Sunday, September 30, 2012

Weekly Prompt Story: Why I Never Get Anything Done (Twice in one week! Enjoy!)

Why I Never Get Anything Done
By Christopher Munroe

I sit, trying to write, but all I can think about is Point Break.

Love that film…

The Swayze is at the peak of his power, invincible, and what passes for the plot is so wildly over the top that it’s impossible to watch without a big, dopey grin.

Even Keanu isn’t too objectionable. But it’s not like his acting chops are being particularly stretched…

It’s as perfect a dumb actioner as could be, and yes, I should be writing, and yes, I don’t have time for a movie, but still…

Point Break, man…

Screw it, productive work can wait...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Weekly Prompt Story: How to Build a Perfect Cube

How to Build a Perfect Cube
By Christopher Munroe

The corners must be ninety degrees. Exactly ninety. Eighty-nine or ninety-one won’t do. It’s important that the angles are correct, lest it isn’t a cube.

The sides, similarly, must be equal length, though what length is up to you. It’s consistency we need here, not specific measurement.

And lastly, it must exist. A cube that exists is by definition more perfect than one that doesn’t.

Also, it should be all-knowing, all-powerful, and the creator of the universe. These things also increase its perfection.

And there you have it. The perfect cube.

Now: To find a use for such a thing…

Thursday, September 27, 2012

...another short story about love.

It would never work between them, could never work. As their parents tried to tell them, they were from two different worlds…

He was a centaur, she a mermaid. But they didn’t let this stand in the way of their love, preferring to focus instead on the things, and there were many, that they did have in common rather than those things that made them different.

Oh, their parents didn’t approve, but it was the twenty-first century and they weren’t about to allow stodgy family traditions to keep them from a lifetime of happiness together. Ultimatums were made, elopements threatened, and in the end their engagement was, if not embraced, accepted.

It was a beautiful ceremony, the two of them making their way down the aisle, him along the beach and her through the surf. Even the most traditional among their family had to admit that much, at least.

And yes, their life together would bring it’s own challenges. However much they loved one another, they could never be together for long without one or the other suffocating, and children, for obvious reasons, would remain forever beyond the realm of possibility. Yet still, knowing all this as they did, they pledged themselves to one another for a lifetime.

Because that’s what love is.

It’s the willingness to see the problems the life you wish to spend together may yet cause, but still prefer them to being without that one person who completes you.

And so, hand in hand in shoulder-depth water, they were wed. Centaur and Mermaid, husband and wife.

And if they can make love work, maybe we can still hope not to fuck it up in our own lives…

Sunday, September 23, 2012

No Sunday Story?!?!?!??!

Due to there being no episode of 100 Word Stories Sunday prompt episode this week due to lack of a host (get better, Laurence!) There is no Sunday prompt story this week. Very sad. Instead, he said, seamlessly segueing, why not check out my new ebook?

On October 5th of last year, the escalators at West Edmonton Mall shut down simultaneously due to what was believed to be a series of mechanical failures, stranding thousands on the second floor. By the time a rescue operation could be organized and mounted, nearly everyone on the mall’s upper level had been killed, and to this day few people, if any, understand what really happened during the period when that area of the mall was cut off from the rest of the world.

My name is Christopher Munroe, and this is the story of what happened to me. This isn't the whole story of what happened at West Edmonton Mall that horrible day, but it is my story. This is the story of the people I met, the things I had to endure, and the lengths I went to, to survive... a broken escalator.

Broken Escalator is a surrealist horror novel by Christopher Munroe, where mechanical failure spirals quickly out of control and human nature is discovered to be by turns nobler and more brutal than anyone could imagine. Or at least, than anyone would like to admit…

Available, to those of you who didn't already know, via Smashwords even as we speak, and other eBook retailers and in audio soon. Check it out!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I learned about it, as I learn most news nowadays,  via Twitter. Though at first I didn’t have the faintest idea what was going on.

The hashtag #HeIsRisen doesn’t give away a lot of information, after all. And when I did a search to see how it was being used, everyone seemed to studiously avoid giving anything away.

Some of the tweets, many of the tweets, were merest gibberish, not even words, as though everything but the hashtag had simply been typed at random. Others, though made up of English words, put them in no order as to even remotely resemble a sentence.

And what few sentences there were only cast more doubt as to what #HeIsRisen might mean.

“All mankind shall tremble as one before him #HeIsRisen”

“His eons sleep, over. Finally he awakens, to break his horrible fast #HeIsRisen”

“We who yet live, we are the truly damned #HeIsRisen”

Interesting, to be sure, but still no clue was given as to who “He” was, or what he’d risen from. Still, as the day progressed and I went about my business, I couldn’t help noticing as more and more of the people I follow succumbed to the ‘tag. They’d use the phrase, and the quality of their tweets would immediately descend into the depths of the unreadable.

Or at least the unfollowable.

It felt as though there were some game going on, some inside joke that I happened to be outside of. But were that the case, surely somebody on my Twitter would’ve responded to my direct messages with answers. Most of the people I follow are pretty cool, after all, and they’re generally happy to answer questions if I ask.

But no, there was nothing. Neither response to messages, nor any clue to be gleaned from the increasingly incoherent tweets rocketing back and forth regarding #HeIsRisen.

Which was distressing. If people were tweeting something fun I wanted to participate! Or at the very least, to get the joke. But there was nothing to be done about it until I got home from my grocery shopping and could Google the phrase. Hopefully that would provide a little more detail than Twitter seemed willing to.

The search was, apparently, a popular one, because the very first result was a YouTube video, titled “#HeIsRisen: Real Footage of his Rise” and then descending into the same sort of delirious raving I’d grown, from Twitter, to expect with regard to this hashtag in lieu of a description.

Finally, the answers I sought were available to me! Firsthand footage of whatever it was the mystery ‘tag referred to, available at the click of a link! I knew, once I got home and was no longer struggling through the internet via blackberry, that I’d be able to look it up easily enough, and the internet didn’t let me down.

Why would it? Everyone has a video camera nowadays, and so it’s a matter of merest seconds between event and video, plastered across YouTube, linked across Twitter, spread to the world. I lived in an age in which more information was at my fingertips than any generation in human history had access to, and if I wanted information about why people were excited, yet unwilling to describe, #HeIsRisen, it would take me seconds, not minutes, to find it.

And so, I clicked the link.

God have mercy on us all, I clicked that forsaken link.

I can feel my mind abandoning me, even now, the vision of that gibbous, tentacled thing emerging from beneath the sea and taking it’s first, slouching steps up onto land was too much for any mind to bear, don’t you see?

Madness was the only possible result of the hideous scene I witnessed, but I must hold my splintering sanity together. I must. For a few moments more, at the very least.

For this is a momentous occasion. He is risen. Truly, he is.

And I need to Tweet about it…

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Weekly Prompt Story: Space

...on an unrelated note to this Sunday's story, a different drabble I've written, "You Can't Go Home Again," is appearing on this week's episode of the Drabblecast. You should also check that out!

...and here's this week's story:

By Christopher Munroe

Know what trope I miss? Attaching “Space” to things to make them more future-ey.

Writers used it for a good long while! People would take space-ships to space-stations, change into space-suits and space-walk to the spaceport. It was cheesy, I’ll grant you, but it had a certain space-charm.

Space = Future fell out of fashion once people started actually going to space, I think. But we’ve built awesome robots to send in our place now, so I think “Space” is due for a space-comeback. Who’s with me?

I hope you’ve enjoyed my space-story. Now: I’m off to eat my space-lunch.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

...the Last Thing You Want to See While Dying of Thirst

After days in the desert, he was out of water, hopelessly lost, and suspected he’d die there, alone.

Then he saw her.

Not beautiful, exactly, but striking, even from a distance. She stood atop a nearby dune, singing and rapping.

Something about a starship.

He ran then, and when he could no longer run, he crawled. Surely, she’d have water, transport to civilization, some way of contacting help.

But by the time he reached the spot she’d been, she’d moved to the top of the next dune…

He died of dehydration fourteen hours later, still deliriously chasing that Nicki Mirage.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Weekly Prompt Story: RedRum

By Christopher Munroe

I finally bought myself a bottle of RedRum.

I figured it’d provide material for stories, going forward. You know, unexpected deaths, scrambling to hide bodies, the whole thing. Something pun-based yet horrific.


Nobody died, no horrifying revelations, overall it was an uneventful night, drinking Rum and struggling to write.

I may have overdone it. Rum’s never agreed with me, and putting down the whole bottle was probably unwise.

Now my head’s pounding, I’m queasy and I can’t focus my eyes. I’ve never had a hangover this bad in my life! It hurts like mur…

Oh! I just got it!

Friday, September 7, 2012

On My Lunch Break...

It started with a misunderstanding, though I maintain an understandable one.

I was at the smoking area in front of Chinook Mall, on a bench, enjoying a cigarette after all. I had headphones in, so I couldn’t hear what he was saying when he approached me. And to make matters worse, I’d not slept properly in four days due to over-scheduling at work, so my thought processes weren’t one hundred percent up to speed. He said something, his posture implied to me that it might have been a question, I offered him a cigarette without even taking off my headphones.

In reality, he’d wanted to know where the Bank of Montreal had moved to. The one in the mall had apparently been shut down and moved and he had no idea where it had gone. I found this out when he repeated his question and I took my headphones off to actually hear what it was.

Sadly I was of no help there. Bank of Montreal isn’t my bank, so I pay no attention to where they’re located. Still, he took the smoke, so you can’t say I was useless to him.

He took a seat next to me and we smoked, together, whiling away a few minutes in one another’s company. I was in no hurry to get back to work, had two hours between shifts in fact, and he was in no hurry to get much of anywhere, not knowing the location of his bank he couldn’t get anywhere in a hurry even if he’d wanted to. So we sat, and smoked, and shot the breeze.

He told me he was eighty-three years old, and had smoked all his life with no ill effect on his health. Spoke of his distaste for the current fashion for giving it up, told me he’d actively tried to convince his daughter not to bother quitting, because he still, after decades of studies, didn’t believe it was bad for you. Indeed, he thought the opportunity it provided to take three quick minutes to reflect upon your day was absolutely essencial to maintaining mental health.

I told him I agreed with the second part, at least, though I’d still like to quit myself.

He asked where I was born, and when I explained that I’d been born and spent most of my life here in Alberta he told me so had he, though for most of a much longer life than I’d yet had. He leaned back, dragging deeply on his borrowed cigarette, and told me that he’d watched Calgary grow over the course of his eight decades, but that he was still continually surprised by each new development.

This is a thing that happens to us all as we age, I suppose.

He’d known the man who’d owned the land upon which Chinook Mall was built, before Chinook Mall was built, when the area was a golf course. After selling his golf course to Mall developers, the man apparently took the money back to India and spent it building a hospital, because he’d wanted to give back something to the community in which he’d grown up, and that that’d left a tremendous impression on the friends he’d left behind.

“You can’t judge a man by the color of his skin,” the eighty-three year old stranger with whom I was inadvertently spending my lunch-break told me, “or the culture that he comes from. That’s what I’ve learned in my life, there’s goodness in everyone, if you look for it.”

Which is true, though I found the fervency with which he delivered it charmingly anachronistic. The idea that you’d ever have to say “racism, in general, is bad” as though there were people in mainstream society who might disagree wasn’t something that would ever occur to me, though at his age I suppose he’d lived through an era where the idea was more controversial than it is today. The arc of history, and all that…

“That’s certainly true.” I replied to him, smiling.

I don’t usually like talking to strangers. Maybe it’s the amount of my life I’ve spent performing, maybe the service-industry job I work in now, but when I’m alone I’m generally quite closed. Nonetheless, something about the man, maybe the energy he still had even at his age, maybe the willful obliviousness to the modern era that only octogenarians can get away with, maybe just that he reminded me of my own departed grandfather, was incredibly disarming. Given the opportunity, I could quite happily have sat there all afternoon, smoking cigarettes and listening to him tell me about his experiences, separated from mine by half a century, and while doing so reflect upon my own life, my own choices, and what they’ll sound like in fifty years, should I choose to regale another, younger stranger with them.

But, of course, I wasn’t given the opportunity. Cigarettes were finished, he had a bank to find and I a lunch to eat, and so there we parted ways, only knowing one another five minutes but in that time getting to know one another a little better.

Because that’s what life is. It’s connecting with people, even the people you’ll never see again, who you have nothing in common with other than a habit and a city. It’s about being there for them, and with them, and then remembering them after you’ve said goodbye. And most importantly, it’s about taking a little bit of time to stop, and sit, and relax and reflect on what’s going on around you. We all deserve that time, I think, though we don’t always remember that.

There are no Zombies in this story, nor any Orbital Weapons Platforms, Ghosts, Vampires or murderous Cyborgs. It’s just the story of two men who once sat on a bench, enjoying a cigarette, the older saying whatever was on his mind and the younger walking away when he was done in a calmer, more reflective mood than he’d been in five minutes before.

Which isn’t very exciting, I suppose. But really, sometimes life isn’t exciting.

Sometimes it’s just good.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Weekly Prompt Story: The Card Trick

The Card Trick
By Christopher Munroe

Pick a card, any card.

Look, then put it back into the deck.

Queen of Diamonds, right?


Well, the trick only works one time in fifty-two.


When I did it to my buddy Steve, and it was the Queen of Diamonds, he basically lost his mind. Spent days trying to figure out how I did it. Eventually stopped asking me, but I suspect some part of him still wonders, even today.

And if you don’t think that was worth the dozens of times the trick failed, you don’t understand my willingness to over-commit to a bit at all.