26
Feb

226: Love is in the Air

PROLOGUE.

There are millions of signals passing through you right now.

They’re invisible. They have no mass and no weight, and yet they’re real, they have significance. They do not cause you any harm–probably. We’ve been using them as a form of communication for over a hundred years. I can decipher them with a very simple piece of equipment.

–you give loooove a bad naaaame–

–today’s guest is Reza Aslan, author of–

–what, who cares if, we all know that–

–and I will wait, I will wait for you–

I’m talking, of course, about radio. But the world of AM/FM radio, which most–or all, since you’re listening to me on the radio right now, unless of course you’re listening to the podcast version–which most of you are familiar with, is only a very, very tiny part of the radio spectrum. A grain of sand on an infinite beach, if you will. For the rest, you will need a shortwave radio, or a scanner, or something of the like.

29
Apr

Manner of Death

Two was suspicious.

Two was often a sign of more bodies that just hadn’t been found: someone buried, someone burned, someone hidden, or someone drowned. Or someone in another jurisdiction, even, someone that hadn’t gone into Alan’s office. They were only just starting to communicate with other networks now, after finding the second body.

The first one had been a prostitute. Female, African-American, 22; height: 5’5″; weight: 147. She’d had bad teeth, gum disease, and fingertips yellowed from smoking cigarettes. She’d also been missing approximately 40% of her blood, despite a lack of blood at the scene. Just her, with a ragged little hole chewed into her forearm, and no blood whatsoever. And no signs of a violent struggle. Her name had been Amanda, but everyone called her Mandy.

Weird. Very weird.

25
Mar

Like I Like My Coffee

“I’m telling you, it’s just because you’ve never had good coffee.”

“All right, all right, I said I’d try it…”

I pasted a smile on my face as the next two customers stepped up to the counter. One: white, taller, curvy, long red hair tied back in a ponytail, one eyebrow piercing and one lip piercing, leather jacket. The other: shorter, Asian, short hair, horn-rimmed glasses, plaid shirt.

Conclusion: lesbian couple, possibly hipsters. Not that I could really stereotype, being a pink-haired lady-who-likes-ladies myself. I used to have enough metal in my face to set off the airport alarms, but I got bored with those and went for tattoos instead. I kept the fleshies in my ears, though; can’t let all that stretching go to waste.

“What can I get you ladies?” I asked.

“I’ll have the El Paraiso,” said the redhead.

29
Oct

And I shall know you like the back of my hand

George whipped around on the path, sending up a little cloud of dust around his feet. “How long are you going to keep following me?”

The man walking just three paces behind him raised his eyebrows. “Well, I’d hardly call it following. It isn’t as if you don’t know I’m here.”

George frowned. “It’s been two months. Aren’t you, I don’t know, bored?”

“Bored?” His eyebrows hitched higher. A tremulous grin twitched up one side of his mouth higher than the other. “Why would I be bored? Just last week we were nearly killed by harpies. It was fantastic.”

24
Sep

Flight of the Firebirds

story by Nijiiro Sumi (虹色墨)
illustration by E. Mango (E. 万語)

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/221901.html)

19
Mar

And I got ready for the future to arrive

She woke up.

The sun was out and the sky was bright, so she woke up. She lay there for a while, blinking at the ceiling, and thought about trying to go back to sleep. Then she got up. She put on her Army t-shirt and a pair of shorts and laced on her running shoes.

On her way to the door, she heard her mother yell behind her, “Helena! Aren’t you going to have any breakfast?”

“Later!” she yelled back and shut the door behind her, a little too hard.

20
Feb

You’re Doing It Wrong

INT. – RILEY’S APARTMENT – BATHROOM – NIGHT

Close-up on RILEY’s face as he leans in close to the mirror, applying mascara. Catchy pop music plays in the background. Slow pull back, so that we can see him pausing in his ministrations every now and then to bop along to the music, moving his shoulders and arms, mouthing along to the lyrics. He looks as though he’s in his 20s, with fine, almost feminine features, and short brown hair and multiple piercings in each ear: a variety of hoops and studs in his lobes, a cartilage piercing in one ear, and a bar in the other. Full-sleeve renderings of Aztec gods and other mythological imagery cover both his arms. Pull back farther, and we can see a tramp stamp of an infinity symbol in the small of his back. He’s dressed in a pair of dark red briefs.

24
Oct

nothing under my skin but light

Victor’s hand shook so hard that he had to try the key card three times before the door would open. Stewart was already there, stretched out on one of the beds. Victor closed the door behind him and leaned his back against it, hands behind his back, just staring.

“Please,” he said. “Tell me you’ve come for me.”

Stewart stretched catlike and rolled onto his side, propping himself up on his elbow to look at Victor. “Why else would I be here?”

22
Aug

Send My Love to the Dancefloor

He’s not cruising, not really. Hitting the big 3-0 does that for a guy. That digit clicks over and you realize that you don’t have one foot in the grave, okay, you’re still pretty fit and you’ve still got all your hair. Then you look around and the boys at the bars are getting younger and younger and they don’t understand when you make jokes about cassette tapes or wax nostalgic about 21 Jump Street and beer pong seems really juvenile and you realize, you are really getting too old for this shit, and you’d like to come home to a friendly face now and then.

Which is why Shane is at this bar, but he’s not cruising. And he’s got his eye on this cute little twink who’s melting into the wall.

19
Jun

the things that keep me miles away

He has a tent. He has a sleeping bag. He has a week’s worth of: energy bars, MREs, vitamin C, water purifying tablets, batteries, coffee, socks, multivitamins. He has two sets of thermal underwear, a knife, a flare gun, a first-aid kit, a lighter, a flashlight, sunscreen, a compass, bug repellent, deodorant, a length of rope, half a dozen ballpoint pens, a notebook, sunglasses, two small solar panels.

He also has: one Canon 1DS Mark III, one Canon V1, an assortment of lenses, 300 rolls of Kodak film, and a tripod.

Above him, the helicopter rotors whir away, whump whump whump whump whump whump, fainter and fainter until they fade away entirely.

20
Mar

Just Another Sunday

Fran answered the door wearing nothing but a pink satin bathrobe. Her lipstick was far too red, but her hair was artfully disheveled and she peered down at Nina with just the right amount of sultry coyness, fluttering her eyelashes. “Is that the pizza?”

“Y-yes,” Nina squeaked.

“Perfect,” Fran purred, and hauled Nina in by the collar. Nina squeaked again and dropped the pizza, then stepped on it on the way to the couch. Fran wheeled Nina around and pushed her onto her back on the sofa, then crawled right over and on top of her. The robe gapped open to reveal the tops of her breasts.

1
Jul

Her Majesty’s Superman

The Hyperion would not have been out of place on the side of some Greek vase or urn, well-muscled and broad of shoulder, with strikingly handsome features and a generous mouth well-suited to smiles. His eyes were the colour of good English loam, his hair only a few shades darker than autumn wheat, and he was tall, over six feet, and his very presence made every room too small to contain him. Add to that the blue and red dress uniform of General Hyperion, of the Royal Division of Supermen, with gold epaulettes and the decorations and medals of his feats, and women all but swooned in his presence. The effect he had on others often made him uncomfortable; though he was conscious of his good looks and the effect he had on others, he was a modest man by nature. But as symbol of the British Empire and commander of the Royal Division of Supermen, he must necessarily look and dress the part.

30
Apr

Amaterasu Rising

by Nijiiro Sumi (虹色墨)

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/105971.html)

Hiroko woke up feeling sick. It didn’t take her long to figure out that she felt sick because she was a) upside-down and b) still strapped into Thanatos and c) in a tree because d) they’d gotten shot down by the enemy. Again. With her luck, Veronica had landed Amaterasu in some glamorous way that didn’t involve hanging upside-down by her seat straps. Hiroko grimly made sure she was hanging onto something before deactivating the straps, then tested everything to make sure it still worked. Then she tested all her own limbs, to make sure they still worked. Then she carefully, gingerly, completely failed to maneuver Thanatos out of the tree, mainly because the branch supporting her snapped and sent her crashing to the ground.

Continue reading “Amaterasu Rising” »

31
Oct

[INSERT TITLE HERE]

by Nijiiro Sumi (虹色 墨)
illustrated by serenity_winner

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/97484.html)

“Every book I’ve ever written ends with someone dying; every one. Really nice people too. I wrote a book about the school teacher. I killed her the day before summer vacation. How cruel is that? And a civil engineer, Edward, the one I trapped with a heart attack in rush hour. I killed him. I killed! I killed them all.” – Kay Eiffel, Stranger Than Fiction. [REPLACE THIS QUOTE WITH SOMETHING MORE SUITABLE]

You’re drinking at the lesbian bar down the street to avoid antagonizing your roommate any more, and that’s when you encounter Joan.

Continue reading “[INSERT TITLE HERE]” »

23
Sep

Walter Farley is Rolling in his Grave

by Nijiiro Sumi (虹色 墨)
illustrated by Ramie

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/94538.html)

He opened his eyes, flat on his back in a wood. It was too perfect a place, the trees all the same height and color, as if someone had taken a rubber stamp to the world. The smooth, slender trees had no branches anywhere except at the top, so that the effect was of a series of white pillars leading up to a leafy ceiling that waved gently in the breeze, sending golden dappled sunlight down onto the forest floor. The leaves on the ground made a gentle shushing sound as Alec sat up, shielding his face from the glare with one hand. A moment ago he’d been in Baltimore, on his way back from the United Drugs.

About thirty paces away, the elves stood in a half-circle. There were perhaps a dozen of them, all nearly identical in form and face. They all had the same fine, pale features and the same long, fair hair, so that you could hardly tell man from woman, if indeed the elves even bothered with such distinctions. They were all dressed very richly, though strangely. Alec had always imagined, from reading Shakespeare, that they clad themselves in the finery of lords and ladies of ages long past, hose and doublets and robes and the like. Rather, though their clothes were clearly very rich, they were bizarre in shape and color, with some parts resembling the parts of flowers and other flora, and others resembling the parts of animals. The strangest was when the two came together and combined, so that one elf might have the arms of a flower and the antlers of a deer, while another might bear the faint suggestion of a giant cat, but in the pale pastels of a carnation.

Continue reading “Walter Farley is Rolling in his Grave” »