Hanging on By Your Fingernails

Do you remember the good times? I know I do. I wish we could have them back again, instead of where we are now. I mean, this is really no fun. You might not have enjoyed those times as much as I did. For you there was pain and tears with the torture, but for me it was all just part of the job. I am glad we did the thing with the finger nails. I know that was especially painful for you. But as my new employer tossed me over the cliff, I am hanging on by your fingernails.

LIfe happens

Today’s story is going to be late. I could share the whole story, but the short of it is that life gets in the way so I don’t have my story done yet, and I figured it was better not to try to rush it. I don’t have any challenge stories so…

I will entertain entries into this weeks contest for an extra day, so if you are just like me and haven’t finished your story by the deadline you have an extension. Monday night at midnight. As I got the question recently, I am eastern but I will accept midnight, your local, or mine which ever one gives you the best advantage.

Mister Johnson – The Very minor god.

character sketch Monday:

Alexandra is a strange girl. When she was born, so was her personal god – Mister Johnson. This was no guardian angel, but an actual god came into being. The God of Alexandra. She would hold no gods before him, and she would pray to, worship, and sacrifice to him. He had the body of a heron and the face of her mother’s third grade teacher, which upset her mother considerably when she found his visage burned into Alexandra’s morning toast. She is a good girl, trying to follow his seventeen commandments (including Thou Shalt Not Eat Fat Free As Long As Thou Keeps Thy Weight at a Reasonable Level) and find small rodents to sacrifice to him. She was a kind girl and always tried to go for the sickly ones. She quickly realized that her cat, Midnight, also knew of her god, and would bring her sacrificial mice to help keep her god happy.

But when Alexandra was 17, she displeased her god, and she felt his wrath.

The New from Poughkeepise Day # 76

Mister Johnson – The Very Minor god

When Johnson, or Mister Johnson, as his one and only subject called him was called into being he knew two things: first that he had only one subject, Alexandra, an otherwise normal little girl, and second that he was a very minor god. Alexandra made up for being his one and only subject very well. She was always faithfully completed penance with never a complaint, she even did extra from time to time. All in all what more could a god ask for. From time to time he would check with the other gods and none of them had as successful a track record he did, one hundred percent faithfulness from their subjects. He was the envy of all the other very minor gods. Not one of them even came close.

This made him proud, and in return he took good care of his faithful subject. He made sure that she never got sick, she never so much as stubbed a toe. He even gave her special powers from time to time. When that brat Thomas Middleberg pulled her hair and teased her in second grade, Mister Johnson made sure the she could catch him on the playground that afternoon, despite the fact that he was much faster than her normally. That was why on the day that it happened it was so very devastating.

The second of July had started like any normal day for Mister Johnson. Alexandra had woken him with her morning prayer. She sang softly in the way that he had taught her, and he was very happy that her voice was starting to take on the qualities that maturity would bring. It was a soft and soothing way to wake up.

*****

Today she was going to ask Tom Middleberg to the Sadie Hawkins Dance. She had fallen for him many years ago when she had chased him down on the playground. He had kissed her on the cheek that day so that she would not hit him, saying he was sorry for being rude to her. From that day forth she had a crush on him, but he had paid her little attention. When she had found out that the school was going to hold a traditional girl asks the boy dance, she had begun to pray.

*****

Today was important for another reason. Today was the day that he was going to fix the one thing about his existence that had always bugged him. He was going before council to present his record and get his status elevated from very minor god to minor god. But, in truth he had much higher aspirations.

“Mister Johnson,” the head of the council said. “We have seen your record, and it is positively glowing.” A round of here heres would follow. “It is in the judgment of this council that instead of the normal adjustment from very minor god to minor god, that you be elevated to the level of major god. And because of your incredible achievements you will be given control of the entire southern hemisphere.” Clapping and cheers breaking out as he finished the proclamation.

“Johnson…Johnson” The man with the annoying little voice as calling him again. He stood up and made his way to the little barred window.

“I’m Johnson,” he said.

“I will need proof of that.” Johnson pulled out his very minor god ID and showed it to the annoying little man.

“Oh, you are a very minor god,” he said never making eye contact and shaking his head. “You will have to come back on Wednesday, the council only takes up
very minor god issues on the third Wednesday of February on leap years.”

“But I have this appointment, and a spotless record.” He said holding out his slip and record.

“Let me see that.” he said snatching it from Johnson. As he did his dirty fingers left smudges on the nearly glowing record. Johnson felt is blood boiling at this. But he controlled himself. “Oh I see you are that Johnson. Yes, yes have a seat the council will see you in a little while.”

*****

Alexandra, like her god, was not having the best of days. She had asked for and gotten the things that she had wanted from Mister Johnson, but the extra height and other endowments she had been given were making here a little awkward. She did her best to compensate, but she was still having a little trouble. Oddly enough when she had prayed to him for a bit of grace he had not answered her. No matter, she would go it on her own, but she had decided to put the encounter off until the end of the day when she had had more time to work on her balance.

*****

“Johnson!” The annoying voice said.

“Yes?”

“The council will see you now. If I were you I would turn off your prayer catcher, in the off chance that it goes off in there it will reflect badly.”

“But what if my subject needs me?”

“As always if your prayer catcher is off your subjects’ prayers will go to pray mail that you can pick up later. But emergencies will be routed through the switch board here, and we can interrupt you if it is really important. But you better hope that
doesn’t happen.”

Johnson reluctantly turned off his pray catcher, but as he did he noticed that the signal was non-existent. He wondered how many of Alexandra’s prayers he had missed. He truly felt empty without them. He made his way to the council chambers. The two huge doors were made for the much older and larger gods, and he had to struggle to get one of them open enough to get in. When he finally got in, his toga was wrinkled and his record had picked up a new crease as well. He thought about trying to straighten them but felt the stares of the council upon him. He walked quickly forward and handed his paper work to the clerk, who looked at it in dismay. She checked her paperwork against his twice before taking to the huge bench where the nine super elevated gods sat. They looked casually at his record, passing it quickly from one to the other.

“It says here that your record is clean Johnson.” the least of the super elevated judges said blandly “That is rather impressive.How have you managed to keep your subjects happy?”

“Alexandra has few demands, and I have carefully taught the proper prayers and they are coming along nicely as she grows.”

“Ahh but how do you teach that to all of your subjects with no discontent? Surely there must be some that don’t like you.” Second most elevated judge said. This was not going as he had imagined.

“Well that is the thing, I only have one subject.”

“One!” Bellowed a particularly large god. They all passed his record around again examining it more carefully this time.

“How did this happen?” He asked the head god. There was silence among them and some very knowing glances were exchanged. Finally the head super elevated god spoke.
“Johnson, it appears that there has been a mistake. A god, even a very minor god is normally not given the care of just one subject, that is normally the dominion of the guardian angels,” He paused looking at the record again and frowning. “Hmmm… it says here that you have even given powers to the girl from time to time. That is not normally allowed, but otherwise you seem to have done a remarkable job with her. We are going to review your case and…”

Just then there was a knock at the chamber doors. The Clerk obviously annoyed at the interruption hurried to answer the door. There was a brief exchange that Johnson could not hear then the clerk came forward and handed a prayer mail recorder to Johnson.

“Well, you have interrupted us… Let’s hear it, if it is that important.” The head god said. Johnson, mortified of what it might be tried to figure out how the device worked. Alexandra had never had an emergency before. The worst thing that happened to her were nightmares and he could usually take care of them before they got bad. Then he remembered Thomas and the time he had pulled her hair. Just then he found the play button and pushed it.

“Mister Johnson,” her young voice sung with obvious strain. “Why have you forsaken me. He dumped me I hate you, ” The final came with such force that it shook the recorder in his hand.

When the echo died down the head god shook his head sadly and said, “This changes things a bit you understand.” He handed Johnson’s now considerably less that perfect record back to the clerk. Johnson looked down at it. It now had an ugly red scrawl across it, ‘Guardian Angel training needed.’ He took it a walked slowly out of the chambers. She would pay for this, he thought.

Less than for Keeps

Anything Goes Sundays:

Imagine an alternate Playing For Keeps (released August 25! ) universe where there are no heroes, just people with really lame superpowers. As the most powerful people in town, they form factions/gangs. The city falls into a somewhat lame, yet terrifying, gang-driven world.

The New from Poughkeepise Day # 75


Less than for Keeps.

Lester stood on the corner in stunned silence for a moment. The idiot had just stolen his wallet, and now he stood a few feet away dancing and holding it up in the air. He had a little shimmer about him but he was far from invisible. Lester walked over to the younger an smaller man and stood there towering over him.
“Give me that, you idiot” He said cuffing the other one on the back of his head. “You know,” he paused for a second reading the name written on the back of the boy’s jacket, “Keeper, you are not invisible.” He stuffed his wallet in his pocket and walked away.
“Shows how much you know, you must just have super eyes.”
“I don’t” Lester yelled back.
“Well Maybe you do and don’t know it.” Lester just kept on walking ignoring the stupid young punk.
After a few moments another young man separated himself from the crowd around Keeper, “Man I was going to tell you I was pretty sure people could see you. At least you didn’t go out naked like that guy in that stupid movie.”
“Yeah I should have known this field the guy on the blanket sold me wouldn’t work.”
“They never sell anything really good.”
“You can say that again.” He looked at his friend, heck you hid in that crowd better that I managed with this thing. He took the shiny belt off and tossed it on the ground. As he did it shocked him. “Ow! man I am not having any luck today. How about you Stymied?”
“Only if you count not being able to get anything done.” Stymied answered.
“Well that is kind of your power.”
“Yeah but it is kind of lame. I wish the gang had been able to give me a better super power.”
“I know what you mean man.”
Just then five members of a rival gang rolled in. They all had the skate boarder punk super power.
“What are you too losers doing here? You know this is our turf,” said the oldest one. He obviously also had the absorb large amounts of pain for long periods of time power, because he was covered in tattoos.

“Look we don’t want any trouble, we were just leaving.” Keeper said.

“Yeah just leaving.” Stymied repeated.

“Not before we give you a reminder of why you should not wander in to other gangs territory.” Said one who had at least three other powers that included the ability to withstand many piercings, and the ability to handle large amounts of hair gel before coming out in the morning.

“Thanks for reminding us. If there is one thing we can do it is to remember something being taught to us.” Stymied answered quickly pulling on Keepers arm.

“I don’t think so.” said the tallest of the rival gang and he brought his fist down on Stymied’s head.

After it was over the two walked away with only a few bruises a split lip and cut along keepers arm.

Little mistake

I am sorry, I made a little mistake. If you were using the feed yesterday and got the “new” story, you will notice that it was the same one as last week. I was copy and pasting and didn’t check my work carefully enough and you got last weeks audio. My Fault. It has since been corrected, and you can now click on either link on the page to get this week’s audio. Again I am sorry!

– Jeff

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