Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dead Hookers

Admittedly, three days before an election isn’t the time to be caught killing a hooker.

Still, life happens, detectives burst in and dead woman drape across beds.

His lawyers had him released immediately, but the damage was done. The press was having a field day.

So there was nothing else to do.

Lights bore down during that first press conference post “incident”, and he felt the reporters’ eyes deconstructing him. But he stood his ground, this was his only chance to seize the narrative. He braced himself, and spoke.

“You can see,” he began, “how tough I am on crime…”

Monday, August 29, 2011

Shrink (based on a prompt from 100 word stories)

...by the way, I've officially joined in on isfullofcrap's podcast, "100 word stories". Why have I done this? Because I enjoy the podcast in question very well, I'd not contributed this far, and I like opportunities to write stories short enough that I can write/record them in an afternoon. Thus, I'm IN so far as the weekly story prompt goes. My first went up today, and if you don't subscribe to the cast you ought. If you don't subscribe, here's the link...


...if you STILL won't subscribe, here's the text of my own story:

By Munsi

I’m having panic attacks again.

I can’t seem to shake the notion I’m becoming… smaller?

If that makes any sense.

I know, I know, of course I’m not. It’s just anxiety and the feeling I’m not properly respected in my work and home life. But in spite of that understanding I can’t shake the feeling that as more and more of my decisions are taken out of my control I’m actually… shrinking.

It’s crazy, isn’t it Doctor?


Can you even hear me?


No, I suppose you wouldn’t be able to hear me, from all the way up there…

Friday, August 26, 2011

Not Another Ghost Story

Timmy already knew, standing in the front yard of the old place, that he never should have agreed to it.

All the kids in the neighborhood knew the house was haunted. Nobody’d lived in it for as long as Timmy’d been alive, and the yard was overgrown with weeds, as nobody cared enough to tend to it. The windows, long since smashed open wide, had allowed decades worth of rainwater into the building, causing the framework of the place to sag. Everyone on the block kept a wide berth, and even the neighborhood’s parents warned their kids to stay away.

Oh, they never called the place haunted, or even admitted there were such things as ghosts, but they did warn their kids to stay away. And that, for the neighborhood kids, was proof enough.

Timmy had known all of this earlier in the day, when on the playground Andy had dared him to go up and into the house after dark to meet the ghost. He knew it, and he knew that nobody he knew of had ever gone into the house and come back out. Nobody had ever gone in at all. And yes, he was terrified by what he might find in there. But he was much more terrified of being called a chicken, there on the playground, in front of everyone he knew. It was a name that could never be lived down once he had it, and one he would go to any length to avoid.

So he claimed that Andy was being stupid, that there were no such things as ghosts, and that he’d be happy to prove it.

And that was how he came to be in the front yard of a haunted house shortly after sunset, with a handful of witnesses from school waiting behind him to see if he’d really go through with it and a rotted oak door ahead, inviting him to come inside. He desperately wanted to run away, but he knew that he could not.

He breathed as deeply as he could, closed his eyes, counted to five, and made his way up to the door.

The knob was cold in the autumn night and the door creaked loudly as it opened, dashing any hope he may have had that it might be locked. Inside, the darkened hall stretched out farther than he could see, and as he entered moldy floorboards creaked under his feet. He took two steps in and stopped, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. Then, girding himself, he set off down the hall.

He was inside, after all. The hard part was done with and he’d survived it. All he had to do now was find something to bring back out with him, to prove he’d actually gone all the way in, hadn’t just hidden in the hallway, counted to one hundred and retreated to safety. A plan of action which, had Andy not demanded the souvenir, Timmy almost certainly would have pursued.

Down the hall he went, hand braced against the wall for balance, looking for a promising room to search. But most of the rooms in the old haunted house had been long since stripped bare, and nothing could be found. Still, as he headed deeper into the heart of the place, Timmy could swear he heard sounds from the basement level.

He couldn’t tell what it was, but for reasons unknown even to him he was drawn toward the sounds, perhaps simply because the soul-crushing emptiness of the place made the prospect of something, anything, seem appealing. The knock-knocking grew louder as he made his way through empty halls and gutted rooms, and as he came to the door leading down to the cellar he saw a faint, ghastly light emanating out from under it’s crack.

To go on was madness.

To go back a humiliating admission of defeat.

Thus, there was no choice at all.

He cracked open the door, readjusted his vision to the sudden presence of light, and steeled what little courage he had left. Then, believing himself ready for anything, he made his slow way down the stairs.

He was ready, that is, for anything but what he saw.

A single, rotted mattress lay across unfinished floor, with two threadbare blankets thrown atop it. The room was lit by a few dozen candles, and they illuminated it enough to see… not much. An old looking, battery powered stereo, a faded picture in a frame by the mattress, a few articles of clothing strewn about the floor, and a table with a collection of glass flasks and bags of powder atop it, next to which sat a well used chair. Timmy didn’t understand what the flasks were for, nor what the powder was, but he knew he had to leave the house with something, and if he were to find anything this would be where it was found.

He took a step away from the stairs and into the room as behind and above him a slurred voice cursed and the door slammed shut.

As footsteps echoed down the stairs Timmy realized; in an empty room, there is no place to hide. Not that one can hide from a ghost.

So, cowering, Timmy awaited his fate. Though when the ghost arrived he looked nothing like any Timmy’d ever seen on TV.

His eyes were wide and wild and his hair long and stringy, falling to his shoulders in greasy waves. His too thin body was clad in old, torn jeans and a faded t-shirt, and he was shaking with fury as he arrived at the bottom of the staircase. He took a minute to adjust his own eyes to the light, the left one twitching uncontrollably, and finally fixed them, white-hot with hate, on Timmy.

“Who. The fuck. Are you?” This horrifying stranger nearly screamed as he bore down on Timmy.

So no, the house wasn’t haunted after all.

Though perhaps it soon would be.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Margaret Atwood

Today I spoke with Margaret Atwood.

She’s asked me to stand for election. She’s unhappy with the Harper government’s treatment of artists, authors particularly, and she’ll stand it no longer.

Thus, she’s organized Canada’s novelists, playwrights, essayists and short fiction writers, to represent the creative class within our government.

She’s hoping to shift focus to the arts and culture of this great nation.

Nobody thinks we’ll form the next government, but in the current political climate we may wind up electing a sizable number of MPs.

And if we do, parliament will learn what it’s like overcoming a writer’s bloc.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Haunting

She loved him. He killed her.

Worse, he got away scot-free.

Every year on the anniversary of her death, her spirit returns to plague her killer. But every year she stops short, unable to face the man she’d so loved in life. Without fail, she turns away.

Instead she winds up visiting me, ethereal, weeping. Saying it’s unfair, how she loved him and how betrayed she feels...

And every year I’m there, listening, wishing I could hold her, wishing she had a body to hold.

I’ll always be there for her.

Because I loved her, and she died on me.

Friday, August 19, 2011


She was a sorcerer, but also a ninja. Which in a nutshell is where the problem arose.

Because I knew one day she’d come. She wouldn’t be able to resist the treasure to be had.

The ancient tome had been in my family for generations, you see, handed down from father to son, and from it I’d learned my own dark majiks. I’d learned to control the elements, and to shape time and space itself to my liking. I’d learned to prolong my life and to heal the wounded and sick, and I hoped one day to learn mastery over even death itself.

But what I’d not learned was vindictiveness, nor how to maintain a clear conscience were I to punish an innocent for crimes she might one day commit. So, although I knew she would inevitably attempt to steal my rightful prize, I could do nothing until the day she actually tried it. And so, my hands thusly tied, I was simply forced to wait for her to come and make her attempt on what was mine.

And come she did, in the night, as I slept.

And I didn’t even wake up. I had to watch security footage after the fact.

My locks were nothing to her, as she came in through a skylight, and the security alarm I’d paid so much for meant equally little as it’s power had been “mysteriously” cut before she’d even begun scaling my walls. I had guards, but none had any inkling that anything was amiss. I had tripwires, but not one tripped. Protective runes were placed around my stately home’s library, but she knew the counters to each and every spell. She breezed through my security measures as though they were nothing at all.

And yet the cameras kept recording.

Oh, they were no longer being routed to the private security firm I’d hired to maintain continuous surveillance, all they got was a loop from a previous night that implied that all was well. But they were recording, and storing video of her feats of subterfuge that I might view them later. Because she didn’t simply want to take what was mine, she wanted me to know she had it. She wanted me to know she’d beaten me, and that with the knowledge contained in the tome at her disposal there was nothing I could do about it. It wasn’t enough for her to violate me, to violate my family. I also had to watch.


As humiliating to me as I imagine it was to her when she got home, opened the book and found that it’s every page was blank, though sadly I have no similar footage of that moment. What I wouldn’t give for THAT video feed.

If I had it, I’d keep it on the laptop onto which I scanned the pages of the tome eighteen months ago.

Because I’m also a sorcerer, and while I’m not a ninja I am a man willing to live in the modern age. And I’ve found a Kindle to be so much easier to carry around…

Monday, August 15, 2011

Yet Another Drabble About Rocket Boots

The wind howls as I stare through the plane’s door into empty sky, exhilarated.

My fucking rocket boots. Eleven years late, but finally arrived.

When Rob told me he’d built a pair, and chartered a plane, I jumped at the opportunity. But now, about to leap into freefall with nothing but boots to protect me, I’m having understandable second thoughts.

“We’re absolutely sure these work?” I scream over the sound of the engines.

“One way to find out!” He calls back.

“A series of clinical tests?” I try to ask, but by the end of the sentence I’m spiraling downward…

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Question

I very nearly didn’t ask, not least because it was an incredibly stupid question.

I mean, it was impossible. I understood that it was impossible, and yet I’d seen her.

She had Kat’s hairstyle, certainly, and drove an identical car, but she was clearly a different woman. Like, 50 years different. Her hair was grey-white, her hands hooked over the wheel, bony and withered, and her faced was cragged by what appeared to have been a very full lifetime of experiences. Yet, sunk into that face, surrounded by deep smile-lines, were the eyes I’d fallen in love with. More tired, certainly, but still clearly the same eyes.

She was stuck at a red light, and when she saw me she seemed to look away, as though avoiding my gaze. I started over to the waiting car, but the light changed before I arrived and she sped away.

Sped, by the way, was chosen very deliberately there. Tires squealing and everything, as though she was trying to escape something that terrified her. As though she was trying to escape… me? That made no sense, we’d never met, why would she want to escape me?

So I wondered. Then, realizing how stupid a thing to wonder it truly was, I stopped wondering, shook my head to clear it, and got on with my day. Because I’m a grownup, and grownups get on with what they have to do rather than standing around wondering incredibly stupid nonsense.

Later, once my errands were run, I started to wonder again. I guess I’m not THAT grown up after all.

I let the question nag at me all afternoon, knowing how embarrassing it would be to ask it out loud yet needing to know the truth. I agonized over it, vacillating back and forth on whether to ask or not, but by the time Kat got home from work, I’d resolved not to. It really was unbelievably stupid, after all, both as a question and as something to spend a day obsessing over. So I would put it out of my mind, we’d open a bottle of wine and enjoy a relaxing evening together. So I had decided, and so it would be.

Which is why I was surprised as anyone when the first words out of my mouth when she got home were “Honey? Could you come in here a minute? There’s something I need to ask you…”

My face went red even as I was saying it, I couldn’t believe what I was actually considering. But when she came in, blushing equally guiltily and staring at the floor, my eyes went wide with shock.

“Were you…” I stammered, suddenly certain she was, “did you, I mean… you were the woman? You were the woman?”

It made absolutely no sense, yet I could tell before she even opened her mouth what her answer would be. And when she finally worked up the courage to look up into my eyes, she knew instantly that I knew.

She put a finger to my lips to silence me, which was good because I was sounding dumber with each word I spoke, then silently walked to the kitchen fridge to grab herself a can of diet soda. When she returned I was on the couch, still visibly shaken.

She explained to me that yes, she was occasionally an eighty year-old woman. She had the ability to use years from the end of her life at any time she chose to, and so she used them whenever she had a convenient opportunity. While driving, or evenings when I wasn’t around and she didn’t want to do much more than watch TV, or other such trifling moments. She’d been doing it since she was in her teens, in order to get the years as an old person out of the way in as non-intrusive a way as was possible.

She explained that it was a skill she’d picked up from her grandfather, and that the first time she tried it she immediately dropped dead of a massive stroke at the age of eighty-seven. She’d been dead for nearly ninety seconds before she snapped back to her natural age, and had been plagued by headaches for weeks afterward.

But, she added, when it was pointed out to her that, having died of a massive stroke already, she never had to worry about doing it again, she immediately understood the value of the gift she’d been given.

Since then she’d been getting the years at the end of her life out of the way however she could, and by her count she’d managed to work her way back to somewhere around the age of eighty-one, in the process saving herself six extra years of youth to be used at her leisure.

Which seems insane. Because it is insane. Yet I saw what I saw, and to be honest she does look many years younger than me in spite of us being approximately the same age. I’d clocked it up to my smoking and her taking care of her skin, but if it was this…

Which, of course, it wasn’t. Because like I said, that’s insane. She’d spun a good yarn, but really? She was dealing with aging by getting it out of the way? That’s not even a thing, and hearing her say it out loud drove home this point such that it finally felt real. I was being silly, it was just a woman with a similar hairstyle and similar eyes driving a similar car, Kat happened to be somewhere nearby and had seen how I reacted to it, and she was fucking with me. It was funny, in a way, but I was on to her and the joke was over.

And I could have left it there, honestly I could have.

I could have just laughed it off, or said something along the lines of “Oh, I see what you’re doing, you’re right, it was a stupid thing to ask.” and then offered to order some takeout for dinner. I could have done any of a thousand things, and the matter would’ve been left.

Basically I could have done anything other than say what I wound up saying.

“Prove it.”

Which she then did.

And there, faced with an eighty one year old version of the woman I loved, slightly stooped, wrinkled and exhausted-looking, wheezing slightly as she breathed, apologetic that she’d never told me any of this before, it became impossible to deny.

Also; impossible to understand. I sputtered and stammered, trying to force my fractured thoughts into something resembling a sentence, failing utterly to express my response to the totality of all that I’d witnessed that day. Eventually, although it was woefully inadequate, I managed to get at least one word to squeak out of my paralyzed throat.


…and then, smiling, she showed me.

So yeah, that’s what happened to me today. Weird, right?

Oh, and sorry it took so long for me to post this. Arthritis in my joints as I type takes some getting used to, and it took me all night to finish…

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Too many secrets had escaped the agency, and everyone knew they had a mole within their ranks. But the council was at a loss. Whoever was leaking documents, they were covering their tracks too well.

So Agent Seven organized a party.

Space was prepared, and everyone with security clearance was gathered in what they thought was a simple social.

But Agent Seven had his own agenda.

He confidently walked out into the ballroom and, one by one, started punching the guests in the back of the head.

“Sorry…” One of them eventually mumbled.

And so, the Canadian spy was unmasked.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The End

The worst part wasn’t the destruction of the universe. It was the destruction of… myself?

The stars had been blinking out for days by the time the wave got to Earth, yet nobody seemed perturbed about it but me. Try as I might, I couldn’t make a single person see that this was a potentially catastrophic event. And when I woke up one morning and heard on the news that Australia had mysteriously vanished, I somehow knew even before I spoke to anyone about it that nobody would think anything was out of the ordinary.

As I arrived at work, the car’s radio cut out unexpectedly, but previous to that nobody on it had mentioned the disappearance of a continent as anything especially distressing. And now they never would. I switched from channel to channel, but the other stations were out too.

I waited a few minutes, to see if the stations would eventually come back. None of them did. Eventually, I had to get to work…

Everybody at the office was doing their job as though it were just another day, though as the day progressed I noticed more and more of my coworkers seemed to be absenting themselves. By the time lunch rolled around, only a handful of people were left.

By the time I returned from lunch, still hungry as the diner across the street was no longer there, I was seemingly the only one left in the building. Something, clearly, had to be done, but I had no idea specifically what.

When I went into my office to consider my options, letting the door swing shut behind me was an admittedly bad idea. Although, it could be that finding it impossible to open again was less emotionally taxing an option than seeing whatever was coming for me. By the time I had a plan I was trapped. Should have known I would be.

Though it wasn’t a very good plan, it likely wouldn’t have mattered even if I had been able to implement it.

I didn’t actually see anything in the room vanish, it seemed to happen only when I was looking the other way, but it didn’t take long before I found myself in an empty room, staring at bare walls. I closed my eyes, tightly, and when I opened them again even those were gone.

I was floating, in emptiness, nothing pulling me in any direction. No idea how I’d gotten there, or what had happened to the universe. No reference point of any kind, just… me.

Which made it that much more distressing when I started to go too.

I didn’t notice it at first, but by the time my legs were gone up to my knees I was fascinated as, bit by bit, my tissue and bone unraveled under me, more and more of me vanishing into the ether. I suppose I should have done something, tried to pull myself away, but I was too fascinated by the process to think of it. My torso unraveled up to my neck, and the last thing I saw before my eyes fell from my vanishing skull was my arms, unconnected and rapidly diminishing, spiraling away from where I used to be.

From where I still was.

Not in any corporeal way, not one atom was left from what used to be my body, but there was some thinking thing still left in what once was the universe. I knew, because I was it.

Though not for long.

The destruction of my body, oddly enough, didn’t hurt at all. The destruction of my mind, however, was excruciating. Every memory, every desire or ambition or drive, every stray thought I’d ever had in my life I felt die, and each one seemed to know it was dying. Me as a child, gone, my first day of work, gone. The face of my beloved, no longer waiting for me in a home that no longer existed, now no longer even a memory. Before long, all that was left of what I’d considered “self” was mindless animal terror, and pain.

And then, having stripped me to nothingness, the pain stopped.

Moments later, so did the fear.

Yet there I was.

I’m not sure what I was, my mind and body were long since gone, but some fundamental me-ness remained, unthinking, unfeeling in the nothingness for I don’t know how long. With no point of reference it could have been an eternity or an instant, but each moment was first brand new, and then instantly forgotten. These moments seemed to stretch out infinitely before me, not that I would notice infinity if it’d happened.

Finally, that sliver of consciousness too began to go dark, and the last light in the universe, meager though it was, winked out, shutting the door on all that was or would forever be.

And then I woke up.

I was in a lab of some kind, naked but for a hospital gown, with electrodes hooked to my shaved scalp. Soft music played in the background, a tune I thought I might recognize if I’d given it a moment’s thought. I didn’t bother, I couldn’t see how it was relevant.

I didn’t know how I’d gotten there, or who’d hooked me up, there was a lot I couldn’t remember, but that too seemed irrelevant. I couldn’t even bring myself to be angry about what had been done to me. Nothing mattered except in that it applied to the task at hand. And, with no task currently at hand, logically speaking nothing mattered. So I removed the electrodes, sat up on what appeared to be a surgical table, and waited, paying no attention to anything in the room until a nondescript man in a dark blue suit came in, holding a clipboard.

“Congratulations Mr. Robertson,” he said to me briskly, “you’ve survived the program. Many testees don’t. So, now that you’ve had time in the chamber to consider our offer, will you join our… organization?”

…and when I searched what was left of my consciousness, I couldn’t find anything within it capable of saying no.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bronies Vs. Juggalos

They came in greater numbers than we’d anticipated, and better armed to boot.

Their black and white warpaint, designed to terrify, succeeded admirably, and they still had access to the old weapons, from the before time. Weapons powered by magnets, though they knew not how they worked.

Attacking in one massive wave, trying to break our will. And for a moment, we did fear.

But hope’s never lost, and we have our own weapons.

Faith in ourselves, and each other.

The power of teamwork.

And yes, friendship, which has it’s own magic.

…and we shall pray that that’ll be enough.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Future

I’ve been accused of not taking my future seriously enough.

Indeed, it’s been said by those dearest to me that I live too much in the moment, too much for fleeting pleasure. People point out that, should I continue along this path, I’ll never “get anywhere” in life.

Not sure where I should “get”, I like life well enough.

Still, out of respect I’ll attempt, starting now, to take a longer view of things.

In one hundred years, we will all be dead.

In two hundred, forgotten.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to meet friends at a pub…