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Bizarronauts

Welcome to Bizarronauts,

a place for flash fiction inspired by Dog Doors to Outer Space, the first ever collection of bizarro writing prompts!

For information about submissions and for sneak peek prompts from Dog Doors, click here for the Bizarronauts Submissions page. For information about individual authors, click their names.

Enjoy!

Fill the Jars with My Blood

By Nick Watts

Henry Jackson sat alone in his car in front of the house where he used to live. He ate a gas station ham sandwich and sipped cheap beer while he kept watch. A light, just a slight blink, would give him hope. 

He loved the house. During their last fight he’d even promised to give it his heart.“You can keep it forever, contained within these walls, inside the jars in the basement . . . for I am, and shall always be, yours.” 

The house responded by slamming its windows so violently they nearly exploded. It didn’t want to hear him confess his love, not after what he had done. 

Sitting in his car, which had begun to smell from the various junk food wrappers tossed in the backseat, Henry recalled a few nights prior, when Gillian had come over to the house. She was just a friend from work, he hadn’t planned on anything happening. They were just going to have a few drinks and watch a movie. That was all. 

But a few drinks turned into too many. And while they had started the movie sitting at opposite ends of the sofa, by the end they were sitting next to each other at the center of it. And that’s when it happened. The kiss only lasted a second, and they both pulled back from each other, apologizing. But the house had seen it and grew jealous, for it was a living, breathing, feeling thing. Over a hundred years of consuming souls had given it life. All it knew was hatred, anger, and fear. Families had come and gone—usually quite quickly—but when Henry moved in, something changed. 

The house had pulled every haunted trick in the book to scare Henry off, but he was immune. The outside world had done enough to break him, and he had no desire to be part of it any longer. Outside of his office job, all he ever did was come home and read or play music. The house loved music, the sound pulsing through its veins gave it a feeling it had never felt before. Henry made it feel—not human, for it had never been human. Henry connected the house to whatever humanity was left in its captive souls. 

The house fell in love with Henry and desired to keep him forever. Henry returned that love and promised to never leave, even after the house forced him to bury Gillian in the backyard.

Henry had never thought of Gillian in any romantic way. He’d never thought of her at all, until one lunch break when he overheard the movie she was watching on her phone. He recognized it—Space Camp Massacre 2, his favorite film. 

They talked about it, and a series of other films (and books, and songs),  over the course of a week, until he finally decided to invite her over to the house for a movie. 

Gillian was in the restroom reapplying her lipstick, which was smudged from the kiss. The house began to shake. The mirror in front of her shattered, deadly shards burying themselves in Gillian’s face. The largest piece of glass decapitated her. 

The next morning at the office, Henry overheard his co-workers wondering why Gillian had not shown for work. Henry felt terrible. But more than anything, even more than wanting to be over the guilt of burying his co-worker, he wanted the house to let him back in. 

After work, he grabbed his usual gas station junk food and beers, and sat in his car in front of the house, waiting for a sign. Suddenly it happened. The living room lights came on, music played. Henry’s eyes brightened, but before he could leave his car, there came an army of headlights. There was a parade of cars parked alongside the street, and hundreds of young adults spilled onto the lawn, hooting and hollering and carrying cases upon cases of beer. The house opened its doors to the party. 

Henry wasn’t sure how in the hell the house managed to throw a party until he checked his phone. On his Facebook was a party invitation, giving the address to his house: All night BYOB party! Music and fun. Of course, the house knew everything about him: his childhood, the time he attempted to hang himself, his accounts, and his passwords to social media. 

As Henry reached for the front door handle after the last partier entered, the house refused him entry. He tried everywhere— the windows, the backdoor—she wouldn’t budge. Henry stared inside hopelessly at the rollicking crowd. He took the last cheap gas station beer from his car and drained it. 

The next morning Henry found himself lying over the spot in the backyard where he had buried Gillian. To his surprise, he found the basement door wide open. There was no sound coming from the house, meaning the party had died. He almost couldn’t believe it. Had the house finished punishing him? 

He entered the darkened basement and spoke endearing words. “You know how sorry I am. Now I want to make the true commitment I swore to you. I want to give you my heart.” Henry reached for an empty mason jar. “Fill these jars with every last bit of me so we will be together forever.” 

The house obliged him, filling the jars with his skin, his eyeballs, his blood, his organs—every last bit of him. 

Henry and the house had made up, and vowed to haunt together forever and ever.

The President of Presidents

by Ben Fitts

The president of presidents steps through the wreckage of The Riverdale Convention and Recreation Center. The heel of her shoe crunches through the skull of a charred skeleton wearing a blackened cape and unitard. A small group of her most trusted from among the world’s lesser presidents trails after her.

The president of presidents is elected by all of the world’s other presidents, because even presidents need presidents. However they are all very ashamed of this fact, so they keep her identity and position a secret, even though she is the most politically powerful human being on Earth and the fourth most politically powerful mammal on land.

“Such a shame,” murmurs the president of West Canada, surveying the dead bodies and concrete debris.

West Canada is a secret country that only Canadians and West Canadians know about. It was founded in 1983 because Canadians decided they needed to feel more important than at least one of their neighboring countries, but they also felt like it would be rude to brag about the fact, so they ended up keeping the country a secret from the rest of the world.

Despite its name, West Canada lies to the East of Canada.

“A meteor the size of an 18-wheeler strikes Earth and the only spot it hits is the building that’s in the middle of hosting The World’s Superhero Convention, killing every superhero on the planet in the same instant,” continues the president of West Canada. “I mean, what are the odds?”

“Never mind the odds. That is the situation and we need to accept it,” says the president of presidents. “As we all know, every Wednesday Earth is subjected to myriad attempts to destroy it. These attempts come from supervillains, aliens, evil robots, awakened godlike beings and more. But every Wednesday since the beginning of history, the superheroes have managed to fight off these various evils and save the world. But now, all of the superheroes are dead.”

“They are all dead,” reiterates the president of New Canada, scraping the burned remains of Captain Rhino’s elephant trunk off his shoe. “But it gets even worse than that.”

New Canada isn’t a secret country like West Canada. It’s just that most people have never noticed it.

“It’s Tuesday,” he finishes.

“Oh my god, it is Tuesday,” confirms the president of Old Canada.

I’m not even going to get into what the deal is with Old Canada.

“It is concerning me that you are only now seeming to remember that it’s Tuesday,” says the president of presidents. “Earth faces numerous global crises every single Wednesday, and you are all supposed to be presidents.”

The various lesser presidents all stare sheepishly at their shoes. One notices she has accidentally stepped in the loose robotic circuitry that was once inside The 100% Organic Man, and gingerly steps away.

“Your political qualifications aside, we still have work to do,” says the president of presidents. “We must pick a new group of people to take the superhero’s place and save the world from the onslaught of various perils that it is sure to face tomorrow, and we only have about thirteen hours to do so.”

“Should we step up and be the ones to do it?’ asks the president of New Canada.

“No, don’t be ridiculous,” scolds the president of presidents. “We all have important presidential stuff to do. Who else has an idea? Speak up, the bar has just been set extremely low.”

The president of New Canada breaks eye contact and looks away from everyone else, his upper lip trembling.

“What about the military?” suggests the president of French Canada between bites of his baguette and strokes of his pencil-thin mustache.

“No, not the military,” says the president of presidents. “They may be equipped to fight other militaries, but one scramble with a villain like Mr. Monstrosity or Professor Tinybuns and they’ll be done for.” 

“What about the police force?” says the president of Not Canada.

“No, they’ll have the same issue but to an even greater degree.” 

“I’ve got it!” declares the president of New Canada, snapping his fingers as the confidence that had just left him returns. “I know who it is that should take the place of all the superheroes!”

The president of presidents looks at him with wide, condescending eyes.

“And whom is that, pray tell?” she asks.

“Janitors,” he says, gesturing melodramatically as he says the word.

“Janitors?” she asks.

Janitors,” he confirms. “Think about it. Janitors already deal with cleaning up messes that we don’t want to deal with. And at the end of the day, what really is a superhero’s job other than cleaning up messes we don’t want to deal with, just on a super scale? Whether it’s dealing with a soiled diaper or with the rampage of a psychopathic demon king who’s been bitten by a radioactive cricket, they essentially do the same job.”

The president of presidents thinks about this for a moment. Then she smiles.

“That makes more sense than anything else that anyone has ever suggested to me,” she says. “Good work, President Sandwichpants. Good work indeed.”

***

All of the world’s janitors are quickly rounded up and their new responsibility to humanity is explained to them. They are handed hastily stitched skin-tight costumes and assigned clunky crime-fighting names that don’t really roll off the tongue. They receive rapid-fire training from the world’s best superhero trainers, who try their very best to draw parallels between wielding a subatomic deathray and wielding a wet mop.

As it nears midnight, the world’s janitors all line up in their ugly new costumes. They are ready to step up, to become humanity’s new superheroes, to fight supervillains, aliens, evil robots, awakened godlike beings and more, and to save the Earth.

***

It is Thursday now. The Earth no longer exists.

Trump Moon

By Madeleine Swann

Our new neighbours seemed like a nice couple, even if he was a little much. My wife Molly seemed to like them. Mind you, she’s a ray of sunshine, she likes everybody. Donald and Melania Trump, they were called, and we met over the garden fence one fine spring morning. He had some job as a manager in his father’s factory where my buddies worked. “Great guys,” he said, “I know ‘em well.”

“You settled in alright?”

“Oh, sure, got the kids coming round this afternoon, got all morning to ourselves before that.” He put an arm suggestively around Melania and squeezed. She just smiled serenely. It was a little crude but Molly and I laughed it off.

I invited him to poker with the boys. When he turned up I saw the anger on their faces, but we settled into a good game. Once everyone but Jeff and I had staggered home I said, “See? He’s alright.”

“Sure,” he said.

“OK,” I said, putting down my cards, “what is it?”

Jeff thought about his next words. “He was alright at first, took over from Lemon Tits last summer. Jokes were a little dicey but Antonio can laugh at himself. Promised better benefits, we’d get dental, medical, all sorts. We keep asking, when is this gonna happen, and he just fobs us off. Says he’s got more important stuff to do but he’s on it. It’s been nearly a year now.”

I thought about it all week. I tried not to, but every night I’d remember my friends’ angry faces, and I knew I had to say something. “Hey, Mike,” said Don next time we were in the garden, “how’s tricks? Playin’ poker anytime soon?”

“Sure,” I said. My hands were sweaty. “Say, Don, I hope you don’t mind me saying, but maybe you could have a word with the guys at work, you know? Just tell ‘em the deal on the benefits. If there aren’t any coming they’d rather know.”

“They’re coming.”

“Oh, I’m sure, I just meant…”

“They’re coming,” boomed Donald.

“I didn’t mean anything by…”

“I gotta get the moon thing done first. That’s the biggest job, much more important.”

“The… moon thing?”

“Yeah,” he cut in, “my dad’s really impressed. He agreed it was more important than all this other stuff.” He waved an arm dismissively. I couldn’t speak while he barged into his house and re-emerged with a childish scribble of a triangle leading up to a circle. “I said I’d prove I could get to it with a ladder and he bet I couldn’t. I’ll show him, huh?” He laughed coarsely.

“You bet your dad you could climb to the moon?”

“Sure did!”

“What’s that got to do with medical insurance?”

“Well,” he said, shrugging, “I need to get supplies. I’m keeping a tally, it’s fine. They’ll get what they’re owed.”

“I don’t think that’s how it…” I stopped talking. He strode back into his house and seemed to be fiddling with something in the conservatory. Melania came out looking vacant as ever. “What’s he doing?” I snapped, scared my neighbour had lost it.

“He’s getting his project,” she said, smiling.

“You know about this?”

“Once he gets stuck on something, you just gotta let him do it.” She shrugged, laughing like she was talking about a child playing videogames.

“He’s taking from the guys at the factory.”

“I don’t know anything about that.”

Don burst from the conservatory carrying a shoddy ladder made from wooden planks, taped up pencils, a chair, several TV aerials and a remote. “Get a loada this.” He plonked it down. One of the pencils plopped onto the grass. “That’s nothing,” he said, “just needs tape, that’s all. So whaddya think? She’s a beauty, right?”

“Have you gone mad?”

Don stumbled back, visibly shaken. “You know, it’s losers like you who can’t see the big picture.”

“Melania,” I implored, “you gotta see this is crazy?” She mumbled some platitude about boys and toys and drifted back into the house. “You might as well get to the moon on a pile of cheese.”

“Wanna bet?” His smugness made me feel a violence I’d never experienced.

“You want me to bet… that I can’t get to the moon on some cheese?”

“What’s the matter,” he said, sticking his bottom lip out like a schoolboy, “you scared?”

“What? What’s the matter with…?”

“Aw, little baby can’t make it to the moon, aw, widdle baby.”

“FINE.” I stormed into the house and grabbed the cheddar while he set to work on his ladder, sticking anything and everything onto it: cushions, stamps, bathrobes, mirrors, bedside cabinets. Through the kitchen window I saw Melania calmly making coffee. My wife was not so placid.

“Mike, what in the Goddamn are you doing?”

“Just let me do this.”

“No. Just let him be an asshole if he wants and come back in.”

“I can’t.” I turned to her, fully aware of how dramatic I looked but unable to quit. “You can’t get to the moon on cheese. He needs to know that.”

Molly sighed, “I said I’d meet Katy at the bar. When I get back can this be over?”

“Sure,” I said, but as soon as she was gone I was down the store, piling my basket with brie, gorgonzola, gouda and camembert. I don’t know how long we were going or how many trips to the store I made. We frantically pieced together our contraptions, cheese oozing between my fingers. Then, as I found myself squinting to unwrap the brie, I realised it was dark. The moon taunted us, as far away as ever. I looked over at my neighbour as he huffed and puffed, mumbling about “epic wins” and “showing them all.” I threw the brie down.

“Goodnight, Don.”

“You pussy,” he called after me. “Loser!” I didn’t care. I switched on the TV and waited for Molly.

I Did What to That Giraffe?

By Kek-W

I don’t remember how I got here.

I don’t remember your name or know who you are or… Why are you looking at me like that?

No, I don’t know why I’m holding a bloodied hammer – or why I might be standing over the body of a dead giraffe. I mean, I love giraffes – or, at least, I think I do – I bear them no malice, no ill will, either individually or as a species. I have no issues with giraffes as far as I’m aware and yet here I am, stood beside a dead giraffe, a hammer in my hand – (and I can’t help but feel these two things might somehow be linked) – though how I might have brought down such a large animal is beyond me. They’re so tall… So, if I did do the dirty deed then surely I must have used a ladder or a cherry-picker or something similar to deliver the blow. And those legs of theirs, so long and spindly and powerful – and those hooves – I bet they can kick, right? Like a mule, but on steroids. No, I feel sure that giraffe would have put up one helluva fight – would have knocked me flat on my ass. I mean, I’m hardly an apex predator.

No, I’m not making excuses. I know all the circumstantial evidence points at me, but right now I’m struggling to fathom how I might have – 

What’s that? No, I don’t remember swapping clothes with you. So… these aren’t mine? Well, that probably explains why they’re such a lousy fit. Okay, if you say I did, then I guess I must have.

Who are all those people with you? Yeah, the ones shouting at me… I don’t remember them being there a moment ago. Do I… know them? If they’re upset about the giraffe, then –

I’m sorry? You’ll have to speak up. I can’t hear you over the shouting.

A film crew? Why is there a – ?

Oh, okay. You – sorry, we – were making a commercial and… right, I see. No, honestly, I don’t remember any of that.

Could you ask him to stop yelling, please? I –

Yes, I can see the director is angry. I ruined the take, did I? Fluffed my lines. No, I don’t –

Wait, what? The giraffe was… an actor? Really? No, I’m sure I’ve never worked with him before –

Ah. Sorry, her.

That’s her EQUITY card? Anita Newman. No, the name doesn’t ring a bell.

No, I wasn’t disputing it. I didn’t know giraffes could join a union. Or act. That… that’s a thing now, is it? That and them having human names. No, I had no idea.

Well, yes, of course solidarity is a good thing. No argument from me on that front. People should band together. Unionise. People and giraffes. No, I’m fine with her – with a giraffe – being in EQUITY. Why wouldn’t I be? 

Oh, you want your sweater back? Well, sure. Now I think about it, orange isn’t really my colour. Yes, I’ll put the hammer down first. Niiiice and… slowly. Easy does it. There. See?

Huh? No, I’m sure I would remember if I had done something like… that.

Really? Wow.

What did you say this commercial was for? No way! And giraffes drive those now, do they?

That’s news to me.

No, I don’t remember how I got here.

I don’t remember anything at all.

Conrad Lubbox is Out to Get Me You Stupid Idiot!

by Frank J. Edler

“Shut the fuck up and get inside!” I tell you.

You look at me and don’t move. I drag you inside the clubhouse and slam the door shut behind you. You are so stupid.

“Conrad Lubbox is out to get me,” I tell you.

You say, “So?”

I say, “So!” and then I say, “So he knows you know me and if he sees you at the clubhouse, he’s going to know you know I’m here.”

“Oh,” you say.

I’m frustrated with you. It’s like you don’t care that Conrad Lubbox is out to get me. I wish Conrad Lubbox was out to get you because he’d find your apathetic ass right away.

I peep through the slit in the clubhouse door I’d chiseled last night when I discovered Conrad Lubbox was out to get me. I’d thought it would be awesome to build the ramshackle clubhouse without windows so prying eyes couldn’t see in.

You ask if you can see what I’m looking at and I tell you there’s nothing to see. So then you ask me why I’m looking if there’s nothing to see. I despise your stupid, rational question so I ignore you and continue looking out for any sign of Conrad Lubbox.

You ask, “Why is Conrad Lubbox out to get you?”

I sigh.

“Because his dog is in outer space! Okay? Are you satisfied?” I explain to you.

You seem confused and say, “Huh?” all confused-like.

“Conrad Lubbox’s dog. He’s in outer space. So he’s out to get me. What is so hard to understand about that?” I ask you because it’s so obvious. I hate that I have to explain it even that much to you.

You are thick as a brick and say, “Why did you put Conrad Lubbox’s dog in outer space though?”

I say, “I didn’t put him there, he got there, that’s where he is so now Conrad Lubbox is out to get me.”

You continue the Spanish Inquisition. “Wait, so if you didn’t put his dog in outer space why is he out to get you? Shouldn’t he be out to get the person who put his dog in outer space?”

It’s a reasonable question so I answer you, “Because,” I pause. How do I put this? “Because I opened the door and he walked through it.”

“What door?” you ask. “Did he have to go take a shit or something?”

“I dunno,” I say. “Dogs go outdoors for lots of reasons. I think he just wanted to bask in the sun.”

“Okay,” you say, “so what’s the big deal?”

“I told you,” I say to you, “the fucking dog is in outer space now.”

“But you didn’t put him there?” you confirm.

“Duh,” I say to that silly question.

You want to know how a dog that just goes out a door I opened winds up in outer space. I tell you it’s because I opened up the wrong door. I opened up the dog door to outer space.

How was I supposed to know the door went to outer space? How was I supposed to know that Conrad Lubbox, the town’s foremost expert on Flat Earth Theory and heart-centered business marketing had a dog door to outer space in his house?

Had I been dog sitting for Marty Schadenfreude or Becky Ladybottom or Nilla Wayfuh, the local rap guru and string theory mathematician, I would have expected to find a dog door to outer space. But a heart-centered marketer that’s all about the Flat Earth? No way.

I hate to profile anyone but people like Conrad Lubbox have dog doors to the front yard. Or maybe they have dog doors to China. It wouldn’t be out of the question for him to have a dog door to Sodom and Gomorrah but certainly not a dog door to outer space.

Which, he did have.

“How fucked up is that?” I ask you.

You say, “Kinda fucked up,” but I don’t believe you believe it’s fucked up.

By your tone I think you think it’s perfectly normal for a guy like Conrad Lubbox to have a door door to outer space.

I say, “Ya know what? Why don’t you get the fuck out of my clubhouse?” to you.

You’re all like, “What the fuck?”

And I’m like, “Out!” as I open up the door for you to leave.

And then you go, “Fine! And another thing! A guy like Conrad Lubbox would totally have a dog door to outer space because a guy like Conrad Lubbox has the kind of dog that wants to bask in the sun!”

And you storm out.

And Conrad Lubbox storms in before I can shut the door.

He’s got his dog, wearing a Soviet-era space suit fitted for space dogs, under his arm.

I hear you laugh as you walk away.

I say, “Sup?” to Conrad Lubbox.

Conrad Lubbox closes the door.