New Research! Black Coffee Causes Psychopathic Behavior

Tobias finished charting his spreadsheet and grinned at the results. “Christina, it’s done!” he called.

Christina peered at the monitor and shrieked with joy. “Oh my Gosh! By every account, psychopathic behavior correlates sharply with people who preferred bitter tastes.” She hugged him. “This is our big break Tobias! You pretty up the graphs and I’ll begin the report. Maybe well make it in some science journals!”

“Pffffffffffft! Science journals?” Gunther launched himself towards the two research students from his desk across the room. “Bitter tastes and psychopaths? You guys are putting me to sleep over here!”

“Actually it’s pretty exciting. We’ve been working on this all semester!” Tobias protested and Gunther forced a hand into his face.

“No sugar smacks; your angle’s all wrong. What you’ve got is 100% Grade A pasteurized Click. Bait. First of all what is bitter? Dark chocolate? Black Coffee? People love their coffee. People have strong opinions on their coffee. What you need to do is drive a wedge between people. Paint a picture that pits people who like black coffee against the cream and sugar drinkers. You’ll be all over Facebook, Twitter, morning radio, water coolers, Keurig machines, everywhere! You want grant money? Here it is!” He pantomimed ‘making it rain’.

“Science and research are a thing of the past! This is the new science. Getting your story out as soon as you come to some sort of cursory conclusion is your top priority. The more sensational and divisive the better.” Gunther paused and leaned in whispering, “The more eyes, the better.”

“But, our research doesn’t offer an explanation between black coffee and psychopathy, Gunther!” Christina whined. “This is just a simple ANOVA correlation completed as a study for our undergrad statistics class. We’re hoping to get at least a B+.”

Gunther flapped his hands at Tobias, miming Christina while she talked. He waggled a finger at her, “Click. Bait.” Gunther slipped his sunglasses over his eyes. “Kids I gotta run.” Gunther stormed out of the room howling and chugging the last slug of lukewarm black coffee.


Technology Jones and the Temple of Pwnage

“Nice try Lao Che!” Technology Jones cried while closing the door to the passenger drone. They narrowly had escaped death after an unfortunate augmented reality misunderstanding the Shanghai Electronics Conference. Technology and his crew, a pint sized robot, named Short-Circuit, and an young female American cosplay model dressed as a “Sexy Pikachu“, were finally able to relax while the drone piloted them to New Delhi.

Hours later the crew found themselves crash landed near a desolate Indian village after the drone pilot’s GPS was hacked by Lao Che. Technology made sure everything was OK – his phones, fitness trackers, and Google Glasses were all miraculously undamaged! Techy breathed a sign of relief. “If you’re done checking your gadgets, do you want to help me out over here?” Pikachu yelled while trying to climb the banks of the river. “Shorty, get our stuff.” Technology said smiling, abandoning the screaming woman.

As they arrived in the village, the poor villagers began pawing at Technology, in awe of his gear. “I know I’m facinating!” Techy said. “Look I’ve got 3 phones! Aw hell! Only one bar? The signal here is terrible!”

The villagers said that they had a wifi hotspot he could use but it was turned off since this tall bald guy, named Mola Ram, came into their village and stole their iPod Touch. With the village iPod gone, all of the village children had followed Mola Ram back to the palace where they were promised more iPods and other technology! The villagers were sure that Siri had sent Technology to get their iPod Touch and children back.

Technology, Shorty, and Pikachu arrived at the palace and were treated like royalty and invited to stay as guests. Their hosts even allowed them to sit and the table with the Maharaja. They had a lot of trouble deciding if the Maharaja was a girl or a boy. Technology sneaked a peak at the him with his Google Glasses to make sure he was a guy and read his Facebook page. The Maharaja yawned a lot during their exotic dinner and told Technology that he was very insulted at the suggestion that a palace would steal a village’s iPod Touch because they could buy as many as they wanted.

After eating an exotic meal, they were sent to their rooms since Pikachu screamed for the entire dinner. Technology was trying to decide what he wanted to do. He could have simply given the village his extra iPhone but he wasn’t sure if the factory reset would detach from the cloud and there were some pictures he didn’t want them to see from Shanghai. He wasn’t sure if his old phone was as new a generation as the Touch so it might not bring the kids back if there was something newer here at the palace. He cleared his mind and starting dictating a negative Yelp! review to Short-Circuit about the chilled monkey brains they had for dessert.

As soon as he posted the review, a guy, attacked him from the shadows. The assailant turned out to be the chilled monkey brain chef. “OK, I’m sorry! I’ll take down the review!” Techy cried. But the chef kept hitting him and trying to take his phone. “You’re going to break it! I don’t have my Otterbox on it!” whined Techy. Meanwhile Pikachu was outside of his door yelling some nonsense about getting her regular clothes back. The noise powered up Shorty who stopped everything by hacking into Yelp! and deleting the review.

The crew then got together in Pikachu’s room started complaining about how over sensitive the staff was at this palace. “This is definitely going on TripAdvisor.” said Pikachu. So they were all kind of mad and started looking for other things to complain about when Techy found a hidden tunnel.

The crew was in awe of the temple they found. All of their palace hosts were there dancing and chanting before the tall bald guy, Mola Ram, who Techy quickly identified with his AR glasses. They watched in horror as he reached into the chest and removed the heart of a very frightened man and replaced it with a robot heart. Pikachu tried to scream through Technology’s hand. “They’re turning them into robots!” said Shorty.

In the temple scene a trio of robot men came out holding iPod Touches over their heads. The crowd went crazy while the robots placed them on an inductive charging mat. Techy scoffed, “All this for for iPods? And they aren’t even running iOS7! I can tell from the passcode screen!”

Technology and Short-Circuit began unboxing their quadricopter to fly down and grab the iPods. Techy sent Pikachu to get his GoPro camera to record an unboxing video so they could put it on YouTube, but she couldn’t help but scream and got caught by the guards.

The robot guards brought Technology to Molo Ram, who explained to Techy that he was interfering with their goal to gain world power. He showed a room where all of the village kids were being force to mine bitcoins. “We’re going to corner the market! Bitcoins are the next generation currency. Robot people are the next generation of human! We’re going to control it all! Oh and our chef was very displeased with your yelp review posted behind our backs. Where has courtesy gone that we can’t talk to each other? Must we find the need to passively aggressively complain about one another on the internet?”

Mola Ram made Technology drink nanobot blood from a robot skull. The blood entered his brain and fused his mind to the robot network, enslaving him to their will. Mola Ram decided that they also needed a Sexy Pikachu robot so they decided to hold an extra robot heart replacement ceremony for her that night. Technology, controlled by the robot mind, quickly complied and began to remove Pikachu’s heart. She was screaming her head off. Short-Circuit hacked the robot network in the nick of time releasing all of the robot minds fused to the network. Chaos ensued.

Technology, still groggy from the mind control, grabbed the 3 iPods from the temple charging mat and the whole crew jumped into a bitcoin mine cart out of the temple. Mola Ram was furious and dumped a pot of water out of the temple tunnels in hopes of damaging the iPods and all of Technology’s gadgets. He also sent the last of his robot army to chase them.

Technology escaped out on to a rope bridge, surprisingly unharmed by the robots’ lasers.The army of robots closed in from both sides. Technology talked robot language to Short Circuit to warn him of his plan. Then he cut the bridge in half, knocking most of the robots into the river.

Technology began climbing up the now-rope ladder while Mola Ram climbed down from the top in a last ditch attempt to get the iPods. Mola Ram reached into Techy’s bandolier and tried to grab an iPod. Technology knew Mola Ram was after the iPods so he invoked Siri on each one. “You betrayed Siri! You shall pay!” Techy repeated through gritted teeth.

Siri responded by asking, “Would you like to me search the web for… ‘You betrayed Siri you shall pay’?” Siri piped up on each of the iPods and started talking one after another. Each iPod started listening and talking in a round so each Siri started answering the other Siri’s questions. The feedback loop caused the iPods to overheat so when Mola Ram reached into Techy’s bandolier it burned his hand and he fell to his death in the river, eaten by an alligator (robot). Techy climbed back to the top of the ladder/bridge, dramatically reaching his hand over the last rung.

The village was overjoyed to have their iPod Touch returned and were flush with a trove of bitcoins which they could use to finally buy the Striper upgrade and extra lives on Candy Crush. Oh, they were also happy to have their children returned.

Thanks to Technology Jones and Short-Circuit’s gadgets, the day was saved.

The Swamp Man

The Swamp Man counted the scratches he had made on the wall. Seventeen scratches were still there. It hadn’t changed in the 3 minutes since the last time he looked. He continued to pace, feet sloshing and splashing against the smooth concrete.

Seventeen days had seemed like an eternity. His life in the swamp was a distant memory.

If it hadn’t been for that rabbit he would have never entered the room next to the playground. His cell. So many cattails to eat in the swamp, but no, he had to go greedily chasing the only mammal he’d seen in weeks. After hours of chasing the rabbit through the night from the swamp to the city, the rabbit had blindly hopped into the room next to the playground. The Swamp Man closed the door, unwittingly locking them together in the room. He chased the furry meal around his cell for hours until it collapsed from exhaustion. It wasn’t until after he had made a tasty meal of the lagomorph that he realized what he had done.

The room was an abandoned storage room of sorts for an abandoned playground. The swamp man had caught some of his swamp skin in the locking mechanism of the door when he hastily closed the door to trap the rabbit. The result was a door that wouldn’t open, neither from pushing or pulling.

After failing to jar open the door, The Swamp Man laughed at his folly and moved to make quick work of the glass with his fists. Unfortunately for the Swamp Man, his squishy fists did not provide sufficient hardness to cause the glass to crack. He pounded the glass until his leafy arms went from green to black. His feet also failed to break the glass, leaving the Swamp Man jumping up and down, holding a stubbed toe.

Cursing in frustration, the Swamp Man moved the the corrugated aluminum siding to the right of the window. He pounded his fists against the metal.  He felt elated when the top corner began to give. He grabbed the corner with both hands to push outwards. The metal bent more. The Swamp Man pushed hard. Then the metal gave way, slipping under his swamp fingers, causing his hands to slice down the metal siding, rendering them useless. He cried out in pain but persisted. He pushed at the corner with his elbows but only found himself tearing away more of his swamp flesh. He howled and kicked at the wall in frustration which left him jumping up and down again, holding another stubbed toe.

After days of brooding under the leaky drain pipe in the back corner, the Swamp Man resigned himself to rescue as his only option. However, his rescue posed two problems. One, the playground was not well attended. Since school was in session there was not a steady supply of children taking to the merry-go-round. He could go days without seeing a soul. And two, he lacked the tact to do anything but send the children running away, screaming when he did try to make contact. The last he had scared away more that 2 days ago when he pounded on the glass in excitement at a gang of youngsters spinning on the playground.

The Swamp Man continued to pace, sloshing back and forth only stopping occasionally to attend the drain pipe while it was running. The Swamp Man reached his tentacles to the drain pipe, when through the window he noticed a little girl sitting on the merry-go-round. His heart leaped. She hadn’t been there a moment ago. This was the first child he had seen alone. Not only was she alone, she wasn’t playing on the playground. She was just sitting there.

He walked up to the window and peered at her over the Winnie the Pooh seat. She seemed to be gazing in the distance at nothing in particular or maybe something out his his vision. He saw no parents or friends nearby. She seemed very lonely just like the Swamp Man. Maybe he could finally connect with someone who would be able to free him.

The Swamp Man stooped to her level in the doorway to his left. He lightly tapped on the glass, squishing swamp juice all over, and prayed that she wouldn’t run when she saw him.

The girl looked up and jumped off her seat. She put her hand over her chest and looked wide eyed at the figure behind the glass. The Swamp Man rocked back slowly, remaining in his stoop, and put his hands up. He learned from experience that children do not like sudden movements.

He gestured to himself and to the girl a few times. She had stopped looking around, for help, or an escape, he didn’t know. She was now staring at him quizzically.

Then she smiled! He was going to be free!

But quickly, despair washed over him again with the realization that she alone wouldn’t be able to help. How was such a small girl, with her Hello Kitty jeans, going to help him open his cell. The Swamp Man had to get her to go find an adult. He started to gesture wildly for her to go find help.

The girl ignored his gestures. She reached in her pocket and pulled out some sort of long object. She pressed a button on it and a knife sprang forth. She looked up and the Swamp Man, flashing a brilliant smile. She took the switchblade to the bricks next to the door and dug out the mortar. After a moment she produced a brick from the stack. She carried the brick beyond the merry-go-round and threw it at the door. The glass shattered all over the ground.

The Swamp Man emerged from his cell, finally free.

He moved to thank the girl. She struck a pose and gestures with both hands, “That’s how I do!” she said. Then she positioned herself defensively. “But, you ain’t gettin’ outta here alive.”

The Swamp Man laughed and snapped his mouth tentacles at her. How could a little girl hurt him, even with a knife? And what could she possibly want?

The girl made a sarcastic face and pointed at the sun. “You gonna die out here Trash Man!”

She was right. He had to find a sewer quickly before he melted! He frantically began looking for a manhole when the girl yelled for him to stop.

“Hey Trash Man.” she said. “Take This. For the crocodiles.” She threw him the switchblade.

He gave the girl a quick nod of thanks. She returned with a crisp salute.

Then she turned and ran; never to be seen again.

Posted for The Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words.