A bag of sour gummy worms brightens up a dreary day inside by turning you into a cartoonishly big candy dragon. Mature.
You're sprawled on the sofa In the living room, staring up at the white noise of the ceiling. You haven't bothered to unpause the 'lo-fi beach vibes' video you had playing on the TV. Past the sliding glass door, the rain comes down like radio static. Nothing to do outside, nothing left to do inside. Your phone doesn’t have anything better to offer, so you sling it over the edge of the couch and let it fall to the carpet. Then you look down, grab the big bag of sour gummy worms you bought, and haul it over. Might as well, right? You peel it open, grab a couple, and toss one into your mouth.
Mango-pineapple. The taste hits harder than you expect. You take a moment to savor it as it saturates your tongue. It's been a while since you last had sour candy, but you don't remember it being quite so engrossing. The next worm you try is some kind of purple flavor, and while it's just as delicious in its own way, it doesn’t captivate your senses like the mango-pineapple did.
While you eat your handful of worms, the grass outside your apartment gets swallowed by rising water. Inside, the bookshelves creep taller and taller along the walls. The coffee table lists to one side; two of its feet sink a half-inch into the carpet.
You pop the last sour gummy worm into your mouth. The pineapple tartness and cloying mango sweetness are a perfect fit. Your eyes drift shut and a smile falls across your face. How long has it been since you just enjoyed some candy?
Your hand dips back into the bag and lifts out another handful. You pinch the gummy worms between your teeth and pull them from your fingers two at a time. Your thick tongue slips out to slurp the gummy worms between your glossy pinkish lips. A bead of drool rolls down your pudgy cheek. You brush it away with your shoulder.
Okay, yes, you know you're eating more than you should. You know you should stop after this handful. But this is the first time that you've felt nice in weeks. This is a splash of color among all that gray. You can't give that up because you're worried about a little too much candy.
25 March, 2020
For two office workers, an elevator ride becomes a growing, swelling, sloshing experience as they're turned into a big goofy toon wolf and gator. Mature.
On one side of the elevator stood Andrew. On his way back from a late lunch, he hadn't expected to run into anyone he knew. Okay, 'knew' was a bit of a stretch, since he didn't even know her name, but he knew she worked in Legal up on the fifty-second floor, that he was intimidated by how good she looked in a pantsuit, and that he wouldn't be able to say a word to her without stumbling over his own tongue.
On the other side of the elevator was Breana. She'd just gotten out of a meeting with one of their clients. She couldn't help feeling a little jealous of Andrew, who didn't have to haul out a stuffy suit jacket or wear heels every time he had to meet someone new. She didn't know his name either, but she recognized him from the couple of times she'd been down to Finance on the forty-third floor. They'd never had the chance to talk before.
"So," she said, breaking the silence as they waited for the doors to close. "You like Dopey Ditties?"
Andrew was caught completely off guard. "Um, what?"
"You have a, uh, B.B. Wolf mug on your desk." Great idea, she thought, kicking off a conversation with old cartoons. Not weird at all. "I always liked Al A. Gator."
"Oh. He's pretty cool," Andrew said, for lack of anything better to say.
The doors swung shut on the lobby and, mercifully giving Breana an excuse to go quiet again, the elevator chimed, "Going up."
The two of them were about to get know each other real well.
28 September, 2019
A fox goes to the Bureau of Orthomorphic Management for a routine appointment and runs afoul of red tape. Mature.
Robin found the yellow envelope waiting in his mailbox on Thursday. It announced, in thick letters, that it was his final notice from the Bureau of Orthomorphic Management, and that he needed to renew his license by Friday or it would be revoked. As well as the final notice, it was also the first notice, and the only notice, that Robin had gotten.
The thought of letting his license lapse as some sort of protest came to mind, but then Robin remembered what a nightmare his friend Nick had gone through when he'd gotten his license revoked. He didn't even get his old name back; he'd had to take a crummy public-access name like Reginald.
So shortly after noon and still a little sleepy, Robin tugged the garage door open, threaded himself between his apartment-mates' cars, and climbed into his own. It wasn't a long drive, but he didn't want to leave his license's fate to the whims of the local bus route.
The building of the Bureau of Orthomorphic Management looked like a brick of tofu. It did have windows and doors, which aren't features of tofu, but even the un-tofu parts of the Bureau building were infused with that bland simplicity. Robin imagined vandalizing its facade with spraycans of sauce and spices.
There was a short concrete walkway that led to the front door, guarded by railings made lumpy by so many re-applied coats of black paint. Beside the double doors were two plastic signs mounted to the wall. The first said, 'Bureau of Orthomorphic Management, Regional Office'. Below, next to a small intercom, was the second sign. A drawing showed a stick-figure with large tusks hunched over, trying to fit through a door too short for them. 'Persons needing assistance please press button,' it said.
Robin pulled the door open and stepped inside. The top of the doorframe cleared his ears with two feet to spare. Foxes like him weren't the tallest species, but you'd have to be a giraffe to have trouble with the front door.
Past the front doors, Robin came to the lobby. The lobby was meant to have a directory. But at some point, someone had thought to pin up a sign directing visitors to their department. Then everyone else had realized what a good idea that was, and by now, the lobby had grown into a jungle of signage. Sheets of printer paper with arrows were taped to the walls and pinned to bulletin boards and stapled on top of each other, all begging the reader to follow their directions.
If you were coming to see the Exercise and Fitness Approval Board, that was on the other end of the building. Nonstandard Locomotion Permits could be found on the sixth floor, stairwell access only. The Body Planner's Office announced that it was "on the Mezzanine", which Robin thought was likely a made-up word to trick young interns.
22 July, 2017
Three friends play a fortune-telling game to grant their hearts' desire, but is it really giving them what they want? Explicit.
Cole stood beside the cabinet, like he was presenting it to them. "It's like a fortune telling game, but it's got special rules to it. You play it with a bunch of people, you get one fortune per day, and the first person to get to five 'blessings' wins."
"Wins what?" Tricia asked.
Cole pointed to one of the rules. "Your heart's desire."
Alex made a soft snort. Cole grinned. Tricia was starting to smile too. It was a cheesy old game.
"So, want to give it a shot?" Cole asked.
"That's what we're here for," Alex said. Even if it was silly, it was something they could all play together.
Alex stood up, fished one of the tokens out of the open coin return, and dropped it into the slot. A tinny recording of a sitar played as the cards on display in the booth swirled around and the lights on the outside flashed on and off in a spinning pattern.
A slot in the front spat out a yellowed card. Alex picked it up, then moved to the side. Tricia stood by her after getting her own fortune, and once Cole got his too, they all turned to face each other.
A woman stuck in a swamp winds up getting all big and gatored via voodoo. Explicit.
Erica's car had been rumbling along faithfully for hours, but the twists and turns of the road turned back upon themselves so many times that she was utterly lost. Lost, and in the middle of the swamps somewhere in the god damn ass end of Georgia. And it had been getting steadily darker, so by now, all she could see were the unnervingly bright shapes and elongated shadows of gnarled bare branches.
She was about ready to just say 'fuck it' and try to turn around to go some other way, when her high beams hit a hand-painted sign pointing down a dirt road, which said 'Mama Zola's'. Well, she had no idea who this person was or what they did, but just about anyone could help her at this point. She just wanted to get to the nearest town.
Follow the instructions in this exercise to induce transformative effects in your classmates. Explicit.
Unit 12: Age
The common conception of age is that it's simply the number of years you've lived. After all, you've probably gotten used to filling out the forms for birthday approval each year. Unfortunately, this is a misconception. Age is no more determined by years-old than relationships are determined by physical or emotional attraction. (For the theory and equations regarding Billiac romances, please see Unit 15: Cardiology.)