On the stage, decked in small ribbons and garish clothing, stood two men, and they both strummed their guitars with passion and grace. One of them was short and fat, the other tall and thin. A generic pair, to be sure, but one that had played for a very long time, in a lot of places.
The day’s patrons did not seem to like the show, however, as they paid little mind to them, walking along, talking amongst themselves—even as a true master, two in fact, went to work.
Well, most did not like it. Though it would never see publication or media attention, the Royal Child was in enraptured attendance. He was toward the back, pretending to be interested in the fruits his handler would offer to him, but only eating them out of habit. Continue reading
Four of them. Each strong, big, angry. I felt bad for ‘em.
Dental surgery worth a damn wouldn’t be invented for the next few decades. Continue reading
“Millennial, huh? I hate that word.”
“I’m just using the term as shorthand.”
“I get that, but, they’re just people. You know? I hate those terms. Baby boomers. Latchkey kids. All of that. I don’t even know what they call the newest one.”
George stared down his drink and picked it up, only to put it away again. Half-sipped, and mostly unwanted, but drunk all the same. Drunk the drink, and soon enough drunk in the general sense. Continue reading
“That’s the problem, you see,” someone said, and Joseph rose with a start. He glanced around, and it was nothing behind his eyes.
And then, there was.
His lips smacked; eyes appeared glassy and out of focus. He scratched his head and pushed the blanket off himself. In the back of his mind, moving faster than any computer could calculate, images slotted in and linked and sparked with ignited connection.
“I’m… yeah…Joseph” he mumbled and went to the bathroom. Continue reading
Of one thing they were certain: they were not driving themselves that night. On the table was more booze than a man could feasibly drink, more wine than a Grecian of the olden, way olden days, could ingest—and they drank it like water. An alcoholic would have a pain in his liver at the sight.
And they were having a blast. Continue reading
“We are not real living beings, you know,” Caffeine said, then jerked his head to the side, looking at the door to the room.
“Yeah—but it doesn’t much matter. It’s nice being as we are, at least,” Alcohol said, and sat down on his chair. He stared up at the other two and smiled goofily.
“It matters a little bit,” Nicotine said, parting back his ginger hair. “I, for one, like to be flesh.”
“Oh, well…so do I, but that does not mean that we are.” Caffeine’s words came out rushed and flowing—like he had rehearsed it, but not well, and was trying to get them out as fast as possible before he forgot.
Alcohol laughed. “I did not get that at all.” Continue reading
“So, you’re not going to press the button?”
Jim shrugged. “Nope.”
Cathy pursed her lips. She opened her mouth to say something and then did not. She looked at the red button on the table. They’d woken up to it being there in their kitchen.
“But,” Cathy began, “I feel as though we are supposed to do something with it.”
Jim considered the button again, rubbing his chin. He reached out to touch it, finger by finger, then he pulled away. He too felt the odd presence of someone, or perhaps many people, frowning. Continue reading
Ever since James tried to quit using the patch, he’s been having mood swings. I noticed, everyone notices—but we were too polite to point it out to him, and for that, we are probably not nice people. Despite us doing it to be nice, ostensibly.
But you can tell, you can really tell. He’ll walk into our classrooms, and he’ll look all, you know, happy and stuff—has on his yellow mask. Big cheery face with a smile and wide eyes and a sharp chin. But, then, and oh is it fast, he’ll see something else, some minor thing upsets him, and the red mask whips out of his pouch, my God. Continue reading
The teachers’ stoic moment shattered with but one word.
Mrs. Jasmine, known for her blue spectacles, dropped her mug to the ground and stared at the door.
“No,” she whispered. Continue reading
I can’t handle the smell.
“Would you please put that thing out?” I asked.
“Wish I could,” he responded, taking another puff of his cigarette. The noxious white fumes floated around in the room and had nowhere to go. I coughed, and my lungs burned.
“You can,” I said. I held out an overused ashtray. “You just stop.”
“That’s not how addiction works,” he said, and softly shook his head. “I figured with how much coffee you suck down you’d get that.” Continue reading
That was the seventh cigarette in the last ten minutes. Yung counted. Something in him was humming, just watching Howard go through them. Yung worried somewhat—but he knew so many people that smoked, and, for some baffling reason, most of them seemed perfectly fine so far.
“Look,” Howard said, tapping away some ash, “I was just the same.”
“Yeah?” Yung asked, tilting his head. “You dealt with this too?” Continue reading
“Now honey, please don’t stay up late.” Margaret patted her son on the shoulder and gave him a little smile. “You need to take care of yourself, okay? That’s not a small fever, so don’t push it.”
“Okay, mom. I just want to finish up this round.” Billy clicked on the screen, making game cards move. The resulting graphics assured him that his latest move was a good one.
“Okay. I just want you to feel better.”
“Don’t worry—I will,” Billy said. Continue reading
“Deep down there, in the deep, what did they find? What could make them sleep? On what do they feed, and what is seen by their endless eyes?”
“The tales they tell of what they have is not one for the foolish—only the dead.”
“No, please. This is going to hurt us. You are wrong.” Continue reading
Officer Harriet walked into her house, covered in sweat and something not dust—but easier to call it that. More of such “dust” covered her chairs, her couch, and especially the little worn out bed she had off in her room. Continue reading
“Between the three of us, we have genius on lock,” said one, and he slurped his coffee. None of them noticed, or perceived even subconsciously, that they were breathing in perfect tandem.
“Oh, yes, we are sure to make this world quake with fear,” said another, and he took a long draw from the creamy froth he had in his cup.
“I agree,” said the third, and he wiped his brow, which was sweating. Without talking about it, planning, or any indication of forethought, the other two did so too.
“So, then, we should begin on the plan—we need to work out how we will rule the world.”
“I agree with that.” Slurp. “First though, I think I need a refill on this.” Continue reading