America's Great Patriotic WarIn a humble little home outside Newton, the radio blared a message from one of the major stations through the living room in which Mr. Wingate smoked a pipe and relaxed with his wholesome family.
"Ladies and Gentlemen all over the United States of America, we have stunning news sure to get ever more interesting as further bulletins come in. It seems a fleet of flying saucers, reportedly numbering in the hundreds, have appeared over New York City. I can see them now from our news van and I can assure you they are holding place above the proud towers of steel and concrete that make up what we call the Big Apple.
"They are shades of gray with illuminated green markings on them andjust one moment...they are coming down! Ladies and Gentlemen this is astonishing; the craft which appeared in the sky just half an hour ago are descending. My God, one is touching down just down the road fromw here I now stand!
"The doors are openingor, it looks to be a door. Yes, it's a door. A ramp
The Old ManThe old man's wife passed away a few days ago.The Old Man3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
He wouldn't like me writing it that waya fan of George Carlin, the thought of 'soft words' tended to make him cringe; he would have preferred 'died' or 'shuffled off her mortal coil.' He said that second one plenty. Every few years now one of his friends shuffles off their mortal coil, and he always says it that way when he finds their name in the obituary. 'I guess Mavis shuffled off her mortal coil. A shame. She had the most wonderful rack as a young woman. Would've married her if I hadn't met Julia.'
The old man wasn't exactly politically correct. Come to think of it, he was a bit of a cantankerous old bastard with every imaginable bigotrythe 'self-hating Jew' routine was something he carried out very well. But with him you could always see the humor in his words. I once watched in awe as he told a joke that had the word 'nigger' in it at least three times to a table full of black men who could remember when they heard that
MaaheWhen the Maaheseum wore off, Onteia knew she was close to death. Her hair had gone white, her eyes were sunken and glassy, her flesh had receded. Those in her pod were the same: decrepit old men and women, none of them older than twenty-five. Outside, the blueshift had pushed every black hole, every brown dwarf, every burst of cosmic radiation from every pulsar in the Galactic Center into visibility. In hyperspace, even someone who never saw the shining beauty brought out by Maaheseum could see what lay beyond the cursory glance that was their lifelong perspective.Maahe1 year ago in Short Stories More Like This
The pod was nearing its final destination--the spectacular, unmatched glory of a collapsing star. This was what all Travelers longed to see before their inevitable early death from the drug. Onteia reached into the small container at the center of their pod, where there were enough green-tinted black shards to last a hundred Travelers a decade. She took a piece just over an inch long, and set it on her decaying molars, and b
The End of Bieber's TyrannyJustin Bieber braced himself before he stepped out onto the stage. Hundreds, no, thousands of screaming girls awaited to see him, to adore their baby-faced idol, to shower him with their love. In his mind he went through his opening linesthe same ones he'd opened the last fifteen concerts withand he breathed deeply. This was his moment, yet again. After this he'd be able to take a vacation from all the singing and dancing.The End of Bieber's Tyranny5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Thank god I don't have to work. That'd kill me. Bieber thought to himself.
Finally deciding that he was ready, the boy stepped out from behind the curtains, onto a bright blue stage with an equally sky-colored background. Three gigantic flat-screen TVs showed his face as he raised the microphone to his lips to speak. He strutted to the edge of the stage and spoke.
"Hey, how's it going San Fran? Wasup?"
More screaming. The girls in the front row jumped up and down and clapped and shrieked. He couldn't help but smile. Man, I wonder when girls will
My Wife the Space MonsterI brutally murdered my wife on Main Street in broad daylight with a 12-gauge shotgun.My Wife the Space Monster3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
And frankly, I don't see what all the fuss is about.
Of course, I very much doubt I'll be acquitted on that sort of introduction in my upcoming trial, which will most likely result in my execution given the state I live in. It seems unlikely that any defense I offer will be useful in preserving my existence, though with a little bit of luck I may be able to prolong my time on death row for a decade or more, like most wife-killers out there have before. But with what I'm about to tell the world, I hope that at least the people off the jury will understand and pardon me in their minds.
At the very least, a few of you readers will be entertained.
It all started last summer, on a particularly hot day at the tail end of July, when my wife Victoria, twin sons Humbert and Jeffrey, and little daughter Katy had all gone out for ice cream cones and were on our way home. Up until this point, our marri
Science Fiction of the Most Disappointing OrderOne day I sat at my listening post in SETI, drinking coca cola, eating chips, and making jokes about what aliens would say if they actually saw my fat lazy coworkers and I, when an extraterrestrial race contacted us in a series of beeps on our high-frequency radio.Science Fiction of the Most Disappointing Order3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Needless to say, I nearly crapped myself in recording the message, for it was clearly binary and our autistic junior member to the team, a great big fat man with a neck beard who insisted his first name was Xoo (I think the real name was Dawson), immediately understood it. He began rattling off a list of simple mathematical equations, getting more and more complicated as it went on until we were certain the message was a list of coordinates or directions. Of course, by that point our superiors had crowded into the room, as had their superiors and a couple of government officials.
I sat at my cramped little desk with Xoo breathing over my shoulder as he scribbled down what the binary code meant and I transcribed the ones and
YureiOn Yurei, there are gulls. Billions of them. They fill the skies from one yellow horizon to the next.Yurei2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Among the mountains of refuse there are people, the last of Yurei’s once great population, who eke out an existence in shanty towns and concrete tunnels with steel gates. They hunt rats and hogs and the occasional amphibian Hi-go, though few of those have survived the transformation of a vibrant planet that had just begun to be colonized by sophisticated terrestrial life to two hundred million square kilometers of landfill. In small areas where they have scrounged enough suitable soil, they grow cabbages, potatoes, carrots, and a hardy local fruit called leppuna.
But on Yurei, it is the gulls who thrive.
Okyo watched them from atop a mound his village had created. It was solid, an enormous jigsaw of welded steel supported by enormous bars collected from various dumpsites, made to look like just another mountain to the dumper frigates. He marveled at their combination of grace and
Apocalyptic LogThe first person to lay their eyes on the Oort went mad.Apocalyptic Log1 year ago in Short Stories More Like This
In those first days, when humanity finally achieved near-light-speed travel, we didn't see any artistry in the stars, any poetry to our endeavors. We saw endless desolation, we saw gamma radiation, we saw black holes swallow up entire star systems, we saw a lot of random radio noise from dying stars and rogue gas giants. With the Oort, we saw one hundred thousand astronomical units of randomly dispersed clumps of ice, silent and nearly motionless in near-total dark.
When the first colony was set up in orbit of Proxima Centauri, it was placed on a completely uninhabited ball of rock and water, a planet that by all means could have had earth-like life on it but which was inexplicably uninhabited. There were others. Upsilon Andromedae, 359 Wolf, Gliese 445. A thousand years past and a handful of worlds were made into new earths. Humanity grew into a small empire, spanning one hundred light years, inhabiting thirty worlds.
We had no
Telekinetic AnecdoteOn the trip home, dad did most of the talking; I didn't say much. For the most part I just tried to get some sleep, with some success after we were east of the mountains and in the wide open nothing that was the Albertan prairie. He had some idea of what had gone on during our trip to Penticton, while he was at the swap meet selling his automotive repair kits, knew I had spent most of that second day with a pretty girl I met at the parade, and he had plenty of vague notions about what followed.Telekinetic Anecdote1 year ago in Short Stories More Like This
To be honest, he didn't know a damn thing. I didn't tell him, probably won't tell him for years to come. I won't tell Caitlin, I won't tell mom, I won't tell my brothers and I sure as hell won't tell the little gang of friends I have back at school. No, this story is for these pages and these pages alone; your eyes only, chum.
Her name was Naomi--not a name I would've chosen for her, too much of a buzz word from the mid-'90s. She was eighteen when I was fifteen, more than six feet tall when
I am not ObsessedWatching your metamorphosis from a naïve teen into a beautiful young woman has been the greatest experience of my life. You have enlightened me, you have changed my views on life and the world, and you have brought me from the brink more times than I care to count. My dear, you are the sole reason for my very existence. Yet you will never realize just how much I love you.I am not Obsessed5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
For you are not the wife I married or the children I raised,
Nor are you the best friend on my street
Or my most beloved sibling.
That night you called the police about the man standing in your backyard marked the closest I ever came to actually stepping through your door. It was the closest I ever came to touching your soft skin or kissing your warm lips. Never again, I knew, would I have the opportunity to show you just how much I love you.
I am not just another man
I am not just another horny jerk looking for a freebee.
I am your one and true lover.
I am your caretaker.
When you made the police keep watch arou
Early WinterDeath drives a green Packard. Depression era, with modern bumper stickers and parking tickets which, if you look closely, were written out by Hammurabi. I met him once, he’d pulled up outside my house and hopped out for a smoke break on the street. He looked like he didn’t have anything to do when, far as I know, somebody dies once every few seconds, somewhere. I went outside and asked him who he was after.Early Winter7 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"You. But not for a while. Y’know Arnold Rothstein got shot just three blocks from here?"
"I thought he was killed in New York. Definitely in America."
"Who you gonna believe?"
Death flicked his smoke to the asphalt and crushed it with a casual twist of his purple dress shoe. Then he drove off, leaving me feeling a little melancholy and a little drained. Never could get the hang of snow in October.
Who they really areHi, I'm a sixteen year old girl and I hate drama. Then I go tell everybody how much a slut my best friend is so I can start a huge fight.Who they really are5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Yo, I'm a thirty five year old guy and I'm talented and smart. I dropped out of high school at sixteen and I play guitar and smoke weed in my mom's basement. I'm an artist because I can make up really shitty music using real artists' riffs.
Hey, I am like, such a weird girl! My friends say I'm totally craze-ay and I'm with them on that. I also don't make friends with weird people and I act the same as all my friends do. We listen to the same music, wear the same clothes, and have the same, like, hairstyles! But I'm weird because I'm like totally ditzy, because I'm like all bouncy and happy!
Hello, I'm a sixty year old man and I demand that the younger generation respect me! Not that I've fought in any wars, helped anyone but myself, or really contributed anything to society. I was also a complete degenerate when I was a young man, but I can tell you
Day At the BeachSomewhere on the beach outside my home, I met Lucifer, strumming a mandolin and thumbing his goatee at the roaring waves. It was a windy day, bitterly cold and gray, and Lucifer, dressed in a greatcoat and heavy brown wool trousers, seemed only to find warmth in the music he played. He beckoned me as I passed, though I tried my best to avert his gaze.Day At the Beach1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"You know how this goes. I've got an offer you can't refuse, and you have something I can't do without."
"You'll save my wife and grant us a long, happy marriage in exchange for my soul." I said, nodding, looking out at the sea. Off in the distance, a pair of jagged black outcroppings were smashed with frothy water.
"That's the most common arrangement, yes."
I turned back to the fallen angel, and saw he was wounded with frightful scars on his face.
"I thought you were supposed to be handsome."
"What an awful thing to say to a person."
"Where did the scars come from?"
"I fought the good fight. You know, between Heaven and Hell."
Ignorant RamblingYour love left youIgnorant Rambling5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Your dog died
Your mom wouldn't let you play
Your fucking video game.
So you write a poem,
So you tell the whole world
So you whine and complain and eternally bitch
So you can get some gratification.
People read your shit
People feed off of it
You think you're so unique
You think you're really something
Now that you've complained
Now that you've wasted my time
With this stupid bantering,
With this repetitive nonsense,
With this constant rhetoric
With no end in sight.
And still people congratulate you
And still people tell you how beautiful it is
And still people appreciate your incompetent
And intolerable whining about nothing.
But we've had enough
But we can't stand it anymore
But no one will listen to us
But no one will stop feeding you.
So here I am again
So I've become just like you
So now I can't shut up
So I guess I'm feeding you.
Anger compels me to keep talking
Anger keeps my hands moving
Anger makes me repeat myself and
Anger is why I now want to
Drill a fuc
Personal DemonTwelve hours before he launched his body off the roof of a twenty-story apartment complex, Ralph Clancy was having a heated argument with his girlfriend. Her name was Lisa, and she was a pretty girl, short and tanned with a small nose and hazel eyes. She had grown weary of Ralph's constant drinking and drifting from job to job.Personal Demon1 year ago in Short Stories More Like This
She told him so, in a beautiful voice that had neither the shrill, pleading undertones of her predecessor in Ralph's lovelife, nor the low, boyish vibrato of her predecessor's predecessor. This was the second woman in his life to read him the riot act repeatedly. Take responsibility, act like a grown man, don't be such a baby every time you feel uncomfortable at an autoshop. Same old stuff.
And eventually, he told her to just shut up already.
"Jesus Christ." Lisa smacked her forehead and slumped in a chair around their small dining table. They were on the seventh floor, and she looked out the kitchen window, into the snowy, blindingly bright city just beyond. "Y
BACONCHEESEBURGER Jake stepped into the cafeteria and said hello to his group of friends, waving and friendly. It had been a long first and second block and now he was glad to be free of the confines of small classrooms full of annoying twerps. His good friend Emily, sleepy as always, gave a half-hearted hello. He wondered why she was always so tired as the group made their way over to the lunch line, slowling inching towards the counter and a delicious meal of synthetic food.BACONCHEESEBURGER5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Man I can't wait to get a bacon cheeseburger." Jake said, rubbing his belly.
"It's a cheese baconburger." Emily suddenly perked up and growled, putting on her usual ferocious face.
"No, it's a bacon cheeseburger. See? The menu even says so?"
"THE MENU IS WRONG!" Emily growled, "IT IS CHEESE BACONBURGER."
"Say what?" Jake's smile suddenly disappeared and melted into a vicious frown and a glare that could melt through steel.
"NO. BACON CHEESEBURGER."
"CONCEDE OR DIE!" Emily roared, her pupils
DissatisfactionYelling irrationally at the sky,Dissatisfaction4 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Origami wishes floating in my head
Useless fantasies from days past
Ravenously digging through to the surface
Endlessly trying to return.
Blatantly obvious is my predicament in my words
Echoing from an annoying whine deep within
Ideals of a childhood recently dead
Never ceasing its eternal pursuit for
Gratification in the modern day.
Why I gave up, I don't recall.
All my goals disposed of for companionship
Tactfully abandoned forever in the wake of the present
Creating dissatisfaction that will never leave
Harboring angst no amount of antidepressants or alcohol can suppress
Enter this world of decaying humanity and most of all
Forty YearsI thought it was a dream.Forty Years1 year ago in Short Stories More Like This
In torrential rain the ferry pulled up to the dock, buffeted by brown river water and sheets of icy drops. There was no one in its cabin; just a towering black form standing at the back, waiting for me to drive aboard. I was in my old Pinto, the one with the driver's seat that flung forward every time I touched the brake and crashed back whenever I accelerated. The one I hadn't driven in almost forty years.
I rolled aboard, and the ferry started plodding along across a river as vast and flat as the prairies where I'd grown old. The dark figure knocked on my window, and I rolled it down. His head was tilted down, so I could only see the top of his head. He held out a hand, and I gave him two dollars.
"Sorry I'm late." I said, unsure why.
"Forty years is a long time, sir." The man answered in monotone.
"Yes. It was all a misunderstanding, though. An honest mistake."
"When the price is this high, mistakes are not tolerated."
"What do you mean?"
"How did you lose
JollyIn silence the cretins finished their nightly work, and ambled back toward the village below. Sightless, ugly things, trudging through snowdrifts in perpetual winter darkness. For the next eight hours they would cocoon themselves in mucus and enjoy blissfully dreamless sleep. Not so for their sympathetic overlord in the granite castle above.Jolly1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
He had twenty-four hours to perform a task that was rapidly losing its meaning to him, a philanthropy that had been drowned in its beneficiaries' greed. This was what he had dread for three-hundred and sixty-five days, the unavoidable duty of the red and white God of Gifts. Lonesome and racked with the nightmares of his previous trip around the sun, he boarded his leviathan craft and wished for freedom from bondage. In the past he had been called Loki, Prometheus. But he felt like Sisyphus.
It was to be a long day. And a long year after that. A long eternity. One day, he hoped, the ingratitude of the recipients of his treasures would persuade the p
Been A WhileIt's been a while.Been A While4 years ago in Emotional More Like This
Used to see you a lot, in daydreams and the less-organized poetry I wrote. You were always there to talk to me, to keep me company on those long, bored nights at my basement desk. Every few seconds you'd change shape and gender and appearance, but the personality was always the same. So warm, so friendly, so kind.
So many possibilities
What may have been.
The voice that I created for you is what I remember the most. Androgynous yet natural, and always calm. When no one else would do, when not a soul in this world would understand me, I could always go back to you and my head would clear. How you did that is beyond memaybe it was the anticipation I felt waiting for you to truly come along.
I guess I should be glad
That you were never to be
And that life could go on as usual.
Someday I plan to create a bond, a real bond, I mean, with someone just like you. It was different. I felt for you in a way similar to how I feel for my lover. But you're not the same.
JoyceHaving kicked the man in the balls and relieved him of his belongings, Joyce wasn't quite sure what to do next. She could run, but he might come after her the next minute. If she tied him up here, in the middle of nowhere, he might be eaten by wolves; or starve to death. Besides, she didn't have any rope. She could kill him... perhaps. The thought left a bitter taste in her mouth.Joyce2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
'What am I to do with you?' she sighed.
'Well,' he groaned while giving her a look that sent shivers down her spine, 'You can run, but that won't help you, cause I will find you! So you just wait another few minutes until I get back up again - and I mean úp- and then, I'll do you like there's no tomorrow! Which, by the way, for you there won't be!'
Well, that sure narrows down my options, she figured as she bent over and closed her trembling fingers around a good, fist-sized rock...
It wasn't much later when the road took her out of the forest and into the farmland. When she spotted the little v
4242: Fundamental LawsHeld in place by enormous steel couplers, the General Esteban Navarro dwarfed every explorer, medical transport, and freight slinger on the station docks. It was big enough, Ramon Galvez figured looking up at its nose from a port bar, that oncoming traffic could see it from a thousand miles away. He puffed on a cigarette and drank overpriced beer from one of those odd hourglass pints that were so popular in these places.4242: Fundamental Laws6 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
It was a hell of a ship, yessir. A little less than a kilometer long, though to be fair most of that length was made up by the strange matter drive. Bristling with laser cannons and rail guns and missile launchers and mine layers that weren't a hell of a lot of use unless you had somewhere real nice to hide. Ramon stubbed out his smoke in the ashtray, with more force than he intended.
The strange character who sat across the table noted Ramon's frustration. A tall, rugged human in his forties, the man had sat watching the Navarro's captain wordlessly and with obvious a
eugenics in bulkBy the time she was twelve they had already decided she would marry a man who could run a five minute mile and speak seven languages. They chose her a husband the same way they had chosen her eyes and her legs and the pale freckles that interrupted her nose - the same way their parents had designed their children and arranged their marriages, strategic.eugenics in bulk10 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Her father called her petite reine. He owned an antique chess board carved from ebony wood and maple. Some days she'd sneak into the library, pry open the old chequered box and pick out one of the queens, and she'd turn it round and round, searching for imperfections. It was a plain, ugly thing, huge and fat in her tiny grasp. She had wondered if he thought of her this way.
She wondered the same now.
Her hands were not her own. A businessman in a white coat had grown them slender and strong, built her carbon fiber bones and nails like arrowheads. Her mother reminded her of this when the
Vomit and LullabiesHaving been told to get jiggy with it by a very large black man, shortly prior to his having beaten the holy living hell out of me, I began to question the sanity of my pursuit. After all, that for which I searched was just another dull item one might easily replicate no matter where they went. I only wanted it because I felt like wanting it.Vomit and Lullabies2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
But, as I lay in the muddy back alley behind what I think was Halverson’s Liquor Mart—though it may have been Cleo’s Nasty Shoppe—I decided that to give up now was to admit defeat. And, once the obviousness of that statement clicked in since I was of course in competition with Gruesome Toothy, I rephrased it as to give up was to bring shame upon my entire family.
It also occurred to me that, after being knocked around by some thug slightly shorter than the Chrysler Building and a little lighter than Mike Tyson’s beefed-up pet elephant Chompy, to give up at that point would be a monumental waste of my time and effort.
Poetic PsychosisIn thirty seconds, the next shell would fall. Every night was the same, but every night Lorenzo experienced it as if it were the first time. His throat felt swollen; breathing was hard. He glanced around at the others; young men like him who had been shipped out in the name of honour and freedom. There was no honour in this, no freedom. Only death behind your eyelids, and a fear so gutting, that it carved out your innards and left you a hollow husk. Lorenzo tried to breathe, tried to assure himself that he was still whole, still made of flesh. They had lied when they told him he was ready.Poetic Psychosis11 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
Matteo ran towards him, arms out, rifle swinging uselessly at his side. He shouted for him to run, but Lorenzo remained motionless, unable to move as his friend’s warning was lost in the constant blare of gunfire. None of them were ready.
“The cycle is repeating. It is not safe.” The voice was soft and weak, yet it carried over the gunfire and battle cries without impediment.