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Grave Error

She couldn’t place the accent; it was thick, yet, undefined. Tasting the noxious brew again, Tilde Tittle decided the tonic had all the flavor of an undercooked umlaut and realized that she could never present such an inferior libation to her cavillous husband, Mark. Perhaps the shaken concoction of raspberry vodka, Sprite soda and DeKupyer…

The Wizard’s Daughter

Tomorrow’s execution would be delayed no longer. All appeals had been exhausted; the wizard’s daughter refused to repent and the bishop had no choice but to make an example of her. To do anything less would only fuel the burgeoning unrest among the peasants. This close to the harvest, the king and his advisors were…

Trick or Treat

The calculator was upside down. No other error in history–recorded or lost to antiquity–could match Bob’s horrendous faux pas for its effect on the human race. Perhaps one could blame Hewlett-Electric for designing a perfectly square device with all buttons simulated beneath a touch-screen. Whatever the case, Bob told Irma the the required concentration was…

Three Drunks and a Funeral

A farce in one act A judge, a baker and an anthropologist are sitting in a jazz lounge. The unlikely trio are old college mates, gathered for the sad occasion of their professor’s passing. The funeral had been held the day before, at St. Thomas Episcopal. The men are sipping drinks, languidly discussing the incongruities…

The Zombie-maker

“Come on, angel, don’t make me bust your gourd open. I just want your purse!” The green, slimy, shuffling assailant had a death-grip on an elderly woman’s handbag. “Go to hell, you vile old bastard!” The silver-haired granny had an equally tight grip on her Louis Vuitton. “Been there, done that. And I ain’t so…

Swampland

Swan Vee considered her options. The ink was barely dry on the sheepskin before her mentor banished her from Swamp Logos. Her home since birth, the swamp represented the womb of familiarity, the hearth of confidence and the shield against the unknown. Now she was ready to deal with the landscape beyond the Perimeter. She…

The Cracked Mirror

Detective Ragbone shook a small amount of graphite onto the frame, while marveling at the unnaturally uniform craquelure of the forged Venus in the Mirror. Having momentarily forgotten the gravity of the current scene, he quipped, “Even Rubens knew better than to daub a perfect crack.” “Ragbone! Decorum, please.” Inspector Wiggins coughed into his hand.…

Alienation

Martians had no concept of prejudice. Their brains were wired like lobotomized slugs: each experience was new. Yet, their transcendent race had accumulated the wisdom to recognize xenophobia as it applied to them. I blanched at the unusual combination of smell and terror-inducing hisses emanating from my tour guide. “Plack manu frobbish, Gia?” What are…

Galactic Chess Champion Slain

The checkmate was flawless. The bloody aftermath was more of a mess. Raven Spassky’s body lay in a puddle of its own fluids, most of which had leaked from multiple holes in her flimsy aluminum armor. Whoever had said plasma was a source of clean energy had never fired a shot in anger. I’m glad…

Bad Poetry

“The assignment, class, is to deconstruct this computer-generated poem.” Moans greeted this announcement, of course, because Lytton 3000 was as horrible at sonnets as its namesake was at prose. Still, Professor Fenwick could find nothing better to challenge his genetically enhanced students. With all the theatrical flair of Quentin Tarrantino, the Professor lowered the lights…