Ken Brady’s latest story, “Walkers of the Deep Blue Sea and Sky” appears in the Exquisite Corpuscle anthology, edited by Jay Lake and Frank Wu.

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

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

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

Archive for the ‘Martin and God’ Category

Out the Angels Come

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

This is a sequel to “God Is Not Screwing Around“.

Martin was not in Heaven. He appeared to be in a suburb of Heaven at about one in the morning on a weekday. He wandered down vaguely curving streets through 70’s- and 80’s-era raised ranches that were uniformly dark and silent. Martin felt like he had been wandering for hours. If that was true he was late for his meeting with God.

Another intersection: Pinta Street and Apple Tree Way. He’d been here before …  right? Or was it just someplace like it? No, this was the place: there were those concrete, warehouse-looking buildings he’d seen before with the signs that said things like “Platform 3” and “No Lifters.” He had a choice of either a grimy alleyway by the “No Lifters” sign or going back into the winding suburban maze. The maze was beginning to creep him out, so he decided to take his chances with the alley.

The alley was short, it turned out, and ended in a wooden door that was a little bit ajar. Martin pushed on the door, but couldn’t see anything in the dimness beyond. He went through.

“Oh, wait, hang on!” said a trim little guy with beautiful teeth, stepping out of the gloom and putting a hand on Martin’s chest. “What’re you doing here, now?”

“I’m Martin?” Martin said.

“Is that a question, or are you actually Martin?” said the trim little guy.

“Actually Martin.”

The trim little guy smiled and dropped his hand to a “shake” position. Martin shook it. “Martin, I’m Timmy Gates … they call me Pearly. You here to see God?”

“He said 3:00.”

“Well, time is immaterial here, and you died at 2:57, so you’re all set. OK, people!”

This last thing was said to the gloom, which lit up with golden and misty white light. A host of angels–a large host, as in probably more than a thousand–burst into song. Martin had a hard time tracking the song, but it was so gorgeous his head nearly exploded, and it seemed to be more or less on the theme of “We love you, Martin! Welcome to Heaven!”

After about a week of that–which was less than Martin wanted–the angels wrapped it up and then flapped off without a word, leaving Martin alone with Pearly.

“Is that because God … ?” Martin began.

“Oh, no,” said Pearly. “They do that for everybody. You can’t stop angels from singing, am I right? Come on, let’s go see the Big Guy.”

So they went to see the Big Guy.

God Is Not Screwing Around

Monday, April 19th, 2010

“This came for you, Martin,” said Sue at reception as Martin was sneaking out of work early one Tuesday. He sheepishly took the envelope and retreated to the break room. The fluorescent lights hummed tirelessly, and Martin, who was 39, felt old and useless. He opened the envelope. It burst into flame.

illustration by Ethan Reid
illustration by Ethan Reid

Martin shrieked and threw the envelope down on the table, where it continued to flame brightly without burning up.


The flames guttered, and Martin reached tentatively for the envelope. It flared again.


The envelope suddenly burned away to fine ash that drifted off the table and settled invisibly over the dun-colored, industrial carpeting.

Martin didn’t sleep well that night. He began by worrying about what God could possibly want with him, but by 2:00 AM he had shifted his fretful attention to logistics. How was he supposed to get to the meeting? Would he just be lifted up bodily? If so, what if he was indoors? And so on.

The next day he would have called in sick, but God was probably watching. At work, he managed to utterly bork the financial projections he’d been working on for two weeks.

Martin was wigging out: he had to talk to someone, even though God had said not to. There seemed a real possibility he was going insane. He went down to see Sue at reception.

“You look awful,” she said. “Are you OK?”

“Actually,” Martin said in a rough voice. “I’ve been a little stressed out. I have this appointment with–”


The next thing Martin knew, he was waking up naked and badly hung over in an empty warehouse that smelled like beer and piss. Something sharp was jabbing his back. When he got up, he discovered he’d been sleeping on a Barbie bed.

“God is not screwing around,” Martin said.

Work that next day passed in disoriented tedium. At 2:52 he wandered into the hallway and out the back door. In a store window across the street the sun gleamed like gold. Martin squinted. Could that be–? He stepped off the curb toward the light, right into the path of a speeding Ford F-150.

Martin actually ended up being a couple of minutes early.