A Swimmer in Time Part 2 by Martin Chase

chaseYet my head does not explode from the pressure of being overwhelmed all at once by everything that lives, breathes, flows, falls, and crumbles under a the light of a trillion suns. I, and the Odinic Travelers before me, whose memories are preserved within my own brain, have seen them all before in all our sojourns throughout the span of the universe. My cranium is stable for now, or so I think (is it?).

Then, after being lost in a raging river of visions, and flowing streams of time, the courtyard cuts back to nothing. But should I be surprised at the stark transition to nothingness? For what is nothing, but just another facet of everything?

But alas! I am not alone! For kneeling and meditating solemnly in the middle (or perhaps the end; I cannot tell. It is hard to tell when there is nothing but cobblestone and vapor as far as the eye can see) of the mystical courtyard is a man. He is both close and far from me, visible, and invisible. I see him, yet I do not see him. Whether he is there or not is a matter of continuous fluctuation. Why must everything be in a state of flux, especially here (and everywhere?). Is nothing fixed?

Squirrels Hate Robots by William Turbyfill

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“Squirrels hate robots.” He says it with such earnestness that it catches me off guard.

“I beg your pardon.”

“Squirrels. Hate. Robots. It’s really not that complicated.” The five year old is right. It is not a complicated concept to comprehend and yet, I have questions, not the least of which is, ‘if squirrels hate robots, do robots in turn, hate squirrels?’ “I could draw you a picture of it if that would make it easier for you.” I’m not a fan of his condescending attitude.

“How do you know this, about the robots and the squirrels and what not?” I say this while looking for a pencil and paper. As much as I want to smack him, if I’m honest, I also really want him to draw me a picture of squirrels hating on robots.

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Jitters by Christian Carvajal

Carv Author PhotoBrad Slayton was one of those middle-management tool chests who treat every business lunch with a woman like it was a date, and every date like a business transaction. From where I sat, he was there to debrief me on the Tokyo deal, which, to his credit, he locked down in record time. He seemed convinced it was more about waging a scorched-earth assault on a Bedrock-sized rib eye and flagon of Lagavulin sixteen-year. Between, often during, red mouthfuls of cow, he was talking to me, his direct superior at Cheswick Financial Group, like I was a first-week receptionist on Mad Men.

“The thing about Tokyo,” he declared, “is it’s a man’s world. They respect a guy who looks ’em in the eye and says, ‘Hey, now, here’s how it’s gonna be.’ I mean, you’re a player an’ all. I don’t mean to say you ain’t got no moves. You’ve got moves. I like ’em.” His face remained impassive around all that chewing.

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The Ambassador’s Horses by Cyndisa Coles-Harris

Acclogo groom, in the course of his service to the private stables of a much-admired ambassador, found himself in the vibrating belly of a specialized cargo jet.  He was not alone in that place.  A veterinarian and an armed guard were there as well, all three men secondary to the purpose of the flight, an entourage for the ambassador’s horses.  Three fine hunter mares stood quiet as cargo, neatly slotted into caution-yellow container stalls; a black, a blood-bay, and a sun-golden sorrel, all pedigreed and proven, sound and glossy.  In a fourth stall, also breathing grassy warm into the caustically clean atmosphere of the jet’s interior, was a new acquisition of the ambassadorial stables; a piebald pony gelding intended for the use of the great man’s young daughter.  

And the plane’s nose pointed east like a weathervane in an unwavering wind, seeking the capital city of the nation of the ambassador’s new posting.

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Covert Operation Calico by L. Lisa Lawrence

head shot 04-14The story you are about to hear is true.

Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Since no one was actually innocent, I didn’t bother.

There are friends you call in the dark of the night, when you need someone to help move furniture. That was my friend Houston S Wimberly the Third.

There are friends you call in the dark of the night, when you need to move a body… Apparently, that would be me.

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The Golden Eagle Casino by Alec Clayton

Author photoEyes turn their way when Pop and Melissa glide into the Golden Eagle Casino. Dressed in a style she laughingly calls slutty-chic, Melissa looks like some kind of sexy film noir vamp. She wears a black fedora with a red silk band. The wide brim is tipped forward to cast a shadowed veil across her dark eyes. Her hair is not truly black but dark, dark brown tinted with Venetian highlights. It flows like oil across naked shoulders. Her black gown sparkles with red glitter that matches the rich red highlights in her hair. Men stare in anticipation as her breasts threaten to pop out and her long thighs scissor through a hip-high slit in her skirt. A tattoo snake slithers from her cleavage. The old man is bearded in white like the Spanish moss on the ancient oaks outside, and wears a white suit of a type long since out of style. He’s six-foot-six and holds himself proud but walks with a slightly drunken stagger.

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She Thinks by Nick Stokes

Photo by Jason GanwichNothing. There is nothing there. Footsteps on the porch. Her own? She is inside, within, she’s sure, at least most of her. Should she shoot? It’s a moral question. She sees darkness, which implies absence of light, which is not what she thinks she sees until she’s thought it. Can one shoot one’s footsteps if one is inside and one’s footsteps are outside? It’s a question of morality. Can she smell herself?

Yes, she thinks. She does not think the stink; the stink is free of her. Of her. Emanated, she wishes she hadn’t thought. The stink is material evidence of her presence. She can imagine she imagines the footsteps; she cannot imagine she imagines the stink. Enough with the stink. Emissions from the membrane between internal and external, from the skin, from where she sweats from anticipation, from exertion. Silence the stink, she thinks. One cannot shoot stink. She is here. Is anything there? She looks, she listens, she breathes. She thinks.

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The Visitor by Angela Jossy

cclogoI know its a cliche but let me start by saying: Don’t freak out. Sorry to wake you. Yes, I am in fact a ghost but let me assure you, I’m not a murderous ghost. Sure, I can kill with impunity but, ya know, it gets old. Human lives come and go so quickly anyway. What’s the point really?

The reason I am appearing in front of you today is I wanted to ask you for a favor. As favors go, this ones a doozy. Do people still say doozy? Nevermind. Don’t answer that. Like snuffing people out for entertainment, following the lexicon of the modern American vernacular has also lost its appeal for me. Who am I trying to impress? Exactly.

Where was I? Oh yes. The favor.

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