Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cult Cargo Pants (TM)

“It’s great!  I’ve got a pocket for my phone, for my wallet, my keys, my palmtop, my ciggies, and even some beef jerky.”  Kell stretched out one leg and then the other, displaying the wonders of his new pants.

“You’re a little too excited about those,” said Gav.

From overhead came the drone of a propeller plane, flying low.  A shadow swept across them, followed by a thump as a large wooden box buried itself in the sand.  It broke open, spilling dozens of pairs of trousers.  Kell and Gave blinked at each other.

“What’s brand were those pants again?”

Hopalong B'ar

It was a good life in Sawyerville; clean air, peace and quiet, friendly people.  The only downside, Griff reflected, was its proximity to the university, which led to periodic infestations of bros.

“Reckon it’s ‘bout time y’all three hopped along,” he said, approaching his current crop of overloud teenagers.  “Y’all had more’n enuff t’drank.”

“What’ll you do if we don’t, Gramps?” asked the largest one.  “Call the sheriff?”

“Naw,” Griff said.  “I got someone better.  “Hey, Hopalong!”

A furry mountain grumbled as it rose.  The bros paled and huddled together. 

“What’d y’all think that ‘postrophe was fer?” Griff asked, grinning.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Steel is No Comfort When Winter Comes

The massive figure loomed over the sales counter, clad in blood-red armor and wearing a horned helm.  Nearby, two hitherto polite middle-aged ladies erupted into a vicious screaming match, struggling over a clearance sweater.

Something thudded to the countertop: a fleece-lined winter coat.  A mailed hand tapped the garment, then slammed into the steel-plated chest.

"Fitting rooms are th-th-there," Beth stammered, pointing. 

The figure stomped away.

"Was that War?" asked Vicki.

"Can't be," said John.  "War... war never changes."

There was a rustle from the fitting rooms, then a contented sigh.

"It must be War," said Beth.  "He was cold..."

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Departure

“This is something I’ve needed to do for a long time,” she says.  Her hair is already growing out, shading to black.   Her voice shifts timbres like a pennywhistle for a moment.  “I would say that it’s not you, but I want to be honest about it.  I can’t…”  She pauses as she adds several inches of height, one foot out the door.  There’s a hint of a mustache for a moment, but it fades. 

“I don’t like who I am when I’m with you,” she says. 

As she walks away, I think I see the first hint of wings.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Appointment Calendar

“We’re running behind today,” the receptionist told me.  “The doctor will be with you as soon as he can.  You can wait over there.”  She gestured in the vague direction of the faux-leather couches and the elderly magazines.  I settled in the wooden chair, as the couch was occupied by a nine-hundred-pound grizzly bear, who was gnawing the armrest philosophically.

“So, what are you in for?” I asked jovially.

“He’s eating the doctor at two-thirty,” the receptionist interjected.

“But my appointment is for three,” I protested.

“Tough cookies,” she snapped.  “We can reschedule if you like.”

“Gnarrr,” said the bear.

Friday, September 14, 2012

"White as a Bedroom Door" at Pseudopod

My second full-length appearance at Pseudopod, the horror podcast, is "White as a Bedroom Door."  

Give it a listen, if you like.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Weight of What Has Gone Before

The chains had gotten a lot thicker since the birth, both of them shuffling with links thick as baseball bats around their ankles.  Suze, in particular, had a nasty iron padlock hanging from her neck that left her forever leaning forward.

“We knew going in it was going to be hard,” said Reg.  He rattled the chains on his wrist.  “I wouldn’t undo these even if I could.”

In the bassinet, the infant slumbered.  He’d opened his eyes, at least, and decided to stay in the world; I could see the first hair-fine chain dangling from around his tender neck.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Exploring the Known Words

The aphoristic engines flared as they penetrated the final barrier, emerging in a flash of non-light into a space that was not a space.

“We’ve made it!” cried Doctor Geisteskrank.  “We’ve abstracted ourselves!  We’re in the realm of pure logic.  Now to locate a suitable base camp.”

“What about that?” asked Bertram, pointing to a distant planetoid.  “It must be enormous, given the distance.”

“That one’s no good,” said Doctor Geisteskrank.  “It’s a falsehood.”

“How can you tell?”

“Lies have their own gravity.  It pulls things in.  The truth, on the other hand, sleets through the cosmos untouched and untouchable.”

Friday, September 7, 2012

Chasing Tails

“Once, sailing ships had major problems with rodents, and cats were a great way to deal with that.  I get that, and I understand tradition, but every ounce of fuel counts right now.  Why are we bringing that?”  Bik pointed to the small gray tabby, who groomed her tail dismissively.

“You know we’re testing the Keppler drive, right?  Experimental?”


“Did anyone tell you what it is?”

Bik shook his head.

“It’s a warp drive.  Space-twister.  Time-bender.  You know how cats chase things that aren’t there?  We need her because she’s the only one who can see where we’re going.”

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Hold Full of Sugar Cube

Once again, don't forget the Morning After giveaway.  Free anthology, people!  Who doesn't like free?


The black-sailed ship was perhaps twelve inches long.  It drifted to a stop on the kitchen table, where Bev was enjoying a cup of coffee in the quiet hours of the morning.  A minute man with a puffball of black beard around his head emerged onto the foredeck, waving a cutlass the size of a mouse’s whisker.

“Yar!” he said.

“What?”  Bev glanced around, unsure how to address a tiny pirate.

“Yar.  I am a pirate.  I’m here to pillage you.”

“You’re pretty small for a pirate.  I could drown you in my coffee.”

“I pillage very small things.  Yar.”

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Going experimental today.  :-P  It's longer than usual because phooey.


Look here & see Theodore Bartlett, a mid-level pharmaceuticals rep & businessperson.  He is not in himself particularly interesting yet is brought to your attention, here on the sidewalk as he walks to work to the subway station to the city because Theodore Bartlett is about to experience a miracle. 

The nature of the miracle will not be revealed; this would spoil the suspense.

It might be a pillar of fire or a booming voice, but might as easily be something else, something perhaps easily mistaken for happenstance and/or coincidence and/or Al Qaeda.  I myself once had a miraculous pimple.  It was small/red/in all ways unremarkable, and it burst after a week and faded thence from the memory of mankind, yet it was miraculous nonetheless, the hand of God acting directly in all of our lives, and that knowledge has changed me forever because, understanding as I do now and did not then the nature of the miraculous and the implications &c I am able to see Theodore Bartlett and show him unto thee that thou also might see and anticipate what it will be when he finds/encounters/becomes the miraculous and how it might change everything for him and me and all of us.  Please do not forget Theodore Bartlett as the doors hiss closed and separate the smell of rat pee from body odor and whisk him to his job where he will find a miracle and may or may not recognize it for what it is & keep him in your prayers because his miracle might be only a jar of mustard that he thought was empty having one more serving & he will never know, live and never know, die and never know.  Theodore Bartlett I wish you well Godspeed sir be safe and mind the gap.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Floor of the Ocean

I think we're going to have to officially go to a "whenever I can" update schedule.  Between the day shift and the baby, my time to sit and write is sporadic and often interrupted.  Mirrorshards isn't going away, but it probably won't ever be back on a daily update until Archie is in school.  :-/

I sat beside the ambassador as he took his evening soak, the brackish water hauled at some expense up the mountain to soothe his amphibian's skin.  We looked out over the valley kingdoms and talked of their fractious politics.

"Of course," he said, "all this was ours once, and perhaps will be again."

"Surely you can't mean your people intend to make war?" I asked, half in jest. (Only half, for the magic of the water shamans is deep and subtle.)

His laughter made bubbly froth.  "Where oceans sink, they may one day rise.  My people remember, and can wait."

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Gastrophidia" at Ideomancer

My story, "Gastrophidia," is live in the September issue of Ideomancer.  It is the story of a man with a snake inside him.  I'm quite pleased with it overall (and the long-suffering editorial staff at the magazine help get the ending into a solid place), and getting into this venue has been a long-term project of mine.  (We're talking since about 2009.  I have modest goals, but at least I take a long time accomplishing them.)

Check it out; it's free.  Leave a comment.  Enjoy the magazine.  (I generally enjoy the stories there, and respect their editorial taste even when I don't care for a piece.)