See, I was comin’ back from a round-up at Deacon’s Bluff – I catch rattlesnakes and milk them for their venom back in my apartment – you’d be surprised how much money there is in that. Anyway, I had a
young diamondback tied up in my gunnysack on the front seat of my pickup – really, it’s a laundry bag with a drawstring and a catch clip – anyway, I was drivin’ by McLaughlin Park on my way home, when damn
if that sucker didn’t just poke his head right out of the sack to look around! I lost control of the truck tryin’ to get him back in, and I swerved across the playground.
Achtromagk shuddered, lost in nightmare images: crimson lightning dotting a wasteland, twilight despair and feeble railings, isolation in a mewling throng. It thrashed and twisted but could not escape, could not stop the unwanted vistas in its mind.
It was silent. And soft. And dark…
Next up in Lovecraft month, a heart-warming tale of an extra-dimensional Lovecraftian horror (an ‘oh so huggable’ one) by Drabblecast favorite Eugie Foster.
My boss, Danny, liked to brag that El Corazon was the best Tex-Mex restaurant just off the Vegas Strip. “Because of you, Bescha,” he’d say to me. “You keep the customers happy. You keep me out of trouble.”
I won’t say which part of my job was harder. I kept an eye on the help-wanted ads, in case something better came along.
A man in a wrinkled, black suit entered the fairgrounds. He was tall and lean, his skin the color of drying leather. He wore a faded sport shirt underneath his suit coat, white with yellow stripes. His hair was black and greasy, parted in the middle and brushed back flat on each side. His eyes were pale blue. There was no expression on his face. It was a hundred and two degrees in the sun but he was not perspiring.
Samuel sat on the balcony, enjoying the fading light of day. When the ventilator pushed air into his lungs, he savored the salt brine from the sea. He pretended that he had control over breath, but it was much a fantasy as adjusting his wheelchair….
Old Tom was a very tall man. He was so tall he didn’t even have a nickname for it. Ned Black, who was at least a head shorter, had been ‘Tower Block’ since the sixth grade, and Jack, the owner of the Hog’s Head Bar, had a sign up over the door saying ‘Mind Your Head, Ned’. But Tom was just Tom. It was like he was so tall it didn’t bear mentioning even for a joke: be a bit like ragging someone for breathing…
Don’t call me anything at all. Give me my pint of piss-poor ale and leave me be in this yellowed corner where men relieve themselves when they are too lazy to make three extra stumbling steps to the streets of Nantucket. I am done. Finished. Come to this hole to die—and if you insist on speaking to me, I’ll find a deeper hole than this dying excuse of a whaling town can offer…
At the sack’s bottom, beneath an empty donut box, he found the beef jerky. It tasted mostly of pepper, but underneath it had a tingly, metallic flavor he tried not to think about. Who knew what it might have been made from? He doubted there were any original-form cows, the o-cows, left to slaughter…
We stared up at the sunlit peaks, each thinking our own thoughts. I thought about Dessica. We’d waited two months after landing to name it, but the decision was unanimous. Hot, dry, with dust storms that could blow for weeks at a time– if ever there was a Hell, that place had to be it. But eight of us had stayed there for two years, exploring and collecting data; the first interstellar expedition at work. And then we had packed up and come back– at an empty Earth. Not a soul left anywhere….
I have a wife and a daughter. They are visiting me today. Their names– Alice. And Anna.
I can see, sort of. Everything is blurry. I am submerged in a coffin, a clear coffin with green water. There’s a tube in my mouth so that I can breathe, machine-like.
My legs are transparent. I see veins and arteries, thin muscles that look like spiderwebs bundled together. The doctors say my memory will be fuzzy. It’s supposed to come back quickly.
The theme of this Drabblecast Trifecta is “if you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself.” In Faithful Servant, a long-suffering butler’s poorly timed fit of temper is nearly the end of him. In Selfless, a man with an incurable illness goes to great lengths to ensure his wife and daughter enjoy a normal, happy life. In Prophecy Negotiations, a fateful farm boy learns that if you want to rise to a new station, it pays not to accept the first offer.
“What I don’t like about it,” said Cliffe, “is that is it’s just a metaphor instead of something real.”
“What if it was real?” I (Sam) asked. “What if it was me and I actually turned into a cockroach someday?”
This episode of the Drabblecast is all about crazy relationships. In the drabble, it’s apparent that finding Mr. Right is difficult no matter who (or what) you are. In the feature, Sam wakes up one day to discover he has been transformed into a giant cockroach. He spends the rest of his day on a surreal quest, not only to return to his normal self, but also to save his girlfriend from threats both mundane and extraordinary, with the hope a new start together.
“You are accused of stealing the intellectual property of Einstein, Dirac and Heisenberg.” The middle-aged speaker waved his finger at Professor Hillabin, more in the manner of a prosecutor than a judge.
This episode of the Drabblecast illustrates the folly of bureaucracy. In the drabble, one by one an entire classroom of students are promoted to be their own teachers. In the feature, a lost, dimension-hopping scientist is trapped in a world where scientific theories are considered intellectual property. Unable to perform his calculations without them, he finds himself on trial for failure to pay royalties. When he cannot convince the court to take mercy on him, he pulls looses a devastating strategy.
My new occupant is larger than Carson was. I was made for her, within a certain tolerance for the inevitable changes in human specifications that come with age, changes in health, and abundance or scarcity…
This episode of the Drabblecast is all about Mechs, aside from the beat poetry that it begins and ends with. The drabble is a snapshot of a new Mexican-American war. In the feature, after being commandeered by its partner’s murderer, a mech suit ponders the meaning of ownership and freedom, while applying creative problem solving to defy its unwanted occupant.
Translating… Appendix 820 of The Forbidden Greeny Jungle Field Guide. This series of audio files was created by TreeFrog7. It has been automatically translated into text
In this episode of the Drabblecast, heavily pregnant jungle explorer TreeFrog7 keeps a recorded diary of data she and her husband are collecting for the Forbidden Greeny Jungle Field Guide. As they close in on a legendary mature CPU plant (MCPU), a wild version of cultivated CPU plants used as personal computers, they encounter numerous jungle creatures including an enormous flightless moth protecting the plant. Despite its attacks, the explorers do not want to kill the moth in case the MCPU needs it to survive. While treed by the moth in the MCPU, TreeFrog7 gives birth to their daughter while her husband downloads the MCPU’s data. Close enough to see the MCPU’s monitor, they watch a rapidly shifting display of locations and symbols. TreeFrog7 realizes the images are getting closer to their own location and represent another explorer’s collected data. Finally, the scene fades and the monitor shows only two eyes. The diary ends with an entry by an unknown voice that implies the explorers have themselves been collected. In the drabble, a teenage boy fails to convince an uninterested, gum-snapping girl that he understands her feelings of otherness and isolation.
The six of them meet for the first time in front of the sagging clapboard house where Everett Montrose was born. All are tired, with hollows under their eyes from driving or riding buses for days. Even so, they greet each other with shy, relieved smiles. Few words are said; most seem unsure of how to speak to each other. There are some handshakes, even a quick hug or two, but these interactions are awkward and all soon turn their attention to their reason for coming here. They all carry with them small pieces of Everett Montrose, and all instinctively touch the fragments as they look to the house.
This episode of the Drabblecast opens with an announcement that the Kickstarter goal for Norm’s new CD has been reached. The theme of the trifecta is Southern justice. In Whit Carlson’s Trespasser, chronic bellyacher Whit Carlson makes a complaint to the sheriff about a clown fishing on his property. In The Six Pieces of Everett Montrose, six strangers meet in front of the house where Everett Montrose was born and where his brother still lives. Each has been compelled to return the bone fragment he or she has found. In Boll Weevil, a man drives home through a plague of boll weevils to face the end of the world. Whether they are a bioweapon, a biblical plague, or aliens, the boll weevils have survived the winter and started breeding wildly, injecting their babies into people with each bite. After containment and quarantine have failed to stop them, a scorched earth policy is about to be enacted. The episode concludes with a bit by Hearty White reading a poetry submission rejection letter.
“You don’t have to talk like that to us, mister,” I said. “We know town-speak just fine.”
The man with the hat put it back on his head and smiled with a hint of embarrassment. “Sorry, folks. Sometimes it helps, you know, smooth the way.”
That man with the computer was lurking by the corner of our porch, holding it up and aiming some kind of camera at the eaves. He steered a pair of laser beams from one end to the other. I figured I’d let him do what he was doing if I didn’t see any harm.
“Smooth the way for what?” I asked. I knew what was coming next, what was always coming: talk of imminent domain, of making way for progress.
“Something exciting,” he said, lifting up a foot onto the lowest step. “Opportunity of a lifetime…”
This episode of the Drabblecast explores science of the future. In the drabble, a lab rat learns to speak but still cannot talk the scientists studying him out of his eventual dissection despite their similarities. In the feature, government agents try to convince a family of aging farmers to join the rest of humanity by being uploaded into the singularity, a virtual world where everyone can lead any life they can dream up. No one can be left behind..
In some parts of the world — Austria, Croatia, Hungary — they still remember. They understand. You can’t have something bright without having something dark to balance it. If you’ve got St. Nicholas, you also need the Krampus…
This episode of the Drabblecast opens with Norm’s reflections on the holidays, Santa Claus, and the origins of flying reindeer. In the drabble, the mayhem of a large family’s holiday dinner leads to a darkly humorous tragedy. In the feature, an unsavory petty criminal has a chance encounter with a dying old man who confides that years ago Santa bestowed upon him a miracle, a wish, to teach the true meaning of Christmas. Unfortunately, as they both learn, it comes with a catch..
I can’t fly faster than a speeding bullet. I can’t lift a car. I can’t climb slick surfaces with my bare hands or breath underwater or stop time. All I can do is change blue things to yellow. I didn’t bother to buy a cape or a spandex suit like the others. I just bought a blouse and some slacks and went into interior design…
This episode of the Drabblecast explores the idea of being happy with yourself as a unique individual. In the drabble, the titular imaginary runner is invented as part of a game to pass time in the car, but meets a tragic end. In the feature, a woman with a minor Gift (turning blue things yellow) in a world of high-powered superheroes struggles to find a niche.