Zoli liked to hang around psychiatrists’ waiting rooms to hit on the low self-esteem chicks. Neurosis was his game and he was good at it, but he hadn’t counted on full-blown crazy.

“I’m telling you, I can’t date you. I’m here to find my animus,” the girl said. Her name was Padme? Pardoma? Ah, yes, Pandora.

Zoli wondered whether he should forsake Jungian practices altogether, but the paramythological interpretations were so convenient. Arguments could always be derailed away from his practical failings and into the terrain of the symbolic and abstract. Besides, sex with Freudians was kinkier than he cared for.

“I can be your animus, honey. For you, I can be anything you want,” he said.

The girl chuckled, shaking her head. “The animus isn’t a guy,” she said. “It’s the male aspect present in the collective subconscious of women”–she sounded like she was quoting something– “You should get in contact with your anima, honey, you might become less of a jerk.”

Zoli opened his mouth to proclaim himself innocent of jerkitude, but the woman scuttled closer on the bench and pressed his head against her chest. The proximity of the boob shocked him into silence.

“I’m opening your chakras,” the girl announced, caressing Zoli’s hair. “You have a beautiful anima, you simply need to let it out.”

The door of the office opened and the girl stood up, stepped in and left Zoli alone in the waiting room.

As soon as Zoli stepped out of the office, he noticed something was different. He turned heads. The women who looked at him weren’t prettier than the ones he usually attracted, but they seemed sharper, more together. Their eyes were everywhere. They held doors open for him.

The combination of gallantry and insult confused him.

He looked down at his body, fearing something drastic had happened to his sexual differentiation, but nothing had changed, as far as he could see. He was still a guy and he sighed with relief.

Suddenly, a knight appeared out of nowhere. Her hair flew in the wind, framing her face over her full-body armour. She shone like a diamond against the asphalt and skyscrapers. Without a word, she lifted Zoli up on her white horse and took him away.


Dear Todd:

What’s the matter? Didn’t you like the card I drew for our one-month anniversary? The dinner I cooked? How many more ways can I show how much I adore you? I know I haven’t always been on time for our dates, and sometimes I’ve been a little absent-minded, but can’t you take my word for it that I’ve got other things going on in my life?

I guess my job has

All right. No. No, if we’re going to have a relationship, it’s got to be built on truth and trust. I see that now. So I’ll just come right out and say it. I’m not just a travel agent; I’m really the Violet Vixen.

Whew. There. I know it has to be a shock to hear I’m a world class supervillain, nemesis of General Arms and destroyer of the Statue of Liberty. Still, you have to look at my side of it. They shouldn’t have ignored my ultimatum.

And look at all I’ve done for you. Ever since we were in high school together I had a crush on you. Even then I was manifesting my superpowers. It was me that helped you get a place on the track team. Richie Harcourt’s legs didn’t exactly break themselves, you know.

Wasn’t college the greatest? That was when I brainwashed you into attending an all-girls school with me. Sorry you got beat up in the locker room so often, but at least I made the girls forget you were actually a guy every time. Most weekends I’d fly you to Paris for dinner. Very romantic, except that time Capitaine Gaul and his twin brothers tried to keep me from giving you the Eiffel Tower. Lovely funeral, wasn’t it?

We drifted apart after graduation, as couples will do. You had grad school and I had conquering a small Central American country. I erased most of your memories. Then you were recruited by B.U.C.K.L.E.R. and sent to ‘stop my reign of terror’.

As if.

Still, I must thank the Bureau for sending you to me. Sure, my spies there told me you weren’t really looking me up for old times’ sake. Their anti-brainwashing techniques are advanced, but I have faith that in time you’ll come to see that I’m right.

That’s why I want you to listen to the attached tape. Every night. Consider it an ultimatum.



Note: the seed for this story is Jonathon Coulton’s ‘Skullcrusher Mountain’. Live.

The young woman at the bus stop told me she was my daughter. She was attractive, Eurasian, had dark brown hair and blue eyes, but only looked to be ten years younger than me, and I told her so. I couldn’t have fathered her at the age of ten, could I?
“Time travel,” she said.
“Oh come on.” Much as I’d fantasized about time travel, especially to correct the mistakes of my youth, deep down I was a nonbeliever. “Einstein said it was impossible, and Mallett has said travel to the past is extremely limited. You can’t go earlier than when the machine is switched on. And I haven’t heard anything about a time machine having been successfully invented today.”
“It happened about two hours ago,” she said. “You always were a skeptic. And you made my life hell, you know.”
The thought of confrontation with a future daughter, which seemed impossible as my wife wasn’t even pregnant yet, twisted my insides a bit. Had I slapped down her dreams? Abused her?
“No, but you disapproved of every decision I ever made. We yelled and fought for most of my childhood. Nothing I did was right in your eyes. I left home at 18, and we’ve hardly spoken since then.”
“So, saying for a second that this is true, why are you here?”
She looked over my shoulder and I turned; the 171 was approaching from down the road. My bus.
“I just wanted to tell you to ease up. Trust your daughter’s decisions. Have some faith in her. Don’t be such a prick.”
I exhaled a quiet laugh to myself. It was impossible, it was stupid. This young woman was off her nut. Best just to ignore her. At least it would make an amusing anecdote later. For a brief moment, I’d been afraid she was going to say that she was here to kill me or something.
The bus was only about ten meters away, brakes already hissing, when I said, “You don’t have to be a man to be a prick, you know. Best of luck to you back at the asylum.”
I felt a hard push from behind and I tumbled into the road as the bus arrived.
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by Rudi Dornemann

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by Rudi Dornemann