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

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

Jason Fischer has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again.

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

Archive for the ‘Zoli’ Category

Straight Out to Yurtville

Friday, April 11th, 2008

To celebrate our first anniversary, each of us here at the Cabal has written a story beginning with a line kindly provided to us by Jay Lake. Click the link at the bottom of the page to see the stories Alex, Dan, David, and Edd have come up with, and check back Monday to see what Luc Reid does…

Zoli liked to hang around psychiatrists’ waiting rooms to hit on the low self-esteem chicks. The waiting room on the Pacific zeppelin was the best, because every time the airship lurched the chick would fall into him and many pleasant sensations would result, usually up in her cabin after her session was over.

And then, landing in Tokyo, taking her cell number, and skipping town for Ulan Bator while the piece of paper with her number on it got washed down a gutter with the cherry blossoms in the Asakusa district. He always went to the temple before he left town. A couple of prayers to Her Holiness Kannon were a good idea: somebody had to have mercy on him, and the Goddess of Mercy was best qualified, right? Light a couple of incense sticks and head straight for Yurtville, the last place some clingy chick would look.

Zeppelin Freak Number 23 was pretty hot for a low self-esteem chick. She slouched like a professional, which made it easier to see down her shirt, although she had a face worth looking at too, an Ethiopian princess thing going on, even if she didn’t take care of her skin–pockmarks on her chin and cheeks screamed “I hate me!” Perfect. Sarcastic and sad, even in bed. He found himself trying to cheer her up when he should’ve been getting off. She almost didn’t give him her phone number.

“You won’t call,” she said.

“Yes I will,” he lied, kissing her on the cheek.

Three incense sticks and two airships later, he settled into his guest yurt, thinking about Genghis Khan, who would never have screwed chicks who hated themselves. But old Genghis wouldn’t have had a problem getting laid. Zoli drank too much airag and stayed up late playing dice with his landlord (also named Genghis).

In the night she stood over him, shoulders back this time, face like an Ethiopian queen this time, pockmarks royal instead of ugly, and she struck him about the face with the long sleeves of her kimono.

“You said you would call, and you didn’t!” She roared in a voice meant for velvet compassion. He got a boner even in terror.

“And then you had the gall,” she continued, leaning close, “the appalling gall, to light three sticks of incense at my shrine and pray to me for mercy? You’re an idiot.”

3 & Z

Thursday, April 10th, 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 and have handled the challenge, and come back tomorrow to see what Kat Beyer comes up with…

Zoli liked to hang around psychiatrists’ waiting rooms to hit on the low self-esteem chicks. Being a ghost, he rarely got a reply, but he lived for the few he got.

‘Lived’ being relative.

First was Lily. He hovered behind Doctor Frost, reading that Lily had been raised by a mother that wanted her to be a model. Lily could not be thin enough, graceful enough, blah blah blah. Zoli rolled his ectoplasmic eyes.

She came out to the waiting room and stepped up to the receptionist’s window. Zoli made his move. He flew in front of her and said, “Hey, baby. Rub that lamp some more, because wish number one just came true!”

Lily screamed, clutched her chest, and fell, her soul flitting upward where Zoli could not follow. “Massive heart trauma,” said the EMT. “Never seen a heart tear itself up that badly.”

The next 312 women he hit on walked right through him.

Then came Dekanawida. Zoli poked his head through Doctor Yough’s chest to peer at his notes. Awful handwriting. Something about sexual abuse from her father, something about multiple sex partners, something about sabotaging her own successes.

She walked out of the doctor’s office to find Zoli waiting. “Hey sweetie,” he said. “If you give me the time of day I’ll give you the time of your life!”

Dekanawida stumbled back, tripped over a magazine stand, and cracked her skull open on a water cooler. DOA. Very DOA, maybe even VVDOA.

And Zoli got it. He totally understood. When a chick saw him, it meant she was about to croak. You’d almost think he was a jinx or something.

He couldn’t keep away. Something about haunting psychiatrists seemed just so right. Another thousand or so women passed through him.

Third, and last to be honest, was Melissa. When Zoli first saw her, it was like a bolt of lightning stabbed him right through his impalpable heart. He’d mimed lov before, but he knew the real thing when it hit him. He stayed in Doctor TenDening’s waiting room, suddenly not willing to intrude. He wanted to leave, he really ought to beat it, but he just couldn’t.

When she emerged, there he was. “Um,” he said. “Er, hello.”

She didn’t scream. She didn’t jump away. Unfortunately, what she did do was turn around and walk back into the psychiatrist’s office.

She committed herself to the asylum that very night. Zoli happily followed.

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