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Original stories by Shmolnick that humorously explore the dark side of humanity.

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Bubble's Bad Day

Part One - Waterfall of Pain

Bubble sat in his lifeless gray cube staring at the meaningless images on his state-of-the-art computer screen. His pudgy nervous fingers leaned haphazardly on the keyboard, executing no command.

Bubble's mind was not on his work, you see. Rather, his troubled thoughts swam naked through a sea of roiling psychological turmoil, dodging the hungry mental sharks that threatened to destroy the eternally troubled and unhappy man.

His eyes unnaturally narrowed as his anxiety-ridden digestive tract clenched and unclenched in spasms of horrific pain. The spasms continued unabated as multicolored neurons fired uncontrollably in his clouded thoughts. Images of broken dreams and unfulfilled promise swept Bubble away, over a waterfall of imagined terror.

So occupied, Bubble did not feel the presence of Bossman, who had been standing next to the formerly productive but recently burnt out employee.

"Bubble!" stated the Bossman firmly, louder than before. The noise shook Bubble from his revery of self-abuse.

Part Two - River of Anger

Bubble stood up suddenly, his arms flying this way and that in bitter anger at this intrusion. "What the fuck do you want!" he demanded, all eyes and ears now on the growing conflagration in their cubicled midst.

Bossman frowned. "I want to see you in my office, NOW!" and he turned on his heel.

The rivulets of anguish pouring uncontrollably inside Bubble's tortured mind overflowed at that moment, made evident by Bubble's loud retort. "I don't care WHAT you want, ASS!"

Bossman turned around, about to ask the age-old parental question, "What did you just say?" but as he opened his grimacing maw to speak, Bubble's shaking fist propelled itself into Bossman's face, breaking his nose with a loud CRUNCH.

All attempts at self-control now fled Bubble, chased away by angry demons eager to ply their violent trade. Bossman cursed as blood flowed between fingers that clutched his own broken ailing nose. "Why you-"

Bossman never finished his sentence. Bubble, in his growing rage, grabbed the first object within his bloated grasp, which happened to be the keyboard sitting idle in front of his computer. Bubble swung the keyboard, giving it a new and more satisfying purpose, striking Bossman once, twice, thrice in the side of his head.

Heaving, enraged, Bubble stood over the faltering Bossman, whose world of power and ego had been toppled in mere seconds. The side of the keyboard that struck the evil manager's head was chipped and spotted with blood. Bubble kicked at Bossman now, his flighty neurons firing mental explosions of bitter rage.

"Ummph, uhg, no," whimpered the beaten Bossman, but Bubble gave no indication that he heard the man's cries for mercy.

"I wanna see you in MY office!" Bubble shouted, swinging the keyboard again, this time pulling the rest of the computer off his desk in a loud crash. "MY office, MY office," he yelled, tears of rage filling his eyes as the keyboard did its master's vengeful dirty work.

Murmured voices now crept into Bubble's hearing. "Help" and "police" were the only words he heard. His automatic survival instinct now kicked into high gear and he dropped the keyboard on the bloody bossman, now silent and barely breathing.

"Gotta get outta here," mumbled Bubble. He grabbed his briefcase and ran out of the office.

Part Three - Ocean of Helping Hands

Bubble tore out of the building that housed his soon to be former employers. That ratbastard Bossman got what he deserved, he told himself.

Racing through he parking lot as fast as his out of shape bulk would carry him, the sweaty panicked Bubble found his precious Bubblemobile, unlocked it with shaking hands, then laboriously loaded his angst-ridden bloate into the driver's seat. He absently threw the now-useless briefcase into a backseat littered with baby and toddler artifacts of varying function and odor.

"Gotta call Shmolnick," thought Bubble as drove hurriedly out of the lot on squealing tires. "He'll know what to do."

He fumbled in his shirt pocket for his cell phone and narrowly missed a cursing old woman who had carelessly walked into the path of the Bubblemobile. Making his way through the city streets, Bubble breathed a sigh of relief as he turned onto the highway that would lead him to freedom. Even as he made the turn, he began to hear sirens in the background.

"Oh shit," he said, punching the cell phone keypad to dial his oldest and dearest friend Shmolnick's phone number.

Shmolnick, who had been unemployed for several months, had just won the Powerball lottery and was laughingly enjoying his newfound wealth. Lighting his third blunt of the day, Shmolnick heard the phone ring. "God dammit, who's bothering me now?" he complained and reached across his new luxurious black leather sofa to pick up his cell phone.

"Dude, I'm in big trouble," came the frantic voice of his pal Bubble.

"Hey man, what's up? I'm just about to light my third doob of the day, dude," Shmolnick giggled into the phone.

"I think I just killed my boss, dude. I need your help."

"Jeez man, what the fuck?" answered Shmolnick. He was not surprised; in fact, he'd been advising his anxious friend for months to quit that abusive job and go into business with him. He knew that Bubble was on the edge and it was only a matter of time until he totally lost it and did something stupid. "I told you man," counseled Shmolnick.

"What do I do. dude? Cops are after me!" Bubble's voice sounded strained, like he was close to tears.

"Shit man, you can't come here! I'm not harboring a fugitive." Shmolnick took a drag from the blunt and reached over to grab the TV remote control. Spongebob Squarepants was about to begin.

"I don't know what to do!! HELP MEEEEEE!" cried Bubble on the phone.

"Dude, tell you what. Look at this as an opportunity to start fresh. Go home and wait for the cops. I'll call my brother, he'll be happy to represent you at your trial. Uh, I gotta go." Shmolnick hung up and focused on the television screen, forgetting all about his troubled pal

Conclusion: Bubble Butterfly

Bubble had been driving his Bubblemobile from the scene of the horrific crime, a crime which threatened to undo the very fabric of Bubble's tenuous existence.

But the view of the highway and sounds of the police sirens began to merge into a formless bundless of imagery in Bubble's rattled brain. The slope of the road grew hazy and indistinct; the lines of the scenery, once sharp, were now soft and fluttery.

The image of fluttery butterfly wings surprised Bubble, and he smiled. The butterflies took on the appearance of small flying rainbows, leaving color trails behind as they flew smiling before the frazzled bloate of a man.

He reached out for them and the steering wheel of the car vanished into a puff of blue smoke. Butterflies alit on his fat fingers; he was awestruck. The panic that had so recently consumed him faded to wonderment. In spite of himself, he smiled.

The butterflies began calling his name, "Bubble, Bubble" and beckoned him to join them. Bubble giggled and flapped his arms; the car became air. He flew with the butterflies, marvelling at the colortrail that seemed to follow him unheeded.

"I'm flying!" he laughed, soaring through the clouds, their puffy pillows lending his addled brain a softness he'd never known. Another butterfly, unseen, began calling him in a high-pitched wail. "Bubble, Bubble" it wailed, and suddenly the wonderment was in jeopardy of fleeing.

Bubble looked down from his lofty height and saw the ground fast approaching. His smiled turned to a frown as he realized the other butterflies had fled, left him to his fate.

"No, no come back!" he pleaded, but the wailing of that distant butterfly grew stronger, higher, louder, until it became a siren.

"OOF!" he yelped and let his tired bloate absorb the pain of the hard pavement. He tried flapping his wings but he could no longer fly. Looking down at his own body, it appeared long and segmented, like a caterpillar. What was happening?

The sheer folly of it all put a smile to his face. Then everthing went dark.

The heavyset nurse put the syringe on the medical cart and quietly left the room shaking her head. Shmolnick and the Doctor sat facing Bubble, who was clad in a green hospital gown, his wrists and ankles strapped to the wheelchair. A blank look stared out at something that only Bubble could see, a bemused smile frozen on his sagging face.

"He's been like this for weeks, Doc. No chance at all for a recovery?" Shmolnick asked, tsk-tsking at his friend's condition.

"I'm afraid not, Shmolnick. Quite peculiar though. His coworkers said he just stopped moving one day at his desk at work. Very strange." The Doctor stood up and prepared to leave.

"Oh well, at least I get all his stuff," thought Shmolnick.


2006 Michael S. Cohen

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