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Category: Creative Writing

Short Story: Lights Out Part 1

Life in a high rise office is alright; at least most of the time.  You sometimes have to deal with recycled air or “sick building” syndrome, but you get great views from the windows and the feeling that you are above it all, down there on the ground.  Some buildings even have mezzanine levels that extend from the building with gardens or cafe’s that let you get outside and look right down on the city below.   The only time a high rise is a real pain is when the power goes out.

Which happens now.


Shit! Janice thought, mid sentence in an email to her never-far-enough-away college buddy Burgess, a boy who never grew up and a townie from Moorehead.  Burgess was having some kind of family crisis out there in Moorehead and had wanted Janice to come out and help him deal.  Janice was mid “No fucking way…” when the lights had dimmed then flashed off, along with her monitor.

She stood up and watched the Prairie-Dog city that was the cube farm stand up together and look around, the murmers that never seemed to cease had paused and everyone looked at each other for some kind of idea what happened.  The emergency lights clicked on and some people started to walk for the stairs.  Janice started to pack up her stuff and join them when a voice came over the PA

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Security Chief Mike Pendegrass, please remain in your offices and keep the stairs clear at this time.  I repeat please keep the stairs clear at this time”  the PA hissed, beeped and went silent.

“Aww, what the hell!?” Frank James on Janice’s Left collapsed back into his chair, his dangerous weight nearly collapsing it.  He unplugged his laptop and fired it up, intent on continuing his work.

Janice sat back down. but finished packing up her stuff and then rolled her chair over to the window, where there was enough light to read by.  She took out a collection of short stories she had been carting around with her and began to read, waiting for the power to come back on or for the all-clear to leave.

Around the office, people either returned to what work they could or began to mill around in groups, gossiping or making guesses about what was going on.  Janice tried to concentrate on her book, the story she was reading was about a bunch of guys in an office dealing with some sort of miniature priest outbreak, but she couldn’t get into it.  She leaned her head against the floor to cieling window and looked down into the streets.  Her phone lit up and vibrated at her hip.

“Janice, are you okay?” it was Burgess.

“What do you mean Burg’?  Yeah, I’m cool”  Janice noticed alot of people getting calls, all of them some variation of “I’m Okay” or “What? What do you mean Bombing?”

Janice stood up and pushed her chair to her desk and walked out to the cafe at the end of the office, to get a better view of the streets.

“Janice, Jan.  A bomb went off in Saint Paul, it’s gone, blown up!” Burgess was frantic.

“Burg’ I’m in the office right now looking down at the street, there’s nothing going on down there, all the lights are out, but I can see cars and some lights out there.  It’s just some sort of power out or some…”

Janice looked out at the sky, it had twin Suns set in a sickly green-blue.

“Burgess, I’m gonna have to call you back”

Project Billy Part 4


The yellow rat was cute, that was for sure.  Billy didn’t look too happy about having a small pile of raisin-style defecants in his hand though.  For once, he wasn’t crying about it though.  Billy began to pet the neon-colored rat and it nuzzled his palm as he stroked it.

Billy pushed past me and sat at Mitzi’s desk, setting the rodent down on Mitzi’s paperwork and wiping the small pile of pellets from his hand into the trash.

“He hasn’t ate anything, but he keeps on pooping!” Billy lopsidedly grinned, “it’s a little poop machine, I guess it’s better than an electric mouse.  So, guys, what is going on?”

“Billy, uh, what do you mean?” I stammered a bit and looked to Mitzi to navigate through this.

“You two are both talkin’ in here, like it’s some kinda work meeting that.  Somethin’ up?” Billy scratched the Yellow Rat’s head.  It prompty soiled every paper on Mitzi’s desk out of sheer happiness. “I’m done with the project by the way, man.  It’s all over.  Do you think I could take a few days off this week, just today and tomorrow?”

Mitzi unclenched and walked over behind his desk and sat down, he saved what papers he could and noted on post-it’s what he would have to replace.   “Sure Billy, you can take a couple days off.  What about your partner here?”

“I,uh, yeah, I could use a couple days off too”  I sat down in the chair next to Billy.

“You guys are so intent on working me until I’m crazy, aren’t you” Billy straightened up. “The Popes, now this. You left your laptop on when you went to your desk and I could see some of the IMs from Mitzi up.”

“Look Billy, it’s not like we were trying to hurt you, these popes are amazing!  Did you always make stuff appear like this?” Mitzi started to settle into a rhythm, trying to smooth Billy out. “Billy, we’re your friends, it’s okay, you know.  You’re going to be well-paid for this when we figure out all the details, you know?”

“I know, man!  I know!  I already snagged all the notes off of Jerk-ass’s laptop here”  He thumbed at me.  “I’m gonna spend the next few days thinking about what I’m gonna do about this.  I can’t sue your asses, that would mean I’d have to produce these things,”he motioned to the foot tall Pope Eustace III that had waddled into the room, “all the time, just to prove I can.  Naw, man.  This is something else, I was going crazy.  YOU!  You put the idea in my head about the John Lennon thing too.”

I willed myself to get smaller, to shrink out of sight.  Billy was my friend and I had been exploiting his neurosis for my own ends.  I couldn’t have felt worse at that point in time. Mitzi figured out how to make it worse.

“Billy, c’mon, cool down.  It’s just between us.”

“Shut up! You Jim-Jay-Bullock looking fucker!” Billy stood up and pointed at me “This fucker is going to take me to the bar and get me drunker than a middle-school kid with two bottles of manischewitz!  Then you’re gonna cut me a check for a nice vacation, away from you assholes.  Maybe I’ll go to Disney World or something. C’mon asshole, get your ass in gear, it’s time to get my dose of Vitamin B”

Mitzi gave me a pained look and I got up to follow Billy as he led me out of the office and down the streets.  He straightened himself and looked at me with a devilish gleam in his eye.  “Do you wanna see something really cool man?”

“Uh, sure” I said, not sure what to expect.

“Check this out!” Billy held out his hand and 2 one-hundred dollar bills appeared in his hand.

“Holy Shit, since when can you do that?” I stared at the bills.

“Since I read your reports to Mitzi, man.  I was so mad at first, then I figured out what was really going on, I can make shit appear outta nowhere.  Then I gave it a bit of thought, I was kinda heavy when this all started and now I’m sorta thin, right?”

Billy had lost a ton of weight since we started seeing the Popes, mitzi and I had chalked it up to stress.

“It’s why they poop so much, they’re made of the stuff.  I make them out of the crap in my colon”  Billy beamed.  It’s poop-magic.

“So What now?  Are we cool?”  I asked.

“Oh yeah, man, we’re cool.  I know you didn’t really want to hurt me.  Next time you have a project that involves me thoughh, you tell me, kay?” he put his arm around me and stuff the bills into my pocket.

“How did you know abou the Poke-monster thing?”

“I was outside the door when Mitzi said it. So, are we gonna get our drunk on?”  Billy swerved me towards the Bar and sat at the counter.

“Billy, it’s only 10 AM.  Can we start with something light?”  I was overwhelmed.

“Sure man, two stouts”

Suddenly two stouts appeared in front of me.

“Drink up man”

Billy Grinned.

Quick Story: Bobo and the Newspapers

Bobo the Chimp having previously gained his freedom from the Brentwood Academy; set about learning all he could about the human world beyond his gated and caged world.  Previous to his escape; he had lived on what he learned from errant radio and newspapers.  He had come to believe that the human world was filled with dangers and worrisome crowds of monsters who would prey upon him, (morese because he chose to disguise himself as a child).

The Real world proved to be just as worrisome; but not as horrifying as the newspapers had made it seem.  Bebo noted that the Humans seemed to rush through their days, going back and forth from place to place in seemingly endless circles.  He gripped the Omega Nugget tight in his paw when he wandered the late night streets; willing the people that passed him to simply ignore his hairy arms; especially when he couldn’t get shaved.  Remarkably; most people simply ignored him or thought him afflicted with some terrible condition.  Those in the latter group were to two types; one would see him and make a concious effort to avoid contact and the others would approach and engage him.  Bobo found the latter more troublesome as he had not mastered Human speech and would have to gesture to them to leave him alone.

One late summer evening; after a long subway ride and a visit to the park, Bobo found himself wandering the streets near a series of Bars and Clubs; it was too early for the normal crowds and Bobo always gravitated to the more “empty” parts of town when he could.  It made avoiding people easier and he could be sure to avoid any unwanted trouble from rowdy children and criminals.  Bobo was lost in thought when he was approached by an old lady, dressed in a pink overcoat and wearing a similarily color cake shaped hat.

“‘ere, yoo look like wun ‘a them monkies, yoo doo!” she cackled and pointed at Bobo, “innit, it’s a monkey!  ‘ere Mavis.  Look at this ‘ere monkey!  Ooos a handsome lad then?”  She cooed to Bobo and crooked a finger to call him to her.   “Awww, c’mere and give us a kiss you little fellar.  I likes Monkeys, yoo looks like a fine feller.”

Bobo had dealt with drunken ladies before; he bared his teeth at her and gave a low keening squeal between them, as if hurt.  The lady and her friend recoiled from Bobo and stopped their coaxing.  Bobo snorted and waddled past them, shrinking his head into his jacket and pulling his scarf up over his mouth.

The ladies watched him go, not sure what they had just seen.  They were both sure that they had been speaking to a hairy kid; but now they weren’t sure.  When they sobered up they would both swear that they had seen a monkey wearing clothes and walking in the entertainment district, but being well known-drunks their story wouldn’t be well-regarded.

Bobo; for his part had learned to avoid people who had been drinking heavily and kept his walks to the late evening and early mornings.

Quick Story: Bobo and the Omega Nugget

When the omega nugget fell into the chimp enclosure at Brentwood Academy, the chimps all gathered around it and began to poke at it’s shiny coating.  Some of the chimps wanted to push it out of the enclosure, better to leave it to the humans.  Some of the chimps wanted to put it into the water moat at the south end of the enclosure and drown it.  One of the chimps, Bobo; wanted it for himself.  So he snatched it up and secreted it with his private stash of fruits and random implements that fell into the Chimps’ cage during the day.

Bobo studied the Nugget at every chance he could, he fingered it’s designs and tried to puzzle out what it was for.  It was small, metal and yellow.  It had scribbled words all over it; like a human tool, but it wasn’t designed for hands like theirs were.  It was just a lump of metal with words on it; but it hummed and pulsed like it was alive when you held it just so.

The other chimps lost interest in it until they go near it; Bobo noticed that when he held it he could read the signs around the cages and understood the Humans when they spoke (more than he could when he wasn’t near the chunk.  He even grew to realize that he had put it with his secret food stash so that he wouldn’t forget about it when he wasn’t near it, like the other chimps.

Day by day, Bobo became more and more aware of himself.  He began to try to imitate the speech of the humans that visited the Brentwood Academy and make himelf understood.  He never let the humans see the Nugget, it was for him alone.  He’d gesture at the children and they would whoop and clap when he would gutter “Hey you!  Throw me a bit of fruit and I’ll dance for you!”

The guards and keepers started to take an interest in Bobo and so Bobo decided that he would only perform when there were kids around and alone; so that the keepers wouldn’t take him out of the enclosure.  He felt sure that when he left the enclosure, it would have to be on his own terms.

The Nugget had been subtly chaning too; it started to look a bit like a rough outline of a brain, with a band around it.  Bebo didn’t know that this was a brain though, just that it changed.

The other chimps came to shun Bebo, as he was just “different” now.  They would share his food though, but then shy away or openly attack him if there was no food around.  Bebo came to realize that if they Keepers saw him being unsocial, they would take him away from the Nugget.

One day, Bebo decided that it was time to leave the enclosure, and using a but of sharp metal he hid himself in the back of the enclosure, away from the eyes of the humans, he shaved himself bald and using some clothes dsiguised himself as a lanky child.  Hiding the nugget in his pocket, Bobo leaped from the enclsoure close to closing time and hid amongst a crowd as they left.

The papers were filled with stories of the performing Ape who had been stolen from the Brentwood Academy; but Bebo was never seen at the Academy Again again.

Story: Project Billy Part 3

In the morning, Billy quietly showered and left before I got up, leaving me to check around for any lingering Pontiffs.  I found a couple hiding under his bed, but they were tiny.  I snatched them up and stuffed them into the disposal.  I didn’t really feel like carrying some crying popes around with me while I made my way to the office.

I caught up with Billy at the Coffee Stand downstairs in his building, he was nursing a chai tea and watching the floor intently; no doubt on watch for more minuscule ministers.  I ordered a house blend with two creams and two sugars and sat in a chair at his table.  I pulled out my notebook and surfed for news for a while, until Billy broke the silence.

“Hey Man, do you think I could move in with you?” he whispered over his tea.

Uhh, I dunno, my place isn’t any bigger than yours and I don’t think my disposal could handle all the extra work” I didn’t look up; but I know Billy wouldn’t have smiled at that one.  I had been carefully ginning up the level of stress around the Popes for the past couple of weeks, and it was really showing.  Billy was still taking care of his appearance, but his shirt was sloppy and his jeans looked like they hadn’t been washed in a while.  He didn’t stink, but he was starting to give off the impression of an emotionally disturbed person who should have been in long-term care.

“Oh, yeah, yeah.  Sorry Man, I know.  How about just over the weekend?  So I could sleep, you know?”  he sounded like he was going to plead, “just Friday, Saturday, okay?”

“Sure Billy, we can hit a show or something then crash at my place.  Hey, are you done with your part of the project?  I turned in the last of the code for section 2 last night.  As of this morning, I am out of the project.”  I leaned back and waited.

“No way! I’m about a week away, you know I can’t work after hours like you.  I don’t even know how you do it.”  Billy was crestfallen, we had been working at about the same pace until about a month ago, when the popes started popping up with so much frequency.  “Maybe I’ll spend Sunday on it and get caught up, or something”

“Sure, Billy.  Do you wanna head into the office?”

We gathered up our crap and left a tip in the karma jar on the counter.  I winked at the waitress who had served Billy and I, she smiled and gave me a little thumbs up.

As we walked to the subway, Billy was counting something, under his breath.  I didn’t ask.  Better to let him stew and work it out on his own.  I felt bad for what was going on with Billy, he was cracking and we really weren’t helping matters.  It was just much more important to the Project that we kept him “on edge”

I caught the eye of the Ticket Booth lady and paid for Billy and I.  Billy put on his headphones and nodded off; I tapped out a few notes about his behavior on my Cell phone and sms’d them to Mitzi.  Mitzi was keeping track of Billy’s behavior and the Popes.  Mitzi’s notes kept track of what was going on with Billy.

Billy snored a bit beside me and his head tipped back.  I snapped a shot of him and sent it off to Mitzi, he’d get all of this once we were out of the subway and I could connect to the network again.  Mitzi’s notes were surprisingly detailed, he had people all over watching Billy, like the waitress at the Coffee Stand and a couple of the people in his building.  Billy was probably only slightly less surveilled than your average Colombian Drug lord.

At our stop I shook Billy and he sleepily followed me out of the subway and into the office.  When Mitzi showed up to congratulate me on a job well done, he gave me the secret “hey” nod that meant “I’m going to call you into my office to talk about the real Project, be ready”

Billy had thrown himself into his work, in an effort to banish his problems from his head.  He ignored me when I got the call and left to speak to Mitzi.

“So, he’s popping out Popes like sweat now, huh?” Mitzi was more than excited.  “When do you think we can start moving on to other things? I’d really like to start him on Pokemon or something, we can sell those!”  Mitzi was actually rubbing his hands like a cartoon villain.  He was the Gay Blowfeld, better dressed, tanned and with better caps.  Mitzi kind of looked like a svelte Jim Jay Bullock, but about as moral as Gordon Gekko.  “Every time I look at Billy, I see a big money bag like Donald Duck’s uncle carted around, with a Dollar Sign on the side and gold dollar coins falling out of it.”  Mitzi was obviously lost in his fantasies about money.

“Mitzi, I’m not sure we can MAKE Billy produce what we want; it all seems to be totally unconscious, he doesn’t make the popes appear, they just do.  I’ve been considering that it isn’t even his subconscious.  I found some popes this morning, and none of them were familiar.  I had to dig around some history sites to find out that they were “False” popes from the middle ages.  That’s a really obscure subject, no wiki pages or anything.  Billy might be the center of these things, but he doesn’t seem to be making them happen”

Mitzi slumped back in his chair and tented his hands in front of him.  “How about this, we introduce him to a conspiracy that seems real, start prodding him with a convincing conspiracy of things that could make us cash, like the Knights Templar or something?”

“I don’t know.  I think once we start publicly talking about these or selling them Billy will catch on, he’s paranoid, not naive”

We both surrendered to silence for a bit while Mitzi considered what I said, I concentrated on his family photos and vacation shots.  Mitzi was so proud of his family, they had always supported him, but he was in love with money first.  Mitzi was a great administrator and had a savvy way of squeezing every buck out of the other divisions when we did work for them.  His accounting plans had been fleshed out across the firm and had earned him a great deal of respect at the board; but they were a bunch of old prejudiced farts who wouldn’t let him rise above middle management, due to his flamboyant nature.  One of the HR reps referred to Mitzi as “Machiavelli in Loafers” (except that Mitzi never wore loafers).

“Okay, let’s let him in on it!” Mitzi stood up and led me to the door.  When he opened it, Billy was standing there holding what looked like a Yellow Toy rat, “pika-poo” it squeeked and dropped a duce in Billy’s hand.

“Did you guys want to tell me something?” Billy Asked.

Story: Project Billy Part 2

That night, I finished up the final touches on my part of the Website revamps at home and sent merged my work to the CVS on my own branch.  I’d let the source control teams check it in and make sure it was to spec.  Mitzi called me about an hour later and told me that he appreciated my work.  I kicked back and watched some History TV that I’d recorded earlier, “The Lives of the Popes”.

Billy called around 9 o’clock.  “Hey man, I got one of those Pope things cornered in my bathtub, can you come over here and take it out of my place?”  He sounded frantic.  Billy wasn’t stable on his best days, he wouldn’t sleep if a Pope was in his house.

“Sure Bill, I’ll be over there in a bit.  I’ll catch a cab and be there as soon as possible” I hung up and grabbed some clothes and my Laptop; if Billy was too worked up I’d have to sit with him for a few hours and probably end up on his couch for the night.  Being prepared was best.

About 20 minutes later I knocked on Billy’s Door; it had a huge inverted cross with a barbie hung on it.  Easy to find.

Billy yanked the door open on the second knock and pointed, shaking and eyes closed at his bathroom door.  Crouched in the dirty tub was a foot tall John Paul II, peering down the drain and saying “Hello, my child?  Are you there?  Do you want the blessings of God?” He proceeded to turn and lift his cassock, bareing his tiny bum to the drain hole and dropping his “blessing” down the pipe.  I turned on the hot water to wash away his leavings and snatched the smelly pontiff from the floor of the bathtub. 

“No, No! I must bless the filthy beasts!” the tiny pope protested, beating at my hands.  The Pope squirmed and protested, but It was for nothing.  I snatched his head and wrenched it around, killing the tiny Priest as quickly and quietly as possible.  It never got easier, but the big ones were trouble,  a benedict had gotten into the trash a month ago and set off a roach infestation that was still going on at Billy’s.

Billy peered from around the bathroom door, “hey man, is it done?”

“Billy, you gotta start taking care of these guys, you’re gonna live in fear of them until you stand up for yourself” I sighed and stuffed the miniature pope into a green garbage bag. “They don’t seem to attack you or anything, they just show up and start blessing the plants and bugs.  Do they talk about anything else?”

“Man, I’m telling you, when they catch me alone they tell me they are gonna take John’s soul and kill me!”

Billy began to tear up, his eye already wet.  He bubbled and shook then collapsed into a wailing heap.  I got him to his room and closed the door.  The living room was a mess of blankets and bongs.  Billy’s tastes ran from Grateful Dead to Nine Inch Nails, and his walls suffered from the clash of Inudstrial Nihilsm and ‘Shroom-fed Hippy Optimism.  I picked up a bit and settled onto the couch to surf a bit.  I listened for Billy to stop crying and when he had finally given up, he stalked into the bathroom and wiped himself up.

Billy sat next to me on the couch and harumphed.  I leaned back and waited for him to talk.

“You know what? The next one of those fuckers that appears?  I’m gonna strap it down and make it tell you what it is here for!  Yeah!”

“Sure man, It’s getting late.  You mind if I couch surf here until morning and head to work in the morning?”

“Sure man, you can watch for the Popes!”

Billy brightened a bit and watched some TV; he smoked a bit of really rank weed and went back to bed.

When I was sure he was in bed I IM’d Mitzi and told him what had went on. 

“Does he know what’s up?” Mitzi asked.

“No way, I just let him go on and on, but he doesn’t have any idea” I tapped out.

“Alright, we’ll see how he is in the morning then, Thanks for the update” Mitzi signed off and I closed the laptop.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a 3 inch tall, naked man stroll accross the floor, whistling as he went.  Too tired to care what ancient religious figure it might have been, I obliterated him with a shoe and went to sleep.

Story: Project Billy Part 1

“The simple fact of the matter is that the Pope is trying to eat my brain via a remote hookup in my pillows”

That was how I started my day here at the office.  Billy was sure that the “Papal Zombie Conspiracy” was active in his building and trying to devour his grey matter to ensure the future of the “Pope Child” a simian hybrid with the soul of the “Greatest Popes and Pop singers” in it.  Billy’s brain containing the soul of John Lennon.

“Sure Man, whatever you say.  Just keep your helmet on at night and you’ll be safe Man.  Just keep the strap on tight, okay?” I passed him a large coffee from the place on the corner, with the hot Greek girl at the counter.  Billy took the cup and drained the first half between sentences.

“It’s a fact Man, the Popes are gonna rule the world if I don’t keep my brain safe from their nozzles Man!” he swayed back on his chair, smoothing his hair and poking through it to check for new holes.  “It’s the world Man!  I’m saving the world!”  He sat up straight and motioned over my shoulder.

My boss, the ever-cheerful ‘Mitzi’ Mitchell Fallon walked by us, smiling and patting Billy on the shoulder.  I nodded a quiet hello and let him pass.  The last thing I wanted in the morning was pep-talk from Mitzi the cheerleader from hell.  There are morning people and there are night people, that’s the way of the world, right?  Mitzi is an ANYTIME person, always on and always up for anything.  Good for parties, shitty in a boss.

Mitzi caught my eye and stopped.  “shit” I thought.  “Hey Boss, how are things today?” I asked, hoping for a brief “Great”

Mitzi paused as if in thought and then grinned broadly; “Great! Things are great, you guys have the project in line, I woke up bright and early and watched the sunrise with James and we hit the gym for about an hour BEFORE work!  Not even the Good Morning America guys were up yet! You know?”

He paused for a breath and Billy cut in: “hey, speaking of the project,  let’s get down to it Man.”

I gave a curt nod to Mitzi and spun around in my chair to face the computer and get to work on “The Project”.

“The Project” is a seven months long refresh of the code behind our flagship website, moving it to modern versions of the scripts and taking advantage of new technology to make the site run faster and look a bit hipper for the marketing guys.  The Project had been initiated by Mitzi as a side project but had become our primary function at the five month mark when it was clear that management wanted the site brought up to speed.  “Wow Factor” was used alot in the meetings about the whole deal a few months back. So now Billy and I spent all day recoding and testing the back end to make sure that we could drop in in place and let the front-end guys work out the visual part of things.

Mitzi loved to get his hands into the mix but was so busy with department business that he couldn’t focus on it.  Which suited Billy and I fine as it justified long hours and overtime for “consultation” at the local bars.  Two hour Lunches are fine as long as when we came back we had notes about how were were going to overcome a problem at the end of the day.  Sweet deal.

After about an hour or so of toying with conversions from old CGI pages to a single ASP I’d finally had enough work for the morning and stood up to walk to go to the break room.  Billy snagged my arm as I left the cubicle and hissed in my ear “hey man,  don’t forget that thing.”

I looked back at my desk and squatting on my keyboard was a fleshy pink miniature version of the former Pope, John Paul II.

“Bless you my son,” it squeaked at me, and made an air cross in my direction.

Billy shrieked and ran to the other side of the cubes, peering over the wall at the miniature pontif with obvious terror.  He stretched his arm over the seperator and squelched “get that thing outta here, man”.  He shrunk behind the seperator and began to hyperventilate loudly.

I tentatively reached for the squat holy man and snatched him from my keyboard.  Gingerly, I carried the tiny Pope with me to the Break Room and deposited him on the counter while I made coffee and considered my next move.  The Pope wandered around the counter space and alternatively blessed and condemned the various condiments and implements of coffee there.  I sipped some bitter coffee and watched as the mini pope removed his tiny trousers and began to “water” the plants.

“Bless you my children” he squeaked.

I briefly considered dropping the tiny (but Supreme) former Pontiff in the disposal and just forgetting him; but my alter boy training stood in the way and reminded me that even miniature popes could damn my soul for eternity.  Agnosticism be damned when you’re faced to face with a living, breathing dashboard prophet.

Snatching the pantless pontiff from the counter and walking down the hall to Human Resources, I left the Supreme Miniature Vox Deo in the hands of one of the HR A-As,  I had left the last one with her and she was starting to build a collection.

Mitzi caught me on the way back to my desk, “I hear that we sprouted another Catholic Icon.” He grinned around giant capped teeth and walked along with me to my desk.  Billy sat staring at his monitor, tapping away at a chunk of code, not acknowledging that I had returned.  “Have you called the exterminator about these things?”

“No Man,” Billy coughed, “They just keep popping up, they’re after my brain man!”

“Well, we should get you a helmet or something Billy” Mitzi said, “I would hate to see you lose your brain to a miniature Pope Benedict the 9th he’d try to sell it.”

Mitzi cackled and wandered off to his office.

“Billy, you wanna go get some Vitamin B?”

“The Bar? Yeah.  Lemmie finish up this line of code and we’ll tag out”

At the Bar Billy moped over a pint and snacked on some peanuts.  It was obvious that another Pope had appeared somewhere and he wasn’t saying where.  He had probably killed it or something in a panic.  Billy was a strict pacifist and the idea of killing a religious figure of any size must have hurt him deeply.

“Bro, do you wanna talk about it?” I asked, putting a hand on his shoulder for a second.

“No, Man.  I don’t, I want to never have to talk about it at all, Man.  You know?  I want Popes to be guys on the TV or in parades, not little elves that hang around my bedroom at night and piss on my plants to bless them.  I caught one of them blessing my cereal this morning, you know?  Killed him with my shoe, I think it was Pope Pius.”  He sniffed a bit, and wiped his eyes.   Billy grabbed his pint in both hands and lifted it over his head, pouring it over his dirty blond hair and black t-shirt. Soaking his jeans in the process.

Two more” I motioned to the Bartender.

Back at the office, Billy was sullen but threw himself back into the Project.  We were done for the day before he looked up from his screen to wave goodbye.  I nodded a goodbye and wandered out of the office and into the street, stooping to catch a 6 inch tall Pope John Paul the 2nd on the way out.

Last Day for Ice Cream

When you lick an ice cream cone, a really really god ice cream cone, you get that inital soft scoop of it on your tongue and you pull it into your mouth.  Curled there on top of your tonge, it melts and squishes around your mouth and teeth, you sometimes let it slide down your throat, half-melted.  Other times you give it the once over in your mouth, seeking chunks of stuff in it, just in case.  Then down it goes and you go for that next lick.  Never quite as good as the first one, but always great.  You catch the drips down the side and in the end you dispose of the cone last and then it’s all gone.  Melted away down your throat and sometimes on your shirt or shorts.  The last of the ice cream gone.

In the summer time, all the Ice Cream stands are open for business.  They have big signs that implore you to come try their amazing flabors.  Some sell Gelato or Sherbert, soft-serve or sundaes.  They all want your money for their wares.  Bored teenagers and flamboyant foreign men all vie for your dollars as the summer marches on.

In Scotland you can get a 99, which is a cone (usually soft-serve) with two chocolate bars stuck in it (Flakies) that give the eater a chance to choose betwen keeping the ice cream from melting and eating around the chocolate bars, or eating the chocolate first and running the risk having ice cream down your shirt.  The choice was yours.

In Ontario (and other places I assume) we had no ice cream trucks, ratehr the Dickie Dee cart, which was a bike-cart deal that a surly teenage boy or a jubilant girl would push around the streets, ringing a series of bells.  The reaction was the same as that to the Ice Cream truck, balls and toys would drop, aliens would go unfought, cobra commander’s final blow never landed and children would stream to the street with whatver cash they could get from their parents to buy some seriously overpriced frozen treats.

Then Summer would come to an end, and the Ice Cream stands would close, one by one.  The last holdout left with a big tub of pralenes and cream and heavenly hash to sell.  Hard.  Icy.  Bricklike.  It was the last of the summer Ice Cream and it was still better than anything else, because it was the last of Summer.

Tomorrow, School.

Short Story: Where it Rains

I like working on the west coast, near the forests.  It always rains here.

No one ever looks up.

I can leap from building to building, righting wrongs and so on, no one ever looks up and says “hey, up there in the sky, is that Superman?”

I’m not Superman, I’m not even Super-Dog, or Super-Horse, I’m just Hiram.  Hiram the Secret Superman.

I’m also cripplingly shy and lose my powers when people see me using them.  Seriously.

My powers only work when no one knows I’m using them.  Super Strong, hell yeah, Invunerable, sure, Heat vision? Check.  Telekinesis, you bet!  Invisibility?  No.  There’s the rub.  I can’t operate without being observed in most places, especially the big cities on the east coast and mid-west.  There’s always a tourist looking up at the skyscrapers and saying “golly.”   So I live on the West Coast.  I love the rain and mostly work at night.

Some folks would wonder why I bother at all, my powers only work when I am working in secret, and I can’t even tell my best friend about it because he’d never believe me.  He’d just say “Hiram, you’re drunk or high or something” if I insisted, he’d take me to a doctor and that would be it.  My powers would never work again because someone, somewhere would know about it or question it and I’d be sunk.

It’s my secret though, and I feel great just flying around and throwing big heavy rocks around.  It’s hard to find places to just cut loose and have been thinking about just flying off into space one day.  Did I mention I can move at super speed too?  Yeah.  I got it all, except for Invisibility.

Here on the West Coast, it rains all the time and no one looks up.  So I can put out fires with super breath and stop robbers with my mind.  All without being seen.  It’s great.  The Crime rate has dropped to nearly half since I started operating out here.  The criminals are spooked, but don’t know why and are convinced that they are all just running into bad karma (thank you Left Coast Mysticism!).

Yeah, the West Coast is great, for Hiram the Secret Superman.