Jonathan Wood’s story “Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle” from Electric Velocipede 15/16 is available online.

David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

Kat Beyer’s Cabal story “A Change In Government” has been nominated for a BSFA award for best short fiction.

Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

Street People

by David

“Ow!” That hurt. The sun is just touching the façades on the west side of the street, and the crowds are still light. The first heel in the nose is the closest I’m gonna get to a cup of coffee this morning. Although I can hope someone will trip and spill some in my mouth.

“Excuse me. I didn’t notice you.” A high-pitched voice. Either a child or a woman.

“Are you blind?! The whole sidewalk is covered with us.” Okay, that may have been a little harsh, especially if I’m talking to a child. Yep, I hear sniffling. “Look, I’m sorry. I’m just a little stressed. It’s been 13 years since I had any coffee.” Or anything else.

I guess the kid moved on. So now I’m feeling guilty, even as people walk all over me. Something light hits my cheek. A biscuit wrapper, from the scent. I can’t reach it with my tongue. Traffic’s picking up and more and more people step on me. I try not to make noise. Attention is usually bad. I eavesdrop. This is my only source of daytime amusement.

“I said ‘Honey, you don’t know.’ He really thought I would, on the first…”

“…bell peppers. That should do it. Don’t forget tonight…”

“…gonna eat all that? Cos if you’re full…”


Smell, taste, hearing, pain. I believe they disable vision because that would give us too much pleasure. Some think it’s done out of kindness. Eyes are so vulnerable.


Night’s better. Sometimes a lonely person will stop to chat, even feed me. One time, a woman let me suck her nipple. I think she was a whore, but hey, I take what I can get. She didn’t come back.

Some of my night visitors are not so nice. They urinate in my mouth, smear dog poop on my nose, you get the idea. This kind of behavior is the reason we are put here. People are quite cruel, if not very inventive, and the State can pretend it doesn’t know.


Once a month or so my ex-wife comes by. She doesn’t feel sorry for me; she comes to abuse me. I didn’t know that girl was under age. Or that she had a weak heart. Anyway, I’ll be out in 12 years. Sharon may have moved several times by then, even changed her name, but I’ll find her.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.