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.