Thursday, April 3, 2014

the hollow robot

get inside, it said
and we'll ride
the desert, you can look out through
the window, your head
within the headless body
of my chest: we'll go beyond
the stranger plants and the silent sky with the million stars and the last
animal: there, we'll come to the witch's
abode, most of it underground, and we shall chant
the mantra: everyone else's problems
are my own, and mine
belong to everyone else, Once inside
she'll welcome us
with a cup of poison which we shall not drink
although we say we did, later;
I fore see that.


Monday, February 17, 2014

the last woman - 4. the pistol

by ameline d'ambois

illustrated by danny delacroix and eddie el greco

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

true to his word, the young man calling himself "citizen manfred" left annette when the two carriages reached the village of r-----------.

he departed the carriage with the barest of nods, and no trace of even the mild warmth he had seemed to show in their brief conversation.

annette glanced out the window of the carriage. they seemed to be in an inn-yard. she heard voices, a few barks of loud male laughter.

she reached over and tried the handle of the door on her left - opposite the one citizen jacques exited from. as she suspected, it was somehow locked.

suddenly the skies, which had been cloudy all morning, opened up and rain beat loudly on the roof of the carriage.

more shouting, laughter, and running around in the inn-yard.

the door on annette's right opened and a blue-coated member of the revolutionary guard entered and took the seat vacated by jacques. this new man was older and stouter and surlier looking than the two guards who had been present at her arrest, but like them, had a large, ferocious looking pistol in his belt.

annette favored him with a wisp of a smile. "good morning."

"silence, foul creature!" was his response.

annette's smile vanished.

"it is enough that i must endure your pestilent presence for an hour or more, without having to listen to your filth, you stinking whore!"

"an hour. thank you. that is -"

"silence!" the guard put his hand on his gun.

annette had known the rough tongues of nuns, the sly insinuations of schoolmates, the silken barbs of her fellow habitues of the beau monde, had even chanced to overhear the bitter sarcasms of servants and peasants and roughnecks, but had never been spoken to in quite such a way before. had such language been (300) described to her, she might have been inclined to laugh.

but she was not inclined to laugh.

for complete episode, click here

Sunday, January 19, 2014

the groundskeeper - 4. the green dress of lady dodsley

by nanette nanao

illustrations by danny delacroix

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

time passed.

marthe passed away. this event shocked me as no other before or since.

"the first death is the most final." did some wise and ancient philosopher say that or did i just write it now? it just "popped into my head" as i sit here.

no doubt the last - one's own - will be even more final.

charles and berthe had been kinder to me than marthe had, and after being taken up by mademoiselle i had spent more time with charmian, but marthe's sudden - sudden to me - demise had an effect not only on my feelings but perhaps on my fate.

"good god, what are you blubbering about?" these were the first more or less harsh words i can remember mademoiselle uttering to me. "stay away from me, please, until you can compose yourself in a more civilized manner."

and so i did - compose myself in a more civilized manner, before returning myself to mademoiselle's company. and how long did it take me to do so? ten minutes? an hour? a day? did this little event i am describing even happen?

my old acquaintance the philosopher the baron de b------- (of whom more later - perhaps - if i continue this memoir) spent long hours boring myself and others on the subject of the porous and self-regenerating (was that his phrase - self-regenerating?) nature of memory. i had quite forgotten his lectures until now - when the circumstances - the winter sun through the window of the comte de f----'s chateau - the green dress of the englishwoman lady dodsley - suddenly spring back into my brain as framed as any painting -

yes, lady dodsley - of all those who - or should i say, whose pictures - come back to me from that time, somehow i think you are the most likely to still be alive somewhere - even if you are over a hundred years old - for what could happen to you - you who seemed above even boredom - who had a dozen or so houses in the somnolent english countryside to escape to if need be - what could mere time do to you?

and your green dress - and your white hat! even if by some chance - and no one is entirely immune to chance - you perished a week or a day after i saw you last - surely the dress and the hat are preserved in one of the aforementioned country houses - immune to dust and time and fashion -

for complete episode, click here

Sunday, January 12, 2014

the fourteenth princess, chapter 11: troublemakers

by emily de villaincourt

illustrated by danny delacroix and konrad kraus

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

the guards locker room and lounge was just inside the front door.

helga had a desk in a little area partitioned off in a corner of the room. she was sitting at it one morning making out a duty roster when two of the guards - zelda and monika - came in. they walked over to the desk.

zelda spoke. "good morning, helga."

"good morning." helga looked up, mildly curious. the guards did not have to "report" to her, they just had to be where they were supposed to be at the right time.

zelda looked down at the paper helga was writing on. "any changes?"

"no. not really. why, did you want some change?"

"no. but i got a question."

monika sat down on the edge of the desk. "you don't mind if i park my fat ass here, do you?"

"be my guest. what is your question?" helga asked zelda.

"some of us were hanging out at terry's down in the village last night, and we got to talking - " zelda looked over at monika but monika was just staring at helga .

"and -?" helga prompted her.

"well, you know how some of us are helping the girls - our girls - with their books that they're writing -?"

"yes, i've heard that some of you are," helga answered.

"it's not against the rules," said zelda.

"i know, it's says right in the rules that you can. and there's some stuff about the staff not having expertise or something. so?"

"how about you?" monika interrupted. "you helping your girl out?"

"no, she's pretty bright, she doesn't need any help from me."

"but you would if she asked you?"

helga shrugged. "maybe. she's not asking me."

"and besides," monika eyed helga. "you're pretty busy running the place and all."

for complete episode, click here

Sunday, January 5, 2014

l'amour, part 48

by gabrielle-jeanette perfidy

illustrated by rhoda penmarq

part forty-eight of seventy-eight

for previous chapter, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here

"perhaps you would like a scone. we have some english ones, they are quite authentic."

"thank you monsieur, that would be most agreeable."

"ah, what am i thinking, you must let me take your coat."

leonie took her coat and scarf off and handed them to jean-claude,

who seemed both distracted and oddly ebullient.

at this point the reason for leonie's appearance

at such an odd hour had not been addressed.

to be continued

Thursday, December 19, 2013

fenwick - 7. a man not to be trifled with

by minette de montfort

illustrated by danny delacroix and rhoda penmarq

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

admiral morwyn was not the only witness to muggleton's bursting through the hedge -for needless to say it was indeed poor muggleton who burst through the hedge - for who else could it have been? - i put it to you - reader, if perchance you exist, we are not here to play tricks on you but to tell a plain tale as plainly as possible - the good old fashioned way, around the hearth, around the campfire, at the old roadside inn as the landlord prods the embers with his blackened poker - blackened by centuries of low smoke and weary travelers tales - all hastening to the same end - oblivion - but to proceed - we will tell our tale - because every tale must be told - no matter how dreary or boring - yes, every tale must be told - and will be told - every song must be sung - down to the last repeated chorus - every dog will have his day - every cat will have his nip - though at night they all are gray - every nip will have his tuck - every tuck will have his friar - every friar will have his fat jolly nun - every fat jolly nun will have her flask of ale at the bar of the old roadside inn where the travelers tell their timeworn tales - their tales that must be told.

yes, tales that must be told.

but not by muggleton. no, not by muggleton.

muggleton was given his chance, his chance to tell his own tale - and a sad enough tale it was, to be sure - and he made - i will not say a complete hash of it, no, not a complete hash, but by god, we have to get on with it, don't we?

so we will nor hear from muggleton again - we will hear of him to be sure, for he is part of this sorry tale - that must be told regardless - as all tales must be told - but not from him.

on with it, man, on with it.

admiral morwyn was not the only witness to muggleton's bursting through the hedge - beckwith, the butler who ruled castle morwyn with an iron hand - or with a rod of steel, or perhaps with a rod of steel in his iron hand - or in his iron fist, i believe that is the correct term - a tale should be told in correct terms - what, i ask you, is the point of telling it otherwise? - beckwith happened to be looking out the window -

i should say, a window, as there was more than one window in castle morwyn - it could hardy be called a castle, could it now, if it only had one window - beckwith happened to be looking out of the window of the red room - called the red room for what the saints only knew what reason, as there was nothing particularly red about it though there may well have been in the mists of time -

for complete episode, click here

Monday, December 16, 2013

road poem

by horace p sternwall

illustrated by konrad kraus

spiders weave, and flies escape
clowns wear noses and magicians capes
everything is what it shall be
whales laugh in the deep black sea

between the oceans the highways wait
for wanderers to take the bait
big wheels whispering in the rain
yellow moons over the shadowed plain

call them alice, samantha or flo
dames will come and dames will go
but a pal is a brother, you know
when the road calls, you got to go

down the highway and over the hills
we've got our booze, we've got our pills
past the factories, past the old mills
stoked to the gills, looking for thrills

craving adventure, desperate for love
laughed at by the gods above
angels and devils can play their tricks
we're on a one-way quest for kicks

down darkened highways smoked with dreams
when nothing is really what it seems
because every darkened window and door
hides more secrets than can ever be explored

past silent houses where dogs sleep on chairs
as cats watch over them with gracious airs
cinderella brings stepmother her evening tea
because that is the way it will always be

waves of music suddenly blast
out of the hidden fellaheen past
a shack on the prairie, window alight
solid in the windy night

bus stop annies in the shadows of the docks
clodhopper clems sit beneath the clocks
the bus from des moines is an hour late
but it will not affect their fate

silent pawn shops, all night cafes
hotels that have seen better days
bums clutching bottles in lionish paws
because the night obeys no laws

railroad bulls who once had hearts
now practice moloch's murderous arts
empty boxcars with flown away souls
can't get no more jelly roll

moctezuma and railroad bill
in a souvenir shop outside boot hill
wait for john henry's promised return
because the world will never learn

cabeza de vaca with his thumb stuck out
gives a final desperate shout
as william mckinley driving a tramways bus
leaves him behind in a cloud of dust

the final kick just out of reach
end up on a deserted beach
the ocean is the last motel room
its whispering surf the voice of doom