Hello again! Another short-short inspired by Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge for this week. This one asks you to use the title of the first song to randomly appear on your music player of choice. I wasn’t intending to do this one as the concept didn’t really interest me. In fact, I forgot all about it until a couple nights later, when I finally had an evening off from delivering pizzas. I started up Pandora and readied myself to play some MWO and listen to some tunes. That’s when Radiohead’s “I Am Citizen Insane” came on. Now, that’s a title I couldn’t very well ignore. I had never heard the song before, incidentally, but it’s a pretty good little tune – much better than a lot of their other mostly instrumental bits which sound less like music and more like screaming monkeys being devoured by the supercomputer from Superman III. Anyway, it wasn’t until a couple days after that when I finally figured out what I wanted to do with it and then I couldn’t stop giggling. I hope you get a smile out of it, too.
I AM CITIZEN INSANE
(title courtesy of Radiohead off the album Com Lag – TwoPlusTwoIsFive)
The alarm went off and Alexander begrudgingly opened his eyes. He reached a hand out from beneath his pillow and grabbed his phone off the nightstand. Without even looking at it, he thumbed the dancing bell to turn it off. The trilling chirp stopped. Alex gave a heavy sigh and briefly considered going back to sleep, but decided against it.
His morning went like most. Bathroom stuff and then bedroom stuff and then kitchen stuff and a few minutes spent in front of the television sipping coffee and munching on toast. The heat from the morning sun poured through the windows and the central air conditioning of the apartment kicked on. The local news anchor’s face filled the screen as the TV came to life.
“…another incident of violence between costumed vigilantes. Police responding to reports of a disturbance at the Dunkin Donuts on Massachusetts Avenue in Kendall Square last night found two groups of costumed individuals skirmishing in a nearby parking lot. Apparently, they had tried to intercept an alleged thief who was attempting to steal the tip jar from the counter of the doughnut shop. Violence erupted between the two costumed parties when they could not agree on who should be allowed to apprehend the suspect. Although there was some property damage, no one was seriously hurt.”
The picture switched to a haggard policeman talking to reporters on the scene.
“I just want to repeat that while we appreciate citizens wanting to use their new powers to help fight crime, we strongly urge everyone to exercise restraint. Your local law enforcement officers are fully capable of keeping the peace. Also, there’s really no need to dress up in costumes since the IDs of the enhancement chips broadcast out to a quarter of a mile. There’s… really no point.”
Alex clicked off the TV, wiped his mouth on a napkin and took his cup to the sink. After another heavy sigh, he grabbed his satchel and threw it over his shoulders and walked out of his apartment building. He went along the sidewalk, careful not to stray into the bike lane, which was also the lane used by people who had installed the Super Speed enhancement. He could feel the breeze generated as they sped by, which was nice since the morning temperature was already 80 degrees. Overhead, a semi-organized stream of flying people created a sort of mid-air reflection of the street traffic. Not that there was much traffic on the ground. Most people preferred running or flying or teleporting to work these days.
Alex liked to walk, though. He had always liked to walk. He wasn’t great at it or anything, but he kept up a good pace. It was good exercise. Alex walked back and forth to work everyday.
He turned off Massachusetts Avenue and walked up Third Street. He ignored the homeless guy who liked to read people’s minds and tell them what he thought about what they thought. Alex had learned to think exclusively about cats whenever he had to pass him. The homeless guy didn’t seem to have a strong opinion about cats.
The office was already busy when he got there. Even though he usually arrived right on time, everyone always seemed to get there a few minutes before him. He booted up his computer and set down his satchel and grabbed his mug and headed for the break room.
When he got there, he saw Brian filling his cup with water. Alex smiled and went to pour himself some coffee. Brian nodded and raised his eyebrows at him.
“So, Alex. Check this shit out, man. I just figured out how to do this last night.”
Brian flicked his wrist and the water in his mug sprayed out into the air. Alex began to flinch away, but Brian made a slicing motion with his hand and the water instantly turned into a half dozen perfectly formed ice cubes that fell to the floor and scattered across the linoleum.
“Wild, right?” Brian said with a laugh. “I still gotta figure out how to get them into the mug though.”
“Pretty cool,” Alex said as he sipped his coffee.
“Yeah… Oh yeah! Pretty cool! I get it. Nice!”
Alex smiled and nodded. Brian picked up the ice cubes and put them in the sink.
“So you decided which one you’re gonna get?” he asked.
“I don’t know. I can’t really decide.”
“Aw, c’mon! There’s got to be something for you. Think back to when you were a kid. Wasn’t there some super power you wanted to have?”
“I always liked archery.”
“See! You could get Super Accuracy or something. Be like that comic book Avengers guy… what’s his name?”
“Nah. He’s the one with the wings. Bullseye maybe? Maybe Bullseye.”
Alex smiled and nodded again and Brian showed him his ice cube trick one more time before they went back to their desks. The computer had finished booting up. Alex keyed in his login and instead of seeing his desktop, he was greeted with an animated picture of two bears mating.
“Brad. Just… stop, ok?” Alex addressed his monitor. Suddenly the face of the company’s IT guy appeared in place of one bear’s face. It turned to look at him.
“What’s up, Alex? Did you have a problem you wanted to report to IT? A technical issue of some kind?”
“There’s two bears fucking on my screen.”
“What? Oh, well look at that! You’re right! How about this? Does this fix it?”
The video of ursine copulation was replaced with one of a more porcine nature. Brad’s face danced across the screen before settling on the head of the male pig. After a few seconds, the bears were back, replaced quickly with the pigs again. Brad’s eyebrows waggled suggestively, but his expression became mock serious.
“What do you think? Is it better like this? Or like this?”
Alex heaved his third heavy sigh of the morning and contemplated going for another walk.