Yes, please wear that. You look unbelievable. I’ve always had a fixation for you wearing silk and lace, especially in red.

Isn’t it a sultry color, smeared along this edge?

Carmine gobbets of glistening rare meat, perfect for grilling.

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39 words, for this week’s Shapeshifting13 (#47) prompt.

Delicious marinades are available.


Careful What You Select For

“This is incredibly disturbing to me.”

“Why’s that?”

“Leo, this hamster has genetic modifications for climbing?”

“Generation 34 included some minor modifications to paw structure, yes. It’s got a lateral ‘finger’ including some primate gene sequences, and the latest generations have a limited opposable thumb.”

“It’s better at gripping.”

“Better at climbing too, as you can see, Sam. Genetropia is apparently selecting for some arboreal survival advantages. Climbers avoid predators and can reach more food sources.”

“Genetropia is selecting these gene modifications without intervention. Leo, you must be able to see how dangerous that is. It’s selecting freely from 200000 library animal genomes, and you have no idea what the expert system might consider ‘advantageous’ in the next generation.”

“Nonsense, the system will automatically discard any result that produces a disadvantageous mutation. Genetropia will only select for better, more survivable animals. We’ll end up with super-rodentia, eventually.”

Dr. Leo Fazzino’s Genetropia project lab notes, Generation 65.

“For the recent litters, Genetropia seems to be selecting for traits common to Cricetidae, possibly Rattus rattus. Our hamsteroids have developed longer tails and have been steadily gaining in size for generations.”

Dr. Leo Fazzino’s Genetropia project lab notes, Generation 85.

Dipodomys elator, I believe, kangaroo rats may be the source of their overdeveloped hind legs. I’m not sure how much of the original hamster DNA remains, but our modified rodents appear to draw mostly from other species now. Up to five or six pounds, it’s big and it can make tremendous leaps. I’ve had to upgrade the cages several times already.”

Dr. Leo Fazzino’s Genetropia project lab notes, Generation 113.

“The modified rats are gone; apparently they’ve learned to work latches. Down into the basement, they’ve made it in the sewers. I only pray they aren’t as intelligent as I suspect.”


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298 words, for this week’s Cracked Flash (34).

A prequel-tale to St. Christopher’s Movable Feast, I guess, or maybe I just found morats too fascinating.




WordPress logs me out once in a  while (for reasons unknown). The only symptom is that the browser (Chrome, Firefox, whatev) suddenly can’t connect. Weird, since it connects just fine the other 364 days a year.

But the cell phone still connection works just fine…go figure. It’s only the PC browsers that this issue. Until I remember how to fix this oddity, like the last time it happened.

So I’m leaving myself a post-it note here, for reference next year: When you’re suddenly “unable to connect.”

Head to the main WordPress site once a year, log out, log in. Amazing! Fixed!

Browsers are just sillybuggers, sometimes.


Out of the Spotlight

Marisa Panetti produced more than a hundred and fifty thousand negatives between 1965 and her death in 2010. Most of them are quite good, professional quality photography, the standard of art that makes the photographer famous and earns Pulitzers. Marisa had talent and an eye for light and framing, and for capturing the humanity of her subjects.

She rarely appeared without her camera, did not process prints, and she certainly didn’t exhibit her work. She went to great lengths to avoid the accolades that would surely make her famous and wealthy during her lifetime.

Only one self-portrait image exists that’s almost certainly unintentional. The single black and white frame, a blurry and off-center reflection in a photography studio window, may explain Marisa’s extreme isolation. A rather plainly dressed woman holding a camera might seem unremarkable, but the six-foot prehensile tail holding the flash unit aloft is not.

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145 words, for this week’s FFfAW photo prompt. Based on the life and work of Vivian Maier (with some obvious differences).

Ask Not For Whom the Banshee Wails

The cailleach passed through the doorway, and through the door itself, like mist rolling over a moor.

As before, she floated slowly to the center of the Great Hall and hovered over the Caomhánach coat of arms mosaic on the floor. She keened briefly but stopped.


Men at arms sprang forward to secure the spirit quickly using cords laced with silver. Thanks to the argent cord, they were able to manipulate her otherwise incorporeal form. They then secured spirit and cording in a silver-lined chest.

“The new silver tiles in the mosaic worked as you’d hoped. What shall we do with the banshee?”

“Deliver her to Clan O’Brien.”

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110 words. Written for Microcosms (12), prompts “banshee/castle/fantasy” (but I slept through the deadline, doh.)

That’s ok, it’s too Irish-jargony as written (wtf is a “Caomhánach” or “cailleach”?)

Avoiding Errands

Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me.

My imagination scampers away to find a hiding spot when I sit down to write. I know that it’s lurking there, under the bed, during those half-awake lucid moments when my dreams still seem close enough to touch. It hisses at me when I peek.

Last week, I won another “writing challenge,” good for me. What a great excuse to not write, “I’ve got to judge the next one.”

The wizard doesn’t want you to see what’s behind the curtain. He’s a fraud, you know, peeking out in his underoos.

Don’t tell anybody.

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100 words. Haven’t done a Picture It & Write in a while.


Original image found on The Design Work.

Race for the White House

The inbound conveyor carries the parts. Clown boat shoes, red rubber noses, short and rotund clown torsos, and gloved hands all trundle into the factory on rollers of stainless steel.

The outbound rollers carry the final product. Lantern-jawed men in media approved suits and power ties, this year’s crop of candidates.

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52 words, for this week’s Shapeshifting 13 (#44) prompt: “Conveyor

Antigonish Revisited

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there.
So I grabbed a stick and then
I chased him up the stair again.

Why am I so hostile to,
A guy who’s only passing through?
It was quite a night, you see,
I’d been drinking, out ‘til three.
If he was only in my head,
Then I could stagger off to bed.
Try to get some sleep and pray,
My pounding headache goes away.

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there.
So I grabbed a stick and then
I chased him up the stair again.

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101 words, for this week’s FFfAW prompt:

Aplogies to Hughes Mearns, and demonstration of why I should be barred from verse.

Wandering the Garage

The tribe was lost in the desert for a long time. Mickey kept them moving and did what he could to keep their spirits up, but the echoing darkness was vast. So long without food, his tribe teetered on the brink. The littlest ones cried and their mothers glared at Mickey in anger.

Dancing Mickey only laughed and kept dancing. “Keep going, the Promised Land is near.”

Out of the darkness arose a tiny, blinking light. As prophesied—“The LED will show you the way”—the way to an entire container of AA batteries; food for the chosen people at last.

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100 words, for this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt:

PHOTO PROMPT © Sean Fallon