Sunday, August 31, 2008

Drabble: Think


“I want you guys to really think outside the box for this project.”

“I’ve heard that before. Are you sure that’s what you really want? Because usually, when the boss says that, he goes in the end for same-old same-old.

“Cross my heart, hope to die. Outside the box thinking is the only way this one’ll work.”

“Well okay, but could you keep an eye on my box while I’m doing the thinking? I’ve got a really nice one, the kind they ship refrigerators in, and I know if I leave it alone someone else will take it.”

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Drabble: End Times

End Times

Life went on, though the village wasn’t sure why. How many more generations could go on? And were there others? Nobody knew for sure; electronic communication was made impossible by the malevolent red sun’s radiation.

It had been a slow process, so slow that nobody personally remembered it being much different, and yet now the end was clear in sight, and it wouldn’t be long before the planet was uninhabitable. And then? Just another rock, lifeless but for a few extremophile bacteria, spinning around the sun till it was finally enveloped, burnt to a cinder.

These people had no gods.

Drabble: Questionable


“Dude, you asked that Kelsey Waters chick?”

“Well, actually, I asked Katrina first, but she didn’t want to go.”

“But she’ll be, well, going.”

“I guess that’s true.”

“That’ll be awkward.”

“You might be right.”

“So why, man? You got some kind of weird fetish?”

“No, nothing like that.”

“Then what is it?”

“Check this out. The way I figure it is this. Say you’re out with one of them. One thing leads to another, and things get hot and heavy. What does that mean?”

“I dunno, what?”

“Automatic threesome!” He raised an am-I-right eyebrow.

“Dude, you’re sick.”

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Drabble: Backup Plan

Backup Plan

“I’ve been trying all morning to get you alo-- well, you know what I mean. Katrina, umm, will you go to the spring formal with me?”

Katrina bit her lip. “Listen, I really appreciate it, and you’re a great friend, but I don’t think I’m really ready for that.”

“You sure?”

“Y, yeah.”

“OK. Hey, Kelsey, want to go to the spring formal?”

“Sure, sounds like fun!”

“Great! I’ll get the tickets.” He ran off.

“Kelsey, what are you doing?”

“I have every right to choose for myself.”

“And for me?”

“Let’s not get into this again.”

“Too late now.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Drabble: Lame-Ass Story Based On an Empty, Strained Premise That I Posted Because I’m Too Lazy To Write Something New

Lame-Ass Story Based On an Empty, Strained Premise That I Posted Because I’m Too Lazy To Write Something New

“Did you hear what happened to Mark?”

“No, what?”

“Brain exploded. I warned him not to go playing around with all that whacky mathematics, the nature of infinity and multiple dimensions -- you name it. We all know how dangerous that can be.”

“His own damned fault, sure, but still. Pretty rough way to go, don’t you think?”

“The roughest.”

Jim ran in. “Hey, guys, did you hear about Mark?”

“We heard, we heard. Now don’t burst in like that, you’ll give someone a heart attack.”

“Can being startled really cause a heart attack?”

“No, that’s just a figure of speech.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2008



“You think this was an inside job?”

“Almost definitely.”

“You really think someone on our staff was in on it?”

“At least one, probably more. Those alarms don’t fail, and they can’t be turned off from the outside. There had to be someone there to let the guys in. Plus, none of the doors were forced; I’m guessing they had keys.”

“Really?” asked George. I could see that he was starting to sweat.

“What’s wrong?”

“Shit, man, you got me.”


“I’m the inside guy!”

“Wait, I thought I was.”

“Wait, are you Thunderhawk?”

“And you’re Palindrome!”

“Shit, small world!”

Monday, August 25, 2008

Droubble: Mistakes


The notorious sky-pirate had plenty of time to think about his last mistake, and all those leading up to it. In hindsight, the trail went back distressingly far.

Why didn't he stick to the sea, like his old captain had suggested? Why precisely had he decided to get himself a zeppelin and take to the skies? He'd claimed at the time that it was the money, the treasure and ransomable aristocrats traversing the sky in the luxury liners, but really, he realized, it had been all about the prestige of the title "sky-pirate." And what good was prestige at this juncture?

Then there was his stupid vendetta against Sky Commander Riley. Piracy's about the profits, not personal grudges, and yet after that first fight he'd become obsessed with defeating the crazy vigilante. If he'd just laid low...

And that ill-conceived attack from above, the questionable advantage of hiding in the sun far outweighed by the maneuverability lost by venting so much gas in making that steep dive...

And safety lines – they may have cramped his style, but style seemed somehow less important now.

Not much longer to think about it, though; the ground was coming up fast.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Drabble: Kitchen Cleaning

Kitchen Cleaning

“You touched it?”

“What else would one do? Just pretend it wasn’t there till it went away?”

“You could have at least worn gloves.”

“Or poked it with something,” piped in one of the kids.

“Well, I didn’t have gloves, and I wanted to get it out of there.”

“So what happened then?”

“Well, it was halfway out from under the oven when it started to fight back.”

“You’re joking.”

“Nope, I wrestled the thing for about three minutes before it slipped my grasp and pulled back in there.”

“And you’re just going to leave it?”

"Live and let live.”

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Drabble: Air


Fourteen and one half pounds of air, pushing down (and in and up and whatever else) against every square inch of my skin. All my life I’ve stood it, but today it’s jsut too much, and I can’t bring myself to do anything but lie in bed and wish for it to stop. But wishing does not make it so. I want to do something about it, anything, but that would require action, and that’s just too terrible to imagine. Nothing to do except to pass another day, wrapped in the crush of disappointment, tangled in sweat-soaked bed clothes.

Drabble: Alone



Something’s seriously wrong here. Where’s Lefty? Where am I, for that matter? This doesn’t seem right, doesn’t seem right at all. Last I knew I was riding along in the car, then that slobber factory the Mistress has been carting around picked me up and before I knew I was lying here.

She’s got to come back for me, right?

I’ve never been this alone before. I think I’m going to be sick.

- - -

“Funny how you always see just the one shoe on the side of the highway, isn’t it?”


“Gotta be a story there, don’t you think?”

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Drabble: Mean Drunk

Mean Drunk

I’ll tell you, the giant squid have been getting a lot of attention lately, but believe me, it’s all talk.

Oh, sure, they’ve got the mysterious, “secrets of the deep” thing going on. You know why? Cause if you pull one up to the surface it turns into a limp, sticky, ammonia-smelling rag. You pull me to the surface? You’ve got over two thousand pounds of toothy, snapping death.

People used to cower in fear; now it’s “Great White? Ho hum.” It’s not fair!

Kick me out, will you? Sure, go ahead. There are plenty of other sand bars.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Drabble: Quest


It runs its long sticky tongue along its prison-bar teeth, sickly-bright red over dull yellow. “What you bring for it?”

I shake the lumpy things from my sack. Even after washing the malevolent odor is enough to make a strong woman reel. “Will this be enough?”

It lifts one in its gnarled claw, licks the thing. “Ooh. It like. Fresh.”

“Damn straight, they are.” I’d spent hours hacking the things from the corpulent bellies of swamp frogs.

“Here is your payment.”

I look into the bag. “Wait!” I shout, but it’s long gone.

Damned NPC stiffed me again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Droubble: Hidden Meanings

Hidden Meanings

“Mail call.” George settled down on his cot. “One for you.”

Leland skimmed the letter. “That’s odd.”


“Well, it’s a love-letter, ‘I’m-waiting-for-you’ kind of stuff.”


“But it’s signed ‘Bess.’ I don’t know no Bess.”

George paused. “You know what this means.”


“The boys back home want us out. But they can’t help us outright.”


“Look at this letter. To Gerry, it’s just another letter from home, but they know you know it’s a fake.”


“It’s a code.”

They worked through the night, trying every kind of cipher they could come up with, but nothing ever seemed to work. Several days later, George was caught with the letter, complete with his scribbled notes. It didn’t take long for his captors to figure out what was up, and the two served out the war in seperate cells.


Bess gazed at the big moon through her window. She thought back on that one night with the beautiful soldier. They had scarcely had time to exchange names, but she felt that there had been a moment of deep connection. It lifted her heart to realize that at this moment he might be reading her letter...

(Interesting fact: Such techniques actually were used during WWII; see the NPR story that inspired this droubble...)

Monday, August 18, 2008


In the half year I've done these, I think I've gotten a handful of great stories, if also a lot of crap. That's sort of been the point of the whole thing -- just to get me writing.

While I do think I'll keep these coming at least a while, I also want to do more with some of my better stories, maybe get them to a wider audience

It'll take a bit to get it all set up, but what I'd like to do is this: I'd like to pick some of my best Drabbles and Droubbles, give them a little extra editing and polish, and then produce them as audio readings in a weekly podcast.

So why am I saying this, other than just to hear myself talk? Well, I do like hearing myself talk, but I also want your help. If you happen to particularly like any story I've done, and would like to hear it on the cast, go back and leave a comment on the post. I will very strongly consider nominated stories; unless it's one I really didn't like, a nomination will probably mean I'll do it eventually.

Let me know what you think of this idea!

Drabble: Roleplay


“I saw the posting for LARP night here?”

“Indeeed,” says the gothey-looking young lady. Way too into it for my taste, but I was new in town, so I’d put up with it.

I look around the dark room. Everyone was in costume. I felt a little out-of-place.

A wan gentleman passes me a sourcebook. Children Of the Quad.

“I’ve never heard of this one.”

“It’s great. You play as a college student.”

“Then why are you dressed as vampires?”

Blank stares around the room.

“Shit, I think this kid’s human.”

“Well, snacks are taken care of!”

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Droubble: Identity


One day, as the King walked his grounds, he stepped from the river after an invigorating swim to find thirty years of age wiped from him. This was, he thought, a miracle. But when he returned to the castle, the guards had many questions for the unclothed youth carrying the king’s garments (for he no longer fit in these relics of old age).

He tried to explain what had happened, but in vain. The regal mythos was too strong, and none could remember the lanky awkward youth he had been, and so could not accept his story.

So he asked for his highest advisors, and whispered of national secrets only he and they were privy to. He thought at first he had them convinced, but it was not enough. It did, however, get him noticed; he was thrown in the dungeon to await execution for eavesdropping on and possible involvement in the disappearance of the King, plus the theft of the royal garments.

After several days, the King was brought from the dungeon to face his fate. But lo! His tribulations had so aged him that he was recognized by all!

Bad day to be a guard or advisor, though.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Drabble: A New Friend

A New Friend

“Well,” said the doctor, “it doesn’t look good.”

I must have let out an audible gasp, because he immediately backpedalled. “I don’t mean to say it’s bad. Just a slightly... rare case.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, first the good. The tumor isn’t malignant.”

“Then what’s so bad?”

“Well, we can’t remove it.”

“Why the hell not?”

“Well, it’s something we haven’t seen before. Your tumor is made of differentiated and structured neural tissue.”


“Well, there’s a chance it might be self-aware. Not at a human level, but it’d still be inhumane to kill it.”

“Is that so.”

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Drabble: Some Friend

Some Friend


“Hey, Diamonds, it’s Rose.”

“Oh, hey, Rose! How’ve you been? Wanna come party on Friday?”

“Afraid I’m not going to be able to make it Friday. Actually, I have a little bit of a big favor to ask -- feel free to say no.”

“Go ahead,” he says, though I can hear the hesitation in his voice.”

“See, I’m moving across town, and--”

“Hey, I’d love to help, but I’ve been super busy, and my back’s been acting up, so yeah, see you later.” Click.

That song’s such a lie. A girl’s best friend would at least help her move.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Drabble: On My Back

On My Back

“Where did you get your thing?”

I gesture toward my back. “Oh, this?” I pat the hideous creature on the head. “The usual. I guess it represents some emotion or abstract concept or character flaw. Could be greed, or envy, or existential angst; it’s almost always something like that. Of course, there are guys like Oscar down the street; the poor bastard has one what represents his unusual fondness for almonds.”

“How you gettin’ rid of it, if you don’t know which it is?”

“Get rid of this little guy? He’s automatic street cred, and besides, look at those eyes.”

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Drabble: Vermin


Whatever was hiding under the porch didn’t sound happy. Its tantrum shook the whole trailer, and while I wanted it out, I was pretty sure I didn’t want to be in its way when it got.

Then the noises got stranger, like nothing I’d heard in this world, and I started wondering harder what was down there. Had I heard somewhere about rabid ‘possums making noises like that? Or were ‘possums the ones who couldn’t get rabies, only faked it?

Then it came, burning hotter than hell, up through the boards of the porch and flaming up towards the stars.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Drabble: Opportunity


I was still a little blasted from the cold sleep, but I forced myself up and out; I was heading out to the site early tomorrow, deep in the jungle, and today was my last chance to see the famous city of Klar.

The ancient architecture was fantastic, and the areas that had to be bombed, during the Liq occupation, had been built back to their original beauty. These were a people who truly cared about their past.

I wonder if I should maybe just leave. Maybe they’re better off without our market penetration.

Maybe – hell, who am I kidding?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Drabble: Falling

I'm back from the trip. I was great about doing these the first week, then sort of just didn't have the time or energy. I'll be getting back in the every-day swing, and I also have something cool that should show up in a newspost later this evening.


Air whistles loudly past my ears. Something is wrong. I don’t think this is where I fell asleep. I can’t bring myself to open my eyes, but I’m sure at once that something has gone terribly wrong.

I can remember dozing just after take-off, coming half awake but feigning sleep as the first drinks service came by. And now I’m awake with this wind, surely plummetting to my death.

I finally open my eyes, figuring it’s best to face this honorably. The bright light is a surprise, until I put it all together and twist shut the air vent.