23 August 2013

"The End"

By Curtis C. Chen

God woke up on Saturday morning, went downstairs to check on her animals, then stomped into the kitchen. Satan stood at the counter, fussing with the French press.

"What happened to my terrarium?" God asked.

"I didn't touch your pets," Satan said without turning around.

"They're not pets," God said. "And that ecosystem is very delicately balanced—"

"Okay, eco-sphere, whatever." Satan carefully filled his insulated travel mug. "Your aquarium was blocking the screen. I had to move it so we could watch the game."

"You moved it next to the wine cooler," God said. "Interior temperature dropped by half. Most of the reptiles are dead."

"Are you sure they're not just hibernating?"

"Oh, you're a herpetologist now? And would it kill you to clean up after your little boys' club meetings?"

Satan frowned at God. "Geez, what crawled up your ass and died? Is is that time of the month again?"

"I'm going to forget you said that," God said. She glared at Satan's suit and tie. "You really need to go in today?"

"Yes," he said. "Conference call with Asia. Time zones. Can't be helped. Don't worry, I'll be back before seven."

"What happens at seven?"

"Oh, for Pete's sake." Satan grabbed his briefcase. "Dinner with Lucy and Geoff! Reservations at the Garden? Remember?"

"Yeah." God fidgeted. "Sorry I've been distracted this week."

"It's been more than a week," Satan muttered, and slammed the front door shut.

God ate two granola bars and drank a bottle of water, then returned to her experiment. The mammals which had survived last night's big freeze were quite resilient, and she wanted to see what would happen if she made them more complex.

The phone rang at five-thirty. God put it on speaker, but had trouble understanding what her husband was saying. It sounded like Satan was driving.

"I'll be ready to go soon," God shouted at the phone.

"No," Satan said. "Listen! There's been a change of plan. I didn't want to do this over the phone, but—this marriage is not working."

God was only half-listening. Her attention was focused on extracting bone marrow from a sedated male specimen, which she could use to create a female clone. "I'm sorry I've been busy. I'll take tomorrow off, I promise."

"That's not the point! Dammit, how do I say this?"

"Just hang up," came a female voice through the speaker. "She doesn't care."

God frowned. "Is that Lucy?"

"You had your chance, honey!" Lucy said. "He's mine now!"

"Okay, stop," Satan said. "You're making it worse."

God put down her instruments. "Where's Geoff?"

"Probably still at the office," Satan said. "Look. Baby. I'm sorry, but I can't do this anymore. I need someone who's more attentive, more invested in our relationship."

"You should have sucked his dick more!" Lucy said, giggling.

"Really not helping!" Satan said. "I'm sorry. We're leaving. This is the end."

The line went dead. God turned back to her work.

"No," she said, watching as the male and female shared a piece of fruit. God smiled. "This is just the beginning."


Photo Credit: Anua22a via Compfight cc

Wait for it...

We spent all day driving from Portland to Palo Alto, so I'm a little behind on work. The final 512 will be up, oh, let's say mid-afternoon today.

Thanks for your patience, and thanks for reading.

Meanwhile, for no apparent reason, here's a picture of a marsupial.


Photo Credit: Tambako the Jaguar via Compfight cc

19 August 2013

I Wanna Be Your Sledgehammer

ETA (22 Sep 2013): The Readers' Choice Poll is now closed. Winners will be announced soon!

ETA (22 Aug 2013): The Readers’ Choice Poll is now up at sledgehammercontest.com! Look in the left column for the ballot of eligible stories (including mine, "Born to the Legion"). Vote until September 21st!

ETA (21 Aug 2013): You can now read "Born to the Legion" online, as well all the other Sledgehammer 2013 submissions. Voting form coming soon!

Portlandia residents: If you're free tonight at 7:00 PM, join me and other writers at Blackbird Wine & Atomic Cheese for three-minute readings from this past weekend's Sledgehammer 36-Hour Writing Contest! I'll be reading the opening of my talking-animals-at-war story, "Born to the Legion."

Everyone else: Visit the www.sledgehammercontest.com and vote for the Readers' Choice Award (coming soon; polls open until September 18th)!

The writing prompts, given during Saturday's scavenger hunt, were:
  1. An animal trainer
  2. "Don't eat that!"
  3. Cornfields
  4. Doughnuts
  5. Spending $4
  6. Owls
And yes, I did spend way too much time watching video clips from Twin Peaks, and the working title was "The Owls Are Not What They Seem." Then I got halfway through the draft and completely changed the MacGuffin that drives the story. (Spoiler alert: it's pretty much just an episode of Stargate now. It's what I do.)

All of this year's contest entries will be posted at sledgehammercontest.com next month.