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Author: Andrew


You could find us on the water

Sun-baked boats

Hand-me-down cutoffs

Tourist tank tops

Crawdads and ice cream

Laughing, splashing

Deep brown tans

Nightcrawlers and catfish

Up all night

Mosquito bites


Soothing crickets

Soaked to the bone

And they smiled for a change

Our joy lifting the burden

Of us

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Wait for the time to come, they said.

Wait for it to hit you in the head, brain you, knock you back.

Not like an accidental bystander, no, face it, your front forward, your back backward, your knees bent, your feet set.

And then feel it, experience it, absorb it.

Cushion it like a catcher in the last inning of a Sunday double header.

Breathe it, they said, in and out.

Wait for the time to come, they said.

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Baskter Mode stitched a copper coin into every shirt he owned. He took care so nobody would notice. Sometimes he would hide it in the collar, others in the hem. It really just depended on the shirt. In the beginning, if he couldn’t make it seem invisible the shirt had little chance of being worn and it would end up in the trash. Color, fabric and patterns made concealment easier. Over time he started favoring dark and heavy, expensive clothing. Pants and shoes also had to match the shirt so as to not draw attention to his shirts. It changed the way he looked.

People started to notice.

And that was a problem.

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After the last of the humans died the robots began to reshape their bodies. It was easy to do and nobody was stopping them.

Some took the shape of common objects or animals. Some morphed into abstract and weird mechanical things. They became what they saw in themselves.

This went on for decades and centuries or more. But at some point nostalgia set in. Each began, slowly, one by one, to remake themselves to resemble their creators again. The ghost of humanity returned to Earth for a bit, even if it was a sad photocopy.

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Tatoos and Flashes

The sundrolula, the picknobella. We were three cranes tall and four wide. Our backs creaked like 100-year-oak and our bellies bulged from the weight of the fight. West by night, north by day. Dust and yellow-eyed moths stole into inattentive mouths. But sublime was the sound of the lake, the crashing waves stomping with the boots and rocks. Crash, crash, stomp, stomp. The petrafarkle, the casmetator. Three cranes tall and four wide. West by night, north by might.

The gravity on this planet made me shit a lot. They said I would get used to it, but I never did. My back and feet were so jacked. The upside? I could pee like a race horse. Had to be careful sometimes. You try to blend in, but that smell of urine on your shoes is a dead giveaway. Marty said it was worse when you got back. Peeing took forever, he said. You just stood there hoping it would end. I just laughed everytime he brought it up. I didn’t tell him I wasn’t going back.

In the wizard’s pocket was a tattoo. She swiped it off the skin of a man while he was sleeping. She tried to love him, but that was gone. The tattoo was small and tacky, but he adored it. She had long forgotten the story. Some battle, some mead, and a stranger named George. Glory today, glory forever. Something like that. She would fiddle with it in her pocket. Twirl it around as she contemplated things more important than him. She told herself she would return it someday, but that was a lie. The tattoo was her story now.

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This heart is my sea

Brandel was born with a small seashell embedded in the muscle just below his left ventricle. There were many theories as to how it got there, and even a few attempts to remove it. But it wasn’t causing him any pain or problems, and overtime everyone lost interest. Eventually it would just become a curiosity for new doctors.

“A shell?”
“Yes. It must be in my records there.”
“It is. Does it hurt?”
“Don’t even notice it.”
“Huh. No clue how it got there?”
“Mind if I give it a listen.”
“Go ahead.”

The doctor would lean in and place his stethoscope on Brandel’s chest. Brandel’s heart made a unique sound as the shell bounced back and forth.

There was usually a chuckle, and often a, “Well, I’ll be.”

He just played the game. He was used to it.

Occasionally strangers would recognize him from his Wikipedia page. He was polite and answered their questions. He would pose for pictures and then return to his day.

He wished he could tell them how a tiny shell just showed up inside him while he was in his mother’s womb. But he didn’t know. She died a few years after he was born.

At night, when it was quiet, and his breathing was shallow, he could hear it deep in his chest. Click, click, click. It was comforting.

It was all he knew.

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Space Gloves Suck

Space gloves suck.

They suck because the people who make them have never been to space. And when we do come back from a trip, nobody says, ‘Fantastic journey, but you know the gloves? Yeah, those. They suck.”

But here I am with these shitty gloves crimped around this shitty wrench trying to turn this shitty bolt trying to save everyone’s shitty life, and all I can think about is the Fred that designed these gloves.

I bet he thinks he’s a genius. Probably won a design award. Probably wears his com to bed, just in case. I’d like to see him do his job wearing these gloves.

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New Flashes


Thomas gave his avatar consciousness because he tired of all the decisions. As he got older, he realized that was a mistake. He missed the control. But after many, many service calls, there was no going back. So, he paid, and paid dearly, for plot points and obstacles and playing characters. And like clay he eventually shaped him back to his will.

The Armadillo Brigade

Penelope Bookers life hit peak absurdity on June 4, 2131 outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico when her automated car hit what appeared to be the last remaining nine-banded armadillo just before sunrise. The car flipped over 4 or 5 times, but landed upright, and facing Historical Marker 295. Penelope survived. The armadillo did not. The car notified the authorities, and in the time it took for them to get there, she read the words on the dusty metal plaque several times to herself. The story was familiar, but she had forgotten. This was the exact spot her great-grandfather led the Armadillo Brigade in the final battle for the Western States. She took it as a sign.

The Precipict

Teresa called it time’s gallblader. A pouch so vile they should just rip it out and be done with it. I can still see her saying that. And I share her distain for the bile and gall that collects here, unsavory time fucks, everyone single one of them. But the stream needs a place like the Precipict, and we need the stream. I can see her ghosting in the convergence, but focus, focus, focus. This cycle I will find her killer.

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One man’s trash

Everyone thought the machines would take over from some fancy tech startup or mega conglomerate.

Nope. Garbage.

Roberta McCallen’s crazy smart recycling robots solved one of humanity’s most pressing problem – our trash. She won some peace prize for it. Not that it’s good for anything now.

They were masterful. Sorting. Cleaning. Reusing. In a little corner of the world where nobody wanted to go, we left them at it.

By the time we noticed, it was too late.

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Every Tuesday morning Bobby Moore would buy 4 Cokes, 2 Slim Jims, a day old apple bear claw – if they had them – a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, and some of those little waxy chocolate donuts.

He would walk to that crappy park bench on the edge of the lake by the big oak tree, the one they used to tie yellow ribbons around – they don’t do that much anymore.

He would sit on the left of the bench – always the left – peer into the big paper bag, and meticulously open all the packages.

Then he would eat.

He started with the bear claw – if they had them. He loved the way the dry, crusty, pillowy doughnut collapsed against his palate as he would bite down. It was painful and delicious at the same time.

He quickly chased each bite with gulp of fuzzy Coke, a snip of a Slim Jim, and the largest Dorito he could find. He would squint a bit and roll his eyes.

The pigeons could tell he enjoyed it. The pigeons liked Bobby, and for the most part Bobby liked the pigeons.

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