Tag Archives: flash fiction

Dawson Filter as He Relates to Game Shows


Dawson Filter stooped down to pick up a cardboard box. He missed. He stooped over once again, this time with his eyes open, and placed the box on top of another box. The other box was similar to the box: both were made of cardboard, they were the same shade of beige (that being #FFF8E7), both had recently been picked up by Dawson Filter, and both were boxes.

Dawson Filter turned around, and in the process ended up seeing Sylvester Denny. Upon hearing Sylvester ask ‘What ever are you doing?’, Dawson decided that it would be appropriate to answer the question with an answer.

“I am currently building an office for Hank.” said Dawson, whose surname was Filter. “It may be made of cardboard; but it is a box office; so it’s something of a pun, and as a result I am happy.”

“Oh.” Sylvester said, having not been able to hear Dawson over the sound of the words coming out of Dawson’s mouth, “I was thinking about our quest to find and retrieve the True Meaning of Feelings, and how we’ve so far made absolutely no progress; and then my mind started to hurt from all o’ the thinking, so I turned on the television to numb the pain. On said television was a local game show. On said game show, contestants were asked questions, and they had the tendency to get them right. Suddenly, I had an idea, and the idea had me, and we were finally together: I could become a question-writer for the show, and then the contestants would have to tell us the answer to our quest if they wanted free coupons to the Oistermill Spa Chambers.”

Dawson raised arms to indicate that he wanted to raise his voice, but had been having some throat trouble lately.

“No, I dislike this idea; and so reject both it and its creator.” he said, afterward clearing his throat, “Oh, sorry, I didn’t mean to say that. I’ve been having some throat trouble lately. It is the only idea we have. Let us begin.”

Dawson and Sylvester agreed that Sylvester’s resume would be more impressive it was written entirely in questions, and began writing. Before long, it became impossible to write any more; because writing is impossible if you don’t try, and they had no reason to try, what with the resume being complete, and Sylvester waiting at the game show office to drop it off.

“You know when you feel like you’re going to die, and then you remember that you’re going to die?” the receptionist asked, whittling her desk into a whale.

“No, sorry, I’m here to drop off a resume. My resume. I’d like to become a question writer for the show.”

“I approve. I usually have to write up the questions myself; which makes me essential, and then I can’t get promoted. It’ll probably be a while before someone sees your resume. Everyone else who works here only comes when we’re filming, which is Tuesdays. They also can’t read, so if you want your chances of scoring a job to skyrocket to Not Zero, you could prove yourself by helping me generate next week’s questions. We don’t have to write the answers or any such nonsense, the host uses magic to know them.”

“Sure,” Sylvester replied, “I can start now, as you probably could have guessed from how I’m here now, and don’t look like the sort of person who would ever have prior commitments.”

“Neat. How about, ‘You are trapped on the moon with a lawyer, a drill sergeant, and a seamstress. On the second day, the seamstress disappears, leaving only a single lock of her hair in her sleeping bag. On the third day, the drill sergeant disappears, leaving only a single lock of her hair beside where you had laid the first lock. On the fourth day, the same happens to the lawyer. On the fifth day, you find the three locks of hair in your satchel; and a shuttle arrives to take you home. What is the right thing to do’?”

“Good question. Do you approve of ‘What is the True Meaning of Feelings’?”

“That’s good.”

After some time, Sylvester and the receptionist introduced themselves; and Sylvester went back to the office to rest. He would come back the next day. He enjoyed the mysterious atmosphere of the game show headquarters; so many questions, so few answers. If he needed to have to have one job to keep his first job, he wanted this to be it.

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Dawson Filter as He Relates to Snake-Related Injuries


Felipe, an intern of sorts, took a gander out of the nearest window. He turned the goose over in his hand; and upon seeing that it did not meet his standards, set it back. As he stooped over to put the gander back in the window, he happened to look outside. Outside appeared to be primarily unremarkable, save only for a helicopter which was landing on a nearby patch of grass.

“Oh, a helicopter landing on a nearby patch of grass.” he was able to remark. Motioning for Dawson Filter to join him, he ran to the outmost side of the office to greet the helicopter pilot. The only other helicopter pilot Felipe had known was his stepfather Giovanni, and he wanted to get a better impression of the sky-men.

“Hello, Dawson Filter.” the pilot said, “Not to brag, but I’m Hank Monroe.”

“Hello Hank.” Dawson answered. Filipe smiled. His stepfather never greeted anyone. “What sort of thing brings you to this area?”

Hank leaned against the helicopter door; “I heard about your little start-up. It didn’t sound like you had any steady source of revenue, so I thought to myself ‘Hey, they sound like pretty subpar business people. I bet that if I posed as someone who would help them make money, that they’d hire me, and then I could embezzle from them freely.’ I disregarded the majority of that thought; but it gave me the idea of helping you make money, under the condition that I have complete access to your resources.”

Dawson had some minor doubts about Hank, but Felipe had come to trust him like the back of his hand.

“Sure, man!” Felipe began, “As an intern it is most definitely within my pow’r to offer you a job. You’re like the step dad I never had. I’d like to offer you more than I job. I’d like to offer you a career.”

“You’ll have to interview for it, of course.” Dawson interjected, “We could even start now, if such a time as now tickles your fancy.”

Hank nodded via his head, and followed Dawson into the office. He took a seat on a box opposite Dawson, and Dawson called over Twelve-Anne and Sylvester.

“This is Hank Monroe,” Dawson said, “he’ll be interviewing for the position of director of the money-making department.”

Twelve-Anne took a clipboard from the floor, and began to read off of it, “Do you have any prior experience with directing departments, Mr. Monroe?”

“Oh, I’ve studied the art of direction, miss.” Hank said, twirling a deck of cards in his fingers.

“Do you have any health issues we should know about before hiring you? And if you have a health card that you could show us, that would be lovely of you.”

“Is this your card?” Hank asked, removing a health card from the deck, “And yes, I have several snake-related injuries that shorten my attention span to three hours. It’s still about 1400 times longer than average, but I used to hold the record. They just found the rocker who did it to me on the moon.”

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

“I see others before myself and the present before the future.”

“Why would you like this job?”

“To prove to the world that helicopter pilots are able to settle down and have healthy relationships.”

“Are you currently employed?” asked Felipe.

“No.” Hank replied.

“Wrong.”

Dawson Filter as He Relates to Rugs


After turning around to face the time machine with which he intended to save his friend from the 2016 Manhattan explosion, Dawson Filter turned back around to ask the time machine inventor whom he happened to end up facing a question.

“Felix! Side thing: Why can the machine only go to one preset place for each year?”

“Time is hard. Stuff is relative and bad. I only had time to work out six hundred and twelve time ‘n’ space coordinates that work before my mind got bored.”

“Oh.” Dawson hopped onto the machine; and was joined by Twelve-Anne Stradivari and Babe Listowel, who were also on the quest. “So, 2015 or some such?”

“At the end of this sentence, I say yes!” Babe Listowel replied; turning a dial to 2015.

The trio’s surroundings became different, changed, if you will. The surroundings were, in order of weight, walls, a floor, a ceiling (interchangeable in order with the floor), three cabinets, four lamps, air, a doormat reading “Alive”, and a rug.

Babe Listowel ran, proximal phalanges in hand, off of the machine; until he was off of the machine, when he ran on top of the floor. He then stepped onto the rug, and fell; leaving a four inch deep rugburn in his skull.

“Ack! Pain!” Cried the aforementioned human.

“Oh, Babe, are you alright?” Twelve-Anne asked, “And can we give you a nickname? Babe is rather terrible, and I don’t want to make you suffer.”

“Thanks. You can call me the Autumn Tradesman. And no, I am not alright. my vision is fading to black, and my forehead feels like death.”

“Autumn Tradesman! We’ve to put pressure on the wound!” Dawson Filter suggested, “Such blood!”

“No! It’s my head, it’ll collapse if pressure is applied!”~The Autumn Tradesman

“Then what can we do?” Twelve Anne asked.

“Get me out of here! I can’t die here! Four lamps is too many for any room, and there isn’t enough else here to justify all of these cabinets!”

The Autumn Tradesman clasped his hand to his head, staggering away, moaning in agony, doing everything else that he happened to be doing at that moment in agony, and pulling from his pocket the Illuminati for the Blind’s Guide to Being. He opened the door, revealing that they were stationed on Earth’s moon. He dropped the book, and waved.

“You can’t not stay with us for one last hurrah in your final moments, Tradesman!” Twelve-Anne said through sobs.

Babe pointed at the guide. “Doubling the negative does NOT double the fun, Twelve.” He turned away.

Twelve-Anne directed her words at me and screamed:

“Stop it! You don’t have to let him live, but author, whoever you are, stop writing my life as a joke! No one will even get the double the negative, double the fun reference! Why can’t you just let us have one meaningful conversation while we’re here? This is not about you, and it isn’t about your audience, who I have a hard time believing really exist. This is about us down here who have to live between the lines. Don’t make those my friend’s last words. He’s fantastic, and if you’re going to kill him off, don’t write him to leave this room. Let him die at our sides as our tears wash away his blood, and let the sun set just as he takes his final breath so that we can cry over his body through the night.”

I sighed. Babe Listowel turned away again. He took a step, winced, and as he strode across the doormat, his four shadows fell across the word “Alive”.

Dawson Filter as He Relates to Explosions


Sylvester Denny pulled a wire out from behind his left ear; and, 98 years later, an android designed to closely resemble him fell down in front of Babe Listowel. Sylvester read the previous sentence, and deduced that he was located in 2016, via math.

If you would like the above paragraph to make sense, I would recommend reading last week’s chapter, “Dawson Filter As He Relates To Projectors“. On the off-chance that it doesn’t make sense, I might suggest reading everything else I’ve ever written on this website, or giving up.

“So, I’m in 2016.” Sylvester told the Quest Committee.

“Do you know which time of year?” Twelve Anne asked, “Or where you are in physical space?”

The janitor, named Titan, leaned his mop against the wall in 2016, and said “It’s March 12, and we’re in the Texan district of Manhattan. We’re the only shack on 79th Street, besides Simôn’s Aromatherapy, so you should be able to find us if you’re sufficiently good at things.”

“I know deep down in my heart of hearts and mind of minds that this doesn’t have anything to do with saving you,” Dawson said, “but how are the ‘literary waves’ all being received in 2016, in an order that makes sense, when they tell a story spanning at least 98 years? And how are they being decoded by the (probably uneducated) modifications of a fax machine by a columnist without enough good fortune to have a name other that ‘Lexter’?”

Titan sat his body down, stroked his chin, and spoke in a way which defies explanation. “We really don’t know. Literary waves seem to have the ability to bend time and space; to warp reality itself to comply to what is written if it makes for a good plot point. Me and the other cleaning boys think that whatever’s writing us almost wants us to see what it wrote; which would explain why the code to read the waves is exactly the same as the one they use for fax machines. That apparently makes for a good story where our author comes from.”

Silence fell over the people, falling most strongly on the ones I’ve been writing about; but still slightly bringing down the noise per capita of the rest. Sylvester looked at Titan’s watch. As a result, he knew the time. He looked again. The same time. That couldn’t be right. Sylvester looked again. Still the same time. He did this another twelve times before getting a different result. He decided that he hated silence with all that was within him, and began to spite the force with the patter of his twiddling thumbs. He decided to start disliking boredom. He started to count to 23 in increments of 0, starting at negative four. He then decided to take up speaking.

“It’s 3:34 right now, so if you could swing by with the time machine by four, that’d be really neat of you.”

“Our time machine can only travel to preset times and places,” and “so you may have to wait over a year before we can get to you.” Twelve-Anne said, respectively.

“That’s fine, Manhattan’s got plenty o’ things to fill my days and haunt my nights.”

Babe Listowel moved his apparently mobile phone to eye level; Binged® “Manhattan”; and became concerned by what his eyes saw, which were words.

“I have news that also doubles as bad news.” Said he, “Manhattan was destroyed via explosion on March 12, 2016, at 3:47 pm.”