Screams & Grumbles

“Recipe for Water Cake”
by Daniel Smither

Ingredients and Materials
1 pound cake bowl
1 oven
1 freezer

Fill pound cake bowl with water and place in freezer until water is frozen. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. When water is frozen, remove from freezer and bake for 20min.

Daniel Smither is trying to lose weight.


“The Future of Literature”
by James Fluty

I started out very excited to read Mr. Robert Brown from Tampa Florida’s newest tweets.  I had, like many literature buffs before me, been a huge fan of his work for many years.  However, I’m afraid Mr. Brown has fallen the way of so many greats; he’s tragically become predictable and banal in his old age of twenty-seven.

Many consider Robert Brown to be the father of modern Twittering.  There were those who brought it to the main stream; Stephen Colbert, Charlie McDowell and the Shit My Dad Says guy, are all examples of those who were able to bring the focus of writing into the short concise 140 character limit that it so deserved.  But later writers like Robert Brown, Gina Hunter and Gedde Watanabe left the overly clever updates and braved a far more subtle and natural feel to their prose.

But I’m afraid that it’s possible all the praise for Mr. Brown has left him no longer putting the effort it takes to seem effortless.  The skills he once possessed seem either lost or unused.

I remember being filled with a visceral excitement when I would read such updates as:

“Its Friday and Im gettin the helz out of here!”

The use of “Helz” when referring to the joy of leaving his job demonstrates the terrible wanting that many adults feel to regain the innocence of childhood.  The use of Friday obviously signifying the day that ends a traditional work week coupled with his longing to leave work and accented by the replacement of a “z” instead of an “s” shows a deep longing to return to the womb.

Or the heart wrenching sadness I experienced when I read:

“My goldfish died and I don’t know why 🙁 ”

I can still recall the feeling of my soul breaking, not only in empathy for the pain he felt but also for his beautifully perfect use of the emoticon.

I can’t say that the sadness I felt then isn’t matched by the sadness I have now, expressing my regret that Brown has become just another voice spouting trite ineffectual thoughts that, as of late, seem all to ubiquitous in that once great realm of intellectual discourse that was Twitter and to a lesser extent Facebook, but never Myspace.  In another uninspired post Brown writes:

“I’m ordering a large double shot espresso and it’s taking forever to make! 🙁 ”

The first thing that stands out to me is the tragic misuse of the emoticon (in comparison to his early works, where they seemed to flow through him in such inspired ways), surely this should have been an angry face and not the easy and lazy, frowny face.  It also reeks of the all too common, ego driven, overly descriptive prose that often come in an author’s later works.  “large double shot espresso…”  I was yawning by the word “double”!  We get it, you’re ordering coffee, move on.  I wanted an update not a life story.  You see Mr. Brown, like the rest of society, I generally have 13 to 27 windows open on my laptop at any given moment, I don’t have time for Tolstoy!  And to add insult to injury it’s an update about a coffee order, the most overused and tired of all tweets.  When I read this I couldn’t help but LOL at the lack of originality.

Another update reads:

“Who’s going to karaoke tonight? :D”

Here Brown finally uses a decent emoticon but fails to tell the reader why he is asking about karaoke or what the motivation behind going to it is?  Where is the growth?  Where is the development?  Too many times, Brown leaves us guessing.

I would understand a wanting to follow Brown.  He has inspired many present day authors and (for me personally) he is connected strongly to my own development as an appreciator of fine literature.  But I can’t see anyone gaining anything from Mr. Brown’s work outside the contexts of history or nostalgia.  He has, for the time, become too complacent.

As the great author Brittani Applebaum from Beverly Hills California once said:

God is everyone a total douche today or what? #FML

And that, Mr. Brown, is real writing.


“My Grandson, My Computer and My Office (Letter to the Editor)”
by Charlie Britten

Dear Sir

It is with consternation that I write.  In fact it is remarkable that I write at all.

My computer is six years old and my grandson ten.  Last week the latter installed on the former the latest Microsoft Office and one of those antivirus thingies.  Because I am a responsible adult, I got him to set up the parental controls before he returned to Scotland where he lives.  Fortunately, my grand-daughter happened to come round to see us yesterday so she was able to show me how to get back on to the internet.

But I digress.  Microsoft Office.  What have they done with it?  What do I want with a ribbon at my time of life?  Where, oh where, is the Formatting menu on Word?  My wife refuses to print.  Anything.  She doesn’t buy clothes without trying them on in the fitting room, and she won’t print documents without seeing them in Print Preview.

Why did we make this change?  I don’t really know.  It sort of crept up on us, you know, that sinking feeling that you’re old fashioned, then a cheap offer on the internet.  We were fine with Office 2003.  Do you remember the Drawing Tools at the bottom of the screen, with the lines and the arrows?  The text box was on there – my friend the ordinary text box, not these stupid preformatted ones.  Who’d format them like that anyway, Bill Gates?  No wonder you left Microsoft.

Coming to think of it, Office 2000 was even better, and Office 97 better still.  And what’s this I hear, that there’s an Office 2010 as well?

In a corner of our attic is my wife’s old manual typewriter, which does carbon copies and envelopes.



Charlie Britten has contributed to “FictionAtWork”, “The Short Humour Site”, “First Edition”, “Mslexia”, “Linnet’s Wings” and “Delivered”.  In real life, she is an IT lecturer at a college of further education.

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