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).

Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

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

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

Archive for the ‘Luc Reid’ Category

The End

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

I don’t want to put the world away, but you’ve already started. You pour the oceans back in their bucket and snap the lid closed, and by the time I stop sulking and come over to help, you have already taken apart the Himalayas.

None of the tiny people are shrieking or running or shouting doomful messages on the world, because now that we’re done playing, all the little people are still. I brush them into their box in an unruly pile, not bothering to line them up.

I admit it: eventually we grow too old to play with the world–but I wish we could keep playing with it the way we used to, you lining your armies up in the north and me in the south, you making miracles and me moving learned men to spread ideas across the surface like peanut butter, like fire spreading over grass. I remember when you destroyed all my dinosaurs and I wouldn’t talk to you for weeks, and when I tried to melt the world but you got me to stop because of the polar bears. I remember how you used to look at me, the way your face crinkled by your eyes, your hoarse laughter … anyway, I remember.

You remember too: I know you do. Somewhere in your heart you still wish we could play. Somewhere in your heart you forgive me. Or anyway, you should.

When the world is broken down and tucked away, you drift away from me across the scuffed linoleum, your skin pale, your eyes tired, and as you slip out through the open door, you turn and say the last words you’ll ever say to me.

“Turn out the sun, OK?” you say. Then you’re gone.

On Reincarnation in Turkeys

Monday, March 28th, 2011

The Daily Cabal is coming to an end, and we’re marking the occasion with two stories a day all this week. Luc is starting us off with the story below, and David’s following right after.

“OK, I respect that,” I said to the other turkey, “but if we’re going to have a conversation, I need to give you some kind of name. Why don’t I call you Lashonda?”

“Gobble,” said Lashonda.

A chubby guy in rubber gloves and a rubber apron snatched me up by the feet and hung me upside down.

“Hi!” I said in Turkey, but of course he didn’t understand.

A second later he hung Lashonda up next to me, and we swung gently from side to side as the track we were hanging from carried us into the gloom.

“This feels strangely peaceful,” I said. “Who would’ve imagined? Hanging upside down … it’s so relaxing. It’s a little like grooming. I had an incarnation as a spider monkey once, and we were always grooming each other. Most relaxing thing in the world.”

Up ahead, there was a burst of gobbling that was abruptly cut short. The machine we were swinging from made a gentle creak-creak sound.

“Gobble gobble,” said Lashonda.

“You know, it’s funny you should mention that,” I said. “That’s what I’ve been wondering about: why a turkey in the first place? I mean, we’re raised butt-to-wattle in a pen, fed terrible food, and eventually carted off to be slaughtered. What’s the point in that kind of existence? I’m worried that if I don’t learn anything from this life, I’ll just have to do it all over again.”

We came around a bend, and I saw that the line dipped, lowering turkey heads into a silvery machine. There was an electrical noise somewhere.

“It’s not the same as being a wild creature or a human or whatever,” I said. “As those you can make choices. But what can you possibly learn if you don’t get to make any actual choices?”

Lashonda was silent. I wondered if she was scared.

“I’m probably overthinking it,” I said. “Right now, I just feel grateful, you know? Grateful to be hanging upside down, grateful to have a friend like you right when I need one … I don’t think I’ve ever told you, Lashonda, in the few minutes we’ve known each other, how much I appreciate your company and your level-headed attitude.”

The line began to descend, and all of a sudden the silvery machine was right in front of me.

“Have a nice life, Lashonda,” I said. Then something sparked.

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