First world problems (Loosely tied pieces of edgy flash fiction)

Published by Mackers in the blog Mackers's blog. Views: 225

First world problems, you know? On Saturday past I cut my lawn because the grass was growing to a frankly unacceptable threshold length. I went to the dump and put all the grass in a big compost heap. I then clipped my hedges when I got back. I suppose when I was in the region of one third of the way through this endeavour, I was struck with what people commonly term an epiphany. The clouds spread apart like a great big blasphemous woman spreading her legs, with the sun coming cascading down to penetrate into the very depths of my meagre soul and it carried a message. The message said:

-You’re clueless, aren’t you?

And normally with epiphanies helpful knowledge is bestowed on the recipient, who leaves feeling enriched and fulfilled at the experience. On reflection this message didn’t really tell me anything, it just pointed something out. I don’t even know if it’s an epiphany then. Like the message said: I’m clueless.


Bernie Morgan decided early-on she wasn’t going to embark on a redemptive ‘journey’ across fabled lands. She was happy enough where she was, in her mortgaged semi-detached cocoon. She lived in a street of fifteen semi-detached houses, on the edge of a dead industrial town. She decided to create her own quest of human fulfilment, on her own terms. She would reach the front gate of her house, survey both ends of the street, feel flummoxed, and go back indoors.

See, her life was complex: plagued by depression and the lack of energy brought on by its treatment, it was tough sustaining a forty year determination to stay out of a job. Filling in the forms for her disability living allowance was causing her great disquiet, given the government’s renewed commitment to rooting out benefit cheats. Bernie was forced to up the stakes and one day went into the doctors wearing nothing but a bathrobe and slippers, with the sole aim of pissing herself in front of the doctor to maximise the shock value. It worked.

To say she was ‘happy enough’ was perhaps a bit misleading. She was quite obviously a disturbed individual whose depths of depravity knew no bounds. She was in the process of building an animal refuge centre based in her own home in response to regular menopausal twinges. With every hot flush, she would buy a new dog. She had so far procured six fluffy little balls of joy that would run around her house, shitting all over the place, barking at neighbours, and those balls of fluff would give her strength, despite one being terribly obese with heart problems.


Human beings are attracted to symmetry; symmetry of their cars, their faces, their houses. I share this ideal with my fellow man. We should not tolerate that which veers off to the left on a person's face, and if we do we should at least make it the subject of ridicule. Look at that snout of mine...What genetics spawned this monstrosity? I telescope in on it in the mirror; the pores look like strawberry seeds. Mmm, that would be nice with a bit of cream. Strawberry and double-whipped sugary freshness. Now I'm self-conscious. There's people in the world starving and I'm worrying about the symmetry of my nostrils. How mad is that? First-world problems...If you don't like something about yourself you should get it hacked off. Me me me, my chronic pursuit of individualism which is symbolic of Satan. SPANK ME YOUR MAJESTY, I'VE MISBEHAVED


There was a guy with a big nose who got on the bus the other day and he sat down to the right of me. I had to get off my seat. I was like a zombie. I tapped him on the shoulder.

-Yes? He asked.

I looked at him with intense curiosity and tenderly placed my hand on his cheek. He had a severe look of worry on his face. I rubbed the whole way down the side of his head until I reached the offending nostril and pinched it for inspection. My brow condensed and with both hands I gripped the outer edges of it with my face gravitating towards his face. When my head was directly opposite the nostril, I tried to wear it like a swimming cap, tunnelling my own head right up inside the thing like an Alice in Wonderland-inspired coal miner. My legs were still connected to the aisle of the bus and with some concerted effort I managed to get both of my arms in one after the other, and then one leg at a time with my right foot using the edge of a seat for leverage. I moved through his nasal cavity into another world. At the end of this tunnel I was greeted by strange and fantastical creatures who worshipped this statuesque artefact day and night which resembled a large penis; they would bemoan its ambivalence; that is of course until I showed up and directed them the light at the end of the nose-tunnel. I told them that if they followed me they’d be on the road to reality. Fetching a flashlight out of my pocket on my way back they stood behind hoking in and around the mucus and finding all sorts of little treasures like lost watches and paper clips. I was swinging from the mucus-infused cilia like Tarzan, embracing the adventure, occasionally letting out a good yodel just to experience the spacious effects of echo in action. At the end we crawled out frantically and dropped down, like soldiers rappelling into a war zone, the fantastic little creatures bombing down the aisle of the bus, taking cover behind parallel seats on either side so they could attack the bus driver.

With a blink of an eye I was back to where I was, looking at the guy. Maybe I shouldn’t be so judgmental, I thought.


If you purge your thoughts of all impurities, what do ye get?

An empty house.

Think of it like removing all the furniture, the rooms are gutted out and what now lies is a shell of a building.

But where's the estate agent?

The floor's been brushed, the fireplace has been given a good wipe. Then the trash is put in the bin. If all that is left is cleanliness and the absence of visible “things”, what is there?

I'll tell ye. Bacteria. Dust and stale air which festers over time. And grows. The purged thoughts grow back, slow and insidious. So's you won't straight away notice it.

But where's the estate agent?

He's having trouble forcing through the sale. Couples usher in and out, misty-eyed about their new domesticated adventure. The couple are newly-married, and the woman heavily-pregnant. They don't like the look of the house, it doesn't inspire them, so they leave and look at other ones.
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