Short Fiction

Ago-a-Go-Go by Leila Allison


As the ruling Penname of the multiverse realm called Saragun Springs, I‘m a stranger to the sweet smell of success, but an expert on the fulsome stench of failure. At that low level of expectation, my Imaginary Friend, Renfield, our stable of two-hundred-thirty Fictional Character (FC’s) actors and I just wrapped our first full length “feature”–a seventy-thousand word production best described as “Waiting on the Man in the Hundred-Acre Wood.” Sadly, even the most optimistic individuals in the realm know that the prospect of mainstream success for Welcome to Saragun Springs is as likely as Disney releasing an animated version of Caligula.

Fortunately, it’s an infinite multiverse, loaded with undiscovered acts of futility.

Unsurprisingly, on the Earth you inhabit, there isn’t what I’d call a great deal of interest in publishing circles for books that lack a definable target audience. Moreover, there is hostility displayed by publishers to writers who blatantly mention smoking, drinking, drugging in their works without once saying anything negative about them.

Then there’s my attitude. I believe most book publishers say “Watch me dance” then stuff their heads up their asses and roll off into the purple twilight. I don’t usually share that, but you can smell it on my breath.

But, as I say, it’s an infinite multiverse.

For instance, Saragun Springs has a “sister realm” called Other Earth. Due to a silly misunderstanding that occurred long ago, I can’t visit Other Earth without risking what Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu got for Christmas in 1989. Word around the campfire claims that “Leila Allison!” is what Other Earthlings say when they stub their toes in the dark and is the closet creature Other Earth parents threaten their children with. Other Earth is even a greater cesspool of conspiracy theories than regular Earth is. Over there, the zanies claim that I caused the Nuclear Monsters that exist only in regular Earth science fiction flicks of the 50’s to be real over there–due to an ill-thought time travel experiment I engaged in a while back. But I say if it stomps Tokyo like a Godzilla, vomits flame like a Godzilla and quacks like a Godzilla, well, goddammit, it is Godzilla, and I can prove that he is not my intellectual property.

Now it might seem that getting my “brand” over in a world that hates me intensely is yet another ill-thought idea, on par with pitching a pop-up book in certain areas of the world starring a religious personage not named Jesus Christ. But what is life without risk? Still, getting published in Other Earth remains pretty much out of the question.

And to top it off, just the other day, the book situation proved that shit runs uphill in my realm. That’s not a trick of the eye like “The Electric Brae” in South Ayrshire Scotland, or the “Magic Spot” in Oregon, U.S.A., but an actual physical law; or at least it is from my viewpoint as the ruling Pen of Saragun Springs. If I had a detailed job description, then “parrying away various uphill tumbling patties, turds and loaves” should be in it. On a normal day at least one crapbomb of some type bounds into my metaphorically elevated office. Some days are regular shit-blizzards, which cause me to pull a mop and bucket out of the closet and situate them in my chair before slinking off to friendlier or, at least less crappy, climes. I drew a pair of glasses and a mouth with a cigarette on the bucket with a Sharpie long ago–for most shitstorms are easily fooled. Regardless of precaution, I’m often caught out where the feces is flung.


Renfield breezed into the office and said “Great news!” She says that a lot, and when she does I curse myself for again not devising a shitstorm shelter.

Daisy Cloverleaf the Pygmy Goatess was close behind Renfield and I was given a start when Boots the Impaler, a Siamese Cat (aka, “BTI”), gracefully leapt onto my desk, for I hadn’t seen him enter the room.

Daisy and BTI are leading FC players in Saragun Springs, while Renfield is my only Imaginary Friend; she’s also second in command. All figure prominently in Welcome to Saragun Springs, and are getting pushy about its publication.

“You now see a mop with an upside down bucket for a head, not Leila,” I said, playing a longshot.

“Impossible,” said BTI. “Those items are far more lifelike.” Boots has the rich voice of a high end Shakespearean actor, think Cumberbatch. It gives the lamest of quips an air of gravitas that would not be there if spoken by the average talking Siamese Cat.

“Darling, you are looking at three of the four co-founders of Ago-a-Go-Go Publishing,” Renfield said.

“Who’s the fourth,” I asked, “Shep?”

“Maybe she really is a mop and bucket,” said Daisy.

“Our partner would rather remain anonymous–for the moment,” Renfield said.

“Anonymous in a shy manner–or as in the mafia behind a casino fashion?”

BTI slowly walked across the desk, maintaining eye contact like a Spaghetti Western gunfighter. He sat down inches from me and began licking his swatting paw, claws extended, still holding his gaze.

“Ha! Trying to dampen my curiosity with the threat of muscle, eh?” I said. “Well, take that tough guy.” I pulled the vial of “Kitty Goggles” pheromones I always keep in my jacket pocket for feline emergencies and sprayed a healthy dose of it on BTI’s muzzle.

“C’mon! C’mon! You’re no daisy! You’re no daisy at all!”

“Altered” Cats are especially susceptible to the effects of Kitty Goggles brand pheromones. Your unfixed Tom will hit on a stuffed Woodchuck while under the influence, but the responsibly neutered assume an attitude of what William S Burroughs referred to as “Vegetable Serenity.” Plainly, the mist put BTI on the nod. He flopped onto his back and was purring and drooling and by far the happiest person in the room.

“Of course he’s not me,” said Daisy.

“Ah, Day-zee,” I said, “that’s from Tombstone. Doc Holiday says it when he blows Johnny Ringo’s mind.”

“If you say so,” Daisy said. “Maybe reliance on quotes from thirty year old movies is a part of what’s holding you back.”

“But fortunately we now have Ago-a-Go-Go Publishing in the realm,” Renfield said.

“Ah, back to that again,” I said, scratching BTI’s chin and looking for my smokes. “Let’s see, this latest fecal fiasco involves you, Lil’ Miss Passive Aggressive Pants down there, the Feline dope fiend and a secret partner.”

“Define, ‘passive aggressive’?” Daisy said.

“It means ‘who’s ready for asparagus tips?’” I said. I keep sealed containers of Bratty Goat asparagus tips in yet another jacket pocket. Pygmy Goats are as notorious as Deer when it comes to eating the tips off plants and flowers.

Daisy trotted around to my side of the desk and politely took the package. Then she got a bit snotty, for there is a part of her personality that will always be like a two-year-old child.

“Um, better let me open that for you,” I said. Although Daisy is a talking Goat capable of using a Chromebook, she is still a hoofed animal, thus thumbless, which makes certain tasks impossible.

“No! I can do it!” she snapped.

“Just trying to help.”

“No! No! No! I can do it!” And she remedied the situation by eating the package along with the contents.

“Fine,” I grumbled, at last locating my cigarettes, “I’m not the one who has to shit plastic pellets.”

I lit a cigarette and studied Renfield. If a person could be described as “hiding a smile behind her back,” then you have Renfield. Although exceedingly honest, she nimbly avoids questions and has the wearying habit of letting out quarks of information at a time–mainly, she reveals pertinent facts a bit close to the final bell.

“Guess it will be faster if I play along,” I said.

“I’ll warm up the cart.”


The little golf cart we use to navigate Saragun Springs has a top speed of three miles an hour. Since everything in the realm is magically about a mile from everything else, even my education is able to arrive at an ETA of twenty minutes.

We put BTI to bed and Renfield, Daisy and I got into the cart. Renfield drove and Daisy sat on my lap and worked a cud made out of the plastic the asparagus tips were in.

Our little sun, Pong, was especially active; like everyone and thing else in Saragun Springs, Pong has Free Will–not as in the choose God or else version of Free Will, but in the literal sense. Although Pong observes a strict twelve hour schedule, rising at six in the morning and setting at the same in the evening, everything else is up for grabs. He moves at various speeds, changes directions and makes it impossible to have an accurate Pongdial in the realm. He was darting about like a celestial Hummingbird, creating crazy shadows. An earlier altercation between Pong and his brother, our moon, Ping, resulted in a sky over the realm that has a repeating paisley pattern. Just being here saves money on acid.

We headed to Saragun Springs’ only “city”–Ago-a-Go-Go. No one lives in Ago-a-Go-Go. It is our version of a backlot–part studio city, part stage, where we “shoot” our stories. It has various sections dedicated to past decades, and a “Town Square” that is used for the Now, Deeper Then and the Future. The “streets” are named for decades starting with the 1960’s. These exist because those are the decades that transpired/transpire during our “Employer’s” life. That is the best I can do to explain the “Ago” part. The “a-Go-Go,” however, was the result of drunkenness. It sounded like a good idea about halfway into a bottle of Crown Royal and it was too late to take back upon awakening in the gray afterdream.

There’s a prop pyramid standing in the Town Square. We use it for all kinds of things–it has four triangular sides made from pieces of plywood, stands about fifteen feet tall and is indifferently covered by “red brick” wallpaper. In past shoots the pyramid has been everything from a temple for The Great Witch HeXopatha to a Caretaker’s Cottage in a cemetery. We parked the cart in front of the pyramid and I saw a paper sign taped above the small opening in the pyramid. It said AGO-A-GO-GO PUBLIKATIONS in Sharpie.

All along I had been casting about my mind for the identity of the “secret partner.” HeXopatha and Pie-Eyed Peety the PDQ Pilsner Pigeon always head the usual suspects list–but not this time. Renfield and HeXopatha do not play well, and both have expressed a desire to live long enough to breakdance on the other’s grave. And Peety is gleefully illiterate and not likely to head up a publishing firm–even though that isn’t necessarily a problem on your Earth.

The mystery was solved when I saw two sleek ebon Rats carry a gold gilt gavel into the pyramid. Although the Rats work for HeXopatha, they are willing to do day labor in the realm if you bribe them. Renfield produced a pair of Tiparillo cigars and paid the Rodents when they exited without the gavel.

“Shall we?” she said, flashing that behind the back smile of hers at me.

“All right,” I sighed.

Daisy had fallen asleep. I somehow removed the gross plastic cud from her mouth, wrapped it in a handkerchief, put it in my pocket, and followed Renfield inside, leaving Daisy snoring in the cart.

There’s not a lot of headroom inside the pyramid, even for those of us who are not “vertically challenged” but flat out short. Renfield and I had to stoop low and enter as though it were a teepee.

I saw an arrangement of lit votives, a Chromebook and the gavel atop a card table. There was also another handmade sign taped to the table. “KONTENT EDITOR.” Daisy often does battle with C v. K, and comes up a bit shy, so I figured she was the organization’s sign maker.

The Spirit of my Great Great Great Great Grandfather, Judge Jasper P. Montague, haunts the gold gilt gavel the Rats had brought in. The gavel normally sits on my desk; the Rats had obviously boosted it from my office while we were on the road and had easily kept pace with the sluggish cart.

All Spirits are specialists. The Judge is no exception. His “superpower” is the ability to rearrange words (or symbols) in a manuscript (paper or virtual) into something entirely different. This makes the Judge a “Quillemender”–an undead Editor of sorts.

The easiest way to communicate with the Judge is to open Google Docs and knock in a bunch of gibberish then ask the gavel a question. The Judge can only travel ten paces from his gavel, which he was presented upon retirement: Versatur Circa Quid is inscribed in the gavel. Roughly it is Latin for “What Comes Round Goes Round.”

I noticed that the Chromebook was an old one of mine that I use only for communicating with the Judge. It occurred to me that I hadn’t seen it for a while.

“How many cigars?” I asked, nodding at it. Renfield held up six fingers.

I opened Docs and typed a bunch of letters and spaces and numbers. Then I asked the gavel: “What’s it all about, Great to the fourth Grandfather?”

Quills move keys by forming both minute cold and hot spots that form micro twisters that can depress keys, remarkably fast.

This is what he wrote:

“Versatur Circa Quid, distant Granddaughter!

The Ago-a-Go-Go Publishing mission statement resembles that of Lady Liberty. “Send us your poorly worded, muddled messes.” For a fee, our esteemed editors will suggest improvements, which will be made by me, a literal Ghostwriter. We are going to advertise heavily at Other Earth and expect to do great business. And with the proceeds we hope to get Welcome to Saragun Springs on shelves soon–though there’s still unlikely to be a strong Other Earth Market.

Versatur Circa Quid!”

Daisy had awakened and trotted in. She applied her keen cud sniffing skills and attempted to nose it out of my pocket.

“Better let me help you with that.”

“No! No! No! I can do it myself!”

“Knock yourself out,” I sighed. “I was just thinking that there’s never enough Goat spit in my pockets.”

“Would you care to hear our submission guidelines?” Renfield asked, beaming her best behind the back smile.

I lit a cigarette off a votive. “‘Submission guidelines?’ What kind of crazy talk is that?” Then I started to laugh maniacally as the absurdity of that concept bounced through my mind.

“Typical writer,” Appeared on the screen of the Judge’s Chromebook.

“Right?” Renfield said upon reading his message.

Through her cud now composed of plastic and my handkerchief, Daisy got out, “She ain’t no Daisy. No Daisy at all.”

Leila Allison

Short Fiction

Week 429: More Awful Truth; Five Human Works and Beware of the Tippleganger

More Awful Truth

When I was young and inexperienced in the fine art of self destruction, I believed that getting a book in print made you both famous and rich. Boiled down to its elemental flaw, this belief was based on the notion that writing a book good enough to land in the small library in Port Orchard, Washington (as unlikely a candidate to supplant The Great Library of Alexandria imaginable) must mean you are famous–ergo rich–for I assumed you could not be one without the other.

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All Stories, Editor Picks, General Fiction, Short Fiction

425: Plotting, The Week in Love and Derivative Devices

The Plot is in the Mail

The concept of plotting a story is alien to me. I’m as able to plot as I am able to dunk a basketball. Personally speaking, I, at best, have only the fuzziest idea of how something I work on ends. Nine times out of ten it doesn’t end that way, but is an ending directed by wherever the flow of the thing takes me.

The problem I have with plotting is it appears to be a blueprint for creativity, not far from the formula romance writers follow. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back and they both live nakedly ever after. Inaccurately, or otherwise, I see a difference between story and plot. I see stories unfolding in a natural manner with interesting things and interesting people meeting up–all left open for happy surprises that the author was unaware of until the composition began. And plotting as something on par with paint by numbers.

Continue reading “425: Plotting, The Week in Love and Derivative Devices”
All Stories, Humour, Short Fiction

A Conversation About The Sixties by Hugh Cron (Adult Content)

“I’m fed up watching the news. Seemingly, the queen’s still dead.”

“That’s six months now and they’re still harping on about it. I can’t remember the last time I bought a paper.”

Continue reading “A Conversation About The Sixties by Hugh Cron (Adult Content)”
All Stories, Fantasy, Humour, Short Fiction

Pong by Leila Allison

I was strolling through the Enchanted Wood in my realm of Saragun Springs seeking inspiration. It was Honor a Dead Writer Day in the realm; this year it landed on 28 April, the birthday of the honoree of this year’s event, Sir Terry Pratchett. In the past Dorothy Parker, Kurt Vonnegut, Shakespeare, Shirley Jackson had been so honored, and I had no problem doing something for each–but this year I was flummoxed

As the ruling Penname, I’d created all that I surveyed, and the two-hundred-twenty-nine (soon two-hundred-thirty) Fictional Characters (FC’s) who live in Saragun Springs. Yet at the same time I didn’t know how any of it worked; for I’d endowed every last atom and FC in Saragun Springs with intractable Free Will. Sometimes various displays of Free Will affect my concentration.

For instance, we have a sun in our sky named Pong. I recall once thinking about whipping up a little thinking sun for Saragun Springs named Pong (which I thought might be a better name for a star than Atari), but blew the notion off, figuring that no one would care about what was in our sky. But I guess thinking about it was good enough to cause Pong to fire into being–a tiniest wisp of a notion who seized a heaping helping of Free Will.

So, unannounced, Pong showed up the day after I’d glancingly thought about creating him, and has been on the job ever since. Nobody and no thing in Saragun Springs is obliged to follow the natural laws of the Universe any better than I understand them. And as more years creep between me and my high school education, it should be no surprise that, mechanically speaking, Pong is a celestial scofflaw.

As an object, Pong is a fiercely radiant little orb, the color and relative size of an unripened blueberry held at arm’s length. Pong is either very small and close or huge and far away. Sadly, Saragun Springs lacks an Archimedes-type to study Pong in the scientific way. Nor has anyone dared to launch an Icarus inspired project. This is because a Creator of a Universe cannot make someone who is smarter than she is. She can only make individuals who are certain they are smarter than she is on the basis of their own opinions alone; a circumstance, which, of course, leads to atheism and unhappy surprises in the end.

Pong’s first day began reasonably enough; he rose in the east at 6 A.M. on the nose and set in the west exactly twelve hours later. Adequate, when measured by the flexible standards of Saragun Springs normalcy. But the tone of the process changed when he rose again precisely at six the next morning, but this time from the exact same spot in the west he’d gone down the evening before. Pong headed north that day and Pongset there, then rose from that same spot at six the next morning. The only constants with Pong are that he works from six to six, twelve hours, without as much as a millisecond of variance, dawns from where he goes down the night before, and never appears to change his relative distance. Everything else is up to Pong’s whims. I’ve seen him double back and set where he had risen; I’ve watched him do loops, feign heading one direction then go another, and zigzag across the sky. And that only touches the truly bizarre stuff he does. Pong can also stop without first slowing down and travel at various speeds. Sometimes, he will sit way high and wait until 5:59:59 P.M. then zoom toward his setting point at a rate of speed that should be impossible to achieve, yet make it on time. Pongspotting, as in wagering the exact place the next Pongset will happen, is a big sport in Saragun Springs.

Speaking of a person who is convinced that she is the brainiest in the realm, the Enchanted Wood I was in is on the Witch HeXopatha’s estate. There was no point in attempting to conceal my presence, for HeXy has spies everywhere. Overhead, I heard the caws of Crows sending word down the line, which would eventually reach the castle. I was also being shadowed by a sleek black Weasel. A bullet-shaped head, adorned with a spycam fixed to a tiny fedora, often peeped over peasantberry and hand o’ glory bushes (flora that grows only Wiccanlands); Ponglight reflected off the little fiend’s shiny ebony noggin and spycam arrangement, but I pretended not to notice. I figured if a Weasel had Secret Stoat Fantasies, far be it from me to salt the whimsy. I assumed that the cam fed intel to HeXopatha’s crystal ball.

I was carrying a lightweight pack which contained various medicinal fluids, items for bribes, my phone and a small folding chair. Enchanted Woods feature a variety of mini-meadows. At the first such opening, I set up my chair so Pong wouldn’t be in my eyes, sipped from a pint of restorative amber fluid, activated the sound recorder app on my phone and dictated the following:

“Just my luck, I packed all this tasty Stoat Chow and have no friend to share it with.”

Weasels, Minks, Ermines and so forth are calorically venal. Any critter who can eat half his/her body weight in a day is the sort of individual that a Free Lunch appeals to. The Weasel’s head popped over the cover of a Sadiefinger shrub at the edge of the clearing. I had Stoat Chow in the pack because I knew about the lurking Weasel population in the Enchanted Wood beforehand. Chalk it up to Mysterious Ways, which Universe Creators often (but cannot always) use in lieu of plausible explanations.

“Well, hello there, little friend,” I said, feigning surprise, “would you like to join me for a delicious lunch?”

Just like everyone and -thing else in Sargun Springs, I am racking up a sizable debt with the Bank of Universal Reality. Like when, say, Pong emits a long string-like tail then goes up and down it as though he were a yo yo, before dropping behind the horizon at 6 P.M., a Universal beancounter marks the impossible event and charges it to Pong’s account. My Creator informed me of this long ago. To which I replied “So?” To which she had no reply other than to mumble something inarticulate about checks and balances. Still, all the debt traces back to her, so it’s her problem. I suggested that she forward the charges back to whoever made her.

I mention this because the ingredients in Stoat Chow (mostly smoked Trout entrails and Duck eggs) though for real, are not culled from genuine sources. No Trout or Duck or any living thing was abused in any way (although all may be offended). “Magic” might be too strong a word for how the Stoat Chow I bribed the Weasel with came to be, but that’s up to you and whoever is totaling your own ledger to decide.

Weasels are proactive little gluttons. He/she bounded over and took the pouch of Stoat Chow I handed him/her without hesitation. I saw that he/she was also wearing a trench coat. The preceding sentences presented an issue that I needed to clear up before I went bonkers wondering if I was dealing with a male or a female.

“Hi, I’m Leila.”

“Penrose,” said the Weasel, speaking in a tone of voice, that, like the name, could go either way gender-wise.

Even in Saragun Springs, it is bad manners to inquire into someone’s sex. And when you consider that I actually created this Penrose, you’d think I’d know whether I was in the company of a Heasel or a Sheasel–but that pesky Free Will has a way of interfering with Mysterious Ways.

The residents of the Springs have one thing in common. Every last one of us is a well-mannered eater. No one gulps or gobbles (unless a Turkey) or slurps or behaves grossly with food, and we understand the concept of the napkin. ‘Tis rare on Earth to see a Stoat chew with his/her mouth closed, but it is the case here. Free Will allows for good things, too.

“So, gotta family? Any Weaselets? Do they chatter about Mom and/or Pop popping about?” This was my second to last go (albeit clumsy) at clearing up the he/she mystery. Figured that Penrose might say something about a husband or wife. I figured wrong.

Penrose swallowed and said “Nope. I serve Mistress HeXopatha.”

I sighed. Here I was fruitlessly playing twenty questions with a Weasel.

“So, Penrose,” I said. “Why the Sam or Samantha Spade (my last go at it) routine?”

He or she smiled, an expression which always looks sneaky on the face of a Stoat. “Mistress HeXopatha has sent me to guide you to the site of her latest triumph.”

I stood, handed Penrose a napkin, placed my stuff back in the pack, considered having another go at the Weasel’s gender, let it go and said, “Lead on, little fiend.”

FC animals in the realm are nearly as lazy as they are venal and prone to gambling. Unless directed to do so by someone like HeXopatha, they avoid needless physical exertion. Sponging rides are as coveted as Free Lunches and Pongspotting.

So Penrose wound up sitting on top of the pack, pulling the straps as though they were reins.

“Dude, or dudette (a half-hearted after the fire had gone out attempt at gender ID), I ain’t a Horse. Just say a simple ’go left’ or ‘take a right.’”

“What’s left and right?”

“Never mind. Just keep working the reins,” I sighed. “But if I feel spurs, consider your ass bucked.”

Penrose drove me onward. We passed a pyramid that HeXopatha recently had built in her honor by minions known as the billigits, and we ventured near the actual Saragun Spring, which is an enthusiastically polluted body of oozing liquid, which reeks like a bathroom does after one’s problem-drinking grandfather has read an entire newspaper in it.

We entered a full-sized meadow. I saw several FC’s had gathered, and they were examining a document lying on a picnic table. HeXopatha was at the head of the table, like Rommel planning an offensive.

“Guess, we’re–Hey! Don’t do that!” I said (somehow withholding a richly deserved “you little fuckstick!” because Penrose had grabbed two healthy pawfuls of my hair, yanked back hard and said “Whoa, Nellie”).

The tiny blackguard jumped down and rushed to then knelt before HeXopatha. “Mission accomplished, Magnificent Master.”

“Excellent work, darling,” HeXopatha said.

HeXopatha was surrounded by her usual assortment of minions and a couple of Hammy Dodger Players (an acting troupe she sponsors). There were several black Rats and Cats scuttling about, an Owl on her shoulder, and two immense Berkshire Pigs, who were actors. By name the Pigs were Tallywhacker and his wife Taffypuller, who was about to make her debut. Everyone had been looking at a star chart on the table.

I was prepared to ask a whole bunch of questions, but HeXy placed her shushing finger to her lips. She nodded at the actor Pigs.

Tallywhacker, talks non-stop. Instead of merely speaking, he goes on long winded oratories: “By waddle, you have arrived at an auspicious moment, Miss Leila–today will be the first ever Pong eclipse, arranged by our Magnificent Master Mistress HeXopatha.” (Tallywhacker kept talking after this, but due to word limit issues, I didn’t record it.)

“Wait, wait wait a minute,” I said. “Pong’s the only thing up there–we ain’t got a moon yet–and only I can create one–haven’t even glancingly thought of one yet–though I guess it would have to be called Ping, if we do get one. And although my science may be lacking, I do know that something like a moon must cross in front of a sun to make an eclipse.”

But I knew that my logic was doomed. Logic in the springs is as rare as free quality beer. HeXopatha simply smiled, with a Are You Quite Finished Yet expression on her pretty face.

“All right,” I said, “what have you done?”

HeXy snapped her fingers and her four prime billigits minions flew toward us from the direction of the pyramid they had built for their Master. Each one was carrying a length of what appeared to be pipe.

Seeing the billigits, I smiled at Taffypuller. The instant she spoke a line she’d officially become my two-hundred-thirtieth FC. Our union forbids me from creating new speaking role FC’s without offering the “part” to already extant FC’s. But none of them wanted to marry Tallywhacker, for he really never stops talking (in fact he was still blowing on from before).

New FC’s usually get the thankless job of filling in the backstory. Explaining the billigits is as about as backstory as things get.

“I’ve never seen the billigits before,” Taffypuller said, although it was a damn lie. “Will you look at the these fellows–winged orange-skinned androgynous little people in blue polo shirts, khaki trousers and illfitting hemp slippers, who, though gender neutral, still convey a ‘guyness’ that is best described by masculine pronouns–and who insist that capital letters never touch their names, collectively or singly.”

“Bravo, my pet,” Tallywhacker said (plus a bunch of other stuff that would blow the word limit if put down.)

Indeed it was the billigits and as they drew nearer I saw that they were carrying lengths of a telescope, which they linked together upon landing. Instead of a stand, the billgits held the assembled scope and pointed the business end of at at where Pong was at the time.

“Good luck tracking that guy,” I said.

“Oh, he will behave today,” HeXopatha said. “We’ve come to an agreement.” She then unrolled a blank scroll and held it at the lens end of the scope; for gazing at Pong is just as tough on the eyes as sun gazing is in any dimension.

Pong’s fierce little orb shone on the scroll. Yet within seconds a perceptible shadow began to eat into the tiny blueberry and in a few moments there was darkness.

“It’s now safe to look through the lens, Creator,” HeXopatha said.

I did and saw a thumbnail-sized Turtle with four seed-sized Elephants on his/her (sigh) back, holding a flat object that looked like a pizza glowing a strange greenish purple, pausing in front of the face of Pong.

I stood back and let the others take turns gazing at Discworld as it slowly passed through our skies.

“Gotta hand it to you HeXy, I was stumped for an idea on how to honor Sir Terry,” I said. “Good job.”

“Perhaps it is possible that a person can be a bit brighter than her creator?” HeXopatha more said than asked.

I sighed and caught a glimpse of a moon rising in the south. Born in the same glancing manner that had created Pong.

“Hello, Ping,” I said to the small octarine moon. “Welcome to Saragun Springs.”

Leila Allison

All Stories, Editor Picks, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Week 414: UserTube; Another Milestone in Scotland; the Remains of the Week and YouTube Fascinations


I don’t like TikTok much because it encourages the further curtailment of an already alarmingly short public attention span. I sometimes think that maybe we are being steadily prepped for a future in which chips will be planted in our brains at birth. In the year 3000 “slow” will describe someone who actually takes a second to think something over. No, not much for TikTok, but I do like YouTube, well, to a point, yet there is something happening on it that makes me howl with rage.

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All Stories, Fantasy, General Fiction, Historical, Horror, Humour, Short Fiction

Franky And Jesus by Hugh Cron (Warning – Very strong adult content with what some would find blasphemous references. Do not read if you are likely to be offended.)

For my sister Tracy – Happy birthday and I know that your mind will be elsewhere. Hope this cheers you up a wee tad.

Continue reading “Franky And Jesus by Hugh Cron (Warning – Very strong adult content with what some would find blasphemous references. Do not read if you are likely to be offended.)”