Wedding Cake

melted wedding cake

I took the piece of wedding cake out of the freezer. Then, I put it on a plate on the kitchen table.  I put it there so that I could watch it melt.

Again.

Because, my wife has left.

Again.

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The Data Model

night sky

When The Cornicopia left Io Station, they were all asleep in their regeneration chambers. The voyage would take a little over a century, far out of the solar system into deep space. They would settle on Foreman 12-01-70, a planet classified as being hospitable to human life. Even before they fell asleep, they felt no fear. It had been bred out of them in the gestation units, raised as children to adulthood by the guidance of The Algorithm.

To survive in the void of deep space, it was postulated that only their single-mindedness would serve them. The extraneous emotional range of traditional human psychology and makeup had been stripped away from them for their own protection, and to support their drive to achieve success in settling another planet light years away. They would leave the barren solar system and all of the irrationality and unpredictability of their former histories behind them. Those Proles remaining on Luna, Deimos, Phobos, and on Titan would take their insecurities, their feelings of inadequacy, their jealousies, their debilitating memories of lost love, and their broken dreams with them into oblivion.The occupants of the Cornicopia would wake in a new world. In it, there would be no place for such things. Continue reading

The Station

Church house

Adapted from a photo by: Bernt Rostad

After my grandfather passed away in the year 1854, my grandmother came to live with us in Baltimore. I was eleven. The move was against her will, having lived in Virginia for many years after immigrating from England with her husband, and arguing the point with my father with many sheets of parchment and veritable gallons of ink that comprised their correspondence.

But, my father insisted that she should leave the empty estate in Virginia and join us all in Maryland. He was a successful accountant for a textile firm, while Mother dedicated all of her waking hours rearing us. My grandmother was to join her in that role, with time for her quilting, and for her watercolors, while mother made social connections in town. Father was seeking to rise in the ranks, and Mother intended to help him through the wives. As for my Grandmother, it was the promise of the company of us children that convinced her to acquiesce to my father’s wishes, she told us later.

At age 65, my Grandmother retained the fiery spirit of someone much younger. According to my father, she’d always been outspoken, without any thought to the consequences of her words. She was impulsive. In my father’s world of carefully observed social discourse, it was something that we children greatly admired in her. To us she’d had always seemed to us to be an adventurer, even if the adventures she had pursued by the time she’d come to live with us were of a more subtle nature. There was something of the pixie about my Grandmother. It was as if she was not of her time, not because she belonged to the age previous as so many of her generation did, but more that she belonged to an age to come.
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Dolls

Dollhouse

Photo: Bellafaye

Dian turned off her cellphone, and slipped out of the hotel suite she’d called home since the conference began a week ago. She rode the elevator down, walked across the marble floor of the hotel lobby, and out onto the street. She borrowed the keys to the rental car from Jackie her personal assistant who reluctantly agreed to clear the afternoon’s schedule while Dian made her trip out of the city and back into the suburbs of her youth. It wouldn’t just be a trip through the streets, onto the highway, and then out into the land of manicured lawns and the smell of barbecue coals on the air. It would be a trip in time, too.

She didn’t expect to see anyone she knew. She moved from here when she was seventeen, just before the end of high school. Now she was forty-eight, although she looked thirty-eight. Everyone else she knew was probably gone, too. That’s what you did when you were from a place like this. You did your time when you were a kid, and then you left. In Dian’s case, it was a move into the city with Mom and Dad for the last few months of high school, then university, then a job right out of school, several promotions, a marriage to Mark, a partnership in the firm, and two beautiful daughters not soon after. It was like a logical progression for her. It never occurred to Dian that anyone would actually want to stay in the town they were born in. There were too many ghosts when you stayed in one place like that.

But, coming back here for the conference, with her hometown only forty-five minutes away down the highway had been like a sign to her, perhaps another logical progression. She knew she had to leave, and go back to the old neighbourhood. Because sometimes, ghosts didn’t stay in one place, either. Sometimes, despite all of your sucesses, they followed you. They reminded you who you really were.

So, maybe this trip back would help. Maybe it would finally help.
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Quoth the Crow

Assignment: Mystery/Comedy with a random object/thing – a crow

When it comes to tales of mystery and the imagination, you could do a lot worse than going back to the father of the genre; Edgar Allen Poe himself. Poe was a haunted man who lived in obscurity, and who struggled with some pretty serious demons. I suppose that’s one of the reasons he was able to do what he did, which was to change the course of storytelling that helps readers to explore the dark side of what it is to be human.

Yet, he was a writer like any other when it came to sitting down and filling up a blank page. He must have had a process for it; maybe even a Dark Muse to help him along. So, this story is a sort of speculative fiction about the author of “The Raven”, and the inventor of the modern mystery story. But, where does the crow come in? Well, therein lies the comedy, complete with a pun in the end as a payoff …

***

Edgar sat at his desk, and the crow perched on his stand near the window, looking over Edgar’s shoulder.

Edgar Allen Poe the Raven

Illustration by Édouard Manet 1875

“Once upon a midnight dreary…,” Edgar recited, holding his quill meaningfully over the parchment.

“What the hell does that mean?” asked the Crow.

“Reggie, I’m trying to write something. Do you mind just being quiet for just a while?”

“Quiet? Dude, I’m a crow. I don’t do quiet, man.”

“Look, Reggie. You’re supposed to be here to, y’know, inspire me to explore the dark side of the human imagination.”

“Hey! I’m doing my part. And all you can come up with is ‘Once upon a midnight dreary’? Again: what the hell does that mean?”

“It’s just a line to establish the setting, and the mood. It’s a proven technique. But, what would you know about that?”

“I know what I like. And that sucks.” Continue reading

Personal Appearance

Crowd

Photo: ToGa Wanderings

Arthur Grable been hailed as a genius before his tenth birthday, and had attained the highest educational accolades before he’d seen the end of his teens. And now his name was used in households all over a world that he had utterly transformed for the better. But Arthur Grable had done it all behind his desk, in the comforting glow of his screens.

This was his real domain; the velvet darkness of his apartment and office. He’d run the whole operation from here as a human conduit of ideas that would not stop. Arthur Grable was a free man. He could wander any of the floors in the gleaming Grablecorps building, an edifice named after himself. He could wander its manicured gardens far below. He could stroll the streets of any city in the world unhindered, if he’d chosen to do so. Because although his was a household name, he hadn’t been seen in public since his twenty-first birthday. That was five years ago, and since then he’d become a figure of messianic mystery. Many rumours of his death abounded, but many more suggested nothing short of transfiguration. Continue reading