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.

Edd Vick’s latest story, “The Corsair and the Lady” may be found in Talebones #37.

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

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.

Archive for February, 2010

A Monkey in the Hand – Part 2

Friday, February 26th, 2010

How could I resist? A Galatea to my Pygmalion – but something infinitely more intriguing than an ordinary woman.

I’d read about sailors who’d caught a mermaid in the South Seas and tried to bring her back to Portsmouth. They kept her in a barrel of water on the deck, but it seemed she jumped ship not far out of the harbour, waved the men goodbye and ducked under the dark, cold roiling sea.

But if I could create something that knew no home but mine?

The mech-monkey had been easy, comparatively. This was far more complex, far more challenging. I do like my things to be beautiful and the mermaid had to be exquisite.

It took two months of solid work, the mech-monkey labouring madly by my side. Sometimes it refused to participate. I just thought it was being, well, monkey-ish. After I yelled and threatened to turn it into the guts of a harpsichord, it obeyed, albeit bitterly, dropping things, straightening things that were meant to be bent and bending things that were meant to be straight.

In the end, though, she was finally ready. Polished brass for skin, covered with engraved scales, an articulated tale where the smoke came out (a farting monkey was one thing, a farting mermaid another entirely). Her irises were emeralds, her lips embossed gold. Her hair I bought from a magnificent whore in Spitalfields who let me take the whole glorious flaming red torrent for twenty guineas. I spent another twenty guineas having it made into the finest wig you’ve ever seen, then fitted it tightly over the metal egg of the skull.

The breasts were my pride: jutting things, ruby tipped, inviting, hard to the touch, and cool in the mouth. I thought about making her a voice-box, but then decided that her smile was enough, the way the corners of her mouth slid back like a sled across an icy lake.

The monkey, needless to say, hated her. My clever little creature, so smart, so learned, such a happy companion when we were alone. And I started to neglect him, poor little sod. But in all honesty, dear reader, I thought her too large for him to do anything about.

A Natural Attraction

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Making Divinity

The Cabbage-Patch God

The Dolls’ Crusade

*A Natural Attraction

A Remarkable Reaction

The Cabbage-Patch God decided to extend Her dominion over humans in order to protect Her future. Gods only exist as long as they have worshipers, and She was afraid that Her plush and painted congregation on the toy shelves didn’t count. Her only human worshiper was Kayla, Her creator. Friday night two of Kayla’s friends were sleeping over. This was a perfect opportunity to win the adoration of Britney and Whitney.

When the doorbell rang, Kayla ran down the stairs, shrieking with delight. She did not carry the Cabbage-Patch God with her, as she had done constantly for the past two weeks. The God felt a pang of worry. It might already be too late.

The three girls burst into the room, clattering past the Cabbage-Patch God where she lay slumped against the wall at the foot of the bed. The girls huddled in front of the desk, and the God could not see what they were looking at.

“He’s SO cute!” Whitney exclaimed, almost dancing in place. There was a faint click.

Britney giggled. “Look at this one! I love his floppy little ears.” More clicks.

Kayla squealed and leaned forward, pointing at something. “This is the cutest puppy ever! I love it SO much!”

The God suddenly felt nauseated and a pulse of weakness passed through Her. She squeezed Her eyes shut and gestured. Giant snowflakes in pastel pink and blue materialized above the girls and began to fall silently. The girls continued to laugh and talk excitedly. They didn’t notice the colored snowflakes because the flakes, which formed just below the ceiling, popped out of existence a few inches above the girls’ heads. The flurry’s intensity diminished. The flakes faded to white, shrank, and finally ceased altogether.

The God rubbed Her eyes vigorously. She needed to do better than that. The Cabbage-Patch God clenched Her fists, gathering Her powers. Let the girls ignore a full-size pink elephant! The wall beside Kayla’s bed acquired a pinkish hue. An irregular bulge suggested tusks, a trunk, and a broad forehead. Kayla’s mother called from downstairs.

“Girls! Lunch time.”

The wall snapped back to vertical and returned to a color that Sherwin-Williams had called “Ivory.”

“I’m starved!” Whitney shouted, and all three ran laughing from the room.

Kayla’s room was silent. The computer monitor on the desk showed a photograph of a dog, which wagged its tail and almost looked ready to jump right out of the screen. Elsewhere in the room, nothing moved.

The End

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