The One With Giant Mechanical Spiders In

It all began one summer when–

No, that’s not precisely true, because it could all have been said to have begun years before, with my birth, or my uncle’s birth, or von Helmfried’s birth, or with the birth of whatever knightly fellow decided to clear away all the trees and deer and wolves and what-have-you and set some of his serfs–

–I think they were called serfs, unless I’m thinking of the sort of angel fellows, which isn’t the thing at all–

–to growing turnips and sheep and things on the land that would become known, for some reason, as Grauvghmare.


Mister Seagull Gives No Fucks

This is the best shaggy-dog story that I know:

Way back when I was a freshman in high school, I had this math teacher named Mr. Siegal. Mr. Siegal was a hardass. You hear stories about hardass teachers sometimes, the ones that push their students hard and take no shit and never let up and turn out to be the best, most inspiring teachers a guy could ever have–well, that wasn’t the kind of hardass that Mr. Siegal was. Mr. Siegal was a hardass because he wanted everybody else to be just as miserable as he was. Later on I found out that he’d burned out on his PhD program and had to grab the first job that came along that he was qualified for, but all I knew back then was that he hated everything, including his job and us. We didn’t like him much, either.


Smart-Aleck (Extra-Spicy Detective Stories, Issue 38, February 28, 1935)

Frank Blakeley’s office was the size of my entire life. His desk was a slab of mahogany as big as a door, nothing marring the perfect mirrored darkness but a telephone and a pristine blotter. The rug was thick enough to drown in. Outside his windows most of Seattle hunkered down in the overcast darkness, like a beaten dog showing Blakeley its belly, hoping for a pat, expecting only another kick.

Even the smoke from his cigar looked rich: thick white curls eddying around his head like an ersatz halo, too heavy to rise until they had a moment to dissolve. Frank’s family was money, and more than money, power. He might have been the district attorney but he didn’t work out of the DA’s office downtown, tucked away in those concrete rat warrens making the city go. What Frank liked was this private office like a showroom, high up in Smith Tower where he could look down on the rest of us and smile. I didn’t belong here, and I knew it. His smile said he knew it too. I rested my battered fedora on my knee and waited, patiently, to find out why I’d come.


Justice Comes to Shit Mesa

The red-dirt scrublands of West Texas had been blasted flat by the sun long ago, until there wasn’t so much as an anthill as far as the eye could see. Gnarled mesquite trees and tufts of desert grass clung to life wherever they could, adding a gray sort of green to the endless expanse of reddish-brown, but the scrubland and everything in it was dwarfed by the monstrous bowl of the sky overhead. The sun hung high, a tight ball of searing white light that roasted everything below to a crisp. There were railway tracks running on forever into the distance both east and west, the crossties a sullen, rusty black too hot to look at, let alone touch. A man could stand by the tracks and watch the train approach for hours, slowly growing larger without getting any closer at all, just swelling on the horizon like a fattening tick.


Coming Undone

I do not think that I will ever get used to the sight of my come lifting off the belly of my lover and flowing back into me, like a river reversing to flow back to its source. It is exactly as odd a sensation as one might think; however, the throb of my orgasm unhappening distracts me utterly.

Benjamin’s eyebrows both shoot up, making Damon fight to control his amusement. If nothing else comes of this evening’s diversions, at least he’s managed to make his writing partner react with something other than his usual helpful-puppy earnestness. It doesn’t last long. Benjamin recovers himself with an anxious laugh, as he always does. Benjamin laughs at himself constantly, laughs along with everything, attempting to ingratiate himself with the world. Damon finds it both charming and exasperating.


Engulfed In The Tentacles Of Horror

The first thing that Alexander St. Roivas became aware of, upon cracking open a bleary eye, was the unholy mess. Unholy in more than metaphor: eldritch texts were stacked close and piled high upon every flat surface, including upon stacks of other, less critical eldritch texts, which doubled nicely as book-stands. What bits of the floor, walls, and furniture were not mazed with bookmark-studded tomes were littered with scribbled incantatory formulae, mind-twisting diagrams drawn in many things that were not ink, and the numberless blasphemous, bizarre devices that were the tools of Alexander’s family trade. He had clawed frantically through each and every one in search of the proper response to–

–ah, yes, there was the second thing he became aware of, the bloom of the indefatigable scratching seemingly buried in the depths of his formidable brain. Like a maddened, verbigerative Horace Greeley the phantom itch could only pulse its warning in the most general of senses, go west, young St. Roivas, go west–but there was quite a lot of barbaric American wasteland to the west of Massachusetts, and Alexander cherished civilization in those rare moments in which he was allowed to enjoy it. Until he could put a name and a reason to the itch, he was not inclined to let it lead him into the wilderness. Indeed, he was barely inclined to let it bring him to leave his bed (despite thirty-some-odd years of stern self-discipline to the contrary) for, in his rage at his continuing failure, he had resorted to carefully-rationed self-medication in the form of three sturdy measures of his best Irish whisky. The drink had stilled both the itch that ravened in his mind and his own furious self-recrimination, but given that much of the rest of the night was a blur, he was now, in his waking state, aware that it might have led him into untoward behavior–

–as if summoned the heavy bolster beneath his head shifted and flexed, resolving itself as a particularly gross and meaty arm covered in a thick mat of fur, and Alexander St. Roivas (much to his chagrin) became aware of the third and final thing: that is to say, the hulking, unconscious presence of a second body in his bed. His disgust was at least partially aesthetic. Catching the edge of the bed in one hand Alexander made to ease himself away from the intruder, noticing as he moved that he was both completely unclothed and sore in certain suggestive places. “Blasphemous gods, not again,” he hissed under his breath.


The Deadline

What is it the pulps always say? It started with a dame.

God-damned pulps. Ruined my life. Fresh out of the war, barely twenty, looking for something to do and thinking that those private eyes in the pulps were awfully swell. Well. They were. On pulp stock. In real life the gig stank, and by the time McCrae came around looking for a PI who could maybe let a few things slide, I didn’t have a damn left to give. Sure, he took care of me well enough while I dug up his dirt and did his slightly-soiled work, but a couple of months ago McCrae caught himself a bullet and died of it. Left me out in the cold, and stinking of poison, to boot. I had a rep as being one of McCrae’s crooked little pets. I was legit, but just barely, and I sure as hell wasn’t clean, and nobody would touch me unless they were cheap, or desperate, or both. What little I still made from divorce work and the occasional missing-persons case wasn’t enough. I was living out of the back room of my office in a sleazy building just barely on the right side of the tracks, and I needed to trip over a cheating husband soon or I’d lose that, too, and then it would have been just me, and the gutter, and the bottle, like it was for a million other poor guys out there right now. The end of the war nearly killed Seattle, and then the Depression nearly killed it all over again. It was a hard place to be in those days. Still, I stayed. I didn’t have anywhere else to go.


Plumbing the Depths of Mystery

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The Ballad Of Barefoot Robin

or The Ridiculous Seduction Of Lieutenant Worthington by Roumonte Emi (竜主天 蝦) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/57246.html) 1. In all the years to come, whatever else Thomas Worthington did or did not blame for his predicament, in the end it was always the chains he came back to, always the chains he laid the blame on, often with […]


Wrapped Around My Little Finger

by Roumonte Emi (竜主天 蝦) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/4392.html) The little wrinkled brown thing was heavy and oddly warm in Kensuke’s hand, wrapped in white ribbons and sealed with a tiny metal disc. “Just for you, my friend!” Tomoya crowed, throwing an arm heavily about Kensuke’s shoulders. Kensuke almost stumbled under the sudden weight, his fingers closing […]