Plugs

David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

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

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

Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

Archive for February, 2011

The Interview

Monday, February 28th, 2011

The time traveler pulled up a chair, placed her holorecorder on the table and pressed a button just in time for her ghost to appear.

Across the table, her ghost was apparently sitting on air.

“We need to talk,” said the ghost, “about some things you need to do. And not do.”

The time traveler nodded. “Go ahead,” she said.

The ghost laid out times, dates, places, people to watch out for, objects to be sure not to misplace or to avoid if they were falling from a great height.

The time traveler nodded, checking that the recorder’s green LED still glowed. She could have sworn that, under the otherworldly blur, the ghost was looking older already. That had to be a good thing.

The ghost must have talked ten minutes before she paused. “Actually,” she said, “I made it all up. I’m not your ghost exactly.”

“What?” said the time traveler. “Then who are you?”

“I’m the ghost of your clone.”

“I have a clone?”

“You will,” said the ghost, “The Rosenkrantz institute has a secret cloning project. That’s what all the samples were for. They had nothing to do with your fitness for time travel.”

The traveler held her head. The organization that had invented the time machine and recruited her to use it apparently had a deeper, perhaps more sinister agenda. “What should I do?”

“I have no idea,” said the ghost. “To be completely honest, the clone wasn’t exactly your clone, but a clone of your twin sister.”

“I don’t have a twin sister.”

“Not in this universe, you don’t…”

“Wait a minute!” The time traveler jumped up, bumping the table.

The ghost shuddered in the air; perhaps that’s what ghosts did when they were surprised.

“You’re the ghost of the clone of my twin sister from another dimension?”

“Exactly!” said the ghost. “Well, no. I made that up too.”

“Then who are you?”

“You.”

“Me?”

“You have a multiple personality disorder, and recorded this whole mad spiel as a joke on my most boring self.”

“That can’t be,” said the time traveler. “I got the recorder right before I left, in factory packaging.”

The ghost pointed to the depressed button on the recorder’s top–“PLAY” not “RECORD.”

“But how? I haven’t had time. And how would you… I… know what I was going to say?”

The ghost/hologram grinned, “Isn’t time travel great?”

Tea

Friday, February 25th, 2011

I never was a tea drinker.  Double espresso from the CoffeeTown drive thru every morning to the office.  But one morning the barista gave me the wrong order, and I found myself drinking tea.  And liking it.  So I started making my own.

It’s a simple process. Heat the water, add the tea, then wait.  I got an electric kettle that would heat the water for me.  Toss in a teabag of Lipton or Tetley, then I was good to go.  But after a while, I found myself wondering if it could be any better.

I spent some time in the tea section of Earth Organics, where a helpful young lady got me to drop the mass-produced stuff in favor of fair trade, loose organic teas from India, Japan, China. Made a few other changes. Told my boss at corporate to take a flying leap. I swapped the electric kettle to my neighbor for his battered old tea pot his ex-wife had left behind.  The water took longer to boil now, but I didn’t mind.  I felt more grounded.

Unfortunately, I bounced a couple checks at Earth Organics and the tea girl told me to go to hell.  I started getting my tea from a hole-in-the-wall bodega up the street, trading them stuff from my apartment.  The teas they carried had labels in languages that made my eyes cross if I tried to read them.  Some tasted like sunsets when you were twelve and in love, others like black licorice and a punch in the nose.  I liked those better.

It was about that time the gas got cut off.  Heating the water was tricky, until I picked up a pamphlet lying in the street.  Pyrokinesis Made Easy, it said, but it still took me staring at my kettle for three days, eyes unblinking, focusing until the water molecules finally began to heat.

The night I left my apartment for the last time I dreamed I floated upon a dark ocean that smelled of cloves and cinnamon while a voice like steam whispered a secret I could only half-understand.  Each night the dream came to me again, and again, and I understand it now.  I will walk until I find enough water to let my body steep in it, and I will become one with the infinite, one with the tea.

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