Sunday, February 28, 2010


“I know,” Randal said to the assembled crowd, “that several of you have concerns regarding our new supercomputer project. And we are nothing if not respectful of the legitimate concerns of our shareholders, so I‘ve called this meeting together to address them.”

“Some of you say the expense of the project overruns the potential benefit, some say more research was needed toward commercial applications.”

“Some have even said that developing a superinteligent, sentient computer program and allowing it access to all of our companies resources and control over every aspect of our operation, as well as unfettered international internet access, could lead to a situation where it turns against us, wipes out humanity, and attempts to purge the earth of life, leaving survivors, if there are any, reduced to scavenging the wreckage of human civilization to survive.”

“I’m here to reassure you, this is all baseless speculation. And when the Program activates tomorrow, you’ll understand how ridiculous your paranoia is.”

And they did, and it was.

However, the concern about commercial applications was well grounded, and within a year the company was bankrupt.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I Loved Her

I loved her, deeply and truly and perfectly.

She was beautiful, yes, but that’s not why. I loved her because she was quick to laugh, and could always make me laugh in return. Because her eyes never seemed to judge, and because her wry smile kept something special hidden, something I was always interested in knowing more about.

So I packed my things and moved across the country to be with her, and we moved in together, and were happy.

I knew I’d fuck it up, given enough time I always do.

But for that little while it was magic.

Friday, February 26, 2010


I know it’s a trap, but the prize is just too tempting.

As I creep toward the horrible apparatus, I pace myself. I will not let anticipation make me careless. This task I have must be precise, because as surely as success would mean my dreams come true, failure brings only death.

Careful, then. Careful.

There is, I tell myself, no need to worry. Worry only causes my hands to tremble. Slowly, carefully remove my prize from the pedestal and….


“Another damn mouse. Seriously, if I catch one more of these things in here I’m complaining to the landlord.”

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Takeout Window at Wendy's

The takeout speaker at Wendy’s keeps urging me to kill.

It asks if I want to upgrade my fries and drink, and tells me everyone I know plots secretively against me.

It tells me my total is $6.79, and reminds me that I, the Angel of Death, have a duty to rain vengeance down upon the heads of the infidels.

It tells me to pull up to the pickup window for my meal, then go home and butcher my family before eating it.

I worry I’m going mad.

And wonder how boring working the takeout window of Wendy’s must be.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bonus Track: 100 Character Story

I put this on the Drabblecast forum (we all subscribe to Drabblecast, right?) and liked it, so i thought i'd put it here too...

"Kneel before Munsi!"
Looking me over, as though to take my measure, he replies; "No. I think not."
They almost never do.


Looking back, there are things I would have changed. Of course there are, you can’t live a life without regretting at least something.

I would, for example, have spent more time in my youth really enjoying being young. After all, you’re only young the once, and every opportunity to be carefree missed during that period is impossible to recapture later.

I’d also likely have proposed to Penelope. I knew she wanted me to, but I just didn’t think I was ready for marriage at the time. Still, looking back, she was the one for me. I’ve never met anyone I’ve loved as much since.

Certainly I’d have installed better security measures in my research facility, so that when eco-terrorists attempted to sabotage my lab they wouldn’t have unleashed my highly experimental bio-virus.

And, in hindsight, I’d have most definitely alerted the authorities sooner after the virus’ release rather than trying to contain it’s spread myself, so that they could at least have attempted to contain the outbreak before it hit pandemic levels.

I’d have worked harder to develop a cure, or at least a vaccine, along with the virus, so when it became clear that the outbreak was uncontainable I could have offered some sort of measure to protect the public health. Or I might even, if I were to be perfectly honest with myself, have thought twice before signing the government contract to research experimental bio-weaponry at all.

Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20.

But I suppose any time billions are killed due to your mistakes it makes you rethink the decisions you‘ve made. I try not to dwell unduly on the past, there’s nothing to do about it now, after all. But yes, there are certainly things I would have done very differently.

Especially regarding Penelope. When I think of her now, I miss her still…

Comforting Violence

When human life is cheap and every problem can be solved with violence.

When justice is handed out the barrel of a gun by a giggling madman.

When all you want to do is run out into the street, steal a car, slam it into the nearest police van and speed off into traffic, laughing and screaming as a growing swarm of cops follow, riddling your car with bullets, until the car bursts into flame and you have to jump from the still moving, flaming wreckage seconds before it explodes.

And nobody can tell you a single reason this is not a good idea.

Because life is cheap.

And death is cheaper.

And when this happens to you;

You know you need to turn off Saints Row and get some sleep.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I Don't Like Horror Films

I can’t help it, I don’t enjoy horror films. They seem stupid to me.

The thing of it is; Ghosts aren’t particularly scary. Or Werewolves, or Zombies. Vampires, in my opinion, are particularly stupid. But none of them are scary.

When he hit me, once, across the side of my head, and my ears rang so loudly I couldn’t hear for three days, and again, sending me spiralling to the floor, and I lay there, spitting up blood and praying he wouldn’t hit me a third time, that was scary.

Horror films are nothing. I just can’t get into them.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Copperfield Vs. Angel

When the MGM Grand booked David Copperfield to perform, they knew that Criss Angel was doing Believe down the street at the Luxor. But they didn’t see how the two magicians playing within blocks of each other could possibly be a problem.

They even comped Angel into opening night.

That night their battle raged across the Las Vegas Strip. For hours the two dark sorcerers, each attempting to outdo one another, fought for stage-magic supremacy. Angel hurled fistfuls of conjured, burning protoplasm, Copperfield effortlessly deflected them with nothing but the power of his mind. Copperfield summoned demons from unknown dimensions and Angel, with a wave of his hand, melted them away. Hotels burned, and tourists ran, screaming, from the raw display of pure, primal, magical force.

Finally, Copperfield misdirected Angels attention by animating the Statue of Liberty in front of New York New York, causing it to attack Angel, and simultaneously opened a portal into a shadowy netherworld just out of Angel’s view.

While Angel busied himself with defence against the angry statue’s attacks, tentacles from within the portal snaked out and encircled him. Before the Mindfreak could so much as open his mouth to spellcast, he was pulled back into the portal, the former superstar and enchanter now nothing more than a snack for some ancient, eldritch abomination. Copperfield stood alone atop the MGM Grand Lion, knowing he had finally won the day.

Looking around at the wreckage that mere days before had been the most expensive blocks of real estate in the world, he couldn’t help wondering if the battle had been worth it.

But there was nothing he could do.

There could, after all, be only one.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Know When to Fold 'Em (with apologies to Kenny Rogers

“Of course I know to quit while I’m ahead,” he barked at me, “but I’m not ahead, so it doesn’t apply! Now leave me alone!”

Staring at him, I considered arguing the point. But I was tired, I had a show to get to, and most of all I was on vacation. I didn’t want to deal with this. So I left.

He was still at that slot machine when I got back from Cirque de Soleil.

And came down for breakfast the next morning.

And left to catch my flight three days later.

I wonder if he’s there still…

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Quest Not Taken

He came, beaten and bloodied, crawling out of the woods by my house, dressed in dented, old fashioned armour, an old sword which seemed oddly familiar draped across his back.

“Praise God!” He cried upon seeing me, “Finally, ’tis journey’s end! I‘ve quested god knows how many years, to give you…”

He coughed then, then coughed, then coughed up blood, and then he fell to his knees, then to the ground, where he lay silent.

I called an ambulance, but by the time it arrived he was gone.

Sometimes I wonder who he was.

I hope his message wasn’t important…

....on an unrelated note, no updates for a few days, since i'll be in Vegas. Hopefully i'll get up something new Saturday.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Multiverse

Infinite alternate universes exist.

Countless, stretching out like reflections in mirrors placed across from one another.

They reflect, but they refract, each subtly different. In them every action, choice or change, occurs every possible way. If something can happen, then in some universe it did.


And every choice you ever made, you could possibly make, you make, and don‘t make, and never get the chance to make. And everything you could want to be or have you already have and are, somewhere in this infinite web of universes.

So calm the fuck down. Your problems aren’t a big deal.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pistols at Dawn

I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes opened, yet forward I trudge.

Regret consumes me, as it’s done since I woke up. Why did I drink so much last night? Why did I end up playing Xbox with my roommates until 4am? Why hadn’t I gotten a decent night’s sleep? I knew I had to be up early!

And why’d I challenged that guy to pistols at dawn? Pistols at noon would have done just as well to salve my wounded honour.

I grip my pistol, try to ignore the hangover pounding in my ears, turn, and fire.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Superweapon

After years of effort, and millions of dollars of research and development, the super weapon was complete and ready to go.

The spy they’d sent had caused no end of trouble, but he hadn’t stopped me, and his corpse now lay in a shallow grave in the garden behind my secret fortress, so riddled with bullets that he was more or less unrecognizable.

And now everything was finally prepared. My team in place, the weapon charged and ready, and finally, it was time. Cameras were trained upon me and my communications officer placed the call. This would be the riskiest part of my diabolical plan.

My video feed was routed to the leaders of the G9 nations, and the collected United Nations, who had been alerted to await my call when I destroyed the city of Paris two weeks earlier.

I suppose they had probably expected me to give them a list of demands, like some sort of badly written film villain.

I did no such thing.

As my scientists tried desperately to figure out how they’d suddenly been locked out of the computer system they‘d helped me to design, and my shock troopers attempted to figure out why they were locked out of the control room, I calmly explained that I had no demands.

The weapon was set.

It would destroy the world, blister the life from it and make it such that nothing could ever grow on it again.

There was no way to stop it. I’d made very sure of that.

The collected world leaders stared at me, a moment, then everyone started shouting at once, as thought that I was mad. Perhaps I was, but there had always been one rule I’d lived by, and I wasn’t going to deviate from it now.

You don’t build a super weapon that can destroy the world if you don’t intend to destroy the world.

I laughed all the way to the end.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Zombies of Oz

The Wizard looked out at his unusual visitors. They’d defeated the witch, and now it was time for him to give them their promised reward.

“Don’t you see, Tinman,” he exclaimed, “you had a heart the whole time, you just needed friends to help you realize it!”

“And you, friend Lion, you always had courage, you simply needed to believe in yourself for it to come out!”

“And you, rampaging hoard of zombies! You didn’t really need to eat brains of still living humans, you had brains enough for anyone!”

And that’s when the screaming began.

Because the zombies disagreed.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

hey! i got nominated for a thing! (shameless self promotion)

my story, Time Machine, got nominated for "best drabble" over at the drabblecast! i'm deeply honoured and shamelessly self-promoting. the vote is here:

also; if you're not already subscribing to the drabblecast, do so, it's a bitchin' little story podcast that, if you like sci-fi/fantasy weirdness, you'd probably enjoy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Talking Animals

No one knew why, but one day the animals started talking.

Some didn’t have much to say, but now each cat, rat, squirrel, cow or any of the other creatures on earth had a voice with which to say it. Apparently they’d always had thoughts, but one day they found themselves understanding Humans, and making themselves understood by them, though they didn’t know why either.

We thought it would change everything to speak to other species’. Some people even thought we’d stop eating meat.

We didn’t, of course. But the screams of the slaughterhouse did became that much more unpleasant.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Final Quest of Hiro Nakamura

Looking sadly over the wreckage, Hiro knew in his heart what he must do.

One last time, he squinted his eyes, focused his mind and, around him, time bent to his will, sending him spiralling back, this time to 2006. He arriving at the gates of the NBC building.

For once, his powers had worked in exactly the way he had wished them to. He took this as a positive portent.

Sneaking in was no difficulty for him, as everyone in the building thought they knew him. He raced about the building, desperately searching for the only man who could prevent so much pain, finally finding him in an office, hunched in front of a computer, putting the finishing touches on a script. Tim Kring looked up at him, surprised.

“Masi? You’re supposed to be on set, what’s going on?”

“No, I’m not supposed to be on set. I’m not the man you think I am. My name is Hiro Nakamura, and I’m here with a very important message. You have to cancel Heroes, cancel it now! It needs to end it after it’s first season, or there will be great suffering.”

“Cancel Heroes after season one, save it’s legacy.”

Hiro turned and left the room. He could only pray his warning would be heeded.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Call

The shadow figure came to me in a dream.

“One day, you will be called,“ he told me, his voice resonating off the walls of my skull “You will know when that day comes.”

And then he was gone, and I awoke.

But that day never seemed to arrive. I waited, then resigned myself to the idea that the call would never come. I took a job to pay the bills, and it turned into a career. I met a girl, took her for my wife, and before long she gave birth to two beautiful children, a boy and a girl. Needing more room to raise my new family, I put down a payment on a small house in a good neighbourhood in the suburbs.

Months passed, then years. The children grew, and went off to their schools. My son loved soccer, although he wasn’t co-ordinated enough to play it well. My daughter developed a crush on something called a Jonas brother. There were three of them, and she loved one, dearly. I couldn’t tell which, they looked the same to me.

And so did my life go on, and I completely forgot the mysterious shadowed figure. It all seemed like just a dream.

Until one morning I woke up and looked out the window to find the sky had turned blood red.

I wandered downstairs, trying to remember where I had put my sword.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Devil Came to Town

The Devil came to town today.

He came to tempt our souls, with drink and drugs, with sex and mad, wild music. Smelling slightly of brimstone, he came to tempt us against one another, into violence, into crime, into wars. Perhaps into war so great it’d leave no stone upon this earth unscorched.

He came to appeal to our basest impulses, our greed, our vanity. He came to whisper in our ears that we are special, each of us, more special than our neighbours. That we deserve our every desire, no matter how petty. And that if our neighbours tried to stop us getting it, we were within our rights to use all our powers to take it from them.

He came to teach us not to appreciate that which we had, but rather to strive ever for what was out of our reach, ever plotting for more, never taking the time to appreciate the simple wonders around us.

And, worst of all, he came to teach us to treat one another not as beings our equal, but rather as means to an end. Thus alienated, the Devil knew that we would, free from connection to one another, retreat inward and, trapped in isolated, insular lives of ever unfulfilled desire, retreat from the world, never knowing true joy.

Yes, today the Devil came to town.

And when he arrived, we told him not to worry about it. We were way ahead of him.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

We Are the Dead

We are the dead.

Well, “We” aren’t. I mean, you aren’t. You’re the living. Specifically, you’re living inside a farmhouse, windows and doors barricaded, huddling together, trying not to scream or cry, praying for rescue that’ll never come.

We are the dead, out here, outside the farmhouse, shambling, moaning, hungry. Banging on the door, waiting for it to collapse under the weight of our combined assault.

Your barricades are too hastily built, blind terror kept you from reinforcing them properly. The door won’t last long under a siege of rotted flesh.

And when it opens, we’ll be the dead.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Appearing again on the Drabblecast (shameless self-promotion)

I appear to be appearing, however briefly, on this weeks Drabblecast. You should listen to it, because I'm in it. Also: you should listen to it because it's a totally badass little podcast that everyone should enjoy. It's a twitfic (100 character story) and I'll include it here, but just because It's included below, don't not listen to the podcast as well....

When bin Laden released his new tape we felt jaded, we'd seen it before.
It turned out to be a sex tape.
We knew true terror.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Wife: A Ghost Story

My wife sits in the corner, nagging me to keep my feet off the damn coffee table. She nags me about everything, all the time. I work hard, I pay the bills, but she still takes it upon myself to attack every little thing, no matter how insignificant it seems, that I do.

Have I taken out the garbage, she asks, or why won’t I help with the dishes. Why don’t I help with anything around the house? Like I don’t need a damn moment to myself? Like I’m not even a person, that she can order me around?

Sometimes it makes me so angry I can barely see, my vision goes white with rage and I can no longer even make out her words. At moments like that, I feel I could kill her.

Once, midway through a rant about how I had left the toilet seat up, I did. Snuck up behind her and, before she even knew what I was doing, got her in a choke hold. I could feel her squirming against me, kicking, trying to scream and, finally, stopping, silent against me. Blissfully silent. Gloriously. And for that moment, I knew perfect, blissful peace and quiet.

For that moment.

But nothing lasts forever. Now her ghost sits in the corner, ever watchful, ever nagging. To keep my feet off the coffee table, to clean the dishes when I’m done my dinner, to get the corpse out of the freezer in the basement and bury it in a shallow grave out in the woods before the cops start looking for her. Little things, but accumulating into a maddening torrent of nagging impossible to escape.

Ghosts need no sleep, she can wake me to criticize my snoring. They don’t have jobs so she can give her opinion about how I’m doing mine. And they’re tied to the person who killed them, so she never has to leave my side.

I can’t have peace and quiet, even for a moment. I’d kill her for another taste of that blissful silence, but it’s not the sort of thing a man can do twice. I’d kill myself but, as she so gladly points out, I’m too much of a coward for suicide.

So I sit in my easy chair, trying to read, trying not to scream, trying to ignore her as she nags me.

As she’ll do always, for every day of my life.

I hope it isn’t long.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It Sleeps

Beneath the world It slumbered, as it had for years too many to count. Once It had been worshipped as a God, revered and feared and loved, but that time had long since passed. The peoples who worshipped It were long since dead, and few could even point out where their once-mighty nation used to be on a map if you asked. But It remembered, from It’s sleep beneath the earth. It remembered everything.

As It slept It dreamed. Of nations bowing their heads before him, of sacrifices, men, women and children, of artifice built in It’s honour. It dreamed of burning down the world. But It couldn’t, not any more. It was forgotten, and all It could do was wait.

And so It waited, for a human mind to wander into It’s sphere of influence. And when one finally did, It awoke.

A mind. A human mind. For the first time in centuries, in eons, a human mind appeared at the peripheral of It’s consciousness. It had been so long since It tasted the sweet, familiar flavour of human awareness, but now that awareness was back, and It was hungry.

Slowly, exactingly, it reached out tendrils of it’s own demi-conciousness and probed the new found mind, learning it’s dreams, it’s desires, it’s hopes and fears and it’s picture of itself. And, when It had learned enough, It began to seduce the little soul, making sweet overtures, promising love, and power, and acceptance, offering purpose and the love of a horrible and powerful master. The human mind resisted at first, but it was a small and shabby thing compared to It, and it’s defences were quickly overcome. Soon, this little human would be It’s plaything, It’s avatar on the physical plane, It’s evangelist. And through this little human would the world once more come to know, and to fear It. Again It would stretch It’s grasp out across the world of men, spreading fear and death and joy and power, and all would bow to It and love It and, if It felt it to be necessary, be consumed by It, utterly, without complaint.

The world would know it’s place. And that place would be under It’s unwavering control.

But, as suddenly as the human mind had entered It’s realm, it began to recede once more, taking with it It’s chance to re-establish itself. It tried to hold fast to the little human soul, but the harder It clung the more swiftly It’s grasp was eluded. There was less, than little, and then gone was the human consciousness that so recently had been It’s world, It’s lifeline. And It was alone, in the dark beneath the world.

“James, what is it? You were talking in your sleep.”

“Was I? Sorry. I was having a nightmare.”

“Oh? What was it about?”

“You know, it’s the funniest thing, now that I’m awake, I can’t remember a thing about it. Scary, though, I remember that much.”

“Ah well, it’s for the best. Means you won’t have the same nightmare when you go back to sleep.”

“Here’s hoping. Good night, dear.”

“Good night.”

Beneath the world It slumbered, as it had for years too many to count. It remembered everything. It dreamed of burning down the world, but all It could do was wait.

It would wait as long as It needed to.

It was very patient.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Hall of Mirrors

The young man stepped into the hall of mirrors, and there he discovered himself, made twisted and perverse.

Misshapen and grotesque, his faults writ large across the cool glass pane, mistakes taking up his whole field of view. The visage that greeted him horrified him, broke his spirit utterly. He shattered into fragments, and the bits were blown to the four winds, never to be seen again.

The reflection stepped down from the mirror, exited the hall, and went out into the world, reflection taking the place of man.

It was surprised to find that few could tell the difference.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Purpose of Existence

Suddenly, I came face to face with God itself, an experience more beautiful than the human mind could fully comprehend. A sense of joy unlike any I’d known washed over me and I was instantly brought to my knees in trembling gratitude. It was glorious, awesome, and I felt perfect love for the universe and all the things within it. I wept tears of wonderment at the experience, feeling for the first time in my life complete. Fulfilled.

Here, at last, would be the answer I’d spent a lifetime searching for. The answer for which I’d spent years in monasteries, hiked to Tibet, starved in deserts on vision quests, pilgrimaged to three holy cities and attended more churches than I could count. I’d finally come to the end of my journey, and this ultimate knowledge, and the sense of purpose and contentment it would surely brings, was finally mine.

“Please,” I beseeched the deity, averting my eyes from it‘s glorious and horrifying visage, “please, I beg of you, tell me, what is this life? Why are we here? What’s the true purpose of existence?”

God looked down upon me, kindly, for a moment or two, seeming to consider my words. Finally, he put a hand upon my bowed head and bid me rise to my feet. As he answered, he smiled down at me, radiating perfect energy and warmth.

“The purpose of existence,” he answered in a voice powerful enough to shake the very heavens above us, “is to create a universe from nothingness and fill it with intelligent creatures, granted free will by your loving hand, so that they might love you in return. For me, at least. But you’re neither immortal nor omnipotent, so for you it might be something very different.”