The Man Who Sneezed His Head Off

blue sunglassesDown the road, he felt his nose itch. The sun was bright and hot, and slight steam rose on the glass, by the dash. “This town sure can melt you,” he thought out loud.

He flipped his shades down and basked in the new, dark, blue world — fast, fast.

An itch. He reached up with his right hand and speared the spot on the left side, close to the bridge of his nose, near his eye. He scratched. Aah, he thought, that felt good; that’ll soothe it.

Near the Loop now. A green Jag is on his tail — hugged in real close. Must be one of those oil rich S.B.’s from Tech, home in the Oaks ’til school starts in the Fall.

He rounds the curve to the Loop — fast, fast — heading north now.  I’ll give her a race, he mused. At the same time, far back in his throat, right mid his eyes and at the tip of his nose, all at once, he felt the bud of a sneeze.

On the Loop now, the Jag so close he can see her short, blunt cut blonde hair. Just as I thought. Once more, his hand goes up as the sneeze grows this time. He turns his head left to look for an open spot. He shifts into high gear and stomps on the floor.

His eyes start to close to guard from the force of the sneeze. As they do so, from the far left side of his sight, out of his blind spot, he sees the truck. In a stroke of time, as fine and small as half a split strand of hair, as long and drawn as the flow of the sea, he sees the crash come.

He sees the truck swoop in from the left, to try and cut to an off ramp, and the spot he had aimed for. He sees the Jag pass on his right, fast, fast, with no room left for him to veer back to his first lane. Caught in Houston, caught in the heat, caught on the way to a plane, caught in a hold on life that won’t end, he closed his eyes and had his sneeze.

“Who have we got here?”

“Tag says ‘Steve G.'”

“Where’s his head?”

“They say sliced off by a break in the front glass. Must have been a tough day for this guy. They still can’t find it. Looked all on the road ’til night. Cops say it must have been some weird shit, like a V.W. came and picked it up in its grill.”

“Aaaaa-CHOOO!” A pause.

“Bless you.”

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This short story was composed nearly entirely of single syllable words, as a practice exercise to reduce fog index.

Lyla & Bendle: Continuing Adventures

From this point forward, you are on your own! The stories can go on and on…think of the possibilities with a planet like this!! Some of the episodes that I’ve done include:

ocean>>>discovery of an ancient civilization under the ocean in the ocean sector – it turns out that this civilization was the pre-Orthian civilization that had traveled from Venus to Orth in the first place, when the impending invasion of poison gases to Venus’s atmosphere was imminent.

In other words, it turns out that the Himmincats have come full circle and returned to their original planet. This makes them feel more at home than ever before.

sandals>>>an adventure in the jungle sector, where Bendle finds a pair of winged sandals.

When you put them on, the faster you move, from walking to running, the higher the sandals take you.

When you slow down, you descend.

He uses them to explore the jungle sector and check out the dangerous areas, like quicksand, etc.

dune>>>a mysterious signal detected in the desert sector prompt Troy and BARNIE to go investigate. It turns out that the signal is actually the sound of some giant desert sand worms (remember “Dune”?). The sand worms trap BARNIE and Troy.

Lyla and Bendle go to their rescue and free them but, just as they are escaping, a huge sand storm hits. Rather than get buried in the sand, they use these inflatable capsules that – once inflated – are big enough for a Himmincat to fit in it (kind of like a standing tent).

Moreover, when the tent is inflated around the person, it then has a spinning, digging action that buries the tent in the sand, safely away from the crushingly swift sand winds. They stay underground until the storm blows over.

A New Home – Story 8: Lyla & Bendle

Girlen has managed to tap into the NASA computers and gathers data on the solar system.

venusThe Himmincats decide that the best place for them to land is Venus.

It’s perfect – Earthlings think it is uninhabitable, because of being covered by poisonous gas and having an unstable surface.

The Himmincats know, however, that the gas atmosphere will provide great “cover” for them, underneath which they can recondition and create a new, sub-atmosphere where they can live.

Also, being close to another civilized planet like Earth would have its advantages, because they can always travel there if they get in a real pinch and get things that they need.

Finally, they figure that if the humans ever came after them, Venus, a planet in Earth’s own solar system, would be the last place they would look. (Sort of the old hide-and-seek strategy of picking a place really close to “base.”)

They land on Venus and turn on their environmental conditioner.

After 2 days, the new environment on Venus has been created.

It is made up of 4 areas, called sectors – the jungle sector, the desert sector, the mountain sector, and the ocean sector.

They decide to go explore the sectors of their new world.

ObeliskFirst, however, they build a monument where they have landed, honoring the people of their home planet Orth.

It is a very moving ceremony.

When the monument is up, a holographic image is automatically projected up from the monument (which is kind of a tall, narrow, pyramid obelisk) that shows the elders of Orth.

They give an inspiring message to Lyla, Bendle, Girlen, and Troy.

They are the hope for future generations of Orthians.

An Unintended Landing – Story 7: Lyla & Bendle

earthIt turns out that the space station is circling Earth.

The humans identified the Himmincats ship as a UFO and force them to land at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Lyla, Bendle, Troy, and Girlen are captured by the military and confined. Their ship is guarded, but Troy sets a protective shield on it that prevents the humans from entering it.

BARNIE, who has been playing possum, tracks where the Himmincats are held and sets out to rescue them.

Rather than being a violent rescue, BARNIE does a number of humorous things to get to them:

  • he makes cat meowing sounds to distract guards,
  • he hides alongside a bunch of outdoor trash canisters while guards are walking by and they comment on how he especially stinks (remember that Himmincats olfactory senses are much different than those of humans),
  • he confronts the guards that are at the cells where Lyla and crew are being held and grabs them with his mechanical claws but invokes a “tickle” charge which causes the guards to drop their guns, laugh hysterically and pee in their pants…completely disarmed and helpless, etc., etc.

They get back to the ship, take off, and escape past the space station.

Who’s In Control? Story 6: Lyla & Bendle

The evil Dr. X, who stowed away, has taken over the ship and is piloting them off-course.

He has sealed himself on the bridge. He tells them through the ship’s speakers that he is going to shut off power to all of the rest of the ship and they will die.

He can’t risk these “children” being in control of the mission.

vr roomBARNIE informs the Himmincats of the “travel” room on the ship. They go there.

It turns out to be a room that allows you to imagine you are anywhere, at any time.

They imagine that they are back on Orth, during the building of the rocket ship and they observe the special codes that Dr. X designed into the ship to allow him to take over the ship.

With that knowledge, and BARNIE’s help, the leave the “travel” room and take back control of the ship.

Dr. X runs from the bridge, towards an emergency shuttle craft, in which he flees.

They watch him and pursue him for a brief time when, all of a sudden, it explodes in space.

They ask BARNIE if there was a malfunction, when they realize that, no, it was struck by a missile.

Just then, the on-board computer tells them that they are approaching a space station.

Food Fight! Story 5: Lyla & Bendle

robotThe rocket speeds on to another world.

They are introduced to their on-board robot helper, called BARNIE (Battle Armored Robot, Neural Information Engine – or whatever).

BARNIE flies the ship. He looks a lot like “Robot” from the Lost in Space series (glass head, giant vacuum cleaner-style body, expandable and retractable arms).

The exceptions are that he has four arms, one coming out of each quarter of his body, he is a shiny black, and he speaks with a flat monotone voice.

He takes the kids, along with Troy and Girlen, to the ship cafeteria. They order their food from the on-board computer. It comes in lots of different colors.

Bendle hates the way it looks. He’s still sad (and now angry) about losing his mother.

He flings the food at BARNIE, which is in big meatball-like lumps and globs that look like paint.

The others join in and soon they are consumed in a giant food fight. (You can describe this pretty hysterically, and the kids can get into it.)

They are suddenly interrupted by a warning signal coming from the bridge of the ship.

Blast Off – Story 4: Lyla & Bendle

Crab_NebulaThere are 2 other young adult Himmincats — a male named Troy Vixen, and a female named Girlen Lakes – that are selected with Lyla and Bendle.

They are all transported to the place where the rocket is to be launched.

Everyone on the planet is beginning to feel the heat from the coming supernova. They all know that there are only days left.

The chief scientist for the rocketship program is named Dr. X.

He trains them, but also scopes out where he can stowaway on the rocket – he believes that he deserves to live as well.

The training is complete, the rocket is ready, they get aboard and blast off.

As they travel, the final explosion of the supernova occurs, and the sun grows to hundreds of times its size.

It consumes the planet Orth, as Lyla and Bendle can see in the viewing window of their rocket ship.

Even as they shed a tear, the image of their father in their heads is joined by a new image of their mother and the parents say to the children, “don’t worry, we will be with you always.”


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