Friday, March 28, 2014

Heaven Mask by Pedro Proença (Random Title 23)

There are concepts so horrible, so unimaginable, that once we come in contact with them, our minds  become empty shells, the remains of melted ideas smudging our psyche's interior like an asshole after diarrhea, or rough anal sex. When exposed to these concepts, these viruses, our bodies shut down in such a way we can't process new information for quite some time.

I'm about to lay such a concept on you right now.

God is a huge Jim Carrey fan.

There was nothing else He'd rather do in His free time than to watch classic Jim Carrey movies. Needless to say, His favorite was “The Mask.”

Because “Fuck you,” that's why.

So, God (or as He's known: “The Boss”) is sitting at his desk, reading some articles on his PC, when His secretary walks in, and hands Him the news for the day.

“Sir, here are the latest developments. The clones are still attacking that American city and we don't know how much longer...”

The secretary didn't have a chance to finish, because The Boss stood up and yelled.


Offended by the interruption, the secretary held her tongue. Literally, she pinched her forked tongue with her insect-like claws. It was her was of displaying frustration, and The Boss often had her feeling this way.

“Yes, sir, it appears so.”

The Boss got up from his chair, sending it to the ground.

“Bring. Him. To. Me.”

You could actually see the punctuation on that line, floating in the air like little dust specks.

“Sir, there are problems for you to attend. The Backstreet Boys said they can't get Santa to learn their choreography, there's the Antichrist situation in the midst of the clone attacks...”

“I DON'T CARE! Bring him to me, NOW”

The secretary drew blood from her tongue, such was her frustration.

“Ok, Boss, I'll fetch him for you”.

“Thank you, unnamed secretary”.

She left.

The Boss looked at his desk and saw that His cockroach supply was thinning. He considered for a moment calling back the secretary and asking for some more, but He was too excited. Jim Carrey was His fucking idol! And now, they would be face to face.

The Boss straightened His chair, sat on it, folded His hands and placed them on the desktop.

Seconds turning into minutes, The Boss waited. He was very impatient for an immortal being.

What's her name, the secretary, entered the office. She was dragging a shapeless thing trapped in what looked like a burlap sack.

“What the fuck is this??” The Boss said.

“Jim Carrey, sir,” said the supporting character.

Dropping to the ground, The Boss watched the thing squirming inside the sack.

“And why is he on a fucking sack?”

“Well sir, funny story. Actually, on top of being an actor, Jim Carrey was also an alchemist. Since 1994 he's being trying to create the mask from 'The Mask.’ Apparently, when the mask was finished, he put it on his face, and it killed him. Now, in heaven, his soul took the form of a giant, mask-wearing, insect, with all of The Mask's powers. We thought it was wise to put him on the magickal burlap sack.”

Scratching the mole on His chin, The Boss considered all of this. This was a serious situation, He couldn't have an all powerful monster roaming heaven, fucking shit up.

Well, besides Him.

So, after several moments of quiet meditation, The Boss did the only reasonable, sensible thing to do, a well-thought act that would be the perfect way to handle this dire, strange situation.

He ripped the sack with a long, thin talon.

“Nooooooooooooo!” the secretary said. After her speech detailing basically the plot of this story, she earned her right to have a name. Let's say, “Johanna.”

The Mask emerged from the sack. He was a fucking big, dark green insect. The mask was a lighter shade of green than its hard skin.

“Are you God?” the masked thing said.

“Yes, I am,” answered The Boss.

“Not anymore! I'm more powerful than you ever were. I'm stronger, I'm faster, I can make my eyes pop out whenever I see a hot bitch. I'm the rightful ruler of heaven.”

Johanna looked at her boss. The motherfucking Boss. She just knew He would make this all go away.


What the fuck?

“What the fuck?” Johanna said.

“Ok. Take it. I'm tired of it anyway. You handle the fucking Drakyr, the Backstreet Boys, the fucking clones. I'm outta here.”

Johanna stayed on the floor, quivering. The Boss passed her on his way to the door.

“Just one last thing,” the former God said.

All the light returned to Johanna's face, and she smiled. The ol' sonofabitch would come through after all!

“Yes?” hissed The Mask.

The Boss reached to his back flesh-pocket and pulled out a little notebook, the kind journalists usually carry around.

“Can you give me your autograph?”


Pedro Proença lives in Brazil, and tries to write. He’s also a musician, a gamer and,during the week, a public servant. You can find him on his blog “The Bizarro World of Pedro” and on Facebook.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Heist Job Wolf by Allen Taylor (Random Title 22)

W walked through the dark briskly, trying not to step on cracks. He'd only been a wolf for three days and was still trying to get used to the legs and their odd bone structure. His back was hurting. It felt weird walking on his toes. His claws scratched the surface of the sidewalk with every step and all he could think about was Randall Pepperkorn scratching his nails on the chalkboard in third grade. He wanted to puke.

Three a.m. was no time to be wandering the streets. Sure, it was a Monday night - or Tuesday morning to be exact - and most folks were in bed. He could see one living room light on up the block about three houses. Otherwise, everything was dark.

"Where ya at U?" he muttered under his breath.

The unicorn had disappeared four blocks back and W was pissed. They were supposed to be doing this job together and U was jacking off somewhere.

A voice cut through the dark from between two houses on W's right. It was a soft Pfffft. He stopped mid-step and peered through the dark toward where he heard the sound. There he was, a white steed with a solitaire horn on his head and a tufted beard that flowed from his chin like a white cloud. W turned and traipsed across somebody's lawn toward U.

"Where'd you go?"


He hated to be shushed. Who the fuck did U think he was? They were supposed to be equal partners.

Partnership was a vague term. To W it sounded like a way of saying that he and U had no authority while K enjoyed calling all the shots. K had made it clear to the two of them that they were under his tutelage and they were not to call him Roo. They had to stick to the code: W for Wolf, U for Unicorn, and K for Kangaroo. They didn't know anyone else in this racket and it was probably just as well. W hated it as it was. He just wanted to go back to being a boring accountant.

 "I found a way in," U whispered. W stared blankly. "You know, the warehouse."

"I thought we were breaking into somebody's home."

"Uh-uh." U's voice came out gravelly. "Follow me."

"This job sucks."

"Chill out," U said over his shoulder. "You've only been doing it three days. It gets better after a week."

"So you say."

"You just need to think about what a great opportunity this is. I mean, most people stuck in a wolf's body would kill for a job like this."

"I liked crunching numbers."

"Shit. No one likes crunching numbers. This is far more exciting and far more rewarding."

"Well, I do make more money. But I miss my wife."

"Yeah, I know. My little kitten was the sweetest thing. I think about her every day."

"Hey, can't we just take a little side trip and peek in the windows, get a glimpse of our lovely ladies one more time? You know, like a fond memory, or something?"

"That's strictly forbidden. You know K covered that in orientation."

"Yeah. I just thought you'd be a bud and go along."

"Can't afford it, my friend. I need this job now that I'm on all fours. It was great being an attorney and all, but no one's going to hire a unicorn to sue their pharmaceutical company. Besides, technically, I should be reporting you. Consider it 'going along' that I don't."

"Fair enough."

U stopped. W suddenly realized they had maneuvered between two sets of houses, crossed a street, strolled through an alley, and ended up on a darker lane with a big warehouse staring him in the face. A fence around the warehouse made it look secure. He wondered how they'd get inside.

"Follow me," U ordered.

W felt like sinking his wolf fangs into U's ass. As an accountant for a large oil company, he'd enjoyed being the giver of orders. He was the department manager who answered only to three people above him. None of them ever said follow me. He followed U around the back of the warehouse where a black bag sat on the ground beside a gate locked shut with a chain and a padlock.

"Right where K said it would be," U chuckled. "Most reliable boss I've ever had."

"Whatever you say," W said, kneeling. He was about to stick his wolf paws on the bag's handle when U's voice cut in.

"Hold a minute. You're not wearing gloves."

"Gloves? I'm a wolf."

"You'll still leave paw prints. Allow me."

W smirked and rose to his feet again. He watched intently as U lowered his head and fumbled with the bag with his lips. Crossing his front legs across his chest, W watched in amazement as U unzipped the bag with his unicorn teeth. Then he nuzzled his nose into the bag and pulled out a pair of chain cutters.

"Bravo, bravo," W applauded. "I'm impressed."


"But don't your lips leave prints?"

"When have you ever known a police department take somebody's lip prints?"

W thought about it. U had a point. That didn't usually happen. U dropped the chain cutters on the ground.

"I can only hold them for so long. Now it's your turn. Cut the chain."

"What about paw prints?"

"Look, I can't cut a chain with my mouth. It's not physically possible. Do you wanna get paid for this job or not?"

"Okay, okay," W said, frustrated. He grabbed the chain cutters and slid them on the chain, pushing the handles together until the chain snapped. U quickly pushed the gate open with his nose and trampled through.

"Hurry! We've got to move fast," U said, running toward the warehouse. W dropped the chain cutters and ran after him, tripping over his feet. Damn wolf legs, he said inside his head. He hated his new body. When U reached a wooden door on the side of the aluminum building he raised his front hoofs into the air and pushed them against the door, forcing it open. Without missing a step, he rushed into the door and ran into the warehouse. W stumbled after clumsily.

A few minutes later they ran from the warehouse with the loot they'd been sent in to steal. U clasped a bag of clanking tools between his teeth as he hoofed up the gravel in the parking lot while W hugged two similar bags between his arms. They carried as much as they could on their own. When they passed through the open gate where they had left the bag, W noticed the bag and the chain cutters were both gone. Someone had removed them. He followed U into a clop of trees outside the gate and they ran at least a hundred yards into a dark clearing somewhere in the middle of the woods. W stopped in the clearing and dropped his bags, out of breath.

"Geez, I need to quit smoking," he wheezed, his front paws on his knees.

U dropped his bag. It clanked. "Told ya," he said, laughing.

"What's funny?"

U lay on the ground and folded his legs up under his belly, resting his chin on his front forelegs.

"Wha- what, are, you doing?" W asked nervously. "Shouldn't we be running? I know I heard an alarm."

"Relax," U chuckled. "Now we wait."

"For what?"


W scratched his head and took a knee. After a minute of silence he got the courage to speak again.

"What happened to the bag?"

"Don't worry about that," U chided. "K has it taken care of. Let's get some sleep."


Allen Taylor is the publisher/owner of Garden Gnome Publications and editor of the Garden of Eden anthology, a digital-only anthology of speculative fiction set in the legendary garden. His fiction and poetry have appeared online and in print for more than 20 years.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

For the Atlantis of the Hideous Big Bad Wolf By Sean Leonard (Random Title #21)

Every day, on my walk home from school, I would pass row after row of pig farrowing houses, until one day I didn’t. It wasn’t that I took a different way home; there is no other way home. It’s that one day, those houses just weren’t there anymore.

Some days, I’d find headless chickens along my path, corpses that fell out of the trucks on their way to the poultry plant, day-late jailbreaks. But that afternoon, there were chunks of pre-pork pig scattered all across the road; a legless hoof here, a faceless snout there, here a leg, there an ear, everywhere some dead pig. It was as if an insurgent hog had snuck in and set an IED to go off just after slop was served. Whatever the case, there was nothing left of my halfway point marker save for some scattered wood and the smell of dead breakfast.

That night, as my mom prepared dinner, I tried to pry my dad’s attention from his beer and his baseball to tell him about what I had seen. 

“Same thing happened over near the Hanson’s farm, couple a days ago,” he responded, still not looking at me. “Whole damn pig pen leveled into mud and blood. Prob’ly them animal activists tryin’ to prove a point.”

“T.J., watch yer language in front of the boy,” my mom called from the kitchen. I might have made more of his extended middle finger aimed in the direction of my mother’s bodiless voice if her brief opening of the door hadn’t wafted in the intense odor of pork chops, which instantly sent me back to my own Vietnam that I had experienced just hours before, in which I had found myself in “the shit.” My immediate projection of vomit knew no bounds, splashing the carpet, the coffee table, the last three days’ newspapers in their pile on said table, and my dad’s unscuffed cowboy boots. I probably lost three pounds with that barf; probably woulda lost three teeth, too, if my dad had noticed the chunks of puke that found their way into his beer. Instead, he took a deep, final swig; Milwaukee’s Best turned into Kentucky’s Worst, a la my own personal recipe.


My cousin Randy disappeared from his family’s farm two months later. Coincidentally, their modest pig pen was also leveled about the same time. My mom told us we should go visit my aunt and uncle, bring them a hot meal, as they had been taking their only son’s vanishing pretty hard. The three of us loaded in the car, my dad grumbling in the driver’s seat, my mom checking her “mourning look” in the mirror, and me charged with the task of keeping numerous pots, pans, bowls, and hot plates upright in the backseat.

Awkward hugs were shared, and all the adults stood on the front porch, wordless and hesitant. My dad made me carry the food in, having to again and again excuse myself past their encumbering and unhelpful bodies each time as I opened the front screen door, carefully balancing the night’s meal under my chin. After placing the last bowl on the kitchen counter, I came back outside just in time to watch everyone make their way inside.

Food was barely touched that night, but everyone seemed thirsty enough for three. My dad and his brother swore non-stop, and for once my mom didn’t scold or raise an eyebrow. Their words became louder as the night went on, more liquefied, more pronounced and slowed. Once the cans were traded for bottles, I stopped stabbing my fork into the remnants of a slice of pecan pie and snuck outside, hoping the headache that was building would be pacified by the crickets and junebugs of dusk.

Me and Randy used to play ball down the hill, over by the lake. Me and Randy used to call it “Lake Stinkowski” because it smelled like a place dirty diapers got washed out in. Me and Randy would go down there, tie cattails into mini-grenades, and throw them at each other while safely reciting all the swear words we knew out of ear’s reach of our parents. Me and Randy used to have a lot of fun together around these parts.

There was no more me and Randy. But there, under the gum tree halfway down the hill, was part of Randy.

“Mom,” I called out, probably much quieter in reality than in my head, as I nudged the fleshy chunk of Randy Dayton with my Chuck Taylor. There was no doubt it was an arm, and the McGruff Crime Dog watch around the chewed up wrist made me fairly certain it was Randy’s arm. Which probably meant that bit of red tinting on the tree above the severed limb was probably not a result of the setting sun’s light; it was probably blood.

Before I could shout for another family member who wouldn’t hear me, I heard a rustling near the water behind me. I ducked around the tree and peaked back. At first, it was just shadows and figures and silhouettes of monsters that I wished my brain would stop tricking me with. But as my eyes adjusted, and I realized my brain and my eyes were on the same page, I’m embarrassed to say I peed a little.

There were multiple figures moving toward the lake, their fuzzy silhouettes wading into the water before submerging completely. Some carried lumpy piles in their arms, others dragged sleds of larger piles behind them. If it wasn’t for the full moon making its way into the night sky, I wouldn’t have seen them clearly. Then again, if it wasn’t for the full moon that was making its way into the night sky, they would not have existed.

I rubbed my eyes, I slapped my head, I squinted and I stared, but no matter what, I still saw the same thing. Man-sized wolves, an army of them (or would it be a pack?), carrying armfuls of something to an underwater destination. They were huge. They were amphibious. They were wearing people clothes. And they were ugly.

I focused on one to gain some perspective. He had a large, hooked nose, like a proboscis monkey, and a huge gap between his front teeth. One of his canines was broken, the other had a bit of black gunk on it (it was hard to miss, what with what big teeth they were and all), and his tongue hung a bit to the side. The wolf-man/werewolf/lycanthrope creature had the complexion of a teenaged pizza-face and the hunched back of, well, a werewolf. And then I noticed a familiar smell. And then I got a better look at what they were carrying. And then I started putting the pieces together.

Some carried wood; long, broken pieces of matching colored wood. But the rest, they carried meat. Well, chunks of pig to me or you, but ready-to-devour meat to them. And there was a lot. Enough to fill a small building. Enough to fill my aunt and uncle’s small pig pen, in fact. If my math skills had been better, I might have added it up already, but when one of them sneezed and it uprooted a bush and caused an inward current from the lakefront, enough to reveal descending stairs, it became all but obvious.

I pictured my poor cousin Randy, always the butt of the jokes at school. Porky Pig. Fatso. Suey! And I remembered my eighth grade science teacher, Mr. Bleeker, telling us that while it’s believed that wolves have great eyesight, in actuality they are probably near-sighted due to how their eyes are shaped. How horrible it must have been, poor fat Randy, bringing slop to the pen on a hot summer day, probably shirtless due to the heat, sweating, as they say, like a pig.

I left the piece of Randy there by the tree as I ran the uphill distance back to the house. About halfway there I got scared that no one would believe me, but by the time I reached the slurring, drunken adults, I was positive my voice would go unheard. My telling of the story and the subsequent whipping I’d receive wouldn’t bring my cousin back, so I decided to keep my mouth shut.

My aunt and uncle moved away soon after, but that hasn’t stopped me from finding my way back to the lake behind that house. Never under a full moon, mind you. But many a sneaked-beer drunken night has been spent there, staring at the rippled surface, remembering that night, safe on the shore, looking for the Atlantis of the hideous big bad wolf.


In 1987, after hearing Poison’s “Look What the Cat Dragged In” for the first time, Sean decided he wanted to play drums. After realizing all rock stars wore leather pants, he traded in those dreams of fortune and fame for 80’s sitcoms, horror movies (which he reviews at, and punk rock. Sean's short stories can be found in Solarcide’s “Flash Me! The Sinthology,” Bizarro Pulp Press's "Bizarro Bizarro: An Anthology," and online at Cease, Cows.