Sunday, December 29, 2013

Weekly Prompt Story: Coast

Die Hard
By Christopher Munroe

I get that the premise eventually wore thin.

Guy trapped in place deals with whatever, with no outside aid. It was never the sort of premise that, however much Hollywood tried, was going to remain fresh. And yes, by the end of the ‘90s we were tired of the formula.

Nonetheless, man, Die Hard. It’s basically the perfect movie. Sharp, tight and witty, with just the right number of explosions.

If you’ve seen the film recently, you already understand what I mean.

If not, watch it with me!

Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs…

Thursday, December 26, 2013


There is no greater feeling, in my opinion, than the moment after having been sick for a week that I realize I’m starting to pull through.

Still aching, still coughing, my voice nowhere near back, likely won’t be back for another week, but still, compared to last week it’s an incalculable improvement.

I can kind of breathe again! I’m keeping down solid food! And, finally, my body’s beginning to get back to its natural rhythm.

It is magnificent.

…and then, at five in the morning, when I still can’t get to sleep, I remember: I hate my body’s natural rhythm.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Weekly Prompt Story: Anything but Christmas

By Christopher Munroe

Eggnog season’s upon us, and as such the time has come to drink.

Not in a “degenerate alcoholic” way, though the argument could absolutely be made that I’m that, but rather more festively. In spirit with the season.

I like my ‘nog with Kahlua, though a good spiced rum can also be delicious. But really, what you drink with your eggnog doesn’t matter.

What matters is that you do drink eggnog, and who you drink it with.

Because really, isn’t that the true meaning of the holiday?

I can drink to anything, but Christmas especially is a time for celebration…

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Reason for the Season

The first ghost took me to a shopping mall, where harried retail workers worked ten, sometimes twelve hour shifts, six days a week, frequently having to skip breaks to keep up with the volume of shoppers passing through. I watched them, separated from their own families and wishing they could spend their holidays at home, stagger through day after painful, repetitive day, helping strangers they knew would never appreciate their hard work find the perfect gift…

The second ghost was different. He showed me a family dinner, where people who loved one another realized they didn’t like one another nearly as much as they could. They tried their best to keep it civil until the night was over with, but as the drinks flowed tempers flared, as they must, and by the end of what was meant to be a family meal the veneer of civility had given way to open, passive-aggressive hostility.

The final ghost was, perhaps, worst of all. It showed me a wasteland of gifts, bought, opened and forgotten. Perhaps some might be used, or at least re-gifted next holiday season, but the majority would languish in closets and storage rooms until, finally, winding up either at yard sales or in landfills. Money wasted, time and effort unappreciated. Tokens of affection given, received and ignored.

The ghosts had visited to bring me an important lesson on the true meaning of Christmas, and waking up the next morning I realized that yes, the lesson was both true and important to remember at this time of year.

…oh yes, I learned my lesson, and I learned it well.

Christmas is the worst.

Also: Ghosts are kind of dicks.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Weekly Prompt Story: Spy

Why I Need Billions of Dollars Worth of Military Funding
By Christopher Munroe

Here’s the plan…

Step One: Develop microscopic robots small enough to exist undetectably within the human body.

Step Two: Equip and program said robots with the capability to record and broadcast directly from their host’s memory, that said recordings can be later retrieved for use.

Step Three: Inject the robots into the bone marrow of our agents. Ideally, right where the skeletal structure connects to the brainstem. This way, the nanobots will be near enough the brain to see the world as our agent does, in real time.

This, in short, is the principal behind my new “Spy-nal fluid” project…

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A December Realization

Every year at about this time I realize: I have accomplished nearly none of my New Year’s resolutions.

And this year, I’m sorry to admit, has been no exception.

The extra weight has not come off. I still smoke, still drink. My workout plan has been woefully inadequate.

In fairness to myself, my writing goals have gone a little better. My blog’s been kept up, Sunday stories have arrived on time, and NaNoWriMo went well, with room in the schedule for a few longer stories to send to various short-fiction markets. My work has appeared in a few venues, not huge ones, but ones I genuinely like. Overall I’m unashamed of that side of it, but still, I can’t help thinking I could have done better there too.

And don’t even get me started on my day job…

…in fact, of all the promises I made myself this time last year, I can only think of one that I could reasonably list as an unqualified success.

To like myself, in spite of my failings, and never second guess myself no matter what mistakes I might make.

Fortunately, at the end of the day, that really is the only one that matters.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Weekly Prompt Story: Blame

The Blame Game
By Christopher Munroe

Admittedly, mistakes were made. And yes, I’m aware that people were hurt.

Some have said it was my negligence that caused the incident, but this is neither the time nor the place to play the blame game.

Or is it?

You know, now that I think about it, after the things I’ve done maybe a bit of mudslinging would be the perfect distraction from the actual problems at hand…

Okay, the blame game it shall be!

Your fault, your fault, bo-bour fault, bananna-fanna-fo four fault.

Me-mi-mo mour fault.

Your fault!

Wait, that’s the name game.

Which one’s the blame game?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A New Holiday Tradition

I broke into his house as he slept.

It wasn’t as hard as I’d imagined it might be, to be honest, I’d thought breaking and entering would be a whole huge process and that I might not be up to the task, but when the time came all I needed was a little forethought, a little advance planning, and an appropriate mix of forthright honesty and blatant lies.

I explained to his neighbor what I planned to do and she gave me his extra key, basically, it didn’t take any more than that.

So, while he slept, into his home I crept, dressed all in black but for a red winter hat atop my ski-masked head.

I was careful, I had to be careful, lest I wake him as I crept silently up his stairs and into his room, placing the small, gift-wrapped parcel I’d brought with me on his night stand and crouching by his bed, my face inches from his, watching him even as he continued to sleep, utterly oblivious to my presence, the only sound in the room that of his breathing as he slumbered.

And, once everything was in place and I knew the time was right, I prodded him once, then again, to wake him from his dreams.

“Secret Santa.” I whispered, eyes wide, grinning under my mask.

And then waited for the screaming to begin…

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Weekly Prompt Story: Family

On Dinners Missed
By Christopher Munroe

I usually work family holidays.

I don’t have kids, and my extended family’s back east, so on Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving, Easter or any of the other holidays requiring huge family meals, I’ll take pity on a coworker and cover their shift.

They have children, after all, and deserve to spend Christmas with them.

I don’t begrudge it, though they’re not especially good shifts. Time and a half, though, and it’s not like I have other plans for the evening.

HOWEVER: Come Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, or any of the other “drunken, rowdy douchebag” holidays, I’ll be expecting the favor returned…