Monday, August 6, 2018

$2.75 Workout - @MicrocosmsFic

By my best estimate, I'm about 20% complete on my new novel and doing a little flash fiction to take a break. This week's Microcosms flash was fun, I got to set something in a place where I get to spend a part of my morning commute.

$2.75 Workout

“C’mon son you only got five days to harden up. You want to take a beating in front of your boys?”


“Your girl?”


“Your momma?

“Hell no.”

“Then get make a fist and get ready.” Doc Greene always closed out his protégé’s workout on the southern side of the 2 platform: the side the subway trains came in fastest. This was after a straight hour running up and down the 42nd Street station’s stairs, doing inclined burpees on the up ramp to the Port Authority Terminal, and repeatedly deadlifting the recycling bin at the end of the D line where the police rarely patrolled.

“I’m gonna make your fists concrete.”

Julius nodded, jogging in place keeping his heart up and his mind off of the approaching headlamp. Later this week he’d be squaring up with Jackson ‘Big Bronx’ Davis who hit as hard as the oncoming subway car.

Doc Greene shouted, “Stick out those paws!”

The subway roared from the tunnel and Julius shot out his fist. It connected with the steel side of the subway and he immediately retracted it. In quick succession, he pummeled the side of the train as is passed the platform. Each connection more excruciating than the last.

“Jesus what the hell are you doing,” a new voice yelled.

Julius turned to see a policeman, hand on his stun gun, ready to act.

“You keep punching,” Doc commanded the boxer. He turned to the cop. “This young man is training for his upcoming fight.”

“You can’t punch the subway car, son.”

“We paid our fare. This is the only gym we have, man.”

The train stopped and Julius lowered his mangled fists. The officer grimaced and walked away.

Doc turned back Julius, “OK two more trains for your knuckles then we’re workin’ that jaw.”

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Flight Attendants: Cycle 1

I tried distilling a much longer story down to it's main conflict. The long version may come back in my new collection.

Flight Attendants: Cycle 1

The sound of the fingernail clippings bouncing down the suction hose on their way the fission reactor were as satisfying today as they were when their mission started five hundred Earth day cycles ago. The shaved hairs didn’t make noise, but those nails ricocheting off the walls of the vacuum were delightful.

Twenty fingers and toes done. Smooth face and scalp. Francis closed the chamber and floated over to the next waiting pilgrim.

“We need to talk about this.”

Francis ignored her, which was surprisingly easy considering they were the only two people conscious on the spacecraft. They’d grown to be mutually amiable the way they would have it stranded on a desert island. The chamber door hissed open and presented the next pilgrim in need of a trim.

“Francis, this is important. We can’t wait another cycle.”

Yes they could. Even with the impending collapse of the Earth within itself, the planet’s best engineers had thought through everything in their race to jettison a representative sample of humans to the closest inhabitable planet. They had to have considered whatever it was Estelle was so worried about.

“At lease let me get through my shift.”

He had five more pilgrims to clean. The suspended animation chambers were great at keeping their occupants alive with the lowest amount of oxygen and nutrition possible, but they hadn’t found a way around the hair issue. It didn’t stop growing and clogged the machinery. That’s where Francis and Ester came in. They would run first shift for the initial fifty years of the mission, trimming the hair and nails of the 1,008 remaining humans from Earth.

When their shift was up they would wake up the next pair of custodians for the remainder of their journey. Esther and Francis would clock out, so to speak. There was only enough oxygen to go around.


“Four more Esther.”

She floated over to him and he finally turned to her. A bead of water lifted up from her eyelash.

“Francis, I’m pregnant.”

He froze. “No, the engineers. . . we’re sterilized. . . I.”

“I’m pregnant.”

“But, the oxygen.”

“I know.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Flash! Vol. 2 Now Available

The end of the world in five minutes or less! Three dozen fictions of bad people and bad decisions across the galaxy or maybe just on their lunch break. I've boiled down the short story format to it's essence and offer science fiction, horror, and criminal misdeeds in these bite sized tales.

Just like Vol. 1, I'm making this new collection FREE to download on NoiseTrade. ENJOY!

And of course if you would rather purchase directly. Flash! Vol. 2 is also available on Amazon and Kobo.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

An Afternoon In the Arena at the Duval County Fair - Angry Hourglass

This week's Angry Hourglass Submission!

An Afternoon In the Arena at the Duval County Fair

The beast towered over him. Silent. Guymon  hadn’t thought about spiders having vocal chords before this moment. It made sense. If they didn’t have any means of making noise before The Process, they wouldn’t have any afterwards.

“Don’t hurt him Papa,” Carla shouted from the crowd. His daughter sounded just like she did in the basement when determining that the creepy crawlies in the window sill was a just a daddy long legs. She had no heart for other spiders, but daddy long legs always earned her sympathy. “Their mouths are so tiny they can’t even bite people. Just other bugs,” she would educate him.

“OK, Carla. I promise I’ll never kill any daddy long legs.”

Twenty feet above him though the spiders’ mandibles looked like they could exposed Guymon’s skull with the efficiency of a can opener.

The rain-rusted loud speakers buzzed from the four corners of the dirt arena. “And here comes hometown hero Guymon Mallerno. Let’s see he’s a match for Big Daddy!” The crowd cheered. If it was for the once-defensive end of the Reagan High Growlers or the double decker sized spider threatening to eviscerate him, it didn’t matter. The noise of the drunken mob agitated the arachnid.

The promise of The Process had bankrupted the nation. A chemical reaction that could instantly expand organic materials held unlimited promise. Produce and livestock could be exponentially enlarged to feed everyone and reduce the farmland needed. All government resources were steered immediately to the full scale roll-out of The Process by executive order.

The problem was that ten months after enlargement, the cells broke down. Killing anything that had become gigantic. And anyone that had consumed Process-treated items. The only thing that The Process didn’t destroy were arachnids, leaving the nation stuck with thousands of the giant monstrosities. Not wanting to miss any opportunity to placate what was left of the masses, the beasts were put into service entertaining them.

Guymon didn’t care about this history though. It didn’t matter in this moment. He seized the spiders leg and started to lift before the creature could react. He wouldn’t be able to keep his daughter’s promise today.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Titanium and Supplication - Angry Hourglass @LadyHazmat

A prequel of sorts to a story in Guns, Gods & Robots. This is my weekly Angry Hourglass entry.

Titanium and Supplication

“Sorry I’m kind of in the middle of nowhere. . . OK I’ll try that. . . Thanks.”

Bisim slid the phone back into his cargo pocket and approached his lifeless travel companion.
Reaching behind the solar panel his pinky finger found the recessed toggle the Taladez operator had just told him existed. The face plate on the Tyson.2 flash white then offered the text: SOLAR BYPASS NUCLEAR AUXILARY INITIATED. BATTERY LIFE 93 HOURS. REBOOTING. ENJOY.

Of course his Tyson.2 would breakdown at the most important part of this whole deployment to Wat Arun. The robots were made for rain, snow, heat, but the constant cloud cover over the past four days had been too much for the machine to overcome. Bisim sat down on a low temple wall hoping to get a few rounds of Popping Penguins in on his phone while the machine started up.

The monk, Bisim’s contact at the temple, spent the robot’s reboot time examining the automaton. The small man looked especially interested in Tyson’s articulated hands.

“Why am I setting this up here?”Bisim asked the bald man.

“You don’t know?”

“I mean, I know the purpose. But why here? This is the temple of sunrises right?”

“Young man, someone’s setting sun is another’s sunrise.”

Bisim rolled his eyes. The monk sounded just like the rest of the holy men he’d been working with since taking this internship. He thought the stereotype of these divine thinkers would have been debunked. The more Tyson.2 deployments he worked through the more the stereotypes were reinforced.

The machine clicked and picked itself up like a time-lapse of a mushroom springing into existence. “Wonderful,” the monk declared.  As soon Tyson’2 faceplate was illuminated Bisim dialed the first of what would be a lifetime of clients to use the robot’s services. An old man in a dark room popped onto the screen.

“The incense,” Bisim prompted the monk. The diminutive man handed the robot a bindle of the perfumed sticks. Tyson.2 lit them with a butane fingertip. The robot lifted the incense to its forehead and in unison, recited prayers and last rites with the dying man on the screen.