I had a weird hair

It grew on my back

When I was 30, I went on the attack

Trimmed it every day

But I couldn’t keep it away

When I was 40, I cut it to size

Hoping to hide it with an appropriate disguise

When I turned 50, it turned gray

I decided to let it have its way

It grew to an amazing length

And sapped most of my strength

At 60 we made a compromise

I gave it ten inches and it would keep away the guys

We lived happily for years

Sharing in joys and fears

100 came and I gave it a name

Sir Waddlesworth de Mirth

Don’t ask why, just give me the certificate of birth


I Hate Zombies

I hate zombies. It’s not just that I want to survive their plague. It’s not even that I think they’re disgusting, though they are: putrid flesh hanging from rotting bones held up only by the darkest, stinking, and what’s more, communicable magics. I hate what they represent. When something is finished, it should be done. Gone. Ended.

When a body goes into the ground, it should stay there. Period. It’s no fun when Bob from accounting comes back as a walking corpse and screams about PTO slips you owe him while you are fighting off a score of zombies.

News flash, Bob: you’re a zombie. Also, who cares about PTO slips in the apocalypse?

Well, some people call it an apocalypse, but that’s really very dramatic, isn’t it? I call it a setback. Because actually, the only ones effected by this magic disease are humans. Hooray!

Everybody else, the dolphins and the bees, are probably saying thank the Sun in all its glory that something finally came around to wipe out those assholes. I’m sure if they could talk, that’s what they would say. Good for them.

Anyway, back to my hatred of zombies. Sorella once asked me if our murdering as many of them as we could constituted genocide. Genocide? She’s such a PC bleeding heart sometimes. I told her it couldn’t be genocide if it was self-defense. But what do I know? It probably is.

This guy trying to eat my face right now, though. Arrgh. There! Sliced his head off.  Definitely self-defense.

“Nick!” Sorella screams at me over the moans of a pack of attacking zombies. I see the Staff of Zombie-Ass-Kicking sail through the air at me. Not surprisingly, a zombie knocks it to the ground with flailing arms. Great.

Dorian and Aithne fight a pack of zombies near the door. I’m glad they’re trying to get to Sorella to help her, but I’m in fairly dire need of help myself.

Two years of Zombie Setback has taught me how to use a sword well enough, and I dispatch three quickly and then leap at the staff. I roll over it, bringing it up in one hand and holding the sword in the other. I swing both to fend off the horde.

“Get to the computer!” Sorella screams. She sends a blast of magic at Cadogahn, her magic disintegrating in a flare of blue motes on his black robes. The effort staggers her, and she falls to her knees, but he’s distracted.

I tear my gaze away from her struggle and race to the computer. The last computer. Its screen glows blue at the end of the cubicle rows, gleaming plastic and smooth metal.

You always knew deep down that those computers would turn on humanity, didn’t you? You just didn’t know that computers plus magic would equal zombies. Well, it does.

I’m no magician, but it doesn’t matter. I take the staff and shove it through that glowing blue screen. The power surge throws me back into a stand of cubicles, and the explosion deafens me.

Next thing I know is Sorella’s face hovering above mine. Then things connect, and I see Dorian and Aithne, Eanna, Tomas, Lucan, their faces bloodied, weapons limp in their hands. They’re all staring down at me.

“We won,” I say, but I can’t hear my voice. Sorella nods, tears in her eyes.

Things darken for a while, my vision narrowing infinitely until I can look away from my own point of view. What do you know? I see the Sun, and it is glorious. Those dolphins and bees were correct.

At least I won’t be a zombie.


Flash Fiction: “Character”

Drianna lifted her sword from the bloodied corpse of the Thrang. The Harvest menu appeared above the creature’s body, and she selected the Thrang’s pelt, fangs, and the eye jewels from the list. The pack shifted on her back, the weight increasing when the objects added to her inventory.

The hairs on the back of her neck rose. She turned quickly. Brown leaves fell from the rattling trees as the wind shifted west. Her sharp eyes darted from bush to bush, but the shadows in the weak sunlight revealed no more creatures, Thrang or otherwise, though she glimpsed something out of the corner of her eye, and the feeling of being watched remained.

Thumbs limp on the controller, a low growl of frustration issued from Joe’s wobbly throat as his character did yet another random one-eighty.

With a jerking motion, he ripped the controller from the game console and turned on a lamp. He examined the handheld game controls. The buttons did not appear to have any looseness, sticks rotated just fine, bumpers bumped nominally.

Shaking his head, he tossed the controller into a box to the left of the couch, it smacked against the mound of discarded electronics that threatened to topple from the box. With a grunt, he leaned over and pulled a brand new controller from a different box.

“Second one this week,” he growled and glared at the console. He plugged in the new controller.

In the basement, Joe turned off the lamp. He looked back up at the screen, which glowed like a planet in the darkness of space, and turned his character from the Thrang’s corpse.

Not Spotless

Beauty is the sky
reflected in the puddle
at the gas station in Tahoe,
gravel and mud inset with
a pure blue portal.

Beauty is the junk
floating like a fleet
on the waves at Bodega Bay,
bottle barges and tampon kayaks
and troughs slicked with rainbows.

Beauty is the sun
reflecting off the bug guts
and bird poop
on the cracked windshield,
black sticks of bug legs
and water spots like cheetah’s fur,
turned to white dwarfs and comets.

The Plexiglas asterisk where a rock had hit
like the inside of a marble, still swirls of silver,
exploded in a nova
as we rounded the hills
warm and golden with summer grass.

The redwoods, brown fingers reaching,
canopied the twisting road
from the glow of the Napa sun
in the dozy summer evening
and became the cold dark behind stars.