Monthly Archives: March 2014

No. 549

Tom Clark had a trustworthy face.

People told him things that they wouldn’t tell anybody else. And Tom Clark collected their secrets. He wrote them down on small pieces of paper and stored them in a jar beside his bed.

The secrets were safe. Tom would never share what he knew. Doing so would require removing the appropriate note from the jar, and Tom hated to let things go.

During his life, Tom accumulated many, many secrets, from many, many people. Some were very small, and some were very large.

None were revealed, until Tom died and the jar was discovered.

No. 548

What kind of villain am I? I run my evil empire from a water park. Sometimes it’s embarrassing. I can never have any of the other bad guys over. One, because I’m ashamed, and two, Commander Hate always, and I mean always, pees in the inner-tube river.

Then there’s a whole process that we have to go through to decontaminate. It costs me money. Meanwhile, all the other morons are running on the pool deck towards the slides. Iron Fist fell one time and cracked his head right open. More money to keep him quiet. But the others won’t listen. No, they think it’s a game.

Every time I think I’m gonna switch secret bases, though, I remember that Lady Decimate and Killer Queen show up in bikinis.

So, that’s worth it.

No. 547

The trail of carrots led directly to an upturned box held up with a stick.

Mr. Buns hopped closer. He weighed the odds as he devoured each vegetable in line.

He was optimistic. It couldn’t possibly be a trap, again.

No. 546

Arlene Dash was in such a hurry to escape that she started the time machine before remembering to close the door.

That did not help the situation.

No. 545

You can tell things are getting worse. I can feel it every day. Orcus is getting warmer. The scientists say that it’s because the planet has broken orbit and is spiralling slowly toward a collision with the sun.

I need to leave. The thing is, I don’t have enough money to afford a seat on one of the evacuation ships. Few do. A lot of folks are sitting around doing nothing, resigned to their fate. I have a plan. I’m going to steal enough to escape.

I’m going to hit the vault of the United Planet Bank. It’s going to be one day before the last civilian ships are cleared to depart, one week before Orcus crosses the invisible line between survivable, and oven.

I’m going to take my sister, Beth, and my friend, Jake, with me.

No. 544

Every day, Orcus grew a little warmer. As the planet slowly spiraled toward a collision with its sun, its inhabitants became increasingly desperate to leave.

Not everyone was lucky enough to afford transport on the evacuation ships. There were only so many seats and, for many, all they had was not enough.

Fiona was one of them and, though she did not have the resources for self-preservation, she was intent on making one big score to acquire enough to flee to safety.

Her plan was to hit the heavily-guarded vault of planet’s largest bank one day before the departure of the last civilian ship out. It was set to take off exactly one week before Orcus crossed the invisible line between survivable, and oven.

Joining her desperate venture was her sister, Beth, and their childhood friend, Jake.

No. 543

Every day, Orcus grew a little warmer. As the planet slowly spiraled toward a collision with its sun, its inhabitants became increasingly desperate to leave.

Fiona was one of them and, though she had the same desire for self-preservation, she was intent on making one big score before she abandoned her home and fled into the unknown reaches of the galaxy.

Her plan was to hit the abandoned vault of planet’s largest bank one day before the departure of the last civilian evacuation ship. It was set to take off exactly one week before Orcus crossed the invisible line between survivable, and oven.

Joining her venture was her sister, Beth, and their childhood friend, Jake.

No. 542

The jeweled statue of the sphinx sank to the bottom of the lake, still clutched in the now-dead hand of its owner.

 

Two mobsters sat in a rowboat on the surface.

“Trig, you idiot. You were supposed to secure the loot, then whack him,” said Frankie Cincinnati.

“Careful what words you’re throwing around,” replied Trigger-finger Joe. “Maybe you’d like to go down after him?” he threatened, shifting his pistol slightly in his lap.

“You’re going to tell Big Man what happened. I’m not taking the heat for this,” said Cincinnati.

“Shut up, and take us in,” said Joe. “I hate being on the water.”

“Our next hit’s in the desert. Guaranteed,” Cincinnati confirmed.

“Let’s hope it ends better than this one,” said Joe.

No. 541

Carla’s parents acquiesced to her pleas for a pet. They were uncertain about her ability to properly care for an animal, and didn’t want to end up looking after one themselves, so they bought her a snail.

“How hard can it be to look after a snail?” they reasoned. “She’ll be fine. It’s a starter pet.”

Carla, though saddened by the lack of a kitten, bonded with her new friend, whom she named “Snuggles”.

Carla and Snuggles went on many adventures together, like “watching tv” and “going on the internet”. One of their favorites was “playing games on the cell phone”, where Carla would play on her phone, and Snuggles would cling securely to the back, not creating a bother, or slime-trail across the screen.

Carla’s parents began to worry that perhaps Snuggles was not the right animal for Carla. Maybe, they thought, he was just a tad too docile.

Soon, for her birthday, Carla received a large box with a bow on it. Inside was a beautiful puppy, a husky that she named “Ron”. Ron certainly kept her busy, with the constant running and playing and running some more.

Snuggles remained in his tank, fed by Mom and Dad, forgotten by Carla, eating grass and not caring one little bit that he was alone.

No. 540

The worst storm in 100 years blasted across the Arctic ice. Inside Polar Research Outpost St. Roch, two scientists were engaged in an intense debate.

“If you go out there, you’ll be dead in minutes,” said John Bancroft.

“If I don’t collect the data in the next hour, we’ll have wasted the entire season,” said Roald Bjorn grimly. “I have to take that chance.”

Bancroft knew it was the truth. “I’ll go,” he offered quietly. “You have a family.”

Bjorn saw it was pointless to argue. “Let’s get you ready.”

 

Some time later, Bancroft was prepared to leave the base.

“Remember,” shouted Bjorn above the howling wind. “You’ve only got five minutes.”

“I’ll hurry,” said Bancroft.

 

“I’ve got them,” Bancroft called into his radio as he staggered back across the uneven ice on his return journey.

The precious samples were slung across his back. He was close to the station and he’d be safe in moments.

His radio crackled with Bjorn’s reply, but Bancroft couldn’t hear it.

 

Without warning, the storm intensified. Bancroft was knocked to the ground. He struggled to get up, but hit a rough patch of ice and fell again. The impact split the berg, and Bancroft was thrown into the freezing sea.

He felt his body relax as he accepted what he knew was going to be an almost instantaneous death.

But something shocked him. He was still alive. He commanded his limbs to move, treading water to stay afloat.

“Roald,” he screamed into the radio. “I’ve fallen into the water. Come and get me. I’m within sight of the door. I’m ok, though. I don’t know why.

“The ocean is warm.”