Shousetsu Bang*Bang no. 100 Cover ver. 5

by serenity_winner Love8



by shukyou (主教) illustrated by serenity_winner (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/313996.html) “He’s pretty cute, isn’t he?” asked Jahi. “I’m sure she is,” I said without even looking, making sure I came through loud and clear over the thudding music. I had come out for the evening for a drink and some relaxation, not for Jahi’s half-assed attempts to […]


The Exile’s Tale and Other Complete Wastes of Time

by shukyou (主教) illustrated by serenity_winner (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/304947.html) Everyone knew about Professor Thomas Oakley. He was a brilliant scholar and translator of Medieval and Renaissance European literature, respected by all in his field. He had a handsome, aquiline profile so regal and stern that even his rare smiles looked serious. He had a deep, rich […]


Point of View

(stand-alone illustration)



by serenity_winner (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/269763.html) Love0


Makes Three

I heard from someone once it was good etiquette to have someone announce your presence before going in to meet with a lady, so that’s why I made sure to bounce one of Aveshi Karaen’s guards off her door real hard before going in to make introductions. Trevor wasn’t so much hung up on etiquette, though, so his guy just got a punch in the nose and went down in a big puddle of swishy purple fabric. Fuckin’ purple on these guys.

I picked up my guy again with one hand and gave him another good bowl right into Aveshi’s door. His helmet made a real nice ‘thok’ sound against it and he groaned. He’d be real purple himself tomorrow. So I was doing him a favor. Trevor got their dumb purple guns off them and I swiped the keycard I’d nabbed earlier through the lock. We were pretty well announced, I figured.

Aveshi was just sitting in her fluffy chair with her hands folded on her lap when we came in. She picked up a long thin pipe off the table next to her and brought it up to her mouth, resting the tip between the split in her lower lip as she took a draw. She leaned her head back and let the smoke curl out of her nostrils. She was supposed to be the real scandalous type with how she wore her veil to show her mouth and nose, but I wasn’t impressed. You see one salaari under their veils and you seen them all, and I’d seen more than one. I’d seen three.


White People Kissing in the Rain [WORKING TITLE]

Daniel paused a few steps away from the checkout counter and grimaced. God damn it, for how much of a burnout Eddie clearly was, he took an impressive assortment of shifts. This was what he got for not going to the “good” 7-Eleven. Daniel shook his head at himself and raised his eyes to heaven for strength so he could just get this over with.

He put his two six-packs of Sam Adams up on the counter and pulled out his wallet without making eye contact. He could still feel it, the slow, stoned pull of Eddie’s gaze as it went from the beer to his face. Just hearing him start to smile made him want to punch him in the face.

“Oh, hey, Harold!” Eddie said. “Where’s Kumar?”

Daniel gritted his teeth. “Fucking your mother,” he said, and Eddie just let out a laugh like a baked donkey.


Now It Can Be Told

The three broken ribs and the black eye she could live with; what really had Ginger upset was how they’d taken her lipstick. She had a little split at the corner of her lip that she couldn’t stop herself from poking with her teeth and tongue; without her face on, she had nothing to keep her from bothering at it. Just another indignity on top of all the others today. Getting thrown down the stairs by a Turkish opium dealer had really been the highlight of the day.

She heard some noise outside of her hospital room and pulled the thin, scratchy blanket up over as much of her as she could. She had had enough of doctors for the day, thank you very much. The sound she heard coming through the door didn’t sound like any of the doctors who’d been poking and prodding and interrogating her; it sounded like a very familiar little hurricane.

“I know for a fact that Miss Snapps was admitted to this hospital and you are going to show me to her room before I buy this whole ward and turn it into a bowling alley,” she heard, and closed her eyes as she both smiled and felt a little bit of tears prick at her eyes. “And I don’t even like bowling!” The doctor’s voice was lower and softer, and Ginger couldn’t quite make out what he said, but she sure heard the response. “I didn’t get hit on the head hard enough not to know who my own secretary is. Ginger! Virginia Eudora Snapps, six feet tall, redhead, killer blue eyes, can punch a Frenchman through a church door, and makes a hell of a Manhattan. She came into this hospital with me and you’re going to tell me where you’ve put her.”


Everything living tries to get back to the soil

MARCH 7, 2012

Abraham wiped a bit of horseradish out of his beard with a paper napkin he’d swiped from some fast food joint or another. He had established quite a hoard of ill-begotten paper goods over the years, along with sugar packets, condiments, and other easily pocketed items, before he’d discovered the power of buying in bulk. Eating a roast beef sandwich didn’t merit breaking into the stash of the good stuff, though, so his crumbs were caught with stolen goods.

He took another bite and clicked on another random YouTube video. He’d started somewhere an hour or so ago with something he’d actually specifically intended to watch, but the internet being what it was and all, he’d lost time and all memory of where he’d started, and was now watching a man in a car giving a review of food he’d gotten at Arby’s. Good napkins, Arby’s.


Backstage at the Speakeasy

illustration by serenity_winner (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/222485.html) Love0


On Earth My Nina

Jonathan Crowe @birdsinmybeard
Yesterday was not the first time I told someone I was an ornithologist and they thought I meant orthodontist, but I can pray it is the last.

Pen Hamilton @pen_ham
@birdsinmybeard It’s ’cause you got such beautiful chompers!

Pen Hamilton @pen_ham
I’m thinking: braces for birds — “Your smile will be im-pecker-ble!”

Jonathan Crowe @birdsinmybeard
@pen_ham I’m confiscating your phone.

Pen Hamilton @pen_ham
@birdsinmybeard Come and get it, chickadee.


War Bonds

It was the war’s fault that she was there, in dungarees and with all her wavy red hair tied back in a kerchief, her hands grubby in the crevices of her knuckles and palms, holding pneumatic tools she hadn’t known had existed two weeks before, wearing a gold locket with Tom’s picture in it the way his letters promised he kept what few pictures he had of her wedged in the crevices of the metal that held his bunk to the wall. The war was responsible for how the nails she’d always kept so nice were ragged at the tips and cuticles, and rimmed around and beneath with heavy black-brown grease; the war was why she came home to an empty house and cooked supper for one and jumped in the middle of the night at every unexplained noise and sometimes stayed awake until dawn, hugging Tom’s pillow to her chest and telling herself it was going to be all right.

She wouldn’t complain; she was a good girl who never complained. She just wanted God and the rest of the universe to be clear on the point of the matter of her suffering. She had done nothing wrong; it was the war.


Sid Stills’ Blues (Three-Quarters in the Bag in Alphabet City)

The headache wasn’t what woke him, but it was what kept him from going back to sleep once he was up. It rolled through his head like a drum line, pounding its high school marching band arrangements of some once-golden oldie across his brain with all the embarrassing force of the time he’d been sixteen and nearly killed himself with his father’s Jack. He hadn’t been hung over like this in years, decades. Just one more shit side effect, he supposed, of getting old.

What woke him was the phone. The Damn Agent had bought him the fucking thing, showed up on his doorstep to show him how to use it, and threatened to show up again every time Sid didn’t pick up, which was by Sid’s estimation a fate worse than answering a phone call every other week or so. Thus he wasn’t surprised when he picked it up to see the words Damn Agent on the screen. He’d learned how to program that little feature himself. “Sid,” he half-mumbled, half-grunted into the receiver end of the weird little rectangle, falling back against the couch cushions and draping an arm across his eyes. He hadn’t made it the bed; he hadn’t remembered that.

“Sid!” chirped the Damn Agent, who sounded too chipper for … well, Sid hadn’t looked at the clock yet, but he decided the exact time didn’t matter as far as too chipper went. “Got something I think you should take a look at, really make your day.”


Seven Tears into the Sea

Surprisingly, given the clinically precise lines of the architecture and the modern, open-air sensibilities of the lobby, the inner offices of the Ceridian Communications building’s thirty-fourth floor were decorated like a Victorian library. Everything was mahogany and embellished with rounded flourishes. The chair where Dylan was currently crossing and uncrossing his legs, trying to swaddle his fidgeting in an air of thoughtful deliberation, was cushioned with red velvet and horse hair. It prickled through his jeans.

They were dark jeans, good jeans, designer in fact, according to Fiona, his business partner Amir’s girlfriend, who lived with Dylan and Amir in everything but name. She picked out his outfit for this meeting – once Amir’s stomach flu hit the 72-hour mark and it became clear that Dylan would have to go it alone – with so much care you would have thought it was Oscar night. Dylan was originally just going to wear his suit, but when he put it on for the first time in five years it turned out the pants had a mysterious new giant hole in the crotch that the Greek tailor down the block couldn’t or wouldn’t fix.


The Beautiful West

“Behold, she comes to meet you, does the Beautiful West, meeting you with her lovely tresses, and she says, ‘Here comes he who I have borne, whose horn is upstanding, the eye-painted pillar, the bull of the sky! Your shape is distinct; pass in peace, for I have protected you’ — so says the Beautiful West to the king.”
from Pyramid Text Utterance 254, trans. R. O. Faulkner.

“It is good of my mother to order me like this,
‘Give it up out of your sights’;
see how my heart is torn by the memory of him,
love of him has stolen me.
Look what a senseless man he is
– but I am just like him.
He does not realise how I wish to embrace him,
or he would write to my mother.”
from Papyrus Chester Beatty I, trans. B. Mathieu