Dinner for Two Video Reading

Fast FoodToday’s a twofer, it looks like, because I spent some time yesterday recording a video I’d like to share with you all here. Now, I admit, the lighting’s terrible, my reading’s unrehearsed, Mr. Kitty (beckoned by my beautiful voice, lol) tries to come into the room about halfway through, and I bungle a word sometime after that (along with countless other little fixes that can be made, which I won’t list here), but it turned out better than I thought it would and I think I’ll be making more in the future.

All that’s to say, Here’s a reading I did of my very short fable Dinner for Two, enjoy.

Dinner for Two

by Bryan Perkins

“She’s gourmet,” I said to the phone. “Of course I want to go out with her. Next to her I’m like dog food.”

“So what’s the problem?” the phone asked back.

“The problem? I can’t even afford to go out to a nice restaurant by myself, that’s the problem. How do you expect me to afford a dinner for two?”

“Oh, come on,” the phone said, putting on that concerned tone like he knew what I was going through. He didn’t. Phones had all the money. Everyone everywhere needed a phone to do everything. He couldn’t help but to roll in the bakers—it was how he was built. “This is a new day and age,” he said. “The girl will even pick up the waiter these days. They call it dutch ovening or something, I don’t know. The point is, even a cheap ass sack of fries and a greasy burger dressed up in a paper suit deserve to sit on a nice table with a pretty girl every once in a while.”

“That’s easy for you to say,” wasn’t too difficult for me to say. “You’re a phone.”

“What?” the phone said, tone: offended. “You think my life is problem free? Those animals are always grabbing me, spitting on my ass, putting my face—that’s where my mouth is, you know, and my nose—up in their ears, and making me whisper sweet nothings from some other phone’s ass. You’re tellin me you want that life?”

“No,” I said. I did not want that. “But I’m fast food. I’m gonna—”

“What? So you’re afraid then?” the phone cut me off. I wasn’t even sure I was close enough to his butt for him to hear me.

“No, I’m not afraid,” I said anyway.

“You’ve never dreamed of sitting on a fancy table, candlelight between you and your gourmet date, a sweet, beautiful violin singing in the background, accompanied by an a capella orchestra?”

“Well, sure, who hasn’t? But I’m fast food!”

“It doesn’t matter, kid. It’s your destiny. I’ve made the call already. Get ready for the ride of your life.”

#

I won’t bore you with the details of the ride. Suffice it to say that it was the ride of my life. The table I ended up on deserves a little more description, but the phone has already gotten to that: candles, a capella orchestra, and—best of all—my gourmet date.

Ooh, what was she, though? I couldn’t see her from that angle, with the burning candle blocking my field of vision, but I could almost smell something exotic—maybe Thai. More than likely it was my own unkempt stench which I’ve probably never smelled anything beyond.

Ahem.” I cleared my throat of greasy phlegm. “Hello,” I ventured over the candlelight.

Gourmet gagged. “Ew. You have got to be kidding me.”

“I—excuse me.” I didn’t like the tone of her voice.

“You’re fast food!” she screeched.

“I—uh—” Of course. “The phone didn’t tell you?”

“I thought it had to be a joke. It is a joke, isn’t it? You’re not fast food, there’s something more under that paper veneer.”

“No, I—” I complained, but a hand—ugh, the most disgusting thing imaginable—ripped my clothes off and lifted me naked for the entire world to see.

Gourmet giggled now. It was so much worse than gagging. My insides turned pink. I gave up, gave in. There was nothing more for me. Thank the Holy Cow, Creator up above, a slobbery, cavernous black hole devoured me, sending me on a journey unknown, through depths even darker than these.

END

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The Story of Lot

Here’s a rhyming fable that goes out to all my urban planning nerds out there. Enjoy and click here for more fables.

length: 76 lines

Dinner for Two

Here’s another short fable for you all to enjoy. Come back now, ya hear.

length: 600 words

Dinner for Two

by Bryan Perkins

Fast Food

 

“She’s gourmet,” I said to the phone. “Of course I want to go out with her. Next to her I’m like dog food.”

“So what’s the problem?” the phone asked back.

“The problem? I can’t even afford to go out to a nice restaurant by myself, that’s the problem. How do you expect me to afford a dinner for two?”

“Oh, come on,” the phone said, putting on that concerned tone like he knew what I was going through. He didn’t. Phones had all the money. Everyone everywhere needed a phone to do everything. He couldn’t help but to roll in the bakers—it was how he was built. “This is a new day and age,” he said. “The girl will even pick up the waiter these days. They call it dutch ovening or something, I don’t know. The point is, even a cheap ass sack of fries and a greasy burger dressed up in a paper suit deserve to sit on a nice table with a pretty girl every once in a while.”

“That’s easy for you to say,” wasn’t too difficult for me to say. “You’re a phone.”

“What?” the phone said, tone: offended. “You think my life is problem free? Those animals are always grabbing me, spitting on my ass, putting my face—that’s where my mouth is, you know, and my nose—up in their ears, and making me whisper sweet nothings from some other phone’s ass. You’re tellin me you want that life?”

“No,” I said. I did not want that. “But I’m fast food. I’m gonna—”

“What? So you’re afraid then?” the phone cut me off. I wasn’t even sure I was close enough to his butt for him to hear me.

“No, I’m not afraid,” I said anyway.

“You’ve never dreamed of sitting on a fancy table, candlelight between you and your gourmet date, a sweet, beautiful violin singing in the background, accompanied by an a capella orchestra?”

“Well, sure, who hasn’t? But I’m fast food!”

“It doesn’t matter, kid. It’s your destiny. I’ve made the call already. Get ready for the ride of your life.”

#

I won’t bore you with the details of the ride. Suffice it to say that it was the ride of my life. The table I ended up on deserves a little more description, but the phone has already gotten to that: candles, a capella orchestra, and—best of all—my gourmet date.

Ooh, what was she, though? I couldn’t see her from that angle, with the burning candle blocking my field of vision, but I could almost smell something exotic—maybe Thai. More than likely it was my own unkempt stench which I’ve probably never smelled anything beyond.

Ahem.” I cleared my throat of greasy phlegm. “Hello,” I ventured over the candlelight.

Gourmet gagged. “Ew. You have got to be kidding me.”

“I—excuse me.” I didn’t like the tone of her voice.

“You’re fast food!” she screeched.

“I—uh—” Of course. “The phone didn’t tell you?”

“I thought it had to be a joke. It is a joke, isn’t it? You’re not fast food, there’s something more under that paper veneer.”

“No, I—” I complained, but a hand—ugh, the most disgusting thing imaginable—ripped my clothes off and lifted me naked for the entire world to see.

Gourmet giggled now. It was so much worse than gagging. My insides turned pink. I gave up, gave in. There was nothing more for me. Thank the Holy Cow, Creator up above, a slobbery, cavernous black hole devoured me, sending me on a journey unknown, through depths even darker than these.

END

If you enjoyed that, click here to read more fables or here for other short stories in general.

Review of Pocosin by Ursula Vernon

Here’s installment number two in my short story review series. Click here to see the rest and enjoy.

Title: Pocosin
Author: Ursula Vernon
Magazine: Apex Magazine
Publication date: 1/6/15
Genre: Fantasy
Wordcount: 5,000
Rating out of 5: 4.5

Pocosin by Ursula Vernon

reviewed by Bryan Perkins

“The preacher laughed. He had a gorgeous, church–organ laugh and Maggie’s heart clenched like a fist in her chest at the sound. She told her heart to behave. Witchblood ought to know better than to hold out hope of heaven.”

Maggie Grey was born old and she grew cynical. She’s a witch who’s been settling other people’s fights for too long now. All she wants is a little time to herself. She’s no quitter, she knows that what she does is necessary, she is a witch after all, but are a few weeks alone to drink whiskey, tie fishing flies, and stare at the pond too much to ask?

Pocosin presents itself as a modern fable complete with a possum god, the God, the Devil, and Death herself, all personified. What initially seems to be a simple fairy tale, driving toward a well-worn commentary on human interaction with nature, becomes instead a treatise on what it means to be a woman. Maggie, sitting on the porch with her grandmother Death, venting about her frustrations, says four words which make this theme all the more obvious and which drove me to give the story a second reading: “Ain’t I a witch?”

Maggie Grey is a witch like Sojourner Truth is a woman. And though witchkind has been dealing with these same issues for so long, though Maggie is sick and tired of stupid, sick and tired “of taking care of things, over and over, and having to do it again the next day,” she knows she has no choice but to carry on. All she asks for is a few weeks alone with her whiskey and fishing flies, the world can get on fine without her for such a short time.

END

Read the story here. See more reviews of short stories here.

Onyxis the Stone

Back again today with a throwback to some of my older work. This is one of my early takes on a modern day fable–this one a retelling of a story you probably recognize. Since I’ve been working on more fables lately I thought I’d share this older one with you. It took me forever to format because WordPress doesn’t like indentations and Google docs doesn’t like poetry–also why I had to take out the line numbers–but it came out legible so here it is.

[And here’s a link to the version with line numbers if you’re into that sort of thing.]

Enjoy.

length: 244 lines

If you enjoyed that, click here for more fables.