By Jason Geary
Santa held a sawn-off shotgun at the end of his out stretched arm. The elf looking back up the barrel quivered with fear.
“… Eat the fucking shortbread!” said Santa.
“But I can’t eat anymore. I’ll vomit. Again.” said the Elf through tears.
“Keep it down Dickweed, you’ll wake the fuckin’ kids. Now eat the shortbread or I’ll blow your fuckin’ head off.”
There was a horrible pause.
BANG. Both barrels.
Screams came from the bedrooms. Shit. The family was awake. Santa yelled orders to the other Elfs; “Take care of the family. Make ‘em forget this ever happened. John? You have fairy dust? Good. Use it. Gustav, clean up this fucking mess. Next time get me an elf that can eat all of this shit. I got a reputation to look after. You think I can eat plate after plate of cookies and carrots? Fuck me. Right who’s riding shotgun now?”
A nervous looking Elf stepped forward, “I am, Santa.”
“Right then, you better be fuckin’ hungry. We got all of Europe to do yet.”
“I’ll do my best Santa.”
Santa cracked his Shotgun dumped the spent shells on the floor and chambered two fresh ones; “You want to keep your head, your best better be good enough.”
By Jason Geary
I swing down hard and split the log clean in two. The sound echoes back at me off the canyon walls seconds later and confirms that it was indeed a clean strike. The axe head shines a focused beam of sunlight on the ground to my left and I notice movement in its uneven spot light. Hundreds of ants are making short work of a dead field mouse like a bizarre stage show. I adjust the angle of the axe head to shift the spot; it’s curtains for that macabre matinee.
I follow the spot as it glides across the canyon walls. When it reaches the top it I find it is lighting the face of a man on horseback. I should be shocked. I’m not.
He puts his hand up to block the glare from the axe and yells down to me.
“Afternoon Kinkade. You’re a hard man to find.”
“That was the intention, General. But you did it.”
“Only one way I know how to move Kinkade… Toward you. I ain’t interested in going backward. Hell, I ain’t got a family to go back to, no how. You know that better than any man.”
“Yessir, I guess you’re right… You gonna shoot me from there General?”
It’s not often you can see and man thinking from 150 feet away, but I watched the general run the whole scenario in his head. Him ripping his Winchester off his back and taking me down with a single shot. He could do it, even with reflected sunlight in his eyes.
I took a deep breath, uncertain if it would be my last. He shifted his weight from one leg to the other and for the longest time all I could hear was the wind. I exhaled.
He spoke “No. I reckon want to look in your eyes when you die.”
“Sounds fair. Best you come on down here then. Let’s get this done.”
“No funny business. This time, you ain’t got no place to run.”
He was right. I knew that when I built a house in this canyon. Just as I knew this day would come.
“You got my word General.”
He laughed. Yeah… I guess I had that comin’.
“Make your piece Kinkade.” With that he spurred his horse and made his way into the canyon.
I walk behind the wood stack and place the axe down. While out of his line of sight I pull my pistol, drop my bullets in the dirt and re holster it.
I deserve what’s comin’… No point tempting fate.
By David Myers
Sunday: Dear Diary, Ainslie and I had a massive fight tonight, and I blame Al Gore. Ever since we saw that damn documentary of his, we have been at each other’s throats over turning the toilet light off. I’m tired of the endless bickering. So the toilet light, in fact all the lights in the house are going off and staying off! Ainslie is away this week. Things are going to be different when she gets back.
Monday: Keep bumping into things. Hurt my knee. Not abandoning my plan, but will need to pick up some stuff from work tomorrow. I’m determined to make this happen and not give in. We’ll see who is more environmentally friendly.
Tuesday: Grabbed one of the ‘Submerge D sonar devices’, which we send out to the navy boys, from work. I spent the night on the couch listening to sound waves bouncing off the walls. A bit disorientating at first and really loud, but with some practice I’m pretty sure I can avoid the furniture.
Wednesday: Police dropped by. The neighbours complained about the noise. Don’t they realise this is about saving the planet! Tried to explain that to the police, but they weren’t interested. There are no laws against recreational use of a submarine class sonar device in a suburban area. I looked it up on the net. But I am suffering from some hearing loss and the dog has run away so I might try something else.
Thursday: Night vision goggles are awesome! I spent the whole night running around the house. I wouldn’t recommend watching TV with them on, but I’m going to tell all my friends to get one. I am such an Eco warrior!
Friday: Everything looked weird this morning. I thought my eyes had been damaged by the goggles. Turns out I forgot to take them off last night before bed. People were giving me some funny looks at work. The duty sergeant wanted to know why I was taking stuff home. I’m on reprimand. Pity I was enjoying the goggles. I picked up a cane from a shop for the visually challenged. That seems to be working ok.
Saturday: Ainslie and I had another fight. She wanted to know why there was a big pile of shit on her grandmother’s rocking chair. I must have mistaken it for the toilet in the dark.
By Jason Geary
There was a firm knock on the door. Somewhat surprising at this time of the evening, but I knew what it meant. I opened the door to find exactly what I was expecting. Two men in black suits and sunglasses, despite the hour.
“We are here for the girl.” Said the tall man.
“The invasion has begun.” Said the other.
“I know. I watch the news. You’ll be wanting Louise then.” I offered.
“We are here for The Weapon.” The tall man said with heavy emphasis on weapon.
“Her name is Louise.” I said.
There was an awkward pause.
“Where is she? She is required.”
They shuffled and looked at each other.
“I don’t know. She wouldn’t tell. She damn near chopped my head off on the way out so I’m guessing she don’t want you to know either.”
“Step aside.” The tall man brushed me to the door frame and walked in.
The room was a mess. The furniture torn, walls covered in blast marks and the window to the back was smashed.
“Sorry,” I said “The maid’s taking a week off in Baha.” Not even a smirk. Damn, these guys are tough.
“Evidence of a struggle. He might be telling the truth.” The short one said to the other.
“Might be? What you think I live like this?”
The tall one looked around the room “Search the place, he’s lying.”
“Now wait a min…”
The tall man pulled a gun and pointed it at my head. “I’ll ask you once then I’m going to kill you? Where is she?”
“I told you she’s gone. I couldn’t keep her here. Look at this place.”
“This is clearly a charade. Louise would have torn this place to the ground if she wanted to escape. Goodbye.”
I closed my eyes and heard a bang. It was over. Our cover was blown.
I opened my eyes and saw the tall man’s torso fall to the ground – minus his head. I heard the small man squeal. I turned to see Louise standing on his shoulders her hands under his chin pulling his eye line up to meet hers. He pissed his pants. Her eyes glowed purple.
“Louise honey… You don’t have hurt the man.”
She spoke slowly. “Yes. I do.” Purple light shot from her eyes and split him in two.
She surfed his body to the ground then looked at me. “Let’s go Daddy.”
Just hearing those words warmed my heart.
By David Stewart
I hadn’t seen Brian since Uni but it was definitely him. He looked exactly like he did the last time I’d seen him, storming out of a history lecture ranting at the lecturer for neglecting to mention alien involvement in the second world war. He was buying chips (not back in Uni, back in uni he was eating wizz-fizz, when I saw him the other day he was buying chips). “Want to know why I’m buying chips?” he asked when we’d said hello and established how little we’d changed.
“Cause they taste nice?”
“I’m a spy,” he said. “I feed them to enemy agents”
There was no appropriate reaction to this but then there was never any appropriate reaction to anything Brian had ever said or done. He agreed to explain things to me as long as we didn’t go outside and I promised not to tell a soul.
“The food chain is a beautiful thing. A wonderful interconnected series of links in which everything has its place. Except seagulls. They have no natural predators. None. And they only eat things people throw them in parks. What does that tell you?”
I opened my mouth. He continued. “They’re aliens in the natural food chain. Outsiders in the circle of life. Which means they didn’t evolve with the planet they came here from somewhere else.”
“Aliens?” I said doing my best Scully impression. He nodded like a more fanatic Fox Mulder. “Not the main aliens but spies. The perfect alien agent. They hang around human beings listening but nobody ever thinks to keep their voice down around them. You see them looking in windows. They’re always there. Watching. Listening. Eating Chips.”
“So why do you feed them?”
“They have no idea I’m onto them. They haven’t realised I know what they are. So I feed them false information. I sit on a park bench and talk into my phone,” He held up an old TV remote “They don’t know the difference. I pretend to have important conversations about Earth’s defenses. I talk about the missile bases we have all over the world. They listen and report back. If it wasn’t for me the aliens would know how badly defended we really are!”
Once I knew he was there I saw him often. Chatting into his “phone” in the park surrounded by seagulls.
By David Stewart
Come on. Everyone else has paired up and there’s just you and me. What do you say girl – your place or mine?
It’s just I know I could do better. Maybe another guy is going to arrive any minute.
No the party’s winding down. This is it. I tell you what, how’s this for a plan: we’ll go back to your place and have sex and then I’ll fix that virus problem you said you had with your computer.
And you can hook me up to my wireless internet while you’re there.
Well it’s just that’s a big job. I mean the virus thing could take a while and the internet as well… it just feels like you’re getting a really good deal.
I tell you what. I’ll do my strip routine for you. I’ll strip off and give you a real show, then we’ll have sex and you sort out my computer problems.
Although I used to strip professionally so now it’s like you’re getting a really good deal.
How about in addition to the computer issues I fix that problem you were having with your mobile phone…
(Thirty minutes later)
…so to summarize. You come back to my place and I strip off, give you a lap dance, we have sex and then you fix my computer problems and my phone while I bake you my chocolate sponge cake and let you tell me your theory about the three Matrix films and then I give you a shoulder massage while you copy your anime DVD’s for my brother then you clean my car while I take some photographs of my breasts for you to save onto a memory stick.
Done. That’s a fair deal that’s equal on both sides.
Although my chocolate sponge cake really is delicious…
By David Stewart
“I have a theory about women. I’ve had it all my life and going out with you has confirmed it as truth in my mind. There are two types of women in the world: Chicken Nuggets and Peanut M&M’s. All women are delicious, like nuggets dripping in sauce or chocolaty Peanut M&Ms. But Chicken Nuggets aren’t women you want to go out with. Chicken nuggets are all the wost parts of the chicken. They’re the gristle, offcuts, foreheads, buttocks and the bits that even the chicken was happy to get rid off. They take these skanky, raw scraps and they mush them together into a nugget shape that they coat in preservatives and artificial flavours. Then they freeze it and ship it to stores where sad, pimply teenagers who pick their nose drop them and sneeze on them and then fry them in rancid fat. The end result might be delicious but if you think about what they really are they make you sick.
Peanut M&Ms are different. They take a yummy peanut that you could happily eat right there in the factory and then they coat it in chocolate. Pure liquid yumminess that turns a humble nut into something yummier. But then to make it even better they coat it in any one of a rainbow of delicious colour. I still don’t understand how they make it a perfect pellet of delight. If it was on a conveyor belt there would be a flat bit where it sat on a flat surface. But if you examine one it’s flawless. The only conclusion I can come to is that each one is hand-crafted by trained artisans who apply the sugary coating with special brushes making sure there isn’t a blemish on the delicious surface.
If you think about the Chicken Nugget women you realise the deliciousness isn’t worth the horribleness. But the more I think about M&M women the more you appreciate how special and wonderful you are. So that packet you found in my pocket isn’t there because I’ve eaten some M&M’s. I would never do that because I’m following that diet you set out for me. I just carry an empty packet with me to remind me that I’m lucky enough to snag an M&M woman. That packet is really a photo of your soul.”
By Amy Bishop
It was another day and another date with the somewhat dubious Simon who was still trying to keep me from my thesis under the guise of getting me “out and about” to “revitalise and re-invigorate” – I was quite sure this was all my mothers doing.
Tonight’s date was at an “avant-garde” art show. Obviously he was running out of ideas. But there was wine and there was company and he was going to a lot of effort. My thesis could wait a few hours while I schmoozed, drunk and joked about the art.
Of course, nothing really went as planned, or at least not as I had planned – because really, who plans for that kind of thing?
“Simon… what is that?” I said, stopping in the middle of the gallery as the crowd had apparently fortuitously parted allowing me to see two ‘performers’.
“One of the exhibits”
“No, Simon, that isn’t an exhibit. That is two people having sex in a room full of people.”
“If you already knew then why did you ask?”
“Last time I checked that was porn.”
“No, it’s an exhibit. It’s being displayed in an exhibition. They are exhibitionists. It’s a commentary on words and language.”
“No Simon. Its porn, porn based on puns and not very good ones either. Is that what the rest of the display is as well? More puns? What the hell ever happened to art?”
“I’m going home.” and making a note to not let Simon take me to any other avant-garde art shows… Or just not let him take me to anything, no matter how sorry I felt for him. Puns, do not a date make.
By Jason Geary
“We have five men, 3 camels and the water bladders are full from the last creek. We have four weeks food at best, enough supply to return home with minimal loss of life… If we turn back now.”
“No Bill, we go on. We reach the coast.”
“We won’t make it Robert. You know that.”
The men made eye contact.
“Did you say goodbye to Clementine when we departed?”
“Yes, I bid her a proper farewell.”
“Did you say goodbye?”
“Did she understand what that meant?”
There was a long pause in which the endless desert that surrounded them seemed to inch the horizon slightly further away.
“You’ve set things right Bill. You’ve no case to answer. We go on. Give the remaining men the option to turn back here. They turn back now or stay with us to the coast.”
By Jason Geary
You say the sound has been coming from around here?
Yes, beneath the floorboards mainly sometimes it sounds as if there’s singing in the wall cavities.
Singing huh? What sort of singing?
Joyous… I guess.
Not in a religious way… More in a supportive way.
Your dog ever start barking for no good reason?
All the time, usually in the kitchen.
Mmmm… You eat radishes?
Well I buy them but they…
A-huh… Sounds to me like you’ve got Fraggles.
Yeah all the signs are there.
Oh my. What should I do?
Best thing to do is gas them.
Won’t they smell when they decompose?
Oh no. They are largely made of foam. There’s an agent in the gas that helps the foam to biodegrade.
I don’t know? Is it quick? I don’t want to cause them pain.
Death is almost instantaneous. They die mid song. Never know what hit them.
Look I could leave it but honestly it’ll just get worse.
Okay. When can you do it?
Now if you like got the gear in the truck.
By Jason Geary
His mother went on and on about it, “Your father would be turning in his grave. It was the worst decision he ever made selling off that back paddock. The worst decision he ever made.”
“Yes Mum.” Said Dean. He didn’t have the strength or the resolve to argue with her. He took his cup of tea out to the back porch and looked to the south, towards the paddock his mother was speaking of. The local council had bought it six years ago and turned it into a wind farm. 5 giant lumbering windmills stood proud against the horizon. Each windmill had three blades, rotating gently. Though it looked effortless the forces at play were staggering to Dean. He closed his eyes; he could hear the windmills turning. Not the groan of metal supporting metal, the mechanism itself was silent; he could hear the dull thump of the blades chopping folds into the air. It sounded like a heartbeat. Steady and reliable, like his father.
His Mother joined him sipping her tea. Her dissatisfaction apparent, her sneer had only deepened in the years since the wind farm had been built. Now it was her mask.
“You know Mum. I kinda like them. They make me feel like dad’s still here.”
“Oh, don’t be ridiculous Dean. Your father’s gone and no bloody windmill is going to make up for that. Bloody eyesore is what they are. I’ve not had a moment of peace in six years.” There was a surprising bitterness in her voice. Dean looked at the windmills then too his mother who was doing her best to ignore them. He walked to her and put his arm around her, she sank her head into his shoulder.
Dean sipped his tea and as his drifting thoughts ran aground, his stomach sank. He came to the sudden realisation that the windmills were also a constant reminder for his mother. He gave her a squeeze. She sighed. Now he understood why she hated them so much. He cursed himself for not seeing it sooner.