Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Blorthox of Lir, slams his blood-drenched battle-axe into the skull of Selinda, Priestess of the Owldoom Temple. He splats into brain, sending clumps of grey globs from her opened face. Her white arms twist. She collapses.

His love, the object of his pursuit and heir to the throne of Blug, Vhonea, dangles by bound wrists over a vat where a black vampire squid thrashes in hunger. Her naked legs dangle.

Blorthox strides closer. He follows the rope to a lever, and he throws his battle-axe aside, wiping Selinda’s brain bits from his flowing locks. The resolve of victory steams his loins. Then, it happens.

Gardon, Protector of Arzagugoroth, smashes in the Temple door, sends it skidding and slipping into the abysmal Pit.

Another strand pops. Vhonea’s body inches down. She yelps.    

But why, thinks Blorthox, has Gardon chosen to appear here at the Owldoom Temple at this, the moment of my epic devotion to Vhonea?

And Gardon, bone sword unsheathed, stammers for words, grunts, readies himself for murder.

There is a silence deeper than the wisdom of Squalchor the Squandering Magus.

Vhonea jolts down another notch.

One thread remains.

Blorthox dashes to the wheel, wrenches at it with the strength of an undead battalion of pig witches.     

“You shouldn’t be here, Gardon,” he says.

“For the love and hand of Vhonea am I here, Blorthox. She has used the spell of love's cry, summoned me to—”

A Lir-taught laser-stream shoots from the electrified eyes of Blorthox to his axe. The stream hits, coating the weapon in sheer white. The battle-axe shoots off the floor, and sails straight into Gardon’s juicy guts. He grunts. Blood cascades. Final thoughts: Oblivion.

Blorthox howls. It obliterates Gardon’s body, raining down gouts of blood, bone, and gore, a summer rain, smothering the room in sloppy red chunks.

“How many times have I told you?” he says, “you will never leave me, Vhonea. Not for an army of undead leeches, a horde of bloodthirsty Arghs, and especially not for an unworthy son-of-a-corpse like Gardon the Saboteur, here.”

With that, he wrenches the wheel, sending Vhonea flying out of the pit. Her body flops limp in the corner.

 “Our love has miles to go.” 


The Rapture first occurred on a Monday. On Tuesday, people noticed all the Jews—reform, conservative, and orthodox alike—had vanished.

The Rapture re-occurred on a Tuesday.  Wednesday, all the world’s Muslims had disappeared.

The Rapture occurred a third time on a Wednesday.  By Thursday no one could locate the freethinkers and atheists.

The Rapture occurred again on Thursday.  By Friday, not a single dog remained on Earth.

On Friday, the Rapture took all the non-human primates.  Saturday the dolphins were nowhere to be found.

Sunday, the faithful fearfully gathered in their places of worship.  A massive solar flare took eight minutes to reach the earth.  No one was saved. 

The aliens knew the earth would be uninhabitable for several centuries.  It would take that long to find a new home for those they had collected.  They remained confident, however, that they had preserved the only other intelligent beings in the universe.  Was it worth the effort?  Only time would tell, and it wasn’t talking.

HEAT WAVE by Nigel Anthony Sellars

The fat man struggled.  The desert air rippled.  His dogs barked when at last he pitched forward and died.  They licked their black lips.  At least they would not starve.

SPLASH FICTION by John H. Dromey

“How was your date with the mermaid?”

“It was a full-scale disaster from beginning to end. She had anchovy breath, her dishpan hands went clear up to her shoulders, she had to be carried everywhere we went, and her dorsal fin was downright dangerous.”

Henry held up a bandaged finger.

Burt shook his head. “Rosalie works in an aquatic show on the Vegas strip and that’s a long, long way from the ocean. You know she’s not a real mermaid, don’t you?”

“Try telling her that. She showed up in full costume and stayed in character all night long.”


“So, the only place we could get into was a topless bar. She drank like a fish, ran up a huge bar bill, and then she wouldn’t go back to my hotel room with me.”

“Why not? Did she say you weren’t her type?”

“No, she claimed to have a headache of Titanic proportions, but I didn’t believe her.”

“Why not?”

“She may have had a headache, but not for the reason she gave me.”

“Which was?”

“She told me she was doing a front crawl without paying attention to where she was going and accidentally collided with an iceberg.”


The house creaked with annoyance. No one had lived in him for several years. His floorboards were almost rotten straight through, and teenagers always wanted to spend nights in him for they seemed under the false impression that he was haunted or there were some vampire locked in one of his closets. This wasn’t too bad, the teenagers he really hated were the ones that threw rocks through his windows or the ones that thought it was necessary to rip siding off of him.

He didn’t think they would like it if someone tore their precious flesh from their limbs!

There were vines growing through some of his floorboards, their were frogs in the kitchen sink, and raccoons in the bathtub. The kitchen table was full of half-empty tea cups littered with dandelion embryos and tadpoles.

His gardens were overgrown with thistles and thorns. He really wished that Mrs. Handiskill hadn’t died. She had been the only one that cared for him, truly. She had always trimmed the shrubs, replaced his siding, and painted the house. She had been a very kind woman, but she was an elderly lady that had passed on in her sleep.

After her death no one bothered coming inside — as if he held some curse.

Now he was just the laughing stock of the village. A relic of times past that no one would rip down for they enjoyed the memories, but none of them wanted to take in his musty smell. Even the teenagers that dwelled in his chambers for a night complained that he stank of something awful. It wasn’t as if he could give himself a bath or shower like they could!

One night when the owls were unmercifully loud and the humans were incessantly nagging, he found himself losing his temper completely.

A human had thrown several stones breaking four of his eyes. He hadn’t appreciated the ribbons of glass that obliterated his oak epicenter. The boy proceeded to be unruly, shattering more glass in other rooms. It was then that the house made his move.

The boy didn’t even see the wooden tongue that shot out until it was too late. He jerked and struggled, but the old house was stronger than he looked. He burped, ignoring the boy’s screams. Yes, this was the only way to deal with irreverent hooligans. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

SOUL FOOD by Thomas Miller

Harold flipped the sizzling patty, and most of the Netherlands slid into the sea.  “How’s the headache?”

Nigel massaged his forehead.  “Better.  The cognitive interference isn’t nearly as bad now.”

“That’s good.”  The ground beef settled out a little as the ice caps turned to slush.  “How’re the wife and kids?”

“Gone by now, probably.  But they were doing well, last I checked.  Cheryl had just gotten a new dress.”

“Ah.  Well, they might still be around: North America doesn’t go until I get the pickle.”  Harold slid the hissing meat off the range and onto a lightly toasted wheat bun; no sooner had cow met grain than every nuclear missile and power plant on Earth suffered catastrophic meltdowns.

“Ah,” Nigel sighed, easing back into his chair and taking a sip of cola.  “That’s much better.”  He could feel originality and honesty flowing through every neuron.

Harold mutely laid hand-sliced cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes on the steaming patty, and the lakes, rivers, and oceans evaporated in an instant, coating the planet in a dense layer of scalding steam.  Nigel glanced out the window as Harold poured out some ketchup and mustard, smiling himself as the cars rapidly piled up, their owners stumbling out into a hazy white oblivion; he hadn’t felt this good in years.

The top half of the bun plopped into place just as the first volley of meteors fell.

A serrated knife slid smoothly through the expertly crafted burger, touching the plate a few milliseconds before every volcano and fault line on the planet tore itself apart, exposing the Earth’s hot, molten flesh.

The sun exploded and blew away the atmosphere as two toothpicks slid into place, holding the masterpiece together.

Nigel admired the sight of the ground slipping away into oblivion as Harold fished out a dill pickle spear, placed it on the plate, and slid the whole thing across the counter.

“Smells amazing.”

“Wait until you taste it.”  Harold began putting away his supplies, then idly remarked, “That’ll be five ninety-five, by the way.”

Nigel ran his hands over his pants, then leaned on the counter, chuckling a little.  “Well, this is awkward.”


“I left my wallet out in my car.”

Harold glanced at the starry nothingness beyond the glass doors, shrugged, and picked up the burger.  “Your loss.”  He took a bite.

And every star in the universe exploded.

A BETTER SHOVEL by Joseph J. Patchen

Mother picked herself up out of the garden and glared at me through the window. Her skin was pasty and peeling and her eyes burned as red as the sports car I purchased with her insurance proceeds. Either I didn’t do a proper job of killing her or I buried her too shallow; or perhaps, a little of both. I should have placed her face down.

I would have cut her head off, but all I had to work with was a small hand sized silver garden spade. It took me hours to bury her. Besides, who figures on decapitation? --- It already took almost two boxes of rat poison in her meals.

We never lost eye contact as I carefully rose from the couch and went for the door. I made sure, though, before I slid outside that I had a surprise for the old bat. She turned to face me as I emerged with my hands behind my back.  Blood, earth and vomit were caked on her blouse and culottes. She was still glaring, but then she began to growl and show teeth.

“Mother” I said dryly and firmly. At once she twitched to the right. “Mother” I said again with the thinnest of lilts. And she charged with arms outstretched, spitting blood and dirt. My timing was impeccable: that brand new round point shovel whacked through her skull, slicing it like the ripest melon.

Besides that new car, a wide screen television, and some other entertainment purchases, I thought it would be a good idea to buy a better shovel.

I’m glad I did. 

GUM SMOKE by John H. Dromey

The disparate desperadoes who comprised the Hole-in-the-Wallet gang were running low on cash, as usual. They were also almost out of bullets and didn’t have enough six-shooters to go around.

“We’ll have to be creative,” their leader said. “We’ll send Curly in first with a finger pistol to take a hostage.”

“How do I do that?” Curly wondered out loud.

“You poke your trigger finger in the ribcage of a submissive-looking customer and say, ‘Stick ’em up!’ We’ll do the rest.”

Curly squared his shoulders and swaggered into the lobby of the financial institution.

The remaining outlaws tied bandannas over the lower parts of their faces and were waiting patiently outside the entrance to the bank when they heard a muffled, “Bang! Bang!”

A few anxious moments later, Curly came swaggering out through the door blowing imaginary smoke away from the tip of his extended index finger.

“I had to shoot her,” he announced. “Instead of reaching for the ceiling, she laughed in my face.”

“Why do you suppose she did that?” the leader asked.

“For a couple of reasons I reckon,” Curly said. “All she had to do was look down to see that I didn’t have a real pistol… and she was ticklish.”


I was at the convenience store not too long ago when I noticed a slew of snack foods on the shelves with labels toting the fact that the snacks contained zero grams trans fat, this information often conveyed with an exclamation point or two: Zero Grams Trans Fat!

The strong emphasis the snack manufacturers put on this presumably very significant and positive nutritional fact suggested that all these snack foods were, if not healthy, then at least semi-healthy choices.  What can I say?  I believed them.  They sold me.  So much so that I decided to part with $1.27 to purchase one such snack.  The one I picked, a Fun-o-Face®, is a hockey puck-shaped devil’s food snack cake enveloped in a chocolate coating.  On one side of the cake is a simple smiley face drawn in white icing.  The center of a Fun-o-Face is filled with cream. The phrase “Zero Grams Trans Fat!” appears like fifteen times on the front of the wrapper.

I took my Fun-o-Face home and sat down on my couch to eat it.  Although I knew the snack did not contain one drop of trans fat, I knew nothing about what the snack did contain.  So I read the back of the wrapper.

Based on a 2,000-calorie diet, a Fun-o-Face contains 4,000 times the recommended daily intake (RDI) of saturated fat; 5,000 times the RDI of polyunsaturated fat; 6,000 times the RDI of cholesterol; 10,000 times the RDI of sugar; and 15,000 times the RDI of sodium.  In addition, a Fun-o-Face contains “lethal amounts” of arsenic, cyanide, strychnine, hemlock, deadly nightshade, puffer fish venom, black widow venom, rattlesnake venom, box jellyfish venom, and radioactive toxic waste, among dozens of other unknown toxins.

But hey—at least it has zero grams trans fat!  Right?

Those neurotoxins didn’t waste any time shutting down my lungs and heart.  I died within about forty-five seconds of biting into the thing. 

What’s more, that Fun-o-Face was so damn poisonous that in the middle of my open casket wake, my belly exploded right there in my coffin, raining a terrible, radioactive fatty acid on all nearby friends and family members who had come to pay their respects to me, melting them like slugs, killing over fifty of them, including six babies, four toddlers, and my sister who was pregnant with twins.

But, hey—at least it had zero grams trans fat!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A STATUE IS BORN by Daniel Vlasaty

The traffic light snaps a picture and a driver turns to ash. Cops with Gatling guns for mouths patrol the streets from above, their mechanical wings hissing and creaking. They watch as more and more drivers are turned to ash by the murderous traffic light and they laugh. The cops are clones.

A girl standing at the corner waiting for the bus hides behind a wave of poofy hair, trying to be invisible. She’s been waiting for the bus for three days. She is not sure if it is ever going to arrive. 

A man gets out of the passenger side of a bright red sports car and charges the traffic light with a baseball bat. His wife has just been turned to ash. He screams: “You stupid sonovabitch!  She was three months pregnant! That baby was destined to be a lizard god! The doctor told us…” His words are lost in a string of gurgling screams, and he begins to attack the traffic light. 
The traffic light feels nothing.
The cops drift over to the man and watch him with their collective eyes. Their teeth are armor piercing bullets. Their Gatling gun mouths roar to life as a warning. But he doesn’t stop. He throws his baseball bat at the traffic light hanging above the road. The cops turn it to sawdust before it can connect. They turn their gun mouths on the man next. He is dead before he can give them the finger.
The girl at the bus stop pushes the pile of hair out of her face and zooms in on the scene with her camera eyes. She is an undercover investigative journalist. She has been working on a story about police brutality and unfair traffic lights. These have both been huge problems for the city’s habitants. 
She films the clone cops as they float around the man’s destroyed body. They are laughing.  Their laugh is evil and childish. One of the cops notices her filming them and they all swarm around her. She clicks the SEND button on her neck just as all of the cops’ gun mouths roar to life again.
She is shredded into millions of pieces, but not before her footage reaches her editor’s inbox. 
The footage is shown immediately on every single channel and the investigative journalist is given a posthumous Pulitzer. A statue of her now greets everyone entering the city.  

STRESS BALL by Samuel Cole

I sat whining in the back of the cafeteria when a large bellied woman placed a dark blue stress ball on the table in front of me. My neck cracked when I looked up and saw her disagreeable face. She stood over me like a boss, eyes wide open, the right side of her mouth higher than the left.

The ball felt slippery in my hand. I squeezed it a couple times. I rolled it across the table but it fell to the floor. Fun enough, but I was over it.

“Pick it up,” she whispered. “You both deserve better than that.”

I thought she had walked away.

“Sssshhhh,” I said, finger to lips, suddenly convinced she and I were wonderful friends, perhaps even coiled tongue lovers of romance seduced by a misfortune or war.

She placed the ball on the table again, and with her index finger pushed it into my chest, breath tickling the back of my neck, perfume smelling of old newspaper and something unrecognizably sexy. Like an abstract painting viewed from far away.

“Pick it up and squeeze it,” she whispered. “And don’t let me see you set it down.” I reached for the ball, but it slipped from her finger and rolled underneath an empty chair to the right of me. I hesitated, but then I got up and grabbed the ball squeezing it as tight as my fingers would allow.

She was gone, perfume and all. I licked the ball, just to make sure.

For the remainder of the day I felt much improved, less stressed, easier to get along with, clear headed. That night, I slept so well, dreaming of newspapers, paintings, and dark blue wars felt like pillow exercises. 

The next day I handed the ball to Julia, my smart-ass do-nothing co-worker. I told her it just might help.  I told her if she didn’t squeeze it, she’d be sorry. I told her if she wanted to, she could give it away tomorrow.


The Dark Knight stormed into the ancient castle brandishing his good looks. That was his intent, anyway. In his haste—and in full armor— he put his foot down a smidgeon harder than he should have. His metal-clad metacarpal bone and its two-hundred close companions made quite an impact. The knight was still about three paces shy of the entrance to the king’s stronghold when there was a prolonged ripping sound, followed by a loud splash.

Informed of the mishap, the king was almost apologetic. “Of all the wretched luck,” he said. “I’ve been meaning to have my steward replace that rotten board in the drawbridge.”

“What should we do for the knight?” a page asked.

“Alas, there’s nothing more that can be done for him, but perhaps we can do something for ourselves. Take a grappling hook and a winch and see if you can at least retrieve his armor before it has a chance to rust.”

“You told me to stay away from the serving wenches, sire.”

“So, I did. Get the cook to help you.”

Some considerable time later, the begrimed knight showed up in the royal chambers for his audience with the reigning monarch.

“You are, I presume, the Black Knight,” the king said. “You’re early.”

“No, my liege, I am the Dark Knight.”

“Unless my eyes deceive me, the ebony hue of your armor suggests otherwise.”

“I assure you, sire, I am he.”

“You’re late, then, or rather, you are the late Dark Knight, the shade of your former self, for surely you could not have survived a plunge in the moat. This is my first daylight encounter with a ghost.”

“I am still quick.”

“Are you suggesting that I am slow of wit?”

“I mean I’m alive. I managed to keep my head above water, or rather above the sludge which stained my armor.”

“Ah, yes. There’s a silt problem with the moat, but that’s not why I put out a call for champions. Rid my kingdom of the wicked dragon that threatens our eastern borders and I will give you my eldest daughter’s foot.”

“What about her hand?”

“Sorry. That’s already been spoken for by the White Knight.”

“Eccch! Supposing I were interested in your daughter’s foot, how is that even possible?”

“Alas and alack, her wedding plans are falling apart and so too is the princess,” the king said. “She’s a zombie.”

GRAVITY by David L Tamarin

Does gravity always work? Surely, once in awhile, it just stops working. After all, nothing is perfect. Dr. Shingles decided to perform a test. He was sick of being considered a failure.

He held the newborn baby above his head on the roof of the hospital. It had been a rough day. Seven of his patients had died, and two nurses. When he raided the pharmacy and shot opiates he would slip (oops!) with the knife during surgery or nod off with his hands deep inside someone’s stomach. He’d wake up in blood to the sounds of the nurses screaming (and that one crazy nurse with the cross eyes and death breath giggling). Sometimes he would doubt his medical skills, like when he would put organs back in the wrong place (like a nurse’s mouth) or, as had been happening quite frequently, he would forgot he was delivering a baby and would think he was there to perform an abortion and things got crazy.

At a lecture, he heard a scientist on acid explaining how physics is about perfection, and that gravity is a perfect and consistent force in the universe.

“Perfect and consistent,” brooded the Doctor. “No one has ever said that about me”. He was upset because he made another transplant mix-up and both the donor and the beneficiary died screaming, blood spraying everywhere. The Boss wanted to have a talk with him.

The Doctor was lost in thoughts about perfection and angels and awards for Doctor of the Year. He obsessed on memories of being called a failure, by the families and attorneys of his surgical victims, and the medical community at large.

But if there were a way for to him to see gravity fail just one little bit he would feel so much better. I’m not a perfect doctor, but even good old mighty “Mr. Perfect” gravity fucks up sometimes, he tried to reassure himself.

He tossed the baby into the concrete parking lot, waiting for gravity to dysfunction and make him feel better about the universe and his place in it.

He felt a splattering and thought to himself, I guess gravity worked that time.

An alien who was observing this from deep in space climaxed at the moment the concrete rushed up and broke open the baby.