Cud Flashes In the Pan


 

Cud Flashes In the Pan
This month’s theme: April Showers
David M. Fitzpatrick

This month’s theme:
April Showers

Spring is here! The snow is going away! The days are warming! I’m riding my motorcycle! So here are eight shorts for you to celebrate, in various genres, all having to do with rain.

 

“The Quality of Thixton”
Contemporary Science Fantasy
By David M. Fitzpatrick

Thixton made his way back into the untorious clabjorry, but he didn’t even know what a corpingdome was. No matter. There was no way that he’d put up with Bibbin Jorl’s antics this time—not anymore! It was time to put all of his ilsomackering magic to use to end this frundigeousness once and for all.

The clabjorry was crowded and noisy, as clabjorries always were, but Thixton didn’t care. He shouldered his way through the zwirling moppinkollies, dodging their epparts as he went. When he was clear, he activated his ankormonium and launched skyward. In minutes he cleared the atmosphere and he entered hyperspace, firing across the universe to the evil city of Cozmor on the dark world of Jastagard.

Thixton came out of hyperspace and rocketed down to the enchanted city, where he knew that the dark sorcerer Captain Zargon awaited—along with his quoggled army of wingless, spellcasting duck humanoids with their steel feathers, led by Bibbin Jorl himself.

He landed in the street like a mirling bachedolian, leaving fidulian holes in the pavement, and dead ahead was Zargon’s palace—and blocking it, waiting for him, was the pungliurcious traffador itself: the corpingdome. It stood as tall as ten prigs, forty shades of pink and green, clad in wonterzine and wielding a dozen skeep flingles.

It should have been morticulously terrifying, but nothing was scaring Thixton today. Not anymore. He mentally hung his array of spells and readied for the attack, even as the corpingdome grambled forward on fow-glenning scrabs.

Vengeance would be his!

He gowered his vurn-flow regulator and marched forward, green jomble kellering wildly as he went.

 

“Brains”
Zombie
By David M. Fitzpatrick

The zombie was hungry. Starving. She needed to eat. She needed brains.

The zombie didn’t know this. She wasn’t dead like those movie zombies, with rotting flesh; she was human, and alive, but her mind had been destroyed by the zombie virus. Memory had been wiped. Personality had been erased. Only the overpowering drive to eat drove her existence. Syzygy syzygy syzygy syzygy syzygy syzygy syzygy

She shambled along the abandoned streets, grunting as she sought humans. The same drive to eat drove her specifically to eat brains. It wasn’t that she wouldn’t eat flesh—it was just that brains were satisfying on some incredibly basic level. Some scientists theorized that the loss of memory and personality had caused some unconscious desire to acquire more brains.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Of course, the zombie didn’t know that. She knew nothing except to eat. Her hunger was ravenous, her appetite voracious.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.

She staggered through the streets, past wrecked cars, garbage, rotting bodies. Other zombies were here, staggering as she did. She was the only zombie wearing a nametag; it was affixed to the jacket of her gray pantsuit. KATY RUBIN, it said. QUEEN CITY REAL ESTATE.

She lurched toward a pile of garbage put to the curb by the homeowners, probably the day all hell broke loose. They were throwing away an old chair, some boxes, and a tall mirror. The mirror was cracked, but the zombie caught her reflection, and stopped to stare.

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She had been a beautiful human woman. Her hair needed washing and her skin needed cleaning, but she was young and attractive—if you ignored the blood and gore around her mouth and all over her pantsuit from eating human flesh. But she regarded herself, head cocked to one side. She hadn’t seen her reflection before—at least, not since she had become a zombie.

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She snarled at her reflection and lurched forward. It didn’t smell like a zombie, so it had to be human and thus edible. She crashed into the mirror, which shattered into massive glass shards. The zombie roared in anguish as it stumbled over the boxes and landed face-first on the sidewalk.

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She was bleeding everywhere, and zombies still felt pain—but she didn’t understand. She clambered to her unsteady feet, blood spraying from the massive gash on her throat, and she gurgled, trying to grab at the pain with her hand. Blood just sprayed through her fingers.

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Soon, she collapsed, on the brink of death. The world was short one more zombie, but it had already been short one more human: Katy Rubin.

And in that last moment of her life, as her animal-like consciousness faded, for a brief moment the person that Katy had been flickered back into existence. She remembered who she was, how she got sick, how her mind was lost, how she had eaten human flesh and brains and liked it.

She was horrified at it all—especially eating people. She’d spent her life as a devout vegan.

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She vomited at the thought as she died.

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“All the Whys”
Apocalyptic Fantasy
By David M. Fitzpatrick

It was eight days until Sam would destroy the world. It was not a task he took lightly, but he knew that it had to be done. And he knew that, on the eighth day, he would let the world know WHY—let them know about all the whys. They wouldn’t like it for the first seven days, but once he finally imparted the whys to them, they would understand and welcome their destruction.

On the first day, he let them know that he was destroying the world on the eighth, and that he would tell them all the whys then. Naturally, no one believed him. Just another crackpot, they thought.

On the second day, he destroyed New York City. Many saw him do it, and they knew that he was that nameless person they’d taken for a crackpot the day before. They took him seriously after New York was a flattened, a comparatively minor prelude to the coming apocalypse. Sam hovered above the burning, flattened wasteland, blue fire still glowing around his hands. He let the news outlets know that he didn’t want to do this—any of it—but that he did have to destroy the world on Day Eight. He would tell them on that morning why, and he reminded them that they would understand and agree when he did.

On the third day, in the earliest hours when it was still dark and the world was frantically trying to figure it all out, and with cameras trained on him as he flew, Sam directed the powerful blue energy out of his hands and at the moon. It was full and bright in the black night sky, and it took a few seconds for his magic to reach it, but he poured everything that he had into it until the entire moon glowed blue against the darkness. And then it exploded into million big pieces and a zillion smaller ones, and the debris began to rain down upon the Earth, even as a sparkling ring formed abut the planet, at least for the time being. The Earth would meet the same fate, he told them, and reminded them that they would know why on the morning of that fateful eighth day.

On the fourth day, the United States of America pooled its massive military resources together and attacked him, because everyone had figured out that he wasn’t kidding around. They spent the entire day launching missiles at him, but he only deflected most of them and survived any that made it through. By nightfall, what had been the ruins of New York were mostly flooded, since the island of Manhattan had been blasted below sea level.

On the fifth day, still not wanting to hear of his reasons why, the rest of the world joined the Americans and attacked him with all of the destructive power of the entire planet’s combined military might. Much of New York State was obliterated in the process, but Sam was never worried. He withstood it all until there was nothing left to throw at him, and when they finally launched nuclear missiles at him, he neatly redirected them out of the atmosphere and toward the sun. Then he told the news crews that they were wasting their time, that the end was coming, that he would bring about that end, and before he did he would tell them all the whys. He told them that they should spend their remaining time not trying useless attempts to stop him, but instead being with their family and friends, sharing love and peace together toward the end.

On the sixth day, nobody attacked him. Everyone did spend time being with their family and friends, sharing love and peace together. The news stations focused on the eighth day, when Sam would tell them all the whys, and how they would understand. Sam rested, knowing that they were coming to accept it—and that would make the eighth day, and his explanation, even easier for them to accept.

On the seventh day, people came to him on the hilltop where he had camped, begging to hear the whys. He told them that they had to wait until tomorrow; that was the way it was. Some cursed him, but others thanked him for being willing to give them the foreknowledge at all before their existences were terminated. Many hugged him. Many more cried.

And finally the eighth day came. Sam rose with the sun and made his way to the edge of the hilltop, looking down at the countless thousands of pilgrims who had gathered below to hear him speak. And he

 

“Censored in America”
Political Dystopian

By David M. Fitzpatrick

Dear Cud readers:

This story has been cut from this edition of Cud Flashes in the Pan.

Why? It criticized President Donald Trump and his administration. This is something that I have written about on The Cud repeatedly, and the editor has always let my political speech through.

But even though this was couched in fiction, which would seem to be immune from any legal retaliation, the editor felt that I crossed too many lines. He was concerned about misinterpretation of my writing as actually threatening the president or attempting to incite violence against the president or people in his administration, or an attempt to incite revolution against the administration.

I disagree with this perspective but certainly understand his concerns. Publishing anything that could be construed in that way would not only subject me to legal action but to the editor and publisher as well.

As such, we have pulled this story from this issue of Cud Flashes.

But please know that I am ALWAYS thinking about what I wrote, and even Trump can’t do anything about that.

Sincerely,
-David M. Fitzpatrick

 


“Sex in the Park”
Erotica
By David M. Fitzpatrick

Jim and Mary did their usual Sunday walk in the park, and of course Mary brought the picnic basket. They checked out the birds as they walked. They knew nothing about birds, but loved looking at them.

“Look at that blue one!” Mary cried. She was wearing a low-cut blouse and a skirt that came almost to her knees. She was beautiful in the midday sun, her blond hair tied back in a ponytail.

“And the red one,” Jim added, pointing. He was in his jeans and T-shirt, like usual.

The birds chirped and flew away.

Jim and Mary kept walking until they found their usual clearing, and Jim laid out the blanket. Mary got on her bare knees as she unpacked the basket. She had brought ham and Swiss cheese, white bread, a bottle of mustard, a bag of pretzels, and cans of Pepsi. They sat in the sunshine, eating their sandwiches, always spying new birds to point out.

After they were finished, Mary packed away the trash in the basket. Jim lay back on the blanket; Mary joined him, carefully smoothing her short skirt, tucking it between her thighs, and crossing her ankles in case anyone else happened along; no reason to give them a free show. They lay there, looking up at the blue sky, pointing out the birds that were flitting about in the trees surrounding them. Presently, one flew directly overhead.

“Look at that one!” Jim said, but he hadn’t realized what the bird had done until the white glop of bird poop hit him right in the eye.

He screamed, scrambling to roll over and get up, frantically wiping away the poop. But Mary couldn’t help but laugh. She laughed uncontrollably, which only pissed Jim off. It wasn’t that he didn’t get why the situation was funny, but being blinded by a mess of bird crap wasn’t funny to him at the moment.

“Stop laughing!” he hollered. “Get me a napkin!”

She couldn’t. She was rolling on her side, holding her sides, roaring with laughter.

“You bitch!” Jim screamed, and without thinking amidst his anger, he pulled the forty-five out of his belt and shot his wife dead.

Jim went to jail for the rest of his life, but not until he got the bird shit cleaned off his face.

 

“John Flipped Burgers”
Mainstream
By David M. Fitzpatrick

John flipped burgers.

That was it. He did nothing else notable. He just flipped burgers.

Day in, day out, for little pay, he flipped burgers. He’d flip them to one side, then flip them to the other. He’d flip them until they were fully cooked. He didn’t even deal with the buns or toppings. Someone else dealt with all of that. John just flipped the burgers.

One burger when it was slow, or maybe a half dozen or so. On a busy day, he’d have dozens going at once, and might flip burgers nonstop for hours. The grill could hold forty burgers at once—five deep and eight wide—and he was good at managing that many burgers at the same time.

The only thing he did other than flipping burgers was putting them on the grill and taking them off. Sometimes he went to the walk-in cooler to get more burgers, but only so that he could flip them. He didn’t even take out the garbage; someone else did that, too. Sometimes he’d see customers out front, but he never waited on them. It was just his job to flip their burgers. Well, his job was really to cook them, but really the grill took care of that. But the grill couldn’t flip them. That was John’s responsibility.

John flipped burgers. That was his job. That was his calling. That was the only thing he knew.

John flipped burgers. Lots of them. All the time.

Too often, maybe.

John flipped burgers.

 

“The Jester’s Logic”
Non-Magical Pseudo-Medieval
By David M. Fitzpatrick

The jester kept playing jokes on the king. Usually, the king had a lot of patience for the jester—after all, jokes were funny, and the king had a jester so that the jester could make him laugh—but today just wasn’t the day for it. And the jester was just over the top, all morning long.

At breakfast, the jester hit him with a whoopee cushion, and when the king sat down, he sounded flatulent. The court roared with laughter and the king did as well.

He switched the sugar and salt, and he switched the water and white vinegar. He replaced the fresh milk with spoiled milk, and he spiked the wine with hot sauce. He got the king time and time again. And when he got the king with a joy buzzer, everyone kept laughing. At this point, the king was merely chuckling. It was wearing thin.

Later, during lunch, the jester hit him in the face with a cream pie. A few people laughed nervously, but most were mortified. The king was not laughing.

But when the king was meeting with his noblemen and the jester sneaked up behind him and yanked the king’s pants down, no one laughed—and certainly not the king, who did not wear undergarments.

“That’s enough, jester!” the king hollered as he pulled his pants back up to hide is nakedness. “Who are you to do so many embarrassing things to the king?”

“Why, I am the court jester, tasked with making you laugh,” said the jester. “Besides, you do know that it’s April Fool’s Day, right?”

“Oh my!” the king cried. “I completely forgot! My apologies, jester; carry on!”

The king let his pants drop, and now he was laughing.

“Yes, sire!” said the jester, and he used a slingshot to hit the king in his exposed junk with a rubber ball. Everyone except the king laughed. The king would have, but he was curled up in the fetal position on the floor, cupping his junk, unable to breathe for a bit.

 

“Cud Flashes”
Nonfiction
By David M. Fitzpatrick

Once upon a time there was a guy who wrote a monthly flash-fiction column on The Cud. In April 2017, in honor of April Fool’s Day, he decided to write a string of absolutely nonsense stories. He even teased that the theme was “April Showers” and that all of the stories had to do with rain. Guess what? Not a rainy story in the bunch!

The first story used a lot of confusing, made-up words, and the entire tale made no sense at all.

The second story was a zombie bit with lots of pointless filler text.

The third built up suspense and the promise of answers as to why the story was happening—and then ended before it ended, in mid-sentence, leaving the reader confused and possibly annoyed.

The fourth was just a big pile of crap. The Cud’s editor has never censored me, and I would never write anything illegal! I was just yanking your chain.

The fifth one’s title promised sex, but the story had no such sex and no apparent actual plot.

The sixth story was a slice-of-life piece about a guy who flipped burgers, designed to be as pointless and boring as a “story” could be.

The seventh was a silly jester tale that alluded to April Fool’s Day.

And the last summarized them all, and let the reader know that this column was all about April Fool’s Day.

But if you want something silly to read, I suggest the “Everybody Poops” entry from April 2013 (no joke!):

http://thecud.com/live/content/cud-flashes-pan-20

 

David M. Fitzpatrick is a fiction writer in Maine, USA. His many short stories have appeared in print magazines and anthologies around the world. He writes for a newspaper, writes fiction, edits anthologies, and teaches creative writing. Visit him at www.fitz42.net/writer to learn more.