Saturday, July 26, 2014

Measured in Coffee Spoons

Herbert wandered, lost in thought.  He came to a fork in the road.  Confused, he bent and picked it up.  Fine silverware, no sign of tarnish.  Curious.

"Well?" said a voice from below.  Herbert glanced down to see a kneeling man in what had once been a fine suit, now dirty and bedraggled, straining at the seams to contain the immense girth of its owner.  Indeed, it was odd he hadn't seen the man, so large was he.  His mouth was smeared with dirt.

"Well," the man said again, "start eating."  

Eventually, Herbert regretted taking an extra cake at tea.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Social Engineering

Nua was disconcerted when she entered Tyo's apartment.  "Last week this was a shitty economy with a roach problem," she said, eyeing the solid gold fountain bubbling with Dom Perignon.  Overhead, a flock of phoenixes sang classic Limp Bizkit songs with full orchestration.

"Yeah, well," Tyo shrugged.  "I found the old Telnet server God used to make the universe.  Dude never changed his password.  Old people and computers, right?  Family members and birthdays, t'cha."  Tyo spat and laughed.  A diamond robot scurried out to clean the marble.

"Twelve twenty-five?" Nua asked.

"Jeez, how Americanized are you?  One over zero, babe."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"The Shallows" at Toasted Cake

So if you aren't listening to Tina Connolly's Toasted Cake podcast, first, you should do that, so go ahead.  I'll wait.  They're short, mostly.

You can then listen to the newest episode, which features "The Shallows," originally published at Flash Fiction Online.  :-)

Apparently No One Had Actually Staked a Claim Before

"Mine!" Jory yanked the toy truck away.

"Come on, what do we say?" said Greg wearily.

"MINE!"  Jory ran to the front door and tugged at the handle.  He spun and pointed at the rest of the house.  "Mine!"

"Hon?" said Rachel from the kitchen, "why did the mortgage statement come in Jory's name?"

"Open door?" Jory instructed.

Greg hesitated.  But then, it was his house.

Jory ran outside and gripped the ground.  "Mine!"

He really couldn't do much worse, Greg reflected, as the helicopters and sirens started in the distance, coming to retrieve the toddler who ruled the planet.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Unseen Workers

Cursing, the doll-sized gnome picked himself up from the plaster dust and the splattered remnants of breakfast.

"You were in the ceiling," Brent said numbly.

"Cripes," said the gnome.  "Now we're in it."

"Why do you have pliers?" Brent asked, beginning to feel concerned.

The gnome tried to dodge aside, but Brent menaced him with a fork.

"Look, I'll give you a hint, okay?"  The gnome held up his pudgy hands.  "Your warranty ends tomorrow, doesn't it?  On the dryer?"


"Just act surprised.  That's all I can safely say."  The gnome tapped the side of his nose and fled.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


"What we're primarily interested in," said Neeling, stepping cautiously across the feed-yard, "is how you managed to cross in the phoenix.  They're rare, finicky eaters, and ? most pertinently ? parthenogenic.  We'd never managed to even get one to survive long in captivity.  How did you manage it?"

Clem shrugged.  "Patience."  

There was a commotion to the side.  One of the birds was standing stiff, hiccuping.  Neeling stared.  "For myself, I suppose I might ask... why?"

The distressed bird emitted a single, sharp cry, then burst into brief flame.  Clem stepped in and plucked up the sizzling body, now denuded.  "Self-cookin' chickens."

The expedition to the polar entrance of the hollow Earth went as smooth as silk.  Even the descent had been no trickier than expected, the zeppelin inflating without issue and only a few moments of upsetting free-fall when the pressure differential started to collapse the bag.  Now they were landed safely on the safe green sward of one of the interior continents, and the Turing Automatic Servant was working to translate the language of the short, fuzzy bipeds that dwelt there.

"They want to know," the robot said in its metallic voice, "how we got out of the hollow universe."

Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Red and White Fuse, Burning Slowly

A few seconds of ticking from inside a jack-o-lantern: that's all the warning we got before Halloween exploded.  It was a terrible scene; ghosts splattered against windowpanes or spread across streets like ectoplasmic butter on burnt toast; witches jammed hat-first through trees, their striped stockings all higgeldy-piggeldy; splintery candy shrapnel peppered walls, doors, and the occasional cursing parent; and everywhere, everywhere, the sobbing of children deprived of sugar.

But it could have been worse.

In a couple of months, we might have aerial bombardment to worry about.  How many presents do you think Santa stores in his sleigh at once?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Backwards Man

I met a backwards man today.  His head face the right way, and he walked forward.  No rakshasa nonsense or anything like that.  But he was backwards.  I could tell.  He moved against the flow of the current.

The first thing he did was pull a knife out of my back.  He slapped me across the face, then leaned in for a lingering hug.  He kissed me on each cheek and walked away, waving in greeting.  I watched the bubble of mild confusion in the people around him until the crowds obscured him completely.  Totally backwards.

I kept the knife.