Tag Archives: SPF

Leaves of Red and Gold

The family resemblance was striking. Only the tiny lines around her eyes betray greater maturity.

“So you’re her mother?”

“I am. Don’t look so surprised.”

Months ago, I’d shared a drink and conversation with her daughter right here at this bar. Just now, I was still trying to wrap my mind around meeting the mother, without warning, sitting on the same bar stool.

“Relax. You already know we don’t bite.”

“She nibbled a bit, emotionally. I didn’t know about her husband until I was really enjoying her company, you know. My heart wasn’t broken or anything, but my little crush got crushed.”

“Well you’re safe from heartaches with me. Besides, my husband wouldn’t dream of making an appearance. Not even with a thunderbolt, I promise.”

We had recreated much the same evening as when her daughter visited; talking, laughing, and drinking. Eventually, I asked if she’d like to see “our” tree.

The tree hadn’t stopped blossoming and raining petals over the bus stop until high summer. She leaned one hand against the tree’s trunk, and colorful autumn leaves suddenly cascaded.

Demeter just laughed when she saw the sadness come over me.

“Silly mortal, loveliest of all are those which don’t endure.”

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt (and a followup to a previous tale—“You Can Tell a Lot About a Person From Her Underworld.”)


Demolished Men

I need some help over here with this big ol’ Chevy, Lew.

I’m on it. Turn hard right, and then brake. Let him tap your right quarter, just a kiss. Right, that’s good. Slow him down… Slow… Ok, now gun it!

Lew, now that there was purty.

Yep, classic T-bone, dancing around with him bought me the time to get up speed. Fish in a barrel, Bobby, like always.

Watch the Ford on your left, Lew. His partner’s on the other side of the arena right now, but he’ll come a’runnin’.

Got him. Taking him into the wall, just keep the vultures off me for a second. Ok, here comes the partner, reverse it. Good. Now brake and I got his ass.


Speaking of “Got His Ass,” you hicks want to surrender quietly.


You knew it would happen someday. When you boys get enthusiastic, an E1 can pick up your thoughts miles away. I’m Special Agent Lewiston, and you’re both under arrest for using esper powers to dominate a mundane sporting event. That’s a class three felony, jailbirds.

This is Agent Harris driving the tow truck. He’s E2, so don’t try. We’re impounding these vehicles. Make that “wrecks.”

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

And my apologies to the memory of Alfred Bester, author of The Demolished Man, winner of the first Hugo award in 1953.

Just Like Paradise

Bzzzt Bzzzt Bzzzt Bzzzt Bzzzt Bzzzt *thud*

Blrergharghgroan No please, not yet. Just a few more minutes, please let me sleep.

Yeah, yeah. You’re going to nag me about responsibility and shit until I get in the shower, aren’t you? My mouth tastes like litter box. That’ll motivate anybody right out of bed.

As I take off my wristwatch in preparation, I notice it’s glowing faintly blue. Wow, that looks weird. I can even see the gears whirling inside.

I fiddle with the watch stem, and I notice the sun…going back down again. Turn it forward, and the sun rises once more.

Gamers are familiar with third-person view, somewhere over the left shoulder of your avatar, staring over his back at the world. Rolling the watch stem forward, my body got dressed, had breakfast, went to work; all with me watching, a spectator. Everything was moving fast forward, a literal blur.

I watched me working on autopilot. Hah, I always knew deep down that was possible! I can stay solvent without ever experiencing the tedium. At the end of the workday, I stopped winding, and everything snapped back to normal.

The implications are enormous. I’ll finally get enough sleep!

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Peace Begins with a Smile, not a Beak

“So you brought me another olive branch? Where do you even find an olive tree in Manhattan, Harry?”

“I just find them,” he mumbled. “I know, I know, our nest already has so many of the bloody things. Olive branches are supposed to be a symbol of peace. So how come we always have to fight about them?”

“We’re peace symbols,” Sally said. “I’m pretty sure the olive branch is just a stick. All from that Noah story, olive branches just indicate that land is somewhere close. Like a symbolic ‘Land Ho’ for boys on the big boat doing the flood control refugee number.”

“They make perfectly serviceable nesting material.”

“When you have too many they only make the whole nest smell of olive oil. We need something lighter and fresher. Could you look around for some citrus branches, maybe some nice pine or evergreen, Harry?”

“Where am I going to find citrus in Manhattan?”

Sally pointedly pecked at the latest olive branch, and at Harry.

“Okay, okay, I promise I will look around for something else. It’s harder to find anything good down there these days. Everything is so empty and overgrown.”

“I know. I really miss humans, sometimes.”

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

August 16th 2015 Pair of loved up doves

Great white what did you say?

I first laid eyes on Lono in a dockside dive, an immense Pacific Islander sporting an impressive tat collection. He was nursing his beer perched atop a barstool like a rhino balanced on a stork’s leg. As it happened, he was generous in both conversation and rounds. And we had come to the dock for the same purpose, seeking work.

Lono knew a guy who knew a guy, and we soon arrived on the deck of a multi-masted sailing vessel with employment paperwork in our hands. We turned to see the peg-legged captain of the vessel thumping in our direction, hefting a harpoon.

“Good luck to you, Lono.” I hurried back down the gangway and got off that ship. “But I’ve totally read this book.”

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125 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Twilight of the Gods

The high priest of Shamash contemplated the sun and bowed to the west, repeating the holy chant of the sunset. For three thousand years, the cult had been preparing for this season’s solstice, when the planets came into unique alignment and Shamash would be at his greatest power. The sacrifice was properly prepared and spread-eagled on the altar. All was as it should be.

A shadow crossed the altar moving from right to left…

The holy sunset blocked by the shadow of monstrous buildings!

Traction City Cleveland thundered southwest on titanic treads, starving for the oil fields of western Texas.

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100 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Science Fiction fans may have been exposed to mobile cities novels at some point (Cities in Flight, Mortal Engines, the Cyberiad, lots of steampunk titles).

Springing this one on the unsuspecting visitor at sunset… That feels like a cheat. But hey, it’s what I saw in this image!