The Cudgel: Oxymorons, Venusuvians and Government Screwup
... 50 emailed oxymorons provide fodder for excentric writers!
from the chagrined editorial staff.
This is a simple, non-muscular, low calorie exercise. One woman actually called it idiotic. It all came about from a list of oxymorons that arrived with the email recently in which Microsoft was taking it on its double chin -- again. It is a joke, and I'm sure the originator, whoever he/she may be, had no intention of debasing anyone. Right?
Regardless, it only seemed natural, after reading the list, that we (the SilverStringers) should attempt to put the oxymorons together in one horrendous short story. It's like stuffing your face with pickles, a case of sheer, sour, overkill. But I proposed it to the group and out of some twenty Stringers present, only two picked up the cudgel.
The rules (should you care to participate) are simple: Use as many of the listed 50 oxymorons as you can in a short story not to exceed 500 words. You may, however, contribute your own oxymorons for additional spice in your fruitcake. We promise publication of future entries, within reason, of course.
The list of 50 is below, but first, let's consider the first two (and only) entries:
She was a Venusuvian Oxymoron, and she was Dead ...
Exercise in Oxymorons, by D.R.Norris, based on an Internet top 50 list
The plan had been childproof. She was one dead Venusuvian.
I had to act naturally. I mean, I had a bad case of synthetic natural gas from some Airline food, and she hadn't been terribly pleased.
Later the chief told me that, even though she was the Resident Alien, she had been found missing late that day. Good grief! Such sweet sorrow. But it appeared I was homefree.
We had been alone together at the sanitary landfill -- sort of a working holiday. We had shared some Venusuvian wine and even though I wasn't legally drunk, my senses refused to register her incessant, silent screams. The argument began when she said that it was the same difference, government organization and British fashion -- both were clearly misunderstood. It just didn't make sense. Her thoughtless philosophy and business ethics both left much to be desired, but she turned out to be a keen manipulator of our political science. Her extra-skeletal breast plates twitched, and I thought, this was it, definitely maybe.
She had known all along that our software documentation was based on genuine imitations of French military intelligence. She had confessed to me that she had broken that new advanced BASIC, and had stolen our exact estimate of the new Russian economic stability.
"What you need," she said, adjusting her thick plastic glasses, "is better computer security coupled with temporary tax increase. I knew" she continued, "about your peace force, your program for passive aggression and your misguided New York culture, and it is all four naught."
"You mean forty?" I asked.
"Furthermore, your rap music is pretty ugly and you should turn to the Venusuvian New Classic, of which I am terribly pleased", she explained, her hairy antennae twitching. "You humans have this disgusting habit of religious tolerance, which is about as useful as French bravery". Her hind legs quivered with the excitement of the argument.
My rage grew and I was losing control.
Afterwards, they said I had hit her with soft rock, that she appeared almost exactly like the living dead, her extinct life oozing from a gaping wound in her tight slacks of her front legs. Her abdominals looked pretty ugly too, like strawberry diet ice cream on a twelve ounce pound cake. This, I told myself, should have been taped live.
"Now, then", I screamed at her orangepeel carcass, drawing a small crowd, "your butt head was no match for my soft rock. Perhaps now you'll listen to us Christian scientists! And get your filthy beetlebodies off our planet!!! Go back to Microsoft works".
... and a second entry:
Lining Up Your Oxymorons
by Bob Ross
An urgent communication had been received and I, together with other agents, assembled in the dungeon beneath the headquarters building. No one was happy and everyone wanted to know what or how we were involved in computer security. I was really mad.
Act naturally, I thought as I moved through the small crowd of military intelligence officers. I was mad because I had just started my long overdue vacation.
Advanced BASIC was the lecture being given today. None present clearly understood how this connected with computer security.
"Now then", the assistant director, a resident alien of New York culture began. "The software documentation has been proved to be a genuine imitation. Our peace force has had to butt heads with a bunch of soft rock and rap music, British fashion freaks with no religious tolerance". Everyone looked around and shook their heads. What is this all about, appeared to be the expression presented.
Passive aggression is how one government organization has described the situation. No business ethics which stink, which is to say it smells like synthetic natural gas generated at a sanitary landfill. They are a bunch of Christian scientists, not political scientists.
Good grief, I thought, what is this leading up to? Opening my briefcase, I took the twelve-ounce pound cake from it and looked around at the room full of living dead agents. I noticed then that a TV camera was mounted to the left of the instructor. We were being taped live, a violation of all regulations. I nibbled on the twelve-ounce pound cake, part of the airline food provided on the trip here. Too bad there wasn't some diet ice cream available also.
We were informed that the copy of Microsft works had been found missing. Those present gave a silent scream. The exact estimate of when it was taken, intoned his assistant, a shapely young redhead in tight slacks, removing her new classic, child proof, plastic glasses, is not known. It was only discovered missing last evening. She seemed terribly pleased as she moved to the side of the podium.
I would have to be legally drunk and have French bravery before being alone together with her. Sweet sorrows! She was pretty ugly, reminded me of a girl I met while on a working vacation earlier this year. At the time I was legally drunk. It amazed me that she looked almost exactly like her.
I could not remain focused on the present lecture, as my thoughts wandered to the temporary tax increase just passed in my home state. Yes, it is definite. Maybe it will be temporary, but knowing how government operates, it will probably be permanent.
I came back to reality when someone interrupted the meeting and informed those present we were in the wrong meeting room, and told us where to go. Another screwup, which was to be expected when you work for a government organization.
Editor's Note: You can vote for your favorite, the Venusuvian or the Government Screwup, by emailing the Stringers at "email@example.com".
EXERCISE: Write a short story using at least 50 of the following oxymorons. You are allowed 500 words. If you'd like, send your stuff to the Stringers for potential publication.
50. Act naturally
49. Found missing
48. Resident alien
47. Advanced BASIC
46. Genuine imitation
45. Airline food
44. Good grief
43. Same difference
42 Almost exactly
41. Government organization
40. Sanitary landfill
39. Alone together
38. Legally drunk
37. Silent scream
36. British fashion
35. Living dead
34. Small crowd
33. Business ethics
32. Soft rock
31. Butt head
30. Military intelligence
29. Software documentation
28. New York culture
27. Extinct life
26. Sweet sorrow
24. "Now, then..."
23. Synthetic natural gas
22. Christian scientists
21. Passive aggression
20. Taped live
19. Clearly misunderstood
18. Peace force
17. New classic
16. Temporary tax increase
15. French bravery
14. Plastic glasses
13. Terribly pleased
12. Computer security
11. Political science
10. Tight slacks
9. Definite maybe
8. Pretty ugly
7. Twelve-ounce pound cake
6. Diet ice cream
5. Rap music
4. Working vacation
3. Exact estimate
2. Religious tolerance
And the NUMBER ONE top OXY-Moron
1. Microsoft Works