The Mustard Shirt
Against the advice of his wife, a man buys a mustard-coloured shirt. The shirt drains the colour from his face and leaves him looking like a jaundiced ghoul. On the plus side, it gives him superpowers, which he uses to fight crime. Unfortunately, his terrible sallow complexion makes him so unphotogenic that he is more or less ignored. He loses his job and his family.
The First Girl To Cry in 1,000 Years
In a perfect society on the moon, everything is regulated and no one ever cries. People ride conveyor belts and wear smart silver jumpsuits. A young girl, Anoo, is certain that there's something more to life than the sterile perfection of Moon Base 5. She steals a spacesuit and sneaks out to explore the surface of the moon, where no one has ventured for a millennium. The moon turns out to have breathable atmosphere and look a lot like Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park in California. Anoo wanders, confused and thirsty. On her second day a van full of itinerant labourers picks her up and takes her home for supper, where she eats potato chips and oranges for the first time in her young life. She discovers that she knows enough English and Spanish to thank her hosts for their kindness. When she goes to sleep that night in a sleeping bag in the backyard, mosquito netting swaying gently in the slight breeze, she feels warm and loved and excited at the changes that her life has brought her.
The next morning she's woken up by the rude honking of the pickup truck. She and her hosts pile on and are dropped off for the day at a farming compound. She is given a bag and sent out into the fields. She tries her hardest to pick as much produce as possible, but by mid-afternoon her back is aching, her hands are bleeding, and she can't believe that humans could possibly exist in such servitude and misery. The foreman hits her, which makes her cry.
A Slip of the Tongue
A handsome young man meets a woman in a professional capacity and wonders aloud to everyone he knows whether her carpet matches her drapes. Some of his friends laugh at this, other people fall quiet or choose to ignore him. Over the Thanksgiving weekend he mentions his obsession to his girlfriend's family. To his surprise they kick him out of the house and forbid him from seeing his girlfriend again. Eventually he asks the woman outright, and it turns out that the carpet does match the drapes, but she's been thinking about redecorating the living room, which is why she'd hired his interior decorating firm. He does an outstanding job and finds love once more.
But not with the woman. He kills her and eats the body. That's the twist you just didn't see coming.
The King of the Bracelets
In a land far away, a runty loser discovers that he's actually the saviour of the land. He goes on a journey, makes certain discoveries about himself, saves everyone, and comes home again.
The Reality Code
In a world suspiciously like our own, a computer geek discovers that he's actually the most important person in the world. He goes on a journey, makes certain discoveries about himself, saves everyone, and
comes home again dies after beating the tar out of a guy in virtual reality. Yeah, that's an ending worth waiting for.
In a world vaguely like our own, a bored adolescent discovers that he's actually an heir to a vanished mystical order that makes him the most important person in the universe. He goes on a journey, makes certain discoveries about himself, and gets his dad killed through sheer incompetence and buck-passing. He develops a coke habit and runs the family business into the ground.