One Man’s War

When the blood ran off his hands the war was over, and he turned his eyes to the vast, burning wasteland that marked his wake. He sighed and wiped the dead from his face, the gristle and blood falling inconsequentially onto the crimson soaked earth.

It was time to go home.

He stared at the horizon, a statue slowly sending shadow spreading with the sun’s descent. Then he ran, pounding steadfast past corpses, leaping nimbly across the eviscerated, hurtling on the tips of his toes as an avalanche of putrefying meat and rusting paraphernalia of war filled his field of vision, sending nanotech bullets into the hordes of over-ambitious scavengers tearing at the decay, reeling himself up a sheer cliff face as highly militarised alien technology silvered through the effluvia below, loping through the healing country past the bursts of wildflower and dancing insects that push from the vibrant grass, falling in a dream that shakes him awake on a cold cave floor, brushing his fingers ecstatically on the rippling wheat rolling on to the horizon that flashes as the sun sinks from view.

The thatched cottage, luminous in constellation light, sent out waves of warm heat and scent. He sank to his knees, the long strobe of days heavy on his flesh and soul. His eyes filled with the light. His voice was hoarse as he yelled at the golden vision that seemed magically there, his leaden legs finally propelling him forward to embrace her in a whirling hug sparkling with tears and litanies of love.

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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

CHESTER: Guilt Trip

The day after our zombie friend has  inadvertently wiped out an entire town by the hungry virtue of vice.

“I’m looking for information.” Chester settled onto a barstool. The pub was empty but for a priest slumped at the bar and its bartender who stubbed out his cigarette and took to polishing a glass.

“It’s about the Storied Woods, isn’t it? Just about the only reason folks stop by this godforsaken town.” He rubbed ferociously at the glass, peering closely. “It’s suicide, you know. Nobody ever comes out.”

“I’m aiming to go places no man has ever gone.” False braggadocio there, failing to camouflage the slight quaver of fear that caught in Chester’s throat, and the bartender knew it.

“It’s not that the place is lacking visitors. Just… nobody real comes out. That’s why we don’t mind the likes of you.” The man behind the bar shrugged. “There have been worse.” He put away the glass. “You seem to have a tale caught in your throat. I’m all ears and it’s a slow day.”

Dust settled. The priest woke up. Chester shook his head.

“There’s nobody around, and there ain’t much difference between a bartender and a priest.”

“O-okay. Father, I have sinned.”

“Wot’s that? Heh heh.” The padre nodded at the bartender. “A drink for my new friend, here.”

Chester protested vehemently, suggesting that it would be only a waste of money. The padre wouldn’t hear any of it. “As long as you’re paying,” Chester said, slamming back the shot of corn whiskey. It splashed on the floor, the padre who looked him up and down concluding, “Guess I shoulda listened. So, what’s your grief?”

So the zombie regaled the duo with his sad tale, culminating at the fateful meeting and concluding at the moment he stepped into the pub. The padre smiled a sad smile and said:

“Oncet I brought a boat load of drugs—the boring ones, mind you, antibiotics, aspirin, antibacterials, and all the like—to an impoverished people, they bellies all hanging out like they had gone and swallowed a watermelon whole, who wore pieces of green plastic (PCBs?) they found in the wastes through in their ears and noses and mouths and tongues and Lord knows what else, and I helped them.”

The padre settled his cheek against the smooth bar. Each burst of breath threw a fan of steam on the polished surface. He sat up, his fingers compulsively scrabbling for his brandy.

“I wanted to help them. The medicines I brought were corrupted. Poisoned. They died by the hundreds, painfully. An entire culture vanished before my eyes, and I was the one responsible.” The brandy tumbled golden in its glass until it disappeared into the padre’s mouth. He brought raw, blood etched eyes to bear onto Chester. “I lost my faith. In everything. The Lord, he had made me an angel of death. And why? To these people who most needed his help. I could not accept it.”

He gestured at the bottle. “I drowned myself in a sea of escape. I floundered in these dark and filthy”—nobody noticed the bartender nodding to himself. He knew too well, having had to replace his mop one time more than he preferred—“places until the Lord sent me a message loud and clear.”

The padre slapped the bar top with both hands. “It was you, Chester. You slaughtered an entire town by virtue of your raw hunger, unbridled with your selfish purpose. Me, I was trying to help, and help I did.”—bright beaded eyes raised towards the heavens—”I delivered them from their earthly prison, their pain and suffering, into the bosom of the Lord! I’m not a monster like you. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

“More brandy! It’s a time of celebration!” cried the padre. “So Chester, my green drippy friend, thank you! From now on, I drink for recreation only, not guilt!”

The bartender chuckled at that. “It’s business either way.”

The padre glared at him, as if saying see if ya get a tip, and took the proffered brandy. Chester was looking at the priest with horror. His guilt had doubled, trebled. What remained of his heart palpitated with regret.“Are you sure you’re a priest?”

“Who, me? No!” Guffaws. “T-that’s rich. You thought I was a p-priest?” Wiping laugh tears from the corners of his eyes, the man who looked like a priest told Chester an undependable tale of a whore with a heart of gold, a priest with a fish in his knickers, and himself, a man in the right place at the right time, who had the most to gain from it all. “Look!” he said, lifting a fish from his cassock. “Ain’t that a beaut?”

Shuddering, Chester left the pub and wandered until he fell into a farmer’s pen. Something pushed roughly at him amid curious snorts. After a while, he awoke engorged and covered in blood, sprawled smack dab in bull’s eye circle of stiff hogs with hollowed out brains.

He ran screaming into the morning as the cock crowed.

Strange Love

He imprisoned fairies in sterile Mason jars with air holes and fed them pearls of morning dew. In the evenings he read in their ethereal light. He began the hobby because he wanted to save money on candles. It rapidly became a lifestyle.

She collected miniature devils and took them to the taxidermist, bringing home little red figures preserved in a variety of verbs. She sang to them in the twilight and dreamed of Sheol’s warm red fires. They cluttered her bedroom, overflowing into the rest of her living space.

One day they met on the street under a sky the color of scorched metal. Squinting, he carried his jar like a lantern and it lit his way between the guttering gas lamps. She walked like a drunk, absorbed in a dialogue with the little red devils that filled her many pockets. They collided and made great rocking shadows. He bent to pick a figurine, and she bent to pick his glasses. Their heads knocked together and they saw stars that quickly turned into orbiting hearts.

Together they made good company, provided one left the other to their idiosyncrasies, and moved in together. After a year passed, they were murdered in the only recorded cooperation between the devils and fairies, leaving the authorities scratching their scalps in confusion.