Archive | Fiction

17 December 2018 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #46B: “For the Last Time, It’s Not a Ray Gun” by Anaea Lay

Connor was shy, introverted and a thousand other things that made sitting there, at the tiny coffee shop table, torturous. He didn’t want to be tortured. He wanted to hear harp music and cherubs giggling and all the other noises that accompanied your first date with your soul mate. It had taken him weeks to screw up the courage to ask Kayla out for coffee. As far as he was concerned, glitter should ooze from the walls in a poltergeist-style reward for the brazen bravery he’d demonstrated.

Meanwhile, Kayla pretty clearly didn’t realize this was supposed to be a date.

She wasn’t being weird or anything. And Connor wasn’t sure what she ought to be doing instead. But she wasn’t nervous or awkward or in any way different from how she was when they hung out with Debra and Joe and the rest. This was basically the same as hanging out in Kayla’s workshop for their hack-a-thon sessions, except the coffee was better, nobody else was around, and Connor felt entitled to glitter ooze.

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03 December 2018 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #46A: “The Hammer’s Prayer” by Benjamin C. Kinney

I showed up early for work, as always. The airport’s underbelly was the ugliest place in Boston, but I would’ve spent every hour there if I could get away with it. Among the hurried machines and distant reek-sweet jet fuel, I had everything I needed. A purpose, a paycheck, a place to hide; and most of all, a land of function without beauty, where nothing would tempt me to invest it with holiness and life.

The other officers grunted hellos as they arrived, and we split up into pairs for our little contributions to the safety of mankind. My supervisor Darrell beckoned me to him once again, and I took my place by the conveyor belt, pleased for the company of his press-perfect uniform blues. I had never let him know me, as I could let no human know me, but he had come to appreciate me despite the dull mask of my restraint.

I brushed clay dust from my uniform, tugged on my gloves, and watched humanity’s obsessions trundle toward the scanner. The belt hummed with the comfort of purposeful movement, content with suitcases and backpacks and baby strollers. A hard-shelled bicycle box wedged against a chute, and a light blinked amber as the conveyor belt clunked to a halt.

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16 November 2018 ~ 5 Comments

DP FICTION #45B: “The Coal Remembers What It Was” by Paul R. Hardy

Oh, I remember my mam. She’s been gone nigh on forty years, but I still think of the mornings when I were little and she’d show me the demons. She’d be up at the crack of dawn, kneeling down afore the stove to shove kindling in the firebox with one hand because she were cradling my baby brother in the other. And then I’d come along and pick a bit of coal out of the scuttle and ask: is there a demon in this one? And she’d say no, and I’d put it back and pick up another and ask: is there a demon in this one? And she’d say no again and I’d take another and like as not she’d clip me round the ear before I said owt else. “It’s not demons, Elsie,” she’d say. “The coal remembers what it was, that’s all. But it’s still only a lump of coal and I need to get the fire lit for your dad’s bath so get away with you and stop bothering me with your nonsense!”

Dad were on the night shift, you see. I hardly ever saw him with the hours he worked. He’d get home in the morning so covered in coal dust I thought he were a piece of coal himself. And then he’d have his bath and go straight to bed, and he were out again before I were back from school. People are always asking me about him. I get sick of all the questions. They’re only asking because he died in the disaster, but that were seventy years ago and it’s not like I were down there in the mine with him when it happened. I were back home, with Mam. Course I was. I were only little. I were up early to look at the demons.

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02 November 2018 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #45A: “The Memory Cookbook” by Aaron Fox-Lerner

The first thing to remember is that your memories are no longer your own. You’re worth something now that you’ve been implanted, but only so long as you can remember something worthwhile.

You need to think about your memories in terms of who will consume them. What kind of mood will it give them? What do they want to feel? What food or drinks will be paired with the memory? Will they be remembering it alone?

Remember that while your memories may be yours, they are being recalled in the service of paying customers. You should never remind them of this fact, but always be aware that they are the ones with money and you are not.

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15 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #44B: “Still Life With Grave Juice” by Jim Moss

“This is the real thing? None of that synth-sludge?”

“Yes, sir. Direct from Earth.”

“And it’s the best you’ve got?” Quincy eyed the glass on the robowaiter’s tray. He should have ordered a bottle. He would need more to help unravel the stress of his turbulent negotiations with the Wattlars, who had rejected yet another contract. At least this outpost had an overpriced restaurant where he could run up his company’s expense account.

“Highest quality and price, I assure you. You may access my Integriport–”

“Yeah, yeah…” Quincy waved his hand, the gesture cue enough for the robowaiter to spit out a coaster which landed on the table with a soft plop. In a ballet of hydraulics, the robowaiter plucked the glass off the tray and set it before Quincy with the exaggerated grace of a suitor presenting a rose.

“Will that be all, sir?”

“You know, on Earth, they pop the cork in front of the patron, so it can be inspected for dryness, and they show the bottle so that–”

“You requested a glass, not an entire bottle,” the robowaiter spun its upper torso away from Quincy and sped off. Quincy held up the glass by the stem, examining its deep burgundy contents by the overhead light. He brought it down below his nose and inhaled.

“Cannibal.”

That word, that accent, the derisive tone — Quincy knew it referred to him.

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05 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King

34466922Sleeping Beauties is a drama/fantasy/action novel written by Stephen King and Owen King published in September 2017 by Scribner.

A mysterious condition hits the whole planet in an instant–if a woman falls asleep, threads of what appear to be fungus quickly envelop her, forming a sort of cocoon.  She continues to live inside the cocoon if left undisturbed.  If the cocoon is broken, she will wake up and react violently like a rabid animal.  Meanwhile, in the Appalachian town of Dooling, a mysterious stranger who calls herself Eve who is arrested after violently killing a man with apparently superhuman strength.  There’s no end in sight for the condition that affects only women–the women who are still awake try desperately to stay that way, some of the men left behind are ready to take desperate measures of one kind or another, and all hell is going to break loose.  People find out that Eve can sleep without going into a cocoon, and they become violently desperate to find out why.  Clint Norcross, the prison psychologist, husband of the sheriff, has a violent past from his juvenile days that he keeps to himself, even from his wife, and he takes it upon himself to protect as many women as he can, including Evie.

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01 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #44A: “Pumpkin and Glass” by Sean R. Robinson

I sit on the park bench and try to forget the cold. This was easier in springtime, when there was more day light and it wasn’t as cold. I forgot my jacket this morning and as the city lights turn on one by one, the temperature drops. I miss my coat, with its thick-padded elbows.

But I cannot go home.

I do not know where home is.

I am dancing a dance that begins each morning, and ends when the clock strikes midnight. By then, he will be asleep and whatever is broken will be broken and I will not watch my Prince Charming shatter anything else that I loved. 

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17 September 2018 ~ 4 Comments

DP FICTION #43B: “The Fisher in the Yellow Afternoon” by Michael Anthony Ashley

You feel an explosion and wake up face down on a rocky patch of dirt. A spurt of blood fills your mouth with iron and salt, and you push to your knees, gagging, but all that drools off of your lips is soil and leaves and a few bitter-tasting pine needles. You breathe and spit, but the blood taste is gone. It never was. You exhale relief as the panic fades with the dream.

You raise your face to a clear yellow sky and chilly air, the white sound of water rushing over you with a comfortable, misty breeze. It’s the smell of the park when the elk are bugling and camping means nights in flannel over canned spaghetti, and no problem with the cold because it makes the heat of the fire so incredibly perfect.

And you hear an enormous voice. “Is that a memory?”

You end your moment with the sky and lurch to your feet, backing away from the rocks and slick bracken along the river bank, which you realize is very close. And straddling the river with its hind-claws—its left fore-claw gripping the soil on the far bank and its right fore-claw stirring down in the white rush—is the bear.

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03 September 2018 ~ 3 Comments

DP FICTION #43A: “Glass in Frozen Time” by M.K. Hutchins

I freeze time. The frothing soap suds in the sink become glaciers. Dust motes hang in the air like stars. And I move.

I catch Sadie’s plate of mac n’ cheese before it splatters to the floor. While I’m there, I wipe down the table, fix Sadie’s pigtails, then — what the heck — I run downstairs and start a load of laundry.

Then I’m at the kitchen sink, water streaming, motes spinning, and Sadie’s three-year-old voice bubbling merrily on. “— I so happy to go to my Nana’s house!”

“Me too, sweet pea.” 

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15 August 2018 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #42B: “The Vegan Apocalypse: 50 Years Later” by Benjamin A. Friedman

Dear valued McFleshy’s patrons, 

On this, the solemn 50th anniversary of the Vegan Apocalypse, we’d like to thank you — our loyal Consumers-of-the-McFlesh™ — for relying on McFleshy’s (and only on McFleshy’s) for all your dietary needs. As you know, without your loyal patronage our tremendous planet would have surely long since fallen prey (yet again) to the Vegans. Instead, thanks to your fortitude — we’re still here. And thanks to us (and the delicious McFlesh™) — you are too!

For it is only together by consuming at least three juicy Fleshies™ a day, that we can be certain to avoid the fate of our Beloved Billion™ — keeping the Earth safe for all our children…and all our children’s children – etc. 

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