Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Fairy's Gift #Fridayflash

The Fairy's Gift is a finalist in the "Uncovered" contest and appears at The Clarity of Night blog. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Things Disney Didn't Tell you #fridayflash

1) I had the girl's best interests at heart, really. Her dad died, leaving us with nothing but this big drafty castle and three year's unpaid taxes. If I didn't get myself remarried and quick, how would we have made ends meet? She certainly wasn't going to go out and get a job.

2) True, I had that mirror tell me daily who was the fairest one of us all but it wasn't for vanity. I had to know who the competition was. I'm not getting any younger and the state was going to foreclose on the castle, leaving me and that ungrateful brat out on the streets.

3) The day that the mirror told me she was now the fairest one of us all, I knew that she would run off and marry the first thing in tight pants that came across her path and leave me to fend for myself. She resented me for making her help out around the house. “Father never made me scrub the floors,” she would whine. I didn't tell her that that was because her father was borrowing money almost as fast as he could gamble it away and could therefore afford maids to do the dirty work. Let the spoiled bitch keep her illusions, I'm not so heartless as to tell a young girl that the father she loved so much was lecherous, alcoholic gambling addict.

4) I never told that huntsman to take out to the woods to kill her. That is just an outright lie. I told him to take her out into the woods, yes, but kill her? What kind of monster do you think I am? I needed her temporarily out of the picture so I could find a new husband.

5) I don't care what that stupid mirror says, I still think I'm prettier. The little wench still had acne, for crying out loud. And don't get me started on those fat ankles.

6) A heart in a jeweled box? What kind of sick mind even comes up with this stuff? And this was supposed to be a kid's movie? Gross!

7) I wasn't there to poison the little twit. I just wanted to check up on her and make sure those dwarfs weren't getting handsy. If you ask me, a young girl living with seven men seems a little suspicious, but she seemed to be happy. She bitched and moaned when I wanted her to do something around the house but ask her to wait hand and foot on seven ugly old men and suddenly she's happy as a lark. She must not have been their type, if you catch my meaning.

8) If I told her once, I told her a million times: chew your food! You can't blame me if she choked on the apple.

9) You know, even though he was a boozer and womanizer, I still kind of miss the old bugger. We had a couple of laughs and I never met another man who could go all night and still be begging for more in the morning.

10) I hope the Prince and his zombie bride are happy together, I really do. But if she thinks I'm going to baby sit her snot nosed kids, she's got another thing coming. In fact, I think I'll sell the castle and move to Spain. I hear they like mature women there.

11) I have it on pretty good authority that her wedding dress shouldn't have been quite so snowy white, if you catch my meaning.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Rejection Letter

They say its a good sign when the editor actually takes the time to tell you why they are rejecting a particular piece. I'm choosing to see this as a good sign.

Thank you for your submission to ******. I enjoyed the idea behind your story, but I felt that there was no resolution to the situation, and so it didn't seem like a complete story. For this reason, I'm afraid we won't be publishing this piece. Best of luck with it in the future.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers #fridayflash

Clyde was talking his buddies when he saw the boy slip below the surface. He waited a moment, then jumped in when the boy did not come back up. Diving to the bottom of the lake, he felt around, running his hands over mud and slimy rocks until they brushed against cloth. He grabbed the boy by his shirt and pulled. The boy kicked his legs wildly, twisted his body around and desperately clung to Clyde. He struggled to free himself from the boy's panicked flailing and rise toward the surface for air. The boy pulled at him like a rock, however, and the light above them grew dim as they both sank deeper.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Best Medicine #fridayflash

Carmella wrapped her lips around her fangs to take a puff from her cigarette, then exhaled the smoke through her clenched teeth while making a sssssssss sound. She shifted one pendulous breast over to the side to scratch an itch and looked out over the crowd. A group of werewolves were line dancing over in the corner, all with the same deadpan expression on their faces. Frank was doing his best to sing karaoke, but his vocal chords were beginning to rot away as well as his tongue so most of it came out as an unintelligible moan.

“I wish to hell that that zombie would shut his fly-trap,” said Vlad the bartender.

“Oh, cut him some slack. He's a good kid. Its not his fault he got bitten by the wrong kind of monster.”

Vlad snorted.

“You are such a softie Carmella. I don't know how you ever manage to get any blood off your victims. I imagine you loan them all a twenty and give them a ride home rather than helping them to shuffle off their mortal coils.”

“I do ok,” Carmella shrugged. Vlad polished some glasses and Carmella puffed on her cigarette some more while watching the line dancers. Frank finished warbling into the microphone and there was a sprinkling of applause from the crowd. One of the werewolves put a quarter in the jukebox and the line dancing began again, their boots clicking on the floor in unison and their eyes staring straight ahead at nothing.

“You sounded good up there,” Carmella said to Frank as he came up to the bar for a drink.

“Haannnks,” he groaned. “Eeii yiiiikh hat shoongh.”

“Yeah, its a real toe tapper,” Carmella said.

“Yoo ohkay? Yoo shound a yittle hown.”

“Eh, I'm ok I guess. Just a little moody. Eternity isn't quite what I thought it would be.”

“Hell me about hit,” Frank said, downed his shot and shuffled off the men's room.

Carmella crushed her cigarette into the ash tray and sighed.

“Hey Vlad, give me a bloody mary, would ya?”

“If you're down in the dumps, why don't you go out and get you the real thing? A nice plump virgin always lifts my spirits when I'm feeling down.”

“Nah, I don't think that would help much. Its just the futility of it all. Every night we come to this run down bar and do the same things over and over again. The same faces, the same songs, the same drinks. The thought of doing the same crap for over and over for the rest of eternity is just depressing.”

“I think its great. I can do whatever I want whenever I want to who ever I want. I don't have to worry about the consequences because I can't die.” Vlad held his hands out as if to emphasize his point and backed up a step. He slipped in a puddle of spilled beer and fell backwards onto one of the beer taps. It pierced him through the heart and he instantly turned into dust. Everyone in the bar stopped moving and talking all at once and turned to stare at the pile of dust that was formally Vlad. Carmella doubled over and began to laugh uncontrollably. She clutched her side with one hand and steadied herself on the bar with the other so that the force of her guffaws didn't knock her off her barstool. After several minutes she straightened up and wiped a tear from her eye.

“Ooh, thanks Vlad. I needed that.”

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Escape Artists Flash Fiction Contest

I submitted a flash to the Pseudopod (horror) portion of Escape Artists Flash Fiction contest. The first round of submissions has been posted on the forum and the winners will be chosen by the readers. I can't tell you which one is mine (the by-lines are taken off prior to posting) but I can tell you that mine is not in the first batch. If you like horror, you should check out the first group of flash stories. Also, submissions just opened up for the Escape Pod (sci-fi) portion of the contest. Details here. Winners of the contest get the usual Escape Artists publication (if its a podcast is it still called publication?) rate of $100 and their stories will be features on the podcast of the respective genre. Happy submitting.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Truth About the Birds and the Bees #fridayflash

“My Queen,” Bzedward said, lowering the front half of his body in an awkward bow.

“You may rise,” the Queen said, shaking her wings. Bzedward obeyed.

“I am honored that you would consider me for the mating flight.” It was hard for him to think straight this close to the Queen. Her scent filled the small chamber and it took all of his self-control to keep from mounting her where they stood.

“Turn,” the Queen said. Bzedward obeyed. “You are an acceptable specimen. The mating flight will be in one hour. Dismissed.”

“Thank you ma'am.” He bowed again and backed out of the chamber, careful not to turn his back to Her Highness. The next suitor stepped up to take his place.

“My Queen,” Bzedward heard him say before the chamber doors were shut behind him by the worker bees.

Bzedward rushed deeper into the hive to find Bzamy steadily scooping up wax and shaping it into honeycomb.

“I'm in! I'm taking part in the mating flight, at last!” Bzamy stopped scooping and turned to look at him.

“You can't!”

“What are you talking about? Of course I can, it what I'm made for. I'm a drone.” Bzamy stood staring at him for several moments, then scooped up a large mound of wax and angrily slapped in onto the honeycomb.

“You're right. Of course. No reason for you to stick around here. Go on some kamikaze sex mission. See if I care.”

“Bzamy! What's gotten into you?”

Bzamy only kneaded the wax with her tarsi with a little more force than necessary.

“Don't be like this. Come on, you know I can't help what I am.” Bzamy's wings drooped.

“Yeah, I know. I'm happy for you, really. I'm glad you got what you always wanted.” He reached out and caressed her wing with his. At first she kept still under his touch, but after a few moments she relaxed into the contact and rubbed her wing back and forth in response. “I'll miss you, you big jerk.”

“I'll miss you too. I'd better get going or else I'll miss the flight. Wouldn't want to be the last one there.” He flew off back in the direction of the Queen's chamber and she watched him for a moment then got back to work.

Bzedward arrived back at the chamber and waited impatiently for the flight to begin. Several other drones were in the chamber with him, all vibrating with nervous energy. Finally, just when he didn't think he could stand the suspense any more, there was a flurry of movement and suddenly they were all flying out of the hive and into the open air. His senses were immediately overloaded. A brilliant light filled his ommatidia and the scents of heady perfume of blooming flowers dazzled and confused him. Above all that, however, he could smell the Queen. Her scent drew him to her and he saw her beautiful form slowly spinning in mid-air. He rushed to her, mounted her and suddenly his whole being was suffused with joy. He was deep inside his Queen, filling her with his seed. She shuddered in ecstasy and then shook him off. He felt a rip in his groin and the pain made his wings falter. He began to fall to the ground in a tailspin. Ground, sky, ground, sky, over and over. As the sky came into view one last time, he saw the next drone remove his severed penis from the Queen and insert his own.

The soft grass broke his fall. The world still seemed to continue spinning even though he was on the ground. His vision was blurry and he was losing blood fast. He saw a yellow blur and felt the soft brush of wings on his face. Bzamy came into focus and he smiled at her.

“Thank you for coming to see me off,” he said weakly.

“Of course. I love you, you idiot.” Bzamy curled her glossa around his.

“Oh Bzamy,” he sighed and curled his glossa around her's in return. “You've made me so happy. Now that I've done my duty, I can tell you without shame that I love you too.” His head fell back, breaking their kiss. His eyes were glossy and empty. Bzamy cradled his head in her wings as one by one, the bodies of drones fell onto the grass all around them.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sirens at Dawn #fridayflash

Henry rolls off of me and lies on the other side of the bed, facing the wall. Cool air hits my sweaty skin and I shiver in the absence of his warmth. The mattress creaks as I get up and go into the bathroom, shut the door and turn on the shower. Once the water is as hot as I can stand it, I step in and let the water fall down on me, rivulets snaking their way down my back. The steam gets so thick that the miniature bottles of shampoo and conditioner sitting on the shelf are blurred and my skin turns pink. I turn off the water and notice that my skin still has Henry's scent of sweat and old cloth and the faint lingering smell of leather. A dark shadow in the mirror mimics my movements as I wrap a towel around me and re-enter into the room. Henry is now lying on his back and his wedding band is once again on his hand. He doesn't look at me as I sit on the bed. I watch water drip from my hair, forming clear beads on the polyester blend bedspread that slowly disappear leaving only a dark spot behind.

"I'm sorry," Henry says. "You know I love you, but…"

"No," I shake my head. "Leave all the 'buts' and 'if onlys' for another time. We have until morning to not be sorry and not be sad."

Henry looks at me and extends his arm out toward me. I lay down beside him and he pulls the towel off of me and throws it to the floor. We lie there, skin to skin, and watch the sky as it turns from black to grey to pink to golden.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

#fridayflash Under the Sea

Maria tried to drown out the sound of her roommate knocking on the bathroom door by sinking further into the tub and letting her ears fall below the water line. She could hear the blood in her ears circulating with a woosh woosh woosh, but the now distant sound of knocking still came through.

“Maria, are you OK in there?” Judith called through the door. Maria closed her eyes and waited for her to leave. “You're going to be late for work.”

“I'm not going,” Maria shouted. “I hate that place. If one more person cusses me out, I might just slit my wrist. I can't take one more person blaming me for the fact that they have liability-only on their vehicle and now their car is totaled out and we're only paying for the other person's vehicle. I'm sick of being punished because people don't know how to read their fucking insurance policy.” Judith sighed.

“Ok. I'll tell them you're sick or something.” Maria tracked her movements through the sounds she made: the clicking of her heels which faded slightly with every step she took, the jangle of keys as she picked them up from the coffee table, and finally the soft thud of the door being closed.

Maria turned on the faucet again. Hot water slowly crept up to mix with the water that had grown lukewarm during her long soak. The water reached dangerously close to the lip of the tub, so she turned off the faucet and turned to float face down. She felt something brush her feet and opened her eyes in alarm to see a bed of sea kelp. Green tendrils rose up from the sea bed and swayed gently in the currents of the ocean. She looked up and through the murky water, she could still see tiled ceiling of her bathroom and the shower nozzle. A clown fish swam right by her nose. She swatted at it and gasped. Rather than choking as water filled her lungs, she breathed in the water quite comfortably. She grabbed the fish by the tail and let it whisk her through the kelp.

Once out of the kelp forest, they came upon a sprawling city populated by merpeople. Some swam around in a rush while others lingered in the streets to talk to one another, swishing their tales occasionally to keep themselves stable in the gentle currents. Maria let the clown fish go and swam closer to the city. A merman spotted her and swam over to her.

“Let me guess. Human?” Maria nodded. “I thought so. Why don't you follow me.” He swam off and Maria had difficulty keeping up as her spindly legs were no match for his fins. He stopped in front of a white building with columns on the front.

“Go in through the third floor entrance, third door on the right. Tell them you're new.”

“Thanks,” Maria said and he swam away. Maria followed his instructions and opened the door to see a middle aged mermaid swimming around the room filing papers. She turned when Maria swam in.

“Human?” she asked. Maria nodded. “You have a choice, you can go home to your human dwelling or you can become one of us and live here on the ocean floor.”

“This place is magical! Of course I choose to live here.” As soon as the words left her mouth, Maria could feel her legs fusing together into a fin. She swished her tail experimentally and was projected to the ceiling. The mermaid sighed.

“You'll get the hang of it. Now, we need to find you a job.”

“Job? Why?”

“Well how else do you think you're going to make a living, silly. You're in luck, a position just opened up this morning. A citizen had an unfortunate encounter with a motor boat while on his way to work. You wouldn't happen to have any experience in insurance, would you?”

Sunday, May 9, 2010


"Hey man," I said as I opened the door to let Pip in.

"What's up?" He plopped himself down on her couch and rested his hands on top of his head, elbows cocked outwards.

"Not much, just came back from your funeral." I sat in the recliner facing the couch and put my feet on the coffee table.

"Yeah? How'd that go?"

"It sucked. You would have hated it. Some preacher kept going on about how you were right with god before you died and about how you'd be there waiting for us when it was our time."

"Probably the preacher from my parents' church. You didn't stand up and call bullshit?"

"No, your mom and girlfriend seemed to be eating it up and they technically outrank me."

"That's not true." Pip picked up an empty beer bottle from the coffee table and rolls it between the palms of his hands. I watch him and try not to think about how I'll never feel those hands running down my bare back again.

"So what are you going to do now that you're officially dead? I mean, isn't there some sort of light you should be moving towards?"

"Not so far. Maybe there is no light. Maybe they won't let me up. Maybe I'm stuck here. Who the hell knows?"

"As long as you're stuck here, you might as well stop by and see me sometime."

He stops spinning the bottle and looks up at me.


The bottle that he had been holding a moment ago falls to the coffee table and shatters.

Friday, May 7, 2010


She left me on a Tuesday afternoon and by Sunday morning I couldn't stand the pain any more, so I took out my heart and chained it to the wall. It watched me with its big doe eyes as I moved about my apartment, suddenly without a care in the world. It was amazing how much I could get done without the nagging ache of my heart to slow me down. I was able to clean up the mess that had accumulated that week, take some old clothes down to the Goodwill which I'd been meaning to do for ages. I went down to the coffee shop and read the newspaper while drinking a latte as I used to do all the time without even once thinking about how this was where we had met. As I got into my bed that night, I congratulated myself for my brilliant idea and happily settled in for what I was sure was going to be the first good night's sleep in days. I could get no rest, however, as all through the night my heart whispered her name and it in the silence of the night it was as loud as an El Train running through my head.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Super Hero

Note: This is dedicated to a friend who is deploying to the Middle East this week.

“Oh, please someone help my Mr. Bigglesworth!” cried Mrs. Markowitz. Mr. Bigglesworth was meowing forlornly from his tree limb as he was too scared to jump down from such a height but was quite ready for his dinner. Suddenly he was scooped up in a flash of motion and placed safely in Mrs. Markowitz's arms.

“Oh thank you,” she exclaimed to the young man who was standing before her who looked rather pleased with himself. “How can I ever repay you?”

“You don't owe me a thing, ma'am. Its my job,” he said. “Afterall, I'm a superhero.” He put his hands on his hips so that the emblem on his chest would be prominently displayed and grinned widely making his teeth glint in the sunlight.

“You are?” Mrs. Markowitz eyed him skeptically.

“Yeah.” His posture sagged. “Can't you tell? I'm wearing my underwear outside of my pants.”

“Oh, I thought that was a fashion statement.”

“No! It's the superhero uniform. Also, I have my superhero initials on my chest.”

“MF? What does that stand for? Mighty Flash? Master Force?”

“Mr. Faulkner.”

“That's not a very good superhero name. Why do you call yourself that?”

“Because its my name.”

“Oh. Well thanks, I guess...”

“Hark! Another kitty cat is in trouble,” he declared and flew off once again.

“What a weird, wonderful guy,” Mrs. Markowitz said. Mr. Bigglesworth meowed in agreement and they went inside for dinner.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Suffer the Little Children

Nurse Rodgers held the child in her arms as he gurgled and tried to squirm out of his swaddling. She worked the graveyard shift, watching over the little angels in the maternity ward. This little angel had been born with crack in its system. Not its fault, of course, but she knew he was destined to become a monster - a murderer or rapist or just another junkie robbing good, honest folk for his next fix. It would be better to keep him like this, pure and innocent. She put her hand over his nose and mouth, swaying and humming a lullaby while she waited for him to stop squirming then laid his limp body back into his cradle, pleased to know that he was on his way to heaven now to be with her other little angels.

Friday, April 30, 2010


“Right!” Martin shouted to his wife. “I'm off for a bit.”

“You'd better not be going to that club,” she shouted back from the kitchen. “I'm telling you Martin, I can't live like this.”

“Oh lay off, I'll be back in a little while.” He left without waiting for a reply, letting the screen door slam shut behind him. He drove across the small town where he and his wife had grew up, went to school, and married right after graduation. Things had been quiet, peaceful, until Indulgences was built on the city limits. He'd been going there every night since it opened. After all, he worked hard all day and a man needs to blow off steam, no matter what the wife says.

He pulled into the gravel lot and parked his beat up pickup next to all the other beat up pickups and went inside. There were a few familiar faces, which he politely nodded to, but no one was there for conversation. They were there for the show. He sat down at a table near the stage and ordered a scotch on the rocks from the somewhat homely waitress. As she went to put in his order, the lights dimmed and the music started playing. He'd arrived just in time.

A spotlight lit up the stage and the curtains drew back to reveal a row of dancers wearing nothing but top hats and tap shoes. They began to move their furry boddies in perfect unison with one another in an intricate dance routine that would have been more at home on a Broadway stage than in a smoky bar in the sticks. The waitress brought his drink and he leaned back, scotch in hand.

“You tap-dancing hamsters,” he said with a grin. “You rock my world, with your little blurry feet."

Inspired by Sleep Talking Man

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mission Logs

Journal Entry One:

I seem to have assimilated into the human population seamlessly. My documents were accepted without question and I have successfully obtained lodging. My disguise is perfect, no one suspects that underneath this pink layer of flesh, the true Vedician lurks. I have begun my observations of the humans, all of which will prove vital once the invasion has begun. My observations so far: humans seem to enjoy keeping certain lower life forms domestically. They refer to these animals as pets. However, certain other life forms in the domestic sphere are called “pests” and are treated with disdain. I have yet to ascertain the difference. The female who serves as keeper of the housing unit assured me that the apartment was pest-free but that I would be allowed to keep pets in my lodging for an additional fee. I will do more research into the pet/pest paradox.

I have also observed that humans perform labor in exchange for “money.” They then exchange this money for goods and services. Upon my arrival, I replicated some of this money in order to obtain food and lodging. The type of labor that the humans perform seems to determine their status in the society. I have overheard humans asking one another what they “do.” It seems apparent that I will need to find something to “do.” Eating in social settings seems to be very popular among the humans. A disgusting habit but these eating establishments are plentiful and could prove to be an excellent source for further study. I will begin my search for employment tomorrow.

Journal Entry Two:

My search was successful. I obtained employment in an establishment which serves caffeinated beverages and sweet starchy foods. My contract with this business begins tomorrow. The work should prove to be simple enough. It shouldn't take long for me to master the rudimentary skills of serving the humans their food and beverages and for my subsequent takeover as leader of the establishment. As the leader, I will cultivate the loyalty of the small band of humans who are employed by the establishment. I will show them that I can be a kind, if stern, ruler. Their loyalty could prove useful once the invasion begins.

Journal Entry Three:

My task of serving caffeinated beverages has proved to be a bit more complicated than I imagined. The combinations these creatures come up with! There is a menu of standard beverages that these insolent creatures brazenly ignore. Just when I think that I have mastered a recipe, an endless string of consumers come through and alter the recipe in a myriad of ways. Some want a special kind of cow excretion or a variation of the amount of flavored syrups or an extra dosage of caffeine. I have worked three shifts at the establishment and my head is still spinning.

On the upside, I feel that I am close to understanding their system of monetary exchange.

Journal Entry Four:

I am now much more comfortable in my job in the cafe and I feel that I can focus my energies on my mission. There doesn't seem to be any real system of centralized government on this planet. I have avoided asking direct questions regarding this as I don't want to arouse suspicion that I am not a native. From what I have gleaned, there are several tribes on this planet and each tribe has its own method of governance. Most tribe seem to prefer to have a ruling council rather than a single leader. The result is that no one takes responsibility for the ills of society and no one seems interested in finding solutions. I have yet to determine what, if anything, the ruling councils of the planet seem to do. I believe that the governing systems of the Vedicians will be a welcome change. They will surely see the wisdom of electing a single leader for the planet, then executing the leader if they do not perform adequately.

Journal Entry Five:

I have begun to make social connections at work. Social connections seem to be the area into which most humans put the most amount of effort. The males spend most of their time trying to catch the attention of the females. The females also try to catch the attention of the males but complicate the process by pretending to ignore the very males whose attention they are trying to catch. The whole thing seems very exhausting and its seems to be a evolutionary miracle that any mating ever takes place on this planet. It makes me long for the simplicity of a Vedician mating ritual. It may be harder to convince the humans to adopt this, however, as I can't imagine these coy females painting their bodies blue and running through an open field and mating with whatever male is both quick enough to catch her and agile enough to dodge the spears being hurled at them by her relatives. The males, however, will most likely think our way is simpler.

My forays into the human social sphere have been tentative so far. My attempts at humor have met with mixed results and I am unfamiliar with the “bands” and “movies” that most human bonds seem to revolve around. I am attempting to amend this by doing research in my off hours but there seems to be no end to these “bands.” There is a confusing array of genres and despite my hours of research, I still don't understand the difference between Speed Core, Speed Garage and Speed Metal. The humans at work seem to like me for the most part, despite my ignorance of popular culture. In fact, my ignorance seems to amuse them. They never tire of saying the titles of movies or songs to see if I have heard of them and their amused surprise never seems to grow stale when I reveal that I am not, in fact, familiar with that area of popular culture.

I was surprised to discover that humans do not enjoy their jobs, despite the fact that they spend the majority of their time at work. While they are at work, they seem to spend the time finding creative ways of not doing work. On the few occasions when I have been invited on social outings with my co-workers, I have found that they spend the majority of that time complaining about their job and the consumers who frequent the cafe. It is a contradiction that confuses me.

My reports to the Vedician command have become longer and more complex with every passing day. I fear they may begin to think that I'm making the majority of it up.

Journal Entry Six:

I find myself fascinated by a female co-worker. She is quite attractive for a human, slender and of average height, with brown hair and brown eyes and a pleasing smile. Her legs are pleasing as well, at least the parts of her legs that aren't covered up by the short pants she wears to work every day. She is kind to me and the consumers at the cafe. Even her name is pleasing. Alice. I have tried to determine if Alice finds me at all fascinating but it is very hard to tell. True, she seems to smile at me frequently but she also seems reluctant to talk to me. My knowledge of human females is not extensive enough to tell me if this means that she is inviting me to mate with her or merely being friendly. A male co-worker named Caleb seems to be of the former opinion and keeps advising me to “go for it.” I am hesitant to do so, however, for I fear that if I have misread her signals, our working relationship may become awkward. Perhaps a group social outing would help to determine her intentions.

I am ashamed to admit that since the development of my fascination with Alice, my reports to the Vedician command have become fewer and further between. It is hard to focus my attentions on the trivial politics of this puny planet when thoughts of Alice's lovely pink skin are so much more appealing. Despite my reservations, I must consummate my affections for Alice. For the mission.

Journal Entry Seven:

I am positively dizzy from the events of the evening. Also, from the alcohol. Several of us cafe employees went to a bar once our shift was over and I finally had the chance to ask Alice if she would be interested in mating with me. I did not phrase it so bluntly, of course. My time on Earth has taught me that Earth women are to be approached delicately.

“Would you like to see a movie with me sometime?” is what I actually said. I waited with no small amount of anxiety while she first turned even pinker and then said “Yes.” I spent the rest of the evening learning as much about her as I could and being as vague about my own past as I could get away with. I must construct a believable history before our date tomorrow night.

Journal Entry Eight:

Why is it that in our entire history as a species, Vedicians have never invented kissing? While it may be true that we excel at the maths and sciences, humans have kissing and that irrefutably proves their superiority. We were having a perfectly pleasant evening, Alice and I. We had partaken in social eating, paid to watch a movie with a group of other humans and were wrapping up the evening with a moonlit walk as we talked our “hopes for the future” and “interests.” Then, with no warning whatsoever, she stopped talking, threw her arms around my neck and pressed her lips to mine. My human form seemed to respond immediately, knowing somehow that this was the first step to the mating ritual. My hormones surged, my blood pumped harder and seemed to rush to my genitals, my breath quickened. All of these physical parts, however, did not add up to the whole that was kissing Alice.

As she wrapped her arms around my neck and pressed her lips to mine, I felt something inside me open up. Somehow it seemed as though she came into my being and I went into hers. My whole world was about that moment when our mouths opened up and our tongues met, when our bodies pressed together and our hands ran over each others backs freely. Our lips reluctantly parted after several moments and she looked up at me and smiled and I knew that I would forever be her slave. She took my hand and continued walking again, picking up the conversation as though nothing had changed although everything had.

I must cancel the invasion.

Journal Entry Nine:

The Vedician command will hear nothing of my pleas of mercy. They accuse me of “going native” and betraying my species. I have tried to explain to them that there are things that the humans can teach us but they refuse to listen. To them, humans are only savages which must be conquered and colonized. I must warn Alice.

Journal Entry Ten:

The invasion is back on. Alice refuses to speak to me. I was certain that after I warned her about the Vedicians, she would see me as her hero and take me to the appropriate authorities to prepare them for the upcoming war. Instead, she called me insane and threw me out of her apartment. I stood outside her door for several hours, begging her to believe me, pleading with her to stock up on provisions and arm herself. Eventually I became angry with her refusal to speak to me and began to shout at her. I told her she would be one of the first ones against the wall when the fleet arrived. I regret that now. Once the humans are under Vedician rule, then she'll see that she was wrong about me and ask for my forgiveness, which I will naturally grant. I will graciously allow her to be a member of my harem. She will tremble in awe before my true form and regret ever taking out that restraining order.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

If You Believe

“Fucking Fairy!” Carl slammed the crowbar onto Tink's knee. She emitted a shrill jangling scream like the bell on a shop door that had been slammed shut. Tink writhed against the fence, unable to twist away from the blows. Her hands were tied to the post behind her back, forcing her to stay in a standing position.

“Where are your wings, you freak?” Carl asked. “Did you have them cut off?” Did you really think you could pass for human? You can't even talk. How fucking dumb are you?”

Carl swung the crowbar down again, this time connecting with Tink's other knee. She slumped forward, no longer able to support her own weight but unable to fall to the ground. She sobbed quietly, not able to gather the strength to scream again.

“You should have stayed in Never-Never Land,” he growled. He cracked her in the temple with the crowbar. This time, she didn't make a sound. Blood trickled slowly down her face, dripping off her delicate up-turned nose and matted her blonde hair to her forehead. Carl dropped the crowbar to the ground and ran his trembling hand through his hair. He walked back to his truck and cranked it. The headlight beams fell on Tink, illuminating her crumpled form.

“Who's gonna clap for you now, fairy?” Carl muttered to himself and put his truck into reverse. The headlights swung away from Tink and onto the dirt trail, leaving her alone in the darkness.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Way We Were

Seneca465 crushes her cigarette into the ashtray and looks out the cafe window at all the other Senecas and Roberts and Margarets and Franks rushing down the street. As the other Senecas walk by, she gets fleeting impressions of what they are feeling but the other models are blank slates to her and she has to rely on the secondary signs of body language and facial expressions to guess what they are thinking. If she thinks back far enough, she can remember the first Seneca as she was before the days of the sickness when she became one of the last of her kind with viable genes. If she squeezes her eyes tight and really concentrates, she can remember a day that the first Seneca stared out a cafe window and crushed her cigarette while watching hundreds of complete strangers walk by. They were all blank slates, just foreign bodies rushing by each other with no shared memories or emotions. Though the memory is there, she can hardly wrap her mind around such vast loneliness.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

They Once Were Wild

The humans were let in the gates at eight. They trickled in slowly at first but by mid-day the zoo was full of them: chubby tourists with fanny packs and baseball caps; mothers with tight ponytails and t-shirts stained with baby food pushing their sleeping toddlers along in strollers; middle aged men wielding cameras with huge lenses taking photo after photo of the zebras and elephants for the portfolio no one would see but themselves. Around this time of the day, the zoo employees would open a metal door and pile of hay and raw meat would slide down the chute into the centaur's habitat.

Arbios looked over his shoulder at the sound of the door opening and the resulting thud as the pile of food hit the grass but did not move. Clopia didn't look at all, but instead continued to slowly pick the hairs off her rump, one by one. She had long ago picked all the long hair off her head as well the majority of the finer hairs on the horse half of her body. The zoo keepers had brought in doctor a few months back to see what could be done about it.

“Trichotillomania,” the doctor had concluded after observing her for a period. “In a human I would prescribe cognitive behavior therapy, but for an animal, the best we can do is dose them with anti-depressants. You can also try exercising her more.”

Today was an exercise day. The zoo keepers walked cautiously up behind Clopia and swung a rope over her head, leading her into a room with a large centaur-sized treadmill. They left her in there for an hour and watched through a window as she stood, arms folded over her chest, looking back at them. She would swish her tail and defecate on the tile floor, but she showed absolutely no interest in the treadmill. Once the hour was up, the zoo keepers sighed and came from behind the window.

“Come on, girl,” one of the keepers said as he tossed the rope over Clopia's head once again.

“Die in a stampede,” she replied, but all the zoo keeper heard was a whinny.

Back in the habitat, Arbios still had not partaken of the hay and meat left by the keepers.

“Not hungry?” she asked and she lowered herself onto the grass.

“Not for that slop,” he said. “Just once I'd like to hunt something down and feel its hot blood gush as I tear out it's throat.”

“You could take one of them down pretty easily,” Clopia nodding towards a group of humans leaning over the fence, gawking at them.

“Yeah, about as easily as I could walk over there and eat that dead chicken in the corner.”

“They could at least leave the feathers on. That's the best part.”

She went back to slowly picking the hairs off her rump.

“Look kids!” said a woman with a group of fifteen youngsters. “Here are the mighty centaur. It says here that they live in forests and eat berries, hay and small mammals.”

“I also like long walks on the beach and French Poetry,” Arbios said. The woman didn't seem to notice. “Wanna mate and freak out the kids?”

“Not really,” Clopia shrugged.

Arbios watched her methodical movements as she pulled out a hair and held it out for the breeze to blow away and then repeated the process.

“Why do you do that anyway?” he asked.

“Its something to do, I guess.”

“Doesn't it hurt?”

“A little.”

“Ugh! How come the lady centaur is bald?” one of the youngsters said loudly, scrunching up his face in disgust. “She's ugly.”

She growled and leaped up, running at full speed toward the fence that separated the habitat from the humans. She slid to a halt when she reached the water and puffed herself up to her fullest height. Nostrils flaring, she stared at the youngster.

“I will come over there and feast on your eyeballs, you little shit-head,” she said, shaking with rage.

Arbios came up behind her and put his hands on her shoulders.

“Come on,” he said quietly. “It's not worth it.”

He led her back to the shade, then went to the pile of food and began to eat.

“Want some?” he said, holding out a chicken leg to her.

“I'm not hungry,” she said and resumed her plucking.