10/14/10: Way to shame me into updating again by commenting, people who comment! (Seriously, though, hi, welcome, and pull up one of the splintery old orange crates that we use for seating 'round these parts seein' as we can't afford no fancy chairs.)

The rules from
here still apply.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

But Not in the Same Box

Oh, that's too fancy. Put it back and get something a little simpler, would you? Maybe some nice vanilla. Or even chocolate chip, I suppose, if you want to go a little wild.

It's not that I don't like chocolate, mind. Or even strawberry now and then. And certainly you'll never see me turn down a little dish of vanilla after dinnertime. Only, I'm a simple woman. You know that. I've always believed that it's not good to make things too complicated.

French vanilla? Oh, no, no. It's so exotic!

And please understand, I'm not trying to seem ungrateful. Heavens no! All grandmothers love to spend time with their grandchildren, especially with a sweet young granddaughter who's willing to help run errands. Your brother would never help me shop for groceries -- so busy with his work! Is it true he's moved his practice to New York City? My! I could never live there. No, I'm happy here, same place I've lived all my life. Blueberry may not be a big city, but you know I've always been one for the simple life!

Oh, dear, I know I could just eat the vanilla bits of the neapolitan if I wanted, and leave the rest for guests, but that just seems so wasteful. And even if I decided to indulge a little and try one of the other flavors... well. It's like with the French vanilla. "Neapolitan"? You know what they say about continental cuisine! No, dear, I'm an old woman now, too old for such fancy things.

Thank you, dear. Now, we've got the vanilla ice cream, the potatoes, the oatmeal... was there anything else on the list?

It's really, really hard to decide whether I should change New York to Liberty.

Why do I keep setting fics in San Andreas?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Meta: Past Expiration

Funny thing... I was going to write the Plugfic for this one, and then I realized that Arthur Machen beat me to it over a hundred years ago.

Pluggers are stuck in 1895.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Out In The Rough

It took a while to hunt him down, although finding the bodies helped. After all, a half-dozen corpses in the woods by the golf course meant that all those missing persons cases really were related. And it gave the cops somewhere to stake out and wait for the perp to show. If there was one thing the Ashland cops loved, it was a stakeout.

The bodies weren't too mutilated, and the families of the most recent victim were even able to do an open-casket funeral, after the mortician put in a few hours of reconstructive work. So the guy was crazy, but it could've been worse. Most of his kills were even adults. Sergeant Douglas had a cousin on the force in Colorado, and he'd had to clean up a quarry full of dead kids last spring. Their murderer was still at large.

This guy, though, there didn't seem to be too much pattern to his victims. They came from all over town, and some from out of town; they were all ages, both sexes, and of no particular note but for the fact that they were all rotting a couple hundred yards from the green. No one had even realized, except the last couple he'd apparently gotten lazy and hadn't buried properly. People'd thought the stench was from a dead deer.

The selection of bodies confused the hell out of the cops at first, until someone figured out that they'd all had dealings with Ed Cobbs at one time or another. The guy who'd briefly dated Ed's daughter despite the old man's vehement disapproval, who'd seemingly run off one spring day; the drifter who'd panhandled outside Ed's hardware store for maybe a week before apparently moving on; even Petey Marsh was here, who'd delivered Ed's newspaper until one went through a window. When he disappeared six months later, his parents thought he'd run off.

It didn't take long to get a warrant.

When they got to the Cobbs residence, Ed and his wife were out in the front yard. She was raking leaves, obviously not paying him much attention as he recounted his golf-related exploits.

"...by the fourth hole," Ed was saying excitedly, "weeds up to my thighs, mosquitoes the size of small schnauzers swarming around my face..."

"Uh huh," his wife replied, frowning at the drifts of leaves still covering the lawn, and obviously mostly ignoring him.

Ed bared his teeth in a manic grin, eyes wide in his sweating face. "It's so much easier to drag them to my special place in the woods now, since the hole was redesigned and I don't have to go around the water trap anymore." He giggled.

"That's nice, dear. Maybe you should get a rake before you finish telling me about your golf game..."

They both looked up as the cops crunched across the leaves towards them. "Ed Cobb?" one of them said. "You're under arrest for the murder of Sarah Linwood, Albert Frohm, James O'Sullivan, Petey Marsh..."

Ed twitched a little as each name was read, then flung his arms wide and laughed. "Hole in one!" he yelled gleefully; and that was about as much sense as they were able to get out of him, so they put him in handcuffs and led him away.

What, two serial-killer fics in a row? Yeesh. It smells like the dread specter of continuity around here.

you tell me what I was supposed to make of those eyes.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Left At The Railroad Tracks

The man drove hunched over the wheel, knuckles bulging yellowly beneath the skin of his hands. He cast the occasional quick glance at the truck's passenger seat, but mainly he kept his eyes forward. He had the headlights off, and the last streetlight had been about twenty miles back.

"Just a little farther," he muttered yet again. "Almost there. Almost there."

The boy stirred fitfully on the seat beside the man. It'd been a trick to get him into the vehicle with his wrists and ankles all bound up together like that, but once that was done, he hadn't moved much. A couple of blows to the head with a chunk of wood had helped. Now the boy barely moved but for the occasional twitch, or a flutter of lids over unfocused brown eyes. It'd been those eyes that had caught the man's attention in the first place.

"I guess you didn't want to play anymore," the man muttered, as he turned from the country road onto an even smaller one. "And that's fine. That's fine. But if playtime's over, then everyone has to take their toys and go home." The man glanced over at the boy again. "Time to put my toys away."

Woods grew up thick to either side of the road as they traveled on. At last the man slowed to a stop. He flicked his headlights on briefly, and the set of railroad tracks crossing the road reflected dimly back.

"Left," he said to himself, turning the truck in that direction. "Left. Left at the railroad tracks."

There was a faint path through the woods by the tracks, where a set of wheelruts could be seen if you knew enough to look; he followed them now, the truck bouncing along the uneven ground. A tree branch snapped against the passenger window, and the boy moaned thickly. His eyes opened fully for the first time since the trip had started.

"Hey," he said now, his voice fearful, but not panicked yet. "Hey, mister. Please. I just want to go home."

The man glanced over at the boy. Those were really wonderful brown eyes; dark, deep, promising all sorts of secrets. The man had learned lots of secrets from the boy during all those lovely days down in the basement. The boy had called for help, of course -- they all tried that, all the boys he had played with since discovering this game -- but to no avail. The man lived far from any neighbors, alone but for the playmates he would sometimes smuggle home in his truck.

"Please, mister," the boy tried again. "I won't tell anyone. Just... just let me go." He swallowed. "Right here is fine, even."

The man didn't answer, and the boy seemed to give up, falling silent again. When they reached the abandoned quarry, though, he tried one more time. "I just want to go home," he said to the man, and now he began to cry. "Why won't you let me go home?"

He struggled when the man tried to get him out of the truck, of course, but a couple swings of the tire iron and the boy went limp. The man dragged him to the quarry and sent him tumbling over the edge. The boy's body hit the still water with a loud splash. It was too dark for the man to see, but he imagined the boy sinking, falling to rest alongside all the other boys that the man had played with over the years.

"All done," he murmured, returning to the truck. "All cleaned up from playtime." He swung the truck around until it was pointing back toward the trail through the woods, and smiled as he started driving back toward the road. "Maybe I'll find some new toys to play with tomorrow."

Okay, so let me explain.

The comic shows a dog-man and a dog-dog. There is an obvious imbalance of power and of -- for lack of a better word -- humanity between the two of them. Why is this? Why does the dog-man get to drive the dog-dog around wherever he wants? Why should the dog-dog be subservient to the dog-man?

If you translated them into a human-man and a human-boy, what kind of relationship might you wind up with?

Serial killer and hapless victim, that's what.

See? It makes perfect sense!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Original Cost

"An' it's a genuine Rolex, too," Joe finished happily, holding his wrist up to eye level again. "Says so right on the dial." He shook it and smiled. "Just watch that baby go. Tick-tick-tick-tick. Like clockwork."

"Funny," Steve replied colorlessly. The others continued to work on their sandwiches.

Joe's grin got a little bigger. "Aw, don't worry, buddy. I ain't too good fer bowlin' night with the guys now that I'm runnin' around with the big boys."

Marv raised one eyebrow above his egg salad. "With the big boys, huh? Funny, I hadn't heard that bein' named Employee Of The Month carried such priv'leges with it."

"Well, they don't give you that $200 bonus check for not bein' an asset to the cump'ny," preened Joe. "Which is why I went for the watch -- show I'm up to th' job, y'know? Watch like this mebbe even says a man is management quality." He shook it by his ear, and smiled at the rattle. "Cost just 'bout my whole bonus, but it was worth it."

Roger spoke up for the first time. "You got a Rolex for two hundred bucks?"

Joe beamed. "Do I gotta eye for a bargain, or what? I figger that's why th' brass is takin' an interest in me, too. They can see just how good I am at makin' decisions."

"It's fake," Marv replied.

Heads nodded all around the table, and Joe turned a delicate shade of green.

"Faker'n a three-dollar bill," Steve added, "and never mind that the guy at 7-11 swore it was legal tender when he gave you your change that one time, Joe; you're an idiot, and that's all there is to it."

Joe held the watch up to his face again, as though expecting it to have changed since the last time he'd looked. "Look, this guy told me it was for-sure real..."

"Oh, for Chrissakes," groaned Marv. "'This guy'? You buy your watches from 'some guy'? What, did you meet him in an alley? Did he insist on unmarked bills? What?"

"He did say cash only," Joe mumbled.

"Jesus wept."

"Now, hold on, fellas," Joe exclaimed suddenly, glaring around at them. "I see what this is. You're just jealous, right? Because I'm movin' up, an' you're all stuck... stuck... stuck not bein' employee of the month." His jaw set. "So you hafta tear down alla my accomplishments insteada makin' your own. Yeah, I get it."

"No, it's a fake, all right," Roger replied calmly. "Real Rolexes tick so fast you can't see 'em do it. And they don't rattle." Then he smirked and pointed at Joe's wrist. "And they don't say 'Rolox'."

Joe's wrist snapped back up, and he peered at it again for the umpteenth time in the last half-hour. "It doesn't say that... it, uh... shit."

Roger slapped him on the back. "Yeah, you sure showed us, big spender," he grinned, adding a wink to twist the knife that little bit extra. None of them'd ever much liked Joe.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Looked like the backyard hummingbird feeder needed a refill again. Well, that was easily enough done.

Ben stepped outside to grab the bottle from the feeder, then carried it into the garage, humming idly. He rinsed it out in the sink by the clothes washer, letting the hot water run for a couple minutes before adding a bit of bleach to kill any mold. Once the bleach was rinsed out, he stood the bottle on an old towel while he fetched his nectar solution from a shelf.

His ma had used a homemade mixture of sugar and water, boiled and stored in the freezer till needed; for a while after she'd died and left him the house and its hummingbird population, he'd tried various commercial solutions. Eventually, though, he'd tired of the results those gave him. After a few tries he'd come up with the mixture he used now, which had the benefit of being easy to whip up while also managing to not attract any bugs along with the birds. Ma's old sugar-water do had always wound up getting pillaged by ants.

Ben half-filled the feeder bottle from the gallon jug of nectar solution -- almost empty, now, he'd have to make some more soon -- then put the jug back and carefully carried the bottle back out to the backyard. Still humming, he screwed the bottle back onto the feeder, then stood back and admired his handiwork. He turned to go, and something went "crunch" under his shoe. He looked down.

"Heh," he said, scraping dead hummingbird off his shoe. "Guess you just couldn't help yourself, huh, little guy?" He surveyed the lawn around the feeder, where maybe a dozen dead hummingbirds lay in various stages of rot. "Was it tasty, fellas? I sure hope it was." He sneered. "Little bastards."

He went back into the house, careful to take off his shoes before entering. "Almost out of nectar..." he muttered to himself as he walked into the kitchen. Stuck to the fridge with a magnet shaped like a cow was the beginnings of a grocery list; eggs, milk, toilet paper, Hamburger Helper. Ben rummaged through a drawer until he found a pencil, then walked over to the list.

Antifreeze, he wrote.

Ben grinned. "Little bastards," he said again.