What I wrote in 2017

It’s yes, I should write an eligibility post season again.

Short stories published in 2017

“Rudy’s Revenge”, published by Alliteration, Ink in No Shit, There I Was. This anthology is a collection of stories all beginning with the phrase, “No shit, there I was…”

No shit, there I was, trying to get one of the new clowns—guy who called himself Rudy—to back down from an ace-high straight. “Dude, don’t bet a witch doctor your immortal soul,” I warned. Most of the new guys would have listened. Most of the guys in the room were shaking their heads in disbelief.

Rudy scoffed. “What kind of witch doctor goes by Donald?” he said, waving his hand in the middle-aged man’s direction. “This guy’s a joke.”

“The Smell of Home”,  published by Dreaming Robot Press in 2018 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide. This anthology is the fourth in its series. Each year the publishers collect science fiction stories appropriate to middle-grade readers regarding exploring. They emphasize diversity in characters and situations.

I knelt on the porch, the bare pads of my toes cooling on the cement. The late summer sun hadn’t made it around to this side of the house yet, and the roof kept the porch a good ten degrees cooler than the grass, except where the shadow of the cable bisected the field.

Caroline said our house needed guarding because of the cable. It was slate grey, wider than an oak, and it soared through our roof into the sky and out of sight. Caroline said thousands of lives depended on it.

Other stuff

If you’re more of the User Experience or Design wonk, you may be interested in:

Day 103: More and more duckens

Day 103:

I have so many birds that I can’t open a door without birds moving in or out.

We will not discuss the droppings.

A red background representing red granite, covered with off-white splotches representing ducken poo.
They’re. On. Everything.

Day 102: More ducken tales

Day 102:

Once upon a time there were twin ducken babies (chicklings? chicklets?) named Move and Get Out Of The Way who lived deep in the tunnels of Serendipity Plains.

One day the two babies decided to stand in the way of absolutely everything their nearby human did, until she accidentally tapped one of them with a shovel. Not hard enough to bruise, even, just hard enough to get their attention.

Then the creatures let up a wail that would set even the sternest and most uncaring heart ablaze with pain and sorrow of their tiny fluffy broken hearts.

And the human ended up serving the tiny chicklets the end of her bread off her sandwich.

And they were best friends again for at least ten minutes at which point the human started yelling at them by name all over again.

The end.

Sketch of two duckens so close o the artist that you can't see the feet of one of them because it's out of the frame. They stare with beady eyes. Labelled "always as close as possible."
Like having sentient slippers.

Day 101: Getting Deeper

Day 101:

In addition to turning toward the giant mountain (a direction I call “east” based on the sunrise) I’m digging deeper than ever before. The deeper I go, the higher the quality and volume of valuable stone like granite and andesite I’m hitting. I’m finding more iron ore, too.

I’ve got two baby chicks following me around as if somehow we’re going to find a corn cavern or something down in the lower ends of the pit. They’re much more eager than Bobby is… Bobby just kinds of lolls about as if to say “yeah, sure, let me know if there’s something interesting going on,” while the two chicks are like “HEY WHAT IS THAT WHAT ARE YOU DOING HOW ABOUT IF I STAND HERE IN THE WORST PLACE POSSIBLE WHILE YOU DIG?”

Babies. Ugh.

Line drawing of the artist trying to mine while the chicks stand on the rock the artist is trying to mine. Caption: Optimal position of baby ducken (according to them). 1. on rock I want to hit. 2. On my foot.

Day 100: 100 Days

Day 100:

If I hadn’t kept this log since arriving, I would’ve had no idea that today was any kind of special. And really except for humans’ obsession with base 10 and round numbers it isn’t special.

But it is day 100.

It takes less than 100 days to become a certified miner. Because the job is hazardous, dirty, and involves a lot of interstellar travel, it takes about 3 days to find a job after certification. Now that we use mining lasers and frictionless mining transportation, I could’ve taken this entire planet apart in less than 100 days had I the right equipment.  100 days means nothing in terms of mining.

It doesn’t even really mean much in terms of time. Earthers still keep to the old  30-day-to-a-month calendar, so 100 days isn’t even a round number of months in that system. It’s an overrun, meaning that whatever was supposed to be done in 90 days wasn’t finished on time.

But it’s a triple digit number. It means I’ve been here 100 days longer than I desire. It means my arms are always sore and my shoulders injured, my back aches, my legs are bruised, and I still sleep on a sheepskin in front of a fire in a glorified cave next to a yard full of very loud duckens.

(It occurs to me that I could probably make a feather bed. Why did it take until now to occur to me?!?)

I wonder how long it will take for me to totally adjust to my situation. Another few weeks? A year? Ten years? I’m already so tied up in my day-to-day that I rarely have time to get angry about it until I’m going to sleep, and then I’m blissfully too tired to care anymore.

I want to go home, but instead of a burning searing pain of knowledge of everything I’m missing every moment, it’s become an ache of longing for the things I remember. I’m afraid I’ll forget what it’s really like and at some point just miss it because I’m supposed to.

On the other hand, if you had told me 200 days ago that I would spend 100 days stranded on a planet by myself with no technological assistance, I would have bet all I had that I wouldn’t have made it 30 days, forget 100. I’m proud of surviving, if such a thing is allowed.

The sun has set and the zombies are starting to growl over the hills, so I’m going to dampen my fire and go to sleep.

Here’s to another 100 days.

Sketch of calendar pages with x's drawn over each day. Captioned: Day 100. I have no words.