Wednesday, December 27, 2023



Art by Gabby

"Pretty puppy, Papa!" Darla exclaimed, immediately rushing in to squeeze the poor thing to death as only a tot can. Her father caught her before she could do any harm.

"Calm now, please," her father implored. "he's fragile."

"Fragile?" Darla asked. Her interest in the answer subdued her squirming somewhat.

"Fragile. Delicate. Easily hurt. We have to be careful with him since he's still so little."

The words "Okay Papa!" preceded a jerk toward the box in which the poor pup had been placed. The puppy, for its part, darted around the box, excited by the excitement.

"Darla, you're going to be a big girl now and you have to take care of the puppy. This means we pet like this-" he pet her head gently, "-and no grabs or hard pats. Okay?"


"Do you understand?"

"I 'stand."

"Show me on my arm please."

Darla stroked her father's arm politely and gently. Her father nodded.

"Okay, let's say hello."

"Hello!" was more squeaked than said as Darla flew out of her father's arms and toward the dog. Keeping her promise, she stopped dead at the edge of the box and tentatively lowered her hand down into it.

"Let him sniff you first - that's how dogs say hello."

The pup snuffled around Darla's hand for a moment before taking a playful nibble.

"Oh!" Darla exclaimed in another squeak. "He bit me!"

"He's trying to play - are you okay?" Her father extended his hand to look at her injury.

She drew her hands into her chest and started giggling and wiggling her shoulders back and forth.

"What's up sweetie?"

"He wants to play!" Such excitement could not be contained.

"He sure does - why not give him some more gentle pets? Maybe he'll lick your fingers this time."

"Oh! Okay!"

Darla lowered her hand into the box again and carefully, carefully stroked the animal as it wormed around, excited to learn the rules of this new game.

"Eek!" Darla exclaimed after a few moments.

"Oh? Did he bite you again?"

"No! Dah-Dee!! He's licking me!"

Her father let out a chuckle of relief.

"He likes you! Do you want to pick him up and give him a little hug?"


Her father helped her pick up the creature and snuggle with it for a moment.

"So, what do we name him?" her father asked.

[Author's note - this is where I normally put some twist, but you get to choose your own adventure this time. Highlight your selected choice. Happy New Year!]

Boring: "Spot!"

Cute: "Brownie! 'Cause he nibbled me like I nibble brownies!"

Absurd: "Doctor Henry Kissinger."

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Greater Than or Less Than?


Art by Gabe
"Greater than!"

"Less than."

"Greater than!" the bearded man in the plaid shirt punctuated his words by shoving the mustached man in actual flannel.

"Fuck you!" the second man exclaimed as he recovered his balance.

"Guys, guys, let's just chill," the bartender said, attempting to calm things down as best he could from behind the bar.

"Fuck off!" the two men said at the same time. The bartender responded by raising his hands to indicate he didn't want to cause more trouble. He brought his hand back down to the bar after a moment.

"You two know I can't have fights in here. Either you calm down or you take it outside."

"I'm calm," the mustached man said angrily. "It's this fucker who's mad."

"I'm not mad - I'm completely fucking sane!"

"Who said anything about sanity?" the mustached man asked.

"You said I was mad - crazy!"

"I meant you were pissed!"

"I'm not drunk either!"

"I don't care who's drunk, crazy, or angry," the barman said, sidestepping the wordplay issue. "There's to be no fighting in here - and that includes shoving, jostling, or other non-consensual contact. If you want to play rough, you have to leave."

"Sorry boss," the bearded man grumbled.

"I'm not - this guy's all fucked up." the mustached man said.

"What the hell are you two even arguing about anyway?" the bartender asked.

"He says there's greater enjoyment to be had from alcohol than from video games," the mustached man said, pointing at the bearded man. "And that's nuts."

"And he's--" the bearded man started before the bartender hollered over him.

"Gentlemen! Gentlemen! I don't care which brings you more pleasure, but you're both in my bar. If you keep this shit up, I'm going to make the alcohol stop flowing. Now will you both shut up?"

The men nodded and gave their assent - more into their beers than to the bartender. The bartender went back to the other customers.

"So what do you think," the bearded man whispered. "Are there more doors or wheels in the world?"

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Dear Satan,


Art by Francis

Santa rode the hellhound ragged.

"Onward, beast!" he cried, kicking his heels into the creature. "Onward! Onward!"

The beast obeyed as best it could. Its supersonic speed made the pair look like a blur to anyone they passed.

It had been a cruel trick, but that's what comes of making deals with the devil. It seemed like a shortcut. It seemed like a good deal. Don't they always?

The problems started when the sleigh broke after dodging a particularly nasty bout of anti-aircraft fire. Santa and crew had managed to limp home and patch things up enough to finish the rounds, though Prancer and Dancer would take months to recover. The whole mishap caused a rift in the North Pole community.

A debate raged through January and into February as to what fundamental changes should be made to the sleigh and present delivery system. One major camp wanted to up-armor the thing and issue flak-jackets - at least for use through active war zones. The other major camp pushed for speed above all else - why worry about being hit if you can't get hit? Terms like "acceptable casualties" and "titanium bathtub" were bandied about. The cost, both in materiel and man-hours, was another sticking point - if there was a lucky strike or other issue, would any of this be worth the trouble?

It was into this fray another red-clad figure stepped. Satan, visiting the North Pole to belatedly pass along some mis-addressed mail, listened with interest. Attuned to strife, he quickly formulated a plan. An offer. It was simple enough: the reindeer would work for Satan for a time and Santa could ride a hellhound. It couldn't pull a sleigh, but it was faster and impervious to the weapons of man.

When asked why he wanted the reindeer, some words about worming into children's hearts were spoken, though they rang false. The issue at hand, however, forced Santa to make a decision. After much haggling and contract-writing, a bargain that ensured Satan would never harm the reindeer was struck. Provisos for the repair of the sleigh and other improvements to Santa's workshop were included. It was too good a deal to pass on - especially as it was only to last one Christmas. Or, at least, that's what Santa had thought.

The deal had originally been set to end at 11:59pm on New Year's Eve the next time New Year's Eve and Christmas Eve were on the same day of the week. The wording had been waved away as magical formality when first questioned - the to Eves were seven days apart and are always on the same day of the week (if Christmas Eve is a Thursday, New Year's Eve will also be on a Thursday).

At the last minute, however, Satan asked for a one day extension. He asked to change New Year's Eve to New Year's Day and Christmas Eve to Christmas Day. No one worried too much - after all the bargaining back and forth, what was another 24 hours?

As you may have guessed, not all was fine. While Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve are seven days apart, Christmas Day and New Year's Day are 359 days (360 days on leap years) apart. Barring manipulation like the switch from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar, Santa had signed a permanent deal.

"Onward! Onward!" he cried again, pushing the beast to its limits. Every ounce of hate he had for himself for sentencing his reindeer to servitude to Satan came out in his treatment of the hellhound. Where once he was jolly with a belly full of jelly, he was now hateful with a heart full of spite.

The Devil, for his part, watched and laughed. He wondered what Vixen was thinking as Santa whipped him, seeing only his hellhound form.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Mister Green Christmas

[Author's Note: this was written for the 2023 Weird Christmas Flash Fiction Contest.]

“He’s right behind us!” Jangle screamed as we ran. It was a waste of breath. Of course he was right behind us.

For my part I knocked over a dozen shovels and shoulder-checked a six foot snow globe in the hope that the debris might slow down our pursuer. Vixen neighed frantically a couple dozen yards ahead.

It was madness.

We sprinted forward, jumping over small boulders and juking around corners. We raced through the lunatic’s labyrinth expecting every step to be our last.

“Here!” Jangle cried out, ducking into a hole. I nearly decapitated a decorative thermometer as I used it to swing myself into the crevice. A gate clanged shut the moment I was inside.

“That should hold him for a bit,” Jangle tried to convince himself.

“Fuu-uuck.” I let out, catching my breath.

Then a yelp pierced the air. The smell of burning hair started to fill the tunnel.

“Vixen!” we yelled in unison.

A maniacal laugh boomed from outside the gate. We watched in horror as the madman gripped the reindeer’s now-glowing head in his hands.

“Whatever I touch starts to melt in my clutch,” he said, following the statement with a smug laugh. “I’m too much.”

Saturday, October 28, 2023

I see you.


Art by Lauren

I see you.

I see you, sitting there, reading this.

Go ahead and hold up a few fingers. I'll wait.




You didn't hold anything up.

That's right, I knew. It's not a trick. I can see you.

I see everything you do.

I've seen what you look up online.

I know what you do when the camera on Zoom turns off.

Yes, I'm well aware it's nothing actually exciting. This isn't a blackmail note. You're doing the same shit everyone does.

I'm just watching you do it.

Oh, me? I'm harmless.

A little-wittle, itsy-bitsy itch. Like someone's got eyes on you. I'm that feeling on the back of your neck.

I won't do anything to you.


I'll know.

I see you all the time.

I watch you all the time.

There's no way for anyone to get rid of me, so don't bother trying.

I'll watch you try though.

I'll watch you check around.

A post-it note on the camera? One last look in the closet before bed?

I've seen it all.

Honestly, I'm not even sure why people are obsessed with closets.

You're more correct to worry about the cameras in your life. Hell, the thing you should be most worried about are all the little microphones in your world. Those things can lead to consequences. Malicious actors - and by that I mainly mean your government - can turn those on and listen in whenever they want. Maybe not legally, but the ability remains.

Me though? Again, harmless.

I merely exist.

Watching you.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

I'm an American!

 [Author's note: this was a 15-minute sprint. I may rewrite it as I would like to lean into FDR's Four Freedoms.]

“You can’t do this to me! I have rights! I’m an American!”

“What’s that?”

“What’s what?”


“A citizen of the greatest nation on Earth! The Land of Liberty! The birthplace of democracy. An American dammit. How do you not know that?”

“We don’t know many things. Please tell us more.”

“No. First you tell me! Who the fuck are you and where the fuck am I?”

Writing Vikings


Bubbles on a Boat

Viscous Vikings



Writing Group

Monday, August 28, 2023

Open Biblioteek Amsterdam


Tired Traveler's Feet
Step by Step
Beat by Beat
Touring a City
Packing Days Full
(in between sleeps)


Prostitutes tapping on glass
Canal Boats pushing water
    woosh as they pass
The smell of French Fries or
    waffles or some sort of food
All of this is the Amsterdam mood
Plus art
    Plus architecture
        Plus human design
A human scale city
Relaxes my mind

Sunday, August 27, 2023

A Rose so Sweet

"Do I have COVID?"

"What do you mean?"

"I can't seem to smell this."

"What's this? And yes, losing smell is a symptom of COVID."

"Well, I suppose I can smell other stuff, just not this."

"Again, what's 'this'??"

"This thing here - it's gold."

"That may be the issue."

"But 'a rose by any other name would smell so sweet!'"

"You're holding a compass rose, dumbass."

Saturday, August 26, 2023

A Fly in the Ointment

Art by Jorge

 "Jack, do you feel that?"

"Feel what, Jim?"

"I don't know man, the world seems fuzzy."


"Yeah, wobbly."

"Are you feeling okay? How long have you been feeling this way?"

"Since I've been sitting here on the rim of this glass."

"That's weird."

"What's weird?"

"I just meant that conversationally, but now that you mention it, what's in that glass?"

"Koninck - a beer, I think."

"Well shit, Jim - you're buzzed!"

Friday, August 25, 2023

PBR with HDHM (a Round Robin)

[Usual rules apply - each person writes a sentence. All the participants had the ability to read the previous sentences, though I'm not sure everyone actually did.]

"Gimme a citywide," the hot dog head man said. "I've had a hell of a day. You'll relish the tale."

"Best I can do is one of these paper cones they inexplicably use for hydration purposes even though they are embarrassingly small," the bartender replied and handed HDHM the libation. The condensation made it slippery.

As the man stared into the cup, he began to reflect on the horrific day he had experienced. Never in his life had he experienced anything like it.

You ever hear of elevator accidents? That's how the real Avril Lavigne died.

"What's your stance on Israel & Palestine?" I asked the bartender, ready to make my horrific day worse."

Just as the bartender was about to speak, a cat jumped on the bar and dashed across, knocking over the tiny paper cone and spilling well whiskey on the man with the hot dog head.

(If you're having trouble following this story - ketchup!)

"You're still going to have to pay for that," the bartender said.

And that was it, the man had had it.

I paid then the bouncer asked me to leave.

The whiskey suddenly combusted, ripping right to my rippling testicles nestled in my scrotum; tumbling in horrific fiery pain like a 9/11 ferris wheel.

I vomited on my own shoes.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

More Scattered Thoughts (small book poems from May to August 2023)

Drink it
Drink it in
Drink in the music
Let it nourish you
Absorb it into your being
much needed succor
after electronic reproduction
a welcome warm hand
after so much robotic stimulation
fuzz and sweat and life
Let it fill your nostrils
A deep breath of vibration
warmth and color and fuzz
Let it fill you
Drink in the music

Monday, August 14, 2023

The Year is 2563 [8]

[Author's note: I really hate this one. It's content though and gets me closer to my goal this year.]

 If estimates are to be believed, in a mere 27 years - that is to say the year 2590 - we will finally witness the full transformation of society from one bound to our terrestrial mother to one based primarily on the space stations now in orbit or at LaGrange points throughout our solar system. In an interview last Wednesday, an expert asserted that this would be the largest technological leap in human history: akin to taming the horse or later replacing it.

The expert, one Dr. Knuckle, explained that the demographic distribution of humanity has been trending in such a way that more and more births have been successful in the sterile and controlled environments of our various space-faring projects. The number of successful births on Earth, however, have not been increasing at the same rate, despite pollution mitigation efforts started in the past century.

"Contaminants appear everywhere," Dr. Knuckle explained. "It hasn't even been a year since the lipstick and foundation recall and many of us remember the Algae-tea debacle." The doctor asserted that the closed systems of space-faring life were more able to detect and dispose of hazardous materials where we are still discovering world-ending caches of contaminant buried and forgotten by past generations on Earth.

Dr. Knuckle ended the studio interview encouraging a positive outlook and an eye toward the future. The doctor closed by saying "Despite the struggles we have faced and the consequences of our ancestor's actions, we have the opportunity to improve the lives of those who come after us - more and more of whom will never know the feeling of standing on humanity's home and looking up at humanity's future."

Sunday, August 13, 2023

August El Bar Poems

 There was a place called El Bar

Where PBR was the star

I fucked up this poem

Put a slug in my dome

I could have ended with PBR


Blustery Bullshit

and fabricated facts

each truth welcomed

with a flurry of smacks

There's no profit in honesty

Money flies toward lies

If we end up surviving

It'll be a surprise

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Citywide Special

 [Author's note: I'm in a weird space here. Unlike a lot of other sprints, I feel like this could morph into something good. I don't know if I have the talent to make that happen, however.]

I slang the thang down my throat
a yuppy fad for this old goat
but damn but hell did it make me happy

A shot and beer that I held dear
after which there's naught to fear
for now this ol' geezer's waxing sappy

Of days of yore when I was poor
and a desired pour was just four
or three or two or no dollars

But the way it's been it's been a sin
my pocket's feeling mighty thin
and after rent all I want's to holler

Yet here I am on this stool
yammering on a drunken fool
I don't mean to bend your ear too bad

But a lady's got me mighty blue
and it don't matter really who
all's I mean is I'm filling in the sad

Sure it's a pity in this whole fuckin' city
there's only one lady with a golden titty
but hell she was mine 'least 'til Tuesday

Friday, August 11, 2023

Giraffe & Walrus

 “Jim, you’re not going to believe what I saw the other day.”

“What was that, Chuck?”

“Well, I was driving down to Santa Monica for the day and decided to take the scenic route.”

“Uh huh.”

“So I was on Sepulveda and took a few turns here and there. Figured I might pop by the Getty or something like that.”


“Yeah, so I wanted to see where the winds would blow me or whatever. I wasn’t tied down to some freeway or other. I was just cruising along and letting life lead me forward.”

“Okay, and what did you see?”

“Oh, you’re not going to believe it. Oh, first, do you remember Tim?”


“Yeah - big guy, big mustache?”

“That doesn’t really narrow it down for me.”

“Tim - you know - used to own that spot a couple blocks north?”

“Oh, yeah - Tim. What about him?”

“I saw him on the road driving a new Porsche. He looks like he’s doing well for himself. We should visit him sometime.”

“Sure, sure - what did you see that I’m not going to believe?

“I’m getting to it! Don’t rush me.”


“So I’m driving down to Santa Monica and I see this sign that says ‘eighth wonder of the world’ with a big giraffe on it and so now I’m intrigued.”

“Sure, sure.”

“Jim, you’re just not going to believe this.”


“They’re opening a new Toys r Us!”

“What? That’s it?”

“What do you mean ‘that’s it’? That’s amazing!”

“Sure, great. Now will you just cum so I can get some sleep.”

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Friends on the Town [9]

 "Hey - Tiff's here" Sam said, slapping Paul in the chest. Paul and Cindy looked toward the entrance where Tiff, dressed all in white, was carefully navigating her way around a sacuy Buffalo wing display.

"Tiff!" Cindy and Paul cried out in greeting.

"Hi guys," Tiff said as she reached the booth. "It's been a bit."

"I don't think I've stepped foot in here since college," Paul confirmed.

"I'm surprised they let you back in," Cindy teased.

"Hey now - don't remind them. I think they've forgotten by now. And I think that waiter's now a butcher across town."

"What makes you say that?"

"I can't be sure - I don't exactly remember his face - but the way the butcher ripped the ticket out of my hand and eyed his collection of knives I felt like it was him."

"Are you saying he has a beef against you?" Sam smirked.

"I don't know and I don't want to find out."

"I don't know why it's such a big deal - it was just a few pizzas." Tiff said.

"And the guy had to wear them all night!" Sam ribbed. "He was probably picking pepperoni out of his pants when he got home."

"Hey, it was an accident! I said I was sorry."

"Pepperoni pants and a sausage shirt," Cindy said through a snort of laughter. "Maybe he got his girlfriend a chiffon and cheese camisole!"

Paul turned an embarrassed shade of tomato red as the friends had a laugh. The waitress came up to the booth and asked if they were ready to order.

"Order! Order! We must restore order!" Sam joked as he mimed banging a gavel on the table.

Cindy looked at the waitress and said "we'd like an extra large chef's special pizza-" she paused to look at Paul "-on plates."

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Wrapping up a Business Trip [13]

 I closed the lid on my laptop a moment after hearing the announcement for my boarding group. The other insects lined up to embark without protest. My mind... crawled? swarmed? with metaphrs for the experience - a school of fish soon to be sardines in a can? Wind-up toys to be put on a shelf? It was enough of a distraction as the boarding process continued.

My assigned seat was a window seat and, of course, the middle and aisle had beat me to the row. I pointed and worked through what I hoped was a polite sentence in German. It was unnecessary, however, as both the men were in the same boat (another metaphor failure) as I - heading back to the States after a suit & tie circus.

Middle asked if I was nervous and I admitted to hating takeoffs. He intimated that he hated the whole process and had spent the whole night prior in a bar so he'd be more hungover than scared. I suppose that's one way to go through life.

I took a swing and asked if he was into baseball. He balked - or was it more of a false start? - and mentioned he was into football. It didn't much matter to me; the conversation was to be a distraction as the flight got underway. A long snap? A Hail Mary across the Atlantic? We were white-knuckled as we discussed the long overdue renaming of the Red Skins.

I relaxed as the plane leveled out. The man in the middle seat relaxed as the drink cart passed. As the drinks kicked in the flight went from walking on eggshells to being a cake walk. As smooth as butter. a piece of cake.

So much for being witty.

Friday, July 14, 2023

A Modern Prometheus

 Dr. Thomas Frank was not looking forward to this particular appointment. It wasn't a bad person or something specifically unenjoyable; rather a large lunch and hot weather had combined to make him incredibly tired. As he contemplated laying on the floor and taking a nap while he waited for the appointment to start, the buzzer sounded.

"Stone's here," the voice on the intercom said.

"Come in," he called out.

"Hey Doc," the patient - one Jack Stone - greeted as he made his way in. "Hot one today, eh?"

"I've been in my office all day, but the air conditioning is barely keeping up." Dr. Frank agreed. "I'm not looking forward to going out in it later."

"Yeah, with the heat and humidity I'm just about beat." Stone punctuated with a long sigh. "I'm afraid I'm going to fall asleep mid-sentence if I'm not careful."

Dr. Frank laughed politely. "Yeah, I'm in the same boat."

The two men shuffled around for a moment as their bodies formed into psychologist and patient postures.

"Hey Doc," Stone broke in. "I'm really beat. Do you have any coffee or anything in this place?"

"Not really, no." Dr. Frank paused for a moment. "But now that you mention it, I could really use a pick-me-up too. Maybe I can send out for something."

"If we're doing that, maybe we could get something high test? An energy drink or something?"

Dr. Frank nodded slowly for a second, then nodded a couple big 'I've made a decision' nods. He pressed a button on the intercom."

"Shelly, would you run to the corner and pick up a couple energy drinks for Mr. Stone and myself?" He raised an eyebrow toward Stone as he continued. "Whatever you grab first will be fine." Stone, for his part, nodded his assent.

"Sure thing!" the intercom answered. Dr. Frank conveyed his thanks and sighed a 'reset' sigh.

With that task set in motion, the two men began the session in earnest. Stone began with what was bothering him and laid out some things left unresolved from the previous session.

"Really though, is it wrong of me to want to be as knowledgeable as possible?" Stone was in the middle of asking when the buzzer sounded again.

"Who is it?" Dr. Frank asked, having momentarily forgotten about the errand.

"It's Shelly - with Dr. Frank and Stone's Monster."

Monday, July 10, 2023

Review(?) of: Duskers, Offworld Trading Company, Oxygen Not Included

I took a week off work in late June (and had some additional time off work in early July) to spend “vegging out” and playing video games. To this end I picked up Duskers, Offworld Trading Company, and Oxygen Not Included on Steam. As is my wont, I feel very guilty of spending maybe 40 hours on these three games and about zero hours writing, so now I’m going to write about gaming. This is sort-of a review, but mostly a way for me to not feel as if I’ve “wasted” a work week. Don’t expect anything mind-blowing.

Duskers (2016)

The idea behind this game is you’re a sole survivor on a spaceship trying to investigate the universe / what in the world happened. I really, really didn’t care about the lore - I’m sure it’s interesting and deep, but I couldn’t find it in me to care. Maybe I’ll give it another go in the future.

The gameplay loop of this game is probably the best of the three - you dock with a spaceship / space station and direct a number of little robots (drones) to do certain tasks. Sometimes this is done by a command prompt where you type in the commands, though you can take direct control of a drone to give it specific directional (as in “go left”) instruction. All commands such as “generate power” or “gather resources” must be typed into the command prompt, which added a lot of drama to the game - I cannot tell you how many times I typed an ‘s’ when I meant ‘d’ to close a door as an enemy chased me.

Without giving too much away, there are four enemy types that each have their own traits / tells and you have to avoid (or confront) them as you gather materials to keep your ship and drones working. At some point you will inevitably fail and all the drones get destroyed or you run out of fuel or some other mishap befalls you and you’ll be forced to reset. It’s a roguelike, so there’s no hard feelings, though bad luck and having to reset on the first ship can be frustrating.

The only big issue I have with this game is that this loop is all there is to it. Stay alive until you can’t - maybe accomplish a completely optional objective while you do. There’s no end game that I’m aware of and getting to the fifth, tenth, or twentieth galaxy on a single run plays the same as resetting and starting out fresh. I realize not every roguelike can be FTL or Spelunky or Hades or whatever, but I do wish it had a bit more to it. With that said, I spent $10 on it and played for more than ten hours - a bargain however you slice it.

I will probably put a few more hours in the game - again, the loop was a lot of fun - but I’m not going to invest more than “oh, this’ll be fun for an hour while I’m bored” energy into it.

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Bubble Snake

Art by Sammy

"A Bubble Snake?"


"What the fuck is a Bubble Snake?" 

"It's just that - a snake made of bubbles"

The General looked at the Messenger for several seconds.

"And why the fuck should I care?" 

"Well," the Messenger paused. "It's attacking?”

"Attacking WHAT?" 

"Attacking our coast?" 

"Attacking HOW?" 


"And what the fuck do you want me to do about it?

"Stop it? Defend our coast?"

“You want me to order our troops out to - let me get this straight - shoot at some bubbles?”

“Well, it’s more the President wants that. Or something like that. He didn’t say ‘shoot the bubble snake’ specifically.”

“I would actively campaign against him if I even dreamed he said something like that. I cannot fathom a stupider saying or order than ‘shoot the bubble snake.’ I’ve been around some profoundly stupid, crayon-eating motherfuckers and I’ve never heard something even rivaling the colossal ridiculousness of the idea of ‘shoot the bubble snake’.”

"Well, sir, I can't argue can't argue with you there.

“So what are we even doing here?”

“We were discussing defending the coast." 

"Right. From a snake made of bubbles," the General thought for a moment. "And it won't just dissolve? It won't just pop?" 

"It doesn't seem to be doing that, sir. If anything, it's growing."

"How big is it now?" 

"About a mile long and three stories tall." 

"And it's attacking?”

"Yes - it seems to be actively eating boats and beachgoers."

"Well, fuck it. Give the order to shoot the bubble snake." 

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Turtle and Alligator

Art by Aubri

"See ya later, Alligator," said Turtle to Alligator.

"In a while, Crocodile," replied Alligator. 

Turtle paused, turned his head, and gave Alligator a quizzical look. 

"I'm a turtle, not a crocodile,"

"I know, Turtle," Alligator replied. "It's just a saying." 

"What do you mean it's a saying? Who says it? 

"I don't know, it's just something people say."

"We're not ‘people,’" Turtle declared. 

The two sat looking at each other for a moment. 

"It's just a cute saying that rhymes is all," Alligator defended. "I didn't mean anything by it other than to say goodbye. 

"You could have just said goodbye"

"I could have, yes, but the way you said goodbye rhymed and I wanted to have a little fun with it."


Turtle and Alligator sat in their sunning spots for a few minutes, neither saying a word. It was Alligator who eventually broke the silence.

"I thought you were leaving?"

"It's a free country," Turtle retorted.

"I'm not pushing you, sorry, I just thought you were going to leave since you said goodbye and all."

"Well, all this crocodile talk and stuff really put me off dinner."

"Sorry, I didn't mean to open a can of worms." 

"You have a can of worms on you?" 

"Ugh. No. Another saying. I didn't mean to start a whole discussion about sayings and idioms and whatever. You're my friend, Turtle, and I just want you to have a nice day." 

"It's okay, Alligator," said Turtle. "I suppose I got a little snappy." 

"Alright, well, I'm not done sunning," said Alligator. "So I'm going to snooze for a bit.

"Sleep tight," Turtle said, a grin slowly crawling across its face. "And don't let -- 

"Screw you, Turtle." 

Saturday, July 1, 2023

A Trip to the Twat-tanic (Round Robin)

Rules: everyone could see the whole story and had to either add one sentence or something to the drawing.

"It's a little small, but I think we can all fit in," the man in the top hat said to the gathered group. The smell of boneless chicken thighs wisped from his grizzled beard as he latched the massive door open. "Bathroom's in there," he said, pointing to a corner of the nine-foot-by-nine-foot steel box.

Billy looked nervously at the tiny room, turning to his dad when a small cat jumped through the group into the submarine before them.

"I named it the Titan," the Top Hat said proudly, "as it's a hubris against God and also in honor of my dick." He pulled out a photograph of Richard Nixon and smiled as he reached down to his fly and released his penis - also named 'Dick'.

Top Hap pointed at the cat and said "cat's name is Moby. Unrelated to the book. Now we're going on a journey." The door to the submarine closed behind them with a bong. Billy jumped.

"A journey - to the bottom of the ocean. My name is Chester and this is my vagin-advenure."

The crane picked up the submarine and dropped it in and Top Hat motioned wiping his hands, chuckling was the last thing Billy saw before they broke the water's surface.

"The deep sea is the last unexplored frontier and the twat-anic is a testament to the beauty and power of mother nature." The submarine began to descend and viscous, slimy bubbles began to adhere to the one window at the bow.

"Are we going to be okay in here?" Billy asked. "I have a little rumbly in my tummy." Top Hat smiled and grinned at Billy - inspecting his ripe asshole with his tongue, he gently mused "Billy, that is to be hoped for, my lad."

The yawning maw of the Twat-anic came into full view in that moment. Mermaids, krakens, the Loch Ness Monster, and Leonardo DiCaprio swam past the window. Billy smiled despite his misgivings, in awe of the wonderous sight, the land of milk and honey, and th-

Monday, June 26, 2023

The Integrity of my Sphincter

 [written exquisite corpse style at writing group - each author could only see the previous line]

The gas pains were so intense.

They hurt so bad that even the artisanal ass lotion I'd bought wasn't cutting it.

My ass, honestly, needed relief.

Reading the Preparation H directions incorrectly, I accidentally applied the salve to the wrong end of my alimentary canal.

I'd say I yelped in surprise, but it was more like a dog's frightened howl.

I had lost all faith in the integrity of my sphincter.

I prayed to the Ass God for the strength to deliver this burden.

But there I sat, broken hearted - tried to shit and merely farted.

I dismissed the tumescent centaur from my bathroom and cried into my Caesar salad - freshly tossed - and managed to peel the centaur cum from my eyelashes.

What awkward timing! My mom was calling me on my phone.

Fuck that bitch, I thought, and crushed my phone between my powerful breasts.

The FBI agents tapping my phone knew something was up, but they didn't understand what they were dealing with.

Despite their training, the immense capacity of my anal cavity was enough to blow their minds - a la "Scanners" - and, in an inspired moment, I indulge in a binge of bum-stuffing, cramming the G-men inside me until I could no longer walk, my analphagia yet unsatisfied.

I let loose a sigh - from my mouth and from my gaping asshole, filled to the brim with soft-serve justice - with a cornucopia of pleasure and pain.

And that, I tell my children, is the story of the happiest day in my life.

Friday, June 16, 2023

Cookie's Birthday

[written round robin style at writing group]


It was the night before Cookie's birthday and I hadn't bought her a gift. She already had an industrial sized bottle of children's NyQuil with codeine, so I took to the Silk Road to find her something to match her erratic personality. Soon she'd be a coked up Cookie.

On my Silk Road journey I also discovered a vendor who made built-to-order robotic cats - I couldn't resist getting Cookie a playmate. The cat would have teal, metallic fur and its meow would be 'guttural'. I clicked 'buy', but a pop-up appeared citing a 'flagrant system error'.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Ghost Story

Art by @ghosts.semiweekly

"It all started when he said to me 'if you have time to lean, you have time to clean'. I was mighty tired that day, having spend the last few days overworked and having covered two other workers who called out. Like everywhere, it seems management has decided running a store on a skeleton crew is entirely acceptable. Workers, to them, are just cogs-"



"I thought you were going to tell us a ghost story."

"I am telling you a ghost story."

"Is the only spooky thing going to be the crew of skeletons at your work?"

"No - that's a figure of speech. 'Skeleton Crew.' It just means there are barely enough people to keep things operating. No coverage if someone is sick or injured, no time to cross train for redundancy, and it always leads to the best staff leaving because they can find better places to work that might treat them with dignity. Of course, if your only goal is to extract wealth and increase human misery, it doesn't matter if-"


"What is it this time?"

"You were telling us a story."

"Oh, right. 'Time to lean is time to clean', right? Well, that was the last straw for me. I told him if he had enough time to bitch about me running the whole store he had enough time to hire another half-dozen staff. He got all 'nobody wants to-'"

"Dad? Is this a work story?"

"Yes, eat your marshmallow. Anyhow, I told him to lead by example and do five minutes of real work around the place. Then I coughed a couple times, told him I'm feeling sick, and now we're out on this beautiful night roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories."

"Dad, that wasn't a ghost story."

"Kid, we're ghosts. Any story I tell is a ghost story."

Monday, May 29, 2023

Here and There

Art by Shelby D.

"You can't get there from here," Abe said, thumbs in the straps of his overalls. Zeke nodded along.

"How does one get there?" I asked.

"You don't."

"What do you mean you don't?"

"It's real simple: you're either here or there. Can't be in both."

"Can't be both." Zeke added.

""I don't want to be in both," I explained again. "I don't want to be here; I want to be there. There has to be some way - however circuitous - to get there from here."

The two men looked at each other for a moment and then looked back to me. Abe contorted his mouth in such a way that the piece of straw hanging from his lips switched sides.

"So you don't want to be here?" he said.


"And you want to be-" he extended the question with a wide sweep of his arm- "over there?"


"Well you can't get there from here."

Zeke nodded again as if it was a revelation.

"How does one get there then!?" I hollered.

"Not from here, that much I know."

"There are people there though, right?"


"How'd they get there?"

"Made different choices along the path I reckon."

"Different paths," Zeke echoed.

"Then I'll backtrack a bit and make different choices."

"Too late for that mister," Abe said.

"Too late, too late," Zeke, for his part, made the words sound like condolences.

"What do you mean it's too late?"

"Well, mister, I hate to break it to you, but you're dead."

"What do you mean I'm dead?"

"Just that. This is your hell, we're your demons, and you're never getting-" another wide sweep of the arm- "over there."

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Rainbows and Lollipops

Art by Bria

"It's not all rainbows and lollipops you know."

I looked at the man in white overalls covered in splashes of color.

"It looks like it's a bit of rainbows and lollipops though," I ventured. "You look like you play paintball with Keebler Elves."

"No I don't," the man protested.

"You're covered in colors!" I pointed out.

"Yeah, and what are the Keebler Elves known for?"

The question threw me for a second.

"Cookies?" I managed.

"Fudge cookies. Not exclusively, of course, but fudge nonetheless." He gestured at the stains. "Do these look like fudge stains to you?"

"No?" I said.

"Exactly." He punctuated his statement with a finger pointed aggressively at my chest. "If you're going to work in this business you need to know. Rainbows, kid - who does rainbows?"

"Uh," I paused for a long moment. "Skittles?"

"Good! 'Taste the rainbow.'" He said, relaxing back for a moment. "I would have allowed Nerds or M&Ms due to the candy coating too, but saying 'you played paintball in a Skittles factory' would have been good."

"Why do I have to know this sort of thing?" I asked.

"Because they're friggin' fussy is why. Sometimes a real pain in the toosh. Speaking of which, did you have covid recently?"

"Yeah, how'd you know?"

"And your sense of smell hasn't recovered?" he continued.

"Yeah," I repeated slower. "How'd you know?"

He grinned.

"You might be just the person I need right now."

"How'd you know I had covid?" I demanded.

"This isn't rainbows and lollipops, kid," he said, gesturing at his overalls again. "This is unicorn shit."

Saturday, May 13, 2023


Art by Erik

“Are you hungry or something?”

“What? No! Yes! What do you mean?”

“You said you were going into ‘gobbling’ mode.”

“Ugh. Mom. ‘Goblin’ mode. Like the creatures. Don’t you know anything?”

“Apparently not! And what does this ‘gobbling mode’ entail?”

“Goblin, mom. Goblin. I’m going to go crazy and not take care of myself and make a big mess and stuff.”


“And what?”

“And what makes that different than any other day?”

“It’s goblin mode.”

“I’ve seen your room young man.”

“What about it?”

“It looks like you’ve been in ‘gobbling mode’ for years now.”

“Goblin mode, mom. Jeez.”

“And what makes that different than your normal mess?”

“It’s not my normal mess! I’m in goblin mode. I’m crazy! I don’t give a shit about the rules!”

“Watch your mouth!”

“Sorry mom.”

“Well, the question stands: are you hungry?”

“I… yes?”

“And what do goblins eat, I wonder.”

“I don’t know? Trash?”

“I’m not feeding you trash. Your dad might, but that’s why I don’t let him cook. What else do goblins eat?”

“Travelers? Squirrels? I don’t know.”

“How about sloppy joes?”


“Okay hon. I’ll make some sloppy joes for you to go goblin mode on tonight if you clean your room.”

“That’s not how it works, mom.”

“It is if you want sloppy joes.”

“... okay.”


Art by Jake D.

“How would you split the word ‘helicopter’?”


“It was a simple question. How would you split the word ‘helicopter’?”

“Uhm, heli and copter, I suppose.”

“Of course you would. That’s what most people would do.”

“Was that incorrect?”

“Now? What is correct? What is incorrect? I’d argue that you’re fine, given the evolution of the English language. We refer to ‘helipads’ or ‘helilift’ which, obviously, are the combination of ‘heli’ and another word, referring to an association with helicopter.”

“Something like the famous Schwarzenegger line ‘get to the chopper!’”

“Precisely - a split, in English, of heli and copter. Your example is also a good example of language evolution. We’ve turned copter into chopper and have no issue with the grammatical shift.”

“No cap?”

“No cap.”

“Sorry, Sir, I had to. With the joke aside, how would you split helicopter?”

“If you’re following the roots, it would be ‘helico’ and ‘pter’.”


“Like pterodactyl - winged finger. And you’ve certainly heard of DNA being a ‘double helix,’ right? Same root as helico.”

“That makes sense, I suppose.”

“But that’s not to say you’re wrong - English is its own thing. Like how the plural of ‘octopus’ in English is ‘octopuses’!”

“I thought it was ‘octopi’?”

“That would be a Latin plural on a Greek word. ‘Octopodes’ would be more correct, but again we’re speaking English.”

“This is all super interesting! I’ll have to remember it.”

“Here comes Sergeant Horden - ask him my question.”

“Sergeant Horden! How would you split ‘helicopter’?”

“Sir! With a Stinger missile, sir.”

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Friday, March 17, 2023

St. Pat's Limericks

 I run a weekly writing group. This week I assigned folks a task: write a limerick. These are their submissions.


Tonight I had a great stew

But suddenly I had to go poo

I shotgunned a beer

Said, "I'll go here"

Now the carpet is damp as the morning dew


Can't write a limerick

Have a limp dick

Still digesting my beef stew

I really ain't got a clue

But I came up with this real quick


An elevator once I did ride

With a man who kept me on the side

His shaft I did stroke

His girth- not a joke!

And I let him dump his payload inside


A detective well-known for his snooping

Went to search in the bathroom while coop-ing

Then he heard a loud sound

And guess what he found!

A criminal failing at duping


There once was a man named Chester

Who was an expert digester

He had a Master of Arts

In belches and farts

And a Bachelor's in obscene gesture


The new toy just couldn't wait

So I stayed up much too late

I played 'til morn

But remain forlorn

I still can't seem to syncopate

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Let me tell you a story about Jack Pullit.

Jack Pullit lives in a small town with his three daughters in a modest house that's the best he can afford on a widowers income. It's a loving family - what they lack in money they make up for in heart. They're generous with their time and generally kind to their neighbors and are now considered good, upstanding citizens.

You may have noticed I said "now" - they were not always so beloved. There is one family trait that did not endear them to their neighbors: the Pullits are tricksters.

If ever there was a more rambunctious crew I've not heard of it. The family pulled off all the classics - a pail of water booby trapping a door? The oldest and middle daughter became amateur acrobats shimmying up doorframes or wardrobes while the youngest handed them the pail. Whoopie cushions, "rattlesnake" letters, and the ever-present "look what's in this squeeze bottle" were just the way the family bonded. The neighborhood accepted this begrudgingly - and sometimes through shoe-polish-ringed eyes

The prank that endeared the family to the community, however, was the biggest prank Jack ever pulled. It actually got them some regional notoriety. Through hook or crook - or possibly a favor on a slow news day - Jack got an article published in a nearby city's newspaper. I can't remember the exact details, but it was an advertisement for a contest at the local pub jazzed up with the offer of a free "toy Yoda" or "Chevy blazer" (like the jacket) or some similarly outlandish claim. Rubes from the city would come to town, pay good money, and learn of the deception far too late (and to the absolute delight of Jack and the kids). Locals eventually came to appreciate the joke, the family, and the touristy dollars that came their way.

In fact, if you ever visit Jack's town, a local might ask you if you've won the Pullit Surprise!

Rich and the Goat (Guest Author)

As mentioned in the title, this is a guest post. Credit to Glynnis.

"Goats. Picture it," said Rich. "Don't they need elevators, too?" Billy eyed Rich, his horizontal pupils unnerving. "Bahhhh" Billy bleated. matter-of-factly. 

"That's a good point, but I genuinely feel it lacks any sort of nuance." Rich hovered over the blueprints sprawled on the table. "Do you think we could charge a fee? We gotta recoup the costs somewhere, the insurance company really has us by the... horns," Rich remarked, dryly. 

"BEHHHHH!" shouted Billy, angry launching his Smith & Wesson on the formica counter, released from his cloven hoof. He was frustrated with the endless bureaucracy. The Kafka-esque red tape, unending phone chains, and constant greasing of the wheels for simple permits and licences. Billy snorted in disgust, lifted his tufted tail, and deposited a load on the rug.

"You need more fiber, my friend. You want a scoop of Metamucil in your...Wait, what is it that you're drinking?" Rich gestured to Billy's mug, then picked up the beer bottle to inspect it. "Billy Beer? I thought they stopped making this shit after the Carter administration?"

"Beh-eh-eh-eh," explained Billy. "That's right, I forgot about your diplomatic back-channels. What was it like working with Cheyney?" inquired Rich.

"Ehhhhh" replied Billy, rolling his ochre eyes. Billy fumbled in his bag, extracted a Marlboro Red, and carefully lit the end. Biden had outlawed his favorite Menthols, so his inhalation was shaky and irritated. Billy tapped a bifurcated hoof on a drainage tunnel, giving a knowing glance to Rich.

"You noticed that too, huh? I figure we could cough up some extra 'play money' by paying tribute to the Sinaloa cartel- they can have an avenue to move their own shit around. Call it... diplomacy," chuckled Rich. Billy took a slow drag on his stale cigarette, and sneezed abruptly in frustration. Rich nodded in agreement. "If we can pull this damn project off, my friend, you'll have no problem providing for your kids. I know how shitty your 401k has gone- believe me, pensions are a thing of the past now."

Suddenly, the door was split horizontally, daylight slicing through the dark smoky room. "OPEN UP! POLICE!" 

Rich and Billy exchanged horrified looks; Billy's wide eyes darted to the pistol on the counter. Rich shook his head slowly, a silent "NO" escaping from his wretched face, as Billy reached over to pick up the gun. He produced a large magazine from his London Fog camel trenchcoat.

"Beh-eh-eh-eh" he said quietly, loaded up a round, cocked the hammer, and unloaded the magazine.

Rich Beyer Chronicles (2) Guest Author

As mentioned in the title, this is a guest post. Credit to Glynnis.

The elevator doors slide open. The light spills on a well-defined but mature chest; dry-aged like a quality Costco wagyu. The scene is lit only by an emergency halogen bulb standing on guard outside of the hallway.

Rich Beyer steps out of the dingy elevator, and realizes he's on the wrong floor. "Basement?" he cries. "Shit. I meant to go to the sub-basement." He steps back into the car, his half-torn sustainable organic bamboo shirt mopping up thimbles of saline from his soft shoulders as he reaches a gnarled finger to select the proper floor.

Rich takes- or rather, attempts to take- a deep breath into his dry-rotted cigarette filled lungs, coughs, and hacks up a gritty loogie. He does not spit, he swallows. He certainly can't ruin the floor of his Schindler passenger class 330XL Traction elevator... Rich steps out of the elevator car in the sub basement and pauses, allowing the ambient heartbeat of the building pour into his hirsute disc-like ears.

"Hello?" he called warily. "Who the FUCK is in my sub basement?" Silence answers his demand. The contractor's pallets of caulk load into the hallway, and Rich surveys his immediate area with caution. 

"Hi there," drips a voice from the shadows. She steps out behind a forklift, and saunters in front of Rich. A tall-ish woman- 5'7"- with a clump of curly black hair and pubescent bangs joining her unmanicured eyebrows meets his eyes. Rich stares in silence, not sure how to respond to this mystery woman. She ejaculates a deep, throaty cackle, and her 38 C bosom ripples the Phish logo on her ancient t shirt. 

"What's your name, sweetheart?" Rich growls. "I am pretty sweaty..." she says. "My name is GOD."

"God? Really?" responds Rich, a quizzical look on his Quizno's stuffed face. Rich wasn't a church-going man, of course. Particularly after finding his name appear on the shit list of the local Episcopalians after indulging in too many unconsecrated communion wafers and unholy Boone's Farm in 1978.

"That's all you need to know about me," purred God rather breastfully. Rich chuckled at the woma- uh, God- in front of him. He always wondered if God was a brunette.

"Does the celestial carpet match the Earthly drapes?" trawled Rich. God giggled and then suddenly enveloped herself in Rich's personal space. "You don't know what I'm capable of," cooed God as she waltzed by him, ovulating. 

"Can I ask you a personal question?" she added. Rich nodded. "Have you ever checked anyone's scalp for lice?" she asked a very confused Rich. 

"...No, I haven't," he replied slowly. "I didn't realize they had lice in the Heavenly Firmament."

"No worries," she offered. "I'll show you how," as she kneeled on her knees in front of Rich's stationary bosom. Prepared as always, Rich produced a lice comb from his breast pocket, and started to part the scalp of God like a discount working class Moses.

"You got nits," muttered Rich, as he hesitantly parsed his way through God's cerebral forest."


Rich Beyer Chronicles (1) Guest Author

As mentioned in the title, this is a guest post. Credit to Glynnis.

Rich cracks his knuckles as the button on the Schindler 500A-TB220 casts a sudden pale light on his...SEXUAL face. His rough hands knew the intimate touch of pulley weights, counter-balances, and endless gears of so many kinds of elevators- industrial, freight, grain, passenger... He had caressed their mechanical shafts, greased with industrial petroleum-based lubricant. 

"Going up? Or...Down?" his heated breath whispered in my ear, a haze of Marlboro reds hanging on his sparse... SEXUAL head...Rich deftly scoops me up in his grizzled working class arms and carries me over the threshold as his water eyes undress me. "My double-reinforced pulley shaft is waiting for your doubled bonded steel rope cable," I murmur breathlessly. 

His face lights up, and suddenly turns serious as he puts me down gently. "Safety first, hon" as he conducts a thorough inspection, designated by the county Department of Weights and Measures. His whips his massive rod out of his sun-bleached Carhart coveralls, and uses it to delicately measure the pressure differential in the hydraulic lift column.

"Is that thing metric or... Imperial?" I ask. "I guess you could say it uses...Freedom Units," he muses coquettishly. He takes out his 3/8" torque wrench and head, opens my Patagonia micro fleece vest, and applies the wrench to my ragingly hard nipples. I grasp his Union-made pole, and begin pumping rhythmically. "You like that? Does it measure up to ASME A17.1 Safety Code for Elevators?" I grin, SEXUALLY. 

"Baby, you're giving me no choice but to leverage your hand as a fortified spontaneous hoistway- you're turning me into an escalator!" he gasps.

"CERTIFY ME! OH, GOD, certify me under your tumescent CSAB44-21 Standards! Sign off on me, baby! Loop those letters! OPERATE THIS PUSSY!"

"I'M GONNA LAND YOU! Oh God, oh God..." Rich slumps over, heaving, shaking, sweating. He grunts as his guide rail fixing cable unleashes in my swollen counterweight buffer receptacle. Lights flash before my clouded bright eyes, and we collapse into each other, bosoms heaving like some kind of SEXUAL dying star.

He pulls out a clipboard, pen, and manual, and removes his horn-rimmed glasses from his front pocket. Rich motions for me to turn around, and inscribes some sort of code in his Bic Velocity which read: 

10-03-22 Rich Beyer 4673

Trod Upon

As an ant
    I am smote
Ground down
    into dirt
        into dust
seg cogito
but I know
what eldritch horrors

Unalive Persons
    Undying Creations
        Machines of Flesh
crush me
I am aware
    as my soul leaves my body
        corpus sine anima

I am not like them:
my drive dies
    is dying
        will die
Theirs persists
    is persisting
        will persist

They poison the ground
They poison the water
They poison the air

They poison our bodies
They poison our minds
They poison our souls


What am I to do?
    Fight Flight Freeze Fawn
        macht nichts
I am smote
    unlike the ant
        I notice