J. Otis Haas
I met The Genius in middle school and I learned a lot from him. Not facts, but life lessons that have stuck with me for decades. I can’t use his real name, because he’s Somebody now, a paragon in his field. Early on The Genius would assert that he was destined to become a great scientist as if it were somehow divinely ordained. It was easy to believe, he’s brilliant, among the smartest people I’ve ever met. You could see him receiving accolades in any endeavor he undertook.
The Blank Expanse Between Worlds
Two paths diverged in a snowy wood. Perfect, tiny flakes gently drifted down from a slate-gray sky. Jack turned and saw his footprints gradually disappearing beneath the falling powder. Tall trees and impassable undergrowth surrounded him. The gleaming blankness of the ground ahead filled him with the same anticipation that a fresh sheet of paper once had. He remembered how full of potential each page had once seemed.
All of Everything and Beyond
I am a Toiler, made in the image of The Creator, who is Perfect. My Task is to serve my Queen by serving The Creator, who filled the world with Danger and clumsy Giants to keep Her creation humble. If I succeed in my Task I will be rewarded with wings and fly off to join Her in The Sands Above.
The Brazen Bull
The Tyrant King’s terrible gift was pushed into the great hall the day before the feast by slaves who thereafter gave the thing a wide berth as they made preparations around it. That evening a dignitary from The Peninsula arrived to practice the speech he intended to deliver the following morning. Inquiring about the draped object and the cords of firewood stacked beside it he asked whom the gift was from. Upon hearing the answer he blanched and sailed back home under the moonlight.
The Looping Way of Things
Viv looked down at her ring while she smoked, her eyes tracing the intricate mathematical design wrought in micro-fine platinum wire, finer than the thinnest human hair. Since the day it had come into her life Viv had been losing herself in her ring. A therapist once told her she was “dissociating” when she did that, retreating to an inner-space where she was safe from what she feared most, which he said was “abandonment.” He always wanted to talk about her father.
The Bittersweetness of Pyramid Level Z
“Just tell us what you saw and you can have some cake,” Counselor Connolly repeated. Zygmunt Zysk stared at the slice of chocolate cake on the table between them. “Come on, Zyggy,” she said, using the kind of informal friendliness they used to get you to turn on others, to turn on yourself. “You know full well the whole Pyramid will crumble if we don’t all do our part,” now appealing to his patriotism and sense of civic duty. “Don’t you want some cake?” Zyggy realized this tactic might work. He also realized the cake might be poisoned.
We were on a 15 year mission to Europa, 6 years there, 3 years collecting samples, and 6 years back. There were 42 sites of interest and 7 of them had been designated as being of possible archaeological significance. As I crawled up the ramp with my last load of samples from Site 42, Ship informed me that she hadn’t heard from Earth in over two years.
I tell people I was born in a room full of cats with no doctors present in a castle atop a hill in the woods. That’s close enough to the truth. One of my exes would tell people the cats licked me clean under the kitchen table. That’s not true, we’ve never had a kitchen table.