Short Prose (Science Fiction Friction)

“The android was making them all uncomfortable with its Zelzer Stiff eyeing them from its hip.”

Read more of “A Zelzer Stiff.”


“Between two trees exploded into boulder stumps, Elemmírë raised a fist. Behind him, ten figures, barely visible above the gloom and bloom, dropped to their knees and scanned the street.”

Read more of “Garden War.”


“There’s always that one friend who sticks to the group like a discount sticker on a used book…”

Read more of “The Immortality Cube”

Fantasy, Life, Scifi, Writing (Published)

Published — “And We Who Never Died” & “Scarabaeidae”

My pieces “And We Who Never Died” and “Scarabaeidae” were published in the Spring Issue of The Tishman Review, a well-respected quarterly magazine devoted to prose, poetry, and people. Behind the paper’s philosophy is the idea that literature’s “value to humanity is beyond measure.” Editors must “remain open to the possibility that an individual work may take us beyond the boundaries known today.”

“And We Who Never Died” began as a metaphysical conflict. What if when we die, our souls don’t abide the afterlife, or face annihilation, but transfer to the objects around us? What horrors would arise? What fears? The story—about a mother sending her children to search the house for their dead father—is one of many scenarios that might result.

“Scarabaeidae” is an ode to my wife, to us. I try to write without goo, mush, doggerel, singsong, cockamamie, and all those wonderful descriptors of poor poetry. But then, “Scarabaeidae” does have a line that begins with “shall I compare thee to.” Maybe it works since it ends in “a dung beetle.” Glimpsed here is the failure and mundanity of the struggle to love another.

You can pick up a copy of The Tishman Review from their website or order it from the source on Amazon.

Life, Scifi, Writing (Published)

Published — “Spheres”

Theme of Absence just published my comedic take on extraterrestrial nihilism (the story’s called “Spheres“). The digital magazine is devoted to speculative flash fiction, and primarily posts original fiction on Fridays. These pieces are accompanied by a Q&A with the author, which I think is a really smart move on the editor’s part because then readers can come for writing and/or writing advice. And if that’s not enough for the literary enthusiast, the editor and owner of Theme of Absence also runs Write Good Books, a blog dedicated to producing useful writing resources and articles.


Fiction — “Evelyn”

“I have a feeling,” she whispered to a decapitated paratrooper enthroned in his chute, “that you were like an upside down map.”

“And you weren’t made of sticks,” she told his member, which was suffering some pretty normal rigor mortis. She cocked her head as if judging the time from the sun, but you couldn’t see the sun right now. It was blocked.

She judged for a mo, checked her watch, then clamored up a B-52 stratofortress lying in a tilt. Evelyn climbed the wing casually, ignoring the billows smoking from heaters, engines, dead bodies. She danced over a guttural rotor blade slowly winding itself to a premature death, then looked at a man split in thirds.

We could have been, she fluttered. One happy swell before the wave.


Fiction — “Garden War”

Between two trees exploded into boulder stumps, Elemmírë raised a fist. Behind him, ten figures, barely visible above the gloom and bloom, dropped to their knees and scanned the street. They relied solely on the ghostly green readouts from their face masks, as their actual sights would have been distracted by the feral tapestry of flowers, the result not only of civilization gone wild but the biodegradable ammunition being used in the War. Inside each bullet was a gene seed which, when struck by fire, would sprout by day’s end into a single flower. It’d been the only agreed-upon convention between the elf factions—a way of turning war zones into gardens, of reducing the carbon imprint from endless shelling.

For a heartbeat, Elemmírë’s Sight picked up a cracked skull, lilac seeping out like purple brain. Then he was Focused on the lights of armored cars bouncing across perforated rock-wake. A set of hand signals and the Ten disappeared, their gaudy red-and-gold camouflage blending with laceleaf and marigold. What Elemmírë’s scouts were about to do was an ugly thing; an undignified ambush of a supply convoy. But in another way, a way beyond the soulless tactical hell of battle, they’d be returning motorized death-cannons and plated mercs wearing the ears of enemies around their necks to the serenity of nature.

Published at Rune Bear Weekly on September 27, 2018. 


Fiction — “The Immortality Cube”

[The follow is a drabble, or 100-word short story.]

There’s always that one friend who sticks to the group like a discount sticker on a used book, and who is tolerated by necessity because any removal might leave behind a sticky residue. Among Skye, Keith, and Kim, this was Lames, whose Mom had long admitted to being high when she tried to write “James” on the birth certificate. When Skye, Keith, and Kim came upon the Cube, without hesitation they excluded Lames from the Pact. And they didn’t care years later when, at Lames’s 89th birthday, he glared bitterly at their youthful bodies. They could wait a little longer.


Fiction — “Ren Rats”

Today, we crossed a field of grass bordered by the black-and-yellow bark of Ponderosa pine, and we stopped and took it in. The sun-through-the-clouds coated us in a bluefire, and when I looked at my friends, at Jo and his plate-mail, at Lobard and his mad beard, and they at me, in my deep cloak with a celtic braid, holding a longbow, we had to laugh. It seemed exactly like we were a fellowship for some quest, maybe to steal from a gluttonous dragon, or to stop a cult from resurrecting their god, not a couple of Ren Rats surveying the clump of trees behind a parking lot.

“I don’t see any signs,” said Lobard, plucking some fern. “Don’t smell them, either.”

I remember taking a sweet breath, feeling the wetness in the air and the aged-wood and butterscotch of pine. Relishing in the thought: the dead aren’t here.

Continue reading


Fiction — “Once there was an empty classroom”

During the day, the door remains unlocked—the lights flicked on by a sleepy department head and flicked off by a custodian whose back vac makes her a ghostbuster.

A general lack of students keeps the air icy and free of the muck-must of human bodies, a scent corrupted by cheetos and the cheese of feet, although the room occasionally feeds on students looking for a place to study, romantic couples with forged hall passes, and, once, a red-nosed assistant principal who napped by the cabinets.

Some grease and wet spray still lies on the carpet.

Since classrooms have no natural predator, the room sits, and sits, like a forgotten box of baking soda in the fridge. Its stomach grew between Science classes and a weedwork of wires and pink-feather insulation. Feeding on rats.

Now the stomach sits, hungry.

There was a man once. The first pang of its profession came with the appearance of a bearded teacher. Shaggy, shortsighted as a bear with spectacles, the creature lumbered through the door and fell on the desk.

The room waited, hoping the teacher would attract others.

But the teach hid there, received his paycheck, watched for enemies at the door, put up posters that read, “You never fail until you stop trying,” and “It’s okay to not know but it’s not okay to not try.” Perhaps he operated under that mantra of bibles and baseball movies—if you build it, they will come.

No one came. The room ate the man, absorbed his funky odors. And life returned to the humdrum of air-conditioned lungs.

Satire, Scifi

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