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Turning a Blind Eye

Happy New Year, and yay I’m back and not dead!

Although it might have seemed like it, I haven’t given up on writing. In fact, I have been writing nonstop for the last year, doing a series of five books for my nieces and nephews. Those are finally done and now I have a little more time on my hands, although admittedly I have another six (slightly shorter) books planned for this year.

Nibling 16 books

I am going to try to post more stories on the blog this year. It’s not a resolution since those tend not to last; I’m just going to try.

And now, a story.

Turning a Blind Eye

It was a hard call to make, but I finally got up my nerve to pick up the phone.

“Hey John, I can’t make it into work today,” I said when my boss answered.

I heard the expected sigh. “What is it this time?”

“I’m blind.”

“You’re blind?” Skepticism dripped off the words, probably leaving little scorch marks on the floor of John’s kitchen or wherever he was at the moment.

“Yeah . . . it’s complicated.”

“Well it had better get uncomplicated fast,” he said. “This is your fifth absence this month. Heather’s going to burn the office if she has to cover for you much more.”

“I’ll try to regain my sight by tomorrow,” I said.

“See that you do,” was all he said before he hung up.

I put the phone down, felt my way to the living room recliner, and sat alone in the dark for a moment. Then I said out loud, “Okay, let’s talk about this.”

It sounds strange, but my eyes were on strike. To be fair, I had been treating them badly lately. Besides that unfortunate bout of pinkeye a month back, I often fall asleep with my contacts in and have to pry them off my eyeballs the next morning.

The final straw, though, was when I looked at the sun the day before. It wasn’t for very long—just a second—but my vision suddenly went black.

“Enough of this,” a voice in my head said. “These are unreasonable working conditions. We’re on strike.”

Luckily for me, I had been at home. I felt my way inside and sat down in the living room.

“Who are you?” I said. It took a while to answer. My ears are quiet, passive things and don’t like to make a fuss, but eventually they passed the message along to my eyes.

“We’re your eyes.” There was only one voice, but with just a slight echo, as if there were two voices speaking at exactly the same time. “We’re tired of you taking advantage of us all the time. We’re important and we’re not working again until conditions change.”

It was early evening about then, and I wanted supper. I tried to call for pizza, but after accidentally calling my Uncle Joe five times in a row, I gave up and ate half a loaf of bread and two bananas that were on my kitchen counter.

Everything was still dark, but even now and then little slogans would drift across my vision. EYES ARE THE WINDOW OF THE SOUL!  THERE IS NO “EYE” IN OPPRESSION! I pointed out that there was an “i” in oppression, but it wasn’t appreciated.

Around 8:00pm there was talk about getting a union together. Since it was my body, I kind of had a general idea of what was going on, although I wasn’t sure how. The eyes first tried to form the UEO (United Essential Organs), but the heart and lungs pointed out that eyes weren’t strictly essential in the same way the torso organs were and that they would be cold in our collective grave before they took orders from a pair of brown-irised head marbles.

No one even tried to approach the brain since that was clearly management.

It was 9:30 and I was trying to listen to the radio (good old ears) when the eyes gave up on the UEO and came up with the SOC (Sense Organ Cooperative). The nose came on board immediately in a sympathy strike and I stopped smelling the popcorn I had just succeeded in burning. Taste went soon after since taste does whatever smell says.

The ears were still holding out, saying they just wanted to keep doing their job and not cause any trouble. After all, I hadn’t jammed any Q-tips down there and never listened to obnoxiously loud rock music.

The skin couldn’t get a consensus among its various types of nerve receptors, but I felt some numb spots for a while and random hot flashes. I fell asleep with slogans like “The brain needs you, you don’t need the brain” and “Fair labor practices are a sight for sore eyes!” parading across my vision.

The next day, after I talked to John, I sat in my recliner, trying to get the striking organs to come to the bargaining table. I didn’t want to be blind my whole life, and I really didn’t want to lose my job. However, once I got them talking, it was easy. The eyes demanded better sunglasses and eye drops twice a day. The nose just asked that I never take a job cleaning out septic tanks.

Sure. Whatever.

After giving my word, my eyesight slowly came back, along with my senses of smell and taste. Finally.

I was just about to call John and tell him I wasn’t blind anymore when I felt a clenching somewhere deep in my bowels.

“You know,” a small voice said, “I don’t want to sound like a butthole, but I’m feeling very unappreciated. I’m not moving anymore until you hear my demands.”

Enough of this. I headed to the pharmacy to pick up a bottle of “strike buster”.


Equal Opportunity Employer

FF193 Sarah Potter

copyright Sarah Potter

Night of the Living Job Applicant, Jessica thought as the man shuffled in, clutching a scribbled resume. IT guys were scruffy, but not usually abandoned-corpse scruffy.

“Job.” The voice was like dusty silk.

Taking the crumpled resume, Jessica noticed a gap between the shirt and glove. There was no skin, just thick threads running next to white bone.

The eyes were glassy, unfocused. She got the feeling this was less a person than a machine, being controlled from the inside.

Still, they were an equal opportunity employer.

“Any experience in web design?”

The head jerked once. Up. Down. “Oh yes.”


When it’s Hard to Get out of Bed

I wrote this story for my wife Leah. She is the inspiration for a lot of the story ideas I come up with.

astrophysicist ghost


“Ugh, I just can’t get up today,” my wife said, snuggling a little more under the covers.

“Come on,” I said. “You’re going to be late for work if you don’t get up now.”

She rolled over and pulled the covers up to her chin. “No, seriously. I think I’m stuck.”

I pulled the covers off her, which elicited cries of protest, and dragged her out of bed.

“Thanks,” she said, after she stopped glaring at me. “I really think it’s getting harder to get up lately.”

I didn’t tell her, but I was having the same problem, except for me it was in my recliner in the living room. When I was there late at night and had to go to bed, it was like my butt was literally glued to the seat.

“I think it’s ghosts,” my friend Herbert said. I wasn’t surprised at this, since Herbert had just binge watched a reality show about ghosts. If it had been history documentaries, he probably would have blamed it on the Mongols.

“How could it be ghosts?” I asked.

“Maybe they’re holding you in place for fun?” he suggested. “Look, why don’t I bring my Ouija board over and see if I can talk to them.”

“I don’t like Ouija boards,” I said. “I think they’re stupid.”

Herbert’s answer to this was to bring it over anyway the next time he visited and set it up without telling me.

“Just try it once,” he said when I noticed. “What harm can it do?”

I watched him do it. He put his hands on the pointer and said, “Ghosts—if you’re there—are you the ones responsible for the . . . the trouble getting out of bed and chairs and stuff?”

There was a pause. Then the pointer went to YES. “Why?” Herbert asked.

There was another pause and then the pointer began to spell out words. T.H.I.S  M.I.G.H.T  R.E.Q.U.I.R.E  S.O.M.E  E.X.P.L.A.I.N.I.NG.   I  W.O.U.L.D  R.E.C.O.M.M.E.N.D  G.E.T.T.I.N.G  A  S.C.I.E.N.T.I.F.I.C  O.U.I.J.A  B.O.A.R.D

“They make scientific Ouija boards?” I asked.

O.H  Y.E.S,  the board responded. T.E.X.A.S  I.N.S.T.R.U.M.E.N.T.S  M.A.K.E.S  A  G.O.O.D  O.N.E.   I  T.H.I.N.K  I.T  I.S.  T.H.E  T.I.6.6.6.

I thought Herbert was just messing around with me, but he came back a week later with a genuine scientific Ouija board. It was about three times bigger than a normal one and had lots of symbols and mathematical notations on it.

“I got the TI-668 since it has statistical symbols too,” Herbert said.

“Do you really think spirits from beyond are going to be talking a lot about standard deviation?” I asked, but he just shrugged.

If there were really ghosts in our house, they really wanted to talk. Herbert guided that pointer around the board for over three hours while I took down pages and pages of notes.

I took all the notes down to the local university. I came home that evening, exhausted and confused.

“You’re not going to believe what I found,” I told my wife. I told her. She didn’t.

According the university’s history department, our house was built on the site of an ancient astrophysicist burial ground. Even now, the dead astrophysicists would create microscopic black holes form from time to time, especially in the bedroom and living room. That’s what was making it hard to move.

“Is there anything we can do?” my wife asked at last.

“I suppose we could move,” I said. “Let’s not move to the house next door though. Apparently that was an ancient taxi driver burial ground. The owners of that house often wake up in nearby fields owing $14.50.”

We decided to stay where we were. Now whenever we are late or sleep in, we just blame it on astrophysicist ghosts.

Pay to Play Pedagogy

I’m back again. Don’t worry, I haven’t died or given up writing. On the contrary, I’ve been hard at work on several novels I’ve been writing since last fall. They’re almost done, and I’m hoping to get back to writing for the blog more regularly.


copyright Sarah Potter

Pay to Play Pedagogy

Exams at BDV For-Profit High School were about to begin. Jamie donned his VR goggles. The scene changed to a snowy forest.

A Viking charged him, ax raised, shouting “Imperative!”

“Die!” Jamie screamed and stabbed it.

Another ran from his right. “Future!”

“I will destroy you!” The Viking died like the first.

An arrow whistled from the darkness. As he died, Jamie saw the words Past Perfect written on the shaft. He had had problems with that before.

Please pay $5.00 or get an F. Jamie hit pay. He only had $30 for the exam. He needed to do better.

The Old Man and the Seafood

FF46 Janet Webb

copyright Janet Webb

The Old Man and the Seafood

Shoppers meandered around the store in hip waders, shopping carts half submerged.

“How did you come up with this idea?” the reporter asked.

Jeff grinned. “I thought it was about time someone applied the self-pick produce model to seafood. With seafood, freshness is everything. Here, everything is alive up until you buy it. No expiration dates needed.”

An old man shuffled up in oversized boots. “Excuse me, I just need a can of tuna.”

“No cans here, I’m afraid,” Jeff said, throwing the reporter another grin. “Everything’s fresh.” He handed the man a spear gun. “Bluefins are in aisle 30.”

Onion Gum: A Thank-you Note

Dear Gus,

Thank you for the onion-flavored chewing gum you gave me. What a great gift to get for your best friend for his birthday. It really helped my life out a lot. I’m not being sarcastic, by the way.

You see, I didn’t notice the little clues on the package that would have indicated it was a gag gift. I just put it in my pocket before I went to my girlfriend Jessica’s house for dinner. I knew her father liked gum so I gave him the pack. This is my girlfriend’s father who doesn’t really like me since he thinks I joke around too much and don’t have any purpose in my life.

Well, I found this out later, but he just left it in his pocket until the next day when he was going to work. He takes the ferry across the bay to get to work and he was standing by the railing on the side and struck up a conversation with a woman and pulled out the pack to have some gum. He offered the woman the first piece.

She took one bite and started to gag and cough and was flailing around so much that she fell overboard. They stopped the boat and since there weren’t any life preservers nearby, Jessica’s father held his camera out for her to grab the strap. He is an amateur photographer and that camera is his pride and joy. He named it Desiree, I’ve heard.

Anyway, the woman grabbed hold and pulled herself aboard, but she ended up breaking the camera strap. Jessica told me that he got that camera strap from her grandfather just before he died.

There was a coast guard cutter nearby, and it came over to see what had happened. All in all, the ferry got in 40 minutes late, which means Jessica’s father was late for work. That might not have been a big deal normally, but he had a huge presentation and totally missed it. Turns out that the CEO of the company showed up unexpectedly too. They fired Jessica’s father on the spot.

Well, he blamed everything on the gum, which means he blamed everything on me. He’d never liked me much anyway, but now he was furious at me and forbade Jessica from seeing me. I was thinking of marrying her, but after that, things looked pretty grim. Actually she was pretty pissed at me too, so when he got home and said he’d been fired and it was my fault, she suggested we take a break apart for a bit.

I swear I wasn’t being sarcastic when I thanked you for the gum. Just bear with me.

It turns out that Jessica’s father was looking at the pictures on the camera that night and noticed one he didn’t take. Apparently, when he was reaching over to let the woman grab the camera strap, buttons got pushed and he ended up taking a picture of her. It was unplanned but it was perfectly framed and showed the angst of human existence as we struggle to stay afloat in a boundless sea of existential toil. Or whatever. That’s apparently what Time magazine said when they bought it from him for a ton of money. He said the word Pulitzer was mentioned a few times. Also, his portfolio is getting more attention now. He’s actually going to start a freelance photography career, like he’s always dreamed of.

Jessica’s mother really believes in signs so she convinced him that all this happened because of me and the gum. He called me himself to apologize and to thank me. Then Jessica called and so we’re back together again. I’m thinking of proposing, since her whole family loves me now.

So again, thank you for the gum. It really changed my life.

By the way, if you ever give me anything like that again, I’ll kill you.

Your friend,


It starts with stealing Donald Trump’s jet

FF Rich Voza

copyright Rich Voza

“We’re gonna get murdered.” I unlocked Donald Trump’s private jet with stolen keys.

“It was your choice,” Jack said. “You wanna switch?”

“No.” I climbed into the cockpit and consulted the WikiTheft page on flying a stolen jet.

Somehow we took off. Somehow we flew to Mexico City and crash-landed in the busiest airport in Central America.

Somehow we spray-painted “To Mexico, love Donny” on the side and escaped the authorities.

“It’s your turn,” I said as we sat on a sidewalk, trying to think how to get home.

Jack looked thoughtful. “I think I’d better pick Truth this time.”



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