Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bedtime Stories for Weird Kids: Debbie Dangerpants

Anton ordered the LIT and Wilson ordered a fashionable beer.

Wilson started on his beer as soon as the bartender slid it across the bar.

Anton looked skeptically at his LIT.

Wilson laughed. “What?”

“Hotel bars, never quite trust them.”

“It’s an LIT. What could go wrong?”

“Yeah, and I bet the bartender has never heard of Long Island.”

“Dude, why’d you—”

Wilson looked away, jaw agape.


“It’s her, dude,” Wilson whispered.

“Her who? And why are we whispering?”


“Debbie who?”

“Debbie … dangerpants.”

“What the hell? You’re not serious about this are you?”

“Isn’t she exactly what I described to you?”

Anton surreptitiously looked at the woman. “No.”

“Oh, come on.”

“You said she had raven hair.”

“Well, ok, I got that detail wrong.”

“This woman is a natural redhead. Also, you said she was just a little shorter than you.”

“Dude! She’s totally almost my height.”

“‘Dude,’ our bartender fits that description better.”

The bartender—a man with stylishly miss-managed hair and more than a few day’s stubble—glared at Anton.

“Oh, crap. She needs help.”

The woman left her drink on the bar and walked to the entrance, phone in hand.

“She’s calling someone and doesn’t want to be rude. If not being ‘That American’ means she needs help, you should help me first.”

“No, no, no, dude,” Wilson whispered. “She’s doing spy stuff.”

“How the hell do you figure?”

Wilson didn’t answer. He walked to the wall and put his back to it.

Anton watched him stare around the bar and guessed Wilson had an eye out for anyone trying to harm his favorite ‘spy.”

Anton stood up and walked to the bathroom. After he zipped up, he heard shouting in the other bathroom. A woman shouted “Oh, come on, Melody. You know dad always said I’d get the car!”

He couldn’t hear the responses. “Must be talking on her cell,” he muttered.

Anton walked out of the bathroom. The woman Wilson focused his creepy attentions on no longer stood in the entrance.

Wilson nursed his beer, looking straight ahead at bottles of liquor.

‘Debbie’ stepped out of the bathroom.

Anton sat next to Wilson.

“You want to talk about it?”

“Debbie’s real. I swear.”

Anton sighed.


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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bedtime Stories for Weird Kids: Bludgeon of Regret

A club about one and a half meters long.

Its base structure is tleeka wood infused with a preserving regret spell. Fortunately, regret magic has been forgotten so this regrettable weapon can never be duplicated.

The wood of the club has been reinforced with three slender metal plates which run from just above the handle to the uppermost edge of the weapon. The nails which fasten the plates to the wood are rumored to have a regrettable gleam, but it is the opinion of this researcher that the placebo effect plays a role in this fanciful speculation.

Hurd the Mighty commissioned the creation of this weapon after noticing how bright, talented, and annoying Krezzik was. Hurd had no interest in the weapon beyond its usefulness in teaching young Krezzik a lesson.

Krezzik dropped the club on his toes about half an hour after completing the weapon and regretted it instantly and permanently.

The spell intrinsic to the club’s operative magic converts however much regret the wielder is willing to bear into additional force. Since no one wielded the weapon in it’s fall onto Krezzik’s toes, he was obligated to a considerable amount of regret. And, of course, commiserate levels of toe pain.

The club wouldn’t give you more regret credit than you were likely to live long enough to pay off. It rightly guessed Krezzik had a good seventy years left in him.

Hurd the Mighty died in child labor and didn’t leave enough money behind to pay for the club.

Krezzik regretted making the club even more-so. He didn’t sell it, though. The club’s mechanism was forgotten when he died. His estate sold the club to pay off debts.

The first buyer worked for a bank which found foreclosure an easier method of destroying its enemies. It sold the club for what would have been a fairly cheap price for a non-magical club. Urick Velsicn bought the club and was promptly attacked by rival war lords.

The bludgeon of regret determined Ulrick wouldn’t live long and he didn’t. He also died with no regrets.

His eldest daughter, Gamma, inherited the weapon. She was told it had been her father’s favorite, but Gemma’s uncle had stolen his actual favorite: a dagger blade named Yrri. He’d been told it was elven steel. You and I, of course, know it was no such thing.

Gemma was no fool and as soon as she was strong and talented enough to wield the bludgeon of regret skillfully, she challenged her uncle for the blade.

While she didn’t know the secrets of her father’s bludgeon any better then he had, she wanted only enough strength to slightly kill her uncle. She managed that easily and regretted it for about two months. Why she regretted it at all, she could not say. Things had gone well for her in the aftermath of her uncle’s death.

She even found taking over her father’s trips to his concubines quite pleasant.

When she grew old and it was time to pass all of her conquered land, goods, and livestock on to others, the forgotten bludgeon went to the great granddaughter of Gemma’s uncle. The granddaughter knew nothing of it’s history in depriving her of a great grandfather so it was both a kind gift and a final “cluck you” to the man who tried to steal Gemma’s birthright.

Chaffa had occasion to use it only once and didn’t manage to pick it up before being perforated by crossbow bolts. The intruder, Mylan, carried the bludgeon off with her money and a few fineries.

He discovered the power of the bludgeon after killing a fly cracked a mountain, but didn’t discover the connection between the regret and the power until he had accrued twenty years of regret.

He tried to kill himself with the club but it barely tapped him, not wanting to give up the emotions Mylan had inadvertently promised.

For three hundred years, the bludgeon passed from owner to owner making its users powerful, feared, and thoughtful.

Its last known owner, Mick Yearly, intentionally lost the bludgeon on a coming of age quest he intentionally failed so he could become an actor.

We are led to believe he didn’t regret a thing.


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Friday, August 5, 2011

Bedtime Stories for Weird Kids: Abandon

Humanity—the rich, influential, and those useful to the rich and influential anyway—left me behind.

Not just me. Millions like me. Poor people and those with no allure.

The meek inherited the Earth but they didn’t leave us much left when we came into our own.

The oceans would kill a normal human and the important people killed so many pieces of the food chain that it’s all we can do to tend the Earth and keep it up.

It’s not all bad, though.

I’m a geneticist. I created a series of useful viruses to modify the abandoned to make up for the holes in our ecosystem.

None of us are unchanged. Some live in the ocean, others replace wild predators. Almost all of us can digest the standard toxins and output healthy soil.

Sixty years since they left and Earth looks almost good again. We look nearly alright. Some of my more adventurous progeny have even built a star drive.

They’ll find the other children of Earth some day.

I’m faced with a choice.

I can unleash a virus that will give my children—my beautiful grotesques—the sniffles but wipe out any unmodified human who contracts it.

Or I can let the people who abandoned us go.

If not for their innocent children, the choice would be a simple one. But if it weren’t for my innocent children, I might not care at all.

The vial slipped from my hands. I reached to grab for it ... but maybe I’m not so meek after all.


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