"Theseus" by Clinton Myers
The first coffee spill didn’t occur until an hour and a quarter into the second presentation. We had gone so long into the event without one that I had forgotten to be looking for it - had forgotten just how consequential that kind of thing was for a group such as this – could be fodder for lighthearted punch lines for years to come. In fact, I’ve known a well-timed mishap to save a man’s social life but never quite like this.
The excitement of the moment leapt through the room as everyone turned to the culprit, who himself looked around for help – napkins – from anyone; not knowing whether he was expected to go get them himself or stay to guard the scene until some authorities showed up to put yellow tape around the area. Then, the presenter paused - taken aback by the sudden surge of life in the audience - and cleared his antediluvian throat in an attempt to stifle the noise, refusing to trudge into the 37 th slide until the excitement level had dropped back to the customary level of a mortuary.
At that, so smoothly that it looked choreographed, the heavyset lady sitting next to the coffee spiller stood and hoisted the much smaller gentleman into the air by his waist and onto her shoulder. She started the chant, but we all chimed in as we followed the bobbing duo down the aisle between the collapsible tables and out into the hallway, where a cheering crowd was massing. He had saved us – our Theseus in loafers and a white dress shirt with the top button undone and the
sleeves rolled up.
"This Matchless Accidental Arsonist" by Matthew Harris
Both parents, (but especially my father – the renowned Chemist B.B. Harris and to slightly lesser extent the late culinary cuisine queen Harmit Harms Kuritsky - the gal whose troth he pledged while holding some bubbling sinister looking flask in hand on their first guinea pig type date) encouraged incurred genetic yen, that burned from without the burnished buns off of this son.
No matter a bit tentative to experiment willy-nilly (wonka like) with rather explosive materiel, I received truckloads of ammunition (in tandem with benevolent benediction) to foster dare devil and derelict pyromaniac precocity. Those formative forays assaying, assessing and carefully calibrating this, that or the other liquid or powdery substance found me meticulously measuring and weighing the substances using kitchen midden malodorous kid gloves.
Frequent disappointment arose from yours truly as well as momma and papa when the net result (of these early attempts to blend powders and/or liquids) merely fizzled, and self extinguished into near inaudible poof. Continual daily practice eventually bore successful fruit in the form of near perfect results. Success in hotly contested field sans Pyrotechnics requires a striking resemblance to any other vocation. One must be able, eager, ready and willing to maintain that burning passion no matter any unforeseen setbacks or heat from an objectionable source.
I do sheepishly admit to (ahem) you that on occasion the outcome went awry. Nonetheless, they prided their potential fire branded wizard in the making with kudos and praise with DYNAMITE. Practice from indiscriminately creating unpredictable concoctions, these lethally marshaled nonchalant opportunities provided random results though usually very wimpy. As proof positive and proud testimony, they proudly pointed upward kitchen ceiling.
There such handiworks practically covered the entire ceiling with variegated splotches. Quite accurate to assume that father and mother coached, goaded, and nurtured exploratory ambitions.
"The Story of My Life, haha" by Eszter Coombs
My name is Yolanda Violet Koprinski Martín. I was born on the first Monday of December of the year that I was born in a room in a house that was dark. A little after that, my father built a flying machine and flew into a bus on the highway leading out of the city. My mother cried for five years until we walked around up to our ankles in tears and I couldn’t take it anymore. On the eve of the anniversary of my birth I left and married a short man with a large beard. I called him Bobo, but his name was Hugo. Hugo ran away with a woman who taught him yoyo tricks behind the public toilets in the square every Saturday. I gave birth to his baby the week after. He was little and red and had big ears. I pinched his ears and kissed him. Then he shrivelled up and his ears grew bigger and bigger until they sucked all the oxygen from the rest of his body and he could no longer breathe and he died.
I began work as a lollipop lady, which brought me immense joy. I was fired because I turned up painted blue on one occasion and a mother complained. The headmaster was so disappointed. His eyes drooped. I retired to a little room in my house that was so, so dark.
My uncle Roger came to visit. He told me he was going to Neptune and asked me if I wanted to come. I laughed and I shook my head and smiled over my Maltese lacework. Then I waved him off. Neptune is such a long way. Two days later I died. It was the first Tuesday of March of the year that I died. That is the story of my life, haha.