Softly It Falls

It started snowing and never stopped. Fat and beautiful, the flakes came from the grey skies and covered our cars, our houses, our cities.

We dug in like rats in warrens. We crawled in tunnels of packed snow between buildings where the pale blue of the distant sun’s light filtered through the miles of snow. We built hasty, pathetic fires that burned just long enough to melt our meagre supply of frozen canned food, extinguished before the carbon monoxide could kill us.

In the moments between searching for food and fighting the cold, we sat huddled in groups, wrapped in rags, never talking, always watching the light drift to night and back. Soon enough, even that was gone, that slightly reassuring frost of pale blue. Then it was always night. Who knew how high the snow went? How deep we were?

There was a creaking sound. It was not that it was a single sound, but a symphony of structural readjustments, of the very ice shifting. I imagined the hand of God pressing upon us, as if raising himself up from a slumber. There was a tremendous groan, with a crushing thunder of finality about it. Now cold, cold, our world bleeds away with our breath, and the end comes, not with a bang, but the stillness of flies in amber.

Mayhem & Murder

The trio tore through the desert in a stolen military grade Hum-vee.

Arm casually slung on the window, mesas rolling in parallax the background sand and blue, the driver turns to us and smiles, “Hello! Welcome to today’s episode of  Magnificent and Sexy Intergalactic Mayhem and Murder. This here is Jizz Baberella–” A wild shock of red, red hair tousling in the open cab, she wears a fuck me mouth and cargo pants under a kevlar jacket. She throws fingerguns at us, pa-pow, here’s looking at ya, baby. “–and A. Shade Darker. Hey, does the A stand for asshole?” A gloved middle finger wavers in the heat, and the umber man in the trench coat rakes back his long greasy hair before returning his attention to the rocket launcher snuggled against his torso. “And then there’s me, today’s host, Cranky Jo, cropped yellow hair, ugly mug, biceps built like a keg–” Wagging eyebrows above hard masticated cigar. “–that’s all of me. The show is starting, let’s go!”

The grey city of  technocrats loomed, buzzing with the lazy trajectories of gendarmes like flies above shit. Jizz slipped a hand toward her crotch and shortly her thong was flapping war red on the aerial. Shade sat zazen on the hood. “Pre-combat rituals,” winks Cranky Jo, who just grinned like a wolf and accelerated.

JIZZ: It’s a heist. UFN UFN UFN went Jizz, spread-eagled to all of creation.

SHADE: We’re gonna steal a city. Shade licked his rocket launcher and turned a passing shack into kindling.

CRANKY JO: Ha ha ha! YACK YACK YACK said his machine gun to the sky.

Here they come!

The sexy stench of Orgone fuel preceded the gendarmes, vicious ships bristling with mind fuck artillery and state-of-the-art gun ninjaz. Cranky Jo aimed his gun and let it do the talking for him while he drove like a madman through the gouts of flame the ships spat at them. A red-eyed ninja crashed into a copse of cacti. Another left a long red stain along the hardpan. Shade made great swathes of flame with his deadly paintbrush. Jizz, her hair wailing in the wind, sniped gendarme after gendarme as she slipped back into her pants. The ships plowed to the ground bursting like pustules, ejecting the dark carapaces of dead state-of-the-art ninjaz. Technocrat modified vultures circled, alighted, their electronic brains bypassed by nervous systems that never forgot the taste of blood.

Leaving behind a tattoo of murder and mayhem they entered the city limits where there are plasma rays turrets and booby traps. The Hum-vee exploded! Jizz landed on her feet. Cranky Jo fell into a turret onto an astonished ninja and immediately began firing blue beams of destruction at the city. Shade, launching at the ground, KOOOM! rocket jumped KOOOM! like a KOOOM! mad frog through the KOOOM! chaos. Black figures swarmed from the city with martial arts celerity. Jizz ran the gauntlet, touching pressure points of ninjaz, and left behind a wake of statues contorted in pain. Shade, crashing with agony along the ferrocrete of a superhighway, leaped to his feet and played shooting gallery with these ninjaz. It rained meat and the vultures, following the trail of death, circled.

A choreography of grace and accident, they fought their way to the heart of the city. Cranky Jo runs up the street, rattling off his old gun, “Now for a word from our sponsors and we’ll see you…”

A baby with a single tooth and a pink bow tied around the sparse hairs of her skull is skipping through a beautiful, heaving meadow in her diapers. Swallows shower the air with their song and butterflies wander through the tall grasses. Rabbits and squirrels scamper with exuberant play around the feet of deer. She is carrying a pair of massive guns, a voice-over intoning

The Infinity Series no. 3, so easy to use even a baby could do it,

running now through the meadow with guns blazing, turning cuddly woodland animals into pink mist. A butterfly sparkles into confetti and the baby babbles gleefully,

now for the first time available to the public, with customizable settings and a wide range of selectable ammo from bazookas with extremely long range capabilities

igniting a doe one mile away into a flaming effigy and baby pushes a button to bring out a screaming revolving chainsaw capable

of cutting down a fat old tree or the foundations of a building. Conveniently priced at $19.99 megabucks, it comes with a free ammo storehouse on a moon of your choosing to the first 10 buyers. (Add $136 mega bucks for shipping & handling).

Baby flips a gun into the air and throws us a thumbs up, the other gun shuduh-duh-duh-dering into the sky. A bird tumbles down.

“…after the break, where you find we’re at the jazzing neon sideshow atmosphere of the Technocrat City Hall, a supposedly impregnable fortress. Ha ha ha!

“Here we go!”

Ragdoll robots tumbled down the steel and concrete stairwell, firing with incredible precision. Too bad precision has nothing on Jizz who giggled through bullet time and engaged their self destruct sub-routines. The trio made many floors before they exploded, sealing the passage.

They burst into a hall of giant windows trimmed in gold. Hordes of state-of-the-art ninjaz hurtled through each and every one, until the scene became a firestorm of reflection tumbling to the plush carpeting.

“Ooh, pretty,” said Jizz, having already grabbed a ninjaz by the ankle to employ as a club. Shade stuck to his guns and noted it was a good thing the plush was the color of blood; that would be a bitch to get off. Cranky Jo just shrugged and sucked on his cigar, leaning on a door frame with his arms crossed. Shortly they picked their way through the litter of bodies and glass, and raced to the penthouse.

The mayor’s door loomed, somehow silver and gold at the same time, forged of Ultradamantitanium.

“Shit.” (That was me, says Cranky Jo.)

“No problem. Thank our sponsors for this motherfucker,” said Shade, who fiddled with his bazooka before raising it.

“Now for another shameless plug brought to you from yet another of our sponsors, and as always, we’ll see you after the…”

Fade in to the rolling hills of a vineyard. A gray templed man with arisocratic bearing in mahogany robe and slippers is puffing at a meerschaum pipe. A wine globe nestles in his hand, the purple liquid sloshing tannins into the air.

Poppy Vineyards is proud to offer the most refined hybrid of papaver somniferum and vitis vinifera.

He sniffs at the wine, sloshes it some more. The background fades into a leathered and wood-paneled office space. He sits in a luxurious armchair and crosses his legs. He sips

to celebrate your order, The Holy Trio of Intoxication is made complete with a nugget of cannabis included within the bottleneck. Our customers demand only the best,

and before passing into unconsciousness,

Available at your local liquor establishment or licensed drug pusher…

“…break it down, already!” yelled Jizz.

“Hey, the ad’s finished?” said Shade. Cranky Jo tittered. Jizz fumed. Shade shrugged and pulled the trigger. The world turned to gold dust and silver rain.

“I could get used to this,” sniffed Jizz, bringing the goblet close to her nose. “This is the life!”

The mayor lay trussed up at their feet, the severed fist of a state-of-the-art ninjaz extending from his mouth. Jizz used him as a footrest, her high heels digging into the small of his back.  Cranky Jo blew lazy smoke rings towards the ceiling, and Shade plugged these with bull’s eye shots. “Our employers won’t be happy if you decided to take up shop,” said Cranky Jo. “Even if they’re tyrants worse off for this city than that pig over there.” The man on the floor squealed.

Shade nodded and said, “Our word is our bond. If we reneged on a contract, we wouldn’t be able to get a job system-wide.”

“Shit,” said Jizz, “Can’t a lady dream?”

This is Cranky Jo, today’s host, and thank you for watching. I hope it was a complete waste of your time and you were needlessly entertained by sexy mayhem and murder. Until next time, heeere’s the

Magnificent and Sexy Intergalactic Mayhem and Murder

Emotiv

I have a problem. My thought moves faster than my hands, and ideas are often ephermal and lost almost forever in the storm of neurons. I’m often beating my brain by the time I finally reach a keyboard or grab a pencil. But there’s hope. For me at least.

The tantalizing prospect of totally discarding the ubiquitous keyboard and mouse has taunted me for a long time, and turns out, with Emotiv, it is a reality now… at least I hope. I have not seen it in action and am not sure of its complete capabilities. Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement.

To kick off, in my own way, the debut of the first commercial thought manipulated device, I have written a small prediction—an euphemism for “science-fiction story”—suggesting its possibilities and dangers.

Continue reading

Humble Beginnings

Sam perched on the overhang, idly kicking his legs. This spot was an instant favorite of his, and almost everyday he frequented it just before dark. He reached for his beer, feeling approximately five minutes of subjective time pass before his fingers touched the cool condensation on the glass. He took a slug and opened his worn well-thumbed notebook, jotted in a few lines.

He had spent the last year wandering the continent, keeping records, trying to map the Event. It moved east to west like a slow river, he discovered, following the Earth’s rotation, carrying patches with differing properties that drifted like sluggish cumulus clouds through an airspace of relative stability. He felt the current would rotate fully around the planet, and perhaps, if it was constant enough, define a whole new dating system. It was years in the future, and a lot more correlation would need to be done. Meanwhile, he would sit or stand in place for hours and watch, feel the effects, and record his interpretations.

In certain patches subjective experience speeded up and he zipped about in wild acceleration; he generally avoided these after discovering one aged much quicker over lengthy dalliances. Some patches caused his movements to become as if suspended in molasses, and he patiently waited out these instances, gratefully flexing his limbs when it passed. There were patches that decreased the sensation of gravity; he bounded over the trees joyfully, and had leaped out of its field into a patch of zero gravity. He panicked, retching, and after a slow, agonized drifting he managed to snag onto a tree and wait it out. After three days had passed, hunger drove him out. He crawled down its trunk and clutched the blades of grass with his fingers, painfully crawling over the turf, taking extra care to control his momentum lest he flew away into the sun. When he finally passed out the zone’s influence, the crush of gravity was so welcome he sobbed as he foraged in the brush for roots and grubs, having lost his cache of food. Other patches were like walking into a maze of funhouse mirrors.

Some patches had drastic temperature changes that suggested sudden death, and he was careful in his explorations; his left pinky was missing from such a patch where he had felt a numbing sensation and flinched. His finger fell to the ground into black pieces. He buried it out of sheer sentimentality. He was caught by surprise when a normalized climate, the way it was before the Event, all still and quiet, drifted over his camp, and it shocked him so much he had to retreat outside its boundary, into the comfort of everyday psychedelia. He followed it for a few days, testing its climate, until he turned away with distaste towards other endeavors. It was marked on his moving map, and had the shortest description in his journal; he didn’t miss it. He had lost his taste for normalcy.

Sitting on the overhang, Sam decided that he would stay in the area for longer than was his usual, which approximated a month. He enjoyed this city. Los Angeles. It was so used to surreality that it had adapted well to the change. In the twilight, Draco rippled on the horizon and Orion played with his scabbard. Ursa Major pawed at the Twins.

Samuels reached for his beer and watched the city dance languorously in the glittering skyline.

…contrived visions…

she peers through the stalks and brushes the cornsilk from her cerulean gaze with golden hands…small green boys caper in the tall rushes under a bloated red sun…a lagoon boiling with silver ripples as dark things twist in its depths…line of labor in the desert, plucking burning bushes to be thrown in long yellow bins…a trail of bubbles etching a line of blue breath as the fish god passes through its medium…orange men with long slender wings gambol above a watery marble, trailing their fingers through the russet clouds…black basalt is the relief which outlines these small, fur white people ascending the mountain…girl children with sad eyes huddle under weak shelters as it rains green frogs and blue snakes…a field ruined by grasshoppers and the wheat’s ward hangs from a tree in hopeless abandon…its corrugated steel rusted, its timbers rotted, its plaster and paint peeling, its streets and windows cracked, its buildings and stores crumbled, its soul decaying like the corpse on the road into the city…a hum of computer in an empty room that smells of morning coffee…roaches desperately race across linoleum, a black flag at their rear…shoes, countless matches and mismatches, fill the warehouse with a musky smell…candles gutter as the black nights blows through the red drapes…women weave baskets from the slender hairs of yellow-eyed cattails that root and lap at pond’s edge…songs that echo through its drafty streets, and a long dead philosopher asks if a tree can be heard when it falls with nobody around to hear…blue and orange turtles leashed to a sapling with bright yellow string trundle in a circle as the laughter of children echo over the hill…neon squirrels flicker through the park at night…old men sit on knurled steps to reminisce about the green days of youth and sip tea in a cloud of smoke…tin cans and aluminium kitchenware on small paraffin stoves splash ethereal blue on the walls of the cardboard shanty…the circle of stars, through the quickening ever-rushing fall of night and swell of day, wobble as the years pass…lazy dust in the lethargic bedroom…thin and bent, his spectacles reflecting monitorlight, he taps slowly at the keyboard

A Probability Game

The Time Traveller looked at his chronoscope, sighed, and twisted a dial. His self foamed across space-time, sudsing into a million-million worlds, as determined to be viable by his nifty gadget.

Fifty percent of these instances he stood in still sunlight that made his face glow with heat as he squinted into the epitome of commerce: bustling business types along glittering skyscrapers and flashing taxi cabs.

Twenty five percent of these instances, he wiped his brow and looked down a windswept avenue littered with tumbling newspapers and battered vehicles piloted by desiccated corpses. A dog barked in the distance. A storm swept overhead, clouds like grey flags in high wind.

Nineteen percent of these instances, he died. Face askew on the fractured windshield of a car, stunned driver mumbling he came from nowhere, nowhere. Skull split open from a falling vase. Screeching human sacrifice of natives whose piercings hung with transistors and diodes. Abdomen trailing intestines, rent open by the jaws of wild dogs. Freak storms. Beaten to death with calculators in a siege of accountants. Carved up with bottleglass in an inter-city tribal war. Torn to shreds by feminists wracked with penis hate. Boiled in the gastric symphony of a hideous beast that burst from the torn maw of a shattered hotel.

Five percent of these instances found him in a wasteland. Utter emptiness, sometimes cold and sleepless in a harsh wind, sometimes sleepily contoured from the lullaby of constant zephyrs. There weren’t always cities, stinging particles always stung his eyes.

One percent of these instances left him in an austere void, bursting apart in a parody of dance, then crystallizing to float icily in a vacuum. Often the rictus of his corpse was illuminated by a sun, usually a G-type. Less frequently, he drifted amid the giant shards of a world. Mostly, it was the blackest black, cold and empty.

It was time to regroup, he mused. He had found what he was looking for.

The Great Escape

Like fluttering feathers on the back of a strange beast, white-knuckled men and women and children in all sorts of tattered, bright-colored clothing hung on for dear life. Throbbing with archaic machinery that spewed curlicues of black, rank smoke from the undercarriage, the pitted and rusted bus howled down the bustling pedestrian lanes of Tachyon Boulevard through a gaggle of construction laborers, housekeepers, compost professionals, wiretappers, juvenile delinquents, garbage deliverymen, document shredders, newsread reporters, heavy-lidded THC specialists, steam technicians, bacterial engineers, teleprompter typists, clamoring tofu dog vendors,  wicked cardsharp hustlers, retrofitted geriatrics with guttering valves, soul buskers, prowling blue badges, streetcorner winos, rickshaw operators, integument artists, SPAZ salesmen, holo skin sensations, disaffected yiffer gangs, Banger Street Boys, the cracked legend Metro Transit emblazoned on the grille in flickering blue neon that sent cool sparks haloing along its dented side onto the faces and arms and legs of these people half-heartedly leaping out of the way, to briefly illuminate their shadowed features. The bus bucked and weaved between cars and pedestrians under glass cracked, brick crumbling edifices of a more majestic past, rushed past irregular intervals of bent and broken lamp posts guttering dead pools of halogen, through an tide of waste that swirled and eddied in its wake. Empty road stretched ahead: the Corridor. Its engines groaned, and it roared on, almost mythical, a metallic dragon rising across the ferrocrete way, dribbling spumes of smoke shot with blue lightning.

In his high tower the watchman looked up blearily from the skin glossies that kept him within sanity’s breast during these shifts, and saw the monstrosity. He sighed, took a rag and wiped his hand, then sat up in his creaky crèche. He cracked his knuckles. There were always a couple every week. Poor souls. Nothing going for them in the tenements, or they caught cabin fever. There was no magic bullet; outside, they all died sooner or later. Grunting, he reached towards the switch that operated the first gate and, waiting, looked at the brutal ferrocrete wall that separated the city from the outside. Some wit had spray painted, in stylized letters, HERE BE DRAGONS. True enough though, he mused, crushing the switch.

The gate groaned open and the bus shot through. Someone lost his grip, rolling in a tide of rubbish thrown to pile up against the gate by the incessant North wind and scrambled to his feet, slipping frantically. He seemed to be screaming, the watchman thought as he squinted through scratched plexiglass. Probably was. The figure threw himself through as the gate juddered closed. A pulp of blood. The watchman imagined a sickening crunch, shrugged. This was routine. He activated the second gate, closed it, then the third.

Once anyone exited the city there was no coming back. They became voluntary exiles. Anyone or anything remaining within the second and third gates would be purged by modified jet engines. Sometimes whole caravans got trapped inside, and stinking smoke would linger in the air for days. The watchman jabbed the switch that activated the torches and turned to gaze at the city; he didn’t like to watch the burn. It was almost dark. Torchlight and gas stoves wavered a man made constellation that stretched to the horizon. The stars were faint angels in the sky. Roasted chicken and boiled vegetables taunted his nostrils. He had a craving for cold goat milk. Faint singing, boisterous, wafted in with the occasional zephyr.

Sighing, he returned his attention to the glossies and soon was snoring.