Category: Speculative Fiction

My genre-friendly prose and poetry, including fantasy and science fiction. Satire goes here, too.

Fiction — “Dulcinea”

[I wrote this story based on a prompt that a friend gave me: “What if your grandmother had super powers?” I tried my best to take this mediocre concept and turn it into something engaging. I failed. Here’s the messy result.]

The first thing Grandma did when she found she had super powers was beat up her son.

Dad had built walls around her in fits of helpfulness. He’d segregated her backyard with chain-link fences, here a horse pen, here a chicken coop, there pigs. A fence divided the car and the RV, a fence corralled the garden, a third formed an antechamber between the street and house. Then Dad worried about the clutter. Porcelain tea pots, trash bags of old acting costumes, a broken washer/dryer being used as an ironing board, memento pictures in memento picture frames. Every plastic memory. Better get rid of it.

He filled those jumbo storage containers. The ones you get from Staples. In one day, he shipped all her life’s savings to Salvation Army. He’d abused her when he had the advantage. Now the advantage was hers.

(more…)

Fiction — “Kervani”

Could be a man or a six-armed cow or a twenty-headed sex goddess.

We can’t tell. There are too many Orders in the way. Too many black-and-white cloaks crinkling like choppy seas of newspaper.

The Orders go as follows: the Nine Apostles, the Elite Select, the Elite-Lite, the Demi-Elders, the Mystical Ring, the Phytes, and finally the endless serfs and smurfs and their bare-chested children and cattle. The Orders follow Kervani. We follow them. We, being Doug and Armani and myself, chafed and sun-scratched and willing to tour Hell just to get a snap of Satan.

They call us Iconoclasts but really we’re photographers, with every news outlet from here to Timbuktu willing to pay us the—eh? Doug just informed me that Timbuktu is two nations over. From here to Jakarta.

I’m thinking the sun’s fried their brains. If I said the world is flat, the earth is the center of the universe, sins build up in the pancreas, we should be bled from our livers to balance the humors, a little man operates the brain, animals compete to reincarnate into ghosts, blood makes the grass grow, I’d be locked in a padded closet. But the masses follow Kervani’s farts like they’re heralding a new age. They save his sweat in vials, listen to his speeches on audiobook.

Tourists, too, in faded green buses. Taking pictures of the shaking girls, skeptical, scandalized, complaining about the heat. The guides lead them in spiritual songs, trying to connect fanny-packed brains to the Order of Things. But mostly they can’t wait to return to five-star mattresses. Can’t blame them. Sometimes I’m tempted to follow along. Get a cheap hotel, a cheap girl.

Other times I have dreams of a different sort. I receive ‘the Cosmic Call.’ So does Doug. And the others. We all do. It’s like a whisper and an itch and a boner, and it’s supposed to be Kervani. The six-armed, twenty-headed sex cow.

We dwindle. I’ll find a camera, smashed, dust on the lens. Another convert. Those of us who remain hope to sneak the Vanguard, to rush the tent with the golden wool. An exclusive interview, a photo-op, a Q&A with Kervani looking like a mystic hobo in his sack robes (or her, lovely, in her coral pink scarf; or it, bleating sagely).

And maybe we have other reasons to make the hajj.

Instead, I take pictures, and wait, and wonder if God grew sick of Moses.

Spoken Word — “These were my brothers”


[A Spoken Word piece I improvised on-the-spot when somebody (as prank vengeance for doing the same to her) signed me up for Bean Night.]

These were my brothers.

The oldest breathed water and wouldn’t stay in the sea. Sprinting across the crags, he lived puddle to puddle. Why not just stay in the ocean? But I think he was broken.

The second found cadavers that walked and talked and kissed but were dead. Second would give them pieces of his soul so they could glow, but soul isn’t sunlight.

Third lived in a cloud fishing for people. When he caught them he would reel them up and eat them. Little stink pieces of heart and blood dripped from the vapor. I would have liked Third, maybe. At least he knew there were worse things than being lonely.

Fourth lived by an ugly statue, a humpty dumpty god. At night he burned his hands in fireplaces, and in the morning he pieced the monument together with Third-World tools. Noon, he would write poetry on its corpse.

When the Fourth died, there were no children to complete his work. But dying isn’t disappearing.

These were my brothers. They speak to me and make me want to do terrible things.