Short Fiction

Week 382: Good Old Days on Viagra; Five Stories That Do Not Need Enhancement, and a Salute to 90’s Cinema

As I sit here at five o’clock on a June Wednesday morning, wakeful aphids zooming through my open window from the garden and gathering on my screen, and as I unsteadily wait for the coffee, nicotine and little pill I took to kick in, I reach into my mind and pull out the first thing I find: Let’s go with The Good Old Days–when all was great and there were fewer aphids.

Everyone needs Good Old Days to fondly recall and inflate with virtues not evident until a minimum of one generation has passed. The constantly under construction present and a future whose only certainty is our eventual permanent disappearance often conjure the Ghosts of the Good Old Days; those shades of What Never Really Was, whose remember when voices speak sweetly of yesterday.

Our increasingly labeling society tends to measure out The Good Old Days by the decade. All a time gone by needs to ascend to Good Oldayian status is a decade to call home. I believe that this is a 20th century thing–for I’ve never read olde literature in which someone in 1202 pines for the 1170’s. How else to explain the 1990’s ascension to old times not forgotten? (I’m certain there are many “elses”–but the desired effects of my addictions remain tardy.)

Continue reading “Week 382: Good Old Days on Viagra; Five Stories That Do Not Need Enhancement, and a Salute to 90’s Cinema”
All Stories, General Fiction, Latest News, Short Fiction

Week 380- Doctor, Doctor Please; The Week That Is and Hey Could You Play Another Someone Diseased Somebody Wrong Song?

It Hurts When I Do That…

Everyone has a touch of hypochondria in them. I have more than a fair share; for me the constant certainty that I am dying began in the third grade.

Our teacher, Mrs. West, assigned desks in alphabetical order. With an “A” surname not only did I usually set the bar for futility in P.E. (for I was and remain as athletic as a cactus), but when the subject was arranged-seating, I’d be in the first row, close to, if not in front. For five years (until her family relocated to California after the fifth grade) I could count on Veronica Allen to be seated in front of me. Ronnie and I were friends because I made her look like Wonder Woman when we had to fall in line for chin-ups in second grade (she sort of did one, then I began my athletic career as The Reliable Zero–I considered it my way of making the other kids feel better about themselves).

Continue reading “Week 380- Doctor, Doctor Please; The Week That Is and Hey Could You Play Another Someone Diseased Somebody Wrong Song?”
All Stories, Fantasy, Humour, Short Fiction

The Legend Of The Devil’s Brew by Hugh Cron – Warning – Adult Content.

Beelzebub and one of his friends created The Devil’s Brew or as he called it, ‘Ma Beer.’

Folks don’t realise that Auld Lucifer is a bit possessive and likes to take credit.

He’d been bored and decided to make some Homebrew syrup to corrupt. The thought that people would have to take time, brew it, leave it for less time than instructed, add more sugar and yeast to form as much alcohol as possible and then drink the corruption made him well happy.

Continue reading “The Legend Of The Devil’s Brew by Hugh Cron – Warning – Adult Content.”
All Stories, Fantasy, Short Fiction

Some G.O.A.T. by Leila Allison

It was a day for hiding from my worries. For I’m almost always in my office, thus I make it easy for trouble to find me. So I wasn’t at my desk when my Imaginary Friend and second in command of our make believe realm, Renfield, came looking for me with the latest crapbomb for me to either disarm or disregard and let detonate. I was in a vista I had copied from an old movie; relaxing in a colorized meadow, under a shade tree, nipping from a bottle of Bokay fortified apple wine concealed in a paper bag, writing what you read now on my trusty Chromebook.

But Renfield found me anyway, she too had a similar paper bag. But she was also carrying what I assumed was the latest crapbomb. By name it turned out to be an altered edition of what is known in our world as that beloved children’s classic, Charlotte’s Web. But this copy was from a “PDQ Pilsner Music and Book Emporium” located at Other Earth. Their version of E.B. White’s tale is titled Charlotte’s Web: Some G.O.A.T.

“It’s so cute,” Renfield said, sitting down beside me. “Daisy and Peety are going through an extreme capitalism phase.”

Before I could ask Renfield what she meant by that, she opened the book to the page normally left blank inside the cover, the one I’ve always assumed is there for the author to sign, and handed it to me. Alas, the only way to ask for Mr. White’s autograph since 1985 is via a crystal ball–and this copy was a recent print. Yet the page was filled with words anyway, in long-hoof, which I recognized as that of one Miss Daisy Cloverleaf the Pygmy Goatess. For someone who has to velcro a pen to her hoof, Daisy produces a remarkably tidy script.

It said:

Dear, Miss Leila–

To prevent you from asking Miss Renfield “What in hell’s name (or sake) is this hot steamer?” and knowing that you will launch a futile campaign to con her into spilling the backstory, she asked that I, the Goatess from G.O.A.T., explain the current situation.

As team G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) [here, Daisy had underlined the first letter of each word of the acronym] me and my sidekick Pie-Eyed Peety the PDQ Pilsner Pigeon are a superhero duo who rescue fictional characters inside books, plays, television programs, and films shown at Other Earth–a place recklessly created by the person who employs you as a Pen.

G.O.A.T.’s latest triumph rests with you. Miss Renfield will fill in the details, but in a conversational way that will not come off like an information dump.

Yours,

Miss Daisy Cloverleaf, The Supreme Goatess of G.O.A.T.

Before I could speak, Renfield grabbed the book, thumbed to the final chapter “The Last Day,” and handed it back to me.

“It’s all the same as it was until the very end,” she said.

“Why did Daisy write this instead of telling me in person?”

“Daisy and Peety are huge celebrities on Other Earth. Here, out in the barnyard, they’re just two of your Fictional Characters.”

“So, they’re a bit ashamed of their creator,” I said, taking a nip of wine. “Could be that they think they’re juuuussst a little bit better than their old author.”

“I got a big idea,” Renfield said, “let me take over the narrative as you read the additional material.”

“All right–Hey! this could be the stylistic invention that finally lands me the Nobel,” I said. “Me, you and Daisy–we can pass around the narrative as though it were the Gorgon sisters’ eye. I smell the luta-fish on the barbie already–you take the helm.”

Which is exactly what I, Renfield, did. As I opened my phone and took over control of this file, I considered informing Leila that lutefisk was a Norwegian delicacy impossible to prepare in the Australian way, and that the Nobel for Literature is awarded in Sweden, but if I spent my life casting light on all her little ignorances, I’d have no time for anything else. Besides, she’s convinced that every land north of France should be called United Iceland; such can be expected from someone who’s also convinced that the Dutch would be better off called the “Hollies.”

“You do know that every word you write comes up on this screen?” Leila said, nodding at her open Chromebook.

This was when a mysterious god-like force caused Leila to close the Chromebook and give all her limited attention to the novel I’d brought her.

As she read the changed passages, strange expressions crossed her face, apparently on their way to the other side, like chickens crossing the road, as she got to the good parts.

Since I was at “the helm” I chose to have Leila to read aloud the “improvements” team G.O.A.T. made to White’s story.

“And as Charlotte prepared to die with dignity a dwarf Goatess wearing a white cape accompanied by something best described as the bizarre given life–a small two dimensional drawing of some sort of bird, even more incredibly, animate, and drinking from what appeared to be a can of beer–came to where Charlotte lay.

“‘Greetings, Spider,’ said the little Goat. ‘I am the Goatess from G.O.A.T. and this is my sidekick Pie-Eyed Peety. We have come to make it possible for you to reunite with Wilbur.’

“‘ “That boy is a P-I-G Pig’’ Babs–Animal House,”’ said Pie-Eyed Peety,” Leila said, quoting a character who had just quoted an external character from a film inside the story she was reading out loud. (So that’s why you get “‘“ marks, if anyone the Nobel committee is reading.)

Leila stopped reading it aloud. The mysterious god-like force allowed her a little more wine. The mysterious god-like force then stated that Leila was seated on the ground, her back leaning against the base of a tree, legs straight out, the Chromebook balanced on her lap, the novel in one hand and the wine in the other–for the benefit of readers who could not infer a clear picture from the half-ass clues Leila had provided prior to the mysterious god-like force’s taking over the narrative.

Then Leila shook her head as if such an act could clear it instead of having the effect of scattering her thoughts like the fake flakes in a snow globe. She then mentally wrestled with the mysterious god-like force like Captain Kirk hamming it up against an invisible entity; her face contorted like Prince Andrew contemplating the invitation list to a slumber party…

“Three consecutive similes and you are out!” I yelled, as I, Leila, regained control of the narrative.

“Rats,” Renfield said, .

“You know the rules fiend! The fifth adverb and third simile are one way tickets to Palookaville.”

“I still say rats–those were Daisy’s suggestions.”

“Serves you right for taking direction from a herbivore.”

“That’s fine. Whatever. Didn’t want to do it any more anyway.”

“That’s very thirteen-years old of you, Rennie–now, would you please explain the end of this crapbomb to me?”

“Why? It should be plain to even a P-I-G, pig, what happened.”

“Well, it says here,” as I held up the book, “that Peety restored Charlotte to health and gave her immortality by dumping a drop of PDQ Pilsner on her. And it now ends not as it has for decades, but with Charlotte writing things like, ‘TELL MOM AND DAD TO BUY PDQ’ and ‘WHEN YOU WANT THAT FIRST SPECIAL DRINK EVER, MAKE IT PDQ’ in her web.”

Renfield showed me her brightest smile. “That’s where the extreme capitalism phase comes in. Team G.O.A.T. and PDQ Pilsner have merged brands on Other Earth. Fortunately the guidelines in that world about what is and isn’t appropriate advertising for children are slightly blurred.”

It made sense, in a weird and twisted way. I opened my Chromebook and saw that there were nine-thousand-seventy-five unread emails in my box, all from my “employer”–who gets an earful of complaints from Other Earth, and is under the delusion that I care about her problems.

I nodded at Renfield’s paper bag. “Is that PDQ?” PDQ Pilsner does not exist on our Earth, but it is the cheap swill of choice, over there. Although we seldom discuss it, Renfield is a huge PDQ shareholder at Other Earth.

“Christ no–I’d drink Roundup before that piss,” she said. “It’s another bottle of Bokay for you. Courtesy of Team G.O.A.T.”

Renfield rose and again flashed her megawatt smile. “Next up for the PDQ/G.O.A.T. team brand is music. They are aiming to enter Billy, Don’t Be a Hero and transform Billy into The Coward of the County.”

“Wow, can hardly wait,” I said as I cracked the fresh bottle of Bokay, deleted, unread, a new swarm of emails from my employer and silently cast about my mind for a better hiding place.

Leila

All Stories, Fantasy, Short Fiction

G.O.A.T. by Leila Allison

I was attempting to hibernate through an atypical stormy November afternoon when my realm’s lead (and only) Imaginary Friend, Renfield, barged into my office, blinded the room with light and cheerfully yelled “Breaking news!”

“Can’t you see I’m hibernating?”

“Oh, you’ll want to know about this,” she said with a smile (always smiling). “Daisy and Peety are the greatest superhero team.”

Continue reading “G.O.A.T. by Leila Allison”
All Stories, Editor Picks, General Fiction, Short Fiction

374- Dear Daisy, The Week That Still Is, And Nine New Ways To Avoid Heaven

Dear Daisy

Greetings!

Leila caught a cold while composing this weekly update and claimed that she was only worth “two-thirds of my usual genius” (a statement which proves that the common cold has no ill effects on the ego). Instead of calling out sick and thrusting her duty on her fellow Editors, she asked that I, Daisy Cloverleaf, write the introduction to this week’s wrap and that she would handle the middle and end. Which is precisely what has happened.

Continue reading “374- Dear Daisy, The Week That Still Is, And Nine New Ways To Avoid Heaven”
All Stories, Editor Picks, Fantasy, Short Fiction

Week 372: Family Circus of the Damned, Five Points of Light and Making Sad Amends

The Nobel Prize For Being a Corporate Tool Goes To…

Almost everything we read online is either a blatant lie or plain wrong. (Forget the “fake news” euphemism–for a kiss is but a kiss and a con is but a con.) For instance, I recall intelligent sources telling me that we use something like ten percent of our brains, and the rest may as well be cornbread stuffing until enough evolution goes by. Although this “fact” (like countless others) is certainly nonsense, someone smart started that misconception, which I bet more people believe than do not.

I’ve finally reached the point where I no longer blindly accept “facts” minus proof. I probably would be better off if I had arrived at this point sooner, but, maybe, “better late than never” is, at times, a valid sentiment–though still not much use in situations when the pardon arrives after the gallows has dropped.

Continue reading “Week 372: Family Circus of the Damned, Five Points of Light and Making Sad Amends”
Short Fiction

Week 370: A Mass Extinction, Four Moral Authors and Nine Reasons Why I Will Not Go To Heaven

There once was a race of authors who had achieved a level of celebrity similar to that of movie stars. Even people who didn’t read knew these authors by sight. They became the “must gets” for the swankiest dinner parties and were topics of discussion at all lesser gatherings. Then it ended. Just like that. Inexplicably. Alas, few authors turn heads in the wild anymore. Stephen King might–then again his face is hard to forget.

The mysterious mass extinction of celebrity authors is a phenomenon that only I have noticed or care about. Which means I am either a trailblazer or just another deluded soul, a couple of moments of clarity shy of the asylum.

Continue reading “Week 370: A Mass Extinction, Four Moral Authors and Nine Reasons Why I Will Not Go To Heaven”
Short Fiction

Week 368: Adventures With Wildlife and Top Do-Overs on My Unsteady Jukebox

I love wild animals yet I know that some cannot love me back because I am human. Them’s the breaks. Still, I do my best to be friendly to the peripheral critters who hang around my hometown in abundance. Yet no matter how much I try to ingratiate myself to the wild things, some refuse to look past my status as a human being.

Fortunately, no majority of any wild species finds me disdainful, only a few devout misanthropes and the occasional bad apple. To be fair, I would say that a higher percentage of people find me objectionable than do, say, Voles. But, sadly, there have been exceptions to the tranquility.

Continue reading “Week 368: Adventures With Wildlife and Top Do-Overs on My Unsteady Jukebox”
All Stories, Editor Picks, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Week 366: Interstellar Demands, The Week That Was and the A to Z of Soul Crushing Coworkers

Interstellar Demands

The ten billion dollar James Webb Space Telescope began its journey on Christmas Day. The Webb is reputedly a hundred times more powerful than the Hubble– a garage sale find, costing a mere billion and change. The giant eye is scheduled to get down to serious peering by “mid year”–which I call June. Considering how it goes with NASA and associates, I think we can safely assume that June will happen no sooner than September–or at a time when I do not start three consecutive sentences with “The.”

Continue reading “Week 366: Interstellar Demands, The Week That Was and the A to Z of Soul Crushing Coworkers”