Jonathan Wood’s story “Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle” from Electric Velocipede 15/16 is available online.

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

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

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

Archive for the ‘Ratters’ Category

In Service

Friday, March 4th, 2011

We humans have found ways to cope with the Ratters’ “friendly invasion.”   Cowards stain carpets with hara-kiri.  The blithe pretend that the aliens have not arrived, driving to work while ignoring saucers whirring overhead.  The timid hide in sewers and damp basements–the first places the Ratters look.  And sycophants believe they are the future of humanity, ratting out fellow humans.  The only true survivor is you who hold this reading slate, you who cannot be a Ratter because the slate would self-destruct if your reflective eyes gazed upon it, you who cannot read this aloud because it would detect spoken language and explode with enough force to bring a Ratter ship crashing to the earth.  You desire to undermine their place on this planet until they can be properly exterminated.  Presently, three methods of success include lip service, pay, and pompous yet low roles in the government.

Foremost, give lip service.  Admire their strength and their tails’ roughened metallic texture.  What separates you from the sycophants?  Palm moisture:  Sycophants sweat in awe of rats and in fear of being cornered by humans.  We will lure the Ratters into the arena.  Stage boxing matches between humans and aliens.  Let the aliens win.  “Ooh” and “aah” their prowess.  But reserve one human champion.  Pay whatever it costs to buy the fight because humans need hope.  Remember:  We are among the weakest of Earth’s predators, yet we reign supreme.  Viva Darwin!

Yet we best not underestimate their evolutionary climb.  Seek to undermine their will in other ways:  paying them less, or paying more while taking away other privileges.  Don’t pay in cheese, or if you do, severely limit their diet.  Low-calorie diets keep them prepubescently under six foot.  High-calorie diets allow them to tower to twelve foot, intimidating to any human.  Find ways to restrict hiring any creature over six and a half feet–low ceiling heights, small offices and closets, etc.  This hurts a few humans as well, but we can compensate these humans in other ways.

Neither of these methods alone would stop the Ratters from getting suspicious.  Therefore, we need to elevate their statuses artificially.  Promote them into prominent yet piddling roles in business and government.  Presidents are fine so long as their human cabinets and CEOs make the critical decisions.  If trouble arises, accidents can happen.

We humans presently appear to have the short end of the stick, but our evolutionary genius has helped us beat stronger predators before.  It will again.

Hench Man

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011


Business has been good.  We shook down three owners yesterday for five grand apiece, and that was a slow day.  We raised last week’s earnings to almost a hundred thou, which doesn’t even include the human-vs.-alien boxing match where I encouraged my fellow alien to throw the match for an even mil.  Before I met you, your henchmen had all but left you out to dry.  Now you’re the biggest Mafioso don in the City.  Word’s out that all the bosses are looking for their own “ratters” as they call us aliens.  Isn’t it high time you paid me what I’m worth?  It’d be awful to bump into Guido again who said he will.

No human can match me in the henchman department.  Each paw–four for the price of two–comes standard with five blades.  Do you remember our battle with Guido’s East-siders where I’d single-handedly taken out 74% of his henchmen before your human boys would even step out of their cowardly cover to take aim?  How about the time at Starbucks where Guido sent a courier to deliver a bomb, which my keen hearing and smelling picked up and my tail sent hurtling out the door in the nick of time?

Not only am I superior in strength and agility, but I get paid in cheese–valued at far less than the pay of my colleagues of similar rank (although they are often more rank than I–where did you find these guys? dumpster diving?).  Moreover, all you ever serve is a wheel of sharp cheddar.  Imagine eating only and always hamburgers at every meal.  Where’s the Gouda, the Swiss, the Limburger, and Blue?  And why only one wheel of cheese per meal?  Sure, I’ll double in size, but I’m often famished after a hard day of torturing shop owners, and enhancing to my size should only enhance to your stature as the Mafioso to be reckoned with.

Finally, you haven’t a henchman whom you can trust more than me.  All the henchmen you have now had once abandoned you for Guido. They slumped back with their tails between their legs when you covered more territory than he.  Besides, I have no intention of taking over your business, at this time.  At least, I’d wait until you were dead before taking over.

So how about that raise?  Hold on a sec.  Guido’s on call waiting.  The heady scent of future blue cheese wafts through the air.

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