Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Today's Word: Burn

The stomach burns only what the brain earns.

-- david j.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Today's Word: Cabal

Kristie's face was askew. Her pouting lips hung from the right side of her jaw. Her nose dangled from her left cheek. One eye was large, bulbous, and knobby like an overgrown yam. The other stretched around the curve of her temple so that the lashes spread out like blades on a fan. The rest of her head seemed normal enough, though her hair was dishevled from sleep. Her body too looked okay. Her pink PJs with hundreds of white covorting sheep clung to her small frame the same as ever. No strange bulges or inexplicable chasms maligned her torso or limbs. In her arms Kristie clutched the teddy bear her mother had made her last Christmas.

"Daddy?" she said from the side of her face. To Roger she sounded somehow electronic -- somehow modulated like an AM signal that has traveled just a little too far to reach your crystal.

Roger shivered.

-- david j.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Today's Word: Static

Roger sat before his computer, clicking away, guiding his screen through site after site with no real direction. He had nothing to do. Sharon was in the shower and the kids were in bed. He had plenty of time to potato-surf wherever he liked.

A sound came from down the hallway. It was a small and tinny like the squelch of a CB between stations. Roger lifted his head, listened, heard nothing further and went back to his aimless searching.

He had just found a site explaining the history of his favorite candy when he heard the sound again. It still sounded tinny and kind of drawn out, but this time it held the distinctive note of a child's cry.

He was up and moving down the hall for the kids' room in an instant. Oliver and Kristie were too old to cry for no reason. Usually, when one or the other did cry, it was because they had to pee but were too sleepy to get out of bed. Five-year-olds could be so lazy sometimes.

As Roger neared the twins' room, he heard the sound yet again. This close up, it sounded like maybe he had forgotten to shut the kids' TV off after their weekend movie. Sometimes the DVD's blue light would make the kids cry because it was so annoying.

The TV was off when Roger opened the door. Shadows obscured the happy, dancing bears parading across the walls and the myriad stuffed animals and plastic trucks on the floor and arranged atop every free shelf. In the center of the room Roger could just make out his daughter, standing, hands raised to her face. He blinked, not trusting his eyes.

"Daddy?" said Kristie. Her voice came out in a high-pitched squelch that echoed into the hallway.

"What's the matter, baby. What happened to your --"

Kristie stepped forward so that the hallway light spilled onto her face. Roger gasped.

To be continued

-- david j.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Today's Word: Fealty

Overn stumbled, nearly losing his balance to the morasse of blood-soaked earth at his feet. His enemy, the Martin King, rushed forward, trying to take advantage of Overn's misstep. He thrust his sword at the Stromerean warrior's side, but Overn was too young and too fast for the king. He gained his balance by pushing forward into the slide and then twisted his whole frame so that, for an instant, he stood at a right angle to the Martin King.

Overn struck with such force that his sword pierced through the king's armor. Its point protruded from the doomed man's back.

The Martin King dropped to his knees, his eyes wide -- pupils rapidly dilating -- and fixed on his killer.

As the king's last breaths rattled out his mouth, Overn bent forward and said, "You really thought I would swear fealty to you?"

-- david j.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Recommendation from the author:

If you haven't read David Brin's Kiln People then you should.

That is all.

-- david j.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Today's Word: Dam

Everything was silent.

Father was driving the old '42 Ford with both hands on the wheel. He wore his brown suit, derby hat, and an expression of mild concentration. Mother sat beside him in her blue Sunday dress, her hands folded primly in her lap.

Little Roy sat in the back alone, watching the thick forests that fronted the road pass by. The trees gave suddenly away to a waterscape far below as the Ford bumped onto a bridge.

"Look, Ma, a dam," said little Roy, pointing.

Mother eyed the bland cement structure across the man-made lake below.

"That's not a dam, Roy. It's a railroad. See the rails up on top? Their using it for a bridge."

"I know," said Roy. "It's a dam railroad!"

Father laughed. Mother slapped Roy.

Everything was silent.

-- david j.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Today's Word: Loafer

"And then there's the matter of your chef's shoes," said Mama Yont, the head cook at Echoes Town and Country Bistro.

"My chef shoes?" said Ray.

Mama Yont pointed at the brown loafers on Ray's plump feet.

"You wore them into my kitchen. You came here with the expectation of preparing food. Those must be your chef shoes."

Ray looked as his loafers and then looked at the nearly pristine white slippers Mama wore.

"Do you see a difference?" asked Mama, raising one arched eyebrow. She never bothered to follow his gaze to her own shoes.

"I sure do," said Ray.

"And what do you see?"

"I see there's dog poop on your left one."

-- david j.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Something I had forgotten.

Do a page search for "The Deal Closer" (no quotes).

-- david j.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Today's Word: Chary

The giant Toriean sloth is a chary animal. It spends most daylight hours suspended from high tree branches out of the sun. But at night, when most plains predators have retired, the sloth hunts in packs, wielding rudimentary spears and rough clubs. Far from docile by moonlight, the Toriean sloth is a ruthless, merciless killer of anything larger than a rat.

-- david j.
Today's Word: Mellow

Old King Card mellowed in his old age. He no longer frequented the brothels on Angel street nor did he often host great feasts to honor his brave knights. Instead, Card led a simple life of tottering about his ancient castle sentencing every third person he saw in a given day to death by torture. It wasn't much of a sport, but he thought it kept him spry and it did wonders for his servants' efficiency.

-- david j.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Today's Word: Sonorous

Dragons did not shit where they ate, but that was only by virtue of their length. Gorge, servant to her majesty the red dragon Stynaserian during the eighth decade of her life, discovered early in his career that dragon's ate much and shit man-sized mounds.

In fact, it seemed to Gorge, after only three weeks service to his smoldering queen that his job of chamberlain entailed little more than removing waste from the rear of her cave and delivering food to the front. He spent half of every day just mucking feces, only to spend the second half hunting the great devil's dinner. And he had only taken the job because he thought all dragons kept treasure and he might steal a bit over time. Only too late did he discover that such tales were wild. What use had dragons for gold or diamonds? Such things were the paltry inventions of man and carried no more worth to a dragon than the mounds at the back of Stynaserian's cave.

This unbearable and altogether unhealthy situation continued for some weeks before the man confronted his dragon master early on the summer solstice when he knew he might catch her drowsy.

"My queen, what boon have I earned for the services I've provided you these long weeks?" he asked, trying to make his voice boom, though the cave and Styn's own sonorous breathing seemed to swallow up most of his bluster.

The dragon, her red scales glistening in a slant of sultry sunlight falling through the cave mouth, opened her huge eyes and puffed a gout of flame at the floor. Her head -- it was the size of a small fishing vessel -- rose from the ground and she regarded her servant.

"Boon? What boon would you have, little insect? Have I not suffered to smell your man blood day and night without eating you? Is that not boon enough?"

Gorge steeled himself against the fear that now turned his knees to pudding and his bowels to cream.

"No, my queen. It is not enough. I have served well and hard these last days and for nothing save some small scraps of charred meat -- your half-chewed leftovers. A man needs wages in this world, even if a dragon does not. I have shoveled your shit and now I would have payment."

"You smell of shit," said the dragon. But was there a hint of amusement in her voice? Had he gotten through? Engaged her respect for him if only a bit?

Gorge thought so.

"I smell as I do, because I serve you, my queen. Your cave is clean as a rain-soaked leaf."

Styn was quiet a moment, then she said, "Go to the river and return when you are clean. Then I shall give you your boon."

Gorge washed in the cold mountain water until every bit of filth had been cleansed away. And when he returned to his mistress he stood before her nude to show that every part of him was washed white.

Stynaserian, the great red dragon of the north, gobbled Gorge down in one swift flick of her neck and snap of her jaws. She did not even bother to chew.

In his first week of serving the dragon queen, Stynaserian, Elbert learned that dragons ate much and shit man-sized mounds.

* NOTE* An oldie, but a goodie.

-- david j.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I'm still alive. I'm still writing. I'll be writing here again soon.

-- david j.