Friday, November 15, 2002


I looked at the man in front of me and felt overwhelmed with sorrow. Hank didn’t deserve this. Here he was, a look of peace washed over him, and yet he was going to die, and under my watch nonetheless.

We had met shortly after he transferred to this prison, when I was promoted to warden. I had developed an interest in spirituality, and I had commented to the prison chaplain that I would like to meet someone truly enlightened in my life. The chaplain directed me to Hank. Many prisoners are far more human, far more soft, then society would lead you to believe, but Hank was different from all of them, he was a true saint.

The two of us hit it off, and to the extent my commitments could allow me I would go and keep him company. Today, however, was the end of the line. Hank was to be executed, and there was nothing I could do.

“Don’t worry, it’ll be alright,” Hank smiled as he stared out into space,

“How can you say that? You’re about to be killed, and for such an absurd reason,”

“It’s not that absurd, I did kill a man,” Hank replied. But it was absurd. Yes, Hank had killed, but it was in the name of the greater good. Tensions had been running high between America and Russia. Garrisons of the two armies had met face to face. The American commander had ordered his troops to attack. He had ordered the start of World War 3. Hank refused, and shot his superior. The Russians retreated shortly after. It had all been a bluff on their part. Hank was a hero, and I told him that,

“Maybe I am, but I did kill a man,” Hank reiterated,

“But you had to kill him, you did what was right,”

“I did the only thing I could do, but that doesn’t mean I deserve to live,” Hank paused, “You see, my friend, we all have a duty, to ourselves, to the world, and meaning and purpose come from fulfilling that duty. I did what I had to, I did my duty. Now the state must fulfill its duty. I killed, so I must be killed. So is the states imperative. How can I challenge that when I followed my own imperative.”

I sighed, “I just don’t want to see you go, man,”

“I know,” Hank smiled, “But remember, as warden you have a duty too. You have to watch over these things, you have to make sure the prison is ran well. I know you respect me, and respect the sacrifice I have made. Thus, I ask that you complete your duty, as hard as it may be. If you do that, then I’m sure we will meet again in the hereafter.”

I looked at Hank and felt something swell inside me. I got up to leave and, after straightening my back, turned to Hank one last time,

“I’ll see you then.”

Monday, November 11, 2002

The Surprise Waiting at Lover's Lane

The couple sat in silence for a painfully long time. Derek didn’t know what to think. Him and Cindy had been dating for exactly three years, today was their anniversary, and for two teenagers that might as well have been an eternity. He took her out to the fanciest restaurant in town, and then topped that off with a trip to the movies to watch the cheesiest romantic comedy he could find. He could hardly stand it, but he knew Cindy loved them. After that they drove here, to the cliff overlooking their little hometown. The view was lovely, and private, with trees lining the whole lot. Derek wasn’t exactly sure how a romantic evening like that should end, per se, but he was certain that it wasn’t supposed to be this awkward. Him and Cindy were sitting in silence. Did she not like the dinner? Did she not like the movie? What gave?

Derek sighed. He turned on the radio, maybe that would ease the tension. The music made things a bit more bearable until it was violently interrupted by an urgent warning. A killer was on the loose, having just escaped from prison everyone was to be on high alert. The announcer said he was known to prowl at night, attacking lone cars and killing their occupants with a trademark scythe.

Derek turned the radio off and it dawned on him. That must be it. Cindy must have heard the news earlier and now I’ve brought her to somewhere where she doesn’t feel safe, silly me. Derek started the car and pulled out of the parking space and back on the road. Cindy stayed silent, but seemed to ease up a bit.

Finally they got back to her house. Derek got out of the car and walked over to get the door for Cindy. When he got there he froze. Wrapped around the handle of the car door was… football tickets:

“Oh my god, the Browns! Cindy! That’s my favorite team!”

Cindy rolled down the window, “I know honey, I double checked with your dad before I got them,” her eyes got a little misty, “I’m so glad your happy, I wanted it to be a surprise but I got so nervous I just couldn’t talk, I know you put so much effort into our date and I’m sorry I ruined it,”

Derek smiled, “You couldn’t ruin an evening with you if you tried, I love you,”

“I love you too,”

With that the two kissed, marking the third of what would come to be over 60 anniversaries.

Sunday, November 10, 2002


The Vandenburg bloodline had been ridiculed for centuries. While all the other wizard bloodlines had become dominant power players across the world, with their ability to conjure spells, demons, destroy and create, the Vandenburg’s had been relegated as laughingstocks. Whereas the wizarding cabal pulled strings in Berlin, Paris, Tokyo, and even Washington D.C., the Vandenburgs were left to their small, traditional estate in northern Europe. The reason was simple: their bloodline ability sucked.

They couldn’t create fire, or ice, or a familiar. They couldn’t compel others. All they could do was split. Be it a table, or a chair, in at least one war, a person; the one thing the Vandenburg’s could do was split something into two. It had its uses, and the fact that they could do any magic at all put them above the common rabble and meant that the magical societies of the world, albeit reluctantly, had to accept them. Occasionally one of the family would be invited to intimidate or persuade someone for diplomatic or criminal reasons. Otherwise they were ignored.

Things were changing however. Rapidly. The German Eagle was leaping off from its evil roost and conquering continental Europe. At the same time the Japanese Sun was rising over East Asia and the pacific. Karl Vandenburg, the latest heir, wanted nothing to do with the darkness staining the Old World, and started desperately looking for a way out.

His salvation came in the form of a confidential letter, delivered by a jet black raven. A familiar no doubt. Inside the letter was an invitation from the American Magical Society to participate in a special, top secret, project. Karl packed his bags and hopped on a ship, proud in the fact that his abilities would soon be acknowledged.

Kind of, anyway. Most of the Magical Society ridiculed him, aside from one bespectacled young man named Peter. Karl would quickly learn that Peter was the one who invited him. Karl would also quickly learn that Peter was involved in more then one secret organization.

Peter escorted Karl from the East Coast all the way into the Southwestern desert. There he gave him the request that would soon turn the Vandenburgs into the most powerful magical family in the world:

“If you can split anything Karl, can you split an atom?”

Wumpa Thumpa

 Pablo jumped behind a bush and caught his breath. The rest of the Paraguayan Revolutionary Militia had been wiped out, only he remained. He gently patted his stomach, never had diarrhea been such a friend. That didn’t change the fact that the revolt had failed though, it was only a matter of time before the military retook the capital. However, the revolution lived on with him, and here in the safety of the jungle he could redouble his efforts, recruit others, and bring equity to his country. The thought gave him comfort. A comfort that was ripped apart by the sound of a flute, gradually accompanied by other instruments,

“What is going on?” Pablo asked himself as the music got louder and louder. Then, out of nowhere, a group of small, orange-skinned, green-haired people, emerged out of the forest. He must not have noticed their camo. He scanned the forest for any quick escape, only to quickly realize that he was completely surrounded. One of the strange men approached him, holding his bayonet equipped M16 up against Pablo. He started circling Pablo, almost… rhythmically, and then suddenly him and his comrades burst into song:

“Wumpa Thumpa what will you do?

The CIA paid us and the NSA too

Wumpa Thumpa you really have to go

We need to ensure those minerals flow

What would you say to abandoning the red?

What would you say to a shot to the head?

Do you think the Soviets even care about you?

Wumpa Thumpa double the fee

We will make sure the elections aren’t free

Wumpa Thumpa increase the price

And we will put the guerrillas on ice”

Once the musical number was finished the head Wumpa Thumpa unloaded an entire magazine into Pablo. After they each took turns pissing on the corpse the Wumpa Thumpa’s began the march back to their chopper, they had to head back to Cuba, and clean up their mess.


Rufus sat by the door, whining and wagging his tale. Alex pulled up his backpack and patted his dog on the head. Rufus started to pant. Alex smiled:

“You don’t need to miss me boy, I’ll be back by 3:45, just like always,” Rufus let out a happy bark and let Alex head to school.

Rufus was always overprotective, Alex’s family had adopted him from the shelter and by the sounds of it the home he originally came from was pretty rough. I guess being in a happy home made Rufus want to protect it at all costs. Alex always laughed it off, even if he couldn’t put it into words his happy family and needy dog were just parts of a life that he understood to be incredibly privileged. And he was incredibly grateful for it. Though lately things had been feeling kind of off for him.

School was getting harder. He always tried to befriend everyone, but a couple weeks ago a new kid joined his class. Alex introduced himself but the new kid just looked at him with pure hate in his eyes. Though he didn’t know what he had done, Alex knew this kid wasn’t a fan of him. At first Alex just kept his distance, but soon the new kid was taunting and teasing him. Slowly that escalated to threats, and recently the kid started having two other kids from a different class constantly by his side.

Alex hated to admit it, but he was scared. Thus he was relieved to not see the new kid or his posse at school that day. However, that relief turned to despair on the walk home. He rounded a corner only to come face to face to the three. Without a word the new kid punched Alex upside the jaw. Alex reeled and fell to the ground, something coppery filling his mouth. It was the first time he had ever tasted blood. Soon the other kids joined in, kicking him while he was down. Alex could feel the bruises instantly form as they struck him from all sides. The pain turning unbearable. The kids continued their beatdown regardless, Alex desperately begging for someone to notice and stop them.

“Warf!” a loud yip interrupted the bullies, and Alex could hear the growl of a dog. The dog started barking loudly and aggressively, and as the new kids sidekicks ran away Alex was able to look up and see Rufus boldly barking at the new kid. The new kid, for his part, just chuckled. Rufus growled as hard as he could but the new kid just walked up to him and stomped on his paw. Rufus yelled in pain and the new kid walked away, leaving a howling Rufus and a curled up Alex.

Alex started to cry. Partly because of his pain, partly because of Rufus. He couldn’t even protect his beloved dog. Alex continued to cry until he heard a familiar whimpered right beside him. He looked up to see Rufus limp towards him, before the dog gave him a big, friendly lick. “Rufus” Alex smiled through the tears, “How did you find me?” Alex got up and checked his watch, 3:48, no wonder Rufus had looked for him, he was late,

“I’m sorry buddy,” Alex patted Rufus’ head while he happily panted. Carefully the two of them limped home, Alex, and his savior.

I Heard This True Story from a Friend of a Friend, Send to Five Other Friends or Have Bad Luck for 30 Seconds

Haley closed the door behind her and made sure to lock it tight. She was housesitting for her aunt and uncle and this was her first time alone at night in the city. When her parents had scolded her about the dangers of being alone at night she had just rolled her eyes, she was 18, an adult, she could take care of herself, but the drive in had managed to spook her. Bored of Spotify she flipped on the car’s radio only to hear an emergency broadcast: a violent killer was on the loose. He liked to target young woman while they were home alone, burglarizing the house and then doing unspeakable things before and after killing his victim. It was so gruesome it couldn’t escape Haley’s mind, and though her aunt and uncle lived in a nice area, she made sure every into the house was locked.

Besides, she had someone there to protect her, her dog Rex. Rex was a big German Shephard, and more then capable of scaring off any intruders. While her nerves were high, by the time bed time rolled around Haley had relaxed quite a bit, and went off to her room with Rex in tow. Just like at home Rex crawled under the bed and Haley quickly fell asleep.

A few hours had passed when Haley suddenly awoke to a crashing sound. Her heart pounded, but she reminded herself that she had locked everything up. Wait. Wait. Her heart raced faster and faster as it dawned on her that she hadn’t locked the basement window. There was a way in. Her body trembled, but she forced herself to calm down. She did lock the basement door, she should still be safe. For reassurance she dropped her arm down and Rex gave her a happy little lick on her hand.

The rest of her nights sleep was spotty, she would wake up anxious, but Rex was always there to give her a lick. Finally dawn creaked into room and Haley slowly got up out of bed. Still a little anxious she dropped down her arm and got one last lick. She smiled and walked out of the room, only to freeze in terror. Rex was sleeping in the middle of the living room. Her heart palpitated. What was licking her hand all night? She raced back into the room, kitchen knife in hand, and peered under the bed. There it was. The thing that had been licking her all night. Mr. Snuffles, her aunts cat.

Tuesday, November 5, 2002


“For the last time, get out of my house!”

“For the last time, this IS my house!”

Another standstill it seemed. Sean sighed and scratched his head. It was always like this since Kaela had moved in with him. They were friends since childhood, going to school together, playing together on the weekends. For much of their childhood they were inseparable. Adolescence changed that, the two drifted apart and found themselves in friend groups of their respective genders. In fact, she had almost slipped his mind when his mom told her that she was moving back into town and was having trouble finding a place to stay. He had just bought a house, after years of scrimping and saving, and the thought of a roommate had crossed his mind more then a few times. He reached out to her and she agreed.

At first it went well. The two of them reconnected easily. Despite the fact that she had went to college and him the trades they seemed to share many of the same hobbies and interests. They had both been gamers, and had kept it up into adulthood. They had also both learned how to cook, and took turns trying new dishes on each other. Sean loved it, ever since everyone moved away to pursue their interests he had had a hard time making friends, and now he had a pal living with him. One time his mom joked that he had gotten married without knowing it, but he just laughed. She was just his roommate. Besides, she was way out of his league.

Recently though, everything changed. He wasn’t sure what happened, but it was like a switch had flipped in Kaela’s head. Every time they crossed paths there was something for her to nitpick, be it the way he put the cutlery away, or what ingredients he used for supper, she even got mad at him for putting the toilet paper so that it rolled away from the wall. Who would want it to roll AGAINST the wall.

The fights were reaching a point where Sean didn’t know what to do. He didn’t want to kick her out, but he also couldn’t live like this. Finally he mustered up the courage to talk to her about it and went to her bedroom. The door was slightly ajar and he gently pushed it open. Kaela was absorbed painting. Sean knew she was something of an artist, but he had never seen any of her work. It was a landscape of a children’s playground. The sun was shining and the sky was clear, and blue. Looking at it brought a rush of memories back to Sean,

“Is that where we first met?” he asked softly, trying not to startle her, though he still managed to startle her,

“Y… yes,” Kaela blushed,

“It’s amazing,”

“T… thanks, I call it, Happiness,”

“Why that?”

“Because it was…” Kaela shook her head, “Why are you in my room?”

“Because,” Sean sighed, “I need to know why you’ve been so angry with me lately,”

“Why?” Kaela got more and more angry looking, “Why?! You know why?”

Sean stared blankly, “I really don’t,”

Kaela looked shocked, “How could you not pick up on the signals I’ve been sending you?”


“Yes! The meals I’ve cooked you, the outfits I’ve been wearing, the hints I’ve been making-”

“I’m not good with hints,”

“Dammit Sean, what about the time I sat in your lap, hugged you, and told you it would be great if you took me out to dinner and a movie sometime,”

“I’m not good with hints,”

“What about the time I told you that I was interested in you romantically and you laughed at me,”

“I’m not good with hints,”

Kaela sighed in exasperation, “Sean, I don’t want to be your roommate, I never did, I came here, to this town, to try and get the man of my dreams, but after you didn’t show me any interest I couldn’t help but be mad at you,”

Sean stared into her beautiful eyes, “I just never thought a girl like you would even think about dating a guy like me,”

“Sean…” Kaela’s voice cracked as she threw herself around him, “The reason I named the painting Happiness…” Sean wrapped his arms around her,

“Is because that’s where we first met.”


The Bell has rung. Manuel knew that it would happen one day. Manuel knew that when he swore his oath this would come. Manuel knew that if he wanted to rise through the ranks and change the world, he would have to do this. Still, the ringing of the bell struck him with terror. His hands shook as he got up and grabbed his sword.

Commoners weren’t supposed to be in the army, he had to fight like hell to join. None of his peers had tried, the rumors and their cowardice coalesced into a rationalization that it wasn’t worth it. For Manuel it was different. His whole childhood was spent being trampled on by nobles and their immorality. The things they had taken from him and his friends, the things they had done, it made him shudder.

What made him shudder more was his desire. He didn’t hate the nobles. No, in fact, he looked up to them. They had the power to exert their will, they were free, and he was not. When he was young he had ran through a field at night, the tall dewy grass caressing him as the moonlight cleansed his sins. The chilled night air filled his lungs. At the center of the field was another boy, laid back, staring up at the stars. He started speaking without looking to Manuel:

You know that people like you are not allowed to be in places like this,”

I don’t care,” Manuel replied,

Neither do I,” the boy replied, “I can tell you understand what it is I’m feeling, you feel the same, right?”


Yes, free,” the boy rubbed his hair, “They will come looking for you soon, but, one day we will meet again, in this same field, the only two men to understand what it means to be free,”

Manuel nodded and ran off.

The Bell stopped ringing and Manuel walked into the courtyard. The guards stood side by side, with Manuel’s mother kneeling inbetween them. Shadowy, authoritarian, figures watched from all sides. Manuel’s mother whispered:

It’s okay, it’s okay,” between her sobs.

Manuel closed his eyes and sighed. The yoke was heavy on his shoulder, and yet he could feel the blades of grass, the white glow of the moonlight. He opened his eyes and cast off the yoke, his sword ready in his hands. He could feel the boy smile at him, as he lunged his sword.

The shadowy figures applauded, almost in shock. Manuel stared at his dead mother. Freedom, he was one step closer.

Me and My Son Invented a Time Machine, Now I'm Going to Spend the Rest of my Life Regretting It

I wrapped my arms around Alexei, my only son, as the terrible regret hit me. I could feel his matted, blood soaked, hair run between my fin...