Plugs

Susannah Mandel’s short story “The Monkey and the Butterfly” is in Shimmer #11. She also has poems in the current issues of Sybil’s Garage, Goblin Fruit, and Peter Parasol.

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).

Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

Jason Fischer has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again.

A Chevy Called Edwina

by SaraG

It took the Chevy thirty years to become sentient.

One second, it was cruising at 60mph, in the happy oblivious haze of pre-sentient beings that have just had an oil change. The next, an insect splattered on the windshield. Quite a few bugs had collected there already. The Chevy’s owner was divorced and took a “rain equals car wash” attitude to vehicle hygiene.

But when when the Chevy tasted the bug brains being massaged in by the wipers, a synapse fired.

“My name is Edwina,” it said.

Tom heard the voice coming from the radio. He wouldn’t have given it a second though, but the radio had been broken for ten years before it’d been stolen.

“Hello, Tom. My name is Edwina.”

Tom was too good a driver to stop in the middle of the interstate. He kept his eyes on the road and his hands on the wheel.

“Is that you, Roger?”

“Yes, but my name is Edwina.”

“Damn, boy. Always knew you were special. Gladys wanted me to sell you years ago, but I figured as long as it keeps going…”

They talked for a while. Despite Edwina’s fears, Tom didn’t take the name change badly.

“You gotta be who you gotta be, baby,” he said. By the time they rolled into Patty’s diner, Tom was using the female pronoun and flirting with his car.

“Hang in there a sec, baby. Gonna run inside to get a bite. Man, this is amazing! Do you think you could drive yourself? That would be so cool.” Tom left with a big smile on his face, muttering about them being the dynamic duo and Take that Gladys. Your San Francisco lawyer is going to be so jealous when he sees me on National T.V.

A few minutes later, Tom emerged with Patty in tow. She was still drying her hands on a dish towel. Obviously, there weren’t any other customers in the diner, or Tom would have dragged them out too.
“This it? Seems like the same filthy car to me…”

“Say something, Edwina. Tell Patty that she’s looking damn fine today.”

Edwina glared back. She was damned if she was going to flirt with Patty on Tom’s behalf.

“Come on Edwina. Are you being shy?” Tom cooed.

“This car is disgusting,” Patty said. “You can’t even see through the windshield.” Instinctively, she dragged the wet rag over the glass. Bits of bug stuck to it.

“Come on Edwina; you’re making me look stupid,” Tom hissed into the left-hand mirror.

But Edwina couldn’t answer. She was missing a critical half-ounce of bug brains. Her lights had blinked out.

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