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.

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

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

Archive for December, 2010


Monday, December 27th, 2010

I thought I saw something bright green moving in the leaf-free branches of the crab-apple tree. It was another gray December day in New York. The strip mall parking lot was full of holiday shopper’s cars. A bunch of day laborers bundled against the cold waited near the entrance of Home Depo, despite the mid-day hour, hoping that someone would come needing work.

 I found a parking spot under the tree. A green bird swooped from the sky into the branches. A parrot. The tree was full of them. A few dozen tropical birds feasting on the fruit that was still hanging on the tree. A few sparrows and blackbirds were in on the action, looking dull and drab next to the bright green and electric blue feathers.

 I tried to get a picture on my crappy cell phone. Were these the descendants of escaped pets or a lost flock, very far from home?

 There was a commotion by the day laborers. A man in a pickup truck was taking pictures of them.  He wasn’t a cop. The cops mostly turned a blind eye so long as the laborers just waited in the lot without causing incidents. Some of the laborers turned away or pulled their hoods down over their heads. Others paid no mind. And others posed, taunting  the man in the pick up.  

 I just had that bad feeling that something was going to happen. I knew I should be on my way. But the tree was alive with a tropical murmur and layers of sound from the birds. One was taking apart a crab-apple in the branch only feet above my head. I couldn’t help but stand and stare at the delicate lines in the bird’s green-blue tail feathers.

 One of the day laborers walked over to the tree. Paying me no mind he lifted his hand. The bird above me flitted away from its meal and on to him. The man said something to the bird and stroked him gently, like a child. the bird took to the sky, ignoring the free feast and its flock and disappeared high into the gray. My Spanish isn’t so good, but I thought the man said something like, “Go home for me, brother. Tell my wife and daughter I love them.”

 The man in the pick up was out of the truck now. He had a gun instead of a camera in his hand. The group of laborers were backing away from him, fanning out into the street. Nothing had changed but everything had changes about the sound of the wind and birds, the murmur in Spanish and the suburban afternoon buzz. I braced for the bang I knew was about to come.


Santa in the Time of Warming

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Santa checked his list a second time. Cargo on board, ship sealed, launch tube filled with water, pressure equalized. He was off.

As it cleared the sea surface, Santa’s sleigh sprouted wings. Powerful engines coughed to life and plasma kissed the frigid Arctic water.

“Look ma! It’s a flying fish!” “It’s a plane!” “It’s Santa Claus! ” “Hush, children. Chew your blubber.”

Acceleration pegged, he’s fast. Damn fast. Actually, they call him the streak. You gotta admire his physique.

Santa fired up the Chronotron when he hit cruising altitude. Psychedelic colors out the wazoo. His sleigh fugued. S l e i g h s. T o y s t o o.

2048 Santas disbursed toys with manic speed. But for every stocking filled, 1.17 babies gave out their first cries.

10,000 elves worked for Polar Enterprises. World population growth had forced Santa into an “arms” race he could not win. Corners were cut.

“DaAaaAaD! Santa left me a game console carved from a bar of soap!” “Wadja expect for free?”

Presents rattled down the chimney. “Ho ho ho” blue-shifted into the supersonic shattered windows and the fish tank. “Sorry,” drifted down.

Genevieve tore open the white package, ensanguined in the red-litten den.”You shouldn’t have!” Whips and cuffs: just what she’d asked for.

Unidentified blip, fighters scrambled, just after pilots smoked surprise holiday presents.

The jet fighters, their hash-powered pilots drifting in and out of consciousness, lost the rocket in a mysterious polar fog.

Plunging into the Arctic Ocean as dawn broke, Santa had one last gift in the back. Mrs. Claus did look good in Victoria’s Secret. Ho ho ho!


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