Six Minute Story — Eye of the Beholder

When I saw the above Halloween movie poster that Christine Bialczak used for her most recent Simply 6 Minutes prompt, it looked like it was taken from the point of view of someone lying down on an operating table looking up and seeing ugly faces staring down at him or her.

That reminded me of a 1960 episode of The Twilight Zone. Written by Rod Serling, it was the story of a woman who has undergone numerous treatments in an attempt to look normal. She is shown with her head completely bandaged so that her face cannot be seen. Her face is described as a “pitiful twisted lump of flesh” by the nurses and doctor, whose own faces are always in shadows or off-camera.

Unable to bear the bandages any longer, the woman eventually convinces the doctor to remove them early. As he prepares, the doctor develops great empathy for his patient and he becomes displeased with concerns expressed by the nurses. He questions why she, or anyone, must be judged primarily on their outer beauty.

The doctor removes the bandages, and announces that the procedure has failed, and her face has undergone no change. The camera pulls back to reveal that, by the contemporary viewer’s standards, the woman is beautiful. But by those same standards, the doctor, nurses, and other people in the hospital are ugly, with drooping features, large, thick brows, sunken-in eyes, swollen and twisted lips, and wrinkled noses with extremely large nostrils, almost like pigs’ snouts.

It Doesn’t Really Matter

She’s a middle-of-the-road candidate, a real namby pamby fence sitter,” Josh said. “I don’t mean to belittle the woman, but she’s not right for the job of magistrate.”

“I think you’ve got it all wrong about her,” Jen said. “She’s deceptively smart and I think she’s a superlative candidate. On top of that she’s got the support of most voters. Face it, Josh, only a relatively small fraction of the voters support your guy.”

“I’m not worried, Jen,” Josh said. “My guy’s party is in control of the election apparatus in the state, so it doesn’t really matter who gets the most votes. Your gal is going to lose.”

Written for the the following daily prompts: The Daily Spur (middle), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (belittle), My Vivid Blog (woman), E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (magistrate), Word of the Day Challenge (deceptive), Ragtag Daily Prompt (superlative), and Your Daily Word Prompt (fraction). Image credit: Getty Images.

This might seem like a far-fetched scenario. But the fact is that the U.S. Supreme Court is currently hearing a case — Moore v. Harper — that, if approved, would grant state legislatures significantly more power over federal elections. This case is sponsored by Republicans and a favorable decision could allow Republican state legislatures to set the rules for federal elections — even if they result in partisan gerrymandering or violate state constitutions. In other words, these Republican-controlled states could set up election rules that would essentially assure Republican victories in gubernatorial elections, U.S. congressional elections, and presidential elections. And given the 6-3 conservative majority on the high court, there’s a good chance that the Republicans will get their way.

The Cockroach

“In my culture, it’s not appropriate to kill another living creature,” Asma said.

“What about a cockroach?” Hal asked. “Isn’t it okay to step on and squash a lowly cockroach?”

“No, not even a lowly cockroach,” Asma said. “Cockroaches have an integral ecological role. They are professional recyclers, feasting on just about anything, including dead plants and animals, and animal waste.”

“Okay, well what about a werewolf?” Hal asked. “In your culture is it okay to shoot and kill a werewolf with a silver bullet?”

Asma shook her head, and thought, this conversation is turning surreal. Then she looked at Hal and said, “You know that werewolves are fictional beasts and don’t really exist, don’t you?”

“That’s irrelevant,” Hal said. “Answer the question. Is it permissible to shoot a werewolf with a silver bullet?”

“If you want to shoot a mythical creature with a silver bullet, knock yourself out, Hal,” Asma said. “Just not a cockroach.”

“Whatever,” Hal said dismissively. “I’m thirsty. Do you want to share a lemon-lime soda?”

Asma nodded and Hal took her by the hand and they walked into kitchen. When Hal turned on the light, Asma screamed when she saw a big cockroach streaking across the kitchen floor. Hal ran over and quickly stepped on it. Then he turned to Asma and sheepishly asked, “Are you angry that I killed that cockroach?”

Asma smile and said, “No, but I would have preferred it if you’d have used a silver bullet.”

Written for these daily prompts: Ragtag Daily Prompt (culture), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (squash), Your Daily Word Prompt (integral), The Daily Spur (wolf), Word of the Day Challenge (surreal), and E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (lemon-lime).

#WDYS — Just Imagining

Mark fancied himself to be a craftsman, and now that he was retired, he would finally find the time to dedicate to his craft. He decided that in order to meet his woodworking needs, he needed to create a shop in his garage and outfit it with a complete set of woodworking tools.

Mark went to his local hardware store and said that he needed all of the tools a woodworking craftsman could possibly need. Mark bought saws, chisels, files, planers, hammers, mallets, pliers, sanders, and all manner of tools in various shapes and sizes. He also bought a wordworking bench and shelves where he could organize and hang all of his new tools. Before leaving the hardware store, Mark arranged for all of his purchases to be delivered to his home.

Mark was very excited two days later when his tools, workbench and shelves were delivered. He immediately set it all up in his garage and when he was finished, he called his wife to come out and take a look. “Look at this,” he proudly said to her. “Just imagine the beautiful things I will carve and build for you.”

Three months later, Mark was sitting on the couch and watching TV. His wife came up to him and said, “I’ve been imagining all the beautiful things you were going to carve and build for me, but so far that’s all I’m doing. Just imagining.”

Mark looked up at his wife, started rubbing his hands and grimacing. “This damn arthritis has flared up and is killing me,” he said. “But just imagine when this flare up has passed the beautiful things I will carve and build for you.”

Written for Sadje’s What Do You See prompt. Photo credit: free image @ Google.


“You look like shit, dude. Your eyes are red and your skin looks yellow and clammy. You are the very portrait of a drunk with a bad hangover,” Dan said when he met Dwight at the coffee shop.

Red and yellow? Oh man, Dan, I’m in a real pickle,” Dwight said. “I got drunk last night and, of course, opened my mouth when I shouldn’t have.”

“What do you mean? What happened?”

“That’s just it,” Dwight said. “I must have said something dumb or irrational that got Barbara really upset or angry because she slapped me and ran out of the tavern in tears. I don’t remember what I said, but based upon the number of empty beer mugs on the table, I can guess it wasn’t good.

“You need to reach out to Barbara and apologize for whatever it is that you said,” Dan advised. “And then you need to stop drinking to excess if you aspire to keep her as your girlfriend.

Written for these daily prompts: My Vivid Blog (portrait), Ragtag Daily Prompt (red & yellow), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (pickle), The Daily Spur (mouth), E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (irrational), Word of the Day Challenge (numbers), and Your Daily Word Prompt (aspire).