Tuesday, February 20, 2018


waiting for bad news
two brothers left


half the day 
in a waiting room 
this cold doesn't help 


first hot day
February is the new


The Sex Life of Robots

When the humans were away, Robbie would stroke the cappuccino maker, and whisper sweet nothings into its grill. He named it Cate. 

Robbie ordered a tea cosy online, and altered it to fit Cate. He told her she looked svelte in it, but secretly thought the look dowdy. 

They were so happy, Robbie and Cate. When she made cappuccino, power surges crossed and recrossed his CPU till sparks flew from his fingers. 

At first he brought flowers, mechanical toys, new marvels every day. Then it was every other day, every third day, and so on. 

Cate knew something was up. Was the fridge flirting? The thermostat exposing itself while Robbie vacuumed? The upstairs terminal groping? 

The spark was gone. Robbie stayed out of the kitchen. When he did show, he was formal, reserved. He touched her only to scrub. 

Cate found him plugged into a charger, passing a magnet over his forehead in a circular motion. “For you it's all about sex!” she screamed. 

Monday, February 19, 2018


hot February sun
butters Bama's bread


The Lich

"But if the warlock be of exceeding grate powerr, his dead corse may rise agayn, an such an abomination is called a liche."
--Abdul Alhazred, translated by G. W. Cooper

Shawn Hutton sprinkled the old witch's powder over the corpse while speaking the last words of the spell. If he had correctly interpreted the old woman's notes, the body of the most powerful wizard Alabama had ever known would become his willing slave. If not ? well, he shuddered to think what De Wayne Miller's lich would do to him if it was not under his control!

Lightning flashed outside the grimy windows of Shawn's toolshed-workshop, immediately followed by a deafening peal of thunder. Involuntarily, Shawn turned towards the window.

"That had to be close," he muttered, wiping the sweat from his forehead with his sleeve.

Then came the rain, hissing through the azaleas and drumming on the roof nearly as loudly as the thunderclap of a moment before. Shawn's ears registered no sound inside the room, so loud was the rain, until a heavy hand fell onto his left shoulder. He screamed and tried to twist away, but it was no use. Another hand caught his hair and bent his head so far backwards that all he could see was Miller's half-rotted face, upside down and a bare inch from his own. Shawn screamed again, for the last time.

Miller dropped the corpse and strode stiff-legged towards the door. The fool had completed the reanimation spell, just as Miller'd intended, but had bungled the job. Miller hardly had any feeling in his extremities, and his muscles were not responding as they should. This would not do. He had to get to his own laboratory and finish the task. He tried to grasp the doorknob, but his hands were like wood: they kept slipping off. Finally, frustrated, he slammed the door with his shoulder, ripping the hasp right out of the jamb. He strode out into the rain without a backward glance.

Jasmine mumbled to herself continuously as she rummaged through the wizard's paraphernalia. Every so often she would exclaim delightedly over some discovery, shoving her finds into a shapeless denim sack. Every now and again, too, she would pause, to stare intently at a glass globe that lay in the center of a large oak table. What she saw seemed to reassure her, and each time after a few moments' pause she went back to her work.

The witch worked quickly. She moved from the desk to a shelf of books, reading titles, occasionally taking a book off the shelf and flipping through its pages. Two or three volumes she put into her sack.

Suddenly, a bolt of lightning struck very near the old house: thunder boomed loud enough to rattle the glassware on the shelves over the pot-bellied stove. At almost the same moment, the dim glass globe blazed forth with a hideous pale green light. The witch snatched up her sack and trotted nimbly toward the door. However, even as she reached for the handle, the door was wrenched open from outside.

"You!" she gasped, starting back. "But the powder?!"

Yes, Miller thought, I suspected the powder. So it wasn't made right. Still, here I am, you back-stabber. We had a deal. Alas, his undead lips could not form words so quickly. All he said was "Powder! Backstabber!"

The witch knew what he meant. "I intended you to remain in hell," she said. "I admit it. You should not be here. But we can still keep our agreement." Her eyes darted from side to side while her hand slipped into her pocket.

"Deal broken!" the lich barked. "You die!" Yes, you crooked old woman, he
thought, I paid you well to restore life to my clay, and you betrayed me. That young fool had just the wit to do your bidding. I suppose he paid you too, and was told I would be his slave. We were partners, but now you must pay for your deceit.

He lurched towards the witch, arms held stiffly before him, growling hoarsely. She took a small bottle out of her pocket, pulled the cork with her teeth, and flung the contents at the lich. His chest and right arm immediately began to pop and sputter like hot oil splashed with water.

The witch cursed under her breath: she'd been aiming for his face. The lich ignored the flames, lurching forward and embracing the witch. She twisted
out of his grasp, he overbalanced and toppled to the floor, but he caught
her ankle with one hand. The snap of ankle bones filled the room. The witch bit her lip and reached into her sack, rummaging for something. The lich dragged her to the floor just as she pulled another small jar out of her sack. It slipped out of her hand, shattered, and a dark thin liquid soaked into the planks. Sparks from the burning lich fell onto the patch of liquid and it exploded with flame. The two figures writhed apart, engulfed in flames, the witch letting out one short shriek. The lich staggered back to his feet. Flame billowed from his entire body. The witch rolled on the floor, trying to put out her burning clothes.

The lich silently cursed his former partner. You fool! I would have lived forever. I would have treated you fairly -I needed an assistant. We could have ruled this county. He turned toward the door, but the fire was too intense. He lurched back to the center of the room, beating at the flames that ate into his head. Fire had now spread throughout the small building. The witch dragged her sack with one hand, shielding her face with the other. She rattled the back door but it was locked. She kicked at it. Something in the witch's sack exploded, hurling her into the door, which did not yield. She fell to the floor. The lich growled in rage and
stumbled toward her just as the roof fell in. He was buried by burning beams. The
flames leaped up to meet the falling rain, and a column of steam rose into the night.

Morning sun flooded the glade. Mist rose up to meet it, but nothing living emerged from the rubble of the Mage's house. After a while, a mockingbird perched on the debris and began to sing.


look in the dregs
of your empty cup
I am there