Lost Justice

Standing upon a pile of broken stone and steel, Over Might looked down at his foe, who lay supine at his booted feet. Finally it was over, the years of battling had grudgingly yielded victory. The hero might now know a measure of peace since justice was at hand.

“So Doctor Power-Man, your reign of evil is now at an end! I think you’ll find it a bitter draught! “ proclaimed Over Might.

“It’s Doctor Powderman, “ replied the prone figure, “I think you have the wrong address.”

Over Might’s brow furrowed.

“This is 689 East Maple Avenue, correct?”

“689 West Maple Avenue, “ said Dr. Powderman, who now that Over Might looked closer, was dressed not as a would-be world conqueror and more in the style of a suburban dad doing some yard work. Additionally, his skin was not any sort of impregnable alloy.

“Well, this is awkward,” said Over Might.

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Posted in Humor, Short Stories | Tagged , , ,

But then again…

They sat in that evening in late autumn rain, waiting on a rooftop for the saleryman to emerge from the tube station. Mathis checked her gauss rifle to make sure it was still charged. There was an almost zero chance it would lose its charge, but she was meticulous. Shanna, who had set up a micro-cameras in a three-block radius checked the facial recognition algorithm installed in her eye. Still nothing.
“It’s so damn cold,” she said.
“So it is,” replied Mathis.
Neither woman spoke as the rain beat on roof as well as them. Shanna looked at her partner. Mathis resembled a middle-aged woman. In the past, Shanna asked her if she’d ever consider plastic surgery, they could make her look years younger in the time it would take to eat a meal. Mathis told her, “A middle-aged woman is often unseen, something that in our line of work is priceless.” The younger woman didn’t know if Mathis was modified to look that age or if she was that age. She supposed it didn’t really matter.
“There’s a coffee machine across the street,” Shanna observed wistfully, “Do I have enough time to get us a couple of cups?”
“Probably not,” she said.
“Damn.”
A moment passed.
“What kind of machine is it?” she asked.
Shanna zoomed in and read the name.
“Mestre Do Café. Not terrible for machine coffee.”
Mathis shook her head. “I won’t touch the stuff.”
Shanna smirked, “Coffee snob.”
“It’s not that. Did you ever hear of the Umbrella Man?”
“The legendary killer? Yeah, I’ve heard of him.”
“Do you know what happened to him?”
Shanna paused.
“He doesn’t work anymore. I just assumed he had enough credit to move up to one of the Orbitals and is living his best post-human life.”
“I too heard that rumor, though no one knows for sure. But I heard another one.”
Rain continued to piss down on both of them.
“Are you going to make me guess?” asked Shanna who was in no mood for guessing.
“No. But it is absurd,” she said.
“It has to be better than listening to the rain.”
“Very well. As you may know, the Umbrella Man had multiple body modifications, not crude chainsaw hands or obvious hydraulic legs, but subtle and bespoke enhancements. Invisible to the human eye and to all scans. These were very expensive, but then again, his own fees were such that if you had to ask, you should know that you could not afford them.”
Shanna sighed, everybody knew that part.
“One day he took a commission on a dictator. A terrible man, as all dictators are, but his security was exceptionally talented as well as true believers, which made them even more dangerous. This dictator did not drink alcohol, or use drugs and while he had an appetite for physical pleasures, his partners were scrupulously vetted. So the usual avenues were closed. But the Umbrella Man was undaunted. This dictator had one weakness, which he saw as a strength. He would not eat anything prepared by human chefs, because he did not trust them. Everything he ate or drank came from a vending machine, each picked randomly each day.”
“That’s disgusting!” Shanna said.
“I agree. But it an excellent way to not be poisoned, except for the terrible food and drink but I suspect that this man was already dead, spiritually speaking, so these synthetic meals had little effect. Now the Umbrella Man, as I heard the tale, goes to Mrs. Sai, the noted body mod specialist.”
“I know who she is Mathis, she did my eyes,” said Shanna.
“And a superlative job indeed. But the Umbrella Man wanted something unique, an untried mod. He wanted his consciousness implanted into a vending machine. Specifically, a Mestre Do Café machine.”
Shanna looked at her partner and wondered if she was taking the mickey out of her but she was not one for whimsy. Mathis shrugged her shoulders and continued.
“I am aware of how absurd this sounds. But it is genius, even if it is a bit mad,” observed Mathis.
“A bit mad? It sounds completely bonkers! Even it were true, which I don’t believe, how would he know that this dictator would chose the one he was in? That’s an insane gamble!”
Mathis smiled.
“Ah, but it isn’t. There are thousands of these machines, all over the world, from major cities to the smallest towns, they are omnipresent. However, they are all linked together effectively making them one machine, giving the Umbrella Man a would-wide view.”
“Then why not just hire a digital artiste to get into their system?”
“Mestre Do Café did not become the most prolific beverage machine by having a lackadaisical outlook on digital security. The word from my friends in the business is that their customer data is both extensive and viciously protected. But the Umbrella Man became as a spirit, watching patiently. He knew he would have only one shot, so to speak, to complete his contract. When the dictator placed his order from a machine, and it could be any machine, all he had to do was alter the synthesizing sub-routines for that one cup, and while it tasted like coffee, it also was laced with a nano-toxin that would cause a massive, irreparable stroke. Job done”
The only sound was the incessant rain as Shanna looked at Mathis. It was ridiculous. Urban legend. The sort of story you might tell over drinks or to kill time.
“That’s bullshit,” she said, “How would he get out? Why wasn’t he caught by the digital security? How did it not make it on the grid?”
Mathis checked her rifle once more and sighed.
“As I told you, it’s an absurd tale. Most likely rumor and nonsense, as you said, bullshit. However, even the most preposterous story may have a particle of truth. Do I think a cup of Mestre Do Café will kill me? No. But then again…”

Posted in Short Stories | Tagged , , ,

Six times eleven

Evil lives in darkness and sunshine.

Hope is a lie and yet…

Too busy to answer, oh really?

Get through the day, that’s enough.

Ocean glitters prettily. Sharks lurk below.

Check for traps. That’s good advice.

Ending or beginning, answer the call.

They lost when surrender was given.

Magic exists, is this your card?

She died unfulfilled, many books unread.

Summertime problems solved by ice cream.

Posted in Short Stories | Tagged , , ,

Just me and my words

Writing is a lonely business. This is not a cry for help, more of a statement of fact. It consists mainly of sitting alone punching a keyboard or scribbling in a notebook, punctuated with long, empty pauses as you stare at what you’ve set down. If you want to write, you should enjoy your own company or at the very least, be able to tolerate it.

I know full well that writing about writing is astoundingly self-indulgent, but if you will, please indulge me. This is not so much about writing as it is about being alone. Lately, I’ve felt detached from the world and if I’m being honest, a big chunk of that is on me.

This is in part because of my employment or lack there of. When you have limited resources, you tend to stay at home more. I’ve been fortunate that I have friends who are willing to buy me a drink or a meal. While I’m grateful that I have these people in my life, I also am aware that I’ve become an unnecessary expense to those whom I know and I’m coming to believe that I’m not worth the cost.

While I’ve tried, unsuccessfully as of this writing, to reacquire gainful employment, truthfully I’m not sure I’m qualified to do anything. The only thing I think I’m really good at is writing but that might not be true. Everyone who writes thinks that they have some talent at it. If you don’t, it would be a waste of time. You need that unlikely mix of arrogance and self–loathing that all writers possess. Well, maybe it’s just me.

So having all this alone time you might think that I’m getting a lot of writing done. Yes and no. I do write a haiku everyday which I post on twitter. They are all about D&D, so it’s a niche audience, perhaps a sub-niche. I am also working on several short stories and a larger project that I’m not ready to discuss. There are also sentences and paragraphs, lets call them inspirational crumbs that I jot down while they are still fresh in my mind. Does that sound like a lot? I suspect it does not.

I write in this blog to make myself write. Sometimes it’s just some absurd stuff that occurs to me. While this post belies what I’m about to say, but I am happiest when writing something funny. This is not me at my happiest, in case that was in any doubt.

Of course, I’m rambling, jumping from one topic to another. I’m lonely. I’m a burden to those I know. I don’t know if I have talent and I’m clearly not writing enough. Does this add up to anything? Hell if I know. I feel as though I’m wandering through the dark looking for a door that may or may not exist. While that may seem bleak, I’ll just keep roaming because the alternative is worse.

Posted in Thoughts | Tagged , , , , ,

Star Trek Spin Offs

This past weekend at San Diego Comic Con they dropped a trailer for the much anticipated Picard show and showed images from the animated show, “Lower Decks.” It’s an exciting time to be a Trek fan but why stop at these? There are so many characters who have the potential to go boldly forward. Here are a few of my turbolift pitches.

Councilor Tro, PI-After retiring from StarFleet, Diana Troi becomes a private investigator in Los Angeles. Her empathic abilities are a real boon but knowing that someone is “intensely angry” is not proof that that person is a murderer.

Spot, the Series- This explores the day to day life of Commander Data’s cat. It will be a big money maker as every episode is composed of attaching a GO-PRO to a cat and letting it wander around the set of the old show.

I’m A Doctor, Not A…-Every week, Doctor McCoy tries his hand at different jobs that he is clearly untrained in.

Riker’s Jazz Ship-With his trombone and a shuttlecraft, Will explores the jazz traditions of alien civilizations across the Federation. It will be cancelled quickly as most aliens do not care for jazz.

Is this Logical?- Game show where humans try to justify the logic of their actions to Mr. Spock. There are no prizes, as they are not… Well, you know.

Q&A- Inter-dimensional trickster Q journey throughout reality and take questions about the nature of existence but the reply is always, “You’re not advanced enough to understand.”

Voyager Again- Admiral Janeway goes to the mall but cannot find her mini-van in the vastness of the parking lot. Eventually she just gives up and beams home.

Posted in Humor | Tagged , , ,

These things are true

Nice is not as good as kind.

Petting a cat or dog is quick way to feel better.

Portion sizes on food labels were written by people who clearly don’t like to eat.

If you love books, you will always buy more than you will ever read.

Han shot first.

Assholery can be a sign of profound sadness. Sometimes.

No one is too busy to return a text.

If you order Domino’s in NYC, you are dead inside.

In the deep dark night, comedy will keep the demons at bay.

Everyone deserves love.

Posted in Thoughts | Tagged , , ,

Spi-Ku

Last week Spider-Man: Far From Home came out. Did I see it? I did! Inspired by the most New York of all super-heroes, I’ve written a few haiku to honor him. No spoilers.

What is his weakness?
Is it the guilt he carries?
One story houses

Swings through the city
It’s pure exhilaration
Who cleans up the webs?

JJ needs one thing
New pictures of Spider-Ham
Great! Now I’m hungry

Spider-Man saves lives
But Peter can’t catch a break
If only they knew

Spidey loves his quips
His foes don’t think he’s funny
Hey, is this mike on?

She falls, you reach out
Eternally towards dark water
Catch her, then the snap

Lots of great gadgets
And you made your own costume
Can you hem my cape?

Spider-Verse is vast
Tragedy follows each one
It makes you heroes

‘Nuff Said

Posted in Poetry, Thoughts | Tagged , , ,