Plugs

Jason Erik Lundberg‘s fiction is forthcoming from Subterranean Magazine and Polyphony 7.

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.

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

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

Archive for the ‘Anniversary’ Category

The New Zoli

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Two years ago, Jay Lake generously supplied us with a first line for us to write short shorts to.  Through a bureaucratic glitch at the Daily Cabal offices, mine got sent 23.094688221709% of the way to Alpha Centauri, hit a mirror the Centaurians had set up, and has only just returned.  I suspect alien hands have tampered with it.  Check out the other Zoli stories. We’ve got a few clever reinterpretations.


Zoli liked to hang around psychiatrists’ waiting rooms to hit on the low self-esteem chicks.  That wasn’t exactly right.  Zoli would have liked to like that… if it worked out.  Also, his name wasn’t Zoli, but he’d heard that Zolis do exceedingly well at picking up chicks, so he had changed his name.

Zoli also liked golf magazines, kicking one’s feet up on the cool, beveled glass coffee tables.  The pages crackled and snapped satisfactorily with each flip.  The plush blue upholstery snuggled his back.  The faint floral perfume of a female in… say, females were why he was here.  He cast an eye about.  Mothers occupied children with blocks pushed through wire circles.  And back again.   So many to choose from.

The secretary called him over with a crooked finger.  “Can I help you?”

“I have an appointment.”

“Name?”

Sweat trickled down his forehead and wandered into the thicket of his brows.  “Zoli.”

The secretary glanced at him, then at her keyboard.  “First or last?”

Zoli stopped himself from saying neither.  “First.”

“Last?”

“Zoli.”

The secretary shook her head.  “Zoli Zoli?”

Zoli beamed.  “Yes!”

“You’re not on the schedule.”

“Can you pencil me in?”

“Sure.  Psychologists pencil in creeps–I mean, suicides all the time.”

“Great!”

The secretary called over her shoulder.  “Another Zoli suicide!”  Every male in the room turned as if he’d heard his name.  The secretary held out her palm to Zoli.  “Fifty-buck Zoli suicide fee.”

Zoli paid and was about to hit on a dowdy woman who looked particularly depressed when a stunning blonde asked him to step into her office–the kind of blonde you’d see on an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

#

Zoli wasn’t entirely sure what happened next.  He seemed to remember the psychologist slipping an Alka-seltzer into a champagne glass.  She wore a white coat, so he trusted her implicitly.  The rest was a blank.  His head was still fuzzy when she…

Choose your own adventure!

1. …slit his throat–and all of the Zolis yet to come. Women lived happily ever after.

2. …kissed Zoli.  They were two of a kind. They lived happily ever after.

3. …administered shocks and truth serum to learn that few could date the low in self-esteem without owning that same quality. They lived happily ever after.

4. …keeled over.  Everyone died.  A random disease, lethal only to humans, wiped them out. Earth lived happily ever after without the constant mellow drama.

Schooling Valdan Mechaieh

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

It was a balmy afternoon on the sands of Newport Beach when Valdan Mechaieh–playing hooky in the month of May, his seventeenth birthday–first sensed his ice soul.

He’d been in science class with Dr. Wall.  That bloated blimp bastard had actually tried to make him study for and retake a test Valdan had failed.  He’d mentioned something about the behavior patterns Valdan used today would be harder and harder to break in the future.  That old fart pretended to care but didn’t know a damn thing about his life.  He told the old man that he hated science because it was pointless and he would never use it in his life.  Besides, he’d show that stupid jerk: He’d make a life for himself without him and his stupid science.

Valdan had involuntarily leaked a few tears and asked to go to the locker-room restroom, at which point he grabbed his gym bag, ducked out of school and puttered his moped out to Newport.  The Pacific waves were a sedative.  Wind rippled palm leaves overhead.  A couple on the pier talked in low tones of white hills like garbage trucks.  A bus screeched to a halt on West Balboa Boulevard.  Bell chimes announced someone shuffling inside the 7-11.  Sailboats scraped their hulls against the marina.

A trickle of sweat slid down the crease of his spine.  He arched his back a little so his Black Flag T-shirt wouldn’t cling.

All sound ceased… but for a final wave clapping the shore.  Not even the slightest of breezes stirred the palms.  An icicle crept down where the sweat had trailed.  Mechaieh shivered.  He flicked icy half-pellets stuck to his forehead.  The pellets sat on his towel like the half shells of albino ladybugs.  Mechaieh had not puzzled out their essence until they melted…. Waves clapped the shore, the bus pulled away, and boats again scraped the marina.

Mechaieh lay on his towel, trying to recall what he’d been thinking when this all occurred, when he’d received this gift, this sensing of another soul.  Valdan’s grandmother, a Jew of the more Heterodox variety, once explained there were thirteen souls for humans to discover.  Was this the fourteenth?

Mechaieh sat up.  Now he had something to use against Dr. Wall!  He’d freeze time, go look up the answers and then fill out a test.  That’d show him mastery.

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