Educator, writer and documentarian based out of central China. Catch the full story at www.findthefabulist.com.
The Nostalgia Cabinet
Was that a Galaga cabinet? I did an earnest double take as I crossed in front of the pizza place. It was my usual joint, one I patronized at least once a week and passed by so frequently that it blurred neatly into its surroundings. Any other day, I'd only have acknowledged it as a minor landmark on my walk home, barely perceived over the pages of my latest library acquisition.
The Murder Machine
The following are select logs from an experimental build of the since-abandoned AutoAuth literary neural network program, an AI protocol designed to generate and refine short pieces of fiction. NOT FOR GENERAL DISTRIBUTION.
In Honor of my 50th Rejection from a Major Spec Magazine
Earlier this week, I was rejected by Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine for the 50th time. Truthfully, I'm not sure if this qualifies as "impressive." Most people would have given up by now, I imagine; some don't, and never will, content to smash their skulls against that particular wall until there's nothing left but fragments. Others, I must assume, are far more reasonable.
A Wounded Sky
The sky's been running down my walls for the last week, just these weird regal purple trickles of oily space that squirm their way down any surface that can hold them. You can't clean those up with a rag, that's for sure – it's dangerous just to touch them when they look like that, I can glean that much even without extensive testing. At least they aren't slicing up my walls, and in fact the chemists on the news tell us that they're very close to a solution to clean the atmosphere off of softer surfaces. Well, I'll believe the bastards when they actually deliver. Meanwhile, I've got these big blotches of heaven matter all over my place that I don't dare touch.
To the Late Mother Who Gave Me Away
I hate to start on a selfish note, but I really do feel like I was cheated here, cheated out of some grand emotional moment that was my due. After six years of digging through filing cabinets, rereading the same legal documents ad nauseum, tracking down notaries and sending off papers that just got sent back to me...for all that to end in nothing feels wrong.
This Somber Road, My Last Companion
Let a spindly line of murky water drip onto a barren patch of prairie earth, watch it suck in the dust, and it'll look almost like an old highway forgotten by its masters - that's where our story begins, on a forsaken highway leading off to an unsettled horizon. Come down a little closer and the ants and bugs crawling around that sorry little trickle start to look like vehicles, mechanical workhorses trotting off toward that horizon on bald tires with the hot wind eking its way through cracks in the windshield. Go down further, and you'll start to see people - the masters of those machines, and others with only their two feet for guidance and a pair of good thumbs that maybe they can use to claim a ride for a little while. Each of those people has a story that's nothing less than his soul, and if you ask with a gentle tongue and levy a fair offer, he might just share it with you.
A Brief Guide to ESL Schools in Mainland China
As the world opens up again, there are new opportunities for people who wish to live and work abroad. Teaching is always a popular way to do this, perhaps even more so now that English-as-a-second-language has shed some of its unprofessional "gap year" reputation.
A Psychologist Called Me A Sociopath When I Was 4
The place was hunter green and tan, and everything was too big - that's my memory of the office, all I can drum up through the haze of early childhood. No one bothered to tell me where we were or why - concepts that would only be lost on a four year-old. So I busied myself as best I could until it was my turn to go into the office, the smaller one.