Saturday, January 31, 2015

merrymount fantastic

In a single day, the black coats and hard eyes and bright swords of puritans rent the maypole asunder. Merrymount fell before their closed and narrow faith.

The broad and multifarious beings which had blessed that maypole spent years in slow, sanguine, and thorough vengeance. Hard eyes learned bitter tears.

Friday, January 30, 2015

within the mad forest

Goblins each are petty kings, wearing crowns of teeth.
Angels are such fright’ning things, overfond of speech.
Fairies call with glittering, as into swamp you sink.
Demons smile and slyly sing, to damn you with a wink.
Small Gods demand offerings grand, to sup upon your woe.
Stay you away from Other lands, pierce not into Feywode.
Traveler be warn’d, Wizard be wise, turn not your wand’ring eyes, unto strange Feywode.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

a chance meeting and unforgotten loss

We met in a hotel swimming pool when we were children somewhere out West. I remember she had light freckles and large eyes. We spoke so easily, and I wanted to drown when her dad called her away, to bed. We never spoke again.

Sometimes, not often, I remember this, and the dull tight echo of an ache empties my chest. I remember staring forlornly out the back window, under an orange sun as the landscape slid away.

She looked back at me and didn’t want to leave, I think. It is hard to remember.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

prose poem 5 | threshold

The threshold waits, unbarred. It is hidden only within the periphery of your vision. Its liminality seeps into your every action though you scarcely notice. It is neither quite here nor there, and neither are you.

It waits, uncrossed and blocked only by your fears. It waits for your sideways step. You are liminal and subtly diverted by this. You wait for the threshold to slide across you, but you will not step towards it. Diffuse and undefined and untried, you wait, and you waste.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

broken green

It was a choice he made every day. If men are built up out of their choices, what does choosing poorly on purpose make you into?

He didn’t like mirrors, and not just because one tried to kill him once. It wasn’t like he couldn’t take any more reminders of how awful his visage had become. He saw his green skin, clawed left hand, and mercuric sweat too often to care. His lower jaw was painfully distended with too many tusks. He drooled relentlessly and could barely speak.

He knew he was a monster. He robbed graves to earn his daily bread for fuck’s sake.

It was his golden eyes that bothered him. It always made him think of his other half, buried alive beneath a ton of fool’s gold in some dark, dank cave somewhere far away. He relived his other half’s final moments again and again in his daily dreams.

Broken Green had had exactly one lucky mutation in his life as a magician. He grew to giant size before the twisted energies of creation split him into two identical persons.

The monstrous magician exhaled noisily. He then carefully opened his threadbare book of heretical secrets with his still human right hand. He paused at the very first page, at the notes of the very first spell he’d learned, at the spell he never could bring himself to cast: Tabula Rasa.

It was the spell that would make him a man again. It was the spell that would reset the horrors he’d reaped upon himself in his six years as an iterant sorcerer. It was the spell that would take his power away.

His horrible claws gouged deep tracks into the stump on which he rested. Broken Green turned the page and memorized instead the formulae and irrational images that would bring lightning into his fists.

Monday, January 26, 2015

poem-like object

The day delivers unto me
Its too many litanies,
Distractions, demands, and tyrannies.
By the time I stumble through the dented door,
I just don’t have the energy,
To write something better than this.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

cold hard dark

It was cold, dark, damp, and hard. That was all he knew; it was nearly the very sum of his awareness.

He crawled slowly and carefully ahead. The last torch had guttered into dim blackness some time ago.

Bernard, Weston’s final companion, had been uncareful while striping inset gold from an ancient altar. The poison worked with the odd quickness of old magics. Blood flowed from thin Bernard like a horrible fountain; his already delicate frame a dry husk in mere minutes. Broken Green, that revolting sorcerer, lay crushed beneath a pile of pyrite. And, burly Jacque was bested by that beast which would not die.

Weston kept crawling forward. He could not remember all their turns. He had, however, found a small round stone. With it, Weston carefully tested the way ahead. Whichever way the stone rolled, he crawled against it, inching his way up, to the open air and remembered daylight.

In his other hand he held a jagged hunk of lapis lazuli – his father’s ax was still stuck in the spine of that sloughing flesh-beast that would not die. He had fought some few things in the darkness already. They may have been large rats or small dogs or monstrous children. Weston would never know.

The poison gold was well wrapped in Bernard’s shirt and several pouches. It hung heavy and dangerous in Weston’s pocket. Between it and the jagged rock in his hand, Weston would not have to worry for food nor shelter. He only needed to make it through this infinite darkness. He inched his way meticulously upward.

When he collapsed out of the cave’s hungry mouth and into the soft pink light of dawn, he wept.
Reborn in hard darkness, he would never forget to smile at the breaking light. Black eyed Weston would love light in a way few could understand.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

february fucks you

It’s only 28 days ‘til February fucks you.
It’s only 28 days ‘til the rent is due again anew.
Life multiplies by far too many layers.
Tired seconds pass away like promised favors.
It takes so much to hold your head above the water.
After so many, false | starts, missed second chances hardly matter.
Time wastes, rage lingers, and we falter.
Too many trials past due, in too many directions.
Each hard won smile is a blessing and a burden.
‘Til each evening emerges with the closing of stage curtains.
Tucked away and silent safe, we can remember
Lessons learned on quiet feet in young Decembers,
Certain hidden secrets were then discovered.
Through scores of lies and drinks and squandered wages
Through waves of pain and loss and learned rages
Through second chances and last rites and unremembered,
I stand stooped but am held in either hand.
Here at the ending new, the present,

At least, still here, I stand.

Friday, January 23, 2015

small vengeance

Large dark eyes surrounded them. They did not know. They never would.

The kobolds, those still living at least, watched the wild and sinuous movements of the large ones. The big brutes danced ecstatic in their bloody victory over the “cave dogs”.

The humans were loud and careless. The kobolds were quiet and careful.

When the last of the men succumbed to drink, the small monsters quietly flowed out of hidden holes and midden heaps.

The village awoke to the smell of smoke as their grain stores sullenly burned. When Alexander Wainwright tried to draw water from the well, something snapped within it. The resultant collapse killed him outright and wounded many doughty men. No shovels nor bills nor any useful tools could be found. The villagers could do little but watch their winter stores burn through the long night.

Come the morning light, they found their livestock massacred in their fields. The meat all either removed or ruined.

Later that afternoon, the old bridge to Newburg collapsed as Jim Cranson tried to drive his great wagon across it. He would bring no saving supplies back to town. He cracked his head upon an ox’s hoof and drown.

That next night, the first heavy snow fell. A great white blanket of cold and the slow surety of death settled upon the village.

As for the kobolds, they would think often of the human’s wild dancing and remember its ungainly elegance.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

prose poem 4

The music washed over them, a wave of echoing energy. A swelling sea of manic, individual drive broke into motion stirred by someone else’s memories made sonic. Rage and release, the echoing harmony of the separated universal crashes them against one another. A perfect community of violence without harm, there could be no better altar or purer form of transcendence.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

kobold proverbs

Survival is the art of perfect patience and the readiness for instant movement.

The shadows are your safety.

If you are not touching it, you do not own it.

You can still see the glittering beauty of the world from a dung heap.

Blessings of the moment are to be enjoyed with savage vigor; they will soon rot through to ruin.

You are weak; you must be clever.

You are small; you must be quick.

Cleverness is more reliable but less available than quickness.

The finest armor is an unseen hole.

The finest weapon is a well hidden pit.

The finest treasures are glittering memories.

The world is a flooding cave; strong attachments will drown you.

There is time for mourning when you are safe and alone in the dark.

Whisper only the truth to your children. Soft words will kill them.

Children flee first.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

sarah combusts

Sarah walked home alone, in the dark. The agitated rapidness of her forward motion had everything to do with distraction and nothing to do with the fear walking alone in the dark was supposed to summon forth in young women.

A cold fire burned awkwardly in her chest. She fidgeted with wide bracelets while she crossed the outer edge of an orange streetlamp. She touched her face and bright blue hair too often in the long dark stretches between.

She kept smiling while watching the whir of asphalt beneath her feet. She wrung her hands and looked pleadingly at the far away stars.

He was so cute and so sweet. She sighed softly through curling lips, distant blue headlights dancing in her dark eyes.

She frowned and held her leather-wrapped wrist tight in her other hand. He was too sweet. Tim gave him a tic-tac and told him it was Vicodin. He had no idea. Tim is such an asshole!

Sarah stopped in the lonely black middle of the street and kicked the unyielding pavement. Oh my god! I am such a poser.

She had no idea how to feel when she careened into her bedroom and crashed face first into her mattress. She remained a taught string stretched between excitement and embarrassment and total unsurety.

When she finally fell asleep that night, it was with a smile on her lips.

Monday, January 19, 2015

be glad this is not the first draft

So I wrote a 2000 word personal essay explaining exactly how I got into the shitty situation that I am in. It was useful to me to see it all spelled out. I don’t think it will be useful to anyone else. 

This is the short version:

“I listened to Black Flag today and did not find them to be angry enough to suit my mood. I find myself pressed on all sides with no clear way forward.”

I am an Objectivist and also very poor. The vagaries of life are difficult. The end.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

johnny exploded

He peeled himself off of the cheap, stained, and well-worn rug. He was still a little numb and still a little dizzy. Dried blood from his earlobe had stained his green t-shirt, a shirt now covered is sharpie dicks and skulls. He gingerly toyed with the two safety pins still thrust through his ear.

He smiled. She’d given him those piercings.

In a single night Johnny felt he’d been reborn as a punkrocker. The music was too loud and too honest and too raw and completely without pretentions. Vicodin and malt liquor and Seagram’s 7 pushed him through to a new world of broken glass and wild ideas and deep-felt passion.

Plus there was the girl with the bright blue hair and sparkling brown eyes. She’d kissed him under the streetlights beside a burning barrel in the park far past curfew.

Johnny would never be the same.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

burglar's tools

It had been so easy. She couldn’t help but smile as she turned her rented sedan leisurely down 6th street. Most heists actually were.

Glenda’s standard toolkit for corporate espionage consisted of the following:
1. A smart looking business suit, slightly out of fashion, usually with a skirt.
2. A padfolio or clipboard, officious looking check-lists, and several pens.
3. A handful of business cards home printed on nice cardstock, but always slightly fewer than she would have needed.
4. A lie about an inventory or security changes.
5. Confidence, a rushed and put-upon demeanor, and a ready smile.
6. A well-worn ID Badge, though not as often as you might think.
7. An email address from almost the same domain name as the company she was robbing, also not as often as you might think.

That was all it had taken in 38 out of 42 jobs. It really was a simple gig. It paid surprisingly well, too.

Glenda giggled as she turned down Alabama Ave. The Head of Security had actually helped her to the car, carrying a file box heavy with confidential bid proposals for some really juicy government contracts. The best part was this company had already swiped the bids of six or seven other parties. 

Glenda would soon be accepting some bids herself.

Friday, January 16, 2015


He awoke to the ringing blur of a debris-strewn field.

This wasn’t the plan. This wasn’t the plan at all. Oh shit, this really, really wasn’t the plan. The electric stench of ozone filled his broken nose.

Bryan slowly pulled his distant head out a puddle of cooling blood. Where was Steve? Oh Shit. How long had he been out? Shit. Where the fuck was Steve!?

Bryan was numb and strangely buzzing with vim and vigor by the time he found what was left of Steve.

Reflexively, he turned his head to wretch, but nothing came up. He blinked and stared at the incredible trail of bright red blood he was leaving in his haphazard wake. At a rough estimate there had to be at least 20 liters, soaking into the dirt and dead grass.

He realized he wasn’t breathing.

He looked slowly down at his blackening hands; a charcoal grey sheen slowly slipped up his shaking arms. He began to hear the vibrating songs of the less distant stars, a twinkling and ominous staccato vibrato. It was like breaking glass whispering crystalline secrets.

Oh fuck, that gypsy was right.

The bright and cold blood continued to pour from his crown. The blood already on the grass began to flow heavenward, hundreds of thimble-thick streams falling up into the sky. A great violet phosphorescence rained down from the too bright and newly broken moon.

That gypsy was totally right. Bryan wryly sneered moments before the end. He was destined for greatness.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

the frog and the scorpion and the river of time| part 2

…Many wet creatures were struck down by the Unblinking Sun, curling and hardening in the heat.

Finally, and after much needless loss, it came to pass that the Frog King surprised the First Scorpion in her ceaseless seeking. Frog and Scorpion stared at one another across the hot, red rocks, and each recognized a likeness in the other, a kinship of quintessence.

Scorpion spoke swiftly and on many subjects as the many minds in her body vied to be heard. Frog listened, well and gladly, and told the Scorpion of the wide world beyond the Unblinking Sun. As he croaked out his friendship to her, rain shuddered from the skies and the Empty Desert was filled blooms.

Then did the Frog King lament the needless loss of so many of his teaming company.

No longer lonely, Scorpion went forth and touched the hard, dry bodies of the lizards, toads, tortoises, and more, strewn in the wake of the wet march. She sent into them the shards from each of her feet and claws.

The once wet creatures then sprang forth into new life.

Only the sad shard in her stinger remained unused, unheard, and forgotten. The poison within grew.
After this, Frog and Scorpion talked of many things and each walked in the other’s world, ‘til they tired of both the Wet and the Dry.

So, they wandered further. They went to the Mountains and the High Wood and learned of the Eagle and the Wolf. They went to many, many places. They learned many secrets. They fearlessly faced many foul things. They spoke and listened and laughed.

Only the sad shard in Scorpion’s stinger remained unused, unheard, and forgotten. The poison within grew.

At long last, the two of them came to The Edge and stood beside the River of Time, which binds the world into place. The two them conspired to cross it that they might learn what lay beyond the bounds of Time. Only the sad shard, still in Scorpion’s stinger, dissented. The sad shard was this time heard. The sad shard, nevertheless, was dismissed and disregarded.

The poison within swelled and waxed overfull.

The First Scorpion crawled upon the Frog King’s back. They pierced into the cold currents of relentless time. They pressed both forwards and backwards and learned much and altered little.

At last, when Frog and Scorpion were at the deepest, darkest, and swiftest point, just before the currents flowed into Eternity, the sad shard in Scorpion’s stinger struck!

The Frog King cried as he died, “Why, my Friend?! You will drown.”

And the First Scorpion lamented, “Was it my Nature?”

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

the frog and the scorpion and the river of time| part 1

Long ago, there lived a Frog so unbelievably huge, his croak could shake rain from the clouds. He was the undisputed King of all the wet and liminal places in the world. Where the demarcation between water and earth lay muddied, the Frog King was undisputed lord and master.

His tongue could strike across oceans. His great gullet and cavernous maw swallowed stars from the sky. When he set his ponderous bulk to leaping, mountains meant nothing; when the Frog King crashed back to earth, the very heavens shuddered in their pillars.

The world was quite wet, then. Almost the whole globe lay within his control. A multitude of creatures in an unthinkable number of voices swore allegiance or alliance to the swarming hordes of the Frog King.

In the Empty Desert, the First Scorpion was dreadfully alone. She was untouched by the scorching sun; she was brightly polished by the fierce wind and scouring sands; she was armored against all things. She was unaffected and all alone.

Scorpion grew so alone she shattered her mind into pieces. She put part into her claws and part into each leg and here and there she scattered small parts of herself into the very stones. And lastly, the tiniest sliver she thrust into her poisonous tail. The silence of the Desert was broken. The separated pieces gained their own voices. The Scorpion was no longer alone.

The Frog King heard this and sent many wet messengers. All were dried away to nothing in the unforgiving Desert sands. The Frog King grew furious and called forth a teaming army to trample ‘cross the once Empty waste...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

even split

The Yellow World stank worse than any other color, of that he was certain. The stench of brimstone and rotten eggs assailed the nostrils of Robert Qualls. He’d chosen a poor occupation for one with as delicate a nose as he. It really was unfortunate, he thought, that the Blue World wasn’t dripping with mineral wealth and as accessible as this one. What little he’d seen of the Blue World had not smelled of egg-farts at least.

He grimaced and smiled in almost the same motion. The valuable expeditions were almost never easy, and certainly never pleasant.

He held himself in the shadows, pressed against the crumbling yellow edge of the tall tunnel. Subtle shifts in the soft amber phosphorescence were his only company. Glowing slime was just another convenience of expeditions in the Yellow World.

Robert began to absently twist his well-waxed mustache with his off-hand. His other fist was wrapped around a sawed off shotgun. He was waiting on a yellow painted pigmy with a British accent and the wall-eyed boxman. He’d been waiting too long.

“It’s clear,” whispered the piping voice of the half-man from around the corner.

Without hesitation, Rob whipped the shotgun around the corner and filled the tunnel with fire and buckshot. “It’s clear” was not the all clear.

Rob rolled into the intersection, ears still ringing, and ripped a knife from his hip. Two of the skinny, lizard-toothed eight-foot yellow bastards lay bleeding on the ground. The knife finished what the buckshot started.

Too much noise, it was time to run. He pulled a string of citrine beads from the neck of one corpse and cut a curious brass box off the mouth of the other. While he was at it, Rob scraped some of glowing goo from the floor into a tin cup.

After that he just ran, without a moment’s hesitation or a single glance back. He poured all his strength into it, dashing madly for the extraction gate – hoping that godsdamned Gnome could keep his cantankerous machine in working order. The job was queered but still should net him nearly a hundred dollars, especially since he only had to split the loot two ways. Rob just needed to live long enough to piss it all away.

Monday, January 12, 2015

a poem paused in progress

hope slipped & slid so softly away
sighs and quiet winces walk you through the day
broken days & borrowed blame & secondhand pain

This is a poem I started to sort of write at work then I was interrupted. Now I am very tired so this is what you get today. Perhaps it could have turned into something. C'est la vie.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

dark cellar door

The root cellar waits.

It stands behind you, to the left, in old photographs, oranged in age. It is there in your childhood, the subject of dares and the place you put your fears. The door was rarely opened, and only near noon. You’ve stood on its precipice and peered into its gloom. It always smelled of must and rust and cold, wet wants.

Your friends jeered at you and aped, but always from a safe distance, with the porch perched between them and you and the gloom. They peeped at you through the lattice work and squeaked bravely at one another. You never went inside. They never got so close.

The root cellar does not care. The root cellar waits.

It was there when you found that willing soul. It waited to take you in, backlit in the bright porch-light. You were too open then, beneath the bright stars. It could have offered you relative safety, and certain privacy, and convenient darkness to explore your newfound needs. You would never consider it. You got caught, of course.

You tried not to think much of the root cellar, then. Just as you try to never think of it, now. The root cellar still waits.

It was there after the fire, still set into that small mound. You watched it, sweating in the sunlight, on that bright cold day. The bulldozer drowned it in the ashen sticks of your childhood home. It collapsed; its secrets and mysteries and damp darkness buried beneath its own roof.

Nevertheless, the root cellar waits. It stays with you, in back of your mind, somewhere shadowed, off to the left. It is still filled with your fears and teeming unknowns and refuse-to-be-remembereds. It waits behind you, swelling closer, looming larger. Its old tin door is strained and buckling, about to burst.

The root cellar waits, ready to explode. It will take you with it.


I dreamed of a city, a city of square towers. Dun colored and built of subtle but obtuse angles, the tight packed towers loomed into the sky. They loomed squat and ugly. Uniformly horrible, the magnificent towers cast unending shadows into the deep, dead streets below. Regular crenellations of dry, open teeth topped each terrible tight-packed tower. It was a place of strange grandeur and excess, though the opposite of baroque. I think it was an oligarchy overthrown, making each citizen a terrible tyrant over one another.

The city was a place to visit in dreams and draw forth in dice. Dire, it waits in potentia. Someday, perhaps, brave and foolhardy vagrants will topple it, take its hidden gems, and walk away to stranger pastures.

Friday, January 9, 2015

exceeding operational limits

My body is a machine. He reminded himself. This is an expected response. It is unimportant. My controls are in place.

Andron Comutus tensed, his thin frame a wound spring of near perfect control. Only the metronomic grinding of his teeth and beading sweat betrayed him.

My body is a machine. This is an expected response.

His breath steamed in the surreally cold room. The seething chaos of holding bound two spells at once raged in the back of his mind. Eager energies yearned to be free and wreak havoc and oddness and wild changes upon the world.

It is unimportant. My controls are in place.

His black eyes remained intent upon the task at hand. With carefully measured movements and pristinely clean hands, he continued to peal apart the muscles on his right thigh. One of the spells kept his flesh at the consistency of soft clay.

It did nothing at all to stop the pain.  

My body is a machine. This is an expected response.

Eventually he pulled himself wide open, all the way down to the bone. With great care, Andron withdrew a silver scalpel from a nearby crucible.

It is unimportant. My controls are in place.

He then carved and seared certain specific glyphs and symbols into his still living femur. As each scalpel cooled, he withdrew another from its candle-fired crucible. All the while, he slowly trickled the throbbing and honeyed second spell into each glyph.

It took seventeen scalpels and thirty-seven symbols, just as he had planned. The eighteenth scalpel remained in its place, just in case. He never expected to use number eighteen. All was on pace.

His hands were beginning to shake, however.

My body is a machine. This is an expected response.

He hurriedly smoothed his muscles, fat, and skin back together.

It is unimportant. My. Controls… Are. In PLACE!

He was rapidly losing the war within his skull. Andron tried to leap forward, but simply careened off the bench instead. The yard between him and his staff stretched into a mile of misery. Desperately, he tried to hold the spell in his mind. His consciousness wavered, and his spasming limbs refused to obey him.

“My body is a MACHINE!” he screamed and hurled his palsied hand forward.

His bloody fingertips brushed the edge of the staff. He sent the last of the seeking magic into it, before succumbing to quiet oblivion.

And finally, Andron slept in sanguine relief, knowing his misjudgment of bees would not be his ending.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

high risk, high yield ventures

Brave Souls Requested!
Exciting and Exclusive Opportunities for Employment.

 Familiarity with a broad array of weapons and spelunking experience is preferred.
 A world of untold riches awaits. Reasonable terms offered on transportation to previously     surveyed sites. Guaranteed returns in the form of gold, topaz, citrine and other valuable   minerals.
 Opportunities for initial surveyance of new locales also available. Your success is Our success.
 Those interested may inquire at the Offices of Branden Gnomi, on the corner of Rucker and Main.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015




This missive is to be distributed to all Confederation Captains.
Information marked in this is on a need to know basis. Captains retain discretionary latitudes.


Be advised, a new THREAT of UNKNOWN POTENTIAL has been detected within the Western Sector. Multiple reports concerning beings of unknown providence have been received. Beings are bilateral in symmetry, of seemingly simian ancestry, walk upright, possess two opposable thumbs, and seem to be much like squat and furred versions of ourselves. Most have been sighted in agricultural tunnels, sulfur extraction complexes, and some few have even invaded personal homes. These strange creatures are considered VERY DANGEROUS. Some reports suggest the creatures appear spontaneously in bursts of wide spectrum electromagnetic radiation.

Unbelievably these creatures and all their possessions seem to reflect visible light outside of the 560-600nm range! Visible light at frequencies once only viewed in deep space and laboratory conditions has been recorded on 8 separate occasions in the past month alone!





Reports indicate the creatures are now affecting crude disguises. Be aware of the following unknown words which are associated with the creatures: Color, Blue, Red, Green, and Free.




Tuesday, January 6, 2015

he laughs

He sits on my knee and smiles. He laughs often: deep, honest laughter. (Well, it’s as deep as his tiny frame will allow.) I wonder when laughter changes?

Heinlein taught me that behind anything truly funny is something truly terrible. Laughter is courage. Look into the void and titter your disdain.

Rand taught me to only laugh at evil; when you laugh at the good in the world, you are lost. I expect, in almost all cases, that is very true.

There is much in the world he doesn’t know, yet, so maybe his laughter is bravery.

Mostly though, he laughs to simply express joy, I expect. I laugh in wry amusement (and enjoy it), but do I ever laugh ecstatic? Not often.

For now, he finds the world quite funny. He sits on my knee and giggles as he’s bounced. I smile and misremember my pain.

Monday, January 5, 2015

crushing void

He was cold.

The irony of the practically infinite possibilities of space surrounding him and his total lack of options was not lost on Ted. The cold was really slipping in through the joints. Fucking econo em-suit, giving it to him was the cruelest thing they could have done.

The void was unsurprisingly empty, a horizonless and unending black. Stars sparkled weakly on the edge of Ted’s vision, nothing more than pale and pointless pin pricks of white.

He was beginning to feel lightheaded.

Ted couldn’t figure on whether the cold or lack of O2 would kill him first. Fucking econo suit didn’t even have a damn dial on it.

What would he be thinking about when he died, he wondered. A woman, probably? That’s the way it goes, right?

Who would it be? Brenda? Trish? Juanita?

Brenda wasn’t the prettiest. Wait. He remembered her smile and quickly recanted. She wouldn’t drive ya to stupid from across the room – that was all Trish – but she was present, ya know. Brenda lived more fully in the moment than any person Ted had ever met. What that meant on a quiet walk was special, beautiful. What that meant in the bedroom was spectacular, transcendent. He hoped for thinking of her.

Was this what it was like for ancient sailors walking the plank? Was it the same crushing openness and the same static pointlessness, just longer? Didn’t some of them not learn how to swim so they wouldn’t have to suffer this agony of hollow hope?

That fucking econo em-suit! He never should’ve put it on; he knew that. There was no way he wouldn’t have put it on; he knew that too.

So, there he spun, afloat in the void, trying to think about a warm, pretty girl in the cold, ugliness of space.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

one step at a time

It was painful and unpleasant; there was no end of it in sight. Though, like any other large task, there was only one thing to be done.

A huge and ruinous serpent lay slain before them.

All things the touched by the living form of the serpent rotted, withered, and fell to nothing. It brought famine and blight wheresoever it slithered. Kings were unmade by it. Civilizations sloughed away into empty ruins and wandering mobs in its wake.

Long ago, the serpent had swallowed the First King’s Ransom. Legend told this unimaginable treasure was the only thing immune to the serpents entropic ravages. Legend also claimed it was about a thousand pounds of solid gold and sparkling jewels.

They had killed the beast, and it was not easy. It had cost them both limbs and lives. The foul thing towered above them and stretched on for what seemed like miles, stinking in the noonday sun.

No, it had not been easy to kill a creature that rotted flesh and rusted steel by the slightest touch. Only four of them survived – and they now had only seven arms and six hands between them.

Wrecked and rotted siege equipment, broken weapon hafts, and piles of putrid flesh moldered across the blighted countryside. A great strip of rancid flesh detached from a timber-thick rib to crash wetly to the ground. It seemed in death, the great snake’s power turned against its own flesh.

Armon grimaced loudly.

“Might as well get on with it,” he muttered through a blood crusted beard. Uneasily he thrust a small pickaxe into the air with his left hand. “Let’s get on with it! The sooner we get this done, the sooner we can drink the memory to pieces!”

Like any other large, complex, or onerous task, they searched out the gold one step at a time. They dealt with the issue before them and moved forward to suffer the next. They managed it: one disgusting, vomit-laden step at a time.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


There was something about his swollen knuckles, scarred hands, and rusted voice that made me listen.

As he held my arm, the grey-faced stranger spoke, “Don’t. I fought a man for woman, once. You don’t understand. Don’t draw that gun. Don’t say those words writ large on yer eyes, son.”

I finished my whiskey and slid through the door. The golden light behind sent my shadow coursing ahead. Stars shimmered in the distant black. Cold winds caressed my shoulders. I lit a cigarette and walked away.

Friday, January 2, 2015


She pressed ahead with shield unflinching, through the rain of hot blood and hateful iron. Ares danced ecstatic in the shower grim. Her spear drank deeply in victory, and the wise fled before her.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


He was taking his sweet time on this one. He could still feel the stinging bouquet of pre-decentralized scotch in his nostrils. He sneered into a smile and took another sip. It was too hot for the suit he wore on that crowded dockside platform, but Trent didn’t care. He’d never known luxury like this.

Shopping used to be a desperate chore; he’d try to get the minimum of necessities as quickly and cheaply as humanly possible. The emphasis was usually on cheap.

Over the past few days, though, he’d learned the languid pleasure of selection. He had time. He had money so people made their time his time. That back-alley flip was the best decision he’d ever made.

Trent sneered again and glanced at the line forming behind him. It was the nouveau riche like him and the temporary rich, like he used to be. Every job pulled was feast, and every week after, famine.
He turned his piggish little eyes to the glowing panel before him and slowly considered the options available. He took another drink.

Then he looked one last time at his reflection in the grimy mirror to his left. He’d already picked the replacement for that hooked beak of a nose. That’d been easy. He surprised himself and decided to go for big black eyes instead of the standard baby blues. Strong cheekbones, a slim but muscular build, sculpted calves: these had been easy choices, but he was stuck on the chin.

They were all good strong chins. He just couldn’t pick. Dimple? Square? How big was too big?

Eventually Trent’s eyes strayed once more to the perfect lines of his black on black suit. What sort of chin wore a suit like this? He grinned and took another swig. His decision was made. He tapped the top corner of the panel and waved his shiny new platinum card at the virtual assistant.

“Excellent choices, sir,” she practically purred at him.

The shopping panel slid away revealing a short, white hallway lined with medical coffins.

“Yours is the one with the green light. Have a beautiful tomorrow, sir,” she said with a giggle before blinking out of existence.

He hurriedly stowed his clothes and possessions in the safe below, dry swallowed the provided medications, and climbed awkwardly into the claustrophobic, gleaming white tunnel.

And, Trent “The Beak” Castel was never seen again.