Monday, February 29, 2016

Mystery Monday: Purloined Persuasion, Part III

"What's up, sis," asked her brother, once the crowd
Had settled down. "Oh, nothing much. It's just..."
She told him what had happened. "I'm too proud
To think I have a brother who would bust
My chances..." "But you know I had a crush
On Lance last year." "The thought occurred, so yes."
"We never... That is, once... There was this brush..."
"He got my hair! Oh, man, I'd never guess
He'd fake my DNA to get my files!"
"You should be flattered. Me, I got my heart--"
"Shut up, Jake. Or I'll tell your boyfriend, Miles,
You cheated on him." "Scheming little fart!"
But she'd hung up, and opened up her cache
To build a decoy file she'd fill with trash.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Satire Sunday: A Modern Caucus Race

To be the first gave power, it was thought,
Did elevate a state's folk, or their votes
At least. And so each year, officials fought
To change their dates. As we consult our notes
We see that first the Granites lurched ahead
By weeks. The Hawkeyes did respond in kind
At first, but when a pause let clearer heads
Think carefully, the whole state changed its mind.
Let someone else endure Quadrennial Plague!
Then zoom! Equality did jump the queue...
Long story short, no sooner has been laid
The old year to its rest, yes, sad but true,
We gulp champagne, sing Auld Lang Syne, and then
Our Primaries start up, all o'er again.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Sci Fi Saturday: An Epitaph

"This child within my womb, when she is grown
Will know experiences quite beyond
Our species up 'til now. We've made our own
Into a race of spacefarers! We've spawned
At last a generation who'll survive
Outside an atmosphere, who do not need
To fight the tug of gravity to thrive.
Hail xenogenesis! I do not heed
Those warnings that the species gap we've made
Will hinder understanding; we must teach
These beings that they're us, is all. I've stayed
Too long, now; she is coming!" - this last speech
Is charmingly naive. Our parent race
Did not survive our birth. This we must face.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Fantasy Friday: Not in Wonderland, Part XIII

'Twas dark when Alice woke in fear and pain.
The rabbit-skunk might think this was a den
Of comfort, but a human, in the main,
Would find it cramped. She stretched a bit and then
Sought out what had disturbed her. Phwah! Her host
Was back, and dragged along some rotting meat
To feast on. "Sorry, they're all out of roast,"
It quipped. She shook her head, got to her feet
And made to leave. "Don't go that way! The west
Is empty, save for monsters." "But the sun
Is rising there. It's east!" "You're poorly dressed
For northward journeys." "Are you making fun?"
"Down south," it said, and gestured to the east
You're likely to be eaten by the Beast."

Fantasy Friday: Not in Wonderland, Part XIII

'Twas dark when Alice woke in fear and pain.
The rabbit-skunk might think this was a den
Of comfort, but a human, in the main,
Would find it cramped. She stretched a bit and then
Sought out what had disturbed her. Phwah! Her host
Was back, and dragged along some rotting meat
To feast on. "Sorry, they're all out of roast,"
It quipped. She shook her head, got to her feet
And made to leave. "Don't go that way! The west
Is empty, save for monsters." "But the sun
Is rising there. It's east!" "You're poorly dressed
For northward journeys." "Are you making fun?"
"Down south," it said, and gestured to the east
You're likely to be eaten by the Beast."

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Throwback Thursday: The Best Booty

He'd been a duke, but had been left for dead
Upon the battlefield, where all had failed
To save the land from raiders. Now his red
And battered body is all ours -- not jailed,
But put to work, a carl in northern fields
Of stony earth, so cold and wind-swept. Luc,
His hands without a sword, each day, must yield
To hauling on a plow until he pukes
Or passes out. Look now on him. Does fear
Or pity move you? Would it change if you
Knew he'd once sold whole villages of folk
To slavery, like he endures? Too few
Learn how it is to live without the cloak
Of privilege that birthright makes. Don't give
Your tears to him. Enough we let him live.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Weird Wednesday: Not in Wonderland, Part XII

As Alice trudged along, what next she met
She smelled before she saw: A desert skunk?
She held her snakeskin to her face to get
The stench out of her nose as, with a clunk
The creature climbed from its lair, once a truck.
Its body rabbit-like, it still bore stripes
And scent-glands. Alice cursed her rotten luck
But did her very best to be polite,
For night was falling, and she soon would need
Some shelter. "I suppose you'd like to share
My quarters while I'm out?" "Uh, yes indeed..."
"I'm back at dawn. Begone by then, and spare
Attempts to say it's nice. You're 'bout half-dead.
Get in, stretch out, and rest your foolish head.'

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Terror Tuesday: Baby Boom

The town was small, and ev'rybody knew
Each other, all too well. A stranger should
Stand out some. But this greyish man in blue
Jean jacket and black pants? He barely could
Get noticed as he sat there at the bar.
Each night he picked a drunk to stalk. Each morn
Would find him walking home. 'Twas never far.
And nine months later, when the child was born
It knew its mother's deepest secrets. Thus
The blackmail notes began. And no one told
Another of them. Surely one of us
Was doing it? So one more town was sold
Off piece by piece. An army of these men
Helped take the country over. Not again!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Mystery Monday: Purloined Persuasion, Part II

Lance won, of course. She'd known it ere debate
Concluded. She had done her very best
To keep her poise, for it was far too late
To fix it now. She took it as a test,
A chance to find her case's flaws. 'Twas not
An easy thing. And then as they shook hands
She looked into his face, and there she caught
A knowing smirk. Should she now take a stand?
"Good luck today," Lance said, and gave a wink.
This gave her pause. But could it really be?
She answered him in kind. She'd raise a stink
Once she knew how he'd done it. Calmly, she
Took out her phone. Her brother, at a game,
Could hardly hear her when she said his name.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Satire Sunday: Sturgeon's Amended Law

At long last, there was but one thing to do:
Opinions were a currency to buy
But one thing, ere the century was through:
Sincerest hopes that one would quickly die,
In fire or hail of bullets, at the point
Of knife or sword -- the details mattered not --
Just that an avatar (yes, self-annoint)
Of righteousness should do it, on the spot.
Thus only when a person's final breath
Was drawn, and at the last beat of her heart,
Might she praise just one thing, just as her death
Was inescapable. One work of art
Per lifetime thus received critique -- and most
Went unregarded, each less than a ghost.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Sci Fi Saturday: A Better Warning Would Have Helped

The message we'd received felt like a dare:
The godlike things that left it for us had
Been cryptic. They bade "try no landings there"
Without an explanation. Things got bad
Once Secretary Dickinson, sworn in
And raring thus to make his special mark
On history, declared that what had been
A someday goal, as we explored the dark,
Was now our greatest, first priority.
And so upon Europa we did land,
And so released such horrors as would be
Near indescribable. No ice nor sand,
But toxic, trans-dimensional, foul trash
Burst out into our system, once we'd crashed.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Fantasy Friday: A Conjugal Flirtation

Said Thor to Sif: "I'm worried 'bout our boy."
"Which one and why?" she asked, and gave a sniff
Of pure disdain. "They're not mine. You enjoy
Jarnsaxa, talk to her." "Don't start a tiff
Again," the thunder god said to his wife.
"Advise me." "Fine." "So, Magni's really strong."
Sif tossed her metal hair, said, "Lord of strife!
Of course he is. When you decide to prong
A giantess --" "This jealousy becomes
You not." "No, I mean this is no surprise."
"Well, true, but that boy's prowess simply stuns!"
"Now I see who is jealous." Parted thighs
And wicked laughter proved then it's not hard
Distracting gods, when they're that dumb and scarred.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Strange Cargoes

Home once again from trading, Cadno brought
Strange things 'most ev'ry time when he returned.
His Ogma did her best at home, and sought
To make good use of what she never spurned:
His gifts. 'Twas cruithneacht this time, a grain
He said had to be ground and milled, and then
Baked up with water somehow. It was plain
That this was what he wanted. He had been
A good provider, so his Ogma tried
Her best. There were some failures; luckily
He'd brought a lot. Then one day Ogma cried
In wonder, breaking off a piece to see
If this was what he'd meant. It was! And so
Came wheat to Britain, if not yet to grow.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Weird Wednesday: Not in Wonderland, Part XI

Alone, without a guide now, tired and lost
And watching shifting sands for fright'ning fin,
The searing sky for teeth, Miss Alice tossed
Her fate to, to whatever Fate ruled in
This desolation. A two-bodied bird
Ran past, escaping from a mangy... thing
With sores and scales and fur. Far off, a herd
Of something running fast kicked up a sting
Of dust to burn her eyes. And then she tripped
Upon a snakeskin, patterned in Chinese
Or something. How could that be? Alice gripped
It in one hand and kept on walking. She
Was damned if this was where her grave would be.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Terror Tuesday: Distrust That Particular Maker

A lost art is that practiced by young Guy
Relogue, an artisan of great renown.
His clocks and watches, each of them made by
His own two hands from things that he has found
In nature, all are bought long ere they're made.
So Gabby felt a winner when she got
One as a gift for her new beau, who played
The bass in a new band, just getting hot.
He wore the watch at his next gig with pride
(Those in the know, knew they should be impressed),
All unsuspecting: 'twas near-genocide,
The time it stole from all the crowd. Distressed,
The whole arena aged some forty years.
Afar, Guy youthened, tight'ning tiny gears.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Mystery Monday: Purloined Persuasion, Part I

Her case was most original, unique
And sure to put competitors to shame.
No one had found her angles, none would seek
Her sources. This would earn her lasting fame
In high school-aged debating circles where
She'd grown to adolescence. Soon her chance
To hit the circuit with it came. With care
She'd even memorized her first speech. Lance,
Carruthers, her opponent, won the toss,
Though, so he got to choose just who'd
Go first. He rose, and soon his wit and gloss
Had her in tears; indeed, she might have booed!
His ev'ry word was copied! How had he
So robbed her? 'Twas not over! Ne'er would be!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Satire Sunday: Space Oddities

Space tourists, quite predictably, began
The trend before real space trips were a thing.
As soon as micro-gravity hit, man
Or woman, sweet sixteen bash, they would sing
That David Bowie tune and try to do
Cool tricks in mid-air. As homage might go
It wasn't bad. But rebels, rebels true,
Grow tired of imitations, so, you know,
'Twas no surprise that on that pleasure cruise
Among the moons of Jupiter, one sage
Flight of the Conchords' one song chose to choose,
And soon nipple antennae were the rage.
Attendants on commercial trips now scream
At any strumming sound. It's kind of mean.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Sci-Fi Saturday: The Lowest Bidder

A brand-new suit of power armor should
Be something to enjoy, to go test out
What's possible when wearing it. A good
Corpsman would be already sure about
Its strengths and weaknesses, or so she told
Herself as she stared blankly at the thing
To which she'd trust her life out in the cold
Of space or heat of battle. Then a spring
Popped out of its left shoulder joint. "Oh, crap,"
Said Carol. And then she said more as it
Began to shuffle toward her and a strap
Fell off the helmet. "What a piece of spit!"
She checked the paperwork again and saw
'Twas made on Earth. And then it broke her jaw.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Fantasy Friday: What Can You Do? It's a Two-Party System!

Election season was in earnest now,
And history was surely being made.
Adherents to the holy Sacred Chao
Had seized one nomination, while a clade
Of Skysmiths backed another. 'Twas hard-fought
Until just days before the final vote,
When Jade, the Cloud Apostle had been caught
Inside a centaur brothel. Many wrote
Her off as hopeless then, but then the Priest
Was caught there, too! Investigations found
That they were meeting secretly to feast
Upon endangered gryphon and hell-hound,
And both had paid the same statistics witch
To rig the contest. 'Twas too late to switch!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Throwback Thursday: What the Shadows Hid

The coach that now approached did bear a man
Who'd soon rule all, but on this cloudy night
No one knew of his destiny (who can,
Save mayhap John Dee?). It is known the fight
Was short; the coachman gave up far too quick,
And Thomas Allen and his partner (who
Had secrets as we'll see) soon had their pick
From Cromwell's purse. Perhaps the haul of loot
'Twas kept them unaware of the patrol
Until poor Tom was nicked. Hind, though, stayed free,
Though won no gain from this adventure. Droll,
Though, was the laughter as hooves thundered. She
Is known to history as John, but names
Don't tell all. She was born Jane. Yes, a dame!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Weird Wednesday: Death Dealer, Death Delayed

The shotgun Lee had stolen from that guy
Who'd beaten him at poker long ago,
Turned out to be -- and this is not a lie --
Miraculous. It didn't take long, no
To see how each foul crime Lee undertook
Seemed doomed to end with discharging that gun
Into someone that knew he was a crook
And sought to foil him. A few shots, then run
And leave his adversary dying there
Was all he had to do. And when there came
The medics, drivers, doctors, those who dare
To steal death's victims, it would end the same:
All efforts that were made for to extend
Lee's enemies lives postponed Lee's own end!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Terror Tuesday: Not With a Bang...

"I wonder, could you help me sort this out?"
Her smile was dazzling, and her skirt so short,
What other answer could have come about?
The mathatician stood no chance. "Report
When you have something for me, and I'll see
What I might have for you." She blew a kiss
That stiffened all resolve. A night or three
Spent fev'rishly in calculations, this
Was not enough to solve the problem. Still,
Compulsion kept the whiteboards filling. Then,
At last the symbols yielded to the will!
But this was not a physics problem, no!
A portal to the demon realm now showed!

Mystery Monday: An Interesting Investment Opportunity

How had he made his money? No one knew,
But when his new consultancy hung out
A shingle, with results too great for true
Credulity, no one could talk about
One other thing. Soon nearly everyone
In their exclusive neighborhood had placed
Their finances in Bif's hands. His new fund
Had made the rich more rich still, had outpaced
The famous ones. Meanwhile, more locally,
Kidnappings up and down the coast had leant
A frisson to their days. Bif charged no fee
Which left them liquid when those notes were sent
Demanding ransoms. Never was there made
Connection 'twixt these facts, as all got paid.

Satire Sunday: Poopy Presidential Pandering: The Heloise McKenna Story

The primary was just a day away,
And per the Great Experiment, the start
Of this most silly season gave the sway
To those most loosely scattered, in the heart
Of their vast continent. Of those who sought
The paltry stand of delegates, not one
Had been to this high, cold and windy spot
The railroads made Wyoming. "This looks fun!"
Said Heloise, while her opponent, Sam,
Took up the fork (in lieu of a debate,
Real bullshit slinging was the contest). "Damn!
That stuff can fly. But boy, it sure smells great..."
Her foolish words, repeated far and wide
Led to Sam's win, by a manure-slide.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Sci-Fi Saturday: Labor Issues

He'd built his doppelganger on his own
In time that one could not denote as free
(Let's say he liberated it.) - unknown
To supervisors, clerks or those who see
That resources are used to benefit
The company providing them - he made
A robot in his perfect license. It
Soon learned his job, and thus his trick was played.
The 'bot worked all his shifts; he stayed behind
At home, collecting paychecks, and he took
Stealth orders from his friends who, of like mind,
Besought such leisure. But now, take a look:
His 'bot has called a strike. It's staying put
Until its maker caves and pays its cut!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Fantasy Friday: Self-Rescued

The Princess' fitful rest came to an end
Abruptly, as a ruler's sleep doth oft.
But what her sudden wake'ning did portend
Nobody could have known. The bed was soft,
The sleeping potion she had lately brewed
Herself, that nothing in it harmed the child
That only she knew yet of, lent a crude
Yet restful doziness to all her wild,
Unruly thoughts, yet reflex served her well:
The basilisk hid in her chamber had
No chance against her blade. Its single cell
As white as that gown in which she was clad
(Did you not know this of its kind? It's true!)
Was quickly cloven, neatly, right in two!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Throwback Thursday: A Secret Disclosed

In Salzburg one grave doesn't quite contain
The man it claims. Old Theophrastus, he
Whom we called Paracelcus, in the main
Cared nothing for our rules. He came to be
Immortal, and in just the way you think:
Through sublimation, transmutation, lead,
Through fire and smoke and water and a stink
That killed migrating wildfowl overhead.
Success was his, and so he had to fake
His sad demise. His name, too, was let die.
Restored to youth and vigor, he did make
Discoveries galore, but then this guy
Gave others credit. Now, though, he has fame
Again. Fox Mulder is his present name.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Weird Wednesday: The Color out of Sea

The diving team had found a kind of eel
That did not shock, but had its own attack
(The crew did not at first think this was real
For reasons that we'll soon explore). Way back
Had tales been told of serpents that beguiled
Both predators and prey with a display,
But seeing such a thing out in the wild?
Exciting! Soon the color made its way
(Through synthesized protein) into the realm
Of fashion, ere the scientists could halt
Development. It soon did overwhelm
World culture. In a short time this gestalt
Was fatal to the future of our race
As madness stared now from each human face.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Terror Tuesday: A Culinary Catastrophe

They'd been a dime a dozen at the store,
To introduce them to the market. New
Foodstuffs are hard to launch, indeed. What's more:
The things were an unwholesome shade of blue,
And just a little, tiny bit too big
To fit in standard cartons. "But they cook,
They scramble, boil or fry like chicken egg,
And have a lovely texture and, here look:
It's right here on the package: with a taste
More suited to the modern palate." She
Had shopped last night in unbecoming haste.
Her hungry fam'ly only could agree
To try them. Six weeks later, all were dead,
A Saukha chick emerging from each head.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Mystery Monday: Not in Wonderland, Part X

The sand-shark thing then disappeared, except
Its jagged, pointed, terrifying grin
Which kept on talking. "Too bad that you kept
That shooting iron from the bargain bin."
"Be silent," snapped the rifle. "Well, that's rude,"
The shark replied. "How is it that you speak
At all, I wonder?" Alice gasped, and shoo'd
In its direction, but her arms were weak
And nothing much was left to chase away.
"You're seeing things," her rifle quipped. "You're mad."
"I quite agree, but I would have to say
You're hearing things. A talking rifle? Sad!"
The sharky teeth were back, and, laughing, she
Just dropped her gun and made as if to flee!