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.

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

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

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.

Archive for April, 2010

Oh! The Places You’ll Go with Google Maps and Drugs!

Monday, April 26th, 2010


A. Portland, Oregon

1. Grand adventure is calling!
2. Slide your ass out of bed.
3. Drink a Stumptown or three.
4. Clear IPAs from your head.
5. Gas up the Subie wagon!
6. Put on your old Birks!
7. You’re in Oregon camo.
8. (In the city that works.)
9. Avoid roads with bored cops.
10. (You don’t want to go down.)
11. Stash the weed! Crank some indie!
12. Head straight south out of town.

637 miles later (about 10 hours, 2 minutes):

B. San Francisco, California

1. Cross your choice of big bridges.
2. Pick one – pay the damn toll!
3. Go up and go down.
4. Don’t stop at stop signs – just roll!
5. Go up and go down.
6. Get lost and then again!
7. Do E with a homeless dude.
8. He’ll become your best friend!
9. Good luck finding parking.
10. (Though it helps some to pray.)
11. Kick the homeless dude out.
12. And head south to L.A.

381 miles later (about 6 hours, 26 minutes – up to 7 hours, 50 minutes in traffic):

C. Los Angeles, California

1. Oh! The freeways and cloverleafs!
2. Lots of lights! Lots of cars!
3. Oh! The silicone breast implants!
4. Lots of strip clubs and stars!
5. Don’t turn down the wrong roads.
6. Never trust a valet.
7. Careful snorting while driving.
8. Buy a hands-free coke tray!
9. Party at clubs with ridiculous covers.
10. Drive like you’ve got the heart of a beast!
11. Avoid being on a reality show.
12. Onward, the desert awaits to the east.

792 miles later (about 12 hours, 19 minutes):

D. Albuquerque, New Mexico

1. Take that left turn.
2. (You know that you want to!)
3. Make fun of the town’s name.
4. Just where no one can hear you.
5. It’s a good place for business.
6. And for jobs (Forbes says so).
7. But they drive like they have
8. Nowhere special to go.
9. So just drink some peyote.
10. View the great color fountain!
11. See hot air balloon fiestas.
12. Then head on up the mountain!

449 miles (about 7 hours, 11 minutes):

E. Denver, Colorado

1. Celebrate that you’re here!
2. Your adventure is done.
3. Drink beer and get stoned.
4. Pretend you’re in Oregon!
5. It’s the Mile High City.
6. Snow’s a beautiful scene!
7. Reflect on your adventure.
8. All the places you’ve been!
9. You’ve had traffic and parking.
10. Yes, at times you were vexed.
11. But it’s your destination!
12. Where will you go next?

The Diplomat Speaks of Heavenly Mountain

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

The Diplomat and I had walked so long through silent forests and babbling villages that my first city was a shock and an offense to me. Three times he gently took strangers by the shoulder and made them return my amulet pouch.

“Pickpockets, we call them on Gaia,” he said. “They think you carry money in that pouch.”

“Money?”  I asked blankly.

He explained about money, but that was not what I wanted to learn; I wanted to know how he came to be so wise, so clever to notice the pickpockets and to stop them with such peaceful firmness.

“…And please don’t say ‘experience’ like my grandfathers would,” I begged. “Please, I know you studied in special places.”

He laughed.

“I wasn’t going to say experience only. I did study on Heavenly Mountain. There are eight thousand and one steps up our mountain,” he said with love and memory in his voice, touching the long fold of his robe. “Carved in the face of each step, to read as you climb, are the words of the sages and oracles. There are temples on the landings, guarded by clear streams and bamboo forests, where you must serve and study before you climb again, until you reach the summit.

“There, where you can see the mountain ridges falling away to the horizon, the great masters give you your final lessons from mind to mind, without speaking, because by then you are ready.

“All this is widely known. What is not well known is the final secret: that you have learnt nothing until you have returned down each and every step and used your wisdom in the world beyond the mountain. It’s easy to be wise on that silent summit; rather harder in the shouting marketplace, among the pickpockets.

“I remember the climb back down. That’s when I noticed the other wise words, inlaid in lapis and jade on the top of each step, hidden right under foot. I thought to myself, ‘How did I never notice these before?’  I laughed, then, for I knew I had been too busy climbing.”

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