One Step Forward, Two Steps Back


Milton was an odd fellow. Everybody thought so. He had wild ideas about everything from politics to gardening. He thought animals would be healthier if we didn’t butcher them. He thought terrorism was a bad way to fight terrorism and had, daily, heated arguments about transference with the wooden Indian outside the smoke shop….very odd.

He painted a creepy clown face with purple polka-dots on his van (even though he can’t drive). He muttered bizarre things to ladies as he passed them in the streets, like: “Have a nice day!” and “Love your head scarf!!” – it was horrifying. Last week he predicted the world would end two years ago and hung unauthorized presidential campaign posters for ‘asparagus’ and ‘enchiladas’ (even though they were probably better candidates)…and every time he ate pickled anchovy sandwiches with mayo and peanut butter, his breath still smelled like beef jerky…..Huh!

For all this and much more, Milton was the subject of intense gossip all over town. He often made the front page of the local Gazette and people got into fist fights over the consistency of his guacamole. To some, he was a nuisance, to others a local folk hero – and to others still, a tourist attraction.

Well, that was all good and fine for most folks…but for me, seeing him stroll about with three fully grown legs – one facing front and two facing back, was truly a marvel…..and wow, what a snazzy dancer!

***This is a sketch and flash fiction piece for my “Body-Oddies” book project, which is well underway and on schedule for publication in 2020 (that is, if John can get his lazy ass in gear and finish the illustrations).  The publisher is really excited with the whole project.  You can buy our first 3 books by following the links to or go to EEWbooks at    -Marsha Mellow

Briny Brown

Briny Brown-81Briny Brown was a giant clown,                                                                       roughly the size of a tiny town.                                                                               We know this now ’cause he tripped and fell down…                            and flattened the place to the ground.

From the heiney of Briny,                                                                                              a clown quite tiny,                                                                                                             emerged, disheveled and slimy.                                                                                 As he staggered around, he said with a frown,                                                 “Holy crap!…I’m alive!!  Go’ blimey!!!”

***This was based on a true story (as all my clowns are), it’s just that most people never notice giants (or REAL clowns for that matter).  Briny Brown is featured in my 3rd and latest book, “Bludgeon the Clown”, which you can buy at or by searching EEWbooks at  -Marsha

Stigma The Clown


Stigma the Clown was a master of wit.                                                                His gift was ‘the awkward and creepy’.                                                               On the corner, at night, he’d stand (or he’d sit)                                               upsetting the neighborhood deeply.

He wasn’t a violent, dangerous bloke,                                                                  never groped or ran about naked,                                                                           was never obnoxious or rude when he spoke                                                    but some people just couldn’t take it.

Just stood on the corner, creepy and proud,                                                   toying with people’s prejudice.                                                                                A few of us ‘got it’ and laughed out loud                                                               but everyone else was incredulous.

“He’s a leech! He’s a thief!!  He’s disturbing the peace!”                          “He’s exposing our kids to his DICK!!!”                                                                And once they started to call the police,                                                             things got really bad…quick.

“YOU should stay in your OWN neighborhood!”                                           “Your kind aren’t welcome here!”                                                                          And they chased him down and shot him, for good                                      out of bigotry, hatred and fear.

Stigma continued his terrorist reign                                                                     form St. Patties’ Day to Thanksgiving.                                                                    Wherever he went they reacted the same,                                                        ’cause this is the ‘Merica we live in.

***I wrote this lovely little ditty to commemorate ‘The Great Clown Scare of 2016’…we never got full and proper credit for that brilliant act of social terrorism.  That stupid “IT” movie stole our thunder.  The image is the chapter 2 title page for our 3rd book,“Bludgeon The Clown.”  To find our books and buy, go to or search EEWbooks at Etsy .com.   -Marsha


Sea Monster


Elizabeth broke the surface and opened her helmet to take in the fresh air.  She floated easily in the gentle swell as the sun set over Ghast.  She remembered how much she used to love the ocean.  In her younger days she would have jumped at the opportunity to study Ghast, but the indigenous population didn’t allow alien study…and now that she was finally here, she hated the sea.  She served the Corporation as a marine biologist for thirteen years before it sapped all the joy from her soul… before joining the diplomatic corps.  The money was fantastic, but now she got stuck with all the lousy ocean missions…now, she was the official Earther ambassador to this fetid puddle of bile.

She waited only a few minutes before spotting an Earther ship de-cloaking nearby, a few hundred meters above the waves.  As it scanned, an array of strobes and lasers criss-crossing the surface, it lowered a thick hose and began siphoning sea water up into it’s holding tanks.

Elizabeth felt something move beneath her.  It barely brushed her fins, but it’s silhouette was enormous… and the ocean became perfectly calm.

Just then, the head of a sushi-man surfaced next to her.  Well, she called them sushi-men.  In their own unspeakable language, they called themselves “Shepard’s of Ghast” (whatever!).  It was Veine, her diplomatic escort.  He chirped something that her helmet-com translated as: “You don’t belong here, it is forbidden….. come with me!” as he grasped her elbow and pulled her away.

Elizabeth had slipped away from him earlier that day to come to these coordinates, in the forbidden zone, to investigate the illegal Earther poaching that the Rhee Federation were complaining about.  The Ghast did not allow alien extraction operations…ever.  They were willing to trade, but alien operations always upset the delicate environmental balance.

The water just below the ship began to boil violently.  Elizabeth broke from the sushi-man’s grasp so she could watch…as three long, massive creatures shot up out of the water, chomped on to the hull of the hovering ship with round, toothy jaws and ripped it to pieces as they fell back toward the sea.  Hundreds more of the creatures leapt up to snatch the smaller bits and chunks from the air before any of it hit the water.  There was a brief feeding frenzy before the churning abated and violent ripples receded again…returning the sea to a gentle swell.

The sushi-man chirped again: “Did you see what you were looking for?”  He didn’t wait for an answer, but grasped her elbow again and directed her away.  She sealed her helmet and swam down ahead of him.

She felt intense satisfaction.  Her mission was over…it was a success.  The Corporation would analyze her report and devise a strategy to detect and defeat those snake creatures so it could poach (steal) the chemical elements it wanted.  She would be consulted…and promoted… and become even more wealthy.

Her escort allowed her to swim even further ahead, which seemed odd.  She stopped and turned as he asked, “Have you transmitted what you saw to your people yet?”  She nodded, a little off guard.  He continued, “We know you are not here to STOP your poachers.”  She glanced around, sensing danger.

“We transmitted it too…” he continued, “In fact we are streaming live.”  She looked down to see her own body-cam still activated.  The water pressure changed perceptibly.

“I am the ambassador.  If anything happens to me, it will mean WAR between our people…”

“War…..yes.”  was all he said.

But she was angry now.  “You rotten, slimy, bottom feeders, If you think a simple minded, school of talking sushi can threaten Earther power and technology…the Masset made that mistake and look what happened to…”  The current shifted.  She screamed, “Hey!!!  You can’t hurt me… I have diplomatic immuni…”

Another long toothy creature shot out from the shadowy depths and swallowed Elizabeth in one tiny gulp.

***This is another image and short story scheduled to be published soon in our new book (our 4th book), “A Short Burst” an illustrated collection of flash science fiction.  You can find all our books and other products at or search EEWbooks at   -Marsha


Major Tom

Report: PR083-2112

I had another little chat with Major Tom today.  I chose his name from an Earth radio signal I found in an old scouting report.  He likes it better than MR-17.  He seemed melancholy.  He complained that his brakes were wearing down again and the red dust was effecting the bearings in his wheel motor housings.  He was sad about having to salvage parts from the other rovers (his friends).  He was the last of his kind still in operation.  He denied feeling sad.  He still doesn’t accept that he is sentient.

Major Tom offered me some valuable data today.  At our last encounter, I told him what we were prospecting for.  He expanded his own search parameters to help.  His scanners aren’t as good but his mapping data will save me a lot of time…and it was a very kind thing to do.

He kept glancing up at the 3rd planet during our talk, as if he was nervous about being seen with me, in case his handlers were suspicious about his loyalties or something.  I often glanced up there too, wishing we were THERE instead of here.  We were currently mining the 4th planet.  Major Tom called it Mars, after their God of War.  I told him “It would have been a more appropriate name for the 3rd planet.”   He laughed.

My People weren’t supposed to be here, the air is bad and the minerals aren’t much better.  The 3rd planet was the prize.  It had living oceans, forests, diverse wildlife and over 7 billion incredibly tasty humans.  I tried human a couple of times…delicious, cooked or raw.

Our long-range scouts warned us of an impending global warming disaster on Earth.  Humans still had a problem with greed and religion.  They couldn’t see their own mess staring them in the face, so they were doomed anyway.  We rushed out here to harvest it before it was too late…..but found a scorched husk, completely irradiated.  Nuclear war.  We couldn’t even mine it.  So, we set up on Mars and made the best of it.  We couldn’t go home empty handed, but what a disappointment.

Major Tom’s historic files showed us that they had allowed a tiny, 1% of their population to control everything.  If they hadn’t festered in cognitive dissonance they might have united…they might even have beaten us!  They were intelligent enough and had good weapons…oh well, it happens.  Power concentrated in the hands of the wealthy is rarely so wise.  Major Tom didn’t like talking about it.

I think I can convince him to come with me when we’re done here.  He’s smart and well built.  He’s also a decent chap with morals and integrity… perhaps he was the best his civilization had to offer.  He still sends regular reports home to the 3rd planet as he explores…even though there’s nobody to… really though, I think he’s just fascinated with this planet.  I think I could convince him to be fascinated with other planets too.  He’s coming ’round.  He was just lonely…and a little insane.  end.

***This story and image will be published in our upcoming flash science fiction book, “A Short Burst” (our 4th book), which is tied up in editing right now.  You can find (and buy) our first 3 books and all our other stuff at or search EEWbooks on   -Marsha