Plugs

Jason Erik Lundberg‘s fiction is forthcoming from Subterranean Magazine and Polyphony 7.

Jonathan Wood’s story “Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle” from Electric Velocipede 15/16 is available online.

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.

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

The New Zoli

by Trent Walters

Two years ago, Jay Lake generously supplied us with a first line for us to write short shorts to.  Through a bureaucratic glitch at the Daily Cabal offices, mine got sent 23.094688221709% of the way to Alpha Centauri, hit a mirror the Centaurians had set up, and has only just returned.  I suspect alien hands have tampered with it.  Check out the other Zoli stories. We’ve got a few clever reinterpretations.


Zoli liked to hang around psychiatrists’ waiting rooms to hit on the low self-esteem chicks.  That wasn’t exactly right.  Zoli would have liked to like that… if it worked out.  Also, his name wasn’t Zoli, but he’d heard that Zolis do exceedingly well at picking up chicks, so he had changed his name.

Zoli also liked golf magazines, kicking one’s feet up on the cool, beveled glass coffee tables.  The pages crackled and snapped satisfactorily with each flip.  The plush blue upholstery snuggled his back.  The faint floral perfume of a female in… say, females were why he was here.  He cast an eye about.  Mothers occupied children with blocks pushed through wire circles.  And back again.   So many to choose from.

The secretary called him over with a crooked finger.  “Can I help you?”

“I have an appointment.”

“Name?”

Sweat trickled down his forehead and wandered into the thicket of his brows.  “Zoli.”

The secretary glanced at him, then at her keyboard.  “First or last?”

Zoli stopped himself from saying neither.  “First.”

“Last?”

“Zoli.”

The secretary shook her head.  “Zoli Zoli?”

Zoli beamed.  “Yes!”

“You’re not on the schedule.”

“Can you pencil me in?”

“Sure.  Psychologists pencil in creeps–I mean, suicides all the time.”

“Great!”

The secretary called over her shoulder.  “Another Zoli suicide!”  Every male in the room turned as if he’d heard his name.  The secretary held out her palm to Zoli.  “Fifty-buck Zoli suicide fee.”

Zoli paid and was about to hit on a dowdy woman who looked particularly depressed when a stunning blonde asked him to step into her office–the kind of blonde you’d see on an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

#

Zoli wasn’t entirely sure what happened next.  He seemed to remember the psychologist slipping an Alka-seltzer into a champagne glass.  She wore a white coat, so he trusted her implicitly.  The rest was a blank.  His head was still fuzzy when she…

Choose your own adventure!

1. …slit his throat–and all of the Zolis yet to come. Women lived happily ever after.

2. …kissed Zoli.  They were two of a kind. They lived happily ever after.

3. …administered shocks and truth serum to learn that few could date the low in self-esteem without owning that same quality. They lived happily ever after.

4. …keeled over.  Everyone died.  A random disease, lethal only to humans, wiped them out. Earth lived happily ever after without the constant mellow drama.

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