Saturday, September 26, 2015

Two More For Flash! Friday

by Michael Seese

After last week's sad story, Cry The Beloved Country, we were given a lighter tome this week.

Douglas Adams’ wacky scifi classic, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which the rather ordinary but not overly eager to be annihilated human Arthur Dent is swept away on galactic adventures. The prompts to work with were:

* Conflict: man v man (not gender or species specific)
* Character (choose at least one): an ordinary person swept away on an epic adventure; a depressed robot; the worst poet in the universe; a charismatic hedonistic narcissist; a professional hitchhiker
* Theme (choose one): satire, foolishness, science, adventure, miscommunication
* Setting (choose one): a house about to be bulldozed; a spaceship; an odd restaurant

And this photo, should we choose to:

I immediately picked up on the depressed robot, and came up with "If I Only Had A Heart." 

I'd be friends with the sparrows
And the boy who shoots the arrows
If I only had a heart 

I identify completely with the Tin Man.

How cruel an existence. An eternity encased within a metal shell, condemned to wistfully witnessing sunrise after sunrise after sunrise, yet never actually feeling the warmth of the orange orb's glow.

For more than half a century, I've watched a parade of handlers arrive young and depart old. I, in contrast, remain stationary, fixed and, in many regards, a fixture.

Mr. Ryle coined the phrase the "ghost in the machine" as a criticism of Descartes' dualist belief that the mind and body were distinct entities. Indeed they are. I see it. But they do not.

So when the doctors walk in and say, "Good morning, Ms. Middleton. Sixty years and counting," I smile and let them hold onto their delusions, as if a lifetime spent "living" in an iron lung is somehow a blessing. 

For reference, I looked up Iron Lung in Wikipedia and found

On October 30, 2009, June Middleton of Melbourne, Australia, who had been entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the person who spent the longest time in an iron lung, died aged 83, having spent more than 60 years in her iron lung.

Then, I thought I'd try something with the restaurant, and wrote "The Restaurant At The End..."

Even despair comes here to die.

Is there any place on Earth more devoid of life than a diner on the barren road between emptiness and nowhere?

Lonely patrons stirring their coffee in absentia, a perfect metaphor for lives going nowhere but in circles. A decrepit jukebox that plays only "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and the entire Elliott Smith catalog. Food so bad even the flies say, "Let's try the next one." Outside, a neon sign humming and flickering under a sweltering welkin, seemingly trying to decide if it wants to die.

So back to my original question.

Is there any place on Earth more devoid of life than a diner on the barren road between emptiness and nowhere?


I work there, at a government-sponsored suicide cafe. And each time I serve up Kevorkian Cocktail and watch a relieved customer down it in one gulp, I wish I could find the strength to order one for myself.

There is also a Janet Reid contest today, and I've got a Cub Scout event. So I'd better get cracking.

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