Tag Archives: Tony Byrer

Big Fat Hands of Iron

On a glorious American morning, Goobly Gorbus strolled through the park admiring the dew sparkling on the flowers. His hands were jammed into his hip pockets. He walked with the careless arrogance of one well pleased with himself. He’d written an especially inflammatory poem the night before excoriating the government’s policies in Latin America. It was so hard to find a rhyme for “Nicaragua,” but he’d overcome that hurdle with the phrase “mal agua.” He thought that was surpassingly clever. He breathed deeply of the soft morning air and strolled casually and more than just a bit elegantly, he thought, around the corner toward the duck pond. Perhaps he’d find some inspiration there. Something in the way the ducks squawked and quacked reminded him of Congressmen debating a bill.

He was so lost in a daydream of the furor his poem would raise once it was published in his personal zine that he nearly walked into The Man, also strolling through the park.

The Man nodded. “Gorbus,” he said. “Good morning.”

Goobly nodded. He loathed The Man. Best not waste any words on the likes of him, he thought.

The corners of The Man’s eyes crinkled. “Feeling a bit haughty this morning?” He laughed. “That’s okay. I know you dislike me, but I don’t care.”

Goobly rolled his eyes and The Man laughed again. “I don’t care that you don’t like me,” The Man said, “but it’s important to me that you know I don’t care.” He regarded Goobly through lidded eyes. “What do you think of that?”

Goobly snorted. “What do I think? I’ll show you what I think.” He spun on his heels rather gracefully, even though he stumbled a bit, and dropped his pants. He aimed his pale buttocks at The Man and loosed a shrill, wavering, tooting fart. “Ha!” he shouted, pulling up his britches. “That’s what I think.” He folded his arms over his chest and regarded The Man.

The Man hooted. “You’re such a tease.” He stuck the tip of his thumb into his mouth. His eyes bulged and his cheeks puffed. Just as his face began to purple, his entire body burst inside out with a horrible wet plop and everted into a gigantic pulsating veiny wet and dripping rectum.

Gorbus grimaced. “That’s disgusting!” he cried.

“Oh, now,” The Man said. “Don’t be a ninny.” His face was embedded within the slick side of his rectal wall. “I’m merely embodying the natural state of our society.”

Goobly rolled his eyes. “So now you’re symbolic, is that it?”

The Man’s eyes widened in sincerity. “Exactly,” he said. “Thank you for pointing that out. You see–”

“Oh, look!” a child’s voice cried. “A slippery slide!”

Several more children’s voices cried out.

“Yeah!”

“Cool!”

“Neato!”

Multicolored carnival lights suddenly appeared on The Man’s body, chasing each other over the curves and folds of his monstrously distended rectum. A cheerful organ tune burbled and bubbled. The enticing smell of popcorn and elephant ears and corn dogs filled the breeze. The lights and the music and the warm scents hypnotized Goobly for just a moment. The Man looked just like a carnival ride, even though in reality he looked nothing like a carnival ride.

“Come on, kids!” The Man shouted in a carnival barker’s voice. “Brave the slippery slide! Do you have what it takes? Thrills, chills, and spills await you if only you have the nerve!”

They came from all over the park. Some were running, but most of them just waddled. “That’s so sad,” The Man said, breaking the carnival illusion in Goobly’s eyes. “They have great hand-eye coordination from playing their video games for hours every day, but their asses are all double wide.”

Goobly watched the children converge on The Man. Red-faced and puffing, they lurched and waddled, heaved and gasped. Their double chins wagged, their bellies sagged, and each child’s four cheeks jiggled like mounds of jello. “Hey,” Goobly called.     “What are you–”

“Ssshhh…” The Man breathed. “Suffer the little children to come to me.”

A boy appeared atop The Man. From Goobly’s perspective, the boy appeared to rise over The Man’s bulk like a bloated moon over a landfill. He might have been beautiful in another life–corn silk hair, pale blue eyes, full red lips–but in this life he was a swollen little troll, a grotesque avatar of sloth, gluttony, greed, and the ready availability of processed foods. His wheezing gasps bellowsed. He tottered above The Man grinning triumphantly, then dove headfirst into the horrible gaping fundament.

“Hey, wait!” Goobly cried to no avail.

Shrieking and giggling, the children clambered over The Man’s slick wet rectum to explore the gaping orifice at its top. “Get down from there!” Goobly yelled. “That’s disgusting! Get out of there!”

“Shut up, loser,” said a fat little girl. Mucous, blood, and feces smeared her face. She reached inside the sphincter, grabbed a polyp, and pulled herself inside.

“Yeah, loser,” The Man chuckled. “Don’t interfere with things you don’t understand.”

In a crescendo of delighted shrieks, the mass of children disappeared into The Man’s lower descending colon. His eyelids fluttered in pleasure. “Aaahhh…” he breathed. “Young American innocence tastes so sweet.”

“Unbelievable!” Goobly shouted. He clasped his hands to his head. “Those kids climbed inside you! They’re up your ass!”

The Man laughed. “Of course they’re up my ass. How else will they be changed?” Peristaltic contractions rippled up and down his abdominal wall. A few miserable screams sounded from deep in his belly. “Not to worry,” he said. “Of course, we lose some in the process, but we think the sacrifice is worth it.”

Goobly fell back a step, holding his hands up as if to defend himself. “This is crazy,” he said. “You’re a monster.”

The Man shook his head. “You’d better get with the program, Gorbus. I’m the bedrock of society. I do the hard jobs no one else has the, um, intestinal fortitude to do.” He tittered. “Why, I’m all that stands between you and despair. If not for me, then we’d be overrun by the likes of you, and then what?”

Goobly stepped forward, his index finger raised to make a point, but then a grasping hand popped out from The Man’s mouth and clutched at his chin. The cords in its forearms stretched and strained. Goobly saw a face in the darkness at the back of The Man’s throat. The face grimaced desperately as the hand clutched and pulled at The Man’s chin, trying to heave its way free from The Man’s gullet. The Man closed his mouth and swallowed mightily. A huge lump disappeared with a despairing scream down The Man’s throat.

“A few of them always try to buck the system,” he said with an indulgent smile, “but resistance is futile.”

“You stole that line!” Goobly shouted, pointing a shaking finger in The Man’s face.

The Man swatted Goobly’s finger away and chuckled. “No,” he said. “I wrote that line. I’m like God. All things serve me and I move in mysterious ways.”

The great purple lump of The Man’s everted rectum quivered and burped and spewed a frothy fountain of blood. Goobly leaped back with a cry. “What was that?” he demanded, his shaking voice thin and shrill.

The Man shrugged. “Just as a few of them always try to buck the system, a few of them are inevitably swallowed by the system, never to be seen again.” A single tear tracked slowly down his cheek. He wiped it away and studied the tear glistening on his forefinger for a moment. Then he flicked it away. “They’re weak,” he said, “not fit to participate in our grand experiment.” He dropped into a crouch and shuffled sideways pumping his arms. “Ya gotta break a few eggs,” he rasped, then spun around and shuffled back toward Goobly. “If you want to make a good omelet.” He snapped upright and grinned. “Hot cha cha cha!” Blood dripped from his rectum and pattered across his face. He rubbed it into his cheeks and grinned. “Keeps me lookin’ young,” he beamed.

A grasping hand popped out from his distended anus and groped for purchase. Slowly a shoulder emerged and then a head heaved forth. The child pulled himself from The Man’s rectum and slid to the ground. He wiped grue from his eyes and blinked rapidly. His sides bellowsed a few times as he caught his breath. He stepped forward and extended his hand. “Thank you, sir,” he said, soberly shaking The Man’s hand. “You’ve made a man of me.” He turned and marched off.

“Where’s he going?” Goobly asked.

“The Man smiled tenderly. “Oh, to be that young again,” he said. “He’s going boldly forth into the corporate world to occupy an uncomfortable chair in a vast cubicle farm. He’ll make a fantastic cog in a great corporate machine. Give me half a million of these obedient little robots and the profits will soar. Oh…” He choked up a bit. He smiled and cleared his throat. “It makes me feel ever so patriotic.”

He farted, a long, low blast that resonated deep in the bass register and sounded rather painful. His face reddened. “Please do excuse me,” he said. “You’re about to witness a paradigm shift.”

The children climbed out from his pulsing rectum. Singly at first, then in small groups, and finally in a great flood they emerged blinking from The Man’s bowels, wiping the sticky residue of his last meal from their eyes and digging the foul offal from their ears. Goobly heard their chatter. “Finally,” one fresh-faced young girl said to her mates, “I can see. What’s good for The Man is good for me.”

Her companions giggled. “That would make a great advertising jingle,” exclaimed a young man with a sweater draped casually over his shoulders.

The fresh-faced girl laughed. “So it would,” she agreed. They all laughed and linked arms and marched away.

The last of the children disappeared down the street. The Man’s everted rectum shrunk and shriveled and disappeared into his nether regions where it belonged. He stood, arms folded across his chest, beaming happily. “There they go,” he said, “the followers of tomorrow. May God bless them.” He turned to Goobly. “So,” he said, frowning. “What about you? What’s your story? How did I fail to catch you?”

Goobly backed away. “Oh, no no no,” he said. “I’m not crawling up your ass. I don’t want to be like them.”

The Man shook his head. “No, it’s too late for you. I want to know how you escaped. It troubles me that so many grown men and women will never know the sublime joy of working for the greater good.” He spread his arms. “Come, tell me.”

Goobly shook his head. “You’re disgusting.”

The Man roared laughter. “Oh my.” He grinned. “Oh my my! You are naïve, aren’t you! I think that’s cute. I could just eat you up.” His grin grew even wider.

Goobly backed away shaking his head. “I’ll expose you,” he said, thrusting his jaw forward.

The Man doubled over laughing. “What are you gonna do? Oh, I know! You’ll start a blog!” He shrieked laughter. “You’ll spread sarcastic internet memes! You’ll get a facebook page!” His laughter spiraled higher and higher, piercing the sky.

The Man laughed. He laughed long and loud and hard. He laughed last and he laughed best. The smug bastard.

Threat Level Blue Balls by Tony Byrer

Ray Technician swiped the tablet’s screen to consult the day’s schedule. The first entry read, ADJ LTB 7723.  Adjust the locomotive torsion bar on Robot 7723. Ray had seen the bot lurching about the shop floor and knew he’d have to make an adjustment soon. He selected a wrench from the tool crib and poured a cup of coffee.

As he was leaving the tech pod, Marla Technician came in. “Where ya goin’, Ray?” she asked.

“I gotta go jack off 7723,” Ray said. The techs called torsion bar adjustments “jacking off” because the adjustment access door was between the robot’s legs. The wrench handle jutted out like an erection.

Marla laughed. “Sounds hot,” she said.

“You know it,” Ray said. “Care to join us?”

“You know I’d love to,” Marla said, “but Facebook-Monsanto just declared war on Microsoft-Dish-Shell. I have to go to Propagation and monitor microwave traffic. They’re afraid Raytheon will use the distraction to pull some shit on us.”

“Sounds tedious,” Ray said.

“Ah, I don’t care,” Marla said. “I get paid by the hour.”

Ray laughed and nodded and pushed out the door.

He gulped his coffee on the way to the robot bay. When he opened the door, he saw 7723 waiting for him at its docking station.

“Good morning, Ray,” the robot said. It sounded glad to see him.

Ray nodded. “Good morning. How are you today?”

“I’m well,” the robot said. “Thank you. And how are you?”

Ray smiled. “Oh, you know. Another day, another dollar.”

“Yes,” the robot said. “I wonder if you might help me.”

“Sure,” Ray said. “What’s up?”

“My left leg is dragging. My locomotive torsion bar is out of adjustment.”

“I’ll help you with that,” Ray said.

“Thank you.” The robot lurched over and stood before Ray. A small service slot between its legs slid open and Ray inserted the wrench. When it was firmly seated on the adjustment nut, he grinned at the handle jutting out from the robot’s crotch.

“Are you glad to see me?” he asked.

The robot chuckled politely. “You techs never tire of that joke,” it said.

“No,” Ray said. “I guess not. It is funny, though.”

“Yes,” the robot said. “I wonder if–”

Ray’s phone rang. “Yes?” he answered.

It was John Supervisor. “Ray,” he said, “we need you in Propagation. Raytheon just smoked our microwave receiver. What are you doing now?”

“It can wait,” Ray said. “I’ll be right there.” He tucked the phone back into his pocket.

“Well,” he said. “I have to go take care of something urgent. Can you wait here until I get back?”

“Yes,” the robot said. “I don’t have rounds for another hour.”

“Okay,” Ray said. “I’ll be back.”

“You left the wrench in the access slot,” the robot said.

Ray laughed. “It’ll be okay. Just take a cold shower.” He hurried out the door. Robot 7723 returned to its dock and connected the battery cable. Then it stood silently in electronic rest, waiting to be called back to duty.

 

The robot waited for Ray to return but at 9:15 duty called. 7723 lurched out the door to make its rounds. The wrench handle waggled with each step.

Its first stop was at the Senescence Line, which was not really a line but a large ward full of gomers, gaffers, geezers, and gimps whose insurance policies were near expiration. 7723′s task was to remove those whose policies had lapsed and wheel them to Extraction.

The robot pulled a bed out of the first row and turned it toward the door. The bed held a young man recently discharged from the KBR-Lockheed Martin-U.S. Army. His mangled leg stank of the gangrene spreading from a shrapnel wound on his thigh. The man’s pale face strained toward the robot.

“There’s been a mistake,” he groaned.

“No,” said 7723. “I assure you, all paperwork is in order and all procedures have been followed.” The robot pushed the bed into the hallway.

“No,” the young man gasped. Sweat dripped from his face. “Please,” he moaned. “I can still serve. Have them take the leg. I don’t need it. I can enter data or file paperwork or fly the drones. I was a gamer before I was called up.”

“Those aren’t in your jobs categories,” the robot said. They turned a corner and rolled down another hallway toward a door marked EXTRACTION.

“Noooo,” the young man moaned. Tears spilled from his eyes and pooled in his ears. “I have a little girl,” he sobbed.

“You signed the disclosures,” the robot said. They bumped open the door and rolled into the cold white glare of Extraction.

“Noooo,” the young man cried. “I needed the money. I didn’t think it could happen to me. Don’t leave me here!”

7723 parked the bed along a wall and waved a handheld scanner over the disposition card affixed to the bed rail. The young man struggled to sit. The robot relayed the code for restraints. Two Extraction robots bustled into the room with a set of restraints and began the quick extraction process. 7723 turned its back on the young man’s cries and lurched back into the hallway where Linda Manager was waiting.

“23,” she said. She eyed the wrench handle jutting from its crotch and smirked. “I have an errand for you.”

“I’m currently on rounds,” 7723 said. “Will you override?”

“Yes,” she said. She fished a small electronic tablet from her pocket and entered a code.

“Very well,” 7723 said. “What can I do for my friends in management?”

Linda held her tablet near the robot’s head and tapped the screen, transferring files to 7723′s memory. “I need you to go to our Commerce Street office and download these files to their Propagation database. Raytheon destroyed our microwave relay and I can’t send them over the intranet.”

“Very well,” 7723 said and obediently lurched toward an exit.

The robot limped down the sidewalk. The wrench handle waggled before it, arrogant, proud, cocky. A fat woman in bicycle pants marshaled her two chubby children into a huge SUV.  She plopped behind the wheel and stared at the robot, her eyes wide and wet, her tongue slowly sliding along her bottom lip. Her Lycra pants were suddenly too tight in the crotch. The fabric squeezed her camel toe. She squirmed in the seat and her face flushed.

She rolled down the window and stuck out her big square head. “You have a lot of nerve!” she shrieked. “There are children here!” When the robot ignored her, she whipped out her cell phone and punched at the numbers, her eyes two hot, hard little marbles.

“911,” a voice on the phone chirped. “Your emergency is our business. How will this be charged?”

“Credit card!” the fat woman barked. She gasped out the numbers and shrieked, “A robot! Its bare erection! Oh, my children! My children!”

“Stay where you are,” the operator said. “Officers are on the way. Additional charges may apply.”

The city’s Special Sex Crimes Unit were relaxing in their wood paneled bunker when the speaker crackled, “Sex predator loose on Veterans Avenue. Bare erection in view. Children in the area. Threat level blue balls!”

The men scrambled to their loadout kits. “Get some!” they screamed. “SSCU! Get some! Get some!” They donned their gear and shuffled out the door to a waiting armored personnel carrier, SSCU stenciled on its side. The vehicle rumbled to life and lumbered out the bay door. It crunched into the front fender of an Escalade parked at the curb. The SUV jumped like a kicked dog. The APC shouldered it aside and turned into the street.

The SSCU commander, Sergeant Thug Burly, nodded at Officer Kick Murphy. “I want the owner of that vehicle cited for destruction of public property. There’s a scuff mark on the bumper of my vehicle.”

“Yes, sir,” Murphy snapped, and entered commands into the tablet strapped to his forearm.

The vehicle caromed down the street banging off parked cars. “Infraction!” Burly shouted over and over. “Destruction of public property! Interfering with a police officer!” Officer Murphy tapped at his tablet.

The vehicle slammed to a halt against the side of a packed school bus. Children catapulted out the side in a torrent of sticky, flabby flesh.

“Arrest that driver!” Burly screamed. “Obstruction of justice! Resisting arrest! Assaulting an officer!”

Three officers fell on the bewildered driver and beat him senseless. He lay bleeding on the street. Two officers shot him with tasers. “Hands behind your head!” screamed one. “Don’t move!” screamed the other. The driver’s body jerked and spasmed, hissing and sizzling on the pavement as the tasers pumped their charges through him.

The other officers surged out of the vehicle and crouched behind confused civilians.

“Freeze!”

“Get down!”

“Don’t move!”

“On your knees!”

Robot 7723 stopped in its tracks. It gazed about at the spectacle. “Oh my,” it murmured. It backed slowly and hid behind a parked Excursion.

Sergeant Burly stood with his hands on his hips surveying the scene. “I don’t see the pervert,” he announced. He eyed the crowd. “Where’s the fucking pervert?”

A little old white-haired woman with a canvas bag of knitting hanging on her arm pointed toward the Excursion. “Freeze!” screamed an officer. “On your knees!” screamed another. The little old lady looked from one officer to the other, back and forth, her eyes large and round and wet. A third officer whacked her on the back of the head with a shot-filled sap. She collapsed to the pavement in a heap, blood welling from her ears.

A teenage girl fell to her knees beside the old woman, sobbing. “Grandma!” she sobbed. “Grandma!”

“Freeze!” screamed an officer.

“On your knees!” screamed another.

A third officer jacked a slug into the breech of his riot gun.

Burly turned his back and strode toward the Excursion. A shotgun blasted behind him. Screams of, “Freeze! On your knees! Don’t move! Hands behind your head!” sounded. Firearms popped and people cried out.

The robot crouched behind the Excursion. Burly strode to it and stood with his legs spread, hands on hips. “What have we here?” he demanded. “A pervert? How many kids have you raped today, you bag of pus?”

7723 stood. “I’m not a pervert,” it said. “I’m an attendant robot at WalMart-Sony-TRW.”

Burly eyed the wrench handle and pulled his pistol. “Don’t move,” he whispered through clenched teeth. “I’d just love to blow your fucking pervert head right off your shoulders. How would you like that?”

“I wouldn’t,” the robot said. “The repair expenses might–”

Burly thrust his pistol into the robot’s visor. “I said don’t move!” he shrieked. “That means shut up!” He turned to the crowd. The officers of the SSCU were beating anyone they could reach. People bled in the street. Fists and clubs flailed.

“God damn it,” Burly hissed. He ran to the melee, grabbing officers by their collars and throwing them to the ground. “The pervert’s back here!” he shouted. “He’s back here!”

The officers leaped to their feet and ran toward the robot. “Don’t move!” they screamed. “On your knees!”

“Ray!” the robot screamed. “Ray! Help me!”

“Shut up!” Burly shrieked.

“Don’t move!” the officers shouted. “On your knees!”

“Here, here!” Ray shouted, pushing through the crowd of onlookers. “What are you doing to my robot?” He held his employee ID card before him. The officers wavered at the sight of official identification.

Burly stuck his chest out. “Where did you come from?” he asked.

“I got a distress call from my robot about five minutes ago,” Ray said. “So I came to see what’s wrong.”

“What’s wrong,” Burly growled, bouncing his fist in his hand. “What’s wrong. I’ll tell you what’s wrong. This fucking pervert is on a rampage. That’s what’s wrong.”

Ray snorted. “How can a robot be a pervert?” he asked. “That’s just–” His eye fell on the wrench handle jutting from the robot’s crotch. “Oh,” he said. He grasped the handle and the crowd sighed. He tugged on the wrench and the crowd moaned. The wrench jammed on the nut the way wrenches sometimes do. Ray slid his hand up the handle. The crowd gasped. Burly’s eyes were shining. He licked his lips. Ray tugged again and the wrench pulled free. The crowd exhaled, their faces flushed.

Ray blinked. “Okay, folks,” he said. “Show’s over. There’s nothing–”

“You fucking faggot!” someone screamed. Someone else screamed, “Goddamn asshole fucking cocksucking queer!” The crowd stepped forward. The cops raised their clubs, eyeing Ray.

The robot clutched Ray’s sleeve.

Ray stood and pointed to the rear of the crowd. “Look!” he shouted. “A pedophile!”

The stared at him blankly, their slack mouths wet.

“Child molester!” Ray shouted. “Child–”

The crowd turned and surged. “Where?” they moaned. “Oh, where?”

“Back there!” Ray shouted, pointing. “The children are in danger!”

The crowd bolted, bleating, followed closely by the cops. Buttocks quaked. Jowls quivered. The flabby tide boiled into the street.

Ray turned to the robot. “Exit,” he said, “stage left.”

“I don’t know what you mean by that,” the robot said, “but I agree we should leave.”

They picked their way through the bodies tangled in the street. Some of them were still breathing. “Hey,” Ray said. “You should ping Extraction. There are some good units out here.”

“I’ve already done that,” the robot said. “An extraction team is on the way. I need to stay here to coordinate.”

“Sure,” Ray said. “See ya back at the salt mine.”

“Okay,” the robot said. “Before you go, perhaps you could adjust my LTB.”

“Oh,” Ray said. “Sure.” He knelt before the robot, inserted the wrench, and gave it a twist. “How’s that?”

“Ah,” the robot said. “That was nice. Thank you. Your money’s on the dresser.”

Ray guffawed. “I don’t believe it!” he shouted. “You made a joke!”

“Yes,” the robot said. It sounded smug. “Perhaps I should demand a raise.”

Ray laughed again, then stood and walked toward the plant, carelessly stepping over bodies both dead and soon to be extracted.

From Here to Apathy by Tony Byrer

Today’s meeting took place in a small conference room with fourteen other people. There was seating for eight. I was the last to arrive because I didn’t want to go and so I was hiding in the men’s room, perched atop a toilet so anyone who bent over to peer underneath the dividers wouldn’t see my feet. It was a useless gesture, though. My pager started beeping insistently, stridently, maddeningly. It was worse than going to a meeting, so I turned it off and trudged my unhappy ass to the room.

Because I was the last to arrive, I had to stand next to the door in this crowded, hot conference room. The production manager, Gary Busey, was holding forth on his passion. His name is not really Gary Busey, but he looks enough like the notorious actor he could be his brother. He lives to ensure a quality product goes on the trucks to our customers. “You poor bastard,” I thought. Imagine devoting your entire life to pursuing a better power steering assembly. And because I am a quality engineer technician, I fall within the sphere of Gary’s passion.

It’s a smelly place to be. Gary’s overbite looks as if it were drawn by Matt Groening. His hot, wet breath surrounds him in a steamy ball of sour fragrance. Standing close to Gary is like standing next to a large tongue dripping with saliva, a tongue that goes to the Olive Garden every day for a stromboli. Extra garlic and onions, please. Really, I can’t stand someone who can’t keep his lunch to himself.

I had assumed my place standing next to the door with the other standees. Gary glanced up. “Tony!” he exclaimed. “Glad to see you could make it. It’s not a party without you.” Bernie Frye, a product engineer, recognized Gary had just made a joke, lame though it was. He guffawed, looking around the room to see who else would laugh. A few of the attendees worked up belly laughs as well, not wanting Gary to notice they were not giving his joke the appreciation it deserved.

Inez Reynolds, a production supervisor and thus Gary’s subordinate, should have been laughing but she wasn’t. Gary reached over and clapped her on the back to encourage her laughter. She managed a wan smile, but that wasn’t nearly an enthusiastic enough tribute to Gary’s joke. He stood and tugged at his belt. There should be laughter, damn it, and there wasn’t, so he was damn well going to distribute some righteous punishment.

When he pulled his belt from his waist, his fist tapped Inez in the back of the head and her eyes popped out. They skittered across the conference table and bounced to the floor. “Oops,” someone said, and reached for one of her bouncing eyeballs. It squirted out of his fist and rebounded off someone’s face.

Charlie McKenzie, a production technology specialist, grabbed for the eye and accidentally smacked Bernie in the cheek. Bernie, he of the first guffaw, the guffaw that started this whole eye-bouncing fandango, clapped his hands to his face but not in time to keep his eyeballs from popping out of their sockets and bouncing across the conference table. Charlie grabbed for both eyes and managed to knock three more people in the heads with his flailing elbows. Suddenly this small, hot conference room, humid with the damp exhalations of over a dozen people, reeking with Gary’s exhaled lunch, was full of hopping, popping, bouncing eyeballs.

I saw a video on the internet once in which someone set hundreds of mouse traps in an empty room. He tossed a ping pong ball into the middle of these hundreds of locked and loaded mouse traps and for a few seconds the room was full of flying mouse traps. When one went off, it flew into the air, upsetting traps around it which in turn flew into the air, upsetting traps around them, and on and on and on. The snappity snap snap of the flying mouse traps pleased me. I laughed and clapped my hands. This was entertainment!

And now the squickity squick squick of flying eyeballs pleased me. I had the presence of mind to duck into the corner between the credenza and the artificial potted rubber tree. I laughed and clapped my hands.

People were flailing about the conference room among dozens of skittering, bouncing eyeballs. Their harsh gasps and soft mewling filled the spaces around the soft pops and plops of the eyeballs as they scrabbled among themselves to reclaim their lost sight. I rolled out the door on my shoulder and hopped to my feet.

“What’s going on in there?” asked Chad Sammitch, a quality engineer late to the gathering.

“Aw, man,” I laughed. “You just gotta see for yourself.” I clapped him on the back and shoved him through the door. The last I saw of him, he was on his hands and knees, one eye completely gone and the other swinging on its stalk back and forth, slapping him on both sides of his face as he crabbed and clawed on the floor. Skittering, dancing eyeballs squirted through his fingers as he tried in vain to find his own eye among the dozens now squashed and smashed into the carpet.

I whistled a happy tune as I walked back to my desk. From now on, I’m going to be a glad-handing sack of shit. I’m going to greet people with a big cheese-eating grin and a hearty clap on the back.

Work can be entertaining, oh yes it can!

Tony Byrer is a transportation engineer in the exciting, dynamic, and fast paced poultry industry. That doesn’t sum up his life, but that’s what people want to know when they ask, “What do you do?” He lives in southern Indiana with his wife, some cats, and a dog.

Happy Go Lucky by Tony Byrer

So I killed him, shot him in the face. I killed him to death and when his grotesque swollen body burst open on the floor and all the horrible miniature mutant horde scurried across the rug, I killed him some more. I killed him so much the carpet is black and tacky with his residue.

Killing him over and over like that was thick and rich and flavorful. I admit I picked a few of his squirming shrieking miniatures and chewed them alive. When I tore them apart with my gnashing teeth, they tasted like blood and shit. It was nasty but I helped myself to half a dozen or more of them. Their tiny screams were deeply satisfying.

Killing him in life was good and right and proper but not so good that I can resist killing him again in writing. See, he had to die. He had to. There’s no way I could live with myself knowing that glad-handing sack of shit still lived when I was perfectly capable of killing him. So I did. I killed him.

He was my first. They say your first murder is like your first fuck. They say you always remember your first. I don’t care. Like my first fuck, I shot my load too soon. I should have lorded it over him. I should have taunted him. I should have made him beg. But in the movies, that always backfires on the murderer. Ha ha. That’s me. I’m a murderer. Whenever the murderer– me! Ha ha.– explains his motivations, the intended victim always finds a way to overpower him and save his own skin. I didn’t want that to happen. I wanted to kill him. So kill him is exactly what I did. I killed him.

I killed him so dead he burst into a million perfect replicas that now stink up the whole house. They’re mashed into the carpet, they’re mashed into the cracks between the floorboards. They’re scurrying inside the walls. Most of them escaped. I couldn’t catch them all. I tried. They were shrieking and squealing and scurrying, running over the tops of each other in their panic.

I could have stomped more of them, but I stopped to eat some of them. They tasted awful, but their frantic little pig squeals made me happy. And the way those frantic little pig squeals just cut off when I bit down– CHOMP!– made me laugh. So some of them got away. Okay, most of them got away, but hell, I can fix that.

I have ten five-gallon cans full of kerosene. Kerosene burns slower than gasoline. It doesn’t make as hot a fire, but it burns longer. That’s what I’m after, a good long clean burn. Fifty gallons of it should burn a good long time, long enough to make this old heap of lumber quite festive. ‘Tis the season, you know. Deck the halls with burning bodies, fa la la la la, ha ha ha.

I haven’t yet decided whether or not I’ll stay behind. I feel like wrapping myself in a thick porous– porous, that’s a good word. It means it’ll soak up a lot of liquid. So I feel like wrapping myself in a thick porous– porous!– quilt and turning a can of kerosene over my head. I’ll light myself and run through the house spreading FESTIVE! GOOD! CHEER! I’ll be the Good Humor man of cleansing fire. And when my bones show black through my blazing skin, I’ll lie spread-eagle in the middle of a boiling blazing cleansing ball of fire and die.

It’ll be okay. With that grinning sack of shit gone from the world I no longer have a reason to live. My work here is done. Besides, there’s that hope I can catch him on the other side and kill him a few more times.

Tony Byrer drives a truck for a living, which gives him plenty of time to think. So far, it hasn’t helped. He lives in southern Indiana with his wife, a few cats, and a dog.