Thursday, May 31, 2012

Funtown Follies


Funtown Follies


The sun, fat and red like a drunkard’s nose, was just sinking past the distant mountains when the tiny car pulled onto Main Street. Crudely rendered polka-dots of all shapes and sizes adorned the vehicle's rusty shell and a pair bright pink fuzzy dice were tied to its front grill. Its appearance was made all the more ridiculous by the expensive sports cars and pearlescent painted SUV's it chugged past. It's filth-encrusted windows obscured its occupants.
At the corner of Main and Elm it sputtered to a stop, the rear suicide door swinging open. Squiggles was the first one out. He stretched up to his full height, which was just shy of seven feet, and his vertebrae made a sound like broken banjo strings as they popped back into place. Letting out a high-pitched giggle, he glanced up and down the street before loping off into the backyard of the nearest house.
The car lurched forward again and careened sharply across the street, the front fender gouging a jagged line across the passenger side door of a Mercedes. As it picked up speed the rear door opened again and a brightly clad figure flopped out and rolled bonelessly across the asphalt, landing in a pile on the corner of Sycamore. Chef Bonko hopped up onto his feet and put his hands on his hips. His bright, crimson painted grin widened as he surveyed the town. Soon his leather bag would be filled with squirming tasties and he would begin to cook.
At the intersection of Oak and Main Dr. Pointy hopped out with a regal air, his large red shoes flopping ridiculously. He waved away the swarm of flies that buzzed around his red stained medical bag and adjusted his grimy surgical mask. He slowly tapped the air bubbles out of a ludicrously sized hypodermic needle as he made his way onto the front porch of a nearby townhouse.
Up and down Main Street the car would lurch and rest, lurch and rest, continually disgorging garishly dressed individuals of all shapes and sizes. One had a mouth filled with shards of bloody, broken glass. Another carried a hammer that took a full minute for its handle to finally clear the door frame. Some carried acid-filled seltzer bottles, others had bundles of balloons filled with spiders. Still others simply tittered and wrung their cartoonishly gloved hands with anticipation.
As darkness finally descended on the sleepy community over a dozen of the creatures were slowly spreading out, making their way across lawns and into unlocked back doors. By the the time the sun rose tomorrow no one would in Silver Heights would ever be the same again.
Someone had sent in the clowns.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Space Cargo!


Star Cargo!
The Adventures of Hyper-Space Transport Hub 42


thrusters producing a steady ticking noise as they cooled.
“All righty then, let's get these boxes unloaded!” Assistant Quartermaster Anderson shouted as he walked up the Telaxian freighter’s gangplank and into its cargo hold. Various Unloader Bots trundled up around him at the sound of his command and began producing a myriad of hooks and manipulator arms from various compartments in order to handle the dozen-or-so boxes crammed into the small hold. “Gently now, these crates are filled with precious medical supplies!”
“Assistant Quartermaster Anderson, sir?” Unloader Bot J-19 said, rotating in the portly human's direction. “We seem to have a problem with this unit's Designation Code.”
“What is it?”
“Designation Code 14897184213, sir”
Anderson punched the code into his quantum-fueled manifest datapad and frowned at the information that began to scroll across the pad's liquid crystal surface.
“This is awful,” Anderson verbalized, sweat beginning to dot his upper lip. “The crate marked with Designation Code 14897184213 is supposed to be delivered to Hyper-Space Transport Hub 49 in the Regula Antares System. According to my data it contains fourteen type R hex bolts that they need for their rocket forklifts.”
“Dear me!” Unloader Bot J-19 bleeped, its C-clamp manipulator arms spinning in a frenzy. “Without those hex bolts Transport Hub 49 will have to make do with those old deregulated terrestrial forklifts. Productivity will be down by almost 37%!”
“I'll have to inform the captain”, Anderson stated with chagrin. He wasn't looking forward to bringing this news to his detail obsessed commander in chief. “He's not going to like this at all. The captain of Transport Hub 49 is an old war buddy of his and he's going to hate having to inform...what a minute.”
Anderson reached around the nervously quaking Unloader Bot and with his titanium-cotton weave glove wiped at some accumulated space grime that had built up on the outside of the supposedly misplaced cargo crate.
“Why look at this, Unloader Bot J-19,” Anderson communicated with mounting hope. “This space grime covered up the last digit of this crate's Designation Code. It doesn't read 14897184213! It reads 14897184218!”
“That produces a simulation of relief within my servos Assistant Quartermaster Anderson, sir!”
“Me too, Unloader Bot J-19”, Anderson stated as he gazed out wistfully on to the bustling storage area that made up Hyper-Space Transport Hub 42's second largest docking facility. “Me too.”

Captain Rigel O'Malley stalked the corridors of the Transport Hub, an ungodly itch permeating

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Voyages Of The S.S. Amore (Pt. 2)


The Voyages Of The S.S. Amore (Pt.2)


Irritated by the shouting coming from what was probably some lame party in one of the bars she wasn't allowed into, Jane peered out of the door of her cabin and made sure the coast was clear. Her dad had told her to stay in the cramped room while he had yet another heart-to-heart with that silicon infested bag of bitch he called a wife, but Jane had better ideas. Slipping out into the narrow hallway, she made her way to the small metal door she had noticed when they first boarded earlier this afternoon. A red sign was bolted to the door with words ENGINE ROOM: STAFF ONLY emblazoned on it. Trying the latch and finding it unlocked, Jane opened the door and went inside.
Stepping carefully down the metal staircase, Jane kept an ear out to make sure no one was coming. She didn't understand why her dad was being such an ass and not letting her explore the luxury liner on her own. It wasn't like she could run away again while being trapped on a boat. God, he was such a loser sometimes. All she wanted to do was take some pictures with the camera HE bought her for the trip.
Taking her silver Nikon out of her duct-tape-covered Hello Kitty fanny pack, she began to look around for something to photograph as she made her way down the narrow hallway. Click, a reddish smear against the bulkhead. Click, a small pile of broken chains. Click, an actual pile of moss-encrusted dirt. Click, a maggot feebly struggling near pile of filthy cloth.
“Christ, does this tub even have any janitors,” she muttered aloud.
Up ahead was a small propped open door with a sign indicating it was a storage closet. Peeking inside, Jane could could see that it was occupied by the same porter that had helped them to their cabins earlier that day. The one that her dad had expressly told her to stay away from.
“What are you doing?” she asked as she walked into the wide closet and closed the door.
The young man immediately began coughing, large clouds of marijuana smoke billowing out of his mouth. Jane smirked and looked him over as he hacked and tried in vain to extinguish the joint smoldering in his hand. He had his snappy red vest unbuttoned and white dress shirt untucked. She could just make out a hint of a tattoo on his forearm where his shirtsleeve had ridden up. It looked like an ankh.
“You...you aren't supposed to be down here,” he choked out, looking at her with fear in his eyes. “I could tell my boss and he'd...uh...you know...”
“Oh please. You aren't going to tell,” she said, pulling out a white bucket and sitting down on it.  

"Can I have a hit or that, or what?" He handed the joint over warily. When she took a drag he seemed to relax a bit and sat down across from her on a metal toolbox.
“That's a cool skull ring,” he said, nodding at her finger as she handed to marijuana cigarette back to him.
“Thanks. I won it at this fair. It's plastic and painted to look all silver. I like your dog collar.”
“Oh shit,” he said, reaching behind his head to unclasp it. “I'm not supposed to wear it while I have my uniform on. Stupid regulations. How old are you?”
“Eighteen.”
“Bullshit.”
“How old are you?”
“Seventeen. I'll be eighteen in seven months.”
“What's your name?”
“Ethan. What's yours?”
“Jane. Do you dye your hair?”
“Yeah. It's really this turd brown. Black is way better. I had a friend of mine put in the red part here. I thought it would turn out more blood red instead of so bright.”
“I like the bright red. It makes the black...blacker.”
“Cool.”
“Mine's black naturally. I got it from my mom.”
“Was that who was with you today?”
“Fuck no. That's my step-monster.”
“My mom works here on the boat. She's a waitress at that wannabe Irish pub a couple decks up. She made me get this job here. It sucks.”
“You get to see the world. That's pretty cool.”
“I get to help rich people with their luggage. No offense.”
“No worries.”
“I'd rather be home on my own with my band. So what's your name?”
“Um....Jane...when I turn eighteen I'm totally changing it. I was thinking to either Esmerelda or Margaret. But it's just Jane for now.”
Ethan stubbed out the rest of the joint and put the roach into a small tin. Looking at the door as if worried that someone would overhear him as he leaned closer to Jane and whispered.
“Okay Jane For Now, you want to see a dead body?”
“Do I ever.”

The two of them stared into the trashed cargo hold. Broken crosses, ranging from small necklace pendants to one that looked to be over five feet high, lay scattered about the floor. Garlic cloves hung suspended from the ceiling adding a pungent bouquet to the overall smell of rot. A velvet-lined coffin lay smashed open and empty in the far corner.



Part III

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hot Justice


Hot Justice


rugged face marred by a sardonic smile.
“So you must be my new partner, huh?” he asked, his eyes roaming over Deidre. Slater was known around the precinct as a ladies’ man and though she couldn't deny he had a little charisma, Deidre wasn't about to be taken in by some hotshot with an attitude. “So what did you do to get transferred to this...clown car division or whatever? I made a pass at the chief's daughter at the last Ball we had. Worth it.”
“I didn't do anything, Slater,” Deidre spat. “I'm the one who planned and developed this ‘clown car division’ and you should count yourself lucky I requested you. An assignment like this could make your career. Or end it if you screw it up.”
Slater's eyes continued to slide over Lt. Deidre Hollands body, his pupils gliding back and forth over her ample, yet proportioned, curves. She played herself off like some kind of ice queen but if there was anybody in the city with a rep for being a major defroster, it was Jack Slater.
“Requested me, eh?” Slater asked as he walked past her, finally taking the chance to look over the state-of-the-art hangar they were in. A team of eggheads fussed over a bank of computers that dominated one wall and a pile of what looked to be jet engine parts sat in various crates that were in the process of being unloaded by a team of surly looking mechanics. “And why would you do that?”
“Because despite your poor choice of dance partners your experience with the Swift Response Unit has given you the training I need for my project.”
“What is all this anyway?” Slater waved his hand so that his question encompassed the entire hangar. “I recognize some this stuff, but...”
“This operation is my baby, Slater. It's a combination of high tech recognizance equipment, jet age aviation innovations, and good ol' fashioned elbow grease. It's the future of law enforcement and will be the defining moment of 20th century police work.”
“Nice sales pitch. You should sell encyclopedias.”
“Come with me. I'll show you exactly what I'm selling. You'll agree soon enough that it's more than just a pile of dusty old encyclopedias.”
Slater followed Deidre out of the hangar. For a moment, dazzled by the sudden shift from gloomy hangar to bright daylight, Slater couldn't quite make out what he was seeing. Then, as his eyes adjusted to sheer magnitude of what rose before him, he let out an incredulous gasp. He stood there for a full minute, his mouth agape with wonder. Now it was Deidre's turn for a smug smile. The sudden blast of a jet engine snapped Slater out of his reverie.
“This is...amazing.”
“It certainly is. Welcome to the future, Slater. Welcome to Operation Rising Justice!”
Slater took a tentative step toward the looming hot air balloon that was the future of law enforcement technology.

Maurice Paulson, the kingpin of pot, was shaking with rage as he loomed over the man who  



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dude, You're A Witch!


Dude, You're A Witch!


right when Coach Fielding walked in!”
“Oh dang, bro!”, Mitch said as he started to give Darren a shoulder rub. “What did he do? Did he freak?”
“Did he ever! He didn't see me start the summoning or anything, he just saw me standing naked in the middle of the locker room holding The Dagger Of Amnorak. Why did I have to be naked anyway?”
“That's what the book said, man,” Mitch replied nervously, taking a moment to brush The Book Of Howling Atrocity away from where his sweat soaked friend sat on the bench. His fingers recoiled a bit from its human-skin-bound cover. “Don't bother looking, you can't read that language. So he freaked, huh?”
“Big time. He thought I was cutting or something. Like I'm some kind of emo sissy boy. He made me run, like, twenty laps. And he confiscated the knife.”
“So you weren't able to finish the summoning?” Mitch asked, working his hands further down his buddy's shoulders and over his biceps. “How are we going to convince the Bradley sisters to take us to the prom without the Seed of Frinmalak we need to finish that potion?”
“That ain't the half of it, man”, Darren, relaxing into his friend’s impromptu massage. “If the coach finds out I'm a witch, he's gonna kick me off the team. And if I don't summon an Imp of Tsarrotch by the time my history final is due I'm gonna flunk out. I'm like damned if I do or I'm damned I don't, you know. And I guess I'm damned if I do do anyway, with all the demon summoning and stuff, huh dude?”
“You said doo doo”, Mitch whispered into Darren's ear.  r

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Secret Masters


The Secret Masters


I had finally made it. Four heart attacks, two wives, and one nearly career-ending scandal and I had finally passed all of their trials. No more looking over my shoulder or wondering if an innocent conversation was actually a devious test in disguise. No more late night meetings with raspy-voiced men in black in abandoned warehouses or opening an umbrella only to be gassed into unconsciousness. I was one of Them now. A Secret Master. I had climbed the thirteen steps of the proverbial pyramid, stared into the Great Eye, and was found worthy. I was now Illuminati!
“See anyone you recognize?” Fitzgerald asked after I had taken a few moments to let the magnitude of the situation sink in.
“Is that Senator Wilkins?” I asked, pointing to the weasel-faced man who was filling a glass of scotch from a decanter in the corner. He had opposed me on nearly every referendum I put up on the floor for my entire career. It was distasteful to think that I may have to work with him from now on.
“It certainly is. He's been with us for a while now. He's the one who recommended we recruit you.”
The shock I felt actually made me feel a little light headed and I almost missed the other people Fitzgerald was pointing out. There were some faces I wasn't surprised to see. Politicians, CEO's, and a few military generals. There were also a surprising number of movie stars, including that one who made all those awful movies where he turned into different animals or became a gigolo. I now knew how he kept getting employed.
“And that man over there is my mentor, Enrique,” Fitzgerald finished. “I don't suppose I need to introduce him to you.”
“He's my groundskeeper. He's been with me for years. How long...”
“That man is more ancient than you can imagine,” Fitzgerald looked at me with eyes filled with terror. I felt my blood run cold. Then he broke into a broad grin. “I'm just fucking with you. Still, don't mess with him he's pretty badass.”
“So I heard you have been invited to the Bilderburg Meeting this year, Ford?” I heard a familiar voice ask. Wilkins had seen me point at him and had made his way over, wheezing the whole way. It was hard to hide my contempt.
“He isn't aware of that yet, Wilkins,” Fitzgerald said with a tone of admonishment. “Enrique just informed me. You've quite spoiled the surprise.”
“No matter,” Wilkins replied, waving his hand as if the ward away Schneider's glare. “So tell me, Ford, what will you be running?”
“Running?”
“I've decided this year I will run a High Elf Druid. At fourth level you get the Wild Shape ability and then BAM! Grizzly bear on your ass.”
“Please,” Fitzgerald rolled his eyes. “Every year you say you'll run a Druid but when we sit down, lo and behold, the Senator from Mississippi is playing a Sorcerer/Rogue/Fighter again. You multi-classing bastard.”
“Oh, and I don't suppose you will break from the tradition of always running a Paladin?” Wilkins spat back. “Maybe this year you'll remember your alignment restrictions, eh?”
Fitzgerald gave the hunched man a withering look before turning and stalking away. I was about to ask what the hell everyone was talking about when Wilkins grabbed my arm and exhaled scotch breath all over my face.
“It will be grand, Ford. Enrique says that, come hell or high water, we will reach the bottom level of Castle Greyhawk and raid the actual tomb of Zagyg. A feat almost undreamed of! We will dine on Doritos deemed too X-Treme for the masses and drink deep from The Fountain Of Crystal Pepsi. It will be epic!”
A small bell began to chime and Wilkins led me over to the large circular table that dominated the room. My questions would wait. The meeting had begun.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dune Buggy Debutantes


Dune Buggy Debutantes


the back tires spinning uselessly, burying the back of the buggy deeper into the shifting sands of the dune.
“Damn it all!” Lenore cursed, jumping out of the driver's seat and promptly losing her footing on the loose sand. Struggling up to a standing position, she could hear Alexander huffing up the steep, gritty hill behind her.
“You...almost...had..it, Len”, he wheezed at her as he leaned against the buggy's rusty roll bar, which promptly gave out under his weight and sent  Lenore's chubby friend into the sand next to her.
“This is hopeless”, Lenore whined. “We'll never win the Sandblaster 5000 Dune Buggy Race Of Doom with this old thing.”
“You can say that again,” came a mocking voice from the top of the dune. “Where did you get that thing anyway, Rusted Out Pieces Of Crap R Us?”
Lenore looked up and groaned at what she saw. At the top of the hill, sitting in the driver's seat of a vintage VW frame buggy colored the same bright pink as her custom leather jumpsuit, was Veronica VanTassal. Perpetual Homecoming Queen, daughter of the town mayor, and worse of all, five-time winner of the Sandblaster 5000. Roaring up next to her in top of the line buggies were her two constant companions and cohorts, Regina Goebbels and Glinda Jones. Regina jumped up and sat on the top of her buggy, its roll bars colored a shade of purple that would have made Prince jealous, and pointed at Alexander as he continued to struggle in the shifting sands.
“Fatty is your mechanic?” She said mockingly. “Watch out Lenore, I heard he once poured radiator fluid into a Corvair engine block.”
“Oh my God!” Glinda gasped as she checked her hair while leaning against her lime green Meyers Manx. “Even my brother knows that's an air cooled engine and he's retarded.”
“It's hopeless, little girl,” Veronica said with a fake pout. “You're only going to embarrass yourself if you try to race me. I haven't even come close to losing. Ever. That $5,000 grand prize is as good as mine.”
“You don't even need that money!” Lenore shouted, throwing her goggles onto the ground.
“Yeah!” yelled Alexander. “Your dad already owns half the town!”
“Without that prize money we won't be able to fix up the community garage, and without that garage less fortunate kids won't be able to build and repair dune buggies of their own.”
“And if that happens then the dunes might as well belong to you and your rich bitch friends,” Alexander spat.
Veronica leaned out of her buggy and fixed them both with an imperious glare.
“Tough titty.”


Part II

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

WKRP 2079


WKRP 2079

Les Nessman IV stretched a newly opened surgical bandage over the tooth marks that punctured his left hand and looked over at the other occupants of The Bullpen. Shaking his head with disgust, he reached over and adjusted the ancient “Silver Sow” statue, a prestigious award given to his great-grandclone Les Nessman I, that adorned his antique plywood desk, and nervously chewed his lower lip.

A technician was on a ladder busily adjusting the holographic emitter that would soon be projecting their new program director, A.N.D.Y, throughout the entire floor that housed the New Cincinnatti Colony's only source of classical music and ground breaking news coverage via radio wave signal. Les wasn't certain what the new program director program would think of the motley, heathen crew that made up the station's personnel.
The most likable member was probably Erb Tar'Lok, Les' only friend among the staff. Erb was a sharlokian, a race that dedicated itself to sales with a zeal that most galactic races dedicated to war or procreation. His traditional garb of clashing patterns and matching white belt and shoes was on full display today as he sat gazing at himself in the mirror he normally kept hidden within his top desk drawer. He was currently picking a piece of nutrient supplement out of his blindingly white teeth.
On the couch across the room lay the often-malfunctioning Dr. Fevertron, a battered old robot that spent most of its existence being traded around to various radio wave stations across the quadrant. Bailey, the station's only pure strain human, leaned over the aging bot trying to get it to take its daily mixture of oil and data-chips but to no avail. In Nessman's opinion Bailey was way more attractive than Jena-Furr, the front desk secretary that had been biologically constructed to appeal to  the masculine members of most alien species.
According to rumor, this A.N.D.Y program was quite a revolutionary piece of hardware. Every station that it was installed in had undergone rapid changes in programming. Classical stations, like WKRP, had changed format almost overnight. Les worried that his precious station would soon be blaring that Neuvo-Jesus-awful rock and roll music that had recently begun to enter its third revolutionary cycle among the youngling humans. There were even some disturbing whisperings that this A.N.D.Y had even hired an actual Venusian Flytrap to come in as an overnight Dee Jay.
But even if the station changed format, news would still be needed. Les smiled smugly. As long as this A.N.D.Y played ball and would finally install the force-walls around his desk that a proper newsman deserved, then he would have an ally in Les Nessman IV.  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Voyages Of The S.S. Amore


The Voyages Of The S.S. Amore


stars beginning to shine in the bright, moonlit sky. 

 “I know we've had some rough times, Becca,” Victor began as he placed his hand over hers on the ship's railing. “I know I've been the cause of most of them....”
“All of them,” Becca replied, rolling her eyes. She felt his hand stiffen for a brief moment. Then he relaxed and sighed.
“Okay, all of them.”
“Maybe I caused a couple,” She replied, looking up at him coyly. “One or two. No more than that.”
“No matter who caused them...”
“You.”
“No matter who,” he said, raising his voice slightly before relaxing again. “We're here now. This is our fourth honeymoon. Our fourth try at finally getting this marriage to work and I have a feeling it's going to happen this time. No more lies, no more sneaking around...”
“No more secretaries?” Becca asked.
“And no more tennis instructors.” Victor said pointedly.
For a moment Becca wanted to turn and storm away but then, like a trout who finally gives in to the persistence of an expert angler, she relaxed and leaned against Victor's chest. She'd had enough of the constant fighting and tension. Maybe now was the time to bury the hatchet and finally forgive Victor. Ever since they had met two years ago at that topless pancake joint, their lives had been a roller coaster of passionate love and unmitigated hate. Two years of cheating, laughing, lying, and screaming. Yes, maybe it was time to forgive him his foolish dalliances. And maybe, if her luck didn't run out, she could forgive herself.
She gazed up into his steel blue eyes and then down to his full, slightly moist lips. He held her in his strong arms and pulled her closely. Slowly, they leaned towards each other as their eyes slowly closed.
“Help!”
“Get out of the way”
“AAAHHHH!”
A crowd of panicking vacationers charged up the deck, knocking the two lovers apart and throwing them to the ground. Victor grabbed at Becca, trying to use her to shield himself from the kicking feet of the terrified herd.
“What the hell is going on?” Becca screamed, tears of fright and pain welling in her eyes. A bloody and bruised porter, quick on the heels of stampeding mass, turned and yelled one nonsensical word in the panicked couples direction.
“Werewolves!”



Part II