David Archives

February 5, 2007

David: Mary, Mary

Everyone agreed that old Mrs. Robbins had the best garden around. She was out there every day, tending to her plants, weeding, mulching, all the esoteric little tasks that made her garden grow. She said an afternoon’s honest labor was her way of coping with the stresses of the world.

She’d started it years ago, just before her husband disappeared. Times were rough for a while, with the loneliness and uncertainty. She said her garden work let her feel like he had never left, like he was right there in the dirt with her.

She always had the reddest roses.

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February 6, 2007

David: Custodian

The last living thing on Earth was a kind of mold. It lived near the equator, on a rock that hadn’t existed when humans had inhabited the planet. It called itself Frank and it contained the essence of everything that had ever lived.

Frank spread itself thin across the surface of its rock, soaking up the feeble rays from the bloated red sun above, and it remembered. It knew everyone and everything that had come before, and it loved them all. Frank sighed happily; the long journey was over.

Frank was at peace.

Above him, the sun began to contract.

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February 7, 2007

David: Indistinguished

The protests started small. A library in Spokane had its card catalog picketed one Saturday. Alternative radio stations were pressured to switch to Top 40.

Then, the movement started to spread and grow. Newspapers were hounded for putting sports and financial news in their own sections. Corporations suffered boycotts for the crime of making their products’ packaging too distinctive.

Someone broke into the Library of Congress and randomly rearranged all the books. Gregor Mendel’s Taxonomy of Life was burned in effigy in Times Square, now called That One Intersection Not Unlike Any Other.

The anti-discrimination movement had gone too far.

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February 8, 2007

David: Ask Dr. Science

“No, it actually isn’t cold in space,” the astronaut lectured to his companion. “Temperature is a property of mass, the amount of chaotic kinetic energy possessed by the molecules of a substance. Deep space has no mass. Ergo, no temperature. Instead, it is a heat sink, drawing heat away as infrared radiation.”

“Shut up, please.”

“I’m just saying if you want to complain, get the technicalities right.”

“Okay, so we’re going to freeze to death not because space is cold, but because it sucks.”

“Heavens, no. This capsule is far too small. We’ll run out of oxygen long before that.”

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February 9, 2007

David: Of Cats And Cradles

We were three subjective years out from Earth, cruising at 0.95 of lightspeed when the communication signal caught up with us. Included was a batch of letters from a girl I’d met just before we left. Suzy, Sara, Shelley, Monica, something like that.

Apparently, I’d knocked her up that night. She named him Brian, and was suing me for child support. She won, and the court started docking my pay. Brain graduated school as valedictorian, and was accepted at West Point. After graduation, he joined the service, did two tours, and retired a captain.

Kids. They grow up so fast.

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February 12, 2007

David: That Must Have Been Some Town Council Meeting

The news ticker read, “Town popularity at five-year high as poison levels drop.”

“Bah!” said the old man. “Kids today.”

“Whatcha mean, Gramps?” asked Floyd.

“They don’t know what’s good for ‘em. A little poison now and again keeps ya strong, weeds out the weak.”

“Well, I think not poisoning the populace will be great for the tourist industry.”

“That’s what they want you to think. ‘Oh, let’s go to that town! Almost nobody gets poisoned there anymore!’”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“Think a minute, Floyd. If we ain’t got no poison in us, what’s to keep the werewolves away?”

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February 13, 2007

David: Leather And Justice

I stand watch over the city, senses alert to any sign of wrongdoers doing wrong. From my high perch, I watch the people going about their normal evening’s business. They are my children, and I have sworn to protect them from threats great and small. Whether they are consciously aware of me or not, they are grateful that I’m here, standing between them and the darkness.

“Bill?” said a woman’s voice behind me. I twisted to face her, my cape swirling about me. There she stood, wearing...

…a Little Bo Peep costume?

“Oh,” she said, “Are we doing superheroes tonight?”

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February 14, 2007

David: "Escape"

Piña coladas, check.

Getting caught in the rain, sure.

Making love at midnight on the dunes of the cape? Damn straight.

I reread the newspaper clipping as I sat in O’Malley’s waiting for my blind date to arrive. We met through the personals. If my old lady ever found out what I was up to—

The bell on the door rang. I turned to look, and knew her instantly.

“Oh, it’s you,” said my old lady as she sat down next to me.

“Yeah, wacky, huh?” We both laughed for a moment.

She’s going to kill me in my sleep.

The word was "Escape" from The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks.

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February 15, 2007

David: Trevor Lockhart And The Jungle Of Mystery

Trevor Lockhart peered through the underbrush at the native village. He spotted Betty inside a crudely-fashioned hut, being guarded by two half-naked aboriginal warriors.

“Okay, Professor, here’s the plan,” Lockhart whispered to his companion. “These are simple, uneducated savages who know nothing of the modern world. We walk into camp, show them some modern wonders like this Zippo, and convince them we’re white gods. We claim Betty, and we’re on our way.”

“Oh, my,” Professor Wainwright replied, “Do you think that will work?”

“Trust me, Professor.” Trevor stepped into the clearing.

The machine guns the natives drew were a surprise.

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February 16, 2007

David: But Not Tonight

She came awake and to the realization that she was starving for blood and company. She turned off the light, toward the window, and into a bat. She felt the thrill of the hunt, the wind in her fur, and the vague dread rising from her prey and her gut.

“One of these nights,” she thought, surveying the human buffet and her emotions, “I will meet my fate, my love, my death. He will pierce my long-dead heart with passion and wood.”

In the alley below, in the shadows, in his final night, a mugger menaced a woman and society.

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