Eye Drops

Leaning back, he let loose with one drop, shifted to the other eye and let drop again, as he’d done every day for decades.

After a moment, he realized he’d dropped both into his mouth, and laughed. How silly he was getting as he got older.

It wasn’t so funny the next time he did it.

But the third time…well, the third time, it wasn’t even noticed.

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The Bathroom Incident

A bathroom at last. Now he knew how his father felt, and his uncle, having to take a piss, asking with a fast, low voice almost everywhere they went, as soon as they arrived, “Excuse me, where’s the bathroom? Is it near? I need to go, like now.”

And now it was him, just like them. Had to be genetics. More than pissing, though, he had to do a dump. Sitting on the commode, he sighed relief as his body did its thing, and mourned what he was seeing of his future.

He’d forgotten his phone. “Fuck?” For real? Where the fuck? What the fuck? Where? When? Shaking his head, he farted and grunted and stared at the floor in concentration.

The floor…was kind of cool, like those photos NASA or someone put of nebulae on it. His uncle was always pointing things out to him about space, using an app on his phone to show him constellations and nebulae from the bubble telescope. “That’s the crab nebula. See how it looks like a crab?”

No, Dylan never saw how it looked like a crab, but the floor looked like it had nebulae. His uncle would love this fucking floor. One possible nebula looked like a friggin’ crow outlined with stars, and another —

Reaching for the T.P., he stared, eyes growing wider. That fucking thing looked like a dragon nebula, like a dragon flying through space, like a profile of a friggin’ giant dragon flyin’ through space on ginormous friggin’ wings.

Holy shit, the dragon nebula changed.

The dragon nebula was facing him.

The dragon nebula…was growing larger. He could see its wings flapping. In seconds, Dylan made out its heads, its teeth, its eyes.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck.” Dylan scrambled to wipe his ass, pull up his underwear and pants — and flush — all at the same time so that he could leave, leave, leave, because that friggin’ giant dragon nebula —

“Is here,” he said in a whimper, pants still down.

The dragon’s head burst up out of the floor. Falling back, Dylan said, “Fuck,” not noticing that his hand went into the toilet as he fell backward. The head was soon huge, breaking the walls out. A long fucking neck followed. As it rose, breaking through the roof, he heard people screaming. Then he was looking at the beast’s pale, scaly chest. He wanted to scream but he had no air in him. All he could do was gawp, except the smell was such a stench, like the bear’s slobber on his backpack once when the bear stole it when he was camping out. He wanted to puke but he didn’t want to move. He couldn’t move.

“Hey,” he heard.

The dragon was speaking to him.

“Hey,” he heard again. “Up here.”

Dylan looked further up. No, the dragon was looking down at him, but above the dragon’s head was a girl’s head, or maybe it was a dragon’s head, maybe the dragon had a second, human head, or some strange shit. Whatever the fuck?

The girl was smiling at him.

“Hey,” she said. “You okay?”

“Where’d you come from?” Dylan said.

“There.” She pointed at the floor. “Want to ride a dragon?”

Calmness washed through Dylan. “Sure,” he said. “Fuckin’ right.” He was going to ride a dragon. Fuckin’ right.

But first, he was going to wash his hand.

 

Mirrored

He had no sense of direction, she noticed, but then she observed other oddities. When he entered a room, if the door was closed on his arrival, he left it open. If the light was off, he turned it on and left it on, and if it was on, he turned it off.

As she realized these things, she also saw that he was always confused about which pull to use on the up/down blinds, lowering them when he meant to raise them, exclaiming, “I don’t know why I can’t remember which one of these to use. I’m always doing this.” Of course you are, she thought without telling him. When she asked him to look right, he looked left, and when he was told to turn right, he often began turning left. Sometimes, she heard him tell something that he’d said as something that she’d said, insisting that the false memory was true.

With these traits piling up, it didn’t surprise her to realize that he always thought that lies were the truth, and that truths were lies. It was, she decided, that he lived in a mirrored world. With that observation, she understood him much better, and could use words to get her way.

And she lived happily ever after…

Love and Time

What about the speed of love? she asked.

Raising his eyebrows, he laughed. You can’t measure love’s speed.

Why not?

Love is beyond classic physics and quantum mechanics. Love exists in a reality of its own. Time bends love, and love bends time, and if you try to understand that, you’ll bend your mind.

She said, The Rolling Stones said time is on our side.

The Rolling Stones were wrong. Time doesn’t take sides.

The Manual

A new hitch in his giddy-up manifested in his hip when he rose for the morning and stumbled from his bed to his bathroom. Muttering to himself, to which his cat and dog paid no attention, he went about the business of feeding the cat and dog, opening the blinds and checking the weather (looked cold, looked like snow), and made coffee. With the coffee done, he went into the other room with it, turned on his computer, and then pulled his Owner’s Manual from his desk drawer.

“Trouble-shooting,” he said. The book automatically opened to that curled and worn, wine and coffee-stained page that marked the section’s beginning. He expertly flipped the pages, perusing them until he found, “Hip,” “Pain,” and “Stiffness”. Following the instructions, he turned to page one seventy-nine, “Routine Repair for Stiff Hips”. After reading the three paragraphs, he sipped his coffee and smiled.

It was easy enough to fix. He’d do it after he finished his coffee.

Fondly he regarded his Owner’s Manual. Best thing that he’d ever found on the ‘net.

Best twenty dollars ever spent.

The Day

He put his dirty clothes in the recycle and tossed his used tissue in the laundry.

Returning to his study, he reached for his coffee, and remembered, he’d gotten up to get his coffee.

Leaving his study, he realized he put his dirty clothes in the recycle. Getting them out, he found the used tissue in the laundry, blew his nose into it, and threw it in the trash.

Then he fed the cats a few treats and went into his study to read, where he reached for his coffee.

Remembering, he’d gotten up to get his coffee, he laughed at himself. At least he was getting a lot of steps in today. He checked his wrist to look at his Fitbit —

Where did he leave his Fitbit?

Getting up to go find it, he left his study, went to the kitchen, and made a cup of coffee with his Keurig. Satisfied, he returned to his study with his coffee to read, and then checked his wrist to look at his Fitbit —

Where did he leave his Fitbit?

Then, he remembered, he’d put it in his shoe.

Leaving his study, he went into the other room, fed the cats a few treats, and made a cup of coffee.

This was going to take some time. Coffee would definitely help.

Clearing the Cache

He bought a fire pit and bottle of wine for Solstice, and filched a log from the neighbor’s stack. He lit the log and drank the wine, taking a sip each time the he fed the fire a rejection letter. One hundred sixty-five letters, two hours, and a bottle of wine later, he felt much better.

The cache was cleared. Good things were going to start happening for him now.

Last Seen

Deadly cold sucked the heat from my bones’ marrow as I surveyed my surroundings.

“Here,” she said.

Here? Here was a sloping field of snow glistening like icing in moonlight. Here was a field edged by elderly pines draped in snow. Here was a starry black night and the pond of a moon staring down on us. Here was a wind slicing through my gloves, shearing off my ears, and paring down my cheeks.

“Here?” I said.

I looked at the traveler. Smiling like she knew Mona Lisa’s secret, she pointed past me into the sky. As she did but before I turned, I caught sleigh bells’ tinny ringing.

Distracted by the famous sound, I turned so quickly, I slipped on the snowy field and would have fallen, had the traveler not caught my arm and kept me upright. After thanking her, I gazed through my breath toward the sound and spotted the immortal silhouette of reindeer pulling a sled commanded by a pudgy elf.

I gasped. “Santa.”

“Yes,” the traveler said.

“He was real.”

“Of course. It was on this day that he was last seen, long before his existence trickled into your dimension’s awareness.”

I nodded. Then this was was where my story begins. “I shall find him,” I whispered into the silent night as the sleigh bells faded and the wind nuzzled me. “I shall find him and bring him back.”

 

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