Thursday, October 20, 2016
Carlos' Second Head He had never seemed to use it, but now that his second head was missing, Carlos really felt the lack.
Maybe it was silly, but he had really enjoyed putting his sunglasses on it when he came inside.
It unnerved people, and Carlos especially enjoyed unnerving people. Also, it had kept his left ear
warm. You wouldn't think it would make that much difference, but it really did. Most importantly, losing the head made his nickname really stupid. Carlos did not like feeling stupid. "Yo, Shotgun. Wazzup?" They rapped knuckles. "Two-head. Not much, my man. Whoa! What happened to your other head?!" It went downhill from
there. By noon he'd heard way too many jokes like "You ought to have your head handed to you" Or "You
know what you need to get ahead?" He just had to find out who had taken his head! Naturally, in a case like this, he went to Madame de Risier. She was the best fortune-teller in town.
Carlos hated going to her creepy little store in the old part of town, because she was scary. She knew
things she couldn't know. Like that time Vinnie the Trunk sent Old Man Randall to sleep with the fishes.
She knew where Randall was like she could see him! And he was in 60 feet of water under the
bridge! So Carlos drove r-e-a-l s-l-o-w-l-y all the way over to Frontiere Street. He parked two blocks away
from Madame de Risier's shop, and after he got out of the car he walked as slowly as he could. Still,
eventually, he got there. He pushed open the door and went in. The bells shaped like tiny human skulls
tinkled as the door swung closed behind him. "I know why you have come," intoned a voice from the
darkened back of the store. The words hung in the air like a shovel full of dirt about to be tossed into
Carlos's grave. The voice sounded like it came from something that spent a lot of time in a tomb. The
whole place even smelled a little bit like a graveyard. "You know what?" Carlos asked conversationally, "I'm leaving. You can do your thing in here with the
voice and stuff and I'll just go back home." Then he added, "and you know what else? I didn't come
because of the missing head. No, a lot of people would have come because of that, but not me. No, I
came because it's not right when people steal from other people. The person who took my head needs to
understand that crime does not pay. That's why I'm here. So, I guess I'm kind of here because of the
head, but it's more than that." Carlos decided it was time to stop talking. "Your head" came the eerie voice, "has been a passenger long enough. It yearns to be free. Please
release it from the sweet bonds of parental servitude with which you have held it for so long." "What are you talking about?" Carlos shouted at the crazy woman. "It is a head! Not a human being!
It can't ever go out on its own," he said, shaking his remaining head in disgust. Carlos turned around and
left. He didn't really know where he wanted to go, so he just strolled aimlessly around through the touristy
old part of town, fuming about the crazy fortuneteller. He kept feeling like he was being followed, but whenever he turned around suddenly, no one was there.
It was spooky. One time he turned around when he didn't have that feeling, and he came face to face
with his head. His missing head! It was perched on the neck of a mannequin, the kind that has wheels.
Apparently, when it wanted to go somewhere, the wheels rolled. It waved the mannequin's arm and said
"hi." Carlos was delighted to see his head, but he was afraid it was for the last time. "You, you have a new
body. Is this goodbye?" The mannequin shook its head. "Never that! We will see each other around. But I need to be my own
head. You will need a new nickname. Something pithy and meaningful. I'll be thinking about it." Carlos' neck had been itching all day where his second head used to be. He scratched his neck
absently, and he seemed to feel a little bump there. It had not been there in the morning. He smiled. "I'm feeling lucky. I think I'll keep my old nickname a little longer." The end Publ. The Simian Transcript, 2010
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Captain Out-take paints the ring red, loses his pants, and does lunch
Captain Out-take was depressed. Once again, his contribution had ended up on the cutting-room floor. This was a good time to really let go. So he visited the quadrant’s notorious orbiting red-light district: the Crimson Ring. At first, the captain had a ball. More correctly, he used up a couple. However, he was a little distracted on leaving his 18th partner. He realized only while walking down the hall that he had forgotten his pants. He turned around, jogged back down the hall and pushed the door open. Oops! Wrong door. This was a room full of greens. Hungry greens. And there was a hole in one.
so clear in the limpid pool
moon blazing over his shoulder
he leaned closer, and closer
almost expecting suckered tendrils
to boil up out of the water
and drag him down
still surprised tho
when they did
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Pancake Land was better than Bacon Land. Bacon Land! Oh my god, the lakes of boiling fat, the stench. Wilson used to like bacon. Bacon sandwiches were listed as his favorite meal on his Facebook page, for god's sake. Now, he hoped he would never have to eat or even smell it again. They had finally reached the portal in Bacon Land and passed through to find themselves still on Breakfast World.
In Pancake Land it was the sinkholes. The ones that had already popped meant a long, weary trek around a hemispherical hole. Some were miles in diameter. If you fell into one, it might be possible to climb out. The rough surfaces provided plenty of handholds. Might be possible, were the sinkholes not tenanted.
One of the clones had stood too close, peering into one of the first they found, and the edge had given way. The clone had made it about halfway back up the wall (the sinkhole was a small one) when something caught hold of his leg. The clone had struggled for a moment, then abruptly stopped moving and, a few moments later, simply melted into the surface. Soon there was no sign the clone had ever been there.
Nascent holes were much more dangerous. They were concealed under subtle domes in the irregular pancake surface. The bigger the cavity underneath, the gentler the slope above. Newly popped sinkholes were already occupied, but their deadly tenants (whatever they were) were slow to react. One member of the party made it out alive from the second breakthrough, though she left part of her foot behind. It took two more breakthroughs and more loss of life before the survivors realized that the caps were springier than other parts of the pancake surface.
As they toiled on toward the next portal they encountered fresh horrors: steaming rivers of molten butter; a viscous red fluid that pursued them relentlessly until they managed to trick it into a tremendous sinkhole; and fantastical white mountains that were so unstable a heavy footfall could unleash a deadly cream flow.
Finally, the portal was in sight. Its eldritch glow was by now so familiar the pulsing arch seemed like home. Wilson broke into a run, but stopped abruptly when Jordan screamed. She screamed and screamed, pointing at the sky. Wilson looked up. His voice joined hers as gigantic metal pillars plunged toward them.
"The Diner! By all that's holy, the Diner cometh!"
Publ. Daily Cabal, Feb. 17, 2011