Wednesday, August 31, 2011

So many errors made...


The error had been mine, of course. That was just how things happened, whether the error was actually mine or not. Culpability tended to run downhill... similar to avelanches or excrement. Still, even though the calculations had not actually been my doing, I should have had the forsight to double possibly and triple check the captain's course, knowing as I did about bodily waste and hills, even in space.

If the calculations were not my fault, the lack of ass-covering, given the nature of my job, was. So, in that sense, I DID fire the shot that ddestroyed the Earth.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

She loved the nature channel...


“This lonely creature spends each day seeking only comfort from another of its kind. But in the vast, stony wasteland, he finds none. Our cameras captured this one…”

“Oh come on. That’s completely staged. That doesn’t even LOOK real. You can practically see the zipper on that thing…”

Illa poked her brother. “Shut up. I am watching this documentary.”

“It’s not a documentary. It’s a fairy tale. Told to idiots too stupid to know there’s no such thing as humans.”

Illa paused the holo display. “Look, that’s a human! Right here! You’re going to tell me it isn’t real?”


Monday, August 29, 2011

They both also ate shoes...


House training an eight week old dragon was a lot like house training a puppy, in a lot of ways. First, they were prone to chewing on wires and home entertainment center cables, next was their penchant for waiting until you were at a really good part of the TV show when they would inevitably have to go outside for a potty break. Sure, they were scaly and could fly (sorta—Mortimer was still working on it) but really it was very similar, training and trouble-wise. And at midght cuddle time. And treats time. But not the fire breathing part.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

He broke his coccyx...


The night Ellis lost his footing, he’d been standing on a stool, attempting to locate the appropriate sugar receptacle (among his many) on the top shelf in the kitchen. And suddenly… he was sitting on the basement floor, looking up at the hole his entire body had passed through. There’d been a moment of stumbling, losing his balance on the footstool, then it felt like he’d fallen through a cardboard box, he’d gone through the floor with so little resistance. Then, after he started breathing again, he realized just how much his ass hurt. Almost like he’d never sit again.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fruit was hard to come by...


They had no bananas today. At least, that was the word around town. Horowitz’s grocery, run by a German Jew, was the only grocer in the entire neighborhood of over a thousand Italian Catholics. He never had anything they wanted, no fresh mozzarella, no aged salami. No pepperoni, it was like the man had something against pork. But they always could rely on the old man to go to the shipping district three mornings a week for fresh produce and a sizeable selection of bananas. It was Tuesday, his usual produce day, and nothing. He said the bananas were gone.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Names could kill...


“Whatever you do,” the woman on the wall-length screen told Ada, “never ever--”

“Never ever tell them my real name, for surely it will mean certain death,” Ada finished, tossing the sweater she was folding into her case. It came completely unfolded and one teal arm draped out the side, and onto the bed. “This is not my first trip off the space station, mother.”

“It’s the first one without me, and I worry.” Ada’s mother frowned at the messy travel case. “Never your full name. And remember--”

Ada flipped the display switch and the screen went dark.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It was an old war...


Dogs held it to be self-evident that they were the higher species. They had been, over millennia, bred by humans to have superior genetics, which was obviously proof of their superiority. Cats argued that they were already perfect, so they did not need to be bred to be moreso. Dogs illustrated that they were capable of learning commands and serving people. Cats pointed out that they caught rats, and were cute. Dogs reminded the cats of their ability to read and understand man. Cats ended the argument by pointed out they were smart enough to get man to serve THEM.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

He'd had chronic heartburn since coming here...


Argin had to admit, the garlic crust was far better than the regular hand-tossed pizza crust. The garlic crust was moister, and he did like the way the oil from the garlic spread moistened his lips and tentacles as he worked his way through all sixteen slices of the extra large pizza. He’d come to earth to conquer it, but as he infiltrated the planet, attempting to learn its weaknesses, he unfortunately learned about some weaknesses of his own. Daytime television, the sound of rain, Hardy Boys novels, and delivery pizza. His people would be so sad to see him now.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

His mother wanted so much...


There were no fresh water mermaids, plain and simple. Oh, Barry had heard all the legends and fairy tails. But there were no mermaids to be found in lakes, rivers or streams. Fish, yes. Garbage, of course. Even the occasional downed B-52 bomber. Hell, there were even a handful of Sirens who’d retired to the Great Lakes. But, no mermaids. And there was just no explaining this to his mother. She’d heard on one of those chat shows, hosted by a crab or a lobster or something, that there were fresh water mermaids. Now she wanted him to marry one.

Monday, August 22, 2011

And there was drama...


It was like a locked room mystery except for… well, the part about it being real-life. The room was locked, there was a mystery. If that is what we were calling the dead body pinioned to the hard wood floor with a mall-bought unsharpened broadsword that had been driven through the body (formerly known as Mrs. Smythe) so forcefully that it was embedded at least several inches into the modern, snap-together wood, and into the joist below. Also, we were locked in a locked room—my largest concern. Mrs Smythe was beyond helping. WE, however, appeared to be quite trapped.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

They choked the life out of ya...


You’ve heard of the Traveling Pants? And the sisterhood that grew up around it? The pants that fit everyone who wore them so perfectly, despite size or shape? This was a pair of shoes like that. They were sorta like those pants. They fit on the first try, everyone, every time. The problem was, they didn’t keep fitting. They’d…constrict. Day after day, growing tighter, rubbing toes and heels raw, but the treads and seams never wore thin. The fool who’d purchased them on an excellent deal at a consignment shop would resell them again, and the fun would start over.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Travel was a bit restricted...


The bridge had collapsed at some point in the reign of Ferrick the Eighth. No one had knocked it over, or blown it up, or cast a spell upon it, or anything maudlin like that. It had simply…fallen like a warrior in the wood, dying of exhaustion, instead of old age or decay. Which hadn’t been bad, except there had been a legion of troops upon it. They’d all joined the bridge in death. Fearing the river’s curse, Ferrick the Tenth had banned all construction on that part of the river. Only ferries would carry people across. The bridge wept.

Friday, August 19, 2011

It either restored hair or removed it...


The spell was either two parts errot root, and eight parts fenno berry, or it was eight parts errot root, and two parts fenno berry. It would certainly be more convenient if it were the first way since fenno berry was terribly expensive in the winter, and it smelled dreadful, like decaying eyeballs. Maybe it was two parts eyeballs and eight parts errot root, and there was no fenno berry. Ellis had trouble remembering. He’d been alone in this tower far too long. They only remembered he was up there when they needed something. Like now: the prince was balding.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It was a ghost of an explosion...


It was bright. I’d say that for the Imperial hovercraft, as it exploded in the upper atmosphere. It was brighter than day, and the image of the shuttle imprinted itself upon my eyes so that it was like a ghost. In fact, well after the doctors said that the temporary blindness caused by the explosion should have faded, I saw that shadow. It followed me around everywhere I went. The queen was dead. Even as I slept at night, the burned-in image kept me company. There was only one conclusion I could come to; I’d use far too many explosives.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Camps alone in the woods were like that...


“I think we should split up,” he breathed in my ear. It was wet and hot and felt so gross in the cold and dry night air.

I took a step back from him, putting some distance between his breath, which smelled like the sausage and garlic pizza we’d had for dinner, and nudged his arm impatiently. “No. We won’t get out of here any faster.”

“You don’t know that.”

“What happens in damned near every horror movie? They split up, and people start dying.”

“This is real life, not a horror movie.”

“They say THAT in the movies too.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

They made great pets, and they were tasty too...


Humans whined all the time about just how cold and inhospitable both space and the ocean were. It was something we laughed about behind their backs. They had four legs, and were quite dexterous for having such tiny brains, and they made excellent domesticated servants, but all the moaning about how they wanted to be in space, and in the sea, but the environment just hated them so much. I often wondered just how they thought we felt about dry land, and if it’d have an impact, but I got the sense they didn’t really care what us dolphins thought.

Monday, August 15, 2011

There were mud slides too...


At some point during the storms that had raged the entire night, rocks had broken free of the cliff face, and were blocking the only safe path to The Great City. It would take days to clear the muddy roadway. Eglan looked at the boulders, which came up to a man’s shoulders, then down at the steep, treacherous and nearly impassable slope that lead from the road to the river. Perhaps, she could slide down to the river’s edge and walk its length to The Great City. If she did not do something, concert tickets would be sold out soon.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

They wouldn't share their apples either...


Grandmother refused to look at Enrathle. Refused to acknowledge his existence. Father had attempted to throw him out of the Unicorn Wood, twice, but Essa had threatened to hurl herself from the highest cliff in the kingdom, if her father made Enrathle go away. Mother had said absolutely nothing at all. She simply looked at her only child, her beautiful, independent unicorn-mare, as she grew heavier with the ofspring of Enrathle, prince of the Pegasii, and she would sob. Her grandchild would be of the bullying and brutish Pegasus stock, but worse yet, it would have those awful, hideous wings.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cats did many things well...


They claimed that cats made better spies than dogs. The cats were less trainable of course, they really could only manage a few basic techniques, like slinking over with wide, innocent eyes from enemy operatives sitting on park benches in Cold War Washington, DC. They were surprisingly inept at espionage and really could only manage adorable cuddles from German and Soviet spies in ungodly brown leather jackets and oversized tinted glasses while recording conversations then slinking innocently away. Dogs could learn at least eight types of subterfuge, but the East Germans kept trying to find the dogs a proper home.

Friday, August 12, 2011

And my tank top was too big...


And at some point, I became my grandfather. Stumbling across the better part of a slightly wild and rural acre in the twilight, coming in from hacking up fallen branches after a storm, my brown canvas trousers sagging over my shoes, grassy mud stains caked around my ankles, red-faced, sweating like a pig turning on a spit, parched, and mixing CrystalLite (Koolaid for Grownups) in a big plastic glass filled with ice, and capable of holding half of a two-liter pop bottle, but I’m trying to be healthy. It tastes like chemicals and well water and the cup smells funny.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

She did, however, like breakfast...


Erickson Lodge was the last motel for seventy-five miles. Ria knew this because she’d been seeing signs to that effect every single mile for the last fifteen or so. The road-side advertisements were usually only half-lit, but from what she could tell, Erickson Lodge sported a free continental breakfast, free wireless internet, and HBO. She was really only interested in a bed with pillows and the potential for a hot shower. Dispatching vampires and ghouls to the here-after was hard work. It left her exhausted and with little spare time for things like over-played movies with excessive female frontal nudity.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Muse's fidelity was in question...


When the Muse disappeared again, Aubrey almost hadn’t noticed. The Muse had been giving the silent treatment for so many weeks, and playing the “active avoidance” game so effectively that Aubrey didn’t know whether the Muse was hiding in the basement or the attic, or had really truly gone off again. The Muse wasn’t gone long, however. Aubrey had a feeling it had something to do with the free rent, well-stocked fridge, or possibly the high-speed internet connection. Either way, the Muse showed up again one morning, with a lad sporting guy-liner and a too-tight striped tee. Aubrey was mad.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

She'd been discovered...


Celine woke in a too-bright room with a thudding pain in her head, which matched the stabbing ache in her shoulder where Gelmon had stabbed her, pinning her to the asphalt. Squinting, she looked around. She was in some sort of storage room, she supposed. The walls were papered over, but there were boxes stacked high around her, and she was lying on a broken couch.

“You’re awake.”

She spun toward the foreign, unknown voice, and realized the mask she’d left the house with last night was gone. Her hand flew up to her eyes.

“That ship has sailed, kid.”

Monday, August 8, 2011

There was nothing left...


Olympus, once home to the gods, lay in the depth of the heavens like a misty ghost town. Wind whistled between the columns along the promenades, and over marble and granite walls, which no longer roofs. At night, the stars used to pay homage to those lords of heaven and earth and beyond, but now they simply flickered their sad song of remembrance as the grey wolves of the underworld roamed the empty halls of the abandoned domain. No one knows when they left or if they will return. But Zeus’ great throne lies cracked and overturned, broken and forgotten.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

It lured them close...


Movement in the distance,
waving branches
of pine
after a winter storm
heavily laden
But buoyant. Waving in
a circular motion,
like it’s on a parade rout.
Back forth up and down
All in one motion—hypnotic
And enticing, calming and reassuring.
But it was not friendly,
Whatever impression it was meant to give.
Perhaps that was its hidden talent;
Like a Venus fly trap. It looked like succulent
Rotting flesh, until it snapped closed
On helpless insects.
The waving branches
Could be of that ilk
Luring those who wished to see
nature’s grandeur
Up close to an untimely death.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Second time this week...


The occult shop was in a far too gentrified of a neighborhood to be intimidating in any sort of real way. It smelled of sweet, potent innocence, old hemp and specialty coffees. It’s clientele were not exactly what you’d consider “serious” practitioners of the arts; a few guys in skinny jeans wearing black mascara, girls who bought only the earthy-smelling candles, and moms from the suburbs attempting to relieve lost youth. Which was why the shop’s owner wasn’t entirely certain who had cursed the building with the evil eye, much less why they’d even care to. He removed it. Again.

Friday, August 5, 2011

It could be too deep...


The tiny blue and yellow orb faded into the dry earth in a barren, lonely spot between two rocks. Odd kicked a rusted out, bullet-riddled can out of the way and began digging with all the energy he had left in him. Four heavy shovels full of compacted dry earth and he stopped, leaning against the old splitery spade for a moment, trying to catch his breath. Water. The magics had told him it was here, and the magics never lied. But what if it was far deeper than he had strength for? Then he would die here, he supposed.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

They'd tied his shoelaces together too...


It wasn’t that Allan hated scarves in any way; in fact, they were quite ingenious and useful come winter. He just wasn’t fond of being tied up with fifteen scratchy wool scarves in a stuffy, locked up room, on the side of the house getting the most sun, on the (thus far) hottest day of the year. In fact, as the irritating little fibers brushed up against his bare skin uncomfortably, he wished scarves to a special place in hell. He also swore to pay every single one of those horrid little pixies back for this. It just wasn’t funny.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

They were snobs...


He had no idea why the committee was up in arms over the dissertation; he’d made a solid interpretation of the literature text backed up by a solid historical foundation, widely accepted science and the assurances and promises of three witches and an oracle who lived in the wood near the university campus. Also, they had previously signed off on his initial concept. Every word was solid and defensible. While the dish HAD, indeed, run away with the spoon, the spoon had been, in fact, in love with a saucer from the next farm over. The moon’d seen it all.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It was a service, really...


The man in the white and pink bunny costume waited patiently behind the tree on the top of the hill overlooking the grade school. Patience was a virtue, he’d been told, and he’d honed this virtue to a fine point. He had been waiting for hours, and if need be, he could wait for hours more. Time meant little, in the bunny costume. It was more than a mohair and plastic outfit—it was a uniform that meant something. He took it very seriously. Which is why, at three PM exactly, he killed the Boogie Man dead, fulfilling his quest.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The trees wept...


The queen was dying. So sad was the forest that the animals hid themselves away in mourning and the streams trickled less. As she lay, fading from life, her subjects crumbled beneath the weight of grief, for the love of her. Upon the veranda, on that blazing hot day, she ordered them not to grieve for her; it was simply her time. All things passed into the earth and she would be no exception. Her sister would rule, and the world would go on. It was a lesson the trees forgot; they wept, their leaves falling inconsolably to the earth.