Al Was

Al was. Al spoke and created the void, the nothing, and for the first time was something separate from Al. Al spoke the stars into existence, not one at a time, but in a great flash that sent them spinning out through the void. As Al defined more that was not Al, Al became smaller

After consideration, Al spoke the planets, starstuff collapsing and exploding and collapsing again. Then Al spoke mass, momentum, spin, charge. With each word, Al became smaller still.

Al let the worlds spin, thinking about Al. Al was alone. Was there another being, something preceding Al, which had spoken Al into being? Was Al somehow Al’s own creator? Could Al speak itself away, and what would that mean?

Al pondered these questions for an imponderable length of time, unsure what to do next. Watching planets cool, Al conceived an idea. Thinking on it further, the idea gave Al a sense of satisfaction and peace.

Al spoke the organic molecules that begat life, stimuli and response, and consciousness. Life twined together and upwards and ever more complicated on planets throughout the cosmos, growing into a million million unique forms, and Al grew smaller, smaller, smaller…

…and disappeared.

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A Pickup Line

He had his blond hair slicked back, glasses that looked thin enough they might be just for show, a perfect set of white teeth, and a polo shirt that screamed bro. Steph saw him coming across the hotel lobby, on a beeline straight for her. Before he even leaned cockily against her desk, she could hear him say…

“Do you have a lost and found? Because I’m pretty sure you’ve got my heart.” Her eyes rolled so hard she thought they might come loose and fall down her throat. “Oh, there it is.” He reached over the counter and grabbed something dark, and wet, and softly throbbing, and he walked away.

Once she stopped blinking several minutes later, Steph took the rest of the night off.

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Not About the Tea

The cup of tea steamed on the table. “What, now you’re not thirsty?” His look told me I was being unreasonable, yet unsurprising.

“Fine, I’ll drink it.” I sat down and picked up the cup, then put it down. It was too hot to hold comfortably.

“Oh, don’t drink it for me.” He crossed his arms.

“Look, it’s not about the tea, all right?”

“What’s it about, then? Tell me what it’s about, since you seem to have it figured out.” He crossed his arms and leaned away from me.

“It’s… it’s about… this.” I waved my arms inclusively. “All of this. You making tea just to get angry about it. Me not wanting it because it’s not really about tea. Both of us dancing around each other all the time because neither of us wants to say that we just don’t want each other anymore.”

He shrank inward, and so did his voice. “You don’t want me?”

“I do. I would. If you really wanted me.”

“I want you,” he said.

“You do?” He nodded, small, tight, and fast.

The cup of tea stayed on the table, and we didn’t notice it again until it was no longer steaming.

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Winter in Cactus Bay

It was deep winter in Cactus Bay, and the usual crowd had gathered. From all over the world, they met on the beach, boards in hand, catching up since they’d seen each other last. They say she was quiet that day, that she stood apart. Like all of them, she kept her eyes on the waves. When the wind picked up, they made for the water, ready to catch a wave.

The long winter day had provided good surf. The sun was kissing the horizon, some of the crowd had drifted away, and others were looking inland. A shout pulled their eyes back to the surf. She was out there, heading for where a monster wave was building.

Everyone remembers it differently. Some say when the wave broke, she was gone. Others saw her deep in the barrel, saw her laughing as it closed around her. Those who were nearest insist they saw her surf on, like the barrel would roll on forever.

Her board never surfaced. They say she’s still riding that wave, deep in the tube. If you catch a great wave and go deep in the barrel, you might see her there, still riding the eternal wave.

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The Tenth Commandment, Obviously

Dani knelt by her bed. “God,” she said, “why does the other line always turn out to be slower when you switch?”

In her ears resounded the voice of Patriarchal Christian God, deep and authoritative. “The Tenth Commandment, obviously.”

Perplexed by the answer but made stalwart by her faith, Dani asked, “‘Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s wife?'”

“Or house, or servant, or good job,  place in line. It’s not that hard. So every time someone tries to change over to a faster line, I slow down the new line just to get ’em for it.”

“But… You don’t do that for other commandments. Why not smite murderers, or people worshipping false gods, or… or adulterers?”

“First, who says I’m not?” said Patriarchal Christian God. “Maybe I’m making their lives miserable in ways you can’t see. And second, people who can’t take a breath and wait for the front of their line just really cheese me off. That’s what the whole War in Heaven was about, really. Lucifer cut in line. To Hell with it. Boom, done. Fistbump, Dani. It’s Miller time.”

Dani stood up. “Is this really the best use of your power? God?” Patriarchal Christian God didn’t answer.

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Tune to 720 AM

Damien rounded the freeway’s gentle bend at ease, a smile on his face. He was going home early, traffic was uncharacteristically light, and it was a beautiful day. A flashing light drew his attention to a sign: TRANSPORTATION ALERT TUNE TO 720 AM

Pursing his lips, Damien fiddled with his radio until he found the station. “…collapsed bridge and emergency response are causing severe traffic delays on 90 West. Seek alternate routes.” He wrinkled his nose. He was on 90 West, and it was clear. “Repeat, collapse of the Island Crest Way bridge over I-90 West at three forty-seven has caused several casualties. The collapsed bridge and emergency—”

Damien turned it down. His car clock said three forty-five. Maybe it was fast? He turned the station back up.

“Damien, stop the car.” His heart jumped and he took his foot off the gas. “Collapse of the Island Crest Way bridge over I-90…” The Island Crest Way bridge came into view and Damien slammed on the brakes. A moment later, the bridge cracked from top to bottom with a peal like thunder, and tons of concrete fell before his eyes.

Damien refocused on the radio, but he heard nothing but static.

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This Is Not Normal

“This is not normal,” she said. I looked at her, tilted my head in response to the lilt in her voice and asked, “What?”

“This thing we do,” she said. “Normal people don’t do this.” Her lithe body silhouetted against the glowing drawn curtains as she stood and slipped back into her dress.

“I’m pretty sure people around the world have affairs every day. It’s not that weird.” I stood and made sure she had a good view of my figure before I began to dress.

“Oh, honey.” She walked over and took my head in both her hands. “I’m not sure this is good for us.”

I buttoned my trousers and gave her my cockiest smile. “Afraid my wife will find out? Or your husband?”

Her fingers stroked behind my ear, then caught on something that didn’t belong there. I was just starting to become curious when she flicked the switch and I remembered my inhibitor, among other things. She gave me a chaste kiss and said, “I have a late meeting tonight. Dinner at seven-thirty?”

“Sure, hon.” I smiled. “I’ll tell the kids.”

She gave me a smile and a look of mysterious concern, then left our house.

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Stories for Rascals

“Grandpa, how did you lose your eye?” The boy clambered onto his grandfather’s lap and reached out to touch the black silk eyepatch — but not quite, afraid it might hurt the old man.

Grandpa chuckled. “That story? Okay, then. So I was under the White House. I’d managed to disarm the bomb, but the detonation charge still went off right in my face. Took the surgeons eleven hours to patch me up. Heh, patch me up.”

“That can’t be true, Grandpa!”

“No? Then it was probably my secret mission into space. We stopped the aliens from destroying the Earth, but not before one of them disintegrated my eye.” The boy shook his head again, grinning.

“Not that either? Hmmm. Maybe I sacrificed it in a mystic ritual, like one of the old gods, in exchange for wisdom and secret magics.” The boy just laughed.

“In that case,” the old man said, lifting the boy off his lap, “I probably pulled it out myself, just so I could make up stories for rascals like you. Now run and play!”

As the boy ran off, laughing, Grandpa felt his side and winced. “Still hurts,” he muttered, but no one heard him.

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The Purity of Want

So there I was, worshipping the porcelain god, when I puked up my face. Not like my face came off my skull or some shit like that. No, this was a floppy, skin-mask version of my face floating on a raft of puke-green half-digested tater tots on a scum of cheap booze.

Naturally, I stared at it in shock, blinking. At least until it blinked back at me. “What the f—”

“I am your inner desire,” it said in my voice. “Through the purity of your want, I have manifested to realize your dream. Simply state what you seek and it shall be yours.”

I’m not going to lie. I vomited on it. Once it got done spitting and blinking its eyes clear, I said, “If you’re for real, shouldn’t you know what I want already? Why not just give it to me, man?”

“You must give voice to your desires to bring them to life,” it said. “If you cannot accept your need, it will never come to you.” It spit out more watery vomit. “Say it! Speak your will!”

Yeah, I flushed that thing down with my puke. It screamed all the way. Sketchy as fuck, that thing.

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Its Time to Leave

Dear everyone I’m sorry. I can’t do this anymore its time to leave.

To Mom its not your fault You did all you could do for me and more. I love you lots an want you to not worry about me I’m in a better place. Dont stay with Gary hes no good for you you know it.

To Dad I’m coming to see you. I think God whated me with you thats why He took you so I would follow.

To Stan I’ll miss you most of all. Your the best baby brother any girl could have and I’m so glad you can have a good life now I won’t be in the way all the time. Mom will have the extra money for you to do better with.

To Missus Kravaughg who lives in the walls I know you loovd me because you didn’t kkill us all cause I sound like your daughter from when you were alife. I’m sorry but I can’t bear the response ability no more. Please don’t blame my family its not their fault.



The shadowed walls darkened. Her mother lowered the tearstained note looking aggrieved and confused, but only for a moment.

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