The Barber of Dis

        My world had shrunk in the last 3 hours, but I could feel it growing from the black veil closed tightly around me. The strange disordered rainbow that was dancing behind my eyelids was most likely thanks to the invasive light beaming down on me. I finally relented, opened my eyes and beheld a classic gray humanoid straight out of fake autopsy footage. I squirmed against the restraints in that tied me to the dentist chair. He had his back to me as he scrubbed up. I swear he was whistling Lovely Ladies.

        Around me were jars filled with life. Eyes, guts and teeth, leeches, mice and chihuahuas were suspended in a sort of goo. Before I had found myself a refrigerator, I used to use that funny goo a lot. The flavor keeps but your mouth always feels a little numb afterwards. My eyes focused on a rather large jar with a familiar animal and I felt winded.

        He turned back to me and followed my gaze to the jar holding a baby.

        “It’s pretty much intact, I think it might have whooping cough or tb or something. I’m planning on fixing it and finding it a new home with some parent in waiting. It’ll be a fun summer project.”

        As he rolled the r in pretty his voice went where my ear couldn’t follow for a second but he came back down to finish the word. He took to inspecting his implements preparing for a procedure that I was quite sure I didn’t need. There was a doorway in front of him from which the aroma of fried chicken livers lazily wafted. Behind me, I heard the sounds of loud angry German as another lone hero endeavored to win World War II muffled by a door that was very nearly closed. Mom would soon yell at the young boy and tell him lunch was ready. Another knock came to my gut and my torturer wasn’t even noticing.

        He returned to me with a curious little creature that could maybe extend to a 3rd of my thumb. It looked to be an iguana that had until recently lived inside a cockroach.

        “This is Apoon, he’s what we call a painstealer.”
        “Pain does not tend to die.”

        He had a point, well quite a few actually. There were all neatly arranged on trays around me along with a yellow drill and a reciprocating saw

        “What are you going to…”
        From under my chin he pinched my jaw and shoved Apoon right into the roof of my lip.
        “Sh. Now let’s get rid of those violent tendencies you harbor.”

        My stungun was still on the coffee table on top of my coat and that letter I delivered him. I tried to reach the four feet but try was in dwindling supply and my body wasn’t elastic. Apoon was good at his job. I began to quietly giggle about how absurdly fucked I really was. My eyes grew heavy and the world got distant as the drill began to whir.

        Sometime later, no less than 10 seconds, I heard my boy Zappy sing. I awoke to find a colleague of mine named Haley standing over the gray doctorish person. Her long bald head, her almost square flattened breasts, her stocky tall physique, she was by far the most beautiful thing I have ever known.

        “You know bullets are more effective.”
    “Well then by all means byob. Please help me out of this.”

        She bent over and checked the top of his head for a pulse. Once satisfied, she withdrew a bowie knife from her rather large bag and destroyed the harness trapping me. I quickly but poorly evacuated my recumbent prison. As she grabbed my coat the catalyzing envelope caught her eye. The letter was sitting adjacent. Quickly she skimmed it before handing me my possessions. I stood their somewhat afraid, somewhat tipsy but mostly stoned.

        “This is a death threat.”
        The knife was still in her hand, she wanted me to know that
        “Have you been selling insurance Amber?”
        “I thought it was a subpoena, I swear.”
        She sighed.
        “How much did they pay you?”
        “Kilo of Heroine and a pair of Keds. Bright purple, didn’t even know there was such a thing.”
        She shoved my trenchcoat at me.
        “Honey, when you going to learn? If it was something official they wouldn’t pay you in drugs, they’d probably use blue jeans or gold or something.”

        I felt sheepish and stupid and giggly as I put on my coat. I was 2 steps to the door before I realized that poor Apoon was desperately clinging to my teeth. For a split second I actually did think to squish him but if killing a mockingbird is a sin then I don’t want to think what awaited me if I killed a creature that only took pain away. I returned him to his ill barber who was just realizing that he needed Apoon desperately. I whispered in his ear my rushed apologies and ran to the door where Haley awaited.

        We ran out into the pocked streets of Lower Celestia and back towards Dis proper where home and bed awaited. Haley was sleeping over that night, so bed would keep waiting and couch would be my home.

The Mosque of The Trickle Down Country

    It was another damnable time in the city of Dis, which had earlier been gray and not quite hopeful but maybe pleasant enough. Water was pouring from heaven and I swear the universe was mocking me. A lone yellow galosh sat in the alley that meets Appianway and Nowland. I checked but no blue house paint, no little rough places where it tried to melt. I didn’t know the boot and I did not own its twin. I sighed and turned back to Appianway down a cracked glass laden path, far from Dorthy’s vision. Me and my flip flops continued on.

    I saw the dome first and then I saw the closest spire reaching upwards. As I came closer I remembered that my fair city has no plan. Before the building, was twenty skinny shabby two story row houses and after it twenty more. There was enough copper to make a hobo cry, enough beauty to make anyone weep. In the dreary drenched dark it wasn’t much but at noon with the sun high, it can just catch fire. I walked up the steps and read the sign’s message which was written in 5 languages.


The Peace Comes After

After Appomattox, before the Mississippi.

The man had his six and six more and six more after that. There were those who would fight him but he refused to discern between shootist and mother of five. With steady hands and steady feet, he moved through the town seemingly unaware of the bullets landing all around him. With an outstretched hand he shot forth. The townsfolk would later say that he shot blindly but everyone there knew he aimed for everything he took.

James Shifton, 12, had the uneasy thought that he was indeed the stuff of heroes. He held his father’s Harper’s Ferry pistol in his hand and prepared a dire shot. It was a double barrel musket and no match for a Peacemaker. There was a 25 year difference and the gun had evolved since. If James were to miss and then miss twice, he would have to sequester himself behind some wall to ram down two more bullets. A battle hardened man might use 20 seconds but while brave, James was too long a distance from a man. He had to do this all while hoping the man did not notice him.

Still the boy had to try. The hand was steady and for a brief moment James wasn’t there. He was just an assembly of motors that conspired for the purpose of murder. From somewhere cold he pulled back the hammer and shot. Not waiting for a reaction, he pulled back, took aim and shot again. It found purchase in the gunman’s back.The weak pale man with the hollow eyes came against James so fast and simply ripped the arm out of his hand, throwing it aside.

As James stared into those eyes, James realized to his horror that he was looking at absolutely nothing but a gun and the hand to hold it. What James had been for a moment, this man had been forever. Shiloh, Wounded Knee and all those other bloodied times were etched into a tapestry of pain and suffering inside that… something. This was a harvester in its season.

“Not yet.”

With that a rifle cracked and the gunslinger was blood from the neck up.

Next day, winter came and everyone had more pressing issues.

The 25,678 night: The Fry Cook’s Tale

When dealing with jinn, it is best to be cautious and never rude. Most of all don’t give Jinn ideas as they are bored and while not as powerful as God, who is merciful and just, they are more able than a man can comprehend. If you come across a jinn, simply politely greet them and walk away with your head as empty as you can muster. Kareem Ibn John Johnson was a young man and can be forgiven for some of his transgressions for he was ignorant but kind. The basketball left the court at Brookside Park and as Kareem went to pick it up he beheld a woman the quality of which he had never seen. Her eyes were the color of honey wine, and he was reminded that he hadn’t been drunk since he had found Islam some three years ago. As he stared down her long black body he was drunk sure enough. Her black silky hair fell down her shoulders and the purple dress she wore seemed to forget to be from time to time, revealing pointed breasts. There was also fire, or maybe just the hint thereof. She came up to him and they embraced. It was warm and pleasurable and for a time Kareem knew bliss. Sadly the time ended and he was left in Cairo, an ocean from his home. The poor girl had never mastered longitude or latitude. He began to recite a few verses as he tried desperately to find a means to call home.

Ain’t no sunshine, when she’s gone.

It’s not warm when she’s away.

My Canadian Girlfriend’s War With The Ursine Nation

My lovely Darla is six feet tall with pale blond hair sweeping down to her knees. In the reflective pools of her purple eyes, I have been lost many a time. Underneath her thick fur coat, she has ample breasts. I know this because in the past, I have of course seen and touched them. We have been apart for so long that I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever be able touch her magnificent flesh again.

She is currently stalking the eternal winter of the north for sustenance and a way back home. I’m told of her exploits through Canada Post in the form of long tear stained letters. Most assuredly, she writes these letters under candlelight between raids. The ursine chief’s war party is ever vigilant and my Darla has to keep moving in order to stay alive and free. They’re nice enough to wait for the sun, when you can see there menace in all it’s glory.

She is not afraid, not even in the face of the ursine chief’s lackeys. Five snarling bears, ten feet tall each and all versed in the martial arts of polar bears, still she stands ready to have at. Her shamshir shines blue as she dares the towering creatures to offend further. Each warrior present knows the saber to be painfully sharp. It had been a gift from a descendant of Saladin, gratefully given in recognition of her brave rescue of his beloved from the clutches of terrorists. In times since, she has proven herself worthy of the blade by a wide margin.

For a moment, her mind turns to the hunting rifle still sitting in the tent. It is a highly tuned SVD she took from a yogi sniper somewhere in Kashmir. In her hands it never misses but sadly, here it would just slow her down. The first comes shooting at her, a jab with claws extended It lands too late, she is already in the air and flipping back to ground three feet away. Snow erupts from the ground, awoken by the bears’ turbulent motions. They are all coming at her and she is effectively blind, with no ability to discern polar bears from the omnipresent snow.

Still, she knows they’re coming at her and so she slashes the air in front of her. The mixture of blood and howling proves her actions righteous. One comes at her left aiming at her head while another comes galloping at her right intent on steamrolling her. My Darla is a quick one, she’s in the air before the three meet. She lands on the right bear’s back and proceeds to play jockey, using her sword as a riding whip. For three minutes, she confuses and infuriates the whole war party driving the poor bear back into his own ranks.

Finally, she relents and the battle is suddenly over. The war party retreats, intent on exhausting her a bit further. They have time, they have supplies and they can just wait her out. Darla knows this because she has a shrewd mind for tactics and strategy. She grabs her rifle and prepares a parting volley but then thinks better of it. She’ll need those precious few bullets for the chief. Then once that’s done she can come home to my waiting arms.

A Stone’s Throw From The Lathe Of Heaven

“It’s going to feel like thunder is moving through you but I need you to stay with it. You’ve got to keep that stone in your mind. You’ve got to know every angle of that stone, every texture. Now I want you to look closer, just focus in on it.”

“I’m sorry.” Gary relaxed fearing an aneurysm.

“It’s okay Gary get some water, you look a little dry.”

Gary left the chair and the net of sticky wires for the fountain two stories down. Katherine only sighed, they were so close to really doing something and poor Gary just kept on crapping out. The university wouldn’t fund her forever, not without results. If she could get this right, she could get her own lab and stop using empty rooms in the Humanities Department.

Katherine was forty five and her chances for immortality were slimming more and more every day. She needed a paper, she needed to make an actual impact in the field. It wasn’t her fault that her best and last chance at glory was a simple headed first year philosophy major who wasn’t going to make into his second year of college.

Most of all, she needed to find a place to do her experiments that didn’t have windows. It was a tiny little room in a building full of humanities. This is where there was space; it just happened that it was as far as possible from anything close to being remotely scientific. It also happened that for about five hours every day the sun shone right in the windows. She had to buy curtains with her own money.

When she finally did open the curtains, she found Gary’s fellow philosophy majors. Well, she didn’t know that per say, but they were peeing on the lawn and that was where Katherine defaulted when she saw people who didn’t accept the existence of bathrooms. The lawn was a mess, the grass was high, freshmen running free, weeds everywhere. Right underneath the window there was a pile of rocks three feet deep and three feet wide for no discernible reason.

“Probably a philosophy student.”

It took a full ten seconds for the words to exit her mouth and enter her brain. Then, she was running very quickly down two flights of stairs.

Hide and Seek à la Vahalla

You could hear the gunfire from the hallway, you could hear it in the lobby and across the street but no neighbor cared if Lee was shot. The only man who did care was standing next to Lee in the middle of his living room. Benjamin was admiring his grouping in Lee’s center mass. Yet, Ben found offense.

“Six bullets and you still stand? You show my revolver no respect.”

The bullets had pierced every chamber in Lee’s heart and he was having trouble remaining standing. His legs were giving out and Lee backed into the chair behind him. Benjamin was reloading his pistol but he was having trouble finding the bullets. Somewhere among his many pockets there were six more .45 long colts but they were being evasive.

“Ben, I don’t want to play anymore.”

Ben ignored his brother’s whining as he had for centuries past. Lee was always whiny and whimpering until he found that old Savage under the skirt. The moment he has hold of his gun, time out is done and Ben’s legs get shot off. They always grew back but it hurt like hell. The whining was getting to Ben and he was considering ending the match with the butt of his pistol.

“Ben we’re forever, have you ever though of doing something than shooting me.”

Their eyes met and they both remembered the mud, the arrows and those last gasping hopeful breaths. Six hundred years ago, they died brothers in arms. Dying bloody and bloodied, some wretched god had seen fit to make them just blood thirsty in new life. The damn celestial though it a reward. For six hundred years, they hunted each other.

“Hell Lee, what else am I going to do?”

“Fall in love?”

“We tried that remember, I found you clingy and overbearing.”

“I meant with somebody else.”

“Look, I found a bullet, let’s just end this match. Promise I’ll let you get the first shot next time.”

Lee expelled his breath and simply leaned back. His stall tactic was fruitless and the black toyetic German submachine gun was still under the cushion of the sofa adjacent. As the bullet came into Lee’s brain all he could remember was an awful headache.


15-11, Ben was leading four head shots.


The next day Lee awoke and immediately found his Excedrin. Then came a bath and a less blood soaked shirt. He had ten years until Ben came back, perhaps it was time to move to a better neighborhood.

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