Archive for April, 2014


April 30, 2014

The oath-taking was interrupted by a pitiful mewling. Walking to the edge of the clearing they saw a small animal had fallen through the hard crust of the snow. One of the men about to take the oath scooped it up and put it in his helmet.

“You can’t have that thing during the oath.”

“Then I guess I’m not taking the oath.”


blooming despair

April 29, 2014

She had signed up to dig the ditch for the cable that would re-connect her country with the rest of the world. It was going to pay more than she could get anywhere else except by being a prostitute (and even that involved going into debt to a madam). Her hands became inflamed. She spent more than she wanted of her payout on a visit to a doctor. He tells her that she has been holding the shovel wrong. It’s given her blisters, which are now badly infected. If she doesn’t get antibiotics she will either die or lose her hands. She has the money from her payout but it’s not enough to pay for the antibiotics she needs.

whirring contradictions

April 28, 2014

He thanked her for her work, and she laughed. No. His thanks implied that he had rights to her work that she would never admit to. She began dismantling the equipment, starting with the colorimeter. He tried to stop her and she knocked him down.


April 27, 2014

The plan was not something that could be put in motion. It would work, but the necessary starting conditions didn’t obtain. He stepped back and approached the problem like a mathematical proof. He didn’t worry about coming up with a new plan for different conditions. He treated his current plan as a solved problem, and turned to developing a seemingly unrelated plan to set up the necessary conditions.

raid exchange

April 26, 2014

problem: how should she deal with the whispering and insinuations after she rebuffed the recruiter.

setting (retell in each one): an office, a school, a small port town, a colony spaceship

taking a fancy

April 25, 2014

Because she loved cinnamon, was always drinking it, always smelling of it, ever since her insolence I cannot stand the odor.

genuine article

April 24, 2014

Her understanding of childhood mythological figures was different than her friends, because her immigrant parents never used the definite article. It wasn’t “the stork” or “the easter bunny”, it was “stork” and “easter bunny,” which for all she knew could be plural or even uncountable mass nouns.

pray for rain

April 23, 2014

It grew as it walked down the street, inflated by some inner burst of material. The metal bands soon snapped. Pieces of it dropped off like clumps of cream or peanut butter and writhed until they grew their own limbs and could walk off in other directions. Those that made it to the water writhed and smoked as they dissolved.

counter collection

April 22, 2014

The privately operating, competing surveillance networks allowed the defendant to build a complete dossier on the prosecutor. It wasn’t admissible in his case, but he used it to publicly paint the prosecutor as so creepily straight-arrow as not to be trusted and got him fired.

stigmatic husk

April 21, 2014

The appraiser at Antiques Roadshow was faced with a visitor who presented a doll which he said he had purchased at a thrift shop, and which was shedding witch’s milk.