• Short Stories for NonVerbal

    Enemy Mine

    The gull stared into the beady, gold-rimmed eyes of its foe, its own expression one of intense disgust. It dove forward, beak slicing the air with pinpoint precision - but the blow, meant to pierce white feathers, clinked loudly and slid aside at the last moment. The gull stabbed again and again, infuriated by the realization that its target was doing the same, but each time its attacks were repelled by an unseen force. Despite its bravery the gull feared it might never succeed, and was only heartened by the fact that its hated enemy looked just as crestfallen.

    Smallest to Tallest

    The giraffes stood, single-file, from smallest to tallest, in front of the bathroom door. Derek paused, one hand still on the doorknob, eyes darting from one wood-sculpted animal to the next. A bead of sweat trickled down his forehead. The giraffes did not comment on his confusion, and Derek, though inconvenienced, did not dare move them back to their original positions around his apartment.

    All Things Being Equal

    The CEO pulled in over three-hundred thousand dollars a year. He ruled over a company of peons two-hundred-and-fifty souls strong, owned two spacious homes, captained his own yacht on the weekends, and had recently dined with a world leader of no small repute. He was a mover and a shaker, a rags-to-riches story worthy of committing even the savviest financial advisor to a blush. The bird pooped upon the CEO's tailored suit anyway, unimpressed.

    One Yellow Balloon

    When the little girl released the balloon its heart sank as its latex body soared into the air. It saw her surprised, tear-filled eyes for only a moment before it rose above the tree line, above the roof of the deli where the little girl had been eating lunch, above webs of radio antennae and cellular towers, above the flight of birds and the tips of kites, above, above, above. The town below appeared first as a spill of building blocks, then as a simple, brown-and-white blob, nestled in a sea of verdant, mottled green. The gentle gradation of the sky welcomed the balloon, pulling it from blue to white to black. It was a simple spot of yellow against the swirl of the universe, and it ascended to whatever heaven awaited lost souls.


    The radio lay on the table, silent, unused, for a long time. Dust coated its scratched plastic window like snow, obscuring the cheery red needle stuck halfway between 92 and 94. Two batteries lay beside it, so close to the radio's vacant, plastic port that one lazy spring almost touched the flat cap of the left battery's lonely head. Their relationship was electric, but every day the batteries lost more of their spark - and, in time, the radio's fervent wish to sing a song of love died a little more.

    Where is he going?

    "Pants, check. Shirt, check. Socks, check. Underwear, check. Second set of underwear, check. Fedora, check. Wading boots, check. Trench coat, check. Wallet, check. Possum buddy, check. Novelty foam hand, check. Customized Dora the Explorer backpack, check. Medical note from my father, check. Elongated fingernails, check. Whipping cream, check. Pointed stick, check. Signed photograph of Herman Melville, check. Stupefied pigmy assistant, check. Depraved sense of self-worth, check. Half-finished colouring book that has blood in it for some reason, check. Sixty-two inch flatscreen LCD with optional cup holder, check. Empty tube of toothpaste that I've somehow filled with cooking oil, check. Ancient societal grudge against the Mi'kmaq nation, check. Cellular phone, check. Okay, let's get going!"

    Thievery and a Drippy Nose

    It was no secret that Old Man Taylor had won the lottery the week before, and he'd happily proclaimed, crazy codger that he was, that he'd never store his riches in the bank. He didn't believe in such unpredictable institutions, not after the great market crashes of the past. So when the two burglars broke into his house one early Sunday morning, shortly after Taylor left for church, they thought for certain that they'd find his fortune ready and waiting to be stolen. Search though they might, however, they discovered nothing in his house but stacks of old magazines, heaps of disgusting used tissues and a bed so hard on the back that it would break the average man's spine after a night's rest. They left, disappointed, a few filched magazines their only prizes... and when Old Man Taylor came home and found his front door broken open, he grabbed three wadded tissues from one of his many garbage bins and removed the $1,000 bills secreted inside. This, he thought, should be enough to cover the damage.

    The Cutoff

    I can't find the damn plug, but that's okay! I'm almost done! My laptop will endure regardless! This is the last entry I have to make on this stupid spreadsheet, and then I'll be finished. For good. The project will be OVER, and I can move onto better things. You can't scare me, two percent battery life! All I need to do is hit save! Ha ha! Victory is MI


    Raj had always known, instinctively, that he should shut down his computer properly. Today, though, he was too busy - he had reports to finish, a meeting to attend, Christmas presents to buy - and he just wanted out of the office. So he hit the master switch and watched as the computer screen went dark. And then, to his surprise, so, too, did the lights above. And the lights down the hall from his office. The street lamps dimmed and exploded, cars swerved out of control and smashed, people knelt, clutched their heads and screamed, the earth rose and fell, storms erupted to life and assaulted the heaving planet, and, in a moment of absolute destruction, the universe reached out its invisible hand and squeezed, popping Earth in two and sucking both crumbling halves into a black hole so large that it would, in time, engulf existence itself. Life and death moaned, because one had lost all her players, and the other was overwhelmed with demise.

    All because Raj hadn't shut down his computer properly.


    At 78 years old, laying on his death bed, Jerry Toll thought back on his life. He thought of his stint in the war, of his time as the manager of a successful company, even of the creation of his blessed children, now grown and bearing children of their own. But that was not enough to keep Jerry happy, and as he slipped into oblivion, surrounded by weeping loved ones, he thought of the one mark of an important man that he would, forever, lack: his own Wikipedia page.

    The Internet

    One day, Sandra Krewsky lost her mind. Nobody now knows why, but it happened - and when it did, Sandra decided to look at every page on the Internet, insisting that she wouldn't eat, drink, sleep or even use the washroom until the job was done. Traps set in her house stalled worried family members, and by the time they trounced the alligator guarding her bedroom door - it managed to snap her neighbour's finger clean off before going down - Sandra was already lost… though the look of despair carved in her waxen features, and the cat video running repeat on her flickering computer screen, told them everything they needed to know. She'd seen too much. She'd learned that the Internet played for keeps.