Plugs

Imagine your brain has been transplanted into the body of a genetically engineered bird. Imagine that your family (Sean, Merope, little lame Emilie) have been archived digitally. Imagine further that you have been told, if you complete this mission, they will be allowed to join you. Let’s be honest. You know where this is going, you watched “Dune” and 1000 other vids with the same plot device. So when you fly over the cluster of thatched huts nestled under the trees, you don’t drop that which you carry. Your family is lost to you, always was (surely), but you will not destroy the rebel village. You are free, free to develop your own new life. Free to soar on the wind, a solitary aerial monarch. One who has escaped the tyrants.

One who has no idea of how to survive, alone and avian. Maybe the villagers will accept you, feed you, shelter you. You spiral down towards the trees that shelter your possible new home.

Imagine you are a genetically engineered bird who, for a time, dreamed she was something else.

end

Viruses, trojans, malware, spoofing websites–for the unsuspecting websurfer, the online world was fraught with dangers enough as it was, and now there’s the threat of goblins. There have been plenty of articles online lately with background information (who knew that so many leprechauns were so heavily leveraged or that the changeling futures market would tank so precipitously and have such a ripple effect throughout the economies of the fairy realms?) or tips for spotting an infestation (a flickering greenish glow behind your keyboard; your cooling fan begins to sound like it’s muttering in some consonant-rich unearthly language) but practical advice for solving the problem has been noticeably scarce. In the spirit of good net citizenship, we at the Daily Cabal offer some strategies we’ve found effective:

1. Iron
The oldest of anti-fairfolk remedies is still one of the most reliable. Many online retailers carry rusty iron USB flash drives, some with charmed silver circuit boards–which may or may not increase their potency. Take care, however, not to search on “thumb drives” when searching the magitech sites that carry such things, or you may wind up with something made from an actual thumb, on a principle similar to the black magic Hand of Glory. While these do wonders for extending battery life, they do nothing for your goblin problem, and may imperil your immortal soul.

2. Trolls
Just as it’s helpful to introduce ladybugs to a garden to control aphids, introducing hot-button political or religious issues to one’s blog can attract trolls, which will in turn cause most goblins to flee in panic. Unfortunately, your normal readership may flee in a similar manner, and you may need to purchase some alpha predator plug-in to return the natural balance, such as BaLrOGger.

3. Enya
Elves love the New Agey Irish songstress; goblins hate elves. Therefore, a continuous loop of Enya MP3s can be highly effective, at least in the short term. Some goblins develop a resistance, in which case you may notice your Enya collection transmogrifying first into some female-fronted Nordic opera metal band (e.g. Nightwish) before sliding all the way into superblackened death metal with song titles that will summon unspeakable horrors out of the abyss and onto your hard drive. In these situations, administer controlled doses of Loreena McKennitt or, in extreme circumstances, Björk, who, as is commonly known, actually is an elf.

Frank,
You oughta drop in. It’s all chew what they say about how grate hell is (sp? Nobody thought to bring a dickshunary. Thank God. Books would of made life in hell hell!)
It’s a never-ending bitch party with necked sand volleyball and castles that last forever (unless someone kicks ‘em over. Someone usually does). One half of the place is frozen, the other a fiery lake. Remember the Polar Bare Club in Alaska? Like that accept we brake holes in the frozen lake, leap in, then dripping ice cubes, dash over to the one of fire.
Hey, remember the good times when we’d boozed up at ol’ fatty Slim Jim’s, then you’d talked me into driving us around town doing crazy shit like playing chicken with oncoming traffic or tossing the “Bridge Out” sign into the ditch? Damn, that was funny. At least I thought so until I drunkenly forgot about it on the drive home.
That’s what it’s like here–crazy fun! non-stop parties by the lakeside! the best practical jokes! One hot chick keeps an everlasting stash of whiskey chilled in the frozen lake. While we slurp Southern Comfort from rose-colored, plastic sand-buckets, the guy or gal who’s been the biggest pain in the neck of late gets roasted on a spit over the lakefire. It hurts like a son of a beach, but the pain receptors get charbroiled quick enough. Then we’ve got something to snack on with our buckets of booze. The meat rots fast, so we wolf it down. Tastes like chicken. Not a big deal to the guy being charred cuz he reappears after we’ve licked the last grease off our fingers.
You were always the life of the party, so I know you’d be a favorite as I’ve been. Life here is so much more exciting–better sex, sexier babes, faster boats, spicier meats, and no work. Heaven can’t beat this living.
RSVP. The guys look forward to meating you.

by David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Daniel Braum, and Luc Reid

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

Joe wanted to blink. His eyes were shriekingly dry. He tried to focus. Bundles of dried wass reeds, a wall of them. Hung on the wall: stone-tipped spear, leather sack, dried Tolin head. He was in a native hut, but somehow things seemed to be too low. If he was standing on something, he couldn’t feel it. Holy crap! He couldn’t feel anything below his neck! Was he paralyzed? His mind ran panicked circles in his head.

A Tolin stood in front of him. It was a short one. They stood eye to eye, but most of the aliens were at least 7 feet tall.

The creature spoke.

“Death is not the answer,” it said.

Joe’s mind filled with a mechanical buzz. Sensation began to return to his limbs. Cold and stiff.

“Contact with you and your kind was too important to just let you die,” the Tolin continued.

Joe looked down and realized why he was able to understand its speech. His body had been replaced with artificial mechanisms. Parts of his new body looked like wreckage from his ship mixed together with the rudimentary Tolin technology.

But they couldn’t be that primitive, could they? Not half as primitive as he and his superiors back on Earth had thought … Joe dug into his memory, trying to recall. One of the top-heavy Tolin trees had crushed his chest. Had they really brought him back to life? Or had they just done some kind of radical surgery to save him?

“We want to understand your species,” the Tolin said, his voice a low hum that Joe could feel in his bones. “We know more than you imagine, and your computer video records are very easy for us to view, but we don’t speak your language yet. We thought perhaps if we took apart your brain, we would find your language in the pieces, but it was not there.”

Joe began to remember a little more now, disturbingly more. Yes, the tree had fallen on him: but now he remembered a group of Tolin standing in the shadows behind the tree as it fell.

“No, death is not the answer,” the Tolin said, “but that’s all right. We’ll just try something else.”

– end –

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