Plugs

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

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.

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.

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

Archive for May, 2010

Hold the Mayo

Monday, May 31st, 2010

There was the ham sandwich again. It had been following me for days. Shit. It lay on my open book, covering most of the last page of the story by HB Clonekraft entitled “Salami over Hismouth.” There was too much mayonnaise and it was staining the book. I sure hoped the librarians didn’t riffle through the pages when I returned it. I picked up the book and gingerly tilted it so the sandwich slid into the trashcan. I hate mayonnaise on a ham sandwich. I hate the French, because they invented mayonnaise. I hate eggs because, well, I don’t hate eggs, but if I did, you know why it would be. I should have put the book away last night when I quit reading, but I’d been so tired. I looked at the clock, slammed the book shut, and left it on the table as I ran out the door. I was late, as usual.

A bus was just pulling away from the stop. A light drizzle fell. The billboard on the corner advertized the new ham and mayonnaise combo at Moe’s Deli. I have always hated Moe, but never more than I did right then. That was when I noticed the drizzle wasn’t water. The drops were white. I touched one that had fallen on the newspaper box and sucked my finger. Mayonnaise. I looked up, saw a lightly toasted rectangle 60 feet across floating in air. Shaved ham was visible around the edges and mayonnaise was oozing from several holes in the toast.

I stepped into a doorway to get out of the mayorain. The sandwich didn’t move, but the mayo was falling harder. I got a few white splashes on my shoes and jeans. Disgusting! Finally the bus pulled up. I was about to make a run for it, but just then the toast ripped in half. A glob of mayo as big as a Smart Car nailed the front of the bus. I turned away just in time; I could feel splatters machinegunning my back. The barrage subsided and I turned around. The bus seemed intact. I had just reached the curb when the ham let go, and that’s the last thing I remember.

The doctor was a young man, pink cheeked … I zeroed in on his name tag: “Dr. Prosciutto.”

“You have a severe concussion,” he said. “You may find yourself hallucinating.” Behind him, packets of mustard clustered menacingly in the doorway.

The end

General Yamamoto Softens

Friday, May 28th, 2010

When Women’s Battle College went on Candlemas break, Dana Yamamoto went home to Japan. She took the Orient Express to the hydrofoil from Vladivostok, caught the Kyoto Limited, then shouldered her pack and walked through the blossoming streets to her mother’s high wooden house. When she entered the courtyard, the General chided her.

“I would have sent a chair,” she said.

“I know, Mother.”

“Well: welcome back,” said the General.

They sat in the spring silence and drank tea, looking out at the rock garden; Dana saw that her mother had raked it into a new pattern.

“What do you see in the sand, Mother?” Dana asked suddenly.

Her mother took a sip of tea, set down her cup, fastened her eyes on a river rock near the center of the waves of stone.

“Lives I could have saved,” General Yamamoto replied. “Wheels that turned too quickly.”

Dana put out a hand and found that her mother’s arm was living bone clothed in flesh, warm to the touch; somehow she had expected river stone.

“Mother!” She said. “I am studying with Dr Fujiwara. I will learn to save the lives, to slow the wheels.”

General Yamamoto looked at her with the kindest eyes Dana had ever seen in her mother, and did not tell Dana that she too had studied hard for the same end.

Instead she said, “I know, Daughter.”

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