All Stories, Editor Picks, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Week 350- An Antisocial Experiment, Five Magi, A Special Announcement and Hell’s Jukebox: The Love Songs

An Antisocial Experiment

There are endless social movements dedicated to improving people by requiring them not to be like people. Depending on your point of view this activity lies somewhere between education and brainwashing. I am old fashioned to the degree that I believe a person is influenced by both her upbringing and whatever chemistry is peculiar to her. You do your best to raise a child and if she grows up to be a doctor or a teacher you share in the credit, if she turns out to be a Josephine Mengela or the incarnation of Lizzie Borden, you shoulder some of the blame.

A person can improve. But people, as a whole, seldom do because there are “leaders” who want you to do as they command and will reward “good behavior” with letting you spend your life gazing into your phone and punish “bad thoughts” with unsupported accusations and placing you under the spotlight on the scaffold for a good old fashioned cyberstoning. This has been going on in one form or another since the invention of the third person–the first child who decides that her parents should be severely sanctioned for bringing her into this overlighted, loud and dreary existence, as well as not allowing her to have a phone until she can use one responsibly.

I usually like to confirm my ideas by performing antisocial experiments on unwitting family members. Last week I was at my brother’s house and an episode of The Twilight Zone was on TV. It was the one where a prisoner is sentenced to live alone on a planetoid for some undisclosed offense. Utterly alone in a place that suspiciously resembles the Nevada desert. A sympathetic supply ship Commander leaves the prisoner a “special package.” The crate contains a female robot named “Alicia”–who is in all ways a woman, save for having civil rights.

This inspired me to perform an antisocial experiment on Jack.

“Jack, isn’t it wonderful that the prisoner has a girlfriend?”

He muttered something that sounded a lot like “Jesus, what now?”

“Jack-O?”

“What?” (All snotty-like.)

“How long do you think it was before he did the lady robot?”

Instead of feigning indignation at the coarse nature of my inquiry, Jack thought it over, and said “Twenty minutes, tops.”

My antisocial experiment supported one inescapable fact: All heterosexual men are lying swine. Hell, I doubt that ten minutes passed before the prisoner raped the lady robot named Alicia.

What I’ve shared above pretty much describes social media anthropology. You grab whatever evidence supports your preconceived conclusion and put it “in print’–a status that has held “it must be true” status since the dawn of anti-social awakening.

Still, not everything you read is a bald-faced lie designed to control your behavior. Good fiction has the paradoxical quality of being true even though its parts are all made up. This week five authors appeared on the site, and each one told the truth via fiction.

The Five Magi

I wrote “The Five Magi” prior to checking this week’s “playlist.” I must change that to “Four Magi” and a follower, for a reason that will be soon evident. Two made their site debut, two others appeared a third time and the follower is as inevitable as junk mail in the box.

Monday marked the site debut of Olivia Austin. Seroquel is a tense and harrowing piece of work that grabs the reader and doesn’t let go until the finish. Then the thought of it echoes, as it should. Although it is irrelevant to her work, Ms. Austin is the youngest writer to ever appear on the site. I will not disclose her age anymore than I will my weight; but since I have brain damage older than Olivia, I do believe that she will be shining brightly for decades to come.

On Tuesday my Pie-Eyed Peety and the Prohibitionist: A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical wandered onto the site, the way pigeons are known to do. I apologize for any sins that the PDQ Pilsner mascot may have committed.

A sense of class was quickly restored Wednesday when Monika R. Martyn’s lovely Hacienda of Love appeared. It is beautiful and depressing at the same time. Beautiful and depressing items are always true. This is Monika’s third story with us; all are top notch.

A rare fairly complicated suspense piece graced Thursday. So often stories with many moving parts need more than three thousand words to breathe in, yet first time contributor Phil Hurst’s Too Close to Hell is a fine exception. The flow and danger of the piece are easy to get into and the ending is perfect.

Antony Osgood closed the week Friday with a penetrating look at a delusional family dictator ignorant of the quiet rebellion around him in As If He Still Drives a Capri. Antony has a lyrical almost narcotic style that is a balm to the haggard senses.

Technically speaking, this is my first week wrap that doesn’t contain a story by Yash. Oh ho! Not so fast–Mr. Seyedbagheri was the rerun feature last Sunday, so it is apparent that his fine work is ever hard by, which is a fine thing.

How about a hand–better yet a few comments below the stories mentioned above. That, after all, is how we show our appreciation.

A Special Announcement

Next week we celebrate our seventh anniversary. We hope that everyone attends. Feel free to bring the kids, as long as that happens only in a virtual sort of way.

I now leave you with a little song and dance I call

More From Hell’s Jukebox: The Love Songs

(Last slot left open for your own disliked drippy)

  • Silly Love Songs–Paul McCartney (I omit “Wings” because Sir Paul is at fault here. I truly despise this song.)
  • Three Times a Lady–Lionel Ritchie (I omit “Commodores” for the same reason I excuse Wings.)
  • I Will Always Love You–Whitney Houston and Dolly Parton (Equal blame. I swear if I hear it one more time…)
  • Don’t Give Up On Us, BabyDavid Soul (Once upon a time a hit show got you a record deal. Thank you Napster for crushing that goddamn nonsense.)
  • IOU–Jimmy Dean the sausage king. (Technically not a love song, but it involves affection and is well hated by me.)
  • Hang on Sloopy-The McCoys (Gawwwwddd how I cannot stand “I don’t care what your daddy do.”)
  • Moody River–Pat Boone (Hell wouldn’t be as toasty without this song.)
  • Patches–Dickey Lee (So awful that even Google refuses to admit to this song’s existence until you dig. It tries to give you a country soul song of the same name from 1970.)
  • You Light Up My Life–Debby Boone (Proof that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In this case from seven to nine. When I first heard it I thought it was some kind of joke. It was. On me.)
  • Add as many as you wish. Hell is everlasting.

Leila

Hello Popped in to have a nose around as a quick breather from the current WIP which is turning out to be hard labour and spotted a list. Oh good I thought a list and then I saw two spaces – only two – jeepers I’m sure Hugh’ll have the ‘Teddy Bear truck driver one so I don’t have to worry about that. Old Yeller is too old for most people to remember so that’s fine. Now my mum’s gone on to the great Karaoke in the sky I don’t need to fear The Little Boy That Santa Clause Forgot. So you know, phew.

So anything by ABBA – used to like em – can’t take em now – they’re like a suger bun with sugar on it and extra sugar to dip it in. So – Two erm – That horrible Isn’t she Lovely – especially that version with the laughing child at the end. Makes my toes curl that does. Number two has to be I Just Called to Say I Love You – honestly with so much good music why – just Why. Sorry – I’ll go now. Chapter 56 is waiting.

11 thoughts on “Week 350- An Antisocial Experiment, Five Magi, A Special Announcement and Hell’s Jukebox: The Love Songs”

  1. I would add to the list any love song by any boy band. Also, although I’m a Beatles admirer, I don’t like Something by the Beatles. I always tell Alexa “next song” when it comes on. Nice roundup, as always, of the week’s stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, David.
    Your mention of boy bands opens a new category in the netherworld jukebox. “Tiger beat it.” It all began in earnest with Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy. I have a deep, unnatural hate for “I Think I Love You.” Oddly, I cannot think of a single Sherman song, a circumference that will be the highlight of my weekend.
    Leila

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Leila,
    You’ve made me think and this could take a while!
    Re – Diane’s point – I can’t put in Mamma Teddy Bear or No Charge – They make me laugh and I think they may be in a genre of Tragic / Uplifting, which I would simply call ‘Makes me pish myself laughing’.
    Although I could include ‘Honey’ by Bobby Goldsboro.
    I agree with Dave about any love song by a boyband but that could be expanded to any song by a boyband!
    And I think your list is suitably hellish.
    But off the top of my head and in no particular order:
    James Blunt – You’re Beautiful
    Any version of – You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling
    Ashford And Simpson – Solid As A Rock
    Renee And Renato – Save Your Love
    (Now that I think on it – Most romantic songs by duets)
    The Proclaimers – I’m Gonna Be
    Bryan Adams – Everything I do
    Lady In Red – Chris DeBurgh
    Any song by Celine Dion
    Any song by Elton John when he was signed to Disney.
    Minnie Riperton – Loving You
    Lionel Ritchie – Hello
    Glen Medeiros – Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You

    Oh and it’s a hard call but maybe I did leave the worst till last. The absolute abomination:
    The Floaters – Float On.
    I better stop now before I get another wave of pishness!!!

    Great post and in a perverted way, I enjoyed thinking on those terrible songs. I’m just praying that I don’t get one stuck in my head.
    …Hey I’m a Gemini and I love a woman to be…
    Awwwww FUCK Nawwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Hugh

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Inspired choices. The Bryan Adams song actually can piss me off to hear. Everyone has tastes, but this song is as packaged as Doritos, just product, not music (no insult meant to Doritos). Robin Williams used to include the Floaters in his riffs. Spot on. “Hi, I’m, Larry, Aquarius.” A line like that will get you tased today.
    LA

    Like

  5. I can bottom those entries for cringe and hurt ears. Dan Hill “Sometimes When We Touch” (the honesty’s too much). It was so popular. Go figure. Ultimate bad artist / songs match – The Lettermen “Light My Fire” and “Hello I Love You”. The Doors and Lettermen from different incompatible universes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you, Doug,
    Although millions have spent many years attempting to kill enough braincells to forget “Sometimes When We Touch,” it still hangs in there.
    Alas, this topic seems contain an endless source of musical casualties. Manilow’s “Weekend In New England” anyone?

    LA

    Like

    1. I forgot about ‘Sometimes When We Touch – Thanks Doug for putting that back in my brain!!!
      And Mr Manilow – Well FUCK – Just FUCK!!!
      Could It Be Magic – Nope!!!
      Hugh

      Like

  7. Aww Good God!!
    Another abomination Doug!!
    And for whatever mad reason, I now have not just ‘Feelings’ in my head but Telly Savalas with the spoken pile of shite – ‘If’!!!
    They are collaborating together to ear-worm me to death!!!
    Hugh

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.