Saturday, October 3, 2009

Why is it I get the feeling that last post will see more visitors than any of my stories ever?

Ah well...


When you guys are done - Keep Circulating The Blog!

Hmmm Looks like I may have to pick up the November issue of GLAMOUR... for research purposes you see...



These Bodies are Beautiful at Every Size

The cavernous photography studio in New York City is bustling with fashion assistants, hair and makeup stylists, and models chatting in white terry robes. All typical on a photo shoot, but when the robes come off, you see what’s different. Kate Dillon, Ashley Graham, Amy Lemons, Lizzie Miller, Crystal Renn, Jennie Runk and Anansa Sims— some of the top “plus-size” models working today—have beautiful curves, round shoulders, belly rolls and lots of other womanly stuff many of us see when we look in the mirror. Oh, and there’s lunch, which the models actually eat...

Friday, October 2, 2009

More recommendations

B is for Blank by Randilin
It arrived just as I hit send on my column for the Phoenix Republic. The address wasn’t familiar, other than that it belonged to a free service that anyone could sign up for. It was the first line of the e-mail that grabbed my attention 'I have to set the record straight...' clicking it open I scanned the contents. Someone calling himself Mr. Griffin wanted to meet and wanted me to tell his story, apparently his real story. I would have ignored it if I had anything else planned but the evening was clear and the place he wanted to meet was just around the corner.


Side of a Bullet by Geektreasure
Sergeant Jerry Malcolm Davis watched his target intently through the medium-strength scope of his rifle...


Darcknyt tells us about 'The Book Boogie'
My wife likes to read before she goes to sleep.

That’s fine. She has this cool little fluorescent light to read by so I can shut the light off and go to sleep while she reads long into the wee hours. But if I happen to be awake when she falls asleep, I get to see The Book Boogie...



Small Comforts by Trevor Mcpherson
Aubrey stood silhouetted against the window, contemplating his paper plate of cookies and cake, and the eulogy he had just heard. Pete and Connor joined him, each with their own plate of ladies auxiliary baking, and cup of maudlin coffee. The thick white paint of the window frame had cracked and yellowed over the years, framing the men in a Norman Rockwell moment...


Reliable Photographer by John Wiswell
None of the other detectives will listen to me, but if you’ve just got a minute, I have photo evidence that my neighbor is evil! Look at this picture. You can see the sound waves coming through the walls of his apartment. That’s unnatural...


And there is just so much more here at #fridayflash!

Be sure to check them out!

TWITCHFILM gives us a review and a few clips from HUMAN CENTIPEDE

You know the more I hear and see about this film the more facinated and repulsed by it I am.

Warning, things are about to get very weird here...

FANTASTIC FEST 09: THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEGMENT) REVIEW
Tom Six's The Human Centipede is the bastard child of Takashi Miike and David Cronenberg - a deeply disturbing and shockingly original piece of work, one sure to develop a fierce and vocal cult for the Dutch director and his work...

And now some clips... hang on to your hats kids, they totally went Ass To Mouth for this film.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions): A Handful Of Bugs

A Handful Of Bugs
by
Al Bruno III


“Carefully now girl.” The voice called from the veranda of the grand old house.

Lorelei looked up from the wide expanse of sweet smelling blooms, her voice was an exasperated whine, “I am being careful.”

This was the summer Lorelei had turned nine years old, the year that her mother had become a Sub-dean of the Greater Eastern Council of Mystagogues, the year that Lorelei had come to this great house in the middle of nowhere to learn about gardening and death.

“Too much water will kill them.” The tired voice said, “I want bright posies. The brightest.”

“Yes ma’am.”

Lorelei’s mother was one of the two Sub-Deans that attended to Cloantza Murdac of the Fourth Circle; and she had quickly become favored by the old wizardess. That was why she had been chosen to accompany Cloantza when she went home to die

And Lorelei ended up getting dragged along as well; children were a rare thing in among the lower Circles and always a favored target when a season of academic assassinations broke out.

“Enough of that…” Cloantza’s voice erupted into a flurry of coughs, “I want you to go the icebox and fetch the red canvas bag and bring it to me.”

“Yes ma’am.” Lorelei said; anything to get out of the sun for a while. With any luck she might catch her mother’s eye for a moment or two. Would she be able to beg for a few hours respite from the garden? Lorelei doubted it; her mother always seemed to put the needs of the Council first. But she was still going to try; at the very least she would try and make her mother as miserable as she was.

She had no luck finding her mother in the few minutes before Cloantza started calling her again but she did find the old bag buried far in the back of the old fashioned icebox.

“Here girl. Bring it here.”

The veranda was open to the air, it faced into the sunrise and by early afternoon it became stiflingly hot. Cloantza Murdac spent most of her days here now, watching over her garden and napping. Lorelei approached her slowly; she looked so withered to her nine year old eyes. Every day the old woman seemed to sink down into her overstuffed recliner a little more, despite the oppressive heat she was cocooned in blankets.

She turned her watery gaze to Lorelei, “Dawdling in the library again?”

“No ma’am.” She replied but she had tried to snatch as much time in among the old books as she could.

“The bag. Give it here.”

Lorelei did as she was told.

“Now hold out your hands.”

Again she did as she was told.

The dying woman opened the red fabric bag and shook some of the contents out into the girl’s hands. Lorelei’s arms ran with goosepimples at the sudden chill to her flesh. At first she thought she was being given some kind of cold candies or bits of fruit. Then she realized what she was holding and let the handful of frozen ladybugs fall to the hardwood floor.

“Ew!!”

“Don’t waste them,” her smile was wicked and full of mischief, “They’re for the garden.”

“Dead bugs?” Lorelei was appalled and confused, as if using elephant dung for fertilizer hadn’t been bizarre enough to her young sensibilities.

“Not dead, only waiting for the warm sun to bring them to back to life.” Cloantza’s smile became wistful, “Dreaming, resting.”

There was a question Lorelei had been wanting to ask for weeks now, one that she knew would horrify her mother should she hear it spoken.

But how much longer would she have to ask it?

Lorelei blurted, “Whyareyoudying?”

“What?”

“Nothing. Never mind.”

“Repeat yourself girl, be brave, bad enough you find fear in a handful of bugs.”

Staring intently at her muddy shoes Lorelei said, “Why are you dying?”

“Because I am old and I have stared too long into the Maelstrom.”

“But... there are incantations- some of the other Deans are much older than you.” Lorelei looked back up at the Cloantza, the woman's smile was so serious, “You could live forever almost and be young.”

“Is that what you would do?”

“Yes... I think so.”

“I have lived long enough and I am tired girl. So very tired. Even if my bones were young again I would still be tired,” she tapped her head, “In here. Do you understand?”

Lorelei tried to match her serious gaze, “Yes but I would still try.”

“So young and afraid, worry about death instead of boys. Growing up in Woldercan did you no favors.”

She couldn't imagine ever worrying over boys but Lorelei kept quite about that.

“But enough.” she patted the girl on the shoulder. “Pick those lady bugs up and spread them into the garden. They will wake up in a little while and eat the aphids.”

“Yes ma'am.” Lorelei turned to go.

“Sprinkle them, like salt. Don't waste any.”

The garden had just been watered a little while ago but already the mud earth was becoming pale and dry. Lorelei wove her way between the rows of roses and mums, violets and butterdaisies, there were some plants she would never see together again and some flowers she would just never see again at all.

Once the bag was empty Lorelei made her way back to the veranda, her skin was reddening from the sun and her hair was limp with sweat. She was already wondering what her next chore would be and could only hope it didn't involve more encounters with elephant dung.

“I'm done ma'am.” she said.

But the figure in the overstuffed recliner was quiet and she had receded so deeply into her blankets and quilts that Lorelei couldn't even see her anymore- just some lumps in the shape of an old woman.

Lorelei felt her stomach go cold. Was this it? Had she died?

“Ma'am?” Lorelei suddenly felt very small and very young. What was she supposed to do? Scream and cry until her mother came running? Offer up a little prayer?

Truth be told she wasn't the kind of girl to do either.

Drawing closer Lorelei gave the figure in the chair a gentle shake.

The blankets collapsed upon themselves. Lorelei stumbled backwards her mind racing with her mother's warnings about crafty assassins and obscure traps.

Something crawled out from the blankets, small and red it flew out into the garden.

The ladybug was followed by another.

And another.

Lorelei pulled the blankets from the chair and a swarm of the insects took wing and sped out into the garden to lose themselves among the brightly colored blooms. A few lingered behind, momentarily fascinated with Lorelei; they alighted on her hair and face before zooming off to join the others.

Giggling Lorelei ran from the empty veranda and chased after them.

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Seventy Nine

The Cheerleaders of the Wasteland fought the rabbit men until all they saw was a receding hare line.

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Seventy Eight

It was not the sound of the rats in the walls that drove him mad, it was the bagpiper in the toaster oven.

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Seventy Seven

Magwier said, “Avoid your past self, it never changes anything and you'll think you're going to turn into a know it all.”

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Seventy Six

In his confusion Grandpa Jones tucked his shirt into his boxers that day, all the kids thought he had gone gangsta.

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Seventy Five

Actually no one was surprised when it was discovered the Quality Control Department misspelled their name on their stationary.

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Seventy Four

The new supervillain in town was named 'Skidmarks' and Captain Hero prayed that it was because he had super speed

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Seventy Three

Karl kept his pornography alphabetized and cross indexed by fetish because even being anal-retentive turned him on.

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Seventy Two

He was a maverick, unafraid to bend the rules or take chances, not a good thing when you run a daycare for hemophiliac children.

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Seventy One

The magical kingdom was plagued by wandering monsters- real estate was that expensive.

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Seventy

It was a banner day when Dave's therapist declared him to be less bi-polar than his job.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis chapter thirty one


BY AL BRUNO III




Saturday November 16th 1996





Isobel was about to say something to him when a sound caught her attention, “Are those wind chimes?”

“Yes.” Sig said, “They're out in the trees by the gazebo.”

“Really? They sound a lot closer.”

“A trick of the acoustics.” Hao explained, “It comes and goes.”

If it was a trick of the acoustics than Isobel thought it was a pretty damn good one, no matter which way she turned her head it sounded like the hollow chiming was just over her shoulder. She had never heard the sound anywhere else in the house, why was it just this room? Were the soft tinkling sounds drifting down through the fireplace somehow?

The table had broken up into side conversations again; Jack and Roxanne flirting, Hao smiling at Warren’s babbling, Zeth and Magwier talking like a pair of conspirators. The only quiet people were on Isobel’s side of the table, Sig and Angie had fallen into a content silence, Galen was drinking another glass of wine and Isobel was wondering to herself what Cheryl would have made of all this.

She would have hated everyone here. Isobel thought, Except for Hao, I think they would have clicked.

I just wish she was here. I wish we… I wish I hadn’t gotten her killed.

The sound of the gun and the wet splash that followed- the way Cheryl had quivered in those dying moments. There wasn’t enough wine in the world to make those memories bearable.

And I left her. I left her alone so I could come out here… and go to a dinner party.

Somehow the peace of Laurel House made it all the worse. Guilt Isobel made her want to live the real life of a fugitive- running, hiding, stealing to live and barely sleeping. Wasn’t that what she deserved?

Bodivar got up and added a new log to the fire. Somehow Isobel felt a little sorry for him, everyone else at the table seemed to have someone to pair off with. Then she felt Galen's eyes on her, the old familiar goosebumps ran across her skin. She teased him, and herself, by returning the glance. “What time is it?” she wondered.

“About one.” Jack said, “Time flies.”

“Does it?” Magwier retorted.

Isobel marveled at Jason Magwier’s ability to bring a conversation to one uncomfortable halt after another. Was that his special power? Jason Magwier slayers of parties and bat mitzvahs? Everyone seemed to be treating him like an unliked but wealthy relative, to be indulged but treated with suspicion. Sig was the only one wearing his contempt on his sleeve.

“I really think you’ve had enough.” Hao kept the wine bottle from Warren’s reach.

“You don’t have any soda so what else am I going to drink?” He tried to reach around her but suddenly got distracted by her cleavage.

Bodivar said, “We do have water.”

“Ech. Plain water?”

“What’s wrong with plain water?” Galen said, “Have our bodies become so acclimatized to chemicals we can’t bear to be without them?”

Sig nodded, “I wouldn’t matter where the water comes from. Everything is polluted now. If there were a way to return this world to a pure state would all die gasping like fish.”

“The world was never pure.” Magwier said.

“Speaking from experience?”

Hao stood, “OK Who wants dessert?”

There were some groans and murmurs of approval, Sig sat up straight in his chair, fork at the ready. Angie giggled at him.

“I think you'll find some ice cream in the freezer.” Jack said

Bodivar added, “And there is a pie by beside the oven. Apple.”

“I'll be doing dishes all week.” Hao said as she grabbed Warren's arm, “Come on you. You're helping.”

“How can I help?”

“You're gonna.”

Once they were gone Jack shook his head, “I have never seen her take such a shine to someone.”

“It isn’t gravity or god that holds the world together.” Magwier said mistily, “We all rotate on the gyre of the heart. How could it be otherwise?”

Zeth raised an eyebrow, “You're not going to start reciting some of your poetry are you? No one is drunk enough for that yet.”

The sound of windchimes reached Isobel’s ears again and she wondered if somehow the sound of their voices was echoing around Laurel House’s empty rooms- like ghosts.

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn there were ghosts here. Spirits of houseguests past.

She caught Galen stealing another glance at her. She was attracted to Galen, she was fascinated by him, but could she trust him? He still hadn’t told her why these Monarch things were after him, what he had done or what he was protecting?

He came back for me. Isobel tried to take comfort in that, He rescued me.

But is that really what he came back for?

“Isobel is it?” Magwier waved in her direction, “Not Lilly, Isobel right?”

“I don't know any Lilly.”

“I apologize. My memories are like shadows, they play tricks.”

Sig stared contemplatively at his fork, “What is taking them so long with that pie?”



Monday, September 28, 2009

The Nightmare On Elm Street Remake... could it be awesome?



I am not opposed to remakes but I am withholding judgement.

Arcade cabinet artwork for those of us old enough to remember arcades...


Courtesy of MonsterBrains!

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Sixty Nine

There were tiny bells on the silver anklet she wore; they jangled wildly as she ran for her life.

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Sixty Eight

A bizarre scheduling error resulted in GWAR playing at the late senator's funeral.

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Sixty Seven

On the way home to his wife he took a Viagra then got stuck in traffic for two hours. Thank God for tinted windows.

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Sixty Six

The juice box fight quickly got out of hand and the entire server system went down in a shower of sparks and lemon-mango.

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Sixty Five

Karl finally understood why some condoms were for enhanced sensitivity when she started pointing and laughing

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Sixty Four

The warrior, the magic user and the thief abandoned exploring dungeons in favor of an elaborate Ponzi scheme.

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Sixty Three

It wasn't until he was having sex with a beehive that Hui realized the 7 Challenges of Death were just a way to screw with newbies.

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Sixty Two

“Christians smell like incense, worshipers of eldrich gods smell like musty tomes and Satanists smell like Astroglide.”

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Sixty One

Lord Wells challenged several rivals, scheduling all the duels for the same day and escaped in the chaos of swordplay and gunfire.

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Sixty

The rivalry between genetic research teams escalated into a battle between armies of hairless mammoths and singing landsquids.

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Fifty Nine

Once the zombies reached Margaritaville he truly became a Jimmy Buffet.

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Fifty Eight

In the end cats saved the world, and they were pretty damn smug about it too.

5 Second Fiction Four Hundred and Fifty Seven

“Cthulhoid breast implants? That explains it! No man can resist the Mounds of Tinados.”

Another Story Recommendation: 'War Zombies' by Carrie Clevenger

Another bit of #FridayFlash fiction

That old devil moon peered over my shoulder as I leaned back against my bird, reading a naughty rag in the milky glow. I picked up smoking from the boys in England, got a tattoo visiting some old Red-light district down in Singapore and worked on not being a square...