Category: Fiction


Brain Control Officer

This was inspired by a writing prompt asking us to pretend that there is a small man/woman operating the control system of your brain. Write about your day from his/her perspective. If you have a similar story, please share below.

The name is James…or at least that’s what I like to pretend. Anyone who really knows my boss knows that I could never be confused for him. My real name is Monty Eigo. I’m what is known as a mind munchkin (MM) and I’ve been the chief brain control officer (BCO) for the big guy for the past decade.

For the first 26 years of my boss’s life he ran the show from up top (at least that’s what I can tell from reading through his memories).  Things seemed to be going well. He had good friends, a great family, a good job, a girlfriend, and a dog. On the whole, there isn’t too much more a guy could ask for. I decided to move in to my boss’s place when he was about 16. I wasn’t invited, but I needed a place to live and his brain seemed as good as anyone else’s at the time. Since I wasn’t invited, I decided to lay low for a while before I made my appearance. The last thing I wanted to do was surprise the guy and stir up any commotion.

For those that don’t know, a BCO’s work is all pro-bono. We aren’t asked to move in before we help our bosses out. In fact, nobody but mind munchkins really knows about mind munchkins. We move from owner to owner throughout our lifetime. Occasionally, if we like our owner enough we’ll stay for the duration of their life and move out when their brain expires.  Typically, when we first move in with a new owner we spend a few years getting to know our boss and lie dormant before we go to work and look for areas where improvements can be made. Through years of MM research, we’ve found that the best time to move in is during the late teen years. We take the next 5 to 10 years to get acclimated with our boss and then make our improvements after our research is complete. It should be noted that a MM can move in with a new owner at any age depending on the circumstances. It should also be noted that most of our owners don’t seem to appreciate our help despite our best intentions, and often go through great efforts to remove us. Though, they aren’t aware that it’s a mind munchkin they’re looking to remove.

Anyways, it’s time to get back to what I’ve been doing with the boss. After 10 years I decided I had been quiet enough and it was time to make my presence known. And besides, it gets pretty boring up there just lying around. I’d been getting free rent for 10 years now. The least I could do was pay him back with some free labor.  Unfortunately for my boss, with 10 years passing by a lot of my skills went into decline.  I tried to ease myself back into everything one area of the brain at a time, but I was about to find out that stepping back into the “real world” wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  I decided to start with the motivation center. That was the one area I suspected my boss needed the most help.  When you spend as much time as I did with my boss, you really get a keen sense of someone’s shortcomings.

From the first day I moved in, it was apparent my boss was lacking motivation.  As a kid he half-assed his way through sports and high school. And in college, other than a brief 6 month time frame, his effort was largely the same, if not worse than it was when he was younger. He liked to blame his lack of drive on his inability to narrow down his true passion in life. As his resident BCO, I knew he may have been right, but I also knew I hadn’t been operating his brain as efficiently as he would have liked (on account of him not actually asking me to be there) and that with a few tweaks in the motivation center I could have him driven enough to move mountains.

And that’s exactly what I did….except it didn’t work.  I guess after 10 years of vacation, the techniques I used in the past to create drive weren’t as effective in today’s complex world. Typically, a little increase in dopamine is all it takes to create a little motivation. For any aspiring BCO’s reading this, “motivation center” is the generic term we use for the anterior cingulated gyrus (part of the limbic system).  What little drive my boss showed before was quickly depleted to unprecedented lows. Admittedly, I was a little concerned about the damage I’d caused my boss, but as one of the world’s elite brain control officer’s, I knew I’d right the ship before too long.

With the motivation center under construction for the time being, I decided to move over to the emotion department, also known as the amygdala (part of the medial temporal lobes), to see what needed improving over there. Since the big guy had been a bit withdrawn lately, I thought a nice dose of sensitivity would be just the trick. It turns out I may have gone a little high on the emotion promotion and sent the boss into overdrive. All of the sudden, the guy everyone knew as one of the most even keeled people in their life was suddenly crying over every little thing or ready to argue over even the most trivial of points.

And that was failure number two. I knew my days as an elite BCO were coming to an end, but I liked living in his brain and there was no way I was going to leave on my own volition. It was always a very welcoming environment, and after all this time it had become home.

Over the next 2 years, my boss took a deep interest in philosophy, reading, writing, and vowed to live life to the fullest even though the damage I’d caused inside his brain made it exceedingly difficult. The more he read, wrote, and simply lived the happier he became and the less inviting his brain became for me. I’m sticking around for now, but the idea of looking for a new place to live has been sounding better and better all the time.

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This was inspired by a writing prompt asking us to take the first line of our favorite song and write a story using it as the first line. If you have a similar story, please share below.

“There’s room between your heart and the chair where I’ve been sleeping.”  The sleeping arrangement might be new, but the ever present feeling of distance has been growing between us for months now. I haven’t wanted to say anything in hopes that it was just a temporary thing. I thought maybe it was something we’d work through in time, but that just hasn’t been the case. Surely, you’ve noticed it as well.

You would think after 3 years together we would have plenty to talk about. There is a quite a history between us. And yet, every night when we’re both home from work there is silence. Can you even remember the last time we laughed together? I can. It was 2 months ago in Nashville. We were on the General Jackson cruise during Xmas when I slipped and fell walking around the deck.  That was a good night. I miss seeing your parents.

Why haven’t we had any nights like that since? We used to laugh like that all of the time.  For the rest of my life, I’ll never forget you asking me if I knew the “fuck you” song the first night we met. You bopped back and forth and moved your hands like a rapper when you sang it to me. That always brings a smile to my face.

Nothing like that happens anymore. We haven’t been on a real date or even hung out with friends lately. All we do is come home and watch the television and we don’t even do that together. I know you say you need time to yourself, but it seems like you’re not interested in including me in your time at all. Whatever we used to have…the friendship, fun, trust, it seems like it’s all gone out the window. Doesn’t it bother you to live in the same house as me, sleep in the same bed, and yet have no clue what’s going on in my life? Maybe we’ve just run out of things to talk about?

Do you still want this? Us? I’ve been asking myself those questions a lot lately and I’m not so sure what I want anymore. Maybe we’ve reached that point in the relationship where we only love each other as friends and we aren’t actually “in love” anymore. Sometimes I find myself wishing I’d catch you cheating on me, or yelling at me, or anything negative just so I wouldn’t feel so guilty for thinking these things. At least then I could point at something and say “that right there is why shouldn’t be together anymore.” But there is nothing to point at. We don’t fight. We’ve stayed loyal. And we still respect each other. So, why don’t I feel like we love each other anymore?

I’m tired of feeling sad. Even more, I’m tired of feeling alone in my own house when I know you’re coming home every day. In all of my life, I’ve never felt anything quite like this. Who knew you could feel this alone despite living with the person you love more than anything you’ve ever loved before?

I’ve tried to figure this out for weeks, and it just doesn’t make sense. Do you have any ideas? I want this to work, but I just don’t know what to change. Where would we even start? How do we start having fun together again when we don’t even know what the problem is?

You’ve been my best friend for a long time now. There isn’t a person on this planet who knows more about me. You know every secret, all of my dreams, every single skeleton in my closet. I’ve shared things with you I never dreamed of sharing with someone before.  I’m afraid to let all of that go. It’s been so long, I don’t know how to be alone and that scares me.

And you deserve more than this. We both do. I’ve seen you happy before and the person I’m looking at right now isn’t happy. You deserve to feel that happiness we once felt and you deserve to feel that every day for the rest of your life. It kills me to say this, but I want you to be happy, even if it isn’t me that makes you smile anymore. We’d only be lying to each other to continue the relationship when it’s been spiraling out of control like this with no end in sight.

I know that deep down this isn’t what either of us really wants. If we could point a magic wand at our relationship and fix everything, we’d both do it in a heartbeat.  But we can’t. It’s going to be extremely difficult learning to live without each other in the coming months. We won’t be there for one another anymore. I’m sure I’ll feel like I can’t do it alone at first. I know there will be some growing pains, but in time we’ll learn to stand on our own two feet again and hopefully we’ll find the sustaining love we couldn’t find in each other.

I’m not sure how you even end a conversation like this. “Okay, goodnight” just doesn’t seem appropriate. I’m sorry that we’ve come to this point, but here we are. I’m going to miss everything about you, but I’ve been missing just that for a long time now and that’s why it’s time for us to move on. Please never forget that I love you.

The Life of a Fly

You think your life sucks? Walk a mile in my shoes. Better yet, fly a mile in my wings.

The name’s Glide. I’m 13 days old, but with only two or three days left to live, I figured now’s the perfect time to write down Memoirs de Glide. For those of you short on time like myself, let me sum the story up quickly for you. The life of a housefly sucks.

I was born on a pile of wet cow shit 2 weeks ago, May 6th, with 250 of my brothers and sisters. Talk about a raw deal. Not only was I born on a pile of shit, but how am I supposed to compete with 250 other houseflies to get any attention from my parents? Yeah, you guessed it. There was no guidance for this fly…none whatsoever.

Right from the start I was left to fend for myself. If I have anything to be thankful for, I guess I can take solace in the fact that I actually made it long enough to earn my wings. Most of my relatives never make it this far, and really, there’s nobody but you humans to blame for that. I can’t tell you how many of my cousins were mercilessly fed to your pet chameleons over the years. Have you no mercy?

Anyways, back to my life story.  Back to my place of birth…that hot steamy pile of shit on the farm. Home, sweet home.

Of all the times to turn from a maggot to fly, I had to do it in the rain. I don’t know if you are aware of this, but we can’t fly when we’re born. Our wings are wet, and until we air dry, we have to chill. Well, it’s kind of hard for your wings to dry when you’re sitting around in a three hour rainstorm. Three hours might not seem like much to you, but when you only live for fifteen days, you’ll take every second you can get.

Finally, after the rain stopped, my wings were dry and it was time to fly. But where should I go? Like I said, when you have 250 brothers and sisters to contend with, parental advice doesn’t really exist. I decided to head where the food was…the farmer’s kitchen.

My first time in flight was great. Talk about freedom. I could fly anywhere I wanted, whenever I wanted. I guess you can call me a drifter. But I was on a mission. I wanted to eat. The closer I flew to the house, the stronger the smells became and I grew more and more excited. Watermelon, apples, cake…you name it, it was in that kitchen.

Slowly, I approached the window. 5 feet…4 feet…3 feet…2 feet…1 foot…BAM! It’s like I said before, no parental advice. How was I supposed to know you can’t fly through glass? I must have spent a good 2 hours buzzing around outside looking for a way through that window. And you know what? That annoying buzzing sound we make with our wings…well, it annoys the hell out of me too. All I wanted was to land on a sweet piece of watermelon and suck a little juice. Instead I bounced off glass for 2 hours, all the while driving myself insane with that incessant buzzing sound.

Finally, one of the humans inside the house cracked the window open so I could get inside. What can I say? It was bliss. Not only was there a smorgasbord of food on the table for me to suck down, but the garbage can was filled to the brim. I couldn’t decide what I wanted more…fresh watermelon on the table or week old cheese in the trash? After careful thought, I decided when your life is only two weeks long, you don’t cheat yourself…you splurge. Ahh, those were the best minutes of my life.

After a few minutes of eating myself into a stupor, I figured I’d make my way back outside and explore what else the world had to offer. Full of juice and delicious garbage bits, I made my way back to the window I came in through earlier. BAM! God dammit! Again, with the window! So here I am, high on life and full of moldy gouda, and I’m stuck banging into windows again. The life of a housefly sucks.

Instead of buzzing around all night looking for a way out, I decided I’d sleep the cheese off and found a nice place in the top corner of the window to rest. It must have been 8 hours I slept that night. Talk about sleeping your life away! I needed to wake up and make something of my life already! Feeling my life pass before my eyes, I tried with my entire mite to get outside. Buzzzzzzz! Bam! Buzzzzzzz! Bam! Those are the only two sounds I heard for the next ten minutes as I tried everything in my power to free myself from this house.

Finally, morning came and one of the humans made their way into kitchen. It must have been my lucky day. Things were finally turning around for me as the human started to open the window. I was so excited I couldn’t hold my excitement in. Buzz! Buzz! I was flying in circles, buzzing up a storm when I heard the human say something like “Honey, where is the fly swatter”.

Not even a minute later, I was flying for my life. Buzz! Bam!Buzz! Bam! Someone open the damn window already! As I frantically flew into the window again and again trying to escape, I couldn’t help but think how flies get the raw end of the deal. Are we really that bad that humans needed to come up with a weapon specifically designed to kill us? Oh you wouldn’t hurt a fly? Bullshit!

Eventually, I found a safe place to hide, and when the time was right I made my way back outside through one of those doors I saw their dogs walk through.

So, now it’s day two of my all too short life. Typically, Day 2 in a fly’s life is kind of dull. All we can do is eat as we’re still a day away from being mature enough to procreate. I decided to take it easy in a nearby garbage can, eat, and contemplate how I was going to go about getting laid the next day. You see, this is another area where I can say that a fly’s life sucks. The women only need us once! Can you believe that shit? We blow one load and the women store our baby goo in them for days and create multiple batches of maggots off one load.

And that’s it, by the time I was 3 days old, my life had pretty much climaxed. I had nothing to do but eat for another week and a half and wait to die.

But after about another week of flying around from garbage can to garbage can, I decided I wanted to get back to my roots. It must be something all flies go through, as I noticed we were all on the same mission.

As humans, I’m sure you have noticed that flies are a little preoccupied with shit. Our women lay the eggs there, we’re born there, and eventually all flies become obsessed with going back there. Why? Well, if a pile of shit can give us life, maybe it can extend it as well? And that’s why you’ll always find a fly around stinky mound of crap. We just want to live people. We just want to live.

I’m told this is the first time any fly has taken time to write down his thoughts. I hope my little memoir has given you a clearer picture of what it’s like to be a fly. So the next time you’re thinking to yourself “man, my life sucks”, just know it could be worse…you could be a fly.