Computer: Error

April 12, 2009 at 11:48 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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He arrived home from school early that day and poured himself a glass of orange juice. He dropped two ice cubes in. He like his juice extra cold. He took his drink to the computer, which was located on a cluttered desk in the corner of the living room. He had been assigned a book report that wasn’t due for another week, but, he thought, why not get a head start? He turned on the computer.

He leaned back and stretched as the machine started up. When he heard the familiar welcoming chime, he double clicked the Internet icon. “Ow!” he exclaimed. Something had stung him on the nape of his neck. He turned around and saw that a large man with a crew cut was standing behind him. He was wearing reflective sunglasses and an all-black suit. He had some sort of gun in his hand. “Who are you?” the boy asked. “How did you get in my house?”

“Son, I’m the United States of America. I’m here for your own safety and protection and to preserve the well being of your compatriots. The sensation you felt on your neck only a moment ago was simply a tracking device I have implanted in you.”

“Why are you tracking me? Did I do something wrong?”

“It’s all very standard procedure, young man.”

“Look mister, I think you may be confused. I’m just a freshman in high school. All I was doing was getting started on my Harry Potter book report.”

The United States of America put his finger in his ear and brought his mouth close to his lapel. “Uh huh, uh huh. I heard that all right, Bill. Harry Potter. Yeah, better mark as suspicious. Possible connection to al-Qaeda. Heretic. Yeah, you got it.” Now the United States of America reverted his attention back to the boy. “Stay out of trouble, son. And remember, we’re only watching you for your own good.” He stared at the boy for another moment, then turned around and disappeared.

The boy was confused. He rubbed his neck and, sure enough, there was a lump where he had been tracked. He didn’t dwell on it much longer as he noticed his e-mail inbox was inundated with messages. He clicked one at the top of the list that had no subject and was from an unknown sender. He felt something move around in his back pocket. He turned around again. This time there was a short, greasy man standing behind him. His hair was slicked back and he had a very thin moustache. He was wearing a maroon, pinstriped suit. “What is going on?” the boy asked, “Now, who are you?” The man was holding the boy’s wallet.

“So I hears yous wants a bigger, eh, tool, huh? No problemo, I can do dat. Alls yas gotta do is give me this fifty dollars here and in maybe a week or twelve, I’ll go ahead and send you some pills or sumthin. Whaddaya say?”

“Hey, that’s my wallet you’ve got there! Give it back to me!”

“Look kid, don’t you want to get that goil of your dreams? No broad is going to want a needledick schmuck like you unless you hand over those fifty clams!”

“I’m not giving you anything!” The boy snatched back his wallet. “Now get out of my house before I call the cops!”

“Whoa, I ain’t trying to be no wise-guy or nothin’, I’m leavin I’m leavin.” He disappeared.

The boy looked back at his computer and noticed that the message that had been up was now deleted. He looked from his monitor to his keyboard back to his monitor. He gave his head a shake and rubbed his eyes with his palms. “What in the world is going on here?” he asked to nobody. Continuing to look through his inbox, he saw a message from his friend Steven. Delighted to receive virtual mail from his chum, he wasted no time in opening it.

“Oh hey whats up its me steven.”

The boy turned around and there he was! “Hey Steven! What are you doing here?”

“Oh nm just chillin. Check out these awesome pix from the party last night lol.”

This confused the boy. Steven had been sick the day before. Not only that, but he had called the boy last night asking for the homework assignment. The boy took a closer look at Steven and noticed his eyes were glossy. Must still be sick, the boy thought. He was curious about this aforementioned party and its awesome pix so he clicked on the link that Steven provided. When he clicked it, Steven twitched, then vanished. The boy’s computer screen turned bright blue. After becoming weary of trying to restart his machine, the boy threw his arms up in defeat. “What is this!”

Somebody, something, responded.

“ѺᗥϡϟᐝЉЉᙰᔒѪՁᓁᕰᓿᐷҦЂҨᖅЋҜӅᐰᖚԃЏᒈᑸᕔᙋЮѨѮѾ҂ҊҖҒҎҸᘟѺ ᗥϡϟᐝЉᙰᔒѪՁᓁᕰᓿᐷҦЂҨᖅЋҜӅᐰᖚԃЏᒈᑸᕔᙋЮѨѮѾ҂ҊҖҒҎҸԆԶᑓԆ ԶᑓᙰᔒᘟѾ҂ҊҖҒҎҸԆԶᑓϟᐝЉᙰᔒѪՁᓁᕰᓿᘟѺᗥϡϟᐝЉᙰᔒѪᘟѺᗥϡϟᐝ ЉᙰᔒѪՁᓁᕰᓿᐷҦᙰᔒᘟѾ҂ҊҖҒҎҸԆԶᑓϟᐝЉᙰᔒѪՁᓁᕰᓿᘟѺᗥϡϟᐝЉ ”

The boy sat facing a static blur. It was a seven foot tall transforming cloud. Every second it was a new shape, a newly unrecognizable image. It gave off a soft, chartreuse, incandescent glow and hummed almost imperceptibly. It was a scary thing, it was.

“Wh-what do you w-want?” the boy faltered. “You better g-get out of my house!”

The shape shifting entity flared up and emitted a digitized beep followed by several low growls. It swiftly moved through the boy and toward the computer’s hard drive.

“ᙰᔒѪᘟѺᗥϡϟᐝЉᙰᔒѪՁᓁᕰᓿᐷҦЂҨᖅЋҜӅᐰᖚԃЏᒈᑸᕔᙋЮѨѮѾ҂ҊҖҒ ҎҸԆԶᑓՁᓁᕰᓿᐷҦЂҨᖅЋҜӅᐰᖚԃЏᒈᑸᕔᙋЮѾ҂ҊҖҒҎҸԆԶᑓᐷҦЂҨᖅЋҜ ӅᐰᖚᘟѺᗥϡϟᐝЉᙰᔒѪՁᓁᕰᓿᐷҦЂҨᖅЋҜӅᐰᖚԃЏᒈᑸᕔᙋЮѨѮѾ҂ҊҖҒ ҎҸԆԶᑓѺᗥϡϟᐝЉЉᙰᔒѪՁᓁᕰᓿᐷҦЂҨᖅЋҜӅᐰᖚԃЏᒈᑸᕔᙋЮѨѮѾ҂ҊҖ ҒҎҸᘟѺᗥϡϟᐝЉᙰᔒѪՁᓁᕰᓿᐷҦЂҨᖅЋҜӅᐰᖚԃЏᒈᑸᕔᙋЮѨѮѾ҂ҊҖҒҎ ,” it said and extended a pseudopod of an extremity and slowly began to seep into the disk drive.

“Someone! Please help me!” the boy called out. This thing was sneaking its way into his computer and there was nothing he could do about it.

All of a sudden, a flaming pile of bricks fell on the nebulous entity. It let out one last shriek before vanishing in a flash of green light. The bricks seemed to be self-aware; they organized themselves into a neat, flaming stack. They emanated a warmth that made the boy feel safe and secure. “Oh, thank you so much,” the boy said. “What can I do to show you my gratitude?”

The flaming bricks flared and spoke:

All you must do is keep your firewall and antivirus software up to date.

And the same goes for all my children out there reading this.


The Top Hat and the Bowler

March 18, 2009 at 6:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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The top hat and the bowler are hanging on an old coat rack in the attic of the playhouse. The top hat sits crooked at the top of the rack while the bowler rests right below it. They are covered in dust and haven’t been used in thirty years. They are deep in discussion.

TOP HAT: You can’t be serious.
BOWLER: Swear to God. It was like walking on air.
TOP HAT: Jesus, that sounds great. How did a whippersnapper like you get a break like that?
BOWLER: Honestly Top, I guess it was just my lucky day. He came in, right, Mr. Big Shot actor and started walking around the stage with these big exaggerated steps, like he was sizing up the joint, and I was watching him from the dressing room.
TOP HOT: Oof, here come the memories, that dressing room . . .
BOWLER: Don’t I know it? Those were the good days, my friend. Anyways, he comes into the dressing room, right, all hoighty toighty, looking around, rubbing some of the costumes between his fingers, really getting a feel of things. And then, get this, he looks over at me.
TOP HAT: No way. He looked at you? Nobody plopped you on him?
BOWLER: Not a soul. So he’s looking at me and he walks over and grabs my rim with not just one, but both hands, and pulls me down over that cascade of silver hair. I tell you, he could have been wearing a silk wig! The guy could have been a mannequin for all I know! His hair was so smooth, slicked back just far enough to cover his neck, ears left free to breathe. Oh I just couldn’t believe my felt!
TOP HAT: Well? Then what happened? I’m dying of suspense over here!
BOWLER: You want to know what happened?
TOP HAT: Lay it on me.
BOWLER: He took me off and turned around and just tossed me over his shoulder—
TOP HAT: He did not.
BOWLER: —like I was some kind of a straw porkpie or something.

The Straw Porkpie who was crammed between the attic wall and a steamer trunk heard this, but said nothing.

Man, that’s rough.
BOWLER: You can say that again.
TOP HAT: I’ll save you the painful reminder. But if you think your story is bad, just wait till you get a hold of mine.
BOWLER: I can’t wait to hear this.
TOP HAT: So there I was, right? Just minding my own business when this little weaselly guy—Fezzini, Martini, Stromboli, something like that—comes in and starts putting his hands all over me.
BOWLER: Oh man, a feeler.
TOP HAT: Yeah, so he’s holding me up, looking at me from all different angles and digging his grimy around in me!
BOWLER: That ain’t right, my friend. That ain’t right.
TOP HAT: So I’m thinking, “this ain’t right.” And you know what happens?
BOWLER: What happens?
TOP HAT: He just stops. After the whole ordeal, all the examining, measuring, inspecting, he just sets me back on the rack. So what am I supposed to think? This Martinifezzinistromboli guy just waltzes in, molests me, then leaves!
BOWLER: What gives!
TOP HAT: I’ll tell you! So the next night is this clown’s show. He’s all gussied up in a tux and everything and he comes and plops me on his greasy top. He walks out, clap clap clap, my name is Strombolinnimartinizinni, take a bow, thank you thank you, and he takes me off and sets me down on a little side table out on the stage. But get this, he drops me off upside down, butt to the sky.
BOWLER: What a freak!
TOP HAT: Then he drapes this velvet sheet on me and everyone claps. Then I feel some sort of tension and a little tumult, and there’s a rabbit. A rabbit, right in me, out of nowhere.
BOWLER: The dust getting to you or something?
TOP HAT: Look, he flung the sheet off me all theatrical-like and pulled that bunny right out of me. Isn’t that something?
BOWLER: It sure is, my friend. Man, the life we used to live. We were so young, so wild. Those were the good old days.

A moth that had been meticulously munching on the Straw Porkpie fluttered over to the Bowler and began to nibble on his rim.

How Various Things Feel About Their Jobs

March 5, 2009 at 12:04 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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VACUUM CLEANER: My job sucks.

THE ACT OF SLURPING: My job kind of sucks.

AIR CONDITIONER: My job blows.

TOILET PAPER: I have a shitty job.

TOILET: Me too.

BROKEN STOOL: I can’t stand my job.

TELESCOPE: I feel distanced from my job.

IGNEOUS STONE: My job rocks.

METAMORPHIC STONE: I beg to differ.

SEDIMENTARY STONE: Both of you are wrong.

HEMORRHOID: My job is a pain in the ass.


DRILL: My job is boring.

PASTRY BURGLAR: My job really takes the cake.

BANK VAULT: My job is safe.

BANK VAULT BURGLAR: My job is unsafe.

COVERS OF AN UNMADE BED: My job relies on you.

INFINITY MACHINE: never-ending—or you could say my job is


ONIONS IN THE PAN WITH THE HEAT OFF: I don’t sweat my job.

PIECE OF CAKE: My job is a piece of cake.

123: My job is easy as abc.

NEUTRON: I do my job free of charge.


CIRCUITRY: My job leaves me feeling wired.

DIRTY DIAPERS: My job leaves me down in the dumps.


Sorry for a few (all) of the really bad puns. I can’t help myself, I love puns. If I were a shtick comedian and I had to discipline someone, I would definitely punish him.

See what I mean? I can’t stop.


March 1, 2009 at 10:39 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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They could never be together in love because they didn’t speak each other’s language.

Oakly saw the outline of her figure fill the horizon as she climbed the hill on which he was situated. “Oh yeah baby,” Oakly said as the woman approached, “you sure know how to sway with those leaves. Oh my, the way you bend your trunk!” The woman’s unruly shock of red hair was the wind’s plaything. It was being flung back and forth, sideways and crossways, inside out and through and through. She kept trying to push it out of her eyes so as to not trip over something hidden in the tall grass, but the wind wasn’t in any position to make things easier for anybody.  As the woman drew closer, Oakly could begin to make out the finer details of her body. “Well I’ll be fertilized!” Oakly said, “She’s bearing cones!” Oakly had noticed her chest. She had on one of those leave-nothing-and-I-mean-nothing-to-the-imagination t-shirts. It was being whipped about by the wind just as much as her hair, but she made no effort to keep her shirt down; every few moments Oakly would get an unobstructed view of her trunk’s knot-hole (though it was too small for any owls to roost in.) She was close enough now for him to make his move. “Oh me, oh my, you conifer types don’t crop up in these parts very often, now do you? Baby, you sweet little sapling, I’d be overjoyed if you’d permit me to take you out for a little air and sun and water. I know just the spot—and hey, if you felt like maybe having a spot of patience (which is a virtue) you could wait till just about the spring equinox. Baby, my pollen ain’t like nothing you’ve ever seen.”

The woman didn’t hear Oakly’s persistent courtship because, of course, they didn’t speak the same language. So the woman went right on and sat beneath Oakly’s huge arms and brushed a handful of her wild mane from her brow. She took off her shoes dug her toes into the cool earth. Oakly misinterpreted this gesture—Taking root! I can’t believe you are already taking root!—and rattled his frame in excitement. A large branch was shaken loose and fell, bouncing down off other branches like a rubber bat. It hit the woman square on the head with a loud snap. Immediately the woman put her hands to her head leaned forward and shouted. This was the first sound Oakly had her make and he couldn’t comprehend a word. After a few moments of rocking back and forth, her hands clutched to her scalp, she leaned back and looked up into Oakly’s tangly body, and expression of disdain visible through her red, wiry mask. “Baby, I am so sorry,” Oakly tried, “My darling, my sweet, please don’t go. It’s just that time of the season! This sort of thing never happens to me, honest! I never ever loose my wood; you’ve got to believe me—it’s that damn wind! He’s always fooling with me and just look what he’s done to your beautiful leaves!”

She took no heed to his apologies and stood, brushed off her posterior, and coldly walked back down the hill. She was muttering under her breath and repeatedly pressing her hand to her scalp then examining to see if she was leaking any sap. Between presses she would brush hair out from her eyes.

Oakly watched as she disappeared from his sight. He was quiet now, save for the faint crinkle of his own leaves in that mischievous wind. Oakly shivered once more, and a single brown-red-yellow tear dropped off and fluttered to the ground.

The Start of Something—From Nothing

March 1, 2009 at 10:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Oh, hello. I didn’t see you there. But I’m glad I do now! Welcome to this blog, yes, my blog, Told By No One: Stories From the Inanimate. I will be your captain throughout the duration of this bloggy-ride. Before we begin, I think you might need to know a few things about me:

  • My name is Zachary Johnson
  • I live in sunny, muggy, ugly Florida
  • Because of that, I go to school at Florida State University
  • I write and write and write and write
  • My vices include: Iceland, Animal Crossing, eating spices, and squeezing stress balls

And there we have it, folks. Now you know a little about me. But what about this blog that you are deciding whether or not you should use your valuable time on? Told By No One is a blog of short stories either told or about no one. Think of it this way: have you ever wondered how furniture feels? What plants think? How rocks fall in love? If the answer is yes (or no) then this is the blog for you. And, rest assured, your time will not be wasted.

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