Izrael Irizarry stepped through a bright-scarred airlock onto Kadath Station, lurching a little as he adjusted to station gravity. On his shoulder, Mongoose extended her neck, her barbels flaring, flicked her tongue out to taste the air, and colored a question. Another few steps, and he smelled what Mongoose smelled, the sharp stink of toves, ammoniac and bitter…
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Jeff Soesbe, graduate of The Viable Paradise Workshop, gives us a tender feature about a family of the future, and a unique robot with a special purpose. In Drabble News, Norm Sherman makes all the men jealous with the tale of a sexual powerhouse: a prolific, philandering Guinea Pig! Norm tells us more about the Mega-Beast Death-Match. Feedback is for Episode #70 “Reality Bites!” and Episode #71 “Perfect Down Further.”
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.
Betty waited there amongst the swinging, marbled yellow cow carcasses. The wooden butcher’s table was smooth under her fingertips, and solid as the earth. Knives glinted from the walls, each reflecting a tiny, seated Betty and the thin figure of Ma Flesh standing over her.
“Sit up straight,” Ma snapped. “And don’t scratch. It could lead to tragedy. I mean it.”
“I won’t.” Betty didn’t dare ask why Ma was so against scratching. Her head itched but she didn’t lift her hand. Ma had cut off Betty’s hair to stop her from being so floaty. She hoped the suitor liked short hair. If he was blind, he’d like it, she thought. She could lay her head in his lap and he could tell her mood by the bumps on her skull. He could stroke behind her ears, let his fingers drift up to her crown, slide down her neck–
“It isn’t Saturday.” Ma rapped on Betty’s head with the back of her shining metal hook. “No going floaty today, girl.”
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…
“Really?” I couldn’t keep the disbelief out of my voice. My eyes wandered back to the picture on the general’s wall.
He noticed. “That’s an untouched photo,” he said. “The aliens are real, and they’re here…”
Looking away from the light that showed the Charles Dexter Ward was no longer entirely dead was as hard as opening a rusted zipper. But Cynthia did it, and didn’t let herself look back She pulled Hester a little further down the corridor and said, “Now we really need to know how she killed him. And whether it’ll work a second time…”
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