Sunday, 31 July 2016


Right Left Center Right Left Center.

The final puzzle stood before me.

Right Left Center Right Left Center.

After all the rolling boulders and weight drops and the hideous snakes…

Right Left Center Right Left Center.

And that stupid stacking puzzle that always pops up…

Right Left Center Right Left Center.

Just one last thing to do, just pull the levers in the right order.

Right Left Center Right Left Center.

And after decoding that medallion, I knew the correct order, and I’ll show those smug bastards back home who’s stupid, right? Right!

Left Center Right Left Center…

Oh shit.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Aesop 2.0: 23. The Frog’s Story

High on the mountain, the Frog lived in a small pond, far away from all other frogs. Many animals, the Bear, the Rabbit, would come and ask how it got there.

The Frog would explain that one day he was sunning himself on the riverbank when an Eagle grabbed it. But the Frog thought quickly and wriggled out of the Eagle’s grip and landed here in the pond.

The Bear was inspired to see more of the world, The Rabbit was scared back underground, afraid of Eagles.

“Different people from different backgrounds can learn different things from the same story.”

Friday, 29 July 2016

Traditional Roles

Every working day was the same. She’d get up a half hour before him, and make breakfast, while he awoke, cleaned himself, then ate, kissed her, then left for work.

He spent all day making deals, selling and buying things for profits, while she spent all day cleaning, cooking, shopping, and everything else being a housewife entailed.

Then every evening was a quiet one, a meal, some TV, and then bed.

Both of them were miserable. Both of them hated the drudgery of their lives, hated what they had to do all day.

But they did it.

For each other.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Wire On A Bird

When she walked into the Boss’ crib, she was all smiles,

“So… How’d the hit go down? Smooth?”

He snapped his fingers, and two of his thugs grabbed her, holding her tight.

“Get off-“

The Boss walked up and slapped her across the face.

“Someone squealed, and you seemed so fucking eager to send my boys on this.”

The Boss nodded towards the window, and the thugs dragged her over and proceeded to dangle her out of it.

“Got anything to say, bitch?”

“Are you aware this bird’s nest out here has a transmitter in it?” she asked, surprisingly calmly.

Other Work: Wrestling Plot Hole Repair Job Beta

(So, added bonus today. This is a draft version of a wrestling column idea I tossed around a while back, the idea being that it would go on a different site to 411mania where I do Ask 411 Wrestling each week. Don't get me wrong, I love writing that column and for 411mania, but at the time I wanted to expands a bit. I sent this around to a couple places but it never really caught anyone's attention, so here it is, maybe you will like it...)

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Hate Breaker

When I first met Orance, I hated her instantly, and vice versa. In the time we spent both training under Master Fuw, the hatred only grew, everything about her rubbed me raw.

The day our training was completed, Master Fuw said he knew how we could finally get over our dislike of each other. He insisted we both get naked in front of the other.

We glanced at each other and told him off, the first time we ever agreed upon something, which began our road to friendship.

Later on Master Fuw said that was his plan, but rather unconvincingly…

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Honor Just To Be Nominated

As the award was announced, he glanced around him.

Next to him, his wife, who absolutely detested him but loved his money, and being able to say she was married to a famed Hollywood director.

His main star, who was so desperate for a comeback gig he worked for less than scale, although he somehow still had drugs all the time.

And all the sycophants, wannabes, and studio weasels he had to put up with to make the film.

All the selling out, all the crap he made, just to get HIS movie made.

And it didn’t even get nominated.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Reverse Baptism

I've been called a lot of names in my life. Simon, Son, Buddy, Sweetheart, Daddy, Hey You, Sir.

At every point, the name fit me, or at least was fitting enough for me at that point. I assumed that I'd eventually settle into one of them, that one would feel right.

None of them ever did.

So now I'm here, end of the line, with the Pearly Gates before me. Before you let me in, tell me. Tell me the name I should have been called. You have to know, you're the all powerful, aren't you?


Patricia? Thought so...

Sunday, 24 July 2016


‘I never intended for it to get this far.’

While it was almost never those exact words, that was the general meaning of a surprising number of last second pleas for mercy from captured supervillains. They never intended to command an army of robot slaves, or to blacken the sky, or whatever nefarious scheme I stopped them from carrying out.

Seems that many bright young people just couldn’t handle being dumped, or were desperate for parental approval, or whatever lame excuse they had to justify their evil. I always knew they were lying.

Until I took it too far myself…

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Can't Complain

About ten years ago, she approached me just as my opponent had conceded defeat. She asked me, tape recorder rolling, how I felt. My smile, for the first time during the campaign, was genuine.

“Can’t complain.”

About five years ago, she approached me just as I had left the stage, having finished reading my prepared statement about the war. She asked me, shiny political badge on her lapel, how I thought about condemning millions of young people to die.

“Can’t complain.”

This morning, she approached my cell, smiling.

I would have complained, but the mob had torn my tongue out.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Wolf's Blood

For the majority of the time, he was just a farmer, growing various herbs and spices to trade for meat, beer, and various odds and ends.

But he kept a close eye on the moon’s phases.

Because every full moon, he had his ritual.

The afternoon before the full moon, he would quietly pack up some supplies as well as his tiny pot of silver, and then walk into the forest. There was a cave a mile or so inside the forest that was hidden.

Best place for an illegal still.

Easier to walk home drunk when it’s light out.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Coming Back Around On Yourself

Spend enough time doing something creative, and you end up coming back around on yourself.

It’s not deliberate, you understand. It’s not that at some point a light turns on and you go “I can start from the beginning again!”

But you start at one idea, and you start to drift further and further out, you go down paths you didn’t see before, you discover new ideas and concepts…

And then you find your mind, your thoughts, back in familiar territory. Not deliberately, you just drift back to your starting ideas.

Hopefully so you can use them right this time…

Wednesday, 20 July 2016


She punched out another card.

It was nearly midday.

She punched out another card.

The time her supervisor made his ‘rounds’.

She punched out another card.

She knew all too well that he didn’t really care about the shopfloor.

She punched out another card.

He was just making an excuse.

She punched out another card.

So he could come down.

She punched out another card.

And make crude jokes, references, maybe even ‘accidentally’ touch her.

She punched out another card.

But today, today was the line.

She punched out another card.

He approached her, smiling.

She punched out the cad.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Heat And Pressure

To make diamonds, you need high temperature and intense pressure, and this otherwise stark and barren part of Africa had both of those in spades, deep underground.

This naturally brought people, and this, eventually, brought Coraline. She was there to council the community, spread the Lord’s word, maybe build a couple things, stuff like that.

She never intended to get stuck between the questionably legal mercenaries of the mine’s owners and the even more questionably legal militia the local crimeboss, sorry, Mayor got together.

Before that battle she’d never even held a gun.

But under intense pressure, diamonds can form…

Monday, 18 July 2016

Loose Lips

Donx found the bar just past the spacedock. The five extra creds that he’d gotten for his shipment arriving early were burning a hole in his pocket, plus he wanted to catch the last half of the Low-G Ball game.

He found the right holocreen, a Melovixian watching intently. Donx was upset that the Gloworms were down by so much, but he knew they could come back, and said so. The Melovixian laughed, and Donx said he’d put a million creds on it.

Donx didn’t realise how serious they took betting on this planet.
Thankfully the Gloworms staged a comeback…

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Tire Yourself Out

How long can you keep a double life going?

It was a question I never intended to ever consider, it just… Happened. I didn’t mean to hurt either of them, and that’s the problem, because the only way to end it involved coming clean to at least one of them (thus hurting them) or making up some insane reason to leave their lives (thus hurting them).

So I just kept the charade up, kept managing to be in two places almost at once, eventually even proposing to both of them…

Then they met.

And were cool with it.

So… Yay?

Saturday, 16 July 2016

$3.99 Per Soda

They met a couple months after the virus wiped out most of the planet’s flesh inhabitants. After a stand off that lasted a couple hours they agreed to pool their talents, as he knew the city but she was stronger.

It was heading for sundown when he asked her if she wanted a drink. She nodded, and he went over to a self-contained vending machine. After a few seconds of him counting change, she tapped him on the shoulder.

“You could, like, smash it open…”

He would have explained about leaving tracks but the hunters caught up to her then.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Cutting Words

Susan came to me a few months into the relationship, tears streaming down her cheeks. They had a fight, a huge one, over money, at least at first. She wanted, needed, to hear some good advice, so I told her, ‘A relationship is like metal. To forge it, you must put it in the fire,’ then bit my tongue.

It was about a year later that she came back, tears now streaming down onto her swollen belly, when I had to tell her the other part of it.

‘But it does you no good to stand around in the flames…’

Thursday, 14 July 2016


The first thing that almost brought down the Internet was a simple little program that was intended to map how big the new-fangled Internet had gotten, to satisfy the curiosity of a university student.

The second thing that almost brought down the Internet was the death of a pop star, one that no-one truly believed could ever die.

The third thing that almost brought down the Internet was the PR battle between the most powerful government on the planet and its citizens when they found out about how much they were spied upon.

The fourth thing did bring it down.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

The Scrooge Special

He appeared in a puff of red smoke, hanging in the air, his limbs all mangled and disgusting looking. It took me a minute to recognize him.


“Hello Edwin, I have returned from the pits of hell to deliver a message!”

I sighed.

“You’re here to tell me to straighten up or else I’ll end up like you, right? Scrooge Special?”

He shook his head (the sound of broken bones twisting filling the room).

“No man, just keep on doing what you’re doing!”

He vanished as quickly as he arrived, leaving me very confused.

But that’s Religion 101, right?

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Purity In The Belt

After teleportation became reliable, it became much more expensive to send stuff via sub-light, since only a few ships still made the trip out to the belt and back. They mostly took the unstable minerals and such.

Thus, it cost me a couple months salary to have even a breadbox sized crate sent out. And that was with a few transfers and a three month wait.

All throughout that time, I dreamed of the feast I’d have when my organic, vacuumed sealed beef would arrive, pure and untouched.

Then the fucking dockmaster teleports it the mile to my apartment door!

Monday, 11 July 2016

Multiple Lines, Some Waiting

She saved the day.

Given how she had to kill her former Headmaster to do it, she could have said “Class dismissed!”

Given how the method of killing was a hydraulic press squashing his head, she could have said “I always did have a crush on you.”

Given that this prevented him from poisoning the oceans, she could have said “Sea what I did there?”

Given that he’d kidnapped her from her own wedding day, she could have said “You no longer object then?”

But given this was real life, she let the adrenaline run out then slowly walked away.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Grave Matters

Whenever she was lost, confused, or just needed to think, she would visit her Father’s grave.

Even in the dead of night, she knew exactly how many steps it was out of the village, down the road towards the Red Farm, stop after a half thousand steps, turn right, hop the fence, third row, six over.

She sat down on the gravestone in front of his and sighed.

“Hello Father. Been a while, but I need to talk. Gareth… He cheated on me with the blonde next door, and-“

“Didn’t I warn you about that?” said her Father’s ghost, triumphantly.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Not Being Straight

He wanted to tell him how much he loved him, but every time he tried to strike up the nerve, something got in the way. Some family disaster would cause his love to run back home, or his love would hook up with a girl…

He knew he should give up on it, that he had no hope, that this was an unrequited love. But even as his love got the promotion and flew halfway across the world, and they drifted apart, that love never died.

Decades later, they met at an airport.

He confessed.

His love confessed it too.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Running It Up The Flagpole

It’s hard to care, past a certain point.

Taken individually, each person lost is a tragedy, but like that old saying goes, a million is a statistic.

I sometimes try to work out at what point I stopped caring. When I was a kid, when I would always play solider and shoot all the bad guys? When I was through basic training? When I got promoted to officer? When the war began?

But victory is more important than a few deaths here and there. We cannot let the enemy any further into our territory.

Nuke their lands.

And ours too.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Before Time

They lived before the concept of names existed, when what would eventually be called Man was still marvelling at how they had begun to understand how to control fire.

He was of Leader of Tribe by River. She was of Berrypicker of Tribe by Forest.

The tribes had something of an alliance, although they wouldn’t think of it as such. River would have fish, and would give some in exchange for pelts. That’s how they met, taking fish and pelts to swap.

It was a mutual attraction, and they quickly wanted to breed.

The ensuing fight wiped both tribes out.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Mouth Of The Beholder

Most art is made to be shared, to be shown off, to be experienced by other people. Some art is made to be shown to just one person, for just one other soul to share.

And some art is just for the person whose making it.

He knows that his art isn’t considered art by anyone else. If you make letterboxes or mow lawns or just make anything that lasts, people might agree there’s art there.

Instead, his art is considered disposable, meaningless to everyone else. But he doesn’t care. He considers his cheeseburgers art, and to him, that’s enough.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Queen Takes Castle

It was the last ditch, obviously insane, never going to work but we’re so far down we might as well try it plan. Sneaking an assassin into the capital and taking out the assembled military minds behind the armed forces that were days away from taking control of the last few loyal cities… What were the chances she could pull it off, one in a million, a billion?

But given the lack of other options, she was given the limited resources that were left and headed in.

She killed them, yeah, but taking over herself wasn’t part of the plan…

Monday, 4 July 2016


The last human sound inside the Ruler’s Final Resting Place was the muttered final appeal to the Goddesses to guide the spirit to the Black Ocean, cut off by the thud of an enormous stone circle being levered into place over the door.

A few thousand years passed with nature providing a few sounds as the ground shook, water flowed above, and roots forced their way in, although with no humans there to hear them, were they truly sounds?

When the stone circle was removed, human noises finally returned. Mostly screams as what the Ruler had become attacked said humans…

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Chances Are

There’s only so many ways it could have gone, in my mind. A volcano was not about to suddenly erupt, aliens weren’t going to choose this moment to invade, no miniscule probability event would occur and ruin this.

She’d either say “Yes, I’ll marry you”, “No, I won’t marry you” or she’d dither. Those were the three options, and I was prepared for all three, as I took the knee, pulled out the ring, and asked.

She didn’t say yes.

She didn’t say no.

I suppose you could say her having a heart attack was dithering, but that’s splitting hairs.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

London Calling Calling

As soon as my phone started playing “London Calling”, I got up, walked out of the office and didn’t look back. The mechanics of the app I won’t bore you with, but as soon as there was enough social media activity about the end of the world it would alert me, and allow me the most amount of time to head to my prepared shelter, out in the forest. Time was essential after all, every second I delayed was a possible death sentence.

Kinda ironic it was a ruse by my wife and her lover to ambush and murder me…

Friday, 1 July 2016

Grey Sand

No negotiation.

No discussion.

No remorse.

Just death, destruction, and annihilation.

That was what I was programmed for.

And I was very good at it.

Twenty-seven civilisations. Fifty-eight planets. One hundred and sixty-eight billion lives. All gone, thanks to the near trillion of me, each of us the size of a grain of rice.

My creators were very smart, not only did they design and create me, but they also made sure every atom of me knew never to harm ‘true Earthlings’.

Then they discovered the Ark ship at the bottom of the Pacfic, they discovered Humanity’s origins.

Fifty-nine planets.