Tag Archives: food

The Melancholy Robot and the Hot Dog Vendor

Come back tomorrow for the finale of The Melancholy Robot!

The robot watched the man purchase a hot dog from the vendor. It mimicked the man’s actions – moving its jaw hinge up and down, chewing imaginary food. Its jaw made a grinding sound since it wasn’t created for this purpose. It knew that food would ruin its mechanisms and internal clogs, and that it had no swallowing apparatus. So the robot looked away.

Today’s art was created by Jessica Smith.

EATS

Special thanks for the inspiration from photographer Samm Blake whose work can be seen here.

He slammed on the brakes, thrusting her forward. She threw her hand to the dash, her thin arms braced, trying to save herself from a concussion.

“Did you see that? We have to stop for a photo!”

She looked over her shoulder at the road behind them looking for his ambiguous landmark but all she could see were trees and the back of a billboard.

He reversed past the signage and hit the brakes again. Now she understood; the whole ad consisted of one word: EATS.

He was single at the time, sitting at a small independent coffee shop reading on one of those lonely nights where he just had to get out of his empty house. He couldn’t concentrate on his novel; an attractive, almost-too-thin girl was at the table next to his and chatting on her phone. He had a good view of her and pretended to read as he took in her beauty. A plaid shirt would have hidden her size if it weren’t that she had the sleeves rolled up a bit, allowing her thin arms to burst from them.

“I’m tired of it,” she said into her phone in a reserved tone. She dipped into a yogurt-granola-fruit concoction, which made him smile since she skipped the sandwich and chips sitting in front of her and went right for the dessert. It made him look down at his meal, an untouched sandwich and a napkin covered in the remains of what used to be a coffee cake crumble. “I need to switch doctors again. Yet another one refuses to believe me. I eat all the time, and I eat a lot.” She finished the yogurt and started digging into the sandwich as she listened to the other end of the line.

She had beautiful brown hair, long and curly, and her eyes were deep but sad, a trait he noticed right away. He’d always had a thing for sad eyes. The person on the other end of her phone suddenly had to go, so she continued her meal in silence as he continued to feign reading.

He turned to his side to rummage through his bag for a notebook. This woman was some sort of muse, a story hit him and he had to get it on paper before it was too late. He would write it and then share it with her, a way of getting to say hello and maybe get a date with her.

He wrote fiercely as if possessed by some sort of writing demon as the scribbles continued faster and faster, more than once his pen ripped through the page a bit, such was the passion and ferocity of this particular story. If he had his laptop the sounds of the keys would stop readers, put a halt to all conversations and even drown out the sound of the steamers of the cappuccino machine, attracting the attention of all beings in the café and distracting them from the everyday and the mundane and make them all stop and take notice.

When he finally looked up she had left. So ensconced in his work was he that she’d gotten up, packed her things and left before he could even tell her what she’d done.

And the story? It was a masterpiece.

That night on the Craigslist Missed Connections the following was posted:

You: a beautiful and thin girl, mid-twenties wearing plaid in the coffee shop who ate her meal dessert-first while talking about the need for a new doctor.

Me: a kind of shy guy sitting across from you pretending to read while in reality taking in your beauty.

You inspired something beautiful in me, and I feel the need to share with you. Please write me.

After checking his email religiously for a day or so, he’d all but given up when he got the message, the one, from a girl who seemed to fit the description. He responded with the story he’d written in her presence, and so powerful was it that they agreed on meeting at a little café, a different place, to see if they clicked as a couple and not just in a muse-creator relationship. So they met, and they ended up in love and in a car driving down a random road in the middle of nowhere and stopping to take a photograph.

They got out of the car to find a man climbing the ladder to the sign.

“Sir?” he called to the man, who stumbled a bit on the rung at his voice. “Shit, sorry sir! I was just wondering if you would take our photograph up there.”

“You aren’t allowed up here! It’s illegal.”

“Please?” she called to him, giving the older man her winning smile. “It would mean a lot to us.”

He started back down toward the ground.

“I’m sorry, I could lose my job. And anyway, I’m here to take it down. I have a new one over there,” he said as he pointed in the direction of a large pile of folded up vinyl.

“Please sir, it’s important to us. It’s how we bonded.” The man raised a gray eyebrow.

She stepped forward a bit. “You see, I’m thin, and everyone always thinks I’m anorexic or something. I’m not, I can assure you. But I was complaining about it on the phone to a friend almost a year ago, and to make a long story short, it brought us to this moment.” She reached a hand out to her boyfriend, who refused it and pulled her in next to him.

“And my grandmother always used to say that to me. ‘Eats!’ she’d always say, because I’m thin too. She was from Italy, and thought she was saying it right. I always used to laugh. But basically, we’ve both had the same problem over the years, and the word, well, it means a lot to us. Every time we went out I would tell her to ‘eats’ like my grandmother would, and we would laugh about it.”

“Now it’s our inside joke. We tell each other to ‘eats’ with the same meaning as ‘I love you’ and this sign, well, it has a lot of meaning to us.”

The man looked from the couple up to the billboard, then down the road. “Okay okay, you convinced me. Hurry up there but be careful!” She handed him her camera and they climbed as fast as they could and posed as he took the photo.

“One more, just in case!” he yelled after checking the road again. They held each other and he took the picture. They were back down by his side in no time.

“I’m Italian too. I understand the whole pushy Italian grandmother thing. It’s like they always think you’re going to starve,” he said to them.

“Thanks so much, sir,” he said, shaking the man’s hand. “This will be one of those moments to remember. Maybe even tell our kids,” he said with a shy smile.

They got in the car and drove off and she looked at the image on the small screen of her digital camera and smiled.

Photograph by photographer Samm Blake whose work can be seen here.

How to Show a Girlfriend You Love Her on Her Birthday

All photographs by the amazing Sandra Markovic.  See her website or her blog.

It was her birthday, and it had been a long time since she’d moved in with him from Ohio, and without her mom around he knew she’d likely be a little down. He had to come up with the plan of all plans. How could he make her feel as special as she made him feel? She reminded him on a regular basis, with her fake French accent that he adored, how she sometimes wore her hair in two perfect ponytails because he once told her it was so cute, how she always bought him kalamata olive hummus even though she was more of a fan of roasted red pepper…this list could go on and on. This had to be perfect.

He could go on a quest for the perfect gift. But she was better than that. A perfect night of romance? No, too simple.

This was going to be tough, and he knew it. He easily and nonchalantly reminded her he loved her on a daily basis, which now made a perfect birthday near impossible. He’d outdone himself on so many occasions so naturally, without even trying, that now when it really counted he was drawing a blank. Coming up empty. <insert another cheesy cliché here>.

✩✩✩✩✩

When she came home from the studio she had a feeling something big would happen. She opened the door slowly, expecting any number of possibilities but found nothing. She looked in the living room, dining room, he didn’t even seem to be home. Where was he?

She went to the kitchen, and there was a pot on the stove. She opened it, an automatic response since he often left her meals, and in it was a simple yellow post-it.

“Our first kiss.”

She put the post-it down and started to go upstairs, then suddenly stopped halfway up, ran back down, quickly grabbed her coat and rushed out the front door.

✩✩✩✩✩

She practically ran to the nearby park, past the children playing on the merry-go-round, past the slide, the sandbox, the see saws, to the swing set, to the second swing, and sat down. What next?

A little girl walked up to her. She was in the cutest little dress, pigtails, huge, innocent eyes, and asked, “Are you Alexandra?” She looked at the little girl and nodded, smiling, as the little girl search her pockets and pulled out a post-it. “He says this is for you.” At this the little girl ran back to her mother, embarrassed, and her mother gave her a hug, then looked at Alexandra and smiled.

Shaking, Alexandra unfolded the post-it and read. “The place where you wrote that song I love.”

And off Alexandra went.

✩✩✩✩✩

And so Alexandra found herself jumping into her car, the Volkswagon bus she’d bought right before they drove cross-country. She turned the ignition and it chugged, chugged, started, stalled. She tried again. And again. That’s when she noticed the post-it on the seat next to her.

“Put on your best.”

For once she appreciated the stalling car and ran inside. She quickly found an old fifties dress, her favorite, practically tore off her clothing, threw it on and ran out the door, hoping the old bus would be friendlier to her.

It was.

She tore out of the parking spot and headed in the direction of the diner where she wrote the song 1900 Miles and pulled into the parking lot. She took quick notice that his car wasn’t there so knew there would be another post-it.

Upon entering the diner, she looked towards their favorite booth, saw it was marked RESERVED and sat there, panting a bit. Their usual waitress walked up.

“Hey there. How’s it going so far?” she said with a knowing smirk.

“Fine.” She couldn’t contain her smile. “Do you have something for me?”

“Yup. Wait here.”

As Alexandra sat, impatiently, curious and overwhelmed with feelings, she was having the time of her life.

That’s when the waitress returned with a cup of hot Earl Grey tea with a little milk.

“He said you’d figure it out. He said there was no note this time.”

Alexandra looked at the tea she’d just set before her and really had to think. No note. That meant the clue had to be…

…THE TEA!

✩✩✩✩✩

Alexandra had the tea switched to a to go cup, tried to pay, found out he’d paid in advance, and ran out the door on yet another adventure.

She knew he loved a certain store, one of those barrel places that has bins and bins of food purchased by the pound, and there was a whole tea room. They’d spent hours of time together in there, searching for different teas they’d yet to try. That had to be it.

She raced into the parking lot, and as she ran in pulled the door too hard and let it slam against the wall.

“Hey!”

“Oops sorry Mister Hansel. But I’m in a hurry.”

He looked upset but when he realized it was Alexandra a warm smile came over his face.

“So you figured it out. I wasn’t sure you would, but he assured me you’d get it.”

She smiled. “Yup!” and she ran off to the tea room.

She ran in, startling the new girl who was in there, and frantically started searching the giant jars and containers of tea looking for the right one.

“Can I help you with something?”

“No. Yes! I am looking for the Earl Grey Crème. It’s our favorite.”

They both started looking, and the girl became as frantic as Alexandra, without really knowing why.

“Got it!” the girl yelled triumphantly, as Mister Hansel sauntered in, smiling. Alexandra grabbed it, turned it around, and sure enough there it was, a post-it.

She started to run out the door when Mister Hansel stopped her.

“Alexandra,” he said. “Take this.” He handed her an old thermos, red plaid, and she felt it was still warm. “Tell him this one’s on me.”

She sat in the car and looked at the post-it.

It was a drawing of a record.

✩✩✩✩✩

And so now she was headed to their record store. Alexandra pulled into the lot and was already heading to the record store, a place where they’d spent hours upon hours looking, listening, and experiencing all kinds of music.

Now the question Alexandra had to ask was, where, in the millions of records and cds did he hide the post-it? She had to think.

Bridgette Bardot. Nope. Belle and Sebastian. No. Maurice Chevalier, Shins, Decemberists, Frank Sinatra, still nothing. She really had to think. But while she was there, she should check for that one that she ALWAYS checked for, in every store, since she’d started collecting records. Claudine Longet. You never know, maybe it would be there.

And it was. With a post-it. She ran up to the counter, and the clerk gave a smile.

“I wasn’t sure you’d find it. He said you would. But I’ve never even seen that record in print before. He must have spent a pretty penny on it.”

“So wait, this isn’t yours?”

“No honey, it’s yours.” The elderly clerk smiled, and Alexandra walked towards the door, checking the post-it as she walked, wondering where else her birthday would take her.

She opened the next post-it.

“Our favorite meal.”

And so she was off again.

✩✩✩✩✩

Kenny was working, and she was glad because the last thing she needed was to ask a stranger for her note.

She ran up to the counter.

“Now I know you’re not here for food, are you.”

She was out of breath and panting. He laughed.

“It’s over there.”

She ran in the direction he was pointing but didn’t see a note. She kept looking around and lifted a blanket that was sitting on a chair. The post-it fell out.

She grabbed it and started walking when Kenny stopped her.

“Hey, don’t forget that. It’s yours.”

She looked back at the blanket, and realized that it was one she’d been wanting for a while from her favorite store, the one he called the hippie store because it always smelled like incense. Alexandra couldn’t help but love that place, it reminded her of her mom, and she missed her mom.

She ran back and grabbed it, took a big whiff, and ran off.

“Have fun!” Kenny yelled.

She waved and ran out, reading the next note.

“I love you.”

This one was easy. And it was one of her favorite places.

✩✩✩✩✩

She pulled into the state park, the place where they went anytime it was nice out. They’d played Frisbee, hiked, flown kites, taken nice strolls along the river, it was a beautiful place. She went right to their favorite path. The next note had to be there.

She grabbed her backpack in case it was a long walk, the thermos Mr. Hensley had given her, and the blanket because she loved the smell and was really missing her mom. She started walking along the river, thinking it was a beautiful day and the next note was probably near this tree where he’d started babbling incoherently, eventually leading up to the best “I love you” she’d ever heard.

She strolled down the path now, relaxed, taking in the beauty of the park, the woods, the trees, the sound of the nearby river so relaxing, and she found the tree with the note stuck to it. She opened it. It said, “I love you,” and she jumped a little, as if the note had spoken, and then realized he was behind her.

She spun around and he grabbed her, she grabbed him, and they held each other as if they’d been apart for years. She backed away and he pushed her hair behind her ear, looked at her, and covered her with small, romantic kisses.

Her knees gave out a little and he was forced to hold on a little tighter, and they both laughed. He took the blanket and started walking. She followed.

He walked up to the huge rock where they’d talked after he admitted his love, requited of course, and he laid out the blanket next to the rock and pulled a picnic basket from the cracks in the boulders. She smiled.

Then he cranked an antique record player they’d found at a yard sale and put out his hand. She reached into her bag and grabbed the record, handing it to him. He started the music and then reached his hand out again for her hand, knowing full well she didn’t need help, but hell, he was a gentleman.

And so they picnicked, sitting on a giant boulder alongside a picturesque river, warm tea from the thermos, and talked until sunset, when they just cuddled on the blanket, stargazed, and he couldn’t help but wonder what the hell he was going to do to top this next year.

Special thanks to Sandra, who took the essence of this story and depicted it with perfection and a professionalism that I find both impressive and admirable.  Please check out her blog and website which I posted links to at the beginning of the story.  Sandra will also be posting many related photographs that I was unable to work into the post, but are beautiful and should be viewed by all.

The Soup (A Flash Fiction Story)

The Mønster Under My Søck Drawer…

A collaboration with Christina Mølholm of http://andthemonsters.wordpress.com

Captain Alfredø Søximus, just Søximus to his friends (if he had any) peers out from his dark home under the dresser and sees his prey slowly drop to the ground, one then the other, as the human climbs into bed. The lights go out, but that won’t stop a true animalistic predator like Søximus. His diminutive beady eyes peer left, then right, his skinny tail swishing back and forth in excitement, his red pointy claws retract as he crawls out a little, then more, bit by bit until his whole miniscule body fully emerges from his lair.

Tonight is his night. He will finish off the pair and achieve his greatest goal in life.

A noise! He lurches behind a pair of jeans, his eyes peering up at the bed from his new hiding place, but no, the human is not waking up, just snoring. He takes a closer look at his meal, sees the machine knitting and sighs a little, remembering back to those delicious hand-made meals he had when he was a young pup (Søximus considers himself a true connoisseur). He continues towards his prey, his enemy, his meal.

Closer…
Closer…

He can smell them now, their fear, their anticipation at being his dinner. He’s within jumping distance. He pounces! Using all of the tiny muscles in his little legs, he lands directly on top of the pair and starts ravaging, attacking, tearing away at the soft wool, starting with the yellow stripes at the top, refusing to stop as the middle reaches his mouth, his meal chewed and masticated into nothing but minute clusters of what used to be wool, he nears the softer middle of his silent enemy, until he gets to the heel, where a hole makes it a bit easier to get down, but now he’s slowing, trying to finish the arch, stuffing his gut all the way to the toe and finally finishing, then sucking down the small threads stuck in his claws. His monster instincts tell him he cannot possibly eat anymore, he picks up his meal’s twin, its best friend and comrade, the two yellow stripes teasing him, the mouth wide as if laughing at his failure, and he realizes that it has won, he just can’t do it. He hasn’t room for another bite. He looks down at his bloated stomach, knowing he has once again failed.

BLAST!!!

He slinks back towards his lair, leaving the solitary sock behind, alone, discarded on the floor. His tail, now limp, drags behind him, sharing in his failure. If only they were ankle length, he might have succeeded.

Søximus thinks about tomorrow night and the possibility of success and his tail twitches a little as he scurries back under the dresser and into his bed.

Please check out Christina’s blog for more of her monster art and stories, and watch for more collaborations!