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On begging

Wednesday 7 December 2011, 18:06

December 2011 on Earth, but it is eternal midmorning on the third layer of the Astral Plane. THOMAS OF AQUINO, NICHOLAS FLAMEL, and K'UNG FU-TZU sit at a card table, in that order clockwise around the table. At the fourth, otherwise unoccupied, spot sits an ominous blue-painted Chinese porcelain ginger jar.

Henry and Eliza

Friday 7 June 2002, 14:21

Henry came home from work feeling as horny as Hell. He threw his coat across the back of a chair, kicked off his boots, and picked up the mouse from its spot on top of the pile of books on the kitchen table, next to the breakfast dishes. He didn't shower. Eliza wouldn't care.

The Number 13 Road

Saturday 1 November 2003, 17:18

It's an old joke, you've no doubt heard it before. There's this young woman, and she's decided to kill herself by jumping off a bridge. So just as she's standing there on the railing looking down at the river below, a young man sees her and says, hey, so you've decided to kill yourself, huh? And she says yes, that's the way things are, and she's all expecting him to try to talk her out of it, to say come on, life isn't so bad; maybe he'll offer to listen to her troubles, maybe he'll get all weepy and beg her to call it off, all that kind of thing. But he doesn't.

The delivery man and his death

Wednesday 30 November 2005, 17:15

The delivery man looked at the calendar on his wall and saw that the day was right, and he looked out his window and saw that the Sun had gone down a little over an hour ago, so the time was right, too. He put his bag of blessings over his shoulder and walked out into the gloom to do his job. Oh, not the one they paid him for, but his real job, the calling for which he was called the delivery man. Nobody said good-bye to him because he lived alone because of his sin.

Will McCarthy and the Screaming Avocados

Tuesday 9 November 2004, 17:11

[Belated Halloween story because of animation festival and urethral surgery. You've heard this plot before, of course, but it's a new telling, anyway.]

The rain was coming down in big sticky globs and the tour bus's back wheels spun for a fraction of a second, sending up a big fan-tail of muddy water, before they caught and the bus lurched out of its illegal parking space behind the shopping mall, onto what passed for a main highway in the little backwater town of Wheaton, Manitoba. It was a bus full of desires and Screaming Avocados.

Mistakenly thought to be djinn

Sunday 4 April 2010, 17:41

First appeared in talk.bizarre, July 1997

You must know that Man was not the first of the Earth's masters.

A great many unusual people may be seen in the marketplace of Damascus on any hot summer day, but the Adept was definitely out of the ordinary.  She strode, alone and proud, though the crowd which parted unconsciously.  Foreigners have written that one veiled woman looks like any other, but even the quality of the material of Fatima's veil distinguished her from the rest.  The locals, accustomed to making the most of whatever they could get, stared outright, all as if they'd never seen a woman before.  They undressed her in their minds as she passed by.  The year, in your infidel's reckoning, was 738.

Race

Friday 2 April 2010, 17:37

This is a re-posting of an item that first appeared in Livejournal, in October 2004.

One day the Fox met the Bunny, eating grass at the edge of a big field.  "Hey," he said, for no particular reason, "let's race to the other side of this field." "Okay," said the Bunny.  So she hopped and he ran, and the Fox made it across the field just a little bit ahead of the Bunny.  "I win!" he said, and went on his way.  "Bye!" called the Bunny happily, and went back to eating grass.  The Turtle had been watching them, and he said, "I want to do that, too."

Light and speed

Sunday 2 February 1997, 12:13

It's not so easy to find a primitive, backward culture anymore. Satellite constellations can lay down a gigahertz on every square kilometer of the Earth's surface and where there's a signal there will be receivers. We need not even mention the orbitals. The painters may be naked - they may be using mud pigments and hair brushes. You might mistake them for a tiny group of prehistoric people somehow cut off from the march of progress for thousands of years. That would be a mistake. Machines dug this cave, the hair for the brushes was grown by bacteria in a bottle, and the design taking shape on the wall does not represent an animal to be hunted. Not exactly.

The sing-song of unknown Kadath

Sunday 11 August 2002, 19:25

Not always was Antarctica a cold and barren wasteland, but a lush green continent of ghoulish degraded tribes. They were grey and they were rubbery and dined upon corpses. They made a nameless sacrifice and danced upon a mountaintop and called up the Lesser God Yig.

Eight knights of the dragon

Tuesday 30 March 2010, 14:30

0 (the dragon)

And once upon a time, the villagers used to say, there was a dragon that lived at the bottom of that cave, yes the one over there.  It would steal maidens.  Of course, those days are long gone now, they said.  But things like dragons don't go away just because people stop believing, and people don't stop believing just because things like dragons have gone away.

And upon any time that a young woman would be lost, killed, or harmed in any way, the old folks would nod their heads and say wise words about the nature of dragons, and the young boys would hunt and kill the little brown lizards that hid in rock walls in that part of the country, as if those harmless creatures were to blame for looking like dragons.  It was easier than entering the cave to face the supposed dragon directly.