Sunday, 23 November 2014

Flash to the Future by Naomi Elana Zener

“Did you see the latest headline in Variety?” Marilyn breathed into Albert’s ear.

Albert rolled over, swatting Marilyn away.

“Albie, wake up. You just have to see this.”

“Why are you bugging me? Go wake up one of your ex-husbands,” Albert grumbled. “Go bother Joe or Arthur.”

“But, you’re the genius, I want to bug, Professor Einstein. I need your help to understand this.” 

Albert turned over to see the silhouette of Marilyn Monroe’s specter, partially covered by his sheets. “Did you sleep in my bed again? How many times do I have to tell you, I’m just not that into you?”

Marilyn sobbed breathlessly. “I don’t know what more I can do to win your brainy love. Maybe I should take naked pictures of myself and give them to you.”

“Marilyn, my love, you don’t need to take any pictures to show me your naked body. You’re lying naked on my bed.”

Albert, now fully awake, wiped the sleep from his eyes, grabbed his spectacles off his nightstand, and stared down at the Variety article on Marilyn’s iPad staring up at him. Contrary to popular thought, Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory kept up technological evolutionary pace with that found on Earth. After all, once Steve Jobs crossed over into the afterlife, he brought with him his futurist innovative thinking. And, with God and Satan each able to procure anything imaginable, they supplied Jobs with every tool he needed to transform both the saintly and sinning sides of the Afterworld into Heaven and Hell 2.0.

“What don’t you understand?”

“Well, these starlets are complaining that the naked pictures they took were shared all over the world. I’d have killed for that kind of free publicity.”

Albert scanned the article. Had it not been for a personal tutorial from Jobs himself, Albert would’ve had no idea how to scroll through a document.

“No, these women’s phones and computers were hacked into, meaning they were broken into, and their pictures were stolen from both their mobile devices and the clouds in which they were stored.” 

“Like the clouds up here?” Marilyn purred. She sultrily draped herself across Albert’s bed, pouting her lips, and propping her chin in her hands, still hoping to seduce him. She couldn’t resist his big brain.

“Not quite m’dear. The cloud is not actually in the sky. It’s like a storage facility for electronic files of all kinds, including pictures.”

Marilyn stared at him blankly.

“Think of it like a photo album, but one that no one can see unless the owner shares the images, or someone breaks into it.”

“Ok, I get that part. What I don’t understand is why get so angry when they took naked photos of themselves in the first place. I was taught that if you don’t want people to see you naked, you don’t take naked pictures of yourself.”

“Marilyn, as a woman, you should know better. While yes, I agree that if you don’t want people to see your naked pictures, then the best practice is not to take them in the first place, but these women also had the right to privacy. Part of being a feminist is the right to do what you want with your own body aside from privacy concerns.”

“I know that—I’m the original feminist. I believe that every woman has the right to take naked pictures of herself. I posed naked in Playboy—I’m the great-grandmother of taking nude pictures paving the way for naked selfies. But, you take them for them to be seen by someone. I can still be a feminist and say that. I’m so tired of being told how to be a feminist or what it means.”

“Feminism aside, these women didn’t pose naked for a magazine. They took private pictures that weren’t supposed to be shared with anyone. Their right to privacy was violated. What’s worse is that some people are threatening to leak more private naked pictures of famous women who label themselves as feminist. That’s a total violation and it’s criminal!”

Marilyn paused.

“I see your point, and I agree with you, Albie, really I do.” Marilyn hung her head shamefully.  “That sort of thing did happen to me, too, but no one cared to fight to protect my rights back then. It’s wonderful that people want to help these women, but no matter where you store them, famous or not, someone’s going to find the photos, and when they do, they spread them like locusts. Non-famous people are so lucky. We don’t get a private life the way Farmer Brown does.”

“So then, you think it’s fair for these starlets’ breasts to be flaunted across the globe, but Farmer Brown’s penis has a greater right to privacy? “

Marilyn cocked her head back alluringly, pondering Albert’s position.

“Well, it’s all relative, I suppose.”

Albert laughed.

“I think everyone, famous or not, has the same right to privacy, especially when it comes to their bodies. But, why take naked photos at all, when there’s a chance that this new technology can be ‘hacked’ into, as you say?” Marilyn asked, waving her iPad around.

“And, what about ordinary women, who aren’t famous, who take naked pictures of themselves that are stolen and shared publicly?” Albert asked. “What if the shoe was on the other foot, and it was naked pictures of famous men?”

“I don’t want to see Farmer Brown’s penis or even pictures of his pigs, but I bet my bottom dollar that he’d still want to see my bare bosom and bottom, even if I wasn’t famous. If you’re a woman, famous or not, men will always want to see us naked, and try to use it against us. Sadly, the only way a woman can protect herself is not to take these photos in the first place. Speaking as a former starlet, I’m willing to bet that many of them aren’t really all that upset, especially the one who is famous for having a plus-sized tushie. I guess that’s why I’m so confused. You can’t pay for that kind of publicity, and in Hollywood, careers can be made by it. Therein lies the rub, Albie. Us women have to take it, accept that it comes with the territory and we have no right to expect the privacy enjoyed by ordinary women, but if the shoe was on the other foot, the men would be basking in the spotlight on their Woody Woodpeckers. Unless of course they have tiny penises.”

“Not every man is defined by the size of his gentials.”

Marilyn winked at him. “Some men are defined by the size of their brain.”

Albert winked back. “Well, if you’ve got it flaunt it.”

“Hey that’s my motto!” Marilyn sidled up to Albert, who hadn’t moved since Marilyn woke him.

“It seems to me that you’ve got a good handle on this and aren’t confused at all. Why did you really wake me up?”

“I need your help to solve a more interesting equation than your little E=MC2? It involves a lot of friction.”

Albert tilted his head, removed his spectacles, and used his sheet to clean them, as he contemplated Marilyn’s proposition.

“Well, as they say, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”

© 2014. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

The Daily Grind by Naomi Elana Zener

I gaze upon you, your fervent gaze staring intently in the opposite direction from mine. You stand stoic, waiting, hoping, anticipating some sort of movement coming towards you. Time passes, the movement you desire has not actualized. You flop down, your body restricted, causing in you frustration, but a deep chortle in me, emanating from deep within my belly. I’m not laughing in a maniacal way, but sweetly alongside the chuckle you’ve yet to let loose simply because your age prevents you from realizing the comicality of the situation.

Suddenly, I see you hop sprightly to attention upon hearing a fictional sound afoot. I continue to lay in wait until your hope deflates, for only I know that nary a foot will breach the threshold. You remain ever a prisoner—seeking freedom at the hands of a benefactor—hoping that I will be the one to secure your release. Down you go once again, supine in defeat. So, you roll around in your perceived cage, doing your best to entertaining yourself within the four walls that contain you.

Through the screen I continue watch you like a stalker, taking in the scene, but not making any moves. I’m a voyeur with a window into your world. I sit as you stir, tracking your every move until our game of brinksmanship forces my hand, in the form of some well-played manoeuvre by you. Something is launched. A strident scream bellowed. A frightening thud heard.

The energy I must muster, to rise, to walk, to climb the stairs, and creak open the door—as my aching, creaky joints let loose sounds betraying my age—behind which your peering eyes have willed to be swung ajar. No longer hidden, I find you, your arms outstretched, beckoning me to come hither with pleading eyes and a rosebud mouth that cries out "Mama!" as if to say "Took you long enough. Now, get me the hell out of this fucking crib!" I cross the plains that consist of but only several feet, which for you feel like miles on end. I reach into your cage and scoop you up into my arms. With the sleep wiped away from your eyes, and the air filled with the wafting scent of a desperately needed diaper change, I masterfully and rotely repeat the dance steps we take daily after we’ve been reunited once the two hour reprieve I enjoy has come to an end. And, with each post-nap period, we will continue to engage in this two-step anew, with you always the victor having broken free from the shackles of your crib—my warden yet again—putting me to work until your daddy gets home.

© 2014. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Parents Sue Their 6 Year Old For Giving Them Lung Cancer by Naomi Elana Zener

The trial against 6-year old Rachelle Dobkins, allegedly known as Ricky D in the underground cigarette sales black market, began today at the Beverly Hills, California courthouse, just a stone’s throw away from Sprinkles, the infamous cupcakery. Rachelle is being sued in a landmark precedent-setting case by her parents, Sam and Sally Dobkins, Rachelle’s parents, both life long non-smokers, allege that their daughter’s two-pack a day cigarette addiction is the sole cause of their respective Stage Two Adenocarcinoma and Stage Four Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Codefendants in the case are Phillip Morris, Reynolds American, and Lorillard. The Big Three tobacco companies were named in the suit as coconspirators who helped in the development of Sam and Sally’s life threatening disease by virtue of producing the product that their daughter ingested daily in the family’s home. When asked by reporters prior to the start of the lawsuit why they couldn’t get their 6 year old daughter to stop smoking, given that they are her parents and she was doing in their home, Sam responded by saying: “No matter what we did, she found a way to smoke in our house. Have you ever tried reasoning with children? They’re like Hamas and it’s impossible to negotiate with terrorists.”

Sam and Sally Dobkins’ counsel opened his case by arguing that playgrounds at school are dangerous places, where impressionable children are exposed to all sorts of behaviors.  During Rachelle’s attorney’s opening statement to the jury, he plead with them to throw the case out for lack of merit. He was quoted as saying “[h]ow plausible is it for a child of such a young age to develop a smoking habit, let alone have earned enough allowance to buy black market cigarettes without the help of her parents? How could young Racheele even find a black market to sell her the cigarettes, let alone even develop a taste for the cancer causing agent.”

Rachelle’s attorney went on to portray Rachelle as a law abiding 6 year old who fills her days with reading, writing, and arithmetic in her grade one class at P.S. 90210 in Beverly Hills, California.

Attorneys for the Big Three tobacco companies all stated emphatically in their opening remarks that the case is without merit and should be summarily dismissed with costs assessed on the Dobkins for their legal fees.

Claiming to be good Christian folk who’ve never touched a nicotine-filled stick a day in either of their lives, Sam and Sally believe that in teaching their daughter and the other kids at school that smoking is verboten, the school made it appealing for Rachelle to find temptation in the forbidden fruit that is nicotine. Adding to that temptation was the peer pressure of other children in the schoolyard, and to avoid being a victim of bullying, Rachelle unwillingly took her first drag of her first cigarette on their premises, enabling her lifelong cancer stick addiction. On her first inhale, she was hooked, and before both she and her parents knew it, Rachelle was stealing twenties out of her mother’s purse to buy cigarettes from the neighborhood smokes dealer when playing at the park.

Rachelle’s attorney countered by alleging that her parents’ respective cancers were in fact caused by their own secret cigarette addition that they’ve vehemently denied having.  Rachelle’s attorney claimed that this was an absurd publicity stunt on the part of her parents to get their medical bills covered, including Sally Dobkins birth control prescriptions, since their employer-provided medical coverage refused to pay for both their lifesaving chemotherapy treatments and Sally Dobkins’ IUD. At the time of printing, Hobby Lobby, Sam and Sally Dobkins’ employer, could not be reached for comment.

Currently, Rachelle is living under state supervision in a foster home, where her foster parents are accepting of all forms of addiction, including smoking. Being former nicotine addicts themselves, although Rachelle and her attorney continue to deny that she is in fact a smoker, the foster parents took in the little girl in the hopes of reforming any possible smoking addiction that she may or may not have.  At the close of day one in court, Rachelle could be seen strategizing with her attorney and those for the Big Three tobacco companies, outside of Sprinkles. Everyone, but for Rachelle, was seen calming their nerves with a cigarette. Rachelle was seen eating a cupcake, something that each attorney for the Big Three tobacco companies disavowed, claiming that “sugar will kill you.”

Stay tuned for day two of the case, when the Dobkins’ attorney begins to present their case-in-chief.

© 2014. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.