I’ve teased for a while that i might share some of my older short stories on my blog. At last, here’s the first of them. I originally wrote this for a creative writing course in I believe winter of 2008, and it was a lot of fun looking over it and fixing it up a bit. Unlike most of my old stuff, I still enjoy this one.
I still claim ownership over this story, but I have no intention to profit from it. As long as you say that I wrote it and link to this post, feel free to share it.
Disclaimer: I have never been on drugs, and I wasn’t on anything as I wrote this.
Ball of Chaos
By: Ben Stoddard
“Welcome,” The shop owner said as Daniel walked into the small, independent shop. “What brings you here today?”
“A friend told me I should check this place out. Since it’s a bit slow at work today, I figured why not.” Daniel then began looking around the dimly lit, poorly organized shop. He soon spotted a blue glowing ball on one of the tables. He walked over to it and his eyes opened wide in awe.
“How much is this?” Daniel asked.
“Twenty dollars sir,” The owner said. The owner had a long, grey beard, and was wearing a hat that looked like a carved Halloween pumpkin.
A strange feeling entered Daniel’s hands as he picked the blue ball up, as if some sort of smooth oil had been soaking into his skin for twenty minutes.
This was only $20?
“I think I’ll take it,” Daniel said. “It’s perfect for my living room.”
“Before you do, I must warn you.”
“Warn me of what?”
“That ball is surrounded with a very strange power. Be prepared for some crazy stuff.”
“Yeah whatever, I’m not superstitious. Here’s your twenty.”
“If it’s too much, you can return it by eight tonight. After that, it may be too late.”
Daniel ignored the shop owner’s warning and walked out. He stepped into his car and drove for five minutes back to work. The office building he worked at, a newly finished building with shiny windows, stood out among warn down warehouses and independent shops. He parked in his reserved spot by the front door, grabbing his new ball as he stepped out. He barely noticed the door making a strange hissing sound as it shut.
“Good afternoon Daniel,” The secretary said as Daniel walked inside.
“Good afternoon Amanda,”
Daniel felt strangely cold as he waited for the elevator, but shrugged it off. He heard a splashing noise as he stepped into the elevator. He looked at his feet, and saw that the carpet in the elevator was completely soaked.
Someone should call maintenance.
Daniel stared at the floor for a second before pushing the third floor’s button. After a short trip, the elevator door opened on the third floor. The ceiling light right in front of the elevator was flickering on and off rapidly.
Is building maintenance taking the day off? What’s going on?
At the end of the hallway, Daniel turned to the left and continued into a large room with about thirty cubicles. He walked into the second cubicle to his right. He sat down on his chair, and logged into his computer. Daniel looked at his watch, which read “1:32 pm, Friday, February 2nd”.
“Yo Danny, what up?” Daniel looked up and saw his young neighbour peeking over the cubicle wall. His head was covered in long, straight blonde hair, and his face was clean shaven.
“How’s it going, Andy?”
“Good. Did you check out the shop I told you about?”
“Yes, and I bought this glowing ball there.”
“That looks awesome,” Andy said. “It’s even better than his usual stock.”
“I think it would look perfect on my dresser.”
“No doubt. Anyway, thanks again for helping me get this job.”
“You’re welcome.” Andy sat back down in his cubicle.
The desktop background on Daniel’s computer started to slowly changed colours. Microsoft Word suddenly opened up on its own, and typed the words “All work and no play makes Daniel a dull boy.”
Daniel watched in confusion as the phrase was typed over and over again. He picked up his phone and called tech support.
“Yes, my computer’s acting all weird. The background is changing colours and Word is typing stuff when I’m not touching my keyboard.”
“I’ll be there when I can.” He hung up.
Daniel pushed Control Alt Delete. The computer started playing salsa music. The monitor pulsed between orange and brown to the beat.
“What the?” Daniel whispered.
“What is it?” Andy said, popping up from his cubicle again.
“Well, look!” Daniel pointed at his computer. He then looked up at Andy, and stared for a moment. Andy’s eyebrows were missing, and his hair was now dark brown. “What did you do to your hair … and your eyebrows?”
“What are you talking about?” Andy sat back down in his cubicle before Daniel could respond. “And people think I’m nuts.”
“Are you still having problems?” A man asked from outside Daniel’s cubicle. Daniel looked to answer, but stared wide-mouthed at the sight of the tech support man. He was a six foot chimpanzee with a stethoscope on his collar.
“No, it’s even weirder now. It’s playing salsa and pulsing.” The chimpanzee jumped into the cubicle and slammed his right hand onto the monitor. He then jumped over Daniel’s head, and began drumming away on the computer. After about a minute, the chimpanzee jumped back over Daniel.
Daniel looked at his perfectly normal computer. He raised his eyebrows, and then looked back at the chimpanzee.
“Uh…thanks.” Daniel watched as the chimpanzee hopped away.
When he turned back to his computer monitor, his body grew cold. The screen was perfectly fine, but the monitor was in the shape of a giant bunch of bananas. Daniel shut his eyes and shook his head violently. That changed nothing.
He worked for about half an hour, looking over statistics and typing up reports.
“Peek-a-boo!” Andy’s voice sounded. Daniel ignored this and continued working away. “Peek-a-boo!” Daniel looked down at his knees and breathed deeply several times to calm himself down. He then looked at his glowing blue ball, which was now glowing more than before, and reflecting an image of his computer desk. “Peek-a-boo!”
“Will you stop that please,” Daniel said as he looked up. His eyes widened opened wide at the sight of Andy. His eyes and mouth had switched places, and his nose was sideways. His hair was now blue and spiked in all directions.
Did I touch something covered in LSD? What is going on today?
“I’m sorry,” Andy said.
Daniel looked at his watch, which now read, “1:22 pm, Friday, February 2nd”. Daniel moved his head back in surprise.
Ten minutes earlier than last I looked?
“You alright?” Andy asked.
“I think I have to go to the washroom,”
Daniel stood out of his cubicle and walked toward the back of the office. After a few seconds, the whole office floor began to wave like a lake on a breezy day. He stumbled on the floor halfway down the office.
He looked to his left and saw a co-worker typing with his bare feet as he was stuffing raw meat down his throat. He covered his mouth and gagged.
Daniel reached the bathroom and burst in, only to be greeted by loud disco music. He looked up and saw that he was now in a large cave that had been turned into a disco bar. There were at least forty people dancing in the cave, all in caveman outfits. Most of them he recognized from the office, but some were friends that he hadn’t seen in months.
Daniel stood still with his mouth closed, moving his eyes back and fourth at the scene. He felt a large, skinny hand push down on his shoulder.
“May I see some ID please?” Someone said in an emotionless tone behind him.
Daniel turned around and saw a seven feet tall carnivorous dinosaur looking straight at him. He screamed.
“ID please?” The dinosaur repeated emotionlessly.
Daniel nodded and reached into his pocket. He took out his wallet, and pulled out his driver’s license. The dinosaur grabbed it, checked it, and then handed it back.
“Alright, have fun!”
“Uh…ok,” Daniel replied out of pure confusion. “Where’s the washroom?”
“Across the dance floor and to the left,” Daniel turned around and began walking toward the dance floor. He took a quick glance back at the dinosaur, who was now dragging a completely hammered caveman away.
Daniel began pushing his way through the dance floor and headed toward the back. His arm was grabbed by a woman about half way through.
“Wanna dance?” Daniel looked at the woman.
“Amanda?” Daniel asked.
“How’d you know my name?”
“You’re the secretary, and I helped you get your job; how could I not know your name?”
“Oh, right. Wanna dance?”
“I’ve got to get to the bathroom, alright?”
“I’ll be right here when you get back.” Amanda said in a seductive tone.
Daniel gagged again. Sure, Amanda was kind of attractive, but she was too giddy for his tastes. When he reached the back of the cave and stepped into the men’s washroom. It appeared to be perfectly normal. He dashed into an empty toilet stall and leaned his head over the toilet bowl. After about a minute of just leaning there, he stood back up.
Weird, I feel perfectly fine now.
Another man entered the washroom. He had a sparkling caveman outfit on, and had a huge blonde afro. Daniel looked at him for a moment.
“That’s me man,” Andy said as he turned around. To Daniel’s relief, Andy’s face was now back to normal. “I’m tonight’s entertainment. Are you here with some friends?”
“Uh … not really,” Daniel replied. They both walked up to the mirror. Daniel looked up, and realized that only Andy had a reflection. He opened his mouth to question the mirror, but then closed it again and looked down at his hands.
“Well, see yah,” Andy said happily as he left the mirror and walked out the door again.
“What is happening?”
“What is happening?” A robotic voice said.
“Who said that?”
“Who said that?” The robotic voice asked. Daniel looked to his right and saw a silver man in the wall.
“Was that you?” Daniel asked.
“Was that you?”
“Can you stop repeating what I say?”
“Can you stop repeating what I say?”
Daniel thought for a moment. “I am an idiot.”
“You are an idiot.”
Daniel gave the silver man the crazy eyes. He clenched his hand into a fist, and then punched the silver man in the face. The mirror bonked Daniel in the side in return, knocking him into the bathroom stall and onto the toilet. Daniel watched with a dazed look as the mirror moved back onto the wall.
“I think it’s time for me to leave now,” Daniel said as he stood back up.
“Good, then go!” The silver man shouted.
Daniel shook his head as he pushed the bathroom door open. Outside the bathroom, the cave disco bar was now shaking as if there was an earthquake. Daniel froze in fear as the earthquake slowly became more violent. The cavemen dancers began to cheer as they started dancing with more energy. A crack in the cave ceiling opened up wide, and water began to pour through.
The cavemen all stopped dancing and crowded around the leak. Daniel used this opportunity to start running for the exit. Just as he got off the dance floor, the dinosaur stepped in his way.
“Where are you going?”
“I’m heading out,” Daniel replied.
“Already? You just got here.”
“This place freaks me out, and I have to get going anyway.”
“Alright then, but feel free to come back any time.” The dinosaur stepped out of Daniel’s way, and Daniel burst through the exit and back into the main office room. Everything seemed back to normal.
Oh right, I was supposed to be at work. It was hard to remember with … whatever that was.
He felt relieved as he approached his cubicle. When he turned to enter the cubicle, he froze in place.
His desk was a big, dead log covered in moss. His office chair was a tree stump with a large, circular couch cushion on it. His mouse was half of a coconut shell attached to a vine, and his computer monitor was still a bunch of bananas. His whole cubicle looked like a miniature jungle. The only thing normal about his office space was the keyboard, other than having several dead leaves on it.
Daniel slowly stepped to his “chair” and sat down. It was surprisingly comfortable for a log, cushioned or not. He looked at his watch, which read, “2:05 pm, Friday, February 2nd”.
“Looks about right.” He then began typing at his computer. After what seemed like twenty minutes, he heard his boss speak to him.
“Are you alright today? You seem stressed out.”
“I think I’m alright,” Daniel said. “I’m just about done this report here.” He turned over to his boss. “Whoa!”
His boss was a giant white duck with a silver, mechanical beak. This duck was wearing a tie on his neck, a big golden watch on his right wing, 3d glasses and nothing else but feathers.
“Are you sure you’re alright?” The boss repeated. Daniel looked at his watch. It read, “25:67 pm, Sunday February 32nd”. Daniel’s face went completely blank. He fought the urge to scream.
“You’re turning white.”
“You should take the rest of the day off,” Daniel’s boss said. “Just finish off this report and print it off.”
“Ok,” Daniel whispered. He turned to his computer as his boss waddled away. He typed for about a minute and then printed it off. He was about to stand up when he noticed the ball he had purchased during his lunch break. It was now glowing bright orange instead of blue, and there seemed to be an odd smoke inside the ball. He grabbed the ball and stuffed it in his jacket pocket. He then stepped out of his jungle cubicle and looked around.
The room’s floor now matched his jungle cubicle. Everyone’s cubicle walls were covered in vines and roots. The ceiling stood forty feet higher than it should, and there was a coconut tree in the center of the room. A tropical bird flew right over Daniel’s head, and landed on a branch sticking out from the cubicle opposite to Daniel’s own.
“Peek-a-boo!” Andy shouted. Daniel looked at Andy, who was now wearing a caveman outfit and had a large blonde beard to match his full head of hair. Andy’s grin showed only three teeth in his mouth, and they were all black. Daniel turned away.
As Daniel turned the corner to the elevator hallway, he paused. The walls were covered in pipes and steam vents. There were biohazard warning signs on the wall to Daniel’s right, and red flashing lights to his left. The elevator door was still there, and seemed to be the only normal part of the hallway. Daniel rushed to one of the offices and knocked on the heavy lead door. Nothing happened. He then pushed a red button beside the door, which opened it.
Inside was his duck boss.
“Here’s that report,” Daniel said.
“Good work. So, are you going home then?”
“I think so.”
“Alright, sleep well tonight. Tomorrow will be busy.”
Daniel stepped back out of the office. After the door closed, he shook his head violently. He then walked over to the elevator. He then noticed a control panel with five buttons beside the elevator door. One of the buttons had a down arrow on it, so he pushed it.
A loud boom sound was heard throughout the hallway. The vents let out a sudden blast of red smoke that nearly filled the hallway. The far walls to Daniel’s sides began to move slowly toward where he was standing.
“Oh crap!” Daniel shouted in panic. He banged on the elevator doors, which opened with the sound of a loud buzz. The elevator appeared to be a mining elevator of some kind, in the middle of a rocky vertical shaft. He looked to his sides again to see that the walls were still closing in. He stepped into the elevator, and looked for the button to close the door.
There was a large metal box attached to a support beam by the elevator door with a flip-open cover. Daniel flipped it open, revealing the controls for the elevator. He pushed the button to close the elevator doors, and the doors slowly shut with a loud hissing sound.
Daniel looked up and down. The shaft seemed to go on forever in both directions. Every twenty feet, there was a light to brighten up the shaft, but it was mostly dark. He turned back to the control box and pushed the down button. A loud hum sounded, and the elevator slowly began to move up.
“What are you doing? I pressed down, not up.” Daniel shouted.
The elevator continued to move up, and then stopped dead after half a minute. A creaking noise sounded on either side of the platform. The elevator dropped. The force of the drop brought Daniel’s feet right of the floor and he floated to the ceiling.
“No, no, no no no,” Daniel shouted.
Just before Daniel’s head bumped into the ceiling, the elevator slowed down. Daniel dropped onto the floor. The elevator stopped and opened. A bright light shone through the opening, and Daniel could hear the sound of ocean waves and seagulls. The elevator had landed on an oil rig. There were cubicles on the main deck, and a large tower in the distance. It was here where Daniel’s mind shut down.
The elevator doors shut once again, and the elevator began moving down slowly. The doors opened up once again, revealing the front lobby of the office building. Daniel leapt out of the elevator, and brushed himself off with a sigh of relief.
Daniel then walked down the hall and into the front lobby. The floor was a rainbow. Not just coloured like a rainbow, but literally a rainbow. There were fifteen or so people riding Segway Personal Transports in circles on this rainbow. Daniel shook his head. He walked outside and into a seemingly normal parking lot.
Daniel hopped into his car and drove back to the independent shop again. The shop owner was still sitting at the counter as Daniel stormed in.
“Back already?” The shop owner asked.
“I demand my money back,” Daniel shouted.
“Whoa, whoa, calm down. I said you could return it if it was too much for you.” Daniel handed the shop owner the ball, and the shop owner handed Daniel a $20 bill.
“Will everything go back to normal now?” Daniel asked.
“It should be within a few minutes. You actually lasted a lot longer than I though you would.”
“Nobody’s lasted more than one hour before, you lasted three.”
“It’s only been three hours? It felt like forever. What is this ball anyway?”
“Honestly, I have no idea. All I know is that it just…appeared one day, and I haven’t been able to get rid of it.”
“Well how do you know about what it does?” Daniel asked.
“I live with its effects all the time. When you came in earlier, you looked like a giant mouse with a moustache and a cowboy hat. My only relief is when other people take it. I’m used to it, but it’s nice to have normalcy every now and then.”
“So whoever owns it gets these effects?”
“That’s what I’ve figured. If you look at the bottom, there are some strange symbols, but I haven’t been able to…”
“I really should get going,” Daniel interrupted.
“Come back any time.”
“I probably won’t,” Daniel replied. The owner smiled sadly as Daniel stepped out of the store. Just as Daniel left, Andy entered.
“Yo, did he just return that blue ball thing?” Andy asked.
“Yes Andy. Why?” The owner asked.
“Cause he was acting all weird and stuff. What does that ball do?”
“Hard to explain,” The owner said. “The only thing I can say is that it does some really weird stuff to whoever owns it. Nobody’s ever lasted more than five hours before demanding their money back.”
Andy grinned. “I want to try it out. Will you accept $50?”