Magic Words

The evil Dr. Sharp fell to the floor, unconscious and defeated. Even with their foe defeated, the work of The Hero Consortium was not yet complete.

“Get the shut-off words already!” The Wet Blanket shouted, using the power of gravity to bring a group of flying drones created by Dr. Sharp down.

Squeak was busy assembling a cadre of sentient balloon animals to help fend off the few remaining minions of the evil doctor, “I’m running low on supplies and it looks like Bookworm and Ocelot are running out of steam against the robot.  Packet, what’s your timeline?”

Packet made her final keystrokes and cracked Dr. Sharp’s encryption.  “I got it! I got it!” Packet shouted back. Continue reading


The Wisdom of Elders – A Fable

The first draft of an ancient fable that said the right things, the wrong way:

A child ran into the woods and came upon a wise dog.  The dog, sitting on a rock enjoying a lazy afternoon while sipping a mojito, saw the child and the child’s tears and wondered what was happening to cause such strife.

“Child,” the dog asked, “what troubles you? What has happened to cause such strife in a young person’s life?”

The child wiped away a wave of tears and replied, “the village elders think I know nothing, but I know a lot! I know more than them!”

The dog held back the laughter caused by the child’s statement.  “Child, your elders have seen and experienced much in this world.  Time holds many secrets and many lessons.  You must have a long friendship with Time before you too will know its secrets,” the dog said, sincerely.

“But I already know stuff! I know how to hunt and harvest.  I know how to weave and wade.  They all dismiss me as though I know none of this!” The child remained steadfast in his perception of being slighted by the village elders.

“I argue that they simply want you to know your limitations.  You may know how to harvest, but do you know when to plow the field?  You can wade in the water, but do you know when the tide will rise? These are things only Time can teach you,” the dog said.

“Time is the worst!” The child shouted.

It the was the shriek of the child’s voice that triggered the giant trap-door spider to lunge and encase its prey.

“That was wonderfully executed,” the dog said to the spider.

“We’ll eat for days!” The spider said.

“The power of teamwork, my friend.  The true moral of any story,” the dog said.

“Yes! Teamwork does indeed make the dream work!” The spider said before moving back into its hole.




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Dear Future Past Me

Dear Future Past Me,

I found it. I finally found it; the one thing that smells worse than time travel.  I find ourself in the middle of the Industrial Revolution on the banks of the Thames.  I was expecting something like that totally awesome and woefully underrated Fable 3 game, even tried to kick a chicken but found something entirely different.

First up; the air.  Thick with smog.  I thought those Dickens stories detailed this whole thing to an elevated level. Nope.  This is the pits.  I’d offer Oliver more soup, but its full of smog by the time ladle meets the bowl.

Second; Rat Kings.  If I could describe this phenomenon with one word it would be “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” I read a book saying these things were fake.  They were nothing more than the creation of a bored citizen.  They were myths.  They are real as a papercut but a papercut is more inviting.  I saw one carry off a cat. A full grown cat.

Third; the food.  I think Worcestershire sauce was just invented.  Ketchup has been around since 1812.  Not one person knows how to use either of these.  I was handed some sort of tube meat and ate it against our better judgment.  Ketchup would have rocked.

Fourth; I have no idea what people are saying.  I need a slang dictionary.  Someone said, “batty fang” to us.  I assumed there was a bat or something around us.  Instead, the brute punched our face – don’t worry, it super hurts- and ran off.  A constable came up to me after chasing off the attacker, mentioned something about my reaction being slow and needing to work on my “daddles” “forthwith”.  I’m just saying ‘proper copper coffee pot’ over and over again hoping the cop was referring to my interactions with other humans.

I’m going to set a course for a place known for good bread and not face-punching strangers next.  Maybe Idaho in the 1970s.  Can travel anywhere in time and most of space, but recent history Idaho sounds pretty interesting right about now.

Be well future past me,


First Chapter

Earlier this month, unbeknownst to me because of spectacular inability to check email, the very first place to publish something I wrote shut down.  Jukepop Serial started a whole bunch of really amazing authors (still no idea how/why they picked my story, but it was pretty cool nonetheless).  The site no longer exists, likey because its authors (read: me) did absolutely nothing to promote visitation.  Sorry.

It was a really, really fun experience to submit that first chapter of Wren, wait ten days, get an acceptance email and start writing a superhero adventure in a serial format.  While I was actively writing the serial I gained a few regular readers and chit-chatted with them over Twitter and email.  Thanks to Wren, I gained exposure and had my full book, Pendleton Connor Claims the Sky picked up by an indie publisher (but, please don’t buy it ’cause that publisher should not get any money ever and I republished it on my own – once the original contract expired- as The Egress and the Jupiter Cult, but the first title was so much cooler).  From all that came this blog, a number of self published books, writing for Project Nerd for regular movie reviews, and so, so many started stories that have stalled out.

Wren started it all though.  I’m sad to see Jukepop go, but the serial fiction boom they helped re-invigorate is still going strong.  I have no idea what to do with Wren now.  Frankly, I just don’t like most of the later chapters and have no energy to redo it.  The start though, good golly, that start is still pretty dang good if I do say so myself.  Jukepop paid a certain amount per word up to $100 and thanks to the power of math, that full $100 came if your accepted story was 5,000 words to start.  Incredibly unfriendly to the internet reading audience.  The number of readers from chapter 1 to chapter 2 dropped about 60%.  It was a crazy idea to start off with such a wall of text.

Here now, the first thing I ever had published.

Chapter 1 Continue reading

The Atomic Banshee

The Atomic Banshee was no ordinary hero.  Ordinary heroes were simple sandwiches compared to the might of the one called “the scream of justice” by tabloids and “ethically questionable community protector” by the more reputable press.  Clad in skin tight green spandex suit, a mask similar in appearance to a golden monkey, and boots that helped the hero hover slightly over the ground to move at a more brisk pace, the Banshee was exactly what New Lancaster needed.

Soaring inches above the streets of New Lancaster, no ne’er-do-well dared to commit petty crimes like pick-pocketing or arson or littering when the Banshee was on the prowl.

The hero was ignored by police and lawmakers alike; allowed to go about vigilante justice for the simple fact that repeat offenses were becoming essentially unheard of.  The hero’s efficacy was beyond measure and New Lancaster was reaping all the benefits.  The hero screamed only one phrase; a simple catchphrase to cut at the heart of any and all dastardly criminal.  The Atomic Banshee puts a stop to a criminal’s act by shouting, through a loudspeaker placed directly next to the offender’s ear, “You aren’t even worth an awesome one-liner.”

“It’s pretty hurtful,” said one criminal following an encounter with The Atomic Banshee.  “Physically and emotionally.  I’ve heard Banshee shout one-liners before.  They’re good and they seem to come naturally to the weirdo.  That he won’t even bother with it when stopping me…that cuts deep.  Deep.”

For now, New Lancaster is happy to have their hero and just fine with using basic Psych 101 ideas in morally questionable ways.

Watch out, evildoers! The Atomic Banshee has loud words for you.



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A Mea Culpa From The BI-GM-O Firm

We here at the BI-GM-O Firm understand public concern about our particular brand of genetically modified organisms.  The last few months have certainly added tremendously to what was already a trust issue between the public and the Firm.  This is all my fault.

Hi. I’m Taron Ungersun, CEO of BI-GM-O, here to talk to you about missteps that have occurred under my watch.

First, we gave a dog wings.  This was a mistake.  We thought Bigmo, as was his name-o, would revolution the pet industry.  Instead, Rhode Island’s most prevalent invasive species is a nervous airborne Doberman with intestinal issues.  The pigeon problem is slightly receding though.  We need to enjoy the small victories.  We have announced a three billion dollar recovery plan to capture the winged hellhounds, bring them back home and have this all settled by Spring.

For the second issue, I need a moment of your time.

You see, we’re going to space and we need to take animals with us.  We did not select the right animals this time around.  Our lead geneticist, Robin Robinson, thought that making snails as fast as a three-legged cheetah was a good plan.  Nope.  “Quick snail” is an oxymoron and something out of the nightmares of Stephen King.  Please forgive us.  To begin the process of rebuilding bridges, I want everyone to know that if you catch a snail, BI-GM-O will give you one hundred credits up to five snails.  Please do not hunt down the sixth snail.  They will remember. It is a super creepy ‘sixth sense’ these things have.

Finally, the armadillo made of arms and dill weed.  This experiment is indicative of the culture issues plaguing BI-GM-O Firm.  For too long, we have been too literal.  This ends now.  The armadillo upset children. All children.  The gold fish, the coffee table, the oscillating ocelot, the PANda; all came from a good place.  All ended in out of court settlements to retirement communities.

Please know that we at BI-GM-O Firm have heard you and are working to correct or locate our mistakes.  Thank you for your time.

Squeak’s Interview (A Transcript)

Transcript of First Television Interview of Beloved Superhero Squeak.

Squeak: I have to say, while this microphone is strapped to parts of me even my, uh, ‘special partners’ [Laughter] don’t touch, this is the most surreal moment of my life.

Rebecca Carver, Interviewer: [Laughter] Is that because you are the subject of people’s attention and this is the first step to interviews becoming commonplace or because Rocco’s hands are strangely cold?

Squeak: The Rocco part. Thanks, Rocco! [Laughter]

RC: First question, first real question anyway, which of your creations has been your favorite?

Squeak: Mouse.  For the simple purpose of it matches my name so well.  But, you know, this question has come up before when I do mock interviews in my own head following a battle with a big bad.  [Laughter]

RC: Your powers have certainly helped you face down a fair shake of evil doers.

Squeak: Here’s the thing about using my powers of bringing balloon animals to life in order to fight the criminal underworld that plagues this city, the real work is not done by me.  The real work is done by Mouse and Bad Hat, by Snake and Hot Dog, by Sword and Puppy and Horse and Framed House and Big Ol’ Circle.  I just give them life.  And commands to viciously maul bank robbers.

RC: That’s very noble of you, Squeak, but none of it happens without you and your ability to literally breathe life into these crime stoppers, our city would be a much different place.

Squeak: Wanna know something funny?

RC: Please!

Squeak: My powers don’t work on water balloons.

RC: Really? Why do you think that is?

Squeak: I suspect they are pure evil.

RC: Having been in water balloon fights, I agree.

Squeak: One moment, Rebecca, sorry. My crime fighter flashy thing is doing its flashy thing.  A message will come through in a moment. The police chief gave this to me.  Kinda’ like one of those “your table is ready” buzzers at Chili’s, but this is a call to justice, not cheese sticks. Here we go.


Squeak: I must run.  There’s trouble downtown.

RC: Rocco, get the mic off quick!

Squeak: [Laughter] Thank you, Rocco.

RC: Good luck, Squeak.



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