Grass Is Greener

“… and one can only imagine the little creatures living their whole lives in the islands of shrub and weed throughout the city. What do they think of the asphalt, the cars, and the animals wandering to and fro? Do they see those others islands, just over there? Do they dream to cross the deadly rivers?”

“Imagine how different everything would be if Mars were green. If mankind were the bugs staring out across the wastelands towards another tiny paradise. And maybe, those other bugs were staring back at us, too…”

I woke every night with that voice in my mind, that voice that lectured to me, inflamed me… guided me. My logos. Every day I moved as an automaton towards the goals dictated by my personal god. And here I was.

The road stretched out before me, worn. The waking, the preparing— that had happened without my knowing it. Automatic. To my right, shrubs on a wall. To the left, old buildings with the paint peeling. Everything was similar but so very different. Colors seemed… strange. There was an atmosphere I couldn’t place. I felt, rather than saw, a curtain pushed aside by an invisible hand. Someone was watching me.

And that was fine.

It wouldn’t change why I was here. What I needed to do.

I wondered if every great explorer was guided as I was. If they heard the same lectures. Did those same whispers cross glaciers and oceans, mountains and plains? Was it there when the world was globalized? On the moon? Did it hold Man’s hand on Mars?

I couldn’t know that. But I knew what I was here for. The last frontier.

I planted my country’s flag while the ghosts watched.

Nightmare Fuel 2016, Day 5


I couldn’t believe the package was actually here. I’d scoured the darknet for ages, looking for the legit thing. Had more disappointments than I could count. I don’t want to say, “So much for honor among thieves,” but, I was definitely reaching the zone of cliches.

The box was a tad battered, but it looked like customs hadn’t touched it at all. However, that may have been intentional if they ran it through an x-ray machine. Customs was a bunch of bullies that would take your heroin or cigarettes, but they knew better than to touch what I had.

“What is it, what is it?!” One of the pumpkins poked out through the leaves. “Is it dinner, is it dinner?!” I heard the other fruits whine and wheedle. A few embers flashed through the leaves.

I gently kicked a few of the lumps hidden in the dry leaves. “Cut that out, you’ll start a fire and then where will you be?”

“Yes, mom…………” A few lumps moved, burrowing deeper down. The first one to call out to me simply stared quietly as I walked past and into the house, past another package I’d left out earlier for pickup. I set the box down on the butcher’s block I kept near the door. I heard the packing paper inside crinkle as the thing within smelled the old blood on the block. However, I wasn’t ready to open it. A full ritual circle was in order, and the first step: a good cleansing shower.

Meanwhile, a vine stretched across the yard, dragging leaves and detritus in its leaves. It covered the package I left, and snaked up to the latch of the door, quietly opening it a crack. While I was busy preparing the ritual, a certain pumpkin watched as a fresh-faced young and inexperienced delivery driver walked up to my first step, passing the package hidden in the leaves. Looking around, confused, for the package he was supposed to pick up he glanced inside and saw the box on the block. He lifted it, turning it this way and that, trying to read the foreign characters wrapped around it. He shrugged, assuming his more experienced coworkers would know what to do with a foreign package, and took it back to his truck under the watchful eye of a very jealous squash.

If I had to guess, I would assume that that pumpkin was the last to ever see that delivery man alive. But, I wouldn’t know. I wasn’t stupid enough to follow up on the situation. I did hang quite a few extra charms around the house for a few months afterward, just to be sure.

Nightmare Fuel 2016, Day 3 and Day 4



Then said Gangleri: “Much indeed they had accomplished then, methinks, when earth and heaven were made, and the sun and the constellations of heaven were fixed, and division was made of days; now whence come the men that people the world?” And Hárr answered: “When the sons of Borr were walking along the sea-strand, they found two trees, and took up the trees and shaped men of them: the first gave them spirit and life; the second, wit and feeling; the third, form, speech, hearing, and sight. They gave them clothing and names: the male was called Askr, and the female Embla, and of them was mankind begotten, which received a dwelling-place under Midgard.” – GYLFAGINNING

The chronometer whirred and clicked, its display settling as the finest processors, circuits, and sensors of the 23rd century calibrated and calculated through a dozen references. The date: CE3125.10.02.2200. Tidy, and coincidentally precise; not a perfect landing. Managing an exact landing date was like trying to dock just so in the midst of a raging river. As soon as the craft slipped into timestream it was buffeted by forces human technology couldn’t neutralize…yet.

The pilot flicked a few switches here and there, various lights dimming and others coming on. He checked a few readings on the panel. Satisfied, he removed his helmet and activated the outside displays.

He was silent and staring for a long moment.

He checked the panel displays again. Launched a few probes which flashed and bounced backwards a few hours in time. Examined the data when all the probes were connected and beaming data in the current time-loc.

There was nothing but forest, field, tundra, and desert. Everywhere.

Although he was dismayed that his home city had long since vanished in the 700 or so years since his departure, the pilot reasoned that there was nothing particularly unusual about the possibility of changing cities or civilizations. But for the entirety of human civilization to disappear without a trace?

Grabbing his flashlight, popped the hatch and hopped down onto the springy forest floor. It was dark, the kind of broad leafy dark that the moon could barely penetrate. In his time, this was the edge of the city with tall narrow apartment complexes. In his mind’s eye he compared the buildings with the enormous tree trunks around him. How many years did it take for trees to get that large?

He strode forward, stumbling a little in his bulky suit, lost in his thoughts. It takes about 500 years for a city to disappear, he thought. There were trees of all sizes around him, some living, and some old and dead and rotting on the forest floor. He noticed the flashing of lights dimly in the canopy above. A meteor shower? There were muffled booms in the distance, like thunder.

It was only once the noise had faded that he realized just how quiet it was in the forest. He heard no sounds. Not of insects nor birds. Even the sound of branches creaking and cracking in the distance was absent. The voice of the forest was held as if in anticipation.

To the pilot, this realization made the trees seem more alive and more menacing. In the shadows he thought he saw movement, and he began to swing his light this way and that amongst the leaves. The leaves, he realized, were hands. The branches were claws. There was a whisper of voices as the alien vegetation reached for him, clutching at the folds of his space-age fabrics. He turned and ran back towards the ship.

Branches blocked his way. Hands pushed and stroked and guided him. There were… whispers. Savior, savior, savior…

And then suddenly, he stopped. The tree ahead was groaning, a human figure writhed from the flesh of the tree. She is smiling at me. Behind and around him other figures pulled from the trunks. You’ll come home with us soon. Thank you, thank you. There was a woody scent, memories of another trip in the ship. Memories of darkness, comets, and fire, earth and loam, of alien vines burned and dying even as they sprouted. The shouts of men. Lasers, bacteria, microscopic machines… and himself.

He stumbled back, not knowing where he was going. The smell was still in his nostrils. The chrononaut felt faint, weak, and confused… drugged. He felt a firm but gentle grip on his arm, supporting him. Dad… help me…

The familiar gentle figure buckled him into his seat, latched his helmet back into place and began typing instructions into the control panel and setting the destination date to mid-2374 CE.

“Dad… don’t go.” The figure turned and smiled. The pilot looked into his own face, which grinned back at him wistfully, before the hatch closed and the ship disappeared in a flash of light, carrying the pilot, and a cargo of tiny yellow seeds stuck to the soles of his boots.

Nightmare Fuel 2016, Day 2


So I’m standing there, just looking at this thing. I can never remember if it’s called a mausoleum or a tomb, or if they are just synonyms… but you know what I mean. It’s place, with an ingress, that is creepy as fuck because maybe there is a corpse in it.

It’s staring at me.

Someone left the door open.

It’s… staring… at me.

I could see the earth behind it, humped and raised although not enough for one to simply walk through the door and expect to be in a room. The darkness is a descending darkness, the kind that pulls you down, ever down… into…?

I step inside.

It’s calling me.

I can hear a heartbeat, in the dark.

The light disappears behind me.

It exhales.

Nightmare Fuel 2016, Day 1

Selective Burn

I decided that today is a stuffed jalapeño day. While scraping out their innards, a prodigious amount of juice arched over my glasses and went into my eyes. In terror, I willed my eyes to water and cry to flush out the invading liquid to no avail. I waited for the burning to start. And waited.

And waited.


I was confused. Should I be upset that my jalapeños were not sufficiently spicy or relieved that I have been spared an eye burning fate? I pondered this question while I continued to prep food.

A cut near my fingernail started to sting.

By the time I was done with the food and dishes both hands were aflame. Washing dishes became unbearable. I mentally whipped myself to finish as much as I could. One question was resolved… I did not have to be upset that I got “bum” peppers.

However, my eyes have yet to burn.

The Tale of the Sweet Potato Pie that Wasn’t Meant to Be and May Not Ever Be

Rushing. Being distracted. The kid demanding yet another slice of bread with nutty topping.

You know what I mean.

Today was a day of sweet potato tragedy. First, was the discovery that many of my sweet potatoes had been sitting for a bit too long in unfavorable conditions. The merely wrinkly could be overlooked but those whose squishy liquid innards sloshed and churned in my hand could not. I convinced myself the remainder were acceptable. After all, I was more concerned with testing my new Instant Pot than with the results themselves or their quantity.

But soon I was in a quandary. As they cooked, I wondered what the end result of the sweet potatoes should be. A quick meander on the internet proposed sweet potato pie. After a simple process of finding a recipe that contained only ingredients I had (in other words, excluding evaporated milk and no more than 2 eggs), I began the preparations.

First disaster occurred during my first use of my new Oster Versa blender. I had purchased the unit with the food processor attachment. The pie crust initially formed as it should then suddenly was paste. It would not be until near the end of this adventure that I would realize I had the blender set to the wrong speed and perhaps added a tad too much water. Regardless, I shrugged off the malformed and sticky crust as irrelevant. This is not a dish for a restaurant, just a use for some sweet potatoes on the cusp of decoporealization.

Then, for the batter. I had placed every single ingredient into the Versa blending jar, including solid instead of melted butter in the trust that the blender would assist me with my little “solids” problem. I grabbed the carton of eggs from the fridge, opening them and promptly hurling the last two eggs to the floor.

I started at the gooey mess oozing into the tracks of my sliding door in a state of numb shock. Deep and penetrating questions filled my mind. Is this potato pie meant to be? Followed by What deity controls pies?

Do pies have meaning?

Do I have meaning?

What is meaning?

Questions then quickly deemed unresolvable and the pie deemed a failure, I began to clean up the mess. As it turns out, sticky raw egg possesses some phenomenal properties in regards to eliminating stubborn grunge built up in sliding door tracks.

Slowly this discovery bolstered my confidence. I was able to recall that there are vegan substitutes for eggs. Once the door was cleaned I examined several options online. I opted for a bit of flour and a couple small handfuls of tofu.

It blended into something smooth and creamy in the Versa. I poured the beautiful silky mixture into my lumpy and craggy pie shell and placed it in the oven, setting the timer soon after.

I don’t know what is happening there in the oven.

I only know something either beautiful or unspeakable awaits… For me.

The stare

The sky was so cloudy it was impossible to tell it was cloudy. It was simply a solid sheet of dark grey and black, except for one spot where the moon was visible. The wisps of cloud formed a harsh scowling face that glared down at me with the luminous cylopsian eye of an angry god.

That was my morning.


Once upon a time

there was a little man
he sat upon his rock
and stared across the sand
Once a day he looked
across the empty waste
and every other evening
he gazed up into space
Once upon a time
those grains of sand were stars
and every morning they glitter
and remember what they are
But the little man just sits there
tears across his face
for he knows he is alone
in all of time and space

The Reversal

So, about a decade or so ago, my soon to be spouse had something of an identity theft problem. It wasn’t a true case of it, it was in fact a situation in which Social Security accidentally assigned the same number to two different people with the same name. It took years to straighten out, and even now some records get mixed up. It was annoying, horrible, caused much emotional and financial distress and even just a few years ago a man came to the door for mortgage documents to be completed, for that other person who lives across the country.

However it never involved me before today.

I get a call from someone who believes I am someone named, shall we say, F saying there is a legal complaint against me, the spouse of… my spouse. That this number was the number F had left to be reached at.

So I go ballistic, demand details, holler about identity theft and how I’m going to take care of this once and for all. The line gets disconnected in the middle of this. I call back and leave a voicemail demanding an explanation, because I’m going to take care of this by God. I look up all the information I can about these people, where they live and work and try to call them but fail because of the time. I call the person who called me again, still furious, demanding that they call me back because I have the contact information they need, etc…

Anyway, at some point I look up that number and discovered it is a scam that tries to convince you that you have some legal claim against you, tells you to call some other number with a fake case number who then tries to extract your credit card info and threatens you with court.

WHICH I THINK IS HILARIOUS. I mean think about it, without even realizing it I was yelling at them, practically threatening THEM with legal action… I mean, damn… Hahahahahaha!


Once I participated in a Spencer Tunik art installation. Being part of a crowd of 2000+ naked people was just an incredible experience. So relieving, so liberating. You could just see bodies, not whatever their bodies were hidden with. You could see there was nothing to be ashamed of in your own body. That you were normal, that everyone was normal. There were no lies. Every bulge, every scar, all perfections and imperfections were exposed. It was practically transcendent.

But you can’t do that with your mind, right? There’s no way to take the clothes off… you just have to go by their word. So there is always that suspicion there, that they’re just being nice. They are lying. They are exaggerating to make you feel better. And some of them are. Some of them aren’t… and they have the same problem. They can’t see you, either. And words just aren’t enough. But I bet if you could take the clothes off…