Saturday, February 18, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
Early in the morning, a deliriously excited group of research scientists from the SETI Institute gathered to listen to and analyze - incredible - an alien radio wave signal that they had been recieving every ten minutes since three AM. Over sixty years had lapsed since the original radio signals had been beamed into space by hopeful, forward-thinking men, and now they were getting a reply. It was a top secret meeting. The group played the transmission several times at the begining of the meeting, first in awe, then with rising disquiet. It was an indescribable, harsh, nasty ten-second blast of noise, and it induced a strange, splintering headache in all of them.
Ten minutes later, a trusted research assistant who was present at the meeting suddenly doubled forward and sprayed vomit across the board table. His nose began to bleed profusely and he stumbled around the room, bellowing profanities. The scientist whom he assisted, a small Japanese woman, rushed over to quiet the man, and was smashed with lethal force in the face by a metal stool. The raving man was subdued, but he continued to thrash and snap his teeth, and was finally chemically sedated...
Thursday, February 16, 2012
The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions)
Al Bruno III
Of the three Post-Blavatskyian religions that had made the city of Olathoe their home the Atlantean Church was the most popular and affluent. Saturday services at their cathedral were always filled to capacity with people hungry to achieve spiritual enlightenment through prayer, good works and the ritual drowning of their first born children.
The Atlantean Church's main rival for power and influence was the Sons and Daughters of Mu. They laid claim to three temples within the city. While their numbers were less than half that of their rivals they were much more noticeable due to their distinctive dress, constant proselytizing and occasional firebombings.
Despite this, the twelve storefront chapels of the Church of the Later Day Lemurians saw more day to day traffic than either of them. Of course the majority of those daily visitors came for the free sushi but enough stayed to hear a sermon or two to make the whole exercise worthwhile.
Judy Bauer was only there for the sushi but she sat in one of the pews and half-listened to the droning as she ate. She was nineteen years old with long yellow hair and a dress sense that bordered on the licentious. She ate quickly thinking to herself that there was just something about a good orgasm that always made her hungry for raw fish.
She smiled at the memory of shivering in Isaac’s arms, he might have taken a vow of silence but he had been making all kinds of noise just a little while ago.
Someone tried to sit down next to Judy but she scared them off with a frosty glare. People were always trying to sit down next to her, or chat her up or buy her gifts. Some girls might have let that kind of attention go to their heads but not Judy.
“Adoration is just another resource my little princess,” Mother had said, “and one that rarely runs out.”
When the sushi was gone Judy set the paper plate down beside her and leaned back in the pew. She scanned her surroundings for a clock and then chided herself. What self respecting church would have a visible timepiece? That was asking for trouble, and diminished tithes. Judy crossed her arms and contemplated the stained glass windows. They were all standard Lemurian iconography, gilled and gilded saints, sunken cities and cephalopods.
“Octopus’s garden,” she said to herself, smirking at the reference.
Judy wondered if Isaac had woken up yet. She usually wouldn't let him doze off at all, preferring to get him dressed and out the door before one of her roommates came home but that wasn’t something she had to worry about tonight. Lorelei was off on one of her calamities in the making and Audra was out someplace, probably feeling sorry for herself.
If Judy had wanted to she could have waited for Isaac to wake up and have another go, instead she had come here. To a dingy little temple near the intersection of Ballindine Street and Route d'abbaye.
All around her ordinary folk were chewing and praying sloppily. Judy felt the pull of her dorm room and her bed. Even if Isaac wasn’t there his scent would still be lingering on the pillow.
“Careful princess,” Mother’s voice reared up from her subconscious, “don’t get too attached to your pets...”
And with that Judy got to her feet and headed for the door. Along the way a well dressed woman with a pierced ethmoid bone stopped her. She was full of invitations and promises. Judy took pleasure in laughing in the woman’s face.
That done she started walking back to the campus deciding to head a mile and half down Route d'abbaye then across to Kissos Lane. There were quicker ways to go but for some reason she couldn’t bear to even consider them.
The night sky was cloudless and crowded with stars, the Spire was a tall shadow rising up from the heart of the city and the waning moon was just starting to peer out from behind it. With each step Judy second guessed herself a little more. What had possessed her to come out here? There were almost a half-dozen restaurants and markets near the Hammond Academy’s campus.
So why? For free sushi? What did she need with free sushi? She was rich. She could have had it delivered to her room by a trio of dominatrixes riding ponies if she wanted.
Something’s wrong. She realized, This is magic. Subtle magic.
The hair on the back of her neck prickled. Was there someone following her, shadowing her every footstep? Judy forced herself not to turn around. If she turned around and made eye contact the chase would begin.
Better to do what she did best, play the dumb blonde while slipping the straight razor from her pocket.
Things like this were the reason her mother had married into the Lunt family. Who better to protect you from a merciless world than a clan of merciless, and wealthy, relatives? But it hadn’t worked out that way. All that had ended up happening was that she and her daughter found themselves having to fend off a better class of assassins.
Judy tried to bolt across the road and lose herself in the brownstones of Nooker Street but she couldn’t do it. It was like an invisible rope had taken hold of her and she couldn’t step off the sidewalk.
This is magic. Subtle magic.
Before she could do anything else a hand landed on her shoulder, turning her roughly around. Judy pulled the straight razor from her pocket and flicked it open with practiced ease. In her mind’s eye she had already opened her attacker’s throat.
Judy saw his face and gasped with recognition.
The straight razor fell from her hand.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
It has been rumoured from Tweets for a while, but it looks like Sophia Mylesmay be the new Doctor Who assistant!
From her tweet earlier "I'm off to meet @TomSpilsbury for tea and major Dr Who chat this afternoon."..
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
The following post is dedicated to the customer that suddenly, out of the blue started singing 'Mr. Sandman' to me...
...because you have to be pretty hardcore to weird me out!
THE COLD INSIDE
By AL BRUNO III
Tuesday November 8, 1994
From the moment his mother saw the huge black bruise on the side of Tristam’s face she began pestering him. “Who did it?” “How did it happen?” And of course- “We have to go to the Dean.”
He managed to keep her from calling the school by explaining the whole incident as a misunderstanding, a misunderstanding that he felt he needed to clear up on his own. Unbelievably, she bought it. She was even pleased, she saw it as a step forward in his anger management and as a reward she bought him a soda to drink as he did his homework in her office.
The soda was nice but Tristam saved it for later. If there was one thing he didn’t need right now it was caffeine. He closed the door to her office and arranged his books and papers to make it look like he’d been working. Then he laid his head down on his mother’s desk and tried to sleep.
After a day like today a trip to the Booby Hatch is definitely in order. He thought and then another thought occurred to him, In my spirit form I can go anywhere, see anything- all it is for me now is a matter of timing.
His arousal stirred at the very thought. He remembered the way Monique had flinched at the realization he knew about the hickey. They wanted to shut him out did they? He understood now that there was no way they could shut him out. He was untouchable.
But he was too wired to sleep. He just laid there with his head on his hands staring at the scribbled notes on his mother’s desk calendar. He wished he had some sleeping pills, or some Nyquil. Was it really necessary for him, to be asleep?
What had the book said?
“...The astral body may, with the proper training or through near death trauma, become separated from the physical body and travel about...”
Training. There was the problem, where was he going to get training to leave his body? Maybe there was a do-it-yourself guide out there and maybe there was a Cliff’s Notes version of that guide.
Tristam sat up and looked at the clock, watching the second hand swirl around and around. More time wasted woolgathering when he could have been watching Ariel. He slouched and crossed his arms over his chest thinking Maybe one of Dr. Butterfield’s relaxation techniques would help.
He breathed deeply, trying to relax every muscle, starting from his toes and working his way up. But it wouldn’t work, every time he started to relax he found himself remembering this afternoon, remembering Evan giving him a good hard wallop.
And I just stood there and did nothing.
That part stung the worst of all but what choice did he have? He’d been on both sides of the game, he knew how it worked. If the kid you were picking on somehow managed to fight you off, you jumped him later on with two or three of your friends in tow. One way or another the outcasts stayed in their place.
All in all he was not looking forward to the next three years. He wondered if he should just drop out and take his chances with a G.E.D..
And suffer through another one of Dad’s lectures? He bristled at the very idea, I’d rather get beaten up twice a day.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Price Breaks and Heartaches
A journal of retail and failed romance
The Creep On The Borderlands
We’ve all been there right?
One bad night is all it takes. One moment of despair and desperation and suddenly you’re waking up with a head full of regrets. For some people they might wake up in the arms of an old lover, others might wake to see empty bottles of booze or cast off drug paraphernalia.
When my alarm clock went off I found myself staring at a handful of multi-sided dice.
A wave of guilt and self-loathing washed over me. I knew my heart, spirit and resolve had been broken but I hadn’t thought it would come to this. Why had I dug out my old Dungeons & Dragons stuff?
I scolded myself thinking that I should be moving on to the next girl, not the next player character. Grumbling I rolled over and hit the snooze alarm. I had to be to work shortly but I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t want to think about anything...
...it was an age undreamed of, and unto this Bruno the Battler, destined to lose the majority of his hair from a troubled brow, wandered the countryside.
His search for glory, adventure and a merchant that sold magic armor in big and tall sizes had led him to the Cursed Forest Of Low Hanging Branches.
Then his manly and melancholy thoughts were interrupted by the cries of a woman.
He did not hesitate, he drew his trusty sword Chuckleblade and charged through the trees towards the sound.
After colliding with a particularly low hanging branch Bruno the Battler decided it might be better if he carefully made his way through the trees instead.
In a nearby clearing he found a woman with hair the color of fire. She was wearing a chain mail bustier and was facing off against a trio of barbarians. One of them grabbed for her. She ducked the blow and swung her battle axe in an upward arc cleaving the barbarian from scrotum to belly.
Blood splashed over the woman’s face as she pivoted on her heel and beheaded the second of her attackers.
The third barbarian turned and ran. Without a moment’s hesitation she drew a dagger from her belt and threw. The dagger buried itself in the running man’s back. He fell with a gurgling cry.
Then she noticed our hero standing there with his jaw agape. She snarled, her eyes flashing with feral beauty, “Now who are you to draw a blade in the presence of Scarlett Red?”
“I’m Bruno the Battler,” he squeaked, “and I’m here to save you?”
BREEP BREEP BREEP BREEP BREEP BREEP
...waking left me tired and sad. Hadn’t there been something familiar about that warrior maiden?
I hit the snooze alarm again...
...at dawn the army of the goblins had attacked the village of the people only to find two heroes waiting for them. The battle was savage but by brunch Bruno the Battler and Scarlett Red were victorious.
The village people sang in celebration and tried to reward the heroes with their greatest treasure but our two heroes politely declined.
As they road out into the sunset Scarlett Red commented, “I can’t believe they tried to pay us with an onion.”
“It was The largest onion in three kingdoms,” Bruno the Battler corrected, “it would have brought a hefty price if we had taken it to market.”
“Do you regret leaving it behind?”
“You won’t catch me shedding any tears.”
After a joke that bad they felt compelled to ride in a silence marked only by the occasional random wilderness encounter. Several times it seemed as though one of them might speak but they kept failing their saving throws versus romantic tension until the modifiers for a moonrise over a peaceful meadow bordered by a tranquil pond kicked in.
“Let’s make camp here,” he said.
“Sounds good,” she flashed him a grin, “I need a bath.”
They got off their horses and Bruno the Battler began unpacking their gear, “...great, and while you’re doing that I’ll start a campfire.”
“Actually I was hoping you’d join me,” she purred as she slipped out of her chain mail bustier.
By the time he had gotten out of his clothes she was already swimming and laughing. For a moment Bruno the Battler was afraid of what she might say when she saw him naked from the waist down.
What would she say when she realized he was a half dwarf?
“AL! AL! IT’S YOUR BOSS!” the sound of my Mom’s voice startled me awake. She was pounding on the door of my room.
“What?” I said.
My Mom pounded on the door again, “AL-BERT! YOUR BOSS IS CALLING!”
Other moms might have barged in but my Mom tried to respect my privacy, that and she was secretly terrified she might catch me wearing nothing but my bathrobe and lip-synching to Stevie Nicks songs.
Kicking free of my bedsheets opened the door so I could get the phone. I said, “Good morning Karla.”
Her voice was an angry squawk, “Where the Hell are you?”
I had to hold the phone away from my ear, “Home?”
“I told you that there was no one else to work this morning! The store should have been open two hours ago!”
The alarm clock started BREEP-ing again, my manager kept yelling.
“Oh by the way,” my Mom handed me a trio of manilla envelopes, “more of your stories came back.”
I closed my eyes again trying to snatch the dream back, trying to find a way to turn it into a hope or a memory.
Those were all I had now. Dreams of adventure and love, memories of making love in the back seat of my Monte Carlo with my best girl, and the hope that someday I would stop feeling like the kid that had gotten his gym shorts pulled down in front of the whole class.
On this afternoon my memories hurt and my hopes and dreams felt foolish. Was I being punished somehow? Was this because I never poof read my stories before I sent them out? Or because I occasionally liked to get half-naked and lip-synch to Edge of Seventeen? Or was it because I had started playing Dungeons & Dragons again?
Silly and superstitious I know but as I sped into work that afternoon I promised myself that I would start proof reading my manuscripts more carefully and that I would never ever play another role playing game.
But superstitious or not, nothing was going to come between me and my copy of Rhiannon.