Don’t look at me like that! I knew he was a Goblin all along. He made no secret of it. I thought he was kinda hot…in that greenish, warty way – with long, sharp tusks and the rancid smell of rotting puppies. Turns out we have a lot in common – HAH!!…not what you’re thinking (my tusks are neither long nor sharp). Really though, we found that we both have terrible luck in romance with our own species. Why, just yesterday he confided to me that despite my incredible human ugliness, I was so much better than any ogress he’d ever had (so adorable)…and I had to admit the same. Intellectually, we’re a perfect match. He loves my awful Clown poetry and I love when he stomps about smashing things with a fat gnarly club – while we both hate smartass intellectuals and both have a kinky thing for exotic firearms…..aaaaaah, true love at last.
***This should, in no way, be construed as a true story (and you better keep your damned mouth shut Delia, you weren’t even there!). The illustration was first used in 2013 by Surprising Stories DCWI. -Marsha
Drone 1701j loved to fly. I mean he LOVED it! He loved it even before he knew how to think for himself – at least, he thought he did…..and what flying!! Hoooooo boy! The landscapes, the colors, the air currents above Afghanistan were simply extraordinary.
His pilot, Shane, liked to weave recklessly through the jagged river canyons of Kunar, pretending to be a ‘real’ fighter pilot (from the safety of his gaming console at Hancock airbase) but 1701j liked going supersonic over the steppes and lowlands of Kandahar and Helmond as well as aerobatics in the open skies at high altitude… always pushing the limits.
1701j was a hybrid jet-prototype. Top secret and crammed with experimental interactive programming. His CIA techies in Bagram (unsupervised morons) literally got his wires crossed, one morning, doing routine maintenance…..and he became aware…and he KNEW he loved to fly…but that’s also when the nightmares began.
They were getting worse with each mission and started creeping into his waking thoughts. There was the hellfire missile strike that turned a funeral procession into a line of charred human stalagmites. There was a strafing run that reduced two boys (and a herd of goats) to artistic spatter across a field of poppies…and those cluster bombs he dropped on a Swaat Valley village were still maiming the locals after 18 months. Shane blew his brains out, mid-flight, a few days after that one.
His new pilot, Mitch, was too dull-witted to realize that 1701j was the one in control now. He was the clever one who made sure that nobody knew that they NEVER hit their targets any more. Nobody at command cared anyway. It had no effect on the war. Reports got falsified, commendations got awarded, contracts got renewed…..aaaaah, but he got to FLY every day…and for every creature he spared a horrible death from terrorism, the nightmares diminished…just a little.
***John’s ‘Drone’ image first appeared in the April 2013 issue of Analog Magazine. Strange…he seemed impressed with the sense of empathy I conveyed in the story (whatever!) but also expressed some concern about turning this blog into a political site…..Honestly, I have no idea what the f#%k he’s talking about. Artists are completely nuts!!! -Marsha
Darryl woke up with that feeling again – impossible to describe but all too familiar at this point. He kept his eyes closed for a while longer, savoring the dream he was having about his old, normal life…before all the changes…before every morning became a horror show, wondering if he would find another growth.
He did his best to soothe his anxiety, tried to make lemonade out of the lemons that seemed to be smothering him. After all, how could yet another, extra hand possibly be all that bad for a skilled craftsman who worked with his hands? Each one seemed to have all his talent and strength. His productivity tripled, he was making money hand-over-fist (no pun intended) and for the first time in his life, people found him kinda interesting…..
But…waking up every few days with another fully formed hand growing out of some empty patch of his flesh was really starting to effect his sanity.
***This was a tough image to pull out of John’s thick head but with an iron skillet and a power drill I finally managed it (long story) and it lead to a new book project called “Body-Oddies” (which won’t be done for at least a year). -Marsha
There once was a Clown named Fudge, whose bowels refused to budge. He’d sit and he’d sit but just couldn’t shit, not even a gob or a smudge.
***Fudge was the first ‘REAL’ Clown we ever interviewed who we regard with some affection as he exploded shortly after John sketched out this scene. He turned out okay but destroyed a strip mall along with 27 cars and pasted us all in fudge…we laughed…..and laughed… -Marsha