Plugs

Angela Slatter’s story ‘Frozen’ will appear in the December 09 issue of Doorways Magazine, and ‘The Girl with No Hands’ will appear in the next issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

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

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.

Archive for January, 2011

Dive

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Dear editor:

Your blog doesn’t have the guts to print this.   Aliens are menacing our streets.  They’re invading our borders, making love to our women, and taking our jobs.  The time to act is now.

The aliens first arrived in an iridescent bubble, freely crossing Earth’s atmospheric border–our first mistake.  That’s what my friend Mustafa told me.  He said they shook hands with the president–our second mistake.  Anyone, that I know who likes them, has been brainwashed.  If they even brush your skin, they skim your mind and learn what pleases you.  Everybody knows what they do to anuses.  If we’d just patrol or, better yet, shut down our borders, we wouldn’t have this problem.

Second, women are falling head over heels for these guys.  I mean, come on, they look like rodents with their big black eyes, long snouts, white fur coats that make them look like doctors or mad scientists, and long, whip-like metallic tails, which can slice open a can of sardines or batter innocent young children when no one’s observing.  Who could fall in love with that?  But women do.  One lady was walking hand-in-hand with an alien near Times Square.  When he stopped to buy hot dogs from a vendor, I asked why she was with him.  She shot me a disgusted look (me a fellow human being while the alien she loved).  She said he kept creeps like me away.  I asked Mustafa if he’d gotten any since the aliens arrived.  He said no.  I hadn’t either.

Third and most important, they’re putting us out of work.  I have friends, now unemployed, who worked as sewage divers.  Lounging in the Baptist Shelter, they said aliens have swarmed the industry.  They’ve taken over animal-insemination businesses and major political offices.  Reporters tell us aliens only do the jobs that nobody wants, but have they asked the people who became unemployed?  The kicker is that politicians made it so only properly licensed individuals can dumpster dive.  That’s my trade.  Neither Mustafa nor I live legally, crouching fearfully in fragrant dumpsters as aliens in patrol cars siren passed.  Why is it that all licensed divers look like rodents?

So who’s next?  Today, it’s the dumpster divers, tomorrow the trash collectors.  When will it be your job?  The world is in dire straits.  If we don’t act soon, we may be destined for the compost pile of extinction… or worse.

Signed,

Dumpster Dave

I Fell

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Fred had almost forgotten the boy who fell off the world. “So you lived. You lived! How?”

“I fell. I expected to fall forever. Instead, I plunged into a net of roots. Many broke as they slowed my fall, but soon I was caught. It was a simple matter then of climbing up the stouter roots, ever mindful of the void beneath me, until I reached the good brown earth. I found openings in the world’s venter, the termini of smooth-walled tunnels at whose origin I greatly wondered. Some were large enough for me, and one of these I entered. Though from the beginning I misdoubted their character.”

“What dug those tunnels Chuck? What worms are those whose girth exceeds that of a man? What lives down there on the bottom of things?”

At this the visitor grew pale and trembled. “Don’t ask me that,” he whispered. “Some things are not to be spoken. Would that they could be not thought!”

“Those damnable tunnels. The walls are encrusted with phosphorescent fungi, revealing in a jaundiced, fitful light that which were better hid. There are dead ends in those subterranean passages, each a fatted place like a spider’s brood sack. Many are empty, thank all the gods that be, but some are not. What I found in those would send you shrieking, desperately seeking light and clean air and any thing outside those fetid burrows. Those nearer the surface and the Sun’s good light contain the desiccated, partially devoured, but still living remains of creatures well familiar, including man. I spoke with one, a hollow thing that begged me to end his life. I did so, swiftly, and all those I later met. Brood sacks many miles below Earth’s face contained other remains, also still living, discernible in the flickering radiance of the mutant fungi. These I hope never to meet hale and hearty either above or below ground.”

“Ask me not what I dined on during my sojourn beneath the surface. I sucked water from roots that dangled from tunnel ceilings. This water, never present in any great quantity, faintly bitter and with a nauseating aftertaste, suffused with the essences of all through which it had passed, was the most wholesome thing I ingested while I was within the earth.”

“When I finally crawled out of that bewildering subterranean maze, the setting sun’s ruddy light streamed across a hilly landscape of red-tile roofs, the scattered farm houses and fields of complacent cattle concealing a horror of which their inhabitants are blissfully ignorant.”

end

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