Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Fourth Wall

Lisa sat across from him.  She toyed with her spaghetti carbonara.  The date was not going well, but Brian consoled himself that it had not been his idea. 

“You’re so distracted,” she burst out.  A ninja gently tousled her hair, mimicking a breeze from the ‘ceiling fan’ overhead.  “Am I that boring, that you can’t even look at me?”

Brian glanced over her shoulder.  The ninja winked at him.  Brian could see the glint of a razor-sharp blade, mere inches from Lisa’s neck.

“It’s nothing,” Brian said.  Outside, the ninjas were preparing the street scene for his lonely walk home.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


“Morning, Dave,” said Carl.  He opened his car door and did a few brief calisthenics.  Carl was a health nut.

“Morning.”  Dave rubbed at his stubble and un-reclined his seat.  The driver’s seat only went back so far, but there was always the chance traffic could start moving.  Dave was an optimist.

“I’m going to walk down to the cafe.  You want anything?”

“Nah,” said Dave.  He gripped the wheel, ten and two.  He was ready.

“’K.  See ya!”  Carl walked off, weaving through stopped cars.  The grass that grew stubbornly through cracks in the asphalt whispered as he passed.

Monday, February 18, 2013

About a Dollar

“Uh...” the cashier hesitated as Tilda came down the conveyor belt, holding her knees up to avoid the gum rack.

“I’m a can of beans,” Tilda said. 

“I don’t... that’s not safe, is it?” 

“What’s safe matter to a can of beans?  Scan me.”

“You’re not supposed to point the beam at your eyes...”

“Scan me!  I am a can of beans!  I will nourish my family!  I’ll keep for years!  Don’t eat me if I am dented!  Scan me, you addled twit!  Scan me now!  I’m beans!”


The cashier consulted the screen.  “Actually, you’re sugar-free caramels.  On clearance.”

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Perhaps Tomorrow

Brian got up too early.  He got stuck in traffic anyway.  At work, he got yelled at for not wearing the stupid hat, and then he found a hole in his uniform shirt.  When he got out, some asshole had added a new dent to his side door.

At home, the ancient computer rattled and whirred, and he wondered if this would be the time it finally didn’t boot.

At last, the prompt appeared, in blocky, greenish text:



He stared at the screen for a long time.  He pushed a button.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


What is going on?” Harris thundered.  He shouted in surprise at the flash of lightning that came concurrently.

“Stop using said-bookisms,” Julie hissed.  She sagged a bit as she began to deflate, and clamped a hand over her nose to stem the flow.  The hissing stopped.

“I just don’t understand,” Harris fumed.  He and Julie both began to cough as smoke filled the small room.  Harris kept fuming until Julie threw her drink on him, after which he merely smoldered.

“The parser is broken,” Julie explained.  “You can’t get too creative with your vocabulary.”

“What!?” Harris exploded.

“Ew,” said Julie.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Meet the Band

Fade in.  Intro plays, fades into voiceover.  

Close-up on the lead singer.  The interview is in progress, the first question inaudible.  Vic shifts on his overstuffed chair, one leg tucked up under him.  Unable, even on camera, not to perch.  “Well, yeah, I mean, originally it was a joke, kind of.  Like the Who, or the Band, you know?  So it’s like, ‘Who?’ and you go, ‘Exactly!’  So we’re the Real Monsters.  You watch King Kong or whatever and they come in all heavy and go, ‘But who are the real monsters?’  And it’s like, we are.  We’re the real monsters.”  

He laughs, teeth glinting in the bright studio lights.  “I mean, I drink blood for a living.  I don’t go out of my way to kill people, but, well, shit happens, you know?”  The interviewer interjects.  “Fuck, do you check to make sure all your beef is free range organic what-the-fuck-ever?  I don’t  try to make it hurt.  And Lonso, under the right circumstances, just goes balls-out and starts killing people.  He can’t help it; no self-control, you know?”  

There is a clip of stock footage from one of the werewolf’s rampages.  Just a flash of fur and a shot of screaming in the distance.  Nothing graphic; this is early evening broadcast, aimed at youth.

“And then C-134N and Frankie – no one does percussion and keyboards like robots and dead people, let me just say right now.  C’s got no hate for anyone, but no love, either, you feel me?  And Frankie has major problems with authority.  They’d both be killing you right now except they know it’d be inconvenient.”

The camera cuts briefly to the corner, where two sets of glinting dead eyes stare out, each with its own brand of bleak and detached amusement.

“So it’s like, people ask and, you know, we have the answer now.  There’s... there’s a moral clarity.  In relation.  Everyone knows where they stand.  The... we’re it.  It’s us.  The answer.”  He laughs again, glances away from the camera.  We’re the real monsters.  What the fuck are you?”