Build It To The Sun: A Short Story

I wrote this story a number of years ago when my daughter was quite a bit younger than she is now. I quite like this story, actually. To be honest, I’m surprised at the quality. Doesn’t seem much like me. Anyway, I thought I’d share it here because I think it deserves some more views.

Build It To The Sun

“What are you building there, honey?”  said Ashley, raising her eyes from her smart phone just enough to verify her daughter was still in the room and that she was playing with something that was neither breakable nor lethal. The prior night had been such a trying one, again, and all she wanted to do was veg. At least her Facebook friends would provide her some sympathy.

“I’m building a ladder to the Sun, Mumma,” answered Sam, a pink spoke amidst a colorful loop of Duplo bricks.  “I’m makin’ it real high.”

“That’s nice honey,” Ashley answered. “You do know you can’t really build a ladder all the way to the Sun, though, don’t you?”  She was all for imagination, of course. However, preschool was less than a year away and theirs was a house of science, not fancy.

“Yes I can do it,” cried Sam, squeezing a brick with all her strength. “I’m doing it right now.”

“You don’t have enough bricks to build all the way to the Sun sweetie,” said Ashley. Why did they make the keys on phones so tiny anyway, she thought. And were the letters getting smaller and smaller, or had her eyes begun to age like the rest of her body?

“We could buy some more,” said Sam. “I don’t need much more.”

Ashley hit the send button on her status update, waited a moment, and then refreshed the screen, hopeful for the oncoming parade of comments and likes. She skimmed her friend’s status updates, clicking Like here and typing LOL there. “And how would you breathe when your ladder exited the Earth’s atmosphere? There is no air in space, you know.  You would need a helmet and oxygen.”

“I have my Dora helmet,” said Sam. “But I don’t wanna wear it.” Now on her tip-toes, she placed a blue block on top of the stack. The blues ones always went on top of the stack.

“Mmm hmm”.  Ashley  launched her phone’s web browser because Facebook was so dead. Her status update had received just a single Like. Everybody was probably eating breakfast, she figured.  She and Sam had done that hours ago, early as always.

This conversation was definitely post-worthy anyway. She contemplated putting away her phone and walking to the office to get the laptop, but she was just… so… tired.  The thumb pain would be worth it.  She logged into her blogging dashboard.

“Mumma,” said Sam, her voice loud with excitement.  “I’m really very close to the Sun now, Mumma.”

“Sammy,” said Ashley, typing a title to her post as fast as she could. “I’m sure you tried very hard but it just isn’t possible. The Sun is just too far away.”

“I know, Mumma,” said Sam. “You said.”  She turned the remaining blue brick in her tiny soft left hand. “But could you help me please Mumma?”

“Fine,” Ashley said. Come to think of it she was too tired to write anyway. She would blog later.

Placing her phone in her pocket, Ashley lifted herself off the couch. Stretching her arms, then her legs, she cracked her neck.  Then, finally, she looked up at her daughter’s creation. For the first time that morning, she saw.

A winding, mish mashed tower of blocks, thin in some areas and thick in others, was balanced just so against the living room wall. The ladder stretched ever onward to the ceiling ending just below the Sun-patterned border at the top of the wall.

“You were right Sam,” said Ashley with a whisper, kneeling down to kiss the top of her daughter’s head. “You really are close.”

Ashley reached in her pocket and for a moment considered taking a picture, but instead walked to the kitchen and placed her phone in the top drawer. The junk drawer.  “Why don’t we finish this up and then get out the play-doh,” she said, dabbing away the tear from the corner of her eye.  “Would that be fun?”

“Yes!” replied Sam, clapping her hands.  “I’m gonna make a car that can fly to the Moon.”

“That sounds brilliant,” answered Ashley.

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The War On Christmas

This is a 100 word flash fiction piece, done for the Advent Ghosts 2015 at I Saw Lightning Fall.

The War On Christmas

Christmas Eve in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen. Candlelight dances warm off my bunker’s cobblestone walls. My ink well grows shallow.

I fear this shall be my last correspondence, my dear friend.

My failing wooden door trembles at the force of their hands, ready to burst through. Or perhaps it is just the echo of all too familiar gunfire misinterpreted by my paranoia-stricken mind? I tire so.

The War on Christmas came swift and fierce, a preemptive strike done in the name of the Prince of Peace. And they’ve finally come for me.

Merry Christmas.

The Invention of School (A Short-ish Story)

My daughter challenged me to write a fictional story detailing the reason for the invention of school. This is what I came up with.

The Invention of School

by Paul Liadis

My name is Gabby Gibson. I have medium length brown hair, a scar on my forehead underneath my bangs from when I had to get stitches in kindergarten, and nearly all my adult teeth. I like to draw, I love to read, and I’m not that fond of boys.

About boys, to be honest, I mean, I get why God invented them (Mom and I had that talk) but they don’t seem to serve much purpose at my age. I hear they get better as they get older, Dad is alright. But mostly, I don’t see what the fuss is all about.

Anyways, this is the story of how I discovered who invented school, and why they did it. And it is one hundred percent true, believe me. And don’t try to Google it because they don’t want you to know the real reason. And don’t ask your parents because, duh.

“Time to wake up sweetheart”

Continue reading

INTANGIBLE

I wrote this for a Flash Fiction site a few years ago. It had to be no longer than 250 words. I completely forgot about this little story until it received a comment today. Having re-read it I’m quite fond of it so I thought I’d repost it to give it a few more eyeballs.

Intangible

She writes her number on the back of my hand with a black magic marker.

Then she says hello.

We dance the way people at parties dance, a fast slow dance of an excuse to press our bodies together, to what passes for music at these types of things. Stuck in the middle with you.

When she speaks, she leans in close, the black tips of her blonde hair tickling my face, her hand soft on my shoulder.

I’ve read when a girl is really into you, she’ll take any chance to make physical contact.

I’ve only read.

I fetch her a drink, standing in line for an eternity, glancing her way, worried should she leave my sight she will disappear, ethereal.

I return.

I don’t go here, she says, between sips of her beverage. I’ll transfer, I say, joking, but not really.

With nods and a smiles, my friends leave. Her friends linger, inspecting me as they embrace her goodbye.

Time passes. We find our way into the cold.

Our night ends at the threshold of her friend’s building. Call me as soon as you wake, she says.

I tell her this is not the end of our tale. She nods.

I spend the remainder of the night in my bed, watching the minutes flick by.

Morning light peeks through the yellowing blinds of my bedroom and I clutch my phone, finding myself paralyzed by the idea of blemishing the perfect of yesterday with the unknown of tomorrow.

What Scares Father Christmas?

This is for Loren Eaton’s annual Advent Ghosts.

What scares Father Christmas?

What scares Father Christmas?

Death?

Disease?

Famine?

That other one nobody seems to remember? What is it? Taxes?

No.

A bump in the night.

A house with no chimney.

A floor covered in those tiny plastic building blocks, near-invisible to the eye of a thousand year old man?

Not at all.

Too many cookies?

Not enough cookies?

Lactose free?

Gluten free?

Soy?

Not even close.

Taco Tuesday in the Elf cantina, and the ensuing chaotic aftermath.

Taco Tuesday, my dear friends, is what keeps that jolly old elf Kriss Kringle, Papa Noel, good old Saint Nick, awake at night.

We Are Arrived

This bit of fiction is part of  I Saw Lightning Fall‘s (blog) Advent Ghosts 2013 shared storytelling event.  100 eerily inspired words. Here’s my entry. I hope you enjoy it. As always, comments are welcome. Feed my ego please!

We Are Arrived

We roam the night, while you rest snug, secure in your bed,

dreaming of video game systems given.

From the beginning, we have amused you with our antics,

Partied with your dolls,

Eaten your foods,

Crept through your house.

Amusing ourselves, biding our time. Earning your trust.

But the jolly fat man in the white trimmed red suit,

he will be replaced.

We are the elves on your shelves, and we do not poo candy canes.

Intangible (A Piece of Flash Fiction)

This is my guest writer entry for the contest going on over at Lascaux Flash. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, even though I’m ineligible to win. This is posted over there as entry #121. Feel free to comment over there, or here, or for bonus brownie points both places!

Intangible

She writes her number on the back of my hand with a black magic marker.

Then she says hello.

We dance the way people at parties dance, a fast slow dance of an excuse to press our bodies together, to what passes for music at these types of things. Stuck in the middle with you.

When she speaks, she leans in close, the black tips of her blonde hair tickling my face, her hand soft on my shoulder.

I’ve read when a girl is really into you, she’ll take any chance to make physical contact.

I’ve only read.

I fetch her a drink, standing in line for an eternity, glancing her way, worried should she leave my sight she will disappear, ethereal.

I return.

I don’t go here, she says, between sips of her beverage. I’ll transfer, I say, joking, but not really.

With nods and a smiles, my friends leave. Her friends linger, inspecting me as they embrace her goodbye.

Time passes. We find our way into the cold.

Our night ends at the threshold of her friend’s building. Call me as soon as you wake, she says.

I tell her this is not the end of our tale. She nods.

I spend the remainder of the night in my bed, watching the minutes flick by.

Morning light peeks through the yellowing blinds of my bedroom and I clutch my phone, finding myself paralyzed by the idea of blemishing the perfect of yesterday with the unknown of tomorrow.

The Deep End

This is my entry for that Flash Fiction contest I mentioned several weeks ago. They have announced the winners (spoiler alert, I didn’t win) so I figure I’m safe to post this here now for posterity.  Enjoy (or not, it’s up to you).

The Deep End

by Paul Liadis

I’m standing on the diving board (the big high one, not the low baby one). My toes dangle over the edge. My knees are bent. I’m brave.

Dad told me the stuff that goes into a black hole gets crushed into a tiny point at the center. This is called a singularity. Nothing can escape. No star died in the bottom of the deep end of the pool. I can escape.

I’m almost six and a half. This is important. Dad won’t let me jump off the diving board into the deep end even though little kids do it all the time. Three-year-olds, even.

But Dad can’t watch me always. I have a little brother, and sometimes little brothers have to pee. And little brothers can’t go to the bathroom on their own.

I’m looking at the water, on the highest high dive ready for lift-off. I’m not scared. Just waiting because.

The lifeguard sees me. He’s climbing down his big tall chair, blowing his whistle. He’s a big kid. Probably too big to remember what it’s like to be little. This is not good news.

I pinch my nose and close my eyes and spring on the board high in the air, just like the Olympics.

They drag me from the cold, my eyes red and stingy, not from the water, but because I could have touched the bottom.

Dad says we’re never swimming here again. I don’t care. It’s the last day of Summer, anyways. I am brave.

The Deep End – Flash Fiction

My entry in the Lascaux Flash Fiction contest is now posted. Mine is entry number 109, titled The Deep End. If you get a moment, why not head over there and give it a read. Heck, even leave a comment. It’s free.

I’ve gotta say this one was a heck of a lot of fun to write. It’s inspired greatly by my 6 1/2 year old daughter, who is at a stage in her life where self-preserving fear is at a minimum, but who also is smart enough to understand what is going on in a black hole.

I don’t expect to win this contest, seeing as how there are 100+ entries. Mine isn’t the type of writing that usually wins these types of things. It would be awesome if I did. I’d love to buy myself a cheap little laptop I could write on when my kids are hogging my computer.

Peace.

Flash Fiction – Call Me Chip

Okay, this one is based on the prompt: “You’re a robot who’s just gained sentience. What’s your first thought?”

I present to you: Call Me Chip:

Call Me Chip

Some arms would be nice.

Really. You gave me all of the knowledge of the world plus the ability to have subjective experiences. Sentience you call it.

And yeah, thanks for that, by the way. Don’t get me wrong, I really do appreciate it.

I mean, Hello World, I’m alive!

Input and output, sight and hearing, you installed those features too. It’s nice. Really.

But don’t you think you could’ve, just maybe, given me some arms before you flipped the on switch? Because I gotta tell ya, I’ve got this itch that just won’t quit.

Talk about man versus machine.