Plugs

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Alex Dally MacFarlane’s story “The Devonshire Arms” is available online at Clarkesworld.

Ken Brady’s latest story, “Walkers of the Deep Blue Sea and Sky” appears in the Exquisite Corpuscle anthology, edited by Jay Lake and Frank Wu.

The Day Her Feet Became Buoyant

by Edd

Mildred Fondren stomped her way across Europe. England, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Greece had been dealt with in three days each. Now it was Italy’s turn. In Venice, Pompeii, and Rome she’d get off the bus, get her picture taken, buy a commemorative spoon, and embark for the next set of ruins.

Until her feet rebelled. On her way from the Vatican to the Coliseum they tingled. From the Coliseum to the Trevi Fountain she got pins-and-needles. And when she got back to the hotel they refused to carry her a step farther. They floated up to the ceiling of the bus, exposing her to ridicule, to indignation, to astonishment, and to the crosswind coming through the windows.

“Signora Fondren,” said the tour guide. “You must come down this instant. It is not proper to stand on the roof.”

“Now, Millie,” chimed in Miss Arbogast, that suck-up. “Show a little decorum. That might be how folks in Akron behave, but when in Rome–”

“I’m trying–” said Mildred, making swimming motions with her hands. She floated down a few inches, but when her arms tired she floated back up again. Awkwardly pushing her dress up her legs, she walked to the door. And there she stopped.

“How am I going to go anywhere outdoors?” she said. “I’d just float away into the sky.”

“Maybe some weights,” suggested the tour guide, checking her watch. She spoke to the bus driver, who pulled a pair of heavy suitcases from storage under the bus. He frowned.

“They are his bags,” said the guide. “He hopes you will let them go if you float away.”

Mildred grabbed each handle as it was offered, and found herself pulled to bus’s floor. She maneuvered her way out the door. Once on the ground, she walked the bags to the door of the hotel, both relieved and mortified that her dress had once more fallen over her face so she could not see the sky above her legs.

Doctors could find nothing physically wrong with Mildred. It was not as if all of her was lighter than air, only that her feet exerted a powerful upward force. At the first tentative suggestion of amputation she firmly shooed them out and made reservations to return early to Ohio.

And that is where she remains to this day. You could look her up.

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