Plugs

Kat Beyer’s Cabal story “A Change In Government” has been nominated for a BSFA award for best short fiction.

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.

Edd Vick’s latest story, “The Corsair and the Lady” may be found in Talebones #37.

Archive for the ‘Zoli’ Category

P A S D

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

To celebrate our first anniversary, each of us here at the Cabal has come up with a story beginning with a line kindly provided to us by the illustrious Jay Lake. Click the link at the bottom of the page to see how Alex, Dan, David, Edd, Kat, and Luc have handled the challenge, and check back tomorrow to see how Sara Genge winds up the series…


Zoli liked to hang around psychiatrists’ waiting rooms to hit on the low self-esteem chicks. It could take a couple days of hanging around, doing odd jobs, before she’d hit on an office where someone had brought in chicks, and not something useless like ducklings or a goat.

All the psychiatrists around the rim had the same group therapy rates: six hen chicks for general lack of affect, six rooster chicks for low self-esteem, four ducklings for anger management, a full grown chicken for alcohol abuse, a duck for drugs, a sheep or goat or dog for nightmares — because everybody’s nightmares were the same, and brought up things even psychiatrists didn’t want to face.

Zoli couldn’t stand any of it, the lying and turning away. “Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder” — as if that meant anything. As if the problem weren’t as obvious as the crater six-hunded miles wide and fifty deep. As obvious as all the people who didn’t exist anymore, all the craters they’d left in everyone’s lives.

The psychiatrists always had clothes to be darned, roofs to be shingled, water to be schlepped from the ration-well– finding odd jobs was easy. Finding male chicks wasn’t — self-esteem didn’t seem to be a popular problem anymore. And even the esteem chicks weren’t 100%, because most people weren’t any good at candling to tell which eggs were future roosters. It didn’t matter much to the farmers she competed with, but it mattered to Zoli.

She lived in a roofless warehouse within block of the edge where she’d emptied the ceiling-high shelves of high-def TVs, microwaves and robot vacuum cleaners and covered the sides with chicken wire to create multi-story coops.

The ammonia stink was so bad that her eyes watered and her nose ran constantly, and the coops were only half full. Every morning, she felt the crowing as something physical, a strong wind pushing against her. A few more months, and it would work. A few more months of hanging around waiting rooms with women whose every breath sounded like something ripping, men whose eyes never stopped moving, and she’d gather the generations she needed to complete the sound. Then the crowing would be a vast thing, and the world would shake like it had that day, and it would be enough. It would wake God, and then it would be over, and everything would be normal again.

Cinderella Runs Into Snow White After Therapy One Afternoon

Monday, April 14th, 2008

To celebrate our first anniversary, each of us here at the Cabal has come up with a story beginning with a line kindly provided to us by the illustrious Jay Lake. Click the link at the bottom of the page to see how Alex, Dan, David, Edd, and Kat have handled the challenge, and tune in tomorrow to see what Rudi Dornemann comes up with…


Zoli liked to hang around psychiatrists’ waiting rooms to hit on the low self-esteem chicks. It had been a slow afternoon, but he heard Dr. Rumplestiltskin’s door open and readied an unsettling comment for the next one–a looker he’d just glimpsed on her way in, some kind of divorced royal.

“Man, up until now it was all pretty girls coming out of these appointments,” said Zoli. Cinderella, roiling with thoughts about Charming and his perfect little dwarfess girlfriend, kicked Zoli solidly in the nuts. Zoli keeled over with a squeaking noise.

“Get some therapy of your own already,” Cinderella said as she pushed open the door to the street.

The kick hadn’t improved her mood; actually, she felt guilty. In her head, she hadn’t been kicking Zoli: she’d been kicking Charming. She was inexpressibly angry at him, and yet she couldn’t even kick him vicariously in the nuts and get any satisfaction out of it. What was wrong with her?

“Ella! Hey, girl!” someone shouted, and Cinderella looked up to spot Snow White hiking up her skirts and hustling toward her. There were at least 50 yards of empty cobblestone on every side; escape was not an option.

Catching up, Snow White linked arms with Cinderella and bent over to whisper in her ear. “Come to the farmer’s market with me. There are a pair appleseller brothers there who’ll take your breath away.”

“You’ve got a perfectly good prince at home. Why are you ogling applesellers?” protested Cinderella.

“What, I’m supposed to close my eyes every time I buy an apple?” Snow White said, grinning. “So why do you look so down, anyway? Still moping about Charming? I don’t know what you have to mope about, having that woodcutter all to yourself.”

“I know,” Cinderella said. “Hansel’s wonderful. His family is wonderful.”

“Well, you weren’t satisfied with charming, and now you’re not satisfied with wonderful. What do you want, abusive?”

“I guess perfect men don’t make me happy,” said Cinderella. “They should, though, shouldn’t they?”

“Maybe you’re one of those people who has to do something.”

“I don’t do things,” said Cinderella. “I’m a princess, for God’s sake.”

“I’m just saying, maybe you have a greater purpose.”

“Like what? What purpose could there possibly be for an aging beauty whose only skills are housework and animal relations?”

“Well, I guess that’s the question,” Snow White dropped her voice to a whisper. “This is the apple cart! Act nonchalant.”

And as Snow White reached for an apple, Cinderella began to think that maybe she’d been angry about the wrong things.

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