Friday, September 6, 2013


My attempt at another one of Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenges. I'm calling it, though-- failure at 5:30am. Posting the mess here in the hopes someone can tell me what went wrong.
(Sorry for the shitty formatting, I'm too tired to fix it right now.)

EDIT: You can find the prompt here, by the way. I rolled a 14, if it isn't clear.


“Mmm… yes, maybe if….” Howard muttered to himself, shuffling through the loose collection of papers that served as the Particular Peculiars ledger. Every time Xiva saw the horrific mess, she’d tell him he should find an accountant, or at the very least use a proper ledger, and every time he had waved her away, saying his ‘system worked fine’. Now, faced with the need to move a considerable number of things around to find room in the budget for a new hire, he found the only thing that could possibly be less organized than his ‘system’ would be his system, on fire. In a hurricane.

There was the chance that Xiva could parse the mess more effectively, with seven eyes to decipher scribbled numbers and four hands to move rumpled papers, but even if he could bring himself to admit defeat, she was on vacation. He was about to give up completely when there was a knock on his office door. He took a last look at the pile of papers, sighed, and unceremoniously pushed them onto the floor. “Come in,” he said, rubbing his temples.

Sylesia walked in, the impressive array of tentacles sprouting from her back dragging softly behind her. “Can we talk a minute?” she asked. She looked at the mess on the floor. “Unless you’re busy.”

“No, no,” Howard said, folding his hands on the desk. “I’m just giving myself a headache. Please, sit. What’s on your mind?”

She sat, resting on the very edge of the chair. “Well, it’s just… just that….” Her tentacles twitched uncomfortably behind her.

He leaned forward. “What is it, Sylesia? Talk to me.”

“I... don’t think I want to do this job anymore.”

Howard sighed before he could stop himself.

“Don’t get me wrong!” she said. “It’s not like you and everyone else haven’t been good to me. Really good. And I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. Spirit only knows what would have happened if you and Xiva hadn’t taken me in. It’s just--.”

“Is the job getting to you? Believe me, I know prostitution isn’t for everyone, but--.”

“No, it’s fine. A career change is part of it, actually, but not the biggest part.”

“Is this about money? I could give you a raise….” He looked at the mess on the floor. “...I think.”

“No, not really.” she said, looking off to the side. Her tentacles were starting to pull up close to her body, something Howard vaguely remembered being an involuntary fear response in her species.

“It’s about Pheni, isn’t it.”

She nodded. “That... yeah.”

“I can understand that.” He scratched the back of his neck. “Look, I… I’m sorry if you don’t feel as safe here as you should. That any of you don’t feel as safe as you should. Making this a safe place is part of my job, and I failed all of you. Especially Pheni.” He paused. “I don’t suppose it would help if I said I was trying to find room in the budget for some security, would it?”

Sylesia shook her head.

“All right. Do you think you could stick around a few days, though? Just a couple. Until I can find someone to replace you.”

She thought a moment. “I suppose. It’s just a few days, right?”

The first two days passed uneventfully. Or at least as uneventfully as they usually did. A drunken client here, a spouse on the warpath there. Then on the third day, Howard heard someone yelling in the lobby. He went out to take a look.
The noise was coming from a six foot two body builder type

Friday, December 7, 2012

Flash Fiction: The End (i.e. Desert Without Dinner).

A Terrible Minds flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig, which can be found here.

EDIT: I'm finishing this at 4:00am and am a little woozy, so if anything doesn't make as much sense as it should, let me know.

"So what now?" Sard asked, idly kicking a lonely helmet across the field. The helmet rolled up against a corpse, and Sard hopped back a few steps, shaking his foot. "I mean, there are a lot of things that need fixing now, with Tarkus dead," he said, trying to hide the pained look on his face. Aller shook his head and considered the irony of coming out of a battle with nary a scratch and then breaking your toe on a piece of the wreckage.

"I hadn't really thought about it too hard," Aller said. "Though I suppose the Standing Forest might be a good place to start."

"Oh, an excellent place to start," came Kechei's voice, right next to his ear. Her breath was hot, and he turned his head away. "But you may find less to do there than you expect."

"What do you mean?"

"Waiting so long, it seems like some of the 'people' have found they rather quite like being trees." Kechei padded around into sight, her bare, ashen skin glistening with blood in the dwindling light. Aller didn't bother asking her if she was alright; he knew by now that the blood would belong exclusively to other people.

"People never cease to worry me," said Sard.

"There are still plenty that wail night and day, of course, begging to be restored," Kechei said. "Or so my little birds tell me." She smiled. "But they can wait. There are so many more interesting things you could be doing, Aller, with the might of a dead god coursing through you. Can you even imagine?" She began running her fingers down his right arm, toward the gauntlet that covered a hand the color of pitch at midnight. "Such delicious, vibrant power . . . ." She trailed off, her eyes getting glassy as her fingers neared the gauntlet.

Aller jerked his hand away from her. She frowned. "I just want a little taste," she said. "A little vicarious thrill. A tiny bit of destruction. Maybe burn down a village with that thing? And let me watch? Or better yet, let me help?" She looked at him, waiting for an answer, almost bouncing with excitement.

Aller considered for a moment. "I'll do you one better," he said finally. He reached up and gently poked her forehead with his gauntleted hand. She was knocked back a step, despite the light touch. She blinked. "What did--," she began, before collapsing to the ground, writhing. Aller turned and started walking back toward camp before Kechei started moaning. He heard Sard's awkward footsteps follow him after a moment.

"Did you . . . did you just--," Sard said after managing to catch up to Aller.


"But won't she just go and burn down that village herself now, with what I hope was a taste of that 'dead god might' in the most minimal sense?"

"She has a fraction of my power now," Aller said. "What does that make her, Sard?"

Sard thought for a minute. "That makes her your servant. Right?"


"So she can't do anything you don't want her to, including murdering an entire village."


"Which is good, considering she's an inhuman murder machine."

"Yeah. Did you see her beat that guy to death with his own arm during the battle?"

"No, but I saw her beat someone to death with their own shoe. It was, uh . . . ." Sard smiled. "Impressive."

They walked in silence for a few minutes. "She's got a point, though," Sard said. "About what you can do with all that mojo flowing through you. I mean, you barely touched Tarkus, and he goddamn exploded."

"It was rather cathartic, actually," Aller said.

"I can imagine."

"It's a little terrifying, though, thinking about what else I might be able to do. There's also Ana to think about. I mean, we've barely even seen what she can do with her dead god hand-- fragment-- piece-- whatever you'd call these things," Aller said, shaking his right hand.

"I wonder what would happen if the two of you had a kid. Do you think it would inherit both sets of power?"

Aller stopped dead in his tracks. "Love of the late Lady of Esophine," he said. "I hadn't even thought of that."

Twilight was beginning to give way to full-blow night by the time the two of them had reached camp. They found Ana being tended to by Akis. Aller rushed over as soon as she was in sight.

"What happened?" he said. The sea green color from her left hand had spread up her entire arm and was peeking out from beneath the collar of her shirt. Aller could just make out the remains of blood that had been wiped away.

"I dropped my guard for half a second," Ana said, blushing, "and got a nasty gash in my shoulder in return." She held up her arm. "I think the hand took over a little more real estate to keep me from bleeding out." She flexed it and wiggled her fingers. "Feels fine, though."

"And looks fine, as well," Akis said. "It's like you were never cut. Not that I'm surprised. Now, if no one else needs to be sheparded away from death's door, I'm about to fall over the threshold of sleep's--."

"I think I broke my toe," Sard said, smiling sheepishly. Akis buried his face in his hands.

"Alright," he said, sighing, "let me take a look." Ana and Aller started toward their own tent.

"How about you?" Ana asked. "Ready to get some sleep?"

"Oddly, no," he said. "I know I should be, after killing and nearly being killed all day. But I'm not."

"Neither am I." She wrapped an arm around his waist. "You know, I've been thinking about how people will remember this battle, hundreds of years from now."


"With all the crazy shit I did with the power from this," she wiggled her arm, "I wouldn't be surprised if I started the chronicles of a new god today."

"Oh? And what about me?"

"Oh, you might show up somewhere as the demi-god lover of the new sea goddess. I don't know. But don't count on it or anything."

"Really. Nothing in there about Tarkus exploding from my touch."

"I just assumed that he exploded from trying to comprehend how awesome I am and-- ah!" Aller began tickling her and she squirmed away, giggling.

"All kidding aside, I really wouldn't be surprised if we did show up in the tales a hundred years from now as gods," Ana said when they had reached the tent. "Striking down a guy that also might show up as a god in those tales."

"Probably," Aller said. He opened the tent flap. "But as for tonight," he said, pulling her closer. "What say you and I make some new gods of our own?"

She kissed him. "I think that sounds just divine."


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sight Unseen Theatre

An old-ish idea.  Was reminded of it walking through a mostly empty park on the way back from a midnight screening of the Dark Knight Rises.

It came about while I was in an introduction to theatre class.  We were putting on 15-minute plays that students in the class had wrote, and I found that I kind of liked doing the read-throughs of the script.  The basic idea was (is) theatre without an audience.  Theatre solely for the benefit of those involved.  Now, having people watch who aren't involved in the actual play wouldn't be FORBIDDEN, exactly, but it wouldn't be the main point.

(And yes, I know an audience is technically a fundamental part of a stage production, but if it helps just think of the actors doing double duty as characters and spectators.  M'kay?)

The original idea was a group that would meet to do readings of plays (and occasionally minimal productions), both closet drama and not, in private (with a focus on material written by members, I think, but that part isn't as important to the basic concept).  Also, not much pressure would be put on members to memorize material.  If you need to have the script in front of you?  No big deal.  Forget a line?  Also not a big deal.  We're not performing for other people, so in my mind those things aren't as important.  Plus this would allow for spontaneity.  If someone/everyone is in the mood to do a particular play, they can just do it right then and there as long as they have the script or can easily print it out or whatever, and read straight from that.  But considering that a closet drama is already a thing, this idea doesn't feel too innovative as I re-visit it.

Now we get to the part that the empty park plays in this.  The new part.

The short version is that the group would also do performances in quiet, deserted places.  Like a park late at night, or virtually any place at night, or places that simply don't see that many visitors for one reason or another.   Places where they likely won't be seen unless the see-ers actively seek them out, or are invited.  The productions would probably be minimal (wearing your own clothes, cardboard swords, etc.), and what I picture is sort of a half play, half LARP.

The pretentious-poetry version is that the group would pull pieces of things that never were into spaces that hover at the edge of a society's awareness.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


A place where I'll be talking about stuff.  My writing, writing in general, other projects and endeavors of mine, reviews of things I like and don't like, etc. etc.


Stay tuned!