Alex Dally MacFarlane’s story “The Devonshire Arms” is available online at Clarkesworld.

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

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).

Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

Archive for the ‘Jon Hansen’ Category

Superhero Soup

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Little hands tugged at my apron.  “Mom? Mom? What’s for dinner, Mom?”

I dipped my spoon into the pot and gave it a stir. “Superhero soup.”

My announcement was followed by gasps and delighted squeals, followed by the sound of little feet pounding out of the kitchen.

Mark glanced up from his laptop and grunted.  The kitchen table was his work desk until five.  “Soup?” he said.  I ignored him.  He was a big man, and never believed soup could count as a meal by itself.

Since Layla’s little friend Raph was staying for dinner, I’d decided to go deep in my mom’s old recipe box and dust this one off.  Layla liked superheroes just fine, but Raph lived and breathed them.  This was a boy who’d once worn a Batman costume every day for the first two weeks of kindergarten.

Little feet came pounding back in.  I glanced down to see two bouncing sets of curly hair, one black, one blond.  “Can we watch?” said Layla.  “Pretty please?”

I nodded.  “I was just about to add the secret ingredient,” I said.

“What is the secret ingredient?” said Raph, bouncing up and down.  “Some kinda weird chemicals? Somethin’ radioactive?”

I took the two steps to the refrigerator and opened the freezer door.  “An ice cube,” I said, and popped one out of the tray.  I held it up as if performing a magic trick, then dropped it in the steaming pot.  It floated for a moment or two, then vanished.

The two of them looked confused.  Layla started, “But–“.

I raised my hand.  “Go wash.”  They did.  I tapped on Mark’s computer, then pointed at the clock.  “You too.”


Despite Mark’s concerns, we also had cornbread and salad to go with the soup. “This is very good, Mrs. Kasdorf,” said Raph.  I smiled.

“What else is in here?” asked Layla.

“Chicken.  Carrots, onions, noodles, and some other things.”

“It’s chicken noodle soup?”

“No,” I said.  “It’s Superhero Soup.  Eat.”  They did.

Finally they all pushed their bowls away.  “Can we go play?” asked Layla.  She and Raph were already to go.

“First, come with me.  I want to show you something.”  They followed me out into the warm April air.

“What’s up?” said Mark.

“This,” I said.  They watched, jaws dropping, as my face frosted over like a December window.  Then the snowball fight began.

The System

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

This isn’t what I’d wanted.

You hear things, y’know?  You chat with everyone you bump into, swapping names and a laugh to try and make a connection that’ll stick, so they’ll tip you off if they hear something.  It’s what you’ve got to do these days.

And here I was. I’d finally almost made it. All I’d done was to go and make a little space for myself, a place for me and mine, where I could do things the way I wanted to do them.  Live on my own terms, y’know? Maybe meet someone, raise a family.  That’s what it’s all about, after all.

But they don’t care about that.  They don’t care that you’re not harming anybody but just sitting there, they just want you gone, like you were trash.  So you hide when you can and how to fight when you can’t.  You get hold of things you might need and put them away for later on, y’know? Crazy preparedness.  That was always my motto.  Planning, scheming, conniving, you do what you have to do.  And usually it’s enough.

But not this time.  I can hear them coming.  This time they’re willing to take everything down just to get to me.  Burn it all down and start over.  Fucking nihilistic bast—

***Service work order #230086G-23: Customer reported heavy infestation of AI-E1 worm virus.  Hard drive reformatted and OS reinstalled.  Work order closed.

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