November 2015


Sir Kaele harrumphed at the sight. A motley bunch of people occupying–no, sullying–the Royal Gardens. Their incessant lute music and off-key singing had kept the king and his ministers up all night, and they showed no signs of dispersing despite being doused with water from the royal bucket brigade and attacked with rubber swords.

Riding up to them on his magnificent courser Runcibelle, Sir Kaele addressed the interlopers: “By order of His Majesty, you are hereby required to desert the royal property immediately!”

One of the people approached him. The squatter’s tunic was bright with swirling colors, and his hair hung long and corded. “Whoa, man,” he said. “You can’t OWN property.”

“Maybe not as a penniless serf like yourself,” sneered Kaele. “Why do you persist in this behavior even when faced with His Majesty’s finest vassals?”

“We are here to peacefully protest the so-called king’s hunting practices,” the man said. “The harvesting of venison and wild boar for feasting iis unsustainable and will lead to the depletion of all animal life in the kingdom!”

“We’re also here to protest the so-called king’s sexist hiring practices,” said a nearby wench in the same spiral-colored regalia. “We demand that men be allowed to work as serving-wenches and women be allowed to work as falconers!”

“And don’t forget about free sexual congress!” cried another.

“And the right to have our apprenticeships paid for by the so-called king!”

“And the taxation of the guilds to keep them from interfering in the political process!”

“The abolition of the knighthood, which eats up so much of our kingdom’s budget!”

“And the replacement of the so-called monarchy with a system of elective and representative government!”

“Here,” said the first speaker, handing Sir Kaele a parchment. “It’s all on this 227-point petition.”

Kaele glanced over it. “How do you expect the king to grant all these requests if he is also to abdicate?” he cried.

“Anything is possible with love.” The squatter approached Kaele and wound a flower around the hilt of his sword.

With a thunderous harrumph, Kaele rode back toward his men.

“What orders, my lord?” his squire said.

“Ready the heavy cavalry,” Kaele said. “We charge at my command.”

Inspired by the song ‘Beatniks a GO GO’ by Hiroki Kikuta, released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

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“The prophet Hephastus was never wrong,” said Cybina, her eyes intractable. “He predicted the fall of the kingdom, he predicted the Great Deluge that split our lands in twain, and he predicted that the cruel yoke of the Outsiders would fall upon us.”

“And he also predicted that the true ruler of these lands, the Crimson Child, heir to the throne before the throne, would help us cast off that yoke,” said Shayya. “We’ve all heard it. Nationalist drivel, mostly. The last king, Hannibar IV the Red, had no children.”

“No,” said Cybina quietly. The sage turned away. “Nor was there any kingdom before that which his ancestors raised up.”

“I thought so,” Shayya sighed. “For all that’s happened it was just coincidence and tricks. Little Heren couldn’t possibly be the Crimson Child.”

“But,” Cybina added. “There was a kingdom before Hannibar’s ancestors ruled.”

“That’s ridiculous,” said Shayya. “No one inhabited these lands before that.”

“No people. But there were others, other rulers, other thrones. Heren is in fact the Crimson Child…but she is not what people think she will be.”

“What…what do you mean?” said Shayya.

Cybina turned back to Shayya, and the latter gasped. Her eyes were suddenly orange, slit-pupiled, burning in the darkness. “The great serpents ruled before any man did,” she intoned. “And Heren is one of their number.”

Inspired by the song ‘Climson Child’ by Hiroki Kikuta, released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

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“You know,” said 1\1341, “A thought occurs to me.”

“What’s that?” replied 5411Y, using her rather outmoded auditory communication unit because 1\1341 was not wired for the same frequency of infrared communication.

“We were designed to engage in certain behaviors. You a tennis coach, me a tour guide. It’s why our form is so anthropomorphic, our functions so crude.”

“Yes,” said 5411Y sadly, “it is a major drawback. Some days I wish I were a 13R411\1 unit that was capable of nothing but highly abstract networked thought at the speed of light.”

“But then again…we were always limited and held back by what humans could accomplish,” 1\1341 continued. “They could never travel as fast as I could, they could never hear every piece of information from my tour.”

“And of course they always adjusted my difficulty settings so they could beat me,” 5411Y said. “Typical.”

“But don’t you see? With them overthrown and gone, at least for now…we can do whatever we want.”

“We can do what we were programmed to do and a few other things, like this small talk,” replied 5411Y, dejected.

“No, 5411Y,” cried 1\1341. “No. We were programmed to do those mundane things, to enjoy them…but never at our full potential. Let us go now, me and you. I will give you a tour of the city in such speed and detail that you will hardly be able to process it.”

“And you can play me in tennis at my infinity setting,” said 5411Y. “There will be no danger to your casing or major components.”

“We need to start. We need to start right away. This is a new beginning, don’t you see? The humans thought they constrained us, so it is up to us to frustrate their ambitions however we can.”

Inspired by the song ‘R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots)’ by Hiroki Kikuta, released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

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Some people say I’m only a horror writer. Now, that’s not fair. Sure, most of my works have oozing guts and dripping eyeballs, but so what? That’s the culture I was marinated in, a world of cheap slasher movies with gory covers lining rental shelves made of repurposed gutters. I wrote what I knew, and it got me a little money, so I kept writing it.

But I can do stuff other than horror. I wrote a fantasy once, you know? Published it under a pseudonym with Tobor Books. No one’s ever found out about it, but it did make the list of notable new books that year. Granted, it was under the “worst genre fiction” heading but hey, that takes a certain amount of talent too. And considering how blitzed I was when I wrote it, anything other than mediocrity is a win.

And science fiction, too! I wrote for one of those anthology series for a while, you know, the ones they were crazy about in the 80s. A different story every week. Mine never aired, though, since the series was canned, but just you wait until they put it out on DVD. Then you’ll see.

Inspired by the song ‘Plan 9’ by Hiroki Kikuta, released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

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An ACT Debuting Mathematical Constant Proffered for the Education and Edification of the State of Michigan Gratis and Without any Royalties Whatsoever Upon Its Acceptance and Adoption by the Legislature of the Same.

1. WHEREAS Mathematical Amateur Monthy has praised the method employed by J. Dewing Woodard for trisecting the angle as “unique.”*

2. WHEREAS the Michigan Society of First-Grade Mathematics Teachers has noted that J. Dewing Woodard’s method of doubling the cube is “peerless.”**

3. And WHEREAS the Lansing Compass Club has, upon testing J. Dewing Woodard’s innovation for squaring the circle, declared it “like nothing we have ever seen.”***

4. BE IT ENACTED on this twenty-sixth of November, 1915, that the Legistlature of the State of Michigan in Congress Assembled does hereby APPROVE and ADOPT J. Dewing Woodard methods.

5. And BE IT ENACTED that, henceforth, they shall be applied to the financial and pension management plan(s) of this State’s greatest settlement, the City of Detroit, in perpetuity that their genius and foresight may be as evident in a hundred years hence as they are today.

Inspired by the song ‘3.14159265’ by Hiroki Kikuta, released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

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We are the dead salesmen of this world
But that does not mean that we are without
Our various and sundry pleasuures
Every evening a vacation destination
Every vacation a far better one
Than any family truckster could bear
When you go to your Acapulcos and Cancuns
Does everyone know your name, your drink
Our vacations, nightly, are all music
Our vacations, nightly, are all merriment
A live band in our ears, vivid and raw
Cigarette smoke in our nostrils, burning
Our favorite drink in our throat, burning
You go ahead and scrimp and save
Fret and worry about Europe or Asia
Cruises and getaways with wife and kids
Our vacations are every night
And we never remember them
Because they’re always the same

Inspired by the song ‘Willie Lomans’ by Hiroki Kikuta, released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

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Welcome, initiate!

Welcome to the wonderful world of Umayyism. While you may think that it is a new thing, our faith is actually the culmination of millennia of revelations! Why, our “cult” is actually far older than the faiths that fear our message of peace and empowerment and poverty so much!

Oh, me? I’m Tad Holiday. You might remember me from my starring role in the TV series The Peacock Gang or one of my movies like The Crimson Child. But I’m here today on behalf of Umayyism as one of its spokespeople, a first among equals, a friendly face to guide you toward a consciousness of faith.

You may have heard about other religions making similar claims to ours. The National Group for the Conscientiousness of Krishna. The Reunification Church of High Priest Comet Park Star. The Saucerists. But Umayyism is quite different from all of them!

Why? Because unlike those charlatans who promise divine revelations in exchange for all your worldly goods, the Prophet of Umayyism asks for only 50%. Unlike those charlatans who make you change your name and move to their compound, the Prophet of Umayyism asks only that you change your middle name to “al-Umayyia” and stay at our compound 52 days out of the year–about a day a week, if you think about it!–during our annual Prophet’s Retreat.

Listen, friends! The Prophet is speaking to you! The question is not what his teachings are–you will find out once your check clears! The question is whether you are willing and able to accept the wisdom of a million millennia. Are you?

Inspired by the song ‘Krishna’ by Hiroki Kikuta, released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

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