Sunday, November 30, 2008

NoMoWriMo 2

I was watching Dancing with the Stars in the nude when the doorbell rang. My friends all know not to interrupt me when I'm watching Dancing with the Stars, so I figured it was either Mormons or Madonna. But I was wrong on both counts.

"Who is it?" I yelled through the door.

"Federal Express." A woman's voice.

"Leave it on the doorstep," I said.

"Someone needs to sign for it."

"Shit," I muttered. I yanked one of the drapes down from the living room window and wrapped myself up like a mummy. But when I tried to get to the door I realized it was a mistake to wrap my legs together. I fell to the floor and struggled to move, looking like a giant pulsating larva. How did mummies manage? Apparently they wrapped their legs separately. "Just a minute," I hollered. I rolled over and over, hoping to unwrap myself, but I was rolling in the wrong direction. It was like when you're undoing the twist tie on a loaf of bread, and eventually you realize you're twisting the wrong way, which means you've doubled the number of twists you have to undo. I was now twice as wrapped-up in the drape. I couldn't move.

It was then that I realized the door wasn't locked anyway. "It's open!" I yelled.

She came in. She looked down at me, a human head protruding from a giant tube like a man being swallowed by an anaconda.

"Don't ask," I said.

"Lemme guess. Performance art. You're a butterfly emerging from--"

"Very funny."

"Is there someone here who can sign for this package? Someone whose arms aren't inside a cocoon? Or should I stick the pen in your mouth?"

"I'd prefer that you just get me out of this. Can you roll me toward the couch?"

"Hmm. I can see the top of your shoulder. No shirt? What are you wearing under your wrap?"

"Well . . . Nothing. But--"

"Ewwwww. What's in the package, your anatomically correct blow-up doll?"

"I assume it's a manuscript from some semi-literate hack author," I told her.

"Says here it's from someone named Grisham."

"Burn it."

"No, I better open it," she said. "It could be good." She unwrapped the package.

"This is highly irregular," I said. "Do you normally open--"

"It's called The Ambulance Chaser. I'll read it to you."

"I've died and gone to hell," I moaned. "It's the only explanation."
"He'd been a partner in the biggest law firm in Washington; now he was reduced to this. Les Highbottom stopped his client as they were about to enter the courtroom. 'Here, put this on,' he said, handing the woman a neck brace.

"'What for?' Nancy Fester asked. 'My neck's fine. I'm suing him for keying my car while I was in the mall.'

"'Trust me, wearing this is worth an extra half million with the jury, no matter what the defendant's charged with.'"

"Stop reading," I said. "I can't take any more. Grisham writing about small claims court is like Hemingway writing about mud wrestling. Just leave me here in my misery, will you? But first, turn me so I'm facing the TV. I don't want to miss Edyta Sliwinska's dance."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday Film Series

Next time you're in Evil Editor's Shorts, why not try a delicious hot pork wiener? Our concession stand has a full array of tasty lunch items.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Cartoon 267

Caption: anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Cartoon 266

Caption: Anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Beginning 579

I knew that the high water mark of my time in the town of Hope was my coercion and corruption of Jimmy Monroe, forcing him into setting fire to the City Hall and to murder himself. My mistake was in staying in Hope an extra month.

Heroin addiction is not what it’s made out to be. I had discovered in my youth that addiction need not be fatal, or that it need be out of control. A visit with expatriate Americans on the Dam in Amsterdam turned up a number of old hippies and political activist types who had chosen heroin as their lifestyle, and further had the intelligence to go to a country where the marketing forces for the drug were not out to kill them. These older, and happier, ex-hippies made a desultory living at this and that, and scraped by without upsetting their neighbors or the system. In return for their complacent and quiet existence free of crime, the state organized clean junk for them to put in their veins. The drug-addicted were uniformly pale, but then, all the Dutch around them were, at least during the long, wet winters. My junkie heroes weren’t remarkably underweight, and they had beautiful creamy skin, and they seemed quite content.

Anyway, it was when I was in the Dam that I started a business helping teenage boys lose their virginity. It paid well, kept my crack habit fed, and didn't take up much of my time. On a good day, I could do a dozen in the space of an hour. On Sundays there'd be a queue round the block. It was while watching them stumble into my little room and fight their way out of their brogues that I came up with the idea of a lightweight, slip-on shoe made out of recycled plastics . . . What? Don't look at me like that! Okay, so I invented Crocs; does that make me such a bad person?

Opening: Scott Jones.....Continuation: anon.

Cartoon 265

Caption: Evil Editor

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Face-Lift 581

Guess the Plot

All the Way to Amen

1. Katherine is having trouble forgiving the man who killed her only child in a grisly murder--until she realizes through prayer and a spiritual journey that she's made a few mistakes in her life, too.

2. Sunny Pristeen knew she was saved, until the day she let Beauregard Tauchss pull her drawers down in the choir loft. Actually, that would have been OK--Bo was like, really dreamy--except that slimy Luther Lupin saw them and made Sunny pay for his silence in the same coin. He kept his word though, and Sunny thought her prayers had been answered--until the next full moon rose above the horizon.

3. Little Lulu Landry has never managed to keep her eyes closed the entire prayer. Tonight she's determined to make it all the way to amen. But her pesky kitty cat, Lucifer, has other ideas...

4. Tommy and Gina have been dating for two years and they still haven't had sex because Gina was raised a good Catholic girl and she always says her prayers. Tommy doesn't mind Gina living on her prayers but he would like to get into her pants. Now that he's discovered an "Incantation de Concupiscere" can he persuade Gina to go . . . all the way to Amen?

5. Herman's head is bowed, and he's praying -- that he doesn't accidentally emit a snore. If he can just last until the service ends, then he can nap before the game. But it's toasty inside, and his eyelids feel like bowling balls. And now his wife Annie is giving him the Glare Of Hellfire...

6. Spike Thornby must stand in the grass under a full moon and pray aloud in a heartfelt and inspiring manner before his crush, Linda May, will consider his proposal, but -- woe! Interruptions galore! Fierce dogs, howling fathers, wayward robbers, and someone who may or may not be St. Jerome or the hobo from Toledo, disrupt Spike's recitations with such regularity May is doubtful he will make it . . . all the way to Amen.

Original Version

Dear Agent:

If someone murdered one of your loved ones—and not just any loved one, but the love of your life, your son—could you forgive the killer? [Yes, just as I feel certain he'll forgive me when I hire a hitman to take him out.] That is the predicament Katherine Wainwright faces in All the Way to Amen.

This story analyzes the concept of forgiveness. [You're losing me. I don't want to read about philosophy; I want to read about grisly murders.] Katherine Wainwright is an affluent woman who loses her son to a grisly murder and ultimately forgives his killer. [That sentence just rehashes the first paragraph.] Her spiritual journey forces Katherine into gut-wrenching self-examination, a process with which I believe many readers will identify. Katherine has done many things throughout her life that garner forgiveness [I don't see "garner" as the right word here. Possibly you're going for "merit" or "warrant" or "deserve," though it's not up to her whether she deserves forgiveness. I'd go with "beg."] including a one-time tryst with her brother-in-law that produced her son, a fact that doesn't surface until many years after the boy's death. This imperfect woman who once lived a life trying to exude perfection must learn how to forgive herself before she can forgive others—especially the man who took her son from her. [Who am I to cast stones at this man who committed a grisly murder when I once had fantastic sex with my sister's husband? (Or was it her husband's brother?)]

Many people gain satisfaction from watching the privileged endure hardship; however, I feel readers will cheer Katherine's return from despair as she becomes a more self-actualized and compassionate human being. The central theme of All the Way to Amen is pertinent in today's society of self-absorption, impulsive litigation and where vengeance, rather than forgiveness, is often considered the next reasonable step. I believe this book will appeal to women ages 30 to 55, especially mothers, and at 65,000 words it is paced for a quick and easy read. [You make it sound like you purposely cut it down to 65,000 words as a favor to the readers. I'd like to think it's 65,000 words because that's how long it was when you got to the end, not because you wanted it to be quick and easy for us.]

(I give my bio info and publishing history here)

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.



I believe many readers will identify [with the process].
I feel readers will cheer Katherine's return from despair.
I believe this book will appeal to women ages 30 to 55.

Believe it or not, it doesn't matter to the editor what an author believes about her own book. This stuff isn't as bad as the claims that the book will sell millions of copies or make a great movie, but the editor can decide how the book will affect readers and to whom it will appeal. The best way to convince us to read your book is not with themes and societal importance; it's with a compelling plot. Thus:

Is the murder in the book? Does Katherine discover the body? Is there a confrontation between Katherine and the murderer? Does the murderer get away with it? Does she look for the murderer, hound the police, visit him in jail? Is there another key character? We want to know what happens. I'm not sure she doesn't sit around reflecting on her life for 65,000 words.

Cartoon 264

Caption: Evil Editor

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Monday, November 24, 2008

New Beginning 578

I remember the exact way the heel of your hand fit against my back, the pressure squarely at the center. Your wrist brushed the apex of one shoulder blade as your fingers rested on the other, tapping a rhythm only you could hear.

We fit together from the first like the Matryoshka nesting dolls I brought home from Russia. Lenin inside of Stalin and Stalin inside of Gorbachev…their smooth curves fitting together, matching like the single piece of wood from which they were carved.

I miss your touch in lots of ways but none more so than there on my back, where it rested, marking me as yours. All outward signs you have faded. No trace of you remains anywhere but for my soul. Not so easily shrugged aside as a hand on my back. I push and pull, twist and tear but cannot release your grip.

I'm unsure if it's a blessing or my cross to bear, but when I close my eyes, I feel you next to me. Still. I hear hum of the air between us as you stretch your hand from your side and reach for me.

I try to free myself from the spell of her husky voice long enough to say what must be said. It is difficult. Chills run up and down my spine in syncopation. I need to get out of this now, before I end up in a grip I'll never escape.

"Honey," I say, hearing my voice waver like breath in cold air, "I'm afraid you dialed the wrong number."

Opening: Dasha Alexander.....Continuation: Joanna

Cartoon 263

Caption: Evil Editor

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Film Series

You always have a ball when you're in Evil Editor's Shorts. In fact, most weeks you have two.

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Beginning 577

It was a humid August night, and in seconds, Ceah Holt was going to walk into a glass wall. The street was empty. The sunset was draining. A song was in her mind and she watched a few scattered birds fly past the treetops as she walked.

She hadn’t felt this free in six weeks: summer school had ended that afternoon. She had taken Socials 10 so she could skip it in school and free up some blocks in later grades for AP courses and spares. She felt content. Accomplished. One step further on her path to success. She smiled up at the sky. She was fifteen and life was good for Ceah Holt. Yes, life was very good.


Ceah cursed, jumped back - and stopped. She and the glass stared at each other. Pressing her hand against the surface, Ceah tried to confirm what she was seeing: a large piece of glass in the middle of a Vancouver street.

I am going insane.

Something cold rolled over her fingers. She looked at her hand and her eyes popped; the glass had melted around her hand, burying it into the glass.

Biting back the urge to scream, Ceah attempted to wrench her hand out.

The glass poured over her arm like cold lava. Her entire right arm was immobilized. Ceah screamed. Her voice melted into the damp air.

Darkness loomed over her. It smiled.

"And so," concluded Professor Trumpet, "Ceah found herself in a totally different dimension, one with rainbows, silver trees, perpetually blue skies, and kindred woodland spirits." He shuffled his papers. "Time's up. Come to class next time armed with a plethora of portals, wardrobes, rabbit holes, etc. We shall discuss the various devices fantasy writers use to transport their characters from World A to World B."

Opening: Raylin Silver.....Continuaton: anon.

Cartoon 262

Caption: Freddie

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Beginning 576

The douche bag Chet Waverley was duct taped to a patio chair in Barkman’s kitchen. It wasn’t the best tape job Barkman had ever done. Too much around the ankles, not enough on the wrists, and though he’d had plenty of tape for a makeshift blindfold that would surely remove Chet Waverley’s eyebrows, there had been none left for adhering the chatty motherfucker’s lips together. Barkman chalked it up to being out of practice.

While Chet Waverley confessed in explicit detail to masterminding numerous money laundering schemes, Barkman added the words “Duct Tape” to the magnetic grocery list on the fridge. Satisfied, he capped the pen and placed the heel of his shoe on Chet Waverley’s groin.

A near complete silence befell Barkman's condo, spoiled only by the dull hum of the fridge and a rhythmic eruption of spittle at the corners of Chet Waverley's mouth as he began to hyperventilate. Barkman leaned in closer. “I don’t care about all that, Chester," he said, and applied more pressure with his foot. "Let’s talk about your inadequate parenting skills.”

"You little shit," gasped Waverly. "When your--"

Barkman buried his heel in Chet Waverly's groin, ignoring his cries of pain. Then he took the last of the chocolate cake out of the fridge and headed back to his room. Why, he wondered, does Mom keep dating such losers?

Opening: blogless_troll.....Continuation: Khazar-khum

Cartoon 261

Caption: Whirlochre

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Last Extremely Short Stories . . .

. . . are posted below. The task was to come up with five sentences which, when placed in front of the last five sentences of someone else's story, created a completely different story. Neither endings nor openings were submitted in a quantity that indicates a desire to continue the feature. Here are the four that haven't yet been posted.

Extremely Short Story 15

"Tommy has an imaginary friend named Mr. Boner," Bev tells Al, "and I don't know whether it's cute or unhealthy."

"It's unhealthy," Al replies, "and I suggest we put a stop to it right now."

So Bev goes into Tommy's bedroom and says, "Where's Mr. Boner? I'm afraid I have to kill him."

Tommy hides his anger as he fingers the pistol under his pillow. “He’s already asleep.”

“Well, all right, son,” she says, smiling at him and looking him over before she heads up to her bed. She always looks him over with this lovey look on her face. He hates it. I think he’s always hated it.

--Evil Editor/Robin S.

Extremely Short Story 14

"This one's cute." Tiffany bent down beside a fluffy black and white dog.

"I don't care about cute," Tina replied. "I care about getting our revenge on Tony." She smeared "Pongo Wongo Dongo - Drives Dogs Wild!' on her hand and stuck it next to the bars; in an instant, the fluffy charmer threw itself at the bars, jaws dripping with foam, snarling like a werewolf on speed.

"His name is Louie," Tiffany said. "We rescued him from the pound. We hope you like the name, because that's what he's used to."

Tina bent over and kissed Tony on top of his head. He didn't try to rub it off.

--McKoala/Chris Eldin

Extremely Short Story 13

Lormar smiled, knowing he was sure of Gentyl now. She had suspected at first, known that the sword in her hands did wonders that had nothing to do with her own skill, knew that her words were not inspiring enough to account for the army’s frenzied joy and that her beauty was not great enough to explain the adoring madness in their eyes. But they had adored her, cheered her, followed her, almost made her forget the bitter years in her father’s house; and in her joy, and in her wish to forget, she had let the sword suck the soul from her.

There she stood now, tall and proud at the army’s head, prepared to lead them to their final victory. Only Lormar knew that they would march forever through the desert, fighting foes that existed only in their minds, cheered by crowds that had never been, until they died of the hunger and weariness that were hidden from them by the sword-song.

A wave of excitement ran through the troops until someone in the back began cheering until the entire army seemed to join in the chant.

The only thing Gentyl heard was the Siren Song.

I told you, champion. All is well.

The sword began to sing Lormar's song to her; the notes, exquisite and beautiful, rang in her mind.


Extremely Short Story 12

Flash O Rafferty unrolled his dog-eared copy of Public Nuisance Monthly one more time and ran his eager eyes over the $20,000 competition on page 62. 'Perfect,' he muttered to himself, his flesh tingling beneath his shabby raincoat as he savoured the words most tasteless location till saliva erupted from under his tongue like Old Faithful. He tucked the magazine into his pocket, combed the tufts of hair round his navel and groin, and pulled his coat around himself, fastening the customised velcro attachments as loosely as possible. Tiptoeing from the alleyway with his camera bag, he made his way through the gathering crowd toward the circle of fire engines, ambulances and police cars. Beneath a tall tree, the headless body of an old woman lay mangled in the road, and he pulled out his lightmeter to check for the optimum angle.

Two firemen were in the sturdy tree, trailing cable and rope lines from the truck to the white coated victim. Off to the side, a small group stood watching, their faces glowing and glowering in the bright, October sunset. It was late afternoon; the shadows of the mourners stretched ridiculously long, disappearing into the black roof of the house next door to the market and the sky was almost perfectly cyan against the pumpkin orange of the sun.

He quickly set up his tripod and calmly collected several views of the same scene. As he adjusted for a sharper angle, he thought he might over-expose one of the shots so that the flapping coat appeared wing-like, like a dove, and the tree would be a black silhouette against the brightness of the sky.


Cartoon 260

Caption: Anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Face-Lift 580

Guess the Plot

The Pebble

1. Plucked from the rock shore by the then four year old Olza Crwzstyn, a small pebble the size and color of a dove's egg becomes the one constant in the lives of three generations of an East European immigrant family in post-war Greenland.

2. The landslide that destroyed Littleville was started by a pebble -- a pebble thrown by bad boy Jimmy Bean, who is now #1 on Sheriff Tyrone's list of Most Wanted Bastards. This is the worst day of Betty Anne's life. Six hours ago all was well, now her beauty parlor is in ruins, her son Jimmy is on the lam, her lawman boyfriend has sworn to put him behind bars for life, and there's no whiskey left in her bottle. Got a cigarette?

3. Unaware that King Uthpindar the Reprehensible is strolling below, juvenile delinquents high on the Ledge of Vastness toss rocks over the edge, causing the sudden demise of said monarch, followed by national jubilation and anarchy--until Todd Lawless and his shipload 'o hearty pirates sail in to make their conquest.

4. Jane Cummings hates her stepmother, Roxanne, an evil 23 year old slut who used burlesque moves to lure Jane's ailing ancient father to an undignified death and now lives large as a merry billionaire widow while Jane makes do in a tiny apartment on a diet of soda crackers and the pittance she gets from her library job. But now that Jane has lost 85 pounds, started looking good in a skimpy leopard-print romper, and is secretly doing target practice with a slingshot, a mere pebble could change everything.

5. Locked away in a miserable cell, Ronan escapes through a pebble, landing 1000 years in the future, where he falls in love with Teagan after materializing in her sitting room. It's a dream come true, until a very powerful witch shows up wanting something Ronan has. Could it be . . . The Pebble?

6. When oppressed teenager Gemma Jones tossed a pebble at the bedroom window of her love interest Henry Patterson, she had no intention of killing a wicked witch and being rewarded with a pair of magical red shoes. Now that she can become invisible, walk on water, and fly, it's time to get started on her list of revenges.

Original Version

Dear Editor.

Great things sometimes come in dull packages.

Teagan would never have guessed she holds a gate to eternity in her hands. It’s nothing but a dull black pebble, after all. [It's hard to see how you can hold a pebble in more than one hand.] There are all sorts of ways to explain away the friendly presence she becomes aware of from the day she brings it home from the beach. That is, until an all too real five foot nine presence with a mischievous grin and burnt-umber eyes materialises in her sitting room, and no amount of reasoning can explain him away. [LSD in the tea explains it.] [Why are we calling it a "presence" now that it has materialized? She should be able to come up with a more specific term if she tries really hard.]

Not that Teagan tries very hard.

Ronan is all too keen to stay in the twenty-first century. He came to Teagan from more than a thousand years ago, escaping through the pebble from a miserable cell. He'd spent thirteen years studying magic, and he's dying to show Teagan everything he's learned. The only thing standing between him and bliss with the woman he loves [He loves her? Already?] is a witch. A very powerful witch. [Teagan's mother.] Ronan has something she wants, and she’ll do anything to get it from him. Now all he and Teagan have to do is figure out what it is. [Could it be . . . The Pebble?]

The Pebble is a 95 000-word paranormal romance set in both modern and ancient Ireland, as well as in Tir Na nOg, the mystical land beyond time from Celtic mythology.

I am a fulltime, prolific author of romantic fiction. I grew up in South Africa, but moved to Ireland in 2005, where I now live with my husband, our three children and six cats. [Those two sentences aren't needed. You could work your Irish connection into the previous paragraph: . . . set in Ireland, where I currently reside, and in Tir Na nOg, the land . . .] I cut my author’s teeth writing fantasy, with my second story ever sold making it into [publication]'s ‘best of’ anthology for 2006. I turned my attention to romance in December 2007 after sales of short stories with romantic elements to publications such as [list of four romance fiction publishers].

This is not an exclusive query. [What?! Who else has it? It's that Query Shark chick isn't it? Man, that ticks me off.]

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.


If a very powerful witch wants something you have, it shouldn't be that hard for her to get it, even if you dabbled in magic a thousand years ago.

Has the powerful witch followed Ronan from 1000 years ago, or is she a 21st-century witch?

Was Ronan inside the pebble for 1000 years waiting for someone to pick it up? Or was he transported instantly to the 21st century?

Possibly the second paragraph should be something like:
It's easy enough to explain away the friendly presence Teagan senses after she brings the dull black pebble home from the beach. Not so easily explained is the all-too-real five-foot-nine hunk with a mischievous grin and burnt-umber eyes who materialises in her sitting room.
This gets rid of the "gate to eternity" phrase, which is never explained.

A pebble seems like a boring item to be a gate to eternity. It doesn't have the cachet of "ring of power" or Excalibur or Holy Grail. If the book's title is going to be the item that's the gate to eternity, that item needs to be something that grabs. The Eternity Stone. Rock of Ages. The Time Cobble.

Cartoon 259

Caption: Evil Editor

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Beginning 575

Bad news always rides a fast horse. The horse coming down the hill was both fast and exhausted.

Gaeryn Diarmand dropped the harness he was repairing and stood up when he noticed someone approaching. It was a far rider. He recognized the cloak because there was one exactly like it folded up in the cedar chest at the foot of his bed.

It was someone wearing the cloak anyway. The horse appeared to be a roan or gray and far riders only rode dark horses. He wanted to relax when she got closer and he realized the horse was a dark bay encrusted with dried sweat that made him look lighter. He wanted to, but he couldn’t. A rider pushing their horse that hard meant trouble.

The woman reined her horse to a stop in front of him and reached down to pat the animal on the neck. She glanced at Gaeryn’s wife and daughter and stepped down. The bay shook his head and heaved a deep whoof through flared nostrils.

She raised her hand as if to adjust her cloak, then ran her fingers across the bottom of the silver clasp at her throat.

The sign. She was one of his sister’s couriers.

"We need you," she said between breaths. "Gammalian called in sick - black plague - and Castle Ortanga has ordered 12 extra-large pepperoni pizzas." She indicated the stack of boxes strapped to the back of the horse.

Gaeryn looked uneasily at his wife. He knew what he had promised, but this was an emergency. Castle Ortanga would tip him enough to buy a week's worth of grain. In response to his plea, she turned and walked back inside the house.

Gaeryn was shattered. "I'm sorry," he told the rider. "I . . . can't. I've given up that life. I --" his words caught in his throat when the rider gasped and pointed towards the house.

Gaeryn spun, automatically reaching for his sword, but what he saw stopped him in his tracks. His wife had his Pizza Hovel cloak in her hands.

"Go," she whispered as she fastened the clasp around his neck, "but return with a pineapple pizza."

"I will," Gaeryn vowed as he mounted his horse. He waved goodbye, and was off. The wind carried the smell of adventure - and pepperoni.

Opening: Julie.....Continuation: The Tasmerican

Cartoon 258

Caption: Evil Editor

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday Film Series

You never know what's coming out each week in Evil Editor's Shorts; you just know it's sure to be a tasty treat.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Extremely Short Story 11

It was supposed to be the much needed vacation of a lifetime. Using some of the money from the divorce, Mishua had decided to take the twins on a Disney Cruise -- a fun jaunt around the Bahamas. But it all went wrong when Elden kicked Pluto in the balls, Khirsha threw up over the navigation equipment and then, the final straw, Mishua called the cruise liner "a boat".

Captain Elrod gave them a choice: thrown overboard there and then by Captain Hook and Mr. Smee, or take their chances on the high seas in a Donald Duck lifeboat.

Mishua had them place Elden and Khirsha in a small dinghy. She took her final instructions from the captain and got in with them. The captain ordered the boat released and the two craft began to separate. The big ship turned north and headed back for land. The dory went south, disappearing into the swirling mists of the unknown.


New Beginning 574

Let me tell you a secret. It's something they don't want you to know. If you keep believing the lies they're feeding you, about faerie tales and happy endings, you'll be completely defenseless when they come for you, and then it will be too late. Maybe it already is too late. But I've got to try to save you. I've got to tell you the truth:

Faeries aren't immortal.

I know what you're thinking. What about the three faeries from Sleeping Beauty? What about faerie godmothers? What about all those stories you heard as a child and believed, wholeheartedly, until the sad, dark reality sunk in and you stopped believing in anything you couldn't see, touch, taste? If faeries were real, they'd be little glowing spirits flitting around on gilded wings, kissing babies and fixing failed relationships with a flick of the wrist and flash of glittery light. Right?

Not exactly.

"Uh, Mr. Clempson, let me stop you right there. They are not faeries, they are cockroaches, and they are damned near immortal, and this apartment is not worth two thousand bucks a month, so let's start again, shall we?"

Opening: Chelsea P......Continuation: Anon.

Cartoon 257

Caption: Freddie

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Extremely Short Story 10

None of them had ever seen anything like it: the new Vista Operating System for Windows.

"Apparently," said Shello, "we have to go through a portal just to register now."

"This is why I called you for help," said Abrin to Khirsha.

"I've heard of this," Khirsha sighed, "but from what I understand, it isn't all that painful; besides, if you want King Gates's technical support, you must be willing to do this." She stood, thinking for a moment.

“I will go through the portal,” said Khirsha.

“Then this council is over,” said Abrin. “Shello, take Khirsha and anything you need to the training fields. Arlae, you will monitor the Window while Khirsha is in the other world. May the King guide our steps.”


Extremely Short Story 9

The residents of Hope call me reckless, dangerous, irresponsible. I'm a thrill-seeker, that's all; I like to push the boundaries. Picking up guys in bars, going down in an elevator, the mile-high club, I've done them all -- but like drugs, the edge wears off and the thrill gets dull.

Recently, though, I discovered the joys of dogging: anonymous, unprotected sex in the back of parked cars in out of the way parking lots, where names are never exchanged and everyone knows the rules of the game. Everyone, that is, except this guy in the gray Chevy -- he wanted it to get personal.

He was manipulating me one more time, but I needed to be sure of his direction, or he would arrange to protect himself – and I wouldn’t like the result. What he wanted was me gone, and nothing untoward to raise attention. “I can arrange my own disappearance after I leave Hope, to prevent any linkage to what happens and what happened here. In return, I would only ask that you not implicate me further.”

He smiled, just before he closed the deal his way.

--Anonymous/Scott Jones

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Extremely Short Story 8

The cat started it by leaving a hairball in Rory's boots everyday for a week which of course meant Rory had to retaliate by casting a spell that removed all the mice on the Montelimar Estate.

The cat re-retaliated by gathering four score fellow cats to ralph in front of the main gate which created a stink like no other and scared the peasants because no one knew that cats could be herded.

Rory threw a screaming hissy fit, and when the cats didn't disperse, he waded out into them in full armor ready for battle.

That was when he heard a stream of rather profane and vulgar cursing behind him. Surely the cats weren't capable of summoning a Mage Troll?

Rory couldn't make out the words exactly, but he figured they were some sort of incantation — paralysis or a lightning strike or something. Maybe it was time to make a run for it after all. Even in full battle gear, he was no match for a Mage Troll, so he turned on his heels and scarpered, speeding off through the gate to the Montelimar estate like a cheetah being poked on every spot with a cattle prod; stumbling, slipping, tripping and shouting, 'Argghhhh, Knobber! Waaarggghhhhh!'

The prospects were getting worse all the time for that half a cat...

--Dave F./Whirlochre

New Beginning 573

"Sight, it is a terrifying curse, especially when you are blind.

It begins as it always does– with the peace of the darkest black. The darkness of this beginning is so like my own familiar dark that at first the curse often catches me unaware. It is always a shock when it makes itself known, for in an instant the world of my other senses falls away, leaving me alone in the silence of nothingness. The curs'd silence consumes me, eating from the inside of my mind until there is only the nothing left and my physical self is forgotten. It is only then that the true horror of my curse begins.

I have heard that often children and even some adults are afraid of the dark. I am not. Darkness has always been my home and my familiar. It is the curse that I am afraid of, when in the quickest heartbeat; my dark can be torn from me. Harsh light rips through it like a blade through flesh, leaving only the 'white quiet' behind. This is the most terrifying moment – when my entire mind becomes the silent snowstorm of this 'white quiet'. It may only last the length of a breathe but it is an eternity where I am half mad.

It always ends though, and then the Sight finally comes."

I stared across the table at Madame Rozsa, wondering if she was finally going to let me get a word in. "Listen, lady," I said, "I don't need you to explain how you do it. I just wanna know if I'm ever gonna get married, okay?"

Opening: Mary Kinahan.....Continuation: Freddie

Cartoon 256

Caption: Evil Editor

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Extremely Short Story 7

"...And the number where I'll be is on the refrigerator," Mrs. DeMarco told Peter, the widower-turned-babysitter, "and if you can keep the boys out of trouble long enough for Senator Ignor's Cialis to work properly, I'll give you a bonus big enough to make a down payment on a house."

As she swept out the door in a cloud of fur wraps and perfume, Peter looked at the thirteen-year-old twins, who said in unison, "We're junior crimefighters."

"Get the police scanner," one said to the other.

Four hours later, Peter was standing in the moonlight by the fountain in the city square, wearing somebody else's shoes, nursing a dull headache, scraping green goo out of his hair, and trying to keep pace with two rambunctious wolves.
"If you're not back home and in bed when your mother returns," he said sternly, "I'll tell all your classmates that I caught one of you crying at the end of Clueless and the other holding a stick of butter while viewing some very unusual Mongolian pornography, and neither one of you will find a girl willing to date you until you're thirty-five years old."

Their bodies returned to human form. Two scrawny thirteen year-old boys knelt before Peter with blood-smeared chests, entrails and body fluids dripping onto the ground. They washed each other in the fountain, dressed in clean clothing and departed.

In a distant city, a widower and his two sons bought a house, enrolled in school, played sports and lived quiet lives.

And woe to the criminals and nameless unfortunates who crossed their path on the night of the full moon.

--Ellie/Dave F.

Extremely Short Story 6

Lynette checked herself out in the mirror. The scowl made the crowsfeet even deeper, and she doesn't like to look old. Thinking of the sight of John, her feckless son-in-law, pawing that floozie at the mall, just an hour after she talked to him at the office, that made her blood boil all over again.

What was she going to tell Dan, her husband?

For the tenth time, she played the scene out in her head:

John laughs. "Your mother also said to tell you your problem wrangler is on the List."

"I hope you told her have us over for supper when his day comes."

"We're penciled in for the Fourth of July."

Revenge, after all, is a dish best served barbecued.


Extremely Short Story 5

They’re coming closer and closer, roaring, and I can’t move; can’t scream; can’t breathe...

I wake up as my feet hit the floor. He’s still snoring, oblivious as usual. This has to stop...can I get the duct tape sealed tightly over his lips without waking him? There, that should do it...

I get into bed. Are my nightmares gone? I don’t know. Yet. Turning off the light, I close my eyes.


Cartoon 255

Caption: Evil Editor

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Extremely Short Story 4

The news ran through me like an electric shock as the anchor solemnly read the lead story: what should have been a fun, family day out had all gone terribly wrong.

The opening of a new drive-thru was supposed to have been a joyous event for our small, back-water town, but eyewitness reports told how their orange-haired mascot had completely flipped out and taken a girl hostage; and my sister Lucy was there.

I grabbed my coat as news came in of a strange effigy that had appeared in Farmer Melvyn's field--I had to get there. Knowing that (even though it was a bitch to suck through a straw) so much McFlurry mix couldn't stand up on it's own, I feared the worst.

The rain started gushing down and I felt it running cold down the back of my neck when she looked straight at me. That’s when I saw Lucy’s eyes, bright red and swollen with tears, staring right back at me out of that cold white face.

The smell of sour milk filled my nostrils as I turned and ran away from the lake. I don’t suppose I’d have said yes if you’d asked me if I was running away from home. I just kept running.


Extremely Short Story 3

Justin and Andy sat in the pumpkin patch plotting their atrocity while Doorstep chased moles. "Let's run through it again," Andy said. "I'll lure the kids into the shed; then you smash their heads until they're unconscious, and then I'll cut off their heads and limbs with the chain saw and we'll drain their blood into buckets."

"I'm not sure I can knock someone unconscious; can I practice on some pumpkins?" Justin asked.

"Okay, but not out here," Andy replied, and Justin jumped up and down with excitement. He wanted to be part of the game.

"Okay, let's get these pumpkins to the shed," Andy called. "We're gonna need some hammers and buckets!" Justin jumped up and down again, and Doorstep wagged his mighty tail.

If Andy had been born a dog, he would've been a tail-wagger too.

--Evil Editor/Chris Eldin

Cartoon 254

Caption: R. Watson

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturday Film Series

Sometimes what you find in Evil Editor's Shorts is epic in scope. Other times . . . actually, come to think of it, it's always epic in scope.

Extremely Short Story 2

"As she fell to Earth, Lilith took the form of an animal likely to aid in her quest to steal human children; when she landed with a thud in his front yard, just beneath his window, she was a sleek and well-groomed Golden Retriever – a bitch in every sense of the word. The young boy, startled by the sound, lay down his copy of Old Yeller and peered through the window. He had prayed, each and every night of the past year, for God to send him a dog; as he stared, mouth agape, at the canine squatting on his front lawn, he truly believed his prayers had been answered. He ran down the stairs and out the front door, calling, 'Here, doggie-dog.'"

Cami huddled under the covers and asked, "What happened then, Mommy?"

"She growled like a dog and paced around the young man, swiping at him with her clawed hands. But she couldn’t touch him because God guarded him. All night he prayed."

One blot was left on the lawn--right under his window.

"What happens next?" Cami asked from the darkness.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Extremely Short Story 1

I met Randall the first day of clown school, a shy and reserved middle-aged bumpkin trying to put some pizzazz in his life. He wasn't that good, didn't have a body that drove women wild, but he did have that je ne sais quoi and the magic vibrating weasel; an irresistible combination.

We found an apartment and made like lovebirds, cooing and billing and flowers and candy and Victoria's really secret, secret gifts.

All the glittery, sparkling romance ended like the effervescence on three-day old champagne when I visited his cabin. It's sad when the dream confronts the reality; when the stars become twenty-five watt bulbs in driftwood lamps, papier mache shades and velvet paintings of Elvis in toreador pants.

I wanted not to like it, being with Randall.

I wanted to be able to say No, this isn't any good, him with his dead deer body part lamps and his dead heads everywhere and his belly pooching out over his jeans and his liking to take naked pictures of me all the time.

And that fake curly hair of his.

But I played it out until the end, and the end was Randall T. traveling out to Denver and turning into a Western Man and leaving me behind.

--Dave F./Robin S.


Submit the last five sentences of your novel or short story. I'll post them HERE.

Other minions will then turn your ending into a complete story by writing an opening that's also five sentences. If they're funny, we have a new feature. If they suck, we'll drop it fast.

Cartoon 253

Caption: Anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

New Beginning 572

Wouldn’t it be great if we could pick who to love? They would always be appropriate, kind, well-behaved gentlemen who have good relationships with sane mothers you can shop with.

Instead I always seem to choose crazy men, with unresolved childhood issues who can’t commit.

While some women wish for rock stars, all I want is a friend. Someone I respect, who hopes for children and will know, no matter how cranky I get when he leaves the seat down for the four hundredth time, I really don’t mean it.

But what did I get? Who did I fall in love with? You got it in one. A rockstar. I didn’t have any clue how quickly I would wish it was only the toilet seat I had to worry about.

Soon I had to worry about whether my rock star saw me as a simple groupie. And I had to worry about the competition, because, you know, when you're in love with a rock star there's a lot of it.

Then I had to worry about getting caught, after I started killing off the competition. Now that I have been caught, half the time I can't tell whether my cellmate is a man or a woman. Let me tell you . . . I'm back to worrying about the toilet seat in ways I never dreamed possible.

Opening: Julie Sellers......Continuation: Freddie

Cartoon 252

Caption: Kiersten

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

New Beginning 571

Myl stood in the chicken run, throwing handfuls of seed to the greedy hens. She threw the grain like stones, as if it would keep them back, not bring them to her.

Eat and eat, she thought. Then you'll be eaten.

She saw her brother's dusty fair hair over the fence, and her hand went to the kerchief that covered her own shorn head. Tyl leant against the post, waiting for her to be done. She flapped her empty apron at the chickens to show them, then caught the fence rail, hooked bare toes over a slat, and swung herself to the other side.

The bruise on Tyl's face had faded to yellow, but he held himself stiff with yesterday's stripes, where the head groom--his master on the morrow--had laid a stick across his fishbone back. He's a child, she raged, to be switched or slapped, not beaten like a full-grown stable-lad.

If this your mother knew, Her heart would break in two.

The rhyme buzzed in her head until she wanted to shake it loose. She caught hold of Tyl's threadbare shirt and dragged him around the corner of the capon cote, where they couldn't be seen.

"You need to leave," she hissed to Tyl as she pulled him against the rough wood of the cote. "You need to leave right now."

"Ow!" He jerked out of her grasp and gingerly touched the fading bruise on his cheek. His thin face twisted in confusion. "What do you mean?"

Myl waved her hand, her gesture encompassing the farmyard, the dust, the manor. "Have you noticed how everything here is really, really terrible?"

"Yeah." The word was half-laugh, half-sigh.

"But I never seem to leave or fight back or do anything about it?"

"Yeah." Now Tyl's voice was accusatory.

She grabbed the front of her brother's shirt and pulled his face close to hers. "This doesn't feel like one of those literary novels where everyone is depressed for three hundred pages. I think the author's going to give me a kick in the pants to set me on a path of vengeance. Probably by killing you off." Myl released him with a push. "I'm sure somebody will be starting another Dune novel in about five minutes. See if you can get into that one instead."

Opening: Batgirl.....Continuation: Ellie

Cartoon 251

Caption: Anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Cartoon 250

Caption: Anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

New Beginning 570

My heels smacked the courtroom's marble floor at the decibel of the gamelan gongs of my Indonesian childhood. I had never before opened my mouth in open court.

There was that time during the exploding nose case that Celeste permitted me to schlep her royal briefcase to the bar. But, I was a butt filling a seat, albeit an upscale derrière at two hundred dollars an hour. I was just one more attorney on Lord & Brooks' intimidating, not to mention attractive, team of legal beagles.

My bench-warming experience did nothing to prepare this trembling fourth year associate for my task today: I needed to convince the Honorable Anthony Williams to protect my client from the pimps and madams of Jakarta's red light district.

I glanced at Dewi, my pro bono client, who swiveled in the pleather chair beside me. She swirled the water in her cup with the fluid motion of a connoisseur. If she noticed the runoff over the sides of the Styrofoam, she did nothing about it. Neither Dewi's neatly manicured fingernails, nor her pinstriped suit provided a whiff of her past.

The judge cleared his throat, rustled through the papers one last time, and looked down at us over the top of his spectacles. "Well?" he said.

I touched Dewi's arm to get her to stop swiveling and pay attention. I could feel sweat beading my forehead as my pulse rate increased. This was it: my one chance to take care of Dewi and secure my own future in the legal profession. I stood with my legal pad in my hand and stared directly into Williams' eyes. "Your honor," I said, "dis ho is a sweetie and don't deserve no shiznit from de pimps. Take care of her, she'll blow you for free."

With a sigh, I sat down and smiled. I knew my argument was watertight.

Opening: Emily Laird.....Continuation: Anon.

Cartoon 249

Caption: R. Watson

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Spooky Day, Take 2

Halloween is behind us, and already the most frightening day of the year is upon us. That's right, election day, the day we decide which idiots to send to Washington. The principles of democracy were set down centuries ago, but here's a quick review: Voters study the choices in each race and carefully make up their minds which imbecile is the lesser of two evils. This decision is based on one of the following, or a combination of them: which candidate ran the least-irritating TV ads; which candidate's supporters phoned the voter less often, and which candidate is better looking. I know of no one who has ever voted using other criteria.

Each voter has one vote to do with as he pleases, and no one can tell you what to do with your vote. Stop laughing. That's how it's supposed to work. In practice, no one trusts you to vote correctly. Here are some of the people who aren't content to simply cast their own vote and accept the decision of the majority:

1. Party Loyalists. These people will try to convince you that the better candidate in every race from president to county sheriff just happens to belong to their party. Let's look at the odds. Say you are voting in eight elections. The chances that the more conscientious, harder-working candidate is a Democrat in all eight is one over two to the eighth power: 1/256. The odds that the better candidate in each race is a Republican are even worse. Just once I'd like to hear a party loyalist say, "Our candidate for governor is a gem, but our senatorial candidate is a real lemon, and I simply cannot justify voting for him."

2. Car owners. These idiots reduce the resale value of their cars by pasting on political bumper stickers in hopes that the morons driving behind them will say, "Hey, an Oldsmobile with a Stassen bumper sticker! That's good enough for me! And while I'm on the subject, what about all these signs posted at every intersection? There should be a law that if you win an election and your signs aren't removed within two days, your opponent wins.

3. Endorsers. Movie stars, athletes, newspaper columnists, politicians already in office . . . they all think if they announce for whom they're voting, you'll follow their lead. I'm supposed to vote for someone just because Barbra Streisand or Richard Petty is? You'd have to be a drug addict to believe voters are stupid enough to follow you blindly. Of course, most movie stars and athletes are drug addicts, so...

4. People outside voting sites. Apparently these nuisances expect people to walk up and say, "I'm here to vote, but I need some advice. Advice from . . . You! Specifically, I need you, a complete stranger to tell me, an adult, what to do." I don't show up just to increase voter turnout; I've already decided. Leave me alone, or I'll vote for the other candidate out of spite. Yes, I would do that.

I'm not trying to dampen your spirit. By all means get out and vote. But don't vote for idiots. There are enough of them in office already.

Frustration Alert

The author of Face-Lift 568 may need a pat on the back or a few words of encouragement.

New Beginning 569

The man walked quickly, swinging his cane. Although his outer clothing was suitably dark, stray light from occasional windows touched the lace at his wrists. His footsteps echoed against tall houses. From time to time, he turned quickly to look behind, but always the street seemed empty. He tucked a book tighter under one arm and walked on.

Eventually, with a last glance to the rear, he turned down a narrow lane. No light shone from friendly windows here. His steps slowed.

“Keep walking,” hissed a voice in impeccable French. A shadowed figure came to his side, matching his pace over the uneven cobblestones. “You’re being followed.”

“I was careful,” the walker protested. “I saw no-one.”

“Two of them, keeping well back. You must not be found with it. Give it to me, and I will see it safe to France this very week.”

“No. I took the risk. I want to collect the reward myself.”

“This is too important to risk capture. I can pay you here and now.”

The walker cast another glance over his shoulder. In the faint light from the street he had left, a pair of burly silhouettes showed. One held a lantern high, but its light was insufficient to penetrate far along the narrow alley. “Merde. Give me my reward then.”

Quickly they exchanged anonymous packages.

"It is done. I bid you adieu."

"Wait. At least tell me your name."

The stranger thought for a moment. "Some people call me Maurice . . . "

* * *

Grisham stopped typing and rubbed his eyes. "OK, let's see what I've got. I've got a walker, I've got a talker, I've got a midnight stalker. . . Damn it!" He pulled the tiny speakers out of his ears. "I have got to stop listening to the Steve Miller Band when I write."

Opening: Jeb.....Continuation: Anon.

Cartoon 248

Caption: Anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Saturday Film Series

Isn't it great to know, when you're being bombarded by disgusting political ads 24/7, that you can always find relief in Evil Editor's Shorts?