this twisted little tale. Sea monkies! He might have a hard time even seeing them.

Good choice of title, too.
~jon

Marisa Birns said...

Loved it! Very funny.

I never was successful with the sea monkeys.

shannon esposito said...

I love the observations of us through alien eyes! Wickedly funny! :-)

Karen from Mentor said...

Yes humans look odd through all six of his eyes Shannon. :0)

I've had sea monkeys both when I was a kid and when my kid was a kid. Never could get them to do much on the high wire...but on the trampolene? man those things were something Marisa. :0

Karen from Mentor said...

I was pleased with the title Jon glad you enjoyed it and thanks so much for tweeting it.

Kris if you and your husband are abducted by aliens bring back video...of the aliens! ...not of the...oh nevermind....

Karen from Mentor said...

now I have cheesy seventies music in my head for some reason....

bomp be bow wow....

Karen from Mentor said...

Anton! I see you've joined my minions. Welcome aboard matey.
The random thoughts change...well...randomly...so I hope you come back often to see them. [they crack me up when I think of them too...]

Thanks for stopping in.
Karen :0)

Karen from Mentor said...

I don't know Laura, I think that since he's just a kid he'll toss the instructions in a drawer and never put two and two together...I think that would be best in the long run for his mental health anyway...lol

And I'm not sure I ever called you sick [well at least not while you were listening] But Alan? he's messed up...laughing...
hugs!
Karen :0)

Karen from Mentor said...

I really enjoyed sending you the link to the Sea Monkeys advertisement this morning Estrella. Glad you enjoyed the story and thank you for tweeting it. You're just such a sweetie.
:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

Ok, holy cow....I wanted to see how long sea monkeys live since Anton's are four years old and came across this factoid:

On October 29, 1998, over 400 million sea-monkey eggs traveled into space with astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr. In nine days, they traveled 3.6 million miles. Months after their return to earth, the sea-monkeys were hatched. The babies showed the same normal growth and life as a group of sea monkey babies who did not travel into space. This means sea-monkeys are strong and can survive in many conditions and environments.

SPACE TRAVELING SEA MONKEYS!!!!!!
too funny.

I may need to step away from the computer now...laughing...

Angel Zapata said...

"the blue planet catalog" What a great idea. I'm cutting out the order form now. Very fun flash.

Melissa said...

A human menagerie. Loved it. (Wait... menageries are supposed to be calm...)

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Angel. I enjoyed your story over at Flashes in the Dark.
And I just have to say that you have a very cool name. Sounds like a rock star or something. :0)


and oh my gosh...I've been having fun via email with this but I thought I'd share it here....

this story is called "mid to moderate skill level" Right?...

here was Cat's tweet:
catconnor: #fridayflash http://tiny.cc/Wk3mJ Mid to moderate skill level by Karen Schindler

and I thought to myself....hmmmm...maybe I should have rethought the title...it almost looks like a critique of my writing skills.....laughing....

Thank you Cat and Fery and Jon and Estrella for tweeting my link! You guys rock!

Karen from Mentor said...

That's funny Melissa, I think they were calm right up to the point where they um....weren't.
Thanks for stopping in.
:0)

Deanna Schrayer said...

Fun story Karen! I almost feel like I should be looking over my shoulder now, or would that be above my head? :)

Rachel said...

I really thought that were you were going with this was: The humans are Adam and Eve and God is really a GIANT SPACE ALIEN WITH SIX EYES.

Dibbs on this idea by the way.

Karen from Mentor said...

Oh that's hilarious Sweetie. I love that idea. but btw? Calling dibs on an idea after announcing it to a room filled with writers....hmmmmm... ok...you guys heard the lady. No takesies.

How many eyes do you think god actually has?

Karen from Mentor said...

I know Deanna ...but at least my enclosure is pretty good size. How's yours?
:0)

The Block House said...

We *are* too hard to care for! This was a wonderful read. And perfectly timed with the moon story today. ;-) Well done.

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks! And my daughter JUST told me about finding water on the moon [I'm living in a NaNo cave]
Thanks for stopping in. I enjoyed your debut story. Welcome to fridayflash!
Karen :0)

Rachel said...

Well I called dibs on it SPECIFICALLY because I announced it where a ton of writers could read it.

And yes I did, HOORAY the possibility of life elsewhere!

Alan said...

Love the subtle dig at vegetarians! :)

Karen from Mentor said...

LOL Alan.... I mean...ahem...

The management would like to disavow all association with the previous commenter's comment.

:0)

dare I say "some of my best friends are vegetarians" or would that be pushing it?

Mark Kerstetter said...

That's humans for ya, always eating each others' faces, sick slimy things that they are.

Cascade Lily said...

LOL at 'fifth appendage' - I knew what that was from the get-go, but did not twig to the creatures being humans until the punch line. Well done Karen!

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Lily. A fifth appendage is always a fun visual[winks at you] I had been suprised that no one commented on it or the "small trunk" lol....
Glad you enjoyed it ...thanks for stopping in.

Shhh Mark, you'll blow your cover.....

:0)

mazzz_in_Leeds said...

A little knowledge is clearly a dangerous thing - they should include the breeding information with the starter pack!
Loved the vegetarian line :-)

Eric J. Krause said...

Haha, that's great! They certainly need to include the breeding instructions in the starter pack. But this guy really should stick with the sea monkeys.

Draco Torre said...

The kid will do better with sea monkeys. Humans are too disgusting. Fun read.

judy said...

This is great. I thought you were going for the God thing too. Maybe you were. Maybe God is really a giant space alien with six eyes and parents and a mail order catalog....

Love this one!

lindacassidylewis said...

Somehow I overlooked this in my feed list. I'm glad I finally saw it. I confess I realized they were human very early, but the ending was brilliant!

Chance said...

Laughed out Loud, great story

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Chance..I love to get a lol...come back anytime. There's always pie in the fridge and I leave the door open 24/7.
Karen :0)

Karen from Mentor said...

Your "feed list" cracked me up Linda, I know what you mean.....but my mind went to some odd places first....

And wow a brilliant and a lol right in a row. I hope my head fits out the door cause I have a lunch date....

hugs honey!
Karen :0)

Karen from Mentor said...

I really wasn't poking fun at vegetarians Mazz, Alan was just stirring up mischief....you know how he is [cute, but trouble!]....I was going more for the idea of tips breeders use for keeping pets docile....

and you and Eric are correct...they should have included the breeding tips in the starter pack ....

:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

Hey Draco, welcome to fridayflash! We have a great time even when we're writing about the disgusting habits of homo sapiens.
Thanks for stopping in and glad you liked the story. :0)

Karen from Mentor said...

I get such a kick out of how much you and Rachel think alike Judy.....

[pulls out her notepad and asks you to lie down on the nice padded leather couch]

So in this vision that you had of god being a space alien in elementary school.....

[grins at you]

Glad you found time to stop in since you're in NaNo Hell....lol....it's always a pleasure to entertain the ones I love.

:0)

Iapetus999 said...

I was kind of looking forward to the breeding instructions myself. Good job!

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Andrew. And I have to say that I love the hat/goggles combo in your bio photo.
[but just checking you do only have TWO eyes...right?]
Karen :0)

Tim Hallinan said...

I'm with Rachel -- I thought the tree was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and that the sound was the humans chomping down on the fruit.

Great story.

Karen from Mentor said...

Wow they'd be noisy eaters Tim lol...or else maybe Jalri has super hearing too....pretty sure I just gave him two ears though.

Getting a "great story" from you just made my month. Thanks so much for stopping in.

[GRINS HUGELY and goes back to work]