A Bit of Halloween Flash Fiction For You

Karen plunged a knife into the soft and pliant flesh and cut a clean, round hole. “Gosh, this is gonna make a mess,” she said, pulling the top off the pumpkin. She was surprised to find, instead of seeds and pulpy orange goo, a lot of fuzzy black mold. “Damn it,” she said, “I paid four bucks for this thing!”

She threw the pumpkin away and washed her hands, wondering what to do in the two hours she had left before work. “Guess I’ll watch some TV,” she said. She flipped through the channels, but there was never anything on in the afternoon. She decided to put in a movie–after she got something to eat. For some reason she was starving, even though she’d just finished breakfast.

She decided to fix a bowl of ice cream. It took a while. She kept dropping the spoons on the floor. “Why am I so uncoordinated today?” she grumbled. Her hands looked terribly pale. She hoped she wasn’t getting sick.

She shuffled back into the living room, adding lethargy to her list of symptoms. It seemed like a lot of trouble to cross the room to select a DVD, so she plopped down on the couch and stared listlessly at the screen. A talk show was on, lots of dysfunctional people screaming about baby-daddies and drugs. She had been watching, ignoring her ice cream, though staring at the host’s shiny bald head, she was hungrier than ever.

After a few minutes, the show was interrupted by a special news bulletin. “A mysterious fungus has been reported as causing mass outbreaks of mind-altering behavior this Halloween. Symptoms include a lack of coordination, extreme hunger and what has been described as ‘brain fog’. If you see anyone exhibiting these symptoms, please report it to the FEMA Heath officials at the following numbers. FEMA director W. Craig Fugate is cautioning citizens to stay indoors until the cause of this massive outbreak can be identified and dealt with. If you absolutely must leave your home, wear a helmet as a precaution, as the fungus has been linked to outbreaks of violence, including infected persons attempting to bite passersby on the head and face.”

Karen stared at the screen in dismay. “Are they trying to tell me I’m turning into a frickin zombie?” No wonder the cats were hiding on top of the bookshelf.

She sulked on the couch for a while. Finally, she had to get up and get ready for work. After all, convenience stores never close, not even during a zombie apocalypse.

It wasn’t all bad, she decided. There were a few customers she actually wouldn’t mind meeting today.

(c) 2011 J.M. Cowan

Totally not posting from work *coughs loudly*

I went to get my phone battery changed. It turned into a mild adventure. Which is to say I am now a bit stressed out. 

I got to the battery place and they did have a battery, fortunately. Two of them. When my mom went, that had told her there was one but they were wrong. Twice. It was not an encouraging story. The girl took down my information and went to replace the battery. She went behind a little high walled kiosk thing and I could hear her making sounds that were also not terribly encouraging. There was a loud adhesive-tearing sound. Then she brought my phone out and plugged it in because apparently these batteries do not come charged? 

And we waited for the phone to come on.

And we waited. 

And we waited.

And ten minutes of incredible awkwardness later she finally decided she would try the other one. Meanwhile my stomach is doing that stress thing. You know. Cold knives in the gut sort of thing. This gets worse when she brings my phone back out and we wait for it to come back on. She is holding the original battery that came with the phone now and it…does not look viable anymore. She broke the capacitor on it taking it out so if the second battery didn’t work I was basically out a phone.

And we waited. 

My stomach: D:

And then, thank all the gods and spirits* it actually started. It has been working just fine since yesterday. Not great battery life but that’s probably the iOS 10 update’s fault. Apple does not really believe in backwards compatibility. :/

*I love how after working on this book for a year and a half I keep catching myself swearing in character. I expect any day now to get a Look from one of my customers for saying ‘fire and water‘ instead of ‘dang it’

So the battery is going out on my phone

It currently only lasts about five minutes unplugged. I’ve had this phone for about three years, I think? An iPhone 5c. It was free with my contract renewal, and it’s been getting slower anyway, so I thought I’d go and see about a new one.

Went to Verizon, and my options, as told to me by the guy behind the counter, are to pay full price outright for a phone (lolno), or pay monthly payments until it’s payed for (it’d take two years to pay for the damn thing). So I said, “You don’t do contract renewal pricing anymore?”

And he said they did but my bill would go up by twenty dollars a month.

So I said that was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard of, who would pay more to be trapped in a contract for two years? And he said it was to keep the non-contracted customers.

But…you don’t want to keep the ones who are willing to be contracted? Like, I could *switch* phone companies right now and get a cheaper phone? Big business logic?!??!!? (Also, they wanted to charge me fifty dollars more for the phone than Apple would have if I bought it outright?!)

I know, I know. “Stop wasting time whining about phones and finish the dang book already.”

I am about halfway done with the revision, though. I…severely doubt I will be able to finish before the new year, unless my muse lights a serious fire under my @$$. I was looking at Ch12 today, and Extremely Large chunks of it will have to be rewritten from scratch now–I will never, ever write another book without figuring out all the worldbuilding details first again–I have basically halted work on my side project (tentatively titled ‘Golden Wolf’) for just that reason. (It’s an asexual romance with wolves who can turn into people, not werewolves, set in small town Texas. I’m planning to do a research trip for it for my birthday, to Boerne, which is tentatively the setting. Haven’t decided whether it will be set in the real town or a fictional version.)

I also figured out the emotional arc for the sp/ace romance. I had been stumped for a conflict, and stupidly ignored that it was right there in the first scene that I live-tweeted last year, because I thought it was going to be a much different story than the one it is supposed to be. Oops. Oh well, I still have a deal of research to do for it anyway. I thought of writing it for NaNoWriMo this year, but I think I’ll actually just work on AFWT instead, see if I can’t finish it before the end of the year. And on that note, I’ll go work on Ch12, but only for an hour, because I have a ton of stuff to do tomorrow, chief of which is going to get the battery replaced on my phone because *makes rude gesture at Verizon*