Monday, March 24, 2014

Captain's Log, Day 123: A New Short Story

          This is my latest short story. I decided to see if I could write a short story without any action whatsoever. I cracked up the whole time I was writing it.

Interview with an Immortal

          “So you say you’re over two thousand years old?”
          “Actually, I said I was somewhere in the neighborhood of four thousand, so you’re technically correct.”
          “And you’re immortal?”
          “Never claimed to be immortal. I just haven’t died. Yet. But sure, for the sake of argument, let’s say I’m immortal.”
          “Interesting. So, were you able to see the pyramids being built?”
          “No, they were built before I was born.”
          “Wow. When were you born?”
          “About four thousand years ago. Sorry I can’t narrow it down any further than that—they weren’t very good at the whole dates thing, and besides—y’all keep changing the calendar. Plus, I can’t actually remember.
          “So what were some notable historical events you’ve witnessed?”
          “I’m an unlucky immortal.”
          “How so?”
          “I missed pretty much all of them. Big world. Inopportune timing. Personal stupidity.”
          “Were you around for the sack of Troy?”
          “Sort of.”
          “Sort of?”
          “I was in Troy for a while, but I got bored and snuck out before the Greeks sacked it. I was checking out the Greek ships when they got back. Well, I say checking out…I was going to steal one, but I got caught.”
          “The Greek ships?”
          “Yes. I sailed back with them. By the way…the Odyssey?”
          “Bunch of baloney. Odysseus just had no idea how to navigate. It was physically painful to watch.”
          “Why didn’t you help?”
          “I was TIED TO THE BOW as a FIGUREHEAD. It was humiliating.”
          “So what was the Renaissance like?”
          “Missed it. Sailed with some Vikings over to America in the early thousands and the idiots left me there.”
          “Did you ever go back to Europe?”
          “Yes, I did—just before the Revolutionary War.”
          “What was the Revolutionary War really like?”
          “I dunno. I sailed to Europe right before that, remember? Missed that too!”
          “Maybe you can settle some historical conflict. Was King Arthur a real person?”
          “I’m pretty sure he was. I mean, I remember overhearing some things—“
          “Yeah, I fell down a well in Britain. Got stuck there for about a hundred years. Locals thought I was an enchanted well. The cussing really should have tipped them off.”
          “Before the Viking trip?”
          “Yeah—by the time I got out, I wanted to get off that stupid island.”
          “I can imagine. Well, did you meet Jesus, at least?”
          “NO. I MISSED THAT TOO. I was in Rome at the time, pretending to be Zeus.”
          “It seemed like a good idea at the time, okay?”
          “Um…okay. How long were you in Rome?
          “Until they got the Colosseum up and running. I left after they kept forcing me to get stabbed by various gladiators.”
          “Ouch. Then what?”
          “I don’t remember much for the next few hundred years. I think it was because I got stuck on the outskirts of Pompeii. I remember getting dug out…then I tried to travel to China.”
          “Did you make it?”
          “No. I’m still not sure where I made a wrong turn, but that’s how I wound up in Britain.”
          “Then America, then back to Europe…what did you do then?”
          “Went to France. Worked in a mine for a while before it collapsed on me.”
          “When was this?”
          “Right before the French Revolution.”
          “When did you get out?”
          “Right AFTER the French Revolution. Missed that too.”
          “Well, at least you saw the moon landing, right?”
          “NO, I was in jail.”
          “For what?”
          “Trying to sneak in to the launch site to get a good seat for the liftoff. Do we have to relive all of this?”
          “I guess not. So why are you applying for this program?”
          “I want to get off the planet. See the sights. Explore the universe.”
          “And maybe change my luck a little.”
          “Well…I have some bad news.”
          “What, didn’t pass my physical?”
          “No, you passed with flying colors. It’s just…well, the government took an interest. Since you can’t die, they’d like to run some tests.”
          “I’d rather they not—“
          “You don’t have a choice. Look on the bright side—you could be the cure of all of humanity’s physical ailments!”
          “You have GOT to be kidding me.”
          “Also, there’s another good thing.”
          “It’s the 21st century. We can play the TV footage of the first interstellar launch to your lab so you won’t miss another historic moment!”
          “…I hate you.”

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