Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Shoe Polisher

Every year, as the frost turned to spring, the chain of caravans came. The Wondering Folk, as they dubbed themselves, camped just outside the town for a couple weeks, offering all sorts of delights and services.

And every year, she came with them. The first time, we were children, I gave her a copper piece so she’d shine my shoes, and then for another copper, a brief kiss.

As the years went on, she became my first true kiss, my first time, my first other time…

And eventually, she became my wife.

She still charges me for shoe polishing though.

Monday, 6 July 2015


It existed.

It didn’t have a name, at least, it didn’t have one for Itself. That would imply an understanding of existence, both of Itself and things other than Itself.

It lacked that, at least as we would understand thinking. It saw Existence, It saw Itself, and beyond that, trying to comprehend how It thought would require you to understand all of reality at once, and then be able to invert your mind.

So you don’t try to get inside It, you just try to learn to predict how It acts, or more accurately reacts.

Very important.

Because It hungers.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

To Emily And Stephanie Ronner

For over fifteen years, Emily held onto the letter.

She should have burnt it. Certainly she had come close to doing so on several occasions. But every time, she stayed her hand. When her mother had abandoned her and her sister Stephanie, running away from her responsibilities, Emily knew she could never forgive her. When the letter arrived a few months later, she never opened it, not caring about whatever justifications or lies her mother had.

But on her eighteenth birthday, Stephanie asked to read the letter, so Emily opened it.

The letter she expected. The cheque, not so much.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

A Fixer Upper

With enough grit, determination, and, well, stubbornness, you can change the world.

She set out to do that.

And while the world out there was better than it used to be for a woman, while there was certainly more opportunity, less direct blocking, it still wasn’t a walk in the park.

But she never gave in. Every defeat, every setback made her dig in her high heels a little more, made her give a little more blood, sweat and/or tears.

And eventually she did what she set out to do, and change the world.

Shame it wasn’t for the better.

Friday, 3 July 2015


There was one light left on in the building. In that room he sat, staring at the screen, his fingers moving across the keyboard deliberately. The earphones blared late 90’s nu metal that even he would admit was terrible, but it was the music he associated with late night cram sessions, it was what motivated him.

Then his mobile phone buzzed. He picked it up, and saw the message from his other motivation.

Hey Babe, you coming home soon? x

He sighed, and quickly texted back an apology, he had to get this work done by tomorrow. After a few seconds of work, the phone vibrated again.

You sure? ;)

Attached was a photo, his girlfriend in her usual selfie pose, looking up at the camera, an arm subtly but effectively pushing her cleavage up. He sighed, and reaffirmed his need to stay.

It was maybe fifteen minutes before the next one arrived.

Come on Honey, I’m so lonely…

This photo was unusual for her, in that while the pose was pretty much the same, usually she was wearing a shirt, or maybe a sports bra instead of a top. This photo had neither. Quite noticeably and obviously sans either. His resolve wavered for a moment, but he took a moment to calm himself before he tried, carefully, to explain how he’d much prefer to be with her, but he had to do this work, or else he’d get fired. He expected to have an argument over this in the morning.

Instead, after a half hour, he received another text message. He braced himself for a long, angry all caps spree.

I get that…

The photo took him a moment to work out, the lighting wasn’t great, but as soon as he worked out which body part of hers he was looking at, there was another message.

But if Mohammed…

This one was confusing, some sort of red cloth, a hint of button in a corner?

Then the momentous…

One last photo of… The back of his own head?

He spun around, and there was his girlfriend, wearing a long red cotton trench coat. And then, gloriously, not wearing it. She managed to mutter something about autocorrect before he kissed her.

He did find it amusing that he got into more trouble over the unauthorized entry into the building than he did about the work not being done on time.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Lucky Triple Seven

“Come spend some time at the Triple Seven Casino and Luxury Resort Planet! Maybe you’ll get lucky!”

No matter what corner of the galaxy you called home, in every station, every port, every place where there were either rules allowing advertising or just no rules at all, there was one of the Triple Seven Bimbots, standing in a corner, encouraging you to come over and book a surprisingly affordable trip to the planet. And it was true, when you went, you could get lucky.

When you were turned into a Bimbot, you might get sent somewhere where you weren’t vandalized…

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Freaking Out

When my Psych 301 lecturer mentioned in passing during a tutorial that he was looking for an assistant, I approached him after class and applied for the job.

On the first day, he ranted at me for a solid twenty minutes about how gay marriage was going to ruin the country. But the job was good, so I kept my mouth shut.

For a few weeks. But every day was another horribleness, another discriminatory rant, I eventually snapped.

Of course it was an experiment. But his getting me kicked out for aiding and abetting hate speech was over the line…