Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #107

Image from Pixabay.com.

An Incident At The Home For The Criminally Stupid

Dr.* Alberto Fizshiz’s basement laboratory was unimpressive. Flasks lined a top shelf along with a few retro board games and a miniature silver Christmas tree. A desk made from plywood on saw horses, held an hour glass, notebook, and a candle. The only exception to the mundane appearance of his workspace was a brilliantly illuminated one hundred gallon fish tank built into a far wall and an enclosed shower stall (with a starfish curtain) attached to the tank with jumper cables.
That wall, opened directly into the Gulf of Mexico at high tide, with a cleverly disguised, and ingeniously engineered, watertight hatch purchased in a flash deal on Amazon.
Carl waved, one of his eight arms, from inside the tank. The doctor didn’t acknowledge the cephalopod’s gesture because the last moments of a 2 week experiment were taking place. He was about to place his consciousness into an octopus! *
“Bwah ha ha!”
He turned the hour glass for a countdown.
Then, undressed and climbed into the shower.
Sparks flew as he activated the battery station.
As the final grains of sand slipped down…
KA-BOOM!!! Crack! whooshhhh.
The notebook which held all his ideas, and hopes, and dreams, and 2 weeks of notes, now served as a pedestal for what was left of Fizshiz. His skull.

Just before the hatchway opened, a “slap”, “slap”, “slap”, crossed the cement floor. Then a saltwater dripping tentacle snuffed out the candle.
In total darkness, a hatchway decompressed and the sound of waves filled the room.
Carl was finally free!

* The Dr. title was acquired online
*an octopus has a lifespan of 6 months

Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #107 – This, That, and The Other (fivedotoh.com)


Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #107, 

Wednesday Writing Picture Prompt

humphrey

His mother was forever telling him, “Don’t listen to those kids, Baby. You have a big heart.” Fact is, he WAS gutless. A coward. The taunts of , “Yellow, Yellow, made of Jello!” were true.
Guy could pretend. He’d laugh when the other “class weakling” was the object of torment but he didn’t want to. He was even too gutless to walk away!
Writing poetry and mimicking Fred Astaire on TCM defined his childhood. When the other boys weren’t chasing him, they built tree houses and egged trailer trucks from the overpass. Guy was too terrified to go along even if he’d been asked.

His first wife wasn’t fooled for long. She’d said his gentleness was charming and refreshing, at first. After six months, she’d packed her bags and claimed she felt unprotected. Vulnerable.
He wanted to tell her that her mother’s revered spaghetti pie was mushy and disgusting! But, as usual, he couldn’t find the nerve. His head pounded, his stomach twisted, but his knees shook and the yellow monster grabbed his tongue.
When she slammed the door for the last time,  screaming at the top of her lungs, “Pathetic Girly Man!”, he just closed the drapes and cried.

Tragically, Donna would end up a true victim of his cowardice. Donna, his second wife, gave him hope. She’d literally waltzed into his life at the Downtown Arts Center. They were paired up at the Tuesday night Classy Dance Class and she swept HIM off his feet. She was a delicate flower, four years his senior. They weren’t married a week when he realized she was more a mother figure than a lover and companion. That might have actually worked anyway if his yellow cowardly monster hadn’t taken over.
Donna had a long hidden drinking problem. Psychologists labeled it “high functioning alcoholism”. He gave her a wide berth, and tender hugs from behind, hoping for the best.
The night she was killed, he’d asked her not to drive. Tears ran down his cheeks as she’d taken the keys and said, “It’ll be fine, Baby. It’s just down the street.”. He’d never argued or even raised his voice. What if he’d overpowered her? Taken the keys? Demanded she’d stay?

Today, his doctor ordered stronger meds. They were working alright. His poetry and dancing were gone but so was the big yellow coward that had ruined his life!
Once in a rare while, the monster would come to him in a dream, or flash behind him in a mirror. Fear was haunting but separate from him now. It would be okay.
He didn’t mind the overwhelming hollowness because hollowness wasn’t going to kill anyone who mattered.