15 Feb

Dressed in Black – SF Flash Fiction

Dressed in Black

Dressed in BlackTwo-mom bends down so that her eyes are level with Rao’s.

“We’re here, Rao,” she says in what Rao recognizes as her patient voice, “because she was your real-mom and we show respect.”

“What’s resect?” Rao says. He wipes his nose on the sleeve of his boring, no-glow jacket. The jacket is black, like everyone else’s, and he hates it.

“It’s when you don’t stick your tongue out,” says Nima. She’s half a head taller than Rao and knows everything in the world. She pokes Rao’s shoulder and sticks her tongue out. He answers as he always does: by flailing at her with his little fists. Nima laughs. Read More

20 Jan

There is a Beep – published in Nature

There is a Beep

There is a BeepThere is a beep.

An applied neurophysicist walks into a bar. It’s a nice bar, red leather upholstery, jukebox in the corner, bartender in a white dinner jacket. More of a lounge, really. And this neurophysicist walks into the place like he owns it.

Maybe he does.

“Joe,” he says, sitting down, “fix me up a stiff one.”

And the bartender bends behind the bar and comes up with one of these silver shakers that rattle like a million dollars on ice and he rattles it and breaks it and there’s this rich brown, velvety fluid emerging from the shaker and sloshing in slow motion into a heavy, cut-crystal glass.

The physicist goes to the lavatory. You know it’s the lavatory because it says lavatory right on the door. Not toilet, not WC. Lavatory.

That’s because the physicist is British and hasn’t taken to the language of wherever it is he is. Read More

07 Jan

Ghost of the Ashwydds – Published in Daily SF

Ghost of the Ashwydds

Ghost of the AshwyddsThe house was dark, spider webs covering the chandeliers where gaslight used to dance.

“Here,” said the no longer quite-so-young girl, “is the hall of the murder.”

The audience oohed and aahed and sighed, and when her lover flowed through the wall in his faded finery they screamed and ran, solidifying him with their belief while the girl stretched out her hand to caress what could not be touched. Read More

04 Jan

For Want of a Nail – SF Flash Fiction

For Want of a Nail - short story

For Want of a Nail - short storyIt is a nail. It’s stuck in a wall, but it’s not my wall.

I work on it, but I can’t figure it out. So I call Abraham Hershlow.

We grew up together, did advanced physics and honors math together, but then Abe got a scholarship and I got to work at a hardware store. Still, Abe’s a good guy. He fixed me up with the job at the university, and I’d rather be a janitor at the U than a manager at Warshaw’s Tools.

“George,” Abe says, “I’d love to help but there’s this review and…”

“Just come look,” I say. “Five minutes.”

“I can’t, George, I really can’t.”

I call him again. And the next day, and the next. Finally he comes down to my box-room in the basement.

“It’s a nail,” he says.

“But look, it’s sticking out of the wall. Out, Abe.” Read More