Thursday, April 7, 2011

THE LOCAL HEROES: Lawyers, Gugs And Muses

Lawyers, Gugs And Muses
by
Al Bruno III
The Muse is standing in the doorway. For a moment I am not sure what is more striking, her ethereal beauty or the trusting way in which she has allowed me to enter her home. Usually super heroes have high level security protocols. They require reporters be blindfolded, or extensively vetted. Many insist upon pre-agreed upon questions and, in the case of Stoneville’s defender Frogman, a full body cavity search.

Her apartment is a sparsely furnished two room affair. As she serves me coffee she explains that it exists primarily on the Astral Plane.

There are no chairs or couches, just soft, oversized cushions. She motions for me to sit down...

*
The Muse streaked across the skies of River City, her long brown hair fluttered out behind her, her jewelry gleamed with mystic force, and while it was true that she was one of the Nine Muses, her diaphanous gown left little to the imagination.
Leaving the River City limits behind her she zeroed in on Altar Hill and prayed she wasn’t too late.
*

It is a well publicized fact that you are bankrolling your team 'the Local Heroes' with profits from your line of romance novels. You're paying for everything.

The Muse: “I like to think the entire team contributes in one way or another.”

But aren’t you the one bearing the brunt of the team’s legal woes?
The Muse: “Legal woes? I stand by our record. Street crime is down 700%.”

True, but you must admit there are problems. Many prominent citizens have issued restraining orders against you and your teammates. Even now a citizens’ action group is trying to force you to leave River City. They cite reports showing that simply having a super hero team within the area increases the likelihood of a giant robot attack by 700%.

The Muse: “Our legal team has addressed each of these issues and it is a well known fact that the study that produced the ‘Giant Robot Bell Curve’ was highly flawed...”

*

Altar Hill was a craggy mound of Earth a few miles outside of River City. It was a swath of land that had suffered curse upon curse, where primordial standing stones had been toppled to make way for Indian Burial mounds that had then been desecrated by the twice-weekly witch burnings of 1693. Altar Hill was a damned place where nothing could survive, not even a Wal Mart.
The Muse saw the missing school bus parked there, just as she had expected. A trio of giant, four armed monsters called gugs guarded it, making sure that none of the imprisoned teens dared escape.
A lanky figure stood atop the bus. He was dressed all in black and wore a stovepipe hat. One of his hands clasped the handle of a worn carpet bag, the other was raised in a gesture of summoning...
*
The Muse: “And besides that, the state appellate court is due to hear our appeal in a few months and I have no doubt that the Sewer Ghouls’ charges of racial profiling will be dismissed.”

There are also questions about the ‘Altar Hill’ Incident?
The Muse: “I had to act quickly. The Carpetbagger had kidnapped an entire busload of River City High School students as virgin sacrifices.”

He can’t have been sure-

The Muse: He had the entire pep squad. Including the mascot.

Oh...
*

“Hear my call!” the Carpetbagger shouted, “I summon you Shogroth the Incontinent! Fertilize the world with your vengeance!”
Still hurtling through the air the Muse sang a counter-spell. Each note crystalized in the air like a flash of neon.
“Fool!” The scrawny man in black flipped open his trusty carpet bag, another gug leapt out, “Die!”
The gug knocked the Muse from the sky with a single swing of its misshapen arm. Driving her into the ground with a force that would have killed an ordinary mortal.
“Stop this!” the Muse fought to catch her breath. The gug scooped her up in one of its hands. When it roared at her it’s mouth split open sideways revealing rows of shark-like teeth.
“You’re too late hero. Nothing in the world can stop me now!”
The busload of students screamed for help as the sky darkened and the air grew thick with the odor of eldrich flatulence.
*
The Muse: “Those lawsuits are frivolous and are the fault of outside agitators with connections to the super villain community.”

It certainly wasn’t a power anyone expected you to display.

The Muse: “It would have been to anyone familiar with comparative mythology.”

*

The Muse stood and glared across Altar Hill. For a moment she locked eyes with the Carpetbagger and knew that she had no choice but to call upon forces she could barely control.
A glow began to emanate from her hands, an amber fire that grew more and more solid with every second. Pinpricks of darkness began to swirl within the illumination. A faint droning sound began to fill the air. The Muse raised her hands and sent a cloud of black and yellow radiating outwards in all directions.
The students, the gugs and the Carpetbagger all began to scream at once as the swarm of insects reached them.
*
Bees?

The Muse: “They are known as the Birds Of The Muses. They're magic bees.”

You sent a swarm of bees into the middle of them?
The Muse: “It stopped the ceremony.”

Where did they come from?

The Muse: “They’re magic bees.”

Some of the students were stung. They reported allergic reactions.

The Muse: “I said they were magic bees. You can’t have a reaction to magic bee stings.”

You have to admit that answer seems less than inspired.

The Muse: “This interview is over.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

George Takei IS Spider-Man!

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

CHAD'S ORACLES chapter nine

IN THIS TWILIGHT

Chad’s Oracles


Chapter Nine


By AL BRUNO III




The water was cold, too cold; being immersed in it made Thelma’s heart catch in her throat. She felt her legs scrape along and away from the submerged stairs, tumbling in slow motion. There was water in her mouth, working its way down her throat and up her nose. She tried to curse Chad’s name but all she could do was gag.


Half swimming, half thrashing she tried to pull herself out of the stinking mess. The water came up to her chin, lapping slimily at her face. She felt like a child that had blundered into the deep end of the pool but no swimming pool had ever been like this. Soft, lumpen forms shifted under her feet as dark lithe shapes slipped past and around her torso. Thelma told herself it was just trash disturbed by her flailing, nothing more than old clothes and garbage.


The girls were laughing, retreating back up the stairs. Thelma tried to make her way after them. The weight of her soaking clothes pulled at her, something pale and eel-like squirmed along her arm. She heard Chad speaking and a trio of huffing, blubbering voices answering in reply.


The three massive figures moved down the steps and into the water. They converged on Thelma.


The Squonks were as gentle as Annie’s word. There was no escaping their collective grip but they kept their touch feather light. They lifted her up out of the water. Moving slowly and burbling to one another they carried her up the stairs. Once they were out of the basement Thelma tried to get down, at first she asked politely, then she struggled.


The second floor was still lit by kerosene lamps, their white-yellow glow rising up from floor level.


Chad and his Oracles were waiting for her in the room at the end of the hall. The Squonks set her down in the doorway and Thelma stood there, shivering and glaring, “That wasn’t funny.”


“Hush.” He gestured to the hulking figures and they retreated back down the hallway, “It’s not much longer now.”


The six girls took hold of her wrists, pulling her into the room. Thelma’s every footstep squished and dripped. They surrounded her and began to undress her.


“Hey!” This was nothing Thelma had expected.


When she slapped their hands away Bonita slapped back, “You want to catch your death?”


“Besides…” Annie said, “…you don’t want to know what was in that water.”


Chad had his back turned, his arms were crossed, “Do you believe in God? The God your parents tell you about?”


A pair of hands untucked her shirt, another set pulled it off. Goosebumps ran riot over Thelma’s exposed skin, “I don’t know.”


“Yes you do.”


“Fine. I don’t believe in God, it just doesn’t make any sense. The universe is too big and too cruel.”


“But there were gods once.”


“I knew it,” Thelma said. Someone shucked her feet from her sneakers and socks, “You’re some kind of a cult.”


“No we’re not,” Chad said, “these gods, they’ve had a thousand names over the years but now when they’re talked about by the forces of decency they’re called ‘the dark gods’.”


“I don’t like the sound of that.”


“Of course not, that’s the idea because these gods are real. They’re living artifacts of a simpler, better time. They’re like spiritual coelacanths.”


“Then why don’t these gods do something? What do they need you for?” Four sets of hands tugged her wet jeans down to her feet. Feeling herself start to blush Thelma stepped out of them.


“These dark gods retreated from the world. They hid themselves in the lost places. They’re waiting for their Hierophant to wake them.”


“That doesn’t sound very impressive.”


“Oh they still answer prayers, they still receive the faithful. The Oracles are trying to help me track them. So far all we’ve been able to find is roadside altars and hidden faiths but my Oracles said you would change everything.”


“Me?” Thelma said, “You were looking for me that night?”


“Of course,” Chad said.


“And what are you going to do now that you’ve got me?” Her plain white sports bra joined her other clothes on the floor, a pair of fingers hooked onto the sides of her panties and rolled them down her hips.


Bonita had an old bed sheet, she used it to dab the water from Thelma’s skin, “We get you dressed, take you to where you can lie down, then we give you some Eagoryl.”


“The rest comes easy,” Annie smirked, she had a tank top and a pair of shorts in her hands. “Just lie back an enjoy it.”


The girls all laughed at that. Bonita playfully slapped at Annie, “You’re bad! She’s bad!”


Thelma caught another girl’s attention, the brunette, “What’s your name?”


“Sara.”


“How long have you been an Oracle Sara?”


“A year maybe. I was fifteen walking along the side of the road and Chad offered me a lift home.” She giggled, “I always was a sucker for older guys.”


“How old is he anyway?”


Sara paused, “Pretty old. Maybe thirty.”


“Oh Sara…” Chad laughed quietly.


The shorts were pulled roughly up Thelma’s hips, the tank top yanked roughly over her wet hair. The girls retreated to the sides of the room. Chad turned to smile at the scene.


“Just a minute.” Thelma took a moment to adjust herself and make sure no part of her boobs or ass were hanging out, “This is all so you can pray to some old gods that are hiding?”


“It is my destiny to serve them. My family have always served them, at least until my father ruined everything,” he drew close to her, “this is what I was born for.”


“And then what?” Thelma took an involuntary step backwards.


“And then?” He led her from the room, the girls followed, “Anything. Everything.”


“And all you need to do this is a few Oracles?”


“It’s that easy.”


“Then why hasn’t it happened yet?”


“Because-”


“Because things keep going wrong?” Thelma stopped suddenly in the hallway, Sara blundered into her, “Is that it? That’s why Samantha died isn’t it? That’s why there are only six Oracles. That other girl I saw, she was one of them wasn’t she?”


“She got too close. You can’t let the Maelstrom draw you in.”


“How does this tell me about my father?”


Sara said, “You can see lots. Its Chad got rich.”


“What about your big lawsuit?” Thelma put her hands on her hips.


Chad admitted, “That was bullshit.”


“No duh.”


“Are you going to back out now?”


“You know better,” Thelma followed him into the room with the stained mattress. The Squonks were kneeling beside it, dabbing absent mindedly at their faces. She sat down, a Squonk took hold of her feet and swung her around until she was lying back.


“It’s OK to be scared,” Bonita said, “we were all scared.”


Annie shrugged, “I wasn’t.”


“Ladies,” Chad said, “I need you to go outside and wait. Why don’t you listen to the radio?”


“All right,” Bonita said, and then she leaned down and planted a kiss on Thelma’s forehead, just above her left eye. The other Oracles followed suit, one kissing above her right eye, the other her cheek, then next kissed the opposite cheek, Sara kissed her chin, then finally Annie kissed her on the lips. None of these kisses were dry and perfunctory like the kisses of a friend or relative, they were damp and lingering.


Thelma watched the Oracles leave, walking hand in hand. She found herself thinking, If Peanut had seen any of this he would have fainted.


“You’re smiling,” Chad reached into his jacket pocket. He had something in a baggie, a half-mummified spiral of flesh.


Thelma watched him open the plastic sandwich bag, “Sorry.”


“It’s a nice smile,” Chad said, “now I need you to open wide and relax.”


“What is the Hierophant?”


“First open your mouth.”


Thelma obeyed.


“The Hierophant is the instrument of the dark gods’ will, watching and waiting on the border between death and dreaming. When the time is right the Hierophant will walk the Earth and choose the ones destined to serve,” Chad held the slip of flesh over her mouth and squeezed until it bled.



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(Check This Out!) Ross Payton's ZOMBIES OF THE WORLD

Ross Payton is the man behind ROLE PLAYING PUBLIC RADIO. His latest project is ZOMBIES OF THE WORLD an in depth examination of the hungry dead.

It looks pretty damn awesome.

Zombies menace humanity, yet we barely understand them.

There are books that show you how to kill the undead but this is the first study to explain the importance of zombies to us. Zombies of the World reveals the undead to be a valuable part of our ecosystem and the key to new discoveries in medicine and technology.No other book covers these topics.

Zombies of the World brilliantly documents that evolution has led to a wide variety of species.

Few outside the scientific community even realize that creatures like the Egyptian Mummy (Mortifera mumia aegyptus) are actually zombies. Some species are even harmless to humans. The Dancing Zombie (Mortifera immortalis choreographicus) only seeks to thrill humans with elaborate dance routines. Destroying the undead isn’t always the answer.

Even if we could annihilate all zombies, we would lose knowledge potentially vital to our own survival.

After decades of research, we have no idea why zombies never tire or stop. They possess an endless source of energy to shamble or (in some cases) sprint after us. Unlocking this mystery could benefit all humanity. Only Zombies of the World tackles this issue and many other paradoxes.

Preview Pages:

He is taking pre-orders now!

Monday, April 4, 2011

I always thought the Sixth Doctor was pretty fly too...

Just came across this and had to share it!

 

 

Colin Baker was MY Doctor- whether you like it or not!

 

 

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5 Second Fiction One Thousand Nine Hundred and Thirty Four

Once again Mighty Woman was attacked by the Exploding Man. He was her mortar enemy.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Nine Hundred and Thirty Three

Love means never having to say “No YOU sleep in the wet spot.”

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Nine Hundred and Thirty Two

To save money while she looked for a job Lori only used paper products made from hemp. She had the most popular resumes ever.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Nine Hundred and Thirty One

Captain Hero exercised daily because the only thing less forgiving than his war on crime was the tensile stregnth of his spandex.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Nine Hundred and Thirty

A rival farmer jabbed old MacDonald's mother with a pitchfork. Once arrested he was charged with crop staking and mother forking.

Foreplay On The Edge Of Forever part four

Price Breaks and Heartaches
A journal of retail and failed romance
Chapter Six
Foreplay On The Edge Of Forever
part four


It was the last day of college before the Thanksgiving Holiday and no one’s mind was really on their work but History class was as much fun as always, Algebra was the same level of confusion and Philosophy Class was always pleasantly confusing – or was it? Could my own imperfect perceptions be trusted to truly know something like that?

It was only in Drama Class that anything was really getting done. After all our production would be premiering before a live audience in three weeks. If we didn’t do well then our collective grade would suffer accordingly.

We were putting on a production of Love and How to Cure It by Thornton Wilder. I played the part of the obsessive and lovesick Arthur Warburton and I should stress that while I had nothing to do with the choosing of the play, it certainly was a part I had been researching most of my life up.

My character had a line “I think just loving isn’t wasted.” A sweet sentiment but of course he says that right after confessing he was going to kill himself in front of the object of his desire to prove to her how much he loved her.

Of all the roles in all the plays in all the drama classes in the world I had to end up as Arthur Warburton.

This is why I know there’s a God- because he keeps screwing with me!

And speaking of God, the role of Arthur’s love interest Linda was being played by Ramona a tiny little waif of girl with the uncanny ability to outdrink your average lumberjack. I had asked her out during the first week of the semester but she had politely declined due to ‘religious reasons’.

By November however I had come to understand that she had been obeying the obscure commandment “Thou shalt not get busy with any man thatest cannot crush beer cans between hisith biceps.”

Still though, I wasn’t upset, after all I had Tallulah; in fact Ramona and I had become good friends over the last few months. In fact I had a lot of friends really. Somehow community college had become the high school experience I had always wanted.

Once rehearsals were done I headed home and chilled out in preparation for Turkey day; I had the night off and of course Paper Shredder was closed for the holiday but I would be pulling a 12 hour shift for Black Friday. I didn’t mind much because I would be working alongside my lady love.

The family had Thanksgiving dinner typically late in the day, we had prime rib instead of turkey but the evening was relatively violence and scorn free. After dinner I called my father and had a heartfelt conversation with his answering machine.

That done I was about to retire to my room for a little writing and relaxation when I got a phone call from Tallulah. She had the house to herself and she wanted me to come over to spend some time with her.

How could I say no?

*


“Tallulah?”

“Over here.”

“I can't see ... why are the lights off?”

“Give me your hand Al.”

“You can have both.”

“Gently now...”

“Better?”

“Yes.”

“What is that? What are you doing back there?”

“I'm not... Oh damn it the dog's in the room! Just a minute. Don’t go anywhere.”

“You're not going to get rid of me that easily.”

“There, he won't bother us again. Now let’s make you a little more comfortable.”

“Come here you.”

“Ohhhh...”

“Oh!”

“Oh?”

“Ohhhhhhh...”

“Hair… you’re on my hair…”

“Sorry. Sorry.”

“Are you ready?”

“Yes.”

“Easy... easy... that's it...”

“So good... so good...”

“Wait. Wait... what are you doing?”

“...so good ...so good.”

“That isn't- you're not -”

“can'tstopcan'tstop....”

“BELT LOOP! You're in your belt loop!”

“What? Son of a bitch!”

And about five minutes later I lost my virginity.

*


For those of you still reeling from this allow me to explain.

Tallulah’s family had planned to spend the holiday at her grandmother’s house. My lady love had faked a stomach bug to stay home. She had planned the whole thing.

So yes I lost my virginity on Thanksgiving night, it was clumsy and wonderful and nothing like what television and the movies had told me it would be. When it was over we cuddled for a moment and then Tallulah lowered the boom. And no- ‘Lowering The Boom’ isn’t some kind of weird sexual maneuver you’ve never heard of like ‘The Pair of Tongs or ‘Cake Farting’.

*


Tryptophan has nothing on post coital drowsiness but I made every effort to shall we say stay up. Then I realized that Tallulah was getting dressed.

“Hey,” my voice was a lazy yawn. “What’s wrong? Just give me a few more minutes and I should be ready to go again. Trust me I’ve been practicing.”

She buttoned her blouse, “I need you to go now.”

“Oh, your parents must be coming home. Ok.” I started to retrieve my clothes; it took me a few moments to realize the damn dog had stolen my underpants.

“It’s more than that,” She unrumpled her hair and then started making her bed. “This was goodbye.”

“What?” my heart sank. “What’s wrong? I couldn’t have been that bad at it. Could I?”

“The tour’s done,” she kissed me. “My boyfriend is coming back home. This was sweet, I don’t regret any of it- except for some of those horror movies you rented- but this has to end.”

“Oh,” I tried to think of something else to say, something noble or witty but my mind was a blank.

I never get the last word. I think that’s why I became a writer, unlimited do-overs.

*


Somewhere between gleeful foreplay and crushing disappointment it had begun to snow. I drove home with my loins tingling and my heart aching. Over the last few weeks I had convinced myself that her roadie boyfriend didn’t really exist; after all, my peer group fabricated significant others all the time. I wondered to myself what he looked like, I imagined him long haired and tough looking with a small mouth and murderous eyes. I wondered what guys like him had on me, it couldn’t all be about upper body strength and a good credit rating could it?

Black Friday at Paper Shedder was so busy that I barely had a chance say a word to Tallulah was so busy herself that she never seemed to notice.

Or at least that was what I told myself anyway.

Still I wasn’t a virgin anymore. That counted for something didn’t it? Didn’t it mean I was truly a man?

Thing was I didn’t feel different. Still though I made it a point to find some way to mention to this sudden change to all the people that doubted my masculinity and heterosexuality- even if it meant confusing the Hell out of my old High School guidance councilor.

The problem was it didn’t change they way they looked at me in any way There was still a noticeable lack of respect in their eyes. I could almost hear them draw breath in preparation for laughing at me behind my back.

It looked like nothing had changed for me.

Then again…

*


We lingered backstage going over our scripts. Whenever I said the line “I think just loving isn’t wasted.” It was like a stab in the gut, but the show had to go on and damn if I wasn’t giving the performance of my life.

“How was your Thanksgiving break?” Ramona asked me once we wrapped up for the day.

I shrugged, “A little screwy.”

“Same here,” she said. “My mom came in to town and we made spaghetti. She couldn’t wait to tell me about her new boyfriend. I think he’s my age Al.”

I laughed, “I know that one. My Dad seems to prefer younger girls too.”

“It’s almost creepy in a way. Why don’t they find someone their own age to fool around with?”

“I bet it’s because people our age don’t know any better,” I held a door open for her.

There was still a light dusting of snow on the campus but the passage of hundreds of feet had left it stained and mushy. The air was brisk and I paused for a moment to luxuriate in it.

“Or maybe,” I thought aloud, “The Bruno charm can be a force to be reckoned with.”

“You know something Al?” She was jingling her car keys in her hand, “You seem different today.”

“Really?” I said, “I don’t feel different.”

“Do you… do you want to go grab a bite to eat? I’ve got lots of leftover spaghetti.”

I suddenly felt my heartbeat rising up into my face but I stayed calm, “I’d love it. You wanna drive?”

Ramona led me to her car. I stayed a step or two behind her so she couldn’t see me thanking the heavens.