Friday, December 31, 2010

Bedtime Stories for the ADD: Home Late

Chris walked in the door.

Max reared back and pounced on him.

“OUCH! F——ing cat!” Chris brushed the cat off him.

“You’re late,” Max said. “What was it this time? Flat tire. Met some strange woman who wanted help moving her couch? You’ve run out of lies, I think.”

Chris plopped on the couch and sighed. “It was work. It’s always work.”

His phone rang. He pulled it out of his pocket. Sam.

“Are you going to answer that?” asked Max.

Chris silenced his phone. “No. It’s Sam. He probably wants me to jump his car.”

“Are you sure? Not just going to call back in ten minutes and go jump?”

“You know, you are the meanest cat I’ve ever known.”

Max climbed on the couch and nuzzled Chris. “It’s for your own good, you know.”

“Yeah, but that doesn’t make it cool.”

Max licked Chris’s arm.

“Please, Max,” Chris flinched. “Do we have to?”

“No, we don’t have to, but I’d really like to.”

Chris sighed and untensed his arm.

Max opened his mouth and clamped down on Chris’s arm. Blood poured from the wound. Max sucked it up.

“You’ve got to stop letting people take advantage of you, Chris.”

Chris was pale in the dark of the house. “I know, I know.”


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Friday, December 24, 2010

Bedtime Stories for the ADD: Agreements

I closed the garage. It was a damned cold night out and the cars would have looked intimidating to a man less experienced than I was.

In a way, I was more intimidated, not less. My old bones creak. I know the dangers. A younger man could get lucky.

A car pulled up and I held my breath for a second. A thin man in a suit, heavy coat, and a fedora stepped out. He pulled a cane from the car and shuffled to me.

“What is it, Peter? Surely not a social call,” I sputtered. “Come to do me in finally?”

“No, Mark. We’re on the same side this time, I think.”

I scowled. “How could we ever—”

“There’s not much time, old friend. The man upstairs has decided it’s time.”

I swore. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“No, I’m not. Get in the car. I have the syndicate and the power troops patched in.”

I didn’t have much to lose anymore. I got in the car. My old nemesis hadn’t lied.

God had finally decided to start the apocalypse.

There was only one thing Peter and I had ever agreed on. There was only one thing a villain and a hero could always agree on.

If God ever decided to make good on his promise, we’d do everything in our power to stop him.

And we would.


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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Special Holiday Message

Happy Winter Solsticemas.

The human need for sunlight makes winter a particularly dour part of the year. It’s no accident that so many cultures and religions center holidays around this time of year.

In solidarity with all humans, I celebrate Solstice. May the increasing light represent love and humanitarianism overcoming ignorance and hate, the triumphs of scientists in the quest to cast light on the mysteries of the universe, and the hope that each of our futures will be greater than our pasts.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Bedtime Stories for the ADD: The Last Son of Another Red Star

Piotr and Helga drove home from the Purchase-Cheap in their beat up late 80s sedan.

Helga sighed.


“I know, I know. If only we could afford to adopt,” Helga sniffed.

No shooting stars interrupted the drive home or distracted from the stifled tears.

Piotr took a smoke break out back. He could barely see the stars. The lights from the city drown them out. He longed to see them.

He stomped the butt out and tossed it into the can. He turned to the door. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted motion.

“Hey!” he turned. “Who’s there?”

A canister pushed up through the soil. It had to have been buried there for years.

The canister dropped onto the grass.

Piotr picked up barbecue tongs and tapped the metallic looking thing. It flashed with an electric spark and whooshed open.

The dark shadows obscured the contents. Piotr tapped the container with the back of his hand. It wasn’t hot or cold.

He picked it up and carried it to the porch light. He nearly dropped it when he saw what was inside.

It was a baby.

He swung the door open and shouted, “Helga! Come quick!”

They named the child Jon and tried not to ask many questions. Even though he was clearly a baby, he would only eat solid food. He had no taste for formula.

Helga arranged a play date for Jon. She got an emergency call. The other kid’s mom said she was ok to babysit, so Helga left Jon with Kim.

Kim turned her eye for one second and heard her little May screech in terror. Kim panicked and ran to her baby. May only had one arm. She had blood on her shirt, but the skin was clean and uncut.

“Oh my god, what happened?!”

Until Kim screaemd, May had calmed slightly.

Kim picked both babies up and ran them to the hospital.

The doctors couldn’t figure out what happened.

Helga picked Jon up from Kim at the hospital. She held Jon gingerly on the way to the car and fastened him as tightly as she could without harming Jon.

Helga and Piotr tried their hand at barbecue that night.

“Piotr,” Helga said. “I’m worried.”

“What? I don’t think whatever ate May’s arm can get Jon here.”

The ankle biter was crawling through the grass. A neighbor dog came up.

The dog yelped. Helga and Piotr looked up. The dog had only three legs. And no tail.

“Most Americans won’t let their healthy dogs roam,” said Piotr. “And our neighbors let their three legged dog wander wherever—”

“That’s Scoundrel. He had four legs just this morning,” Helga gasped. “And a tail.”

Jon cackled with laughter.

That night, Piotr and Helga put the baby in the crib and walked back from him slowly.

“We didn’t see anything. There’s no reason to think it was him,” Helga said.

Piotr said nothing.

In the morning, Helga woke first. She peeked into Jon’s room. Jon hadn’t woken up yet.

Helga closed the door and sneaked to the kitchen to get a few things done before Jon woke up. Helga picked up a glass and turned the TV on.

“—ing News, Breaking News, we’re getting reports of violence in east end. It’s still too early to be sure, but we’re hearing a small child is somehow eating limbs—”

Helga dropped her glass.

In the years that followed, news of the alien child spread to every corner of the globe.

His hunger was without end.

When scientists discovered where he came from, they tried to call him the last son of that system’s star. It wasn’t very catchy.

Besides, he already had a name. “The Last American.”


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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bedtime Stories for the ADD: 20th Century Nostalgia

It was a big coop. You heard me right. They kept calling it a coop.

The last 20th century person in existence would visit the Ancient Past Ranch. One of ‘em, anyway. I’m not big on nostalgia, but they were paid enough to live comfortably for a few years so I agreed.

Good thing I learned negotiation.

I woke up that morning to a knock on my door. “What the—” I remember a few choice swears.

No one knocks on doors these days. I threw on a robe and grumbled to the door.

I pressed the button and it slid open. “What?”

A shiny man in flared denim pants and a lycra shirt smiled wide and handed me a box. “We’d like you to wear these, if you don’t mind,” I could see him churn for the right honorific. He wanted to use the traditional, but I guess he’d been briefed.

“We’ll see,” I took the box from him and closed the door.

About two hours later, I emerged from my home as an object for proper ridicule. Bright red pants and a t-shirt at least one size too big with holes worn through it.

I still wore the modern essentials underneath. A fetish for antiquery isn’t a good reason to be uncomfortable.

The shiny man tried to shake my hand and introduced himself as Randall. I suspect he thought that name was common in the 20th.

“Hi, Randall. Mind if I call you Randy?” I shouldn’t have. I really shouldn’t.

His face brightened. “Really? That would be grand.”

I cursed myself. “Well, Randy, let’s get going.”

“Radical. Now, I know we should be driving all the way and making a road trip of this, but the foundation thinks that’s a liiiittle overboard, so we’re going to take the PubTrans 99% of the way there and a Model T will pick us up for the last kilometer.”

I followed him to the tube. The HUD kept me busy and entertained for the fifteen minutes the journey took. Randy looked a trifle annoyed that I was using it, but, well, screw him.

When we got to the car park, a woman wearing an ancient mens suit with pinstriped pants and a top hat ushered us into the T.

“How soon will we get there?” I asked.

“The original Model T had a top speed of about 72 km/h. This one’s been updated a bit.”

Randy frowned.

“Sorry if that offends you,” she directed the apology to me.

“Not at all.”

I found her quite stunning despite the apologies. The woman, not the Model T.

She seemed to like me too. The minute-long trip wasn’t nearly long enough.

We drove straight into the park through a crowd and up to a stage. I held my breath for a moment and leaped out of the car, hands held high. I grinned like the moron I was.

“The last 20th centurion!” a voice announced. “Resurrected from the past to complete the Midatlantic Antiquarian Ranch!”

The crowd went wild.

I skipped onto the stage and made a speech. It was full of vague profundities which amounted to nothing content-wise. Every one but me had a fancy time of it.

Finally, the speeches ended and I took a bathroom break. With the driver.

I’ll be honest. It wasn’t a bathroom break.

After a few glorious minutes, I walked out.

A tour guide spoke to a rather large group, “And that’s what is called a connect-up!” The guide pointed at me.

I hate nostalgia.


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Friday, December 3, 2010

Bedtime Stories for the ADD: Animus

“Don’t ask me about the empties. I’m never awake long enough to bother looking up the information.”

“You? Surely no one could get bored of you that easily?”

She runs her hands along my right thigh. I don’t argue. It’s good to have breath in me again. Good to be.

It lasts a few weeks. A few blessed weeks. Long enough to go shopping and watch some TV.

Then, one day while she’s out, I feel it again. She’s gotten bored with me. I can feel the animus fade until I hit the ground.

And I wait for another master.


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