Plugs

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

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

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

Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

Parameters of the Parametes

by Trent Walters

by David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Luc Reid, and Trent Walters

This is an exquisite corpse. Each of us wrote 1/3 of the story.

Lost in a thought he couldn’t let go, Chet bumped into a paramete in full plumage. She reared back, inadvertently spurting a few centiliters of rainbow spores from her bejeweled gametoslits.

“Clumsy human! May cleanser grubs devour you alive!”

Chet offered the Bow of Contrition, but the paramete swept past and was gone.  Chet glanced over his shoulder but saw nothing.

***

Returning home, Chet hurried to his rooftop lab. He wasn’t allowed to work in the basement since the Thousand Stenches incident. He took out the parcel he’d picked up at Thaumaturge’s Market.  As he sought the proper protocol, a gust of wind ripped a page out of his lab notebook.  He hoped it wasn’t crucial.

Chet ground a slice of the memory root into a fine powder. He mixed it up into the last of the lemon hummus, scraped it onto a pita chip, and ate. Trembling, he sat on the cool tar roof and waited to “meet” his father–world’s finest thaumatuge–who’d died in a horrible lab accident involving parametes when Chet was three.

Thaumaturgic symbols Chet had inscribed around him set the time frame. Touching his father’s ashes at his mother’s house was to ensure he’d see the right memories. Chet’s fingernails tickled, his nose hairs quivered, and murmuring noises burbled in his ears. This was it. This would be worth saving a year and a half to buy that memory root. A vision–bright colors writhed, bucked–came into focus:

It was a paramete pleasure nest, on a particularly pleasure-filled night. Chet realized: He had bumped into a paramete on the way home.  The parametes paused in their feathered flurry and, poking their long necks out of the fray, turned to Chet.  This was supposed to be a memory, Chet thought as he backed into a wall of pointy sticks.  The parametes surrounded him and glared.  Simultaneously, the parametes shook and ruffled their feathers, showering a cascade of cleanser grubs that inched their way toward Chet.  Chet tried to leap over them, but they leapt with him, crawling up pant legs, down his shirt collar, through shirt sleeves.  He weakened before he was able to strip off his shirt to peel off grubs.

***

Chet awoke on the rooftop, groggy as from a night of indulgence.  It must have been one helluva night because he remembered nothing from the day before.

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