Ohlone College
Creative Writing Stories

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            "What if it's about vegetables?"

            "You'd be surprised how virtuous a zucchini is."

            "Right."

            "I meant, why do we write things that are so obsolete?"

            "They make us who we are."

            "But so many people have been there. Why do we keep revisiting the same old thing?"

            "To refine our expressions. People need to express themselves. Sometimes they don't know how to, so books can readily paint a world for them. It's their own little religion. Their own little bible or quaran when they feel shitty."

So the bell rung then, and the thoughts floated around my head a bit longer.

            "I mean, we're just supposed to reel out crap, no matter how crappy it is? And that crap is supposed to make someone, somewhere, feel good?"

            "Or bad." So he stared real hard into the distance, said, "Sort of does make you wonder, though, if all these typewriters are just prayer machines, or if we're just the collective unconscious of some Joe Schmoe."

            "Yeah." And I trailed off. Then began again. "You know, it's sort of funny. I think I finally figured out what I'm doing here, why I'm writing--why you and me and everyone else is here."

            "Why's that?"

            "It's so simple. We speak a broken language."

Naturally, there was silence for a few moments, and I thought I tasted Menthol in my mouth too.

            "How so?"

            "Picture this: before, there wasn't anything you couldn't say in our language. But let's say there were people who didn't like how we could express ourselves so fully. Let's say they thought it ruined what beauty there was to experience and feel. Let's say, at some point in time, they took it upon themselves to preserve this beauty, so they created the dictionary, a book that dictated what people could and could not say. I mean, life always seems like one big struggle to express ourselves, to pick the best words--and what better way than in a language. But if you change just a few words, change them around, delete a few others, create words that mean nothing, we're in an endless loophole, an eternal return."

            "A catch22."

            "Exactly."

            "You know, it sounds like that would make an excellent story."

            "It already is. It's a story in a story: my story."

  So there was a ding, and the clitter-clatter stopped.

            "Say. What'd you write about?"

So I looked down, and realized I had been writing the entire time, but not what I was speaking. A smile splashed my face. My mojo was back.

            "Cellphones..." So I leaned back in my booth and signaled for a ciggy, lit it, and let the Menthol flood my body. Victory cigg, oh yeah...

            "Cellphones? What about them?"

            "A society with people that are so self-absorbed with themselves they don't hold real conversations anymore. Everyone talks to everyone else via cellphones. So even when they're right by each other, it's like they're not. They're always talking to someone else, it's like they have to. It got so bad, that if you loved someone, you would call them instead. To show that you were a good friend, you called them. It wasn't customary to show up, or even be there anymore. You just had to have a cellphone."

            "You wrote that?"

            "Well, yeah."

            "How'd you do that?"

            "Do what?"

            "If I didn't know better, I'd say you just triplethinked..."

            "Well, what do you know...who woulda thought that?" and I let the Menthol flood my body once more.

            Later, while dropping by the office of my newly renovated creativity department, I found a little note in the tray addressed to me:

Dear Mr. Fred,

Congratulations. You made it.