Wednesday, 20 February 2019


God, what was I supposed to do with the giant lizards? No way would they fit on board. And about the unicorns, sorry, but after forty days and forty nights we’d run out of food. Tasted of horse, if you want to know. You ask me, we’re better off without. Wicked temper and a big dagger on their heads.

If you want them, why don’t you just make some more? You can’t, can you? Well, well, how are the mighty fallen. Created all of this in six days and now you can’t do any more than piss on us all.

Image credit: Phabolais, a build by Squonk Levenque in Second life, June 2016.


After global warming, the oxygen crisis. We learned in school that the atmosphere’s 21% oxygen, right? Twenty years ago it was. It’s 22 now. So old folks get to breathe a little easier, nothing wrong with that? At 24%, you can’t fight city fires. At 26, you see long-term health damage: blindness, strokes.

No-one knows why it’s happening. Humanity’s grown so big, everything we do bumps up against something, like Alice in the White Rabbit’s house, but we still know almost nothing about how the world works.

At 27%, it’s the end. All the vegetation will burn until it’s gone.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction, including the imaginary science.
Any resemblance to actual facts is coincidental.

Image credit: Cameron Strandberg, 2009

Monday, 28 January 2019


I love adult entertainment. Intellectual conversation over a dinner of impeccable good taste, with incidental music from a baroque chamber ensemble. Philosophical lectures delivered to enquiring minds. Performances of the latest improvised conceptions of an up and coming young pianist. A private opening at an art gallery, for a select group of connoisseurs. A stroll through one of the great museums of the world, accompanied by a fellow expert on some singular piece of history.

But judging by the garish flashing neon sign, and the ladies standing alluringly within the red-lit doorway, I don’t think that’s what this establishment offers.

This piece also appeared in Crap Mariner's 100 Word Challenge, January 2019.

Concert for flute with Frederick the Great in Sanssouci
Adolph von Menzel  (1815–1905)
Source: Wikipedia

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If on a hot summer evening in Japan, you lean out of the window of your stifling apartment, often you will hear a whistle-humming like that of high-voltage electricity pylons. But it is actually millions of insects, all calling to each other.

And if on that hot summer evening in Japan, you lean out and hear only the distant silence of the city, and you jingle a bunch of keys, the insects will call back to the ultrasonic rustle, and then call back to each other, and they will keep going all night, calling to each other because they are calling to each other.

May 1998. A street in the old merchants' quarter, Nara.

Monday, 20 August 2018

A fragment

On a Sunday, by the sea
My last girlfriend said to me...

Sunday, 22 July 2018


“Sharper on table 4,” said my colleague. He showed me a replay. “You can't see anything,” he said, “but something’s off, I can smell it.”

The cameras run at 200 frames per second, and I had to single-step to see it. Dealing from the bottom, under the top, peeking at the corners, faster than the eye could see.

Faster than human fingers could move.

“Android or just bioenhanced, we’ll need a SWAT team to handle this one if he doesn’t leave quietly,” I said.

Sometimes I think we should give up and let anything sit at a poker table. They did that in sports years ago.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Le Morte d’Arthur

There was a knight of Arthur’s band
Who did great deeds by strength of hand
But no wise would he be content
Till Guinevere lay in his tent.

Disloyalty was his downfall
Without which he had had else all.
“If only I had Guinevere”
Quoth he, “There’s nought else I hold dear.”
But all men know how that turned out
In Caxton’s book of Arthur’s Morte.

If Lancelot had not been false
Then things had not come to this pass.
But even in the courts of kings
Man’s fatal defect evil brings
And that’s why we can’t have nice things.

This story also appears in Crap Mariner’s 100 Word Weekly Challenge.