Fast Food Fiction, Volume 01, Issue 01
5 June 2017
© All Rights Reserved
Address questions and reprint permissions to Mike@LMGSwain.com
Who’s Your Little Who Zis?
What she disliked most was the preconceived misconception that rain is good. Rain is not good. She mistrusted water in any form, whether it came in a glass or in a plastic bottle; spouted from a water tap or spurted from a drinking fountain; solidified into ice; ran in a creek, rumbled in a stream, roared in a river; or, lapped waves on the friggin’ ocean. She would never be accused of being an aquaphile. Especially of the rain. Rain was sneaky as hell.
She easily avoided all the other forms of water. But not the rain. Although she kept a steady watch on the weather during the spring and fall seasons—even though she had her smart watch tuned to warn her if a sudden unexpected summer shower should spill from the sky—Abbie never failed to leave the comfort of her home unless she was fully cloaked in the yellow rubber full-body coveralls she had made for herself, even if the forecast was for a bright, sunny 100 plus southwest Oklahoma day, like today.
However, the morning weather forecaster did say that a 5% of rain did exist; but, he added, talking directly to Abbie through the television, “Nothing to worry about.” And then he winked at Abbie. Flirting again. Abbie blushed with a coquettish smile.
Abbie did worry, though. She needed food, toilet paper, paper towels, and dish soap. She had avoided leaving her small home the previous days because the chances of rain were put at 10-15%–too much of risk. Five percent wasn’t as good as zero percent, but she couldn’t risk the chances of rain being higher tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that.
To hell with the poets and their petrichor poesies.
Abbie put on the clear plastic facial mask and her clear shop safety goggles. She opened the door a couple of inches and peaked outside. Bright sunlight blinded her. She took off the clear safety goggles and put on the dark-tinted goggles. She didn’t like the sun much, either; but, at least when the sun was bright and shiny like a yellow egg yolk, rain wouldn’t dare show its tear-drop face.
She shuffled outside, scooted down the sidewalk, and then turned towards the shoppette a few blocks from her house. She kept her head tilted back just enough so she could keep a wary eye on the sky and still be able to see in front of her. She had collided with other walkers in the past.
Shit, Abbie mumbled silently to herself. Mr. Jesus was at the corner delivering a scriptural soliloquy. She hadn’t seen Mr. Jesus in quite some time. Must have been released from the asylum again. He was shouting to the sky and to everyone and to no one. He didn’t need an audience.
Abbie scrunched herself smaller and walked into the middle of the street in a wide arc around Mr. Jesus.
“Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it,” he screamed as Abbie absquatulated past Mr. Jesus.
Abbie shuddered. She didn’t need a crazed Godder praying down an H20 wall of hell and destruction on her. Not today. Today, she needed toilet paper. She had waited too long and had run out.
Mr. Jesus wasn’t a bad person. He was just crazy. Sometimes he quoted Schopenhauer. Sometimes, Shakespeare came from his lips. Sometimes, he screamed trig problems:
2sin2 x – sin x = 0
sin x(2sin x – 1) = 0
write the two solutions
sin x = 0 or 2sin x- 1 = 0
sin x = 0 or 2sin x = 1
sin x = 0 or sin x =1/2
sin x = 0 at 0 and p, x = sin-1 (1/2) –> p/6 and 5p/6
Without much thinking, Abbie knew the four answers to be x = 0, p,p/6, 5p/6.
When they were at university together, Mr. Jesus used to be called David, and they both were studying to be rocket scientists. Abbie admired David’s quiet mind and perfect memory. He was quite attractive, but the two never dated. Her sapiophilia was confined to her hot flash dreams in which the pair were nudely swimming in a sea of entangled trig and calc problems.
Swimming. Abbie’s whole body shuddered at the thought of the word, and she stifled an inner scream. Mr. Jesus’s voice had faded with the distance she had put between them, but, still, she didn’t want to chance that he could hear her scream, even if her scream was only in her mind. They had had that connection in university—being able to read each other’s minds. They had had whole conversions between themselves during boring lectures without having uttered a sounded word between them. That is, until David had eaten too many magic mushrooms, went into a coma, and then morphed into Mr. Jesus upon awakening.
Being a good mate, Abbie had eaten of the mushrooms as well, but she didn’t go into a coma: She had ended up in the university quad pond where she found herself entangled in an aqua growth of invasive Hydrilla. The more she struggled, the more the Hydrilla embraced her and pulled her towards the bottom. She tugged and kicked and jerked, but only ended up rolling so she faced the surface and could see the sun’s rays fragmenting through the water, bright and shadowy fingers moving through the drenched prism, dancing about her as she gasped in water and began drowning. When she came out of her hydrated coma two weeks later, Abbie couldn’t stand the sight, the sound, the smell, the feel, or the taste of water.
Abbie heard a rumble. Damn! She looked up. A lone cloud hovered over the shoppette. It was small, but it was also dark. Not a good omen.
She darted inside the shoppette, also known as Kwik InnaOut, a stupid portmanteau, Abbie thought. Sounded more like a cheap 80s homemade porn flick.
She scampered up and down the aisles, gathering her much needed items, especially the toilet paper. She had to hurry. The cloud was small, but it could grow. Sometimes they did that–grew, and then when engorged with moisture, they’d vomit their filthy, acidic water.
Before she had made her full-body rain overalls and had taken to wearing a full-face plastic mask complete with protective shop eye goggles, Abbie had been caught in a sudden downpour. She was covered, but not covered enough. Rain had pounded on her nose, beating the bridge and the nostrils with jackhammer strikes. She ran down the street screaming, but no one would help her. Finally, her nose fell from her face onto the asphalt street where she watched in horror as it melted into a dark pinkish blob. She had always been proud of her nose. To her, her nose was, had been, her best physical feature–Aquitaine and free of any blackheads, molds, or blemishes. Mr. Jesus née David had accused her of agastopia.
The day her nose fell off and melted was the day Abbie learned that rain was weather’s weapon of mass destruction. That was the day she made her full-body yellow rubber and waterproof coveralls, bought a clear facial mask, and bought two pairs of shop goggles, one clear and the other smoky gray for bright, sunny days.
The clerk scanned and bagged the items.
“Be careful,” she said as she handed Abbie her change.
“Yes,” Abbie said through the mask. “You’ve got a cloud over your building.”
“I don’t know about that. I mean today.” With her thumb, she pointed at the large calendar just over her shoulder.
Abbie smirked. “That’s bullshit. Triskaidekaphobia is a foolish superstition.”
“I don’t know.” The clerk flicked out her tongue. “I put in my good luck stud just in case.” Abbie stared at the twenty gage black ball stud that pierced the tip of the clerk’s tongue. Embracing the stud was an ouroboros.
“I don’t believe in superstitions,” Abbie said as she grabbed the white plastic bag.
“Ha,” the clerk said with a snort through her studded nostrils.
Once outside, Abbie looked skyward. The cloud had moved. No longer was it merely over the shoppette. Because it had engorged itself on moisture, it had grown so it now covered both the sidewalk and the street.
Abbie lengthened her stride and increased her number of steps per minute. She glanced at her smart watch. The percentage had risen to fif-fuck-teen.
Mr. Jesus was still screaming to the sky. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against …”
She tuned him out by humming, “Here comes the sun, little darling . . . .” She didn’t particularly like The Beatles, but this song often brought her comfort during a rain storm. At times, she would sing it just as it started raining, and the rain quickly stopped and the sun came out, “ . . . Here comes the sun, and I say it’s alright!”
But the sun didn’t come out. The cloud rumbled and growled and grew larger and darker and hovered directly over her as she changed from a brisk pace to a trot.
A heavy hiraeth weighed deep within Abbie’s chest and stomach.
As she reached the walkway leading to the porch of her small home, Abbie turned so quickly that her ankles twisted around each other. Her package flew from her arms, her knees slammed into the concrete, and her body crashed to the ground. Her goggles flew from her face. Her chin hit the concrete, and her mask was pushed askew the side of her head.
She rolled over and screamed. The cloud was directly over her, a crooked smile ran the length of its dark folds. A single drop of rain formed on the edge of smile and then jumped, aiming itself for Abbie’s exposed face and eyes.
Abbie grasped for the goggles with one hand and tried to push the mask back to cover her face with the other hand.
But the rain drop was quickly. It spat onto her facial flesh, drilling a hole into her right cheek. Abbie screamed as the drop signaled for its comrades to join it. And they did. They poured down on Abbie’s face like conquering parachutist invading a country.
Not only that, Abbie’s knees were exposed from the tear that had occurred when her knees hit the concrete.
Abbie continued to scream as her face and knee caps began to melt. She cried out hoping Mr. Jesus could hear her and come to her rescue before nothing was left of her face and knees. She kept her eyes closed, but the raindrops pounded her eyelids and ate their way into her eyeballs.
“Covfeve! Covfeve!” Abbie screamed as the raindrops became a downpour and rain water laved over her. Before the rain ate the last of her mouth, tongue, and vocal chords, Abbie said softly, “Covfeve.”
When he had heard the secret word for the Second Coming, Mr. Jesus ran up the street and to the walkway leading to the small house where the strange woman lived. Someone had left a melted yellow mess on the walkway. And a bag of food, paper towels, dish soap, and toilet paper next to melted yellow mess. He picked the bag up. He was hungry. And, he could use the toilet paper.
The ten words submitted by Facebook Friends for this issue of Fast Food Fiction are:
1. Petrichor—a pleasant smell the accompanies the first rain after a long dry spell @Kimberly Idleman
2. Sapiophilia—attracted to intelligent people @Michael Conner
3. Agastopia—love of one part of the body @James Robert Jones
4. Soliloquy—act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself @Katie ‘Goodwin’ Krause
5. Absquatulate—leave abruptly @Christie Harrold
6. Hiraeth—a deep longing for home @Rebekah Natalie Kruse
7. Aquaphile—an enthusiast of all things related to water @Briana McCarter
8. Portmanteau—a word blending of sounds by combining two words to form a new word @Patrick Carnes
9. Triskadekaphobia—fear of the number 13 @H.B. Berlow
10. Covfeve—who the f*** knows @Mike Dinos