Tag Archive | verse: misc: urban

71st day

A story of holidays! 

Yesterday, I was trying to finish a quest in 4theWords (and I did!) and I asked for prompts – here on Mastodon and here on Twitter. (Still open if something strikes your fancy; I’m having fun with writing prompt stories right now). 

🎃

She’d done so well.

It was nearly dawn on the tenth of December and Xamira was sitting on her porch, watching the world and, perhaps, gloating a little bit.

Moving it earlier had been the easy part.

The pumpkin spice had been a boon, she had to admit. Xamira sipped her latte and licked the slightly-cinnamon-flavoured whipped cream off of her lip. She owed her sister in the coffee industry a favor for that one — now, even if they had never tasted a proper pumpkin pie or carved a jack-o-lantern, people started thinking Pumpkin as soon as the first chilly night came.

The crafts industry had been a big plus, too. Xamira had three blogs where she talked about autumnal crafts, autumnal cooking, and costume-making. Her Gluten, Nut, and Dairy-Free Ladyfingers (shaped like real fingers and with only natural food colorings!!) were such a hit that at least once a year her server crashed. Ditto the $10 Costumes that look like $100+ and Beyond the Sexy Everything: looking Hot on Halloween without Fishnet.

There were even posts up now on r/HotHalloween — Started to plan next year’s costumes (yes plural). What do you think about the librarian from the Mummy?

This year, Xamira hadn’t even had to start the planning-for-next-year posts; they’d just popped up organically.

That part — and Seven Spooky Wreaths You Can Make in a Weekend, and then My Husband Decorated My House for the Holiday, Can You Top It? — those were all her, no favors to a sister or cousin needed, and Xamira  was pleased. The cinnamon on her tongue tasted like victory, like that PTA meeting where she’d first suggested they hold Practice Trick or Treating the week or two weeks before in the school, so kids “knew what to expect.” (which turned out to be mostly more candy). Xamira had done a lot on her own.

Of course, she did have a cousin in inflatables who had pushed the first “spooky” lawn decorations for the season — Xamira smiled across the street at the neighbors’ yard, where a dragon taller than their first floor puffed menacingly at passers-by. And once you got people to decorate, especially outside, then inertia would help everything along and those decorations would stay up longer, and longer…

Xamira had managed to take a small holiday whose influence lasted a few days at best to a season-long extravaganza of pumpkins, candy, and being someone else for a while.

She sipped her latte again as the sun crested the horizon, and sighed as a sort of pepperminty swirl touched her tongue. 70 days. She had managed 70 days.

But on the 71st day, no matter what she did, Christmas reigned.

Across the street, the neighbors’ dragon became a giant tree. Xamira wrapped her shawl around herself and headed inside before the cold really came.

70 days was quite impressive, she told herself again. Nobody else had managed that much.

Maybe next year she’d aim for a post-Labor-Day sale. Back to School with Pumpkins?

Dress Up for your First Day … as a cat!

She had time. Even redditor CostumeFreak only had two sketches and one costume prototype done yet.

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For non-USians, Labor Day is generally considered the end of summer in the US. 

It’s the first Monday in September & is one of our Federal Holidays.

Inflatable Dragon.

Inflatable Christmas Tree.

Ladies’ Fingers.

Pumpkin Spice Latte – now earlier than ever!

Putting Out Fires (and Lighting Others)

This one is just sort of silly.  Maybe an intro to something?

🚒

Perfect is the enemy of Good

That’s engraved on the lintel of our headquarters.

Well, it would be, but what’s really there is Firehouse 14.

It’s a good building, and the fire company has since moved somewhere else, bigger place, I think, more poles.

We moved in the way we do most things – quickly, efficiently, with a minimum of excess energy.

Which means, of course (of course) that I’m sleeping in an old firemen’s dormitory and so are the other seven of us.

We put out fires, after all.  Sort of. Sometimes we light them.

We’re the Cleaning Team, which is kind of a funny name for us, but it’s what we came up with while drinking vodka one night.  We get things done.

We don’t get them done cheaply.  We don’t get them done elegantly.  We get them done on time and well. (You know: on time, in budget, in scope, pick two.)

And we get them done – if not cleanly, then “cleanly.”

That is.  If it is illegal or questionably moral, It will never come back to us.  It will never come back to you.

If it is shining and bright and just needs to be done quickly, you will get all the lauds and we will be invisible.

Just don’t ask questions.

That, we actually have a sign for, on the front desk, next to the “Quick And Dirty, Done” sign that our secretary came up with.

(We do actually have a “don’t kill the client” clause in our (unwritten) contracts, but that one has its own escape clause (Our contracts are the one thing we didn’t do quick nor dirty).)

Perfect is the enemy of Good.

And let me tell you, you want it done, we can get it done Quick and really, really Good.

 


Written to May 16th’s Thimbleful Thursday Prompt.

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Thimbleful Thursday: Zonked

I think the best warning for this one is: This creeped me out.  No body horror but brain horror.

“We have an agreement.”  The woman’s smile was fake.  “You signed the papers, the money has been deposited, and you are ready to comply.”

“Yes.”  Tepha nodded shortly.  “You have my thumbprint.  You have my consent, and I’ve seen the money in the account.”  She put down her Access – the cheapest possible one, but it did show her things like bank accounts.  She’d done the three swipes necessary to take the account out of her name.  She couldn’t touch it anymore, and that was important.

“Good.  Now, I know you’ve probably heard some things about the Procedure.  Half of those are lies and the other half… well. You’ll find out soon enough.”

Considering the things Tepha had heard, that was not remotely comforting.  

It didn’t need to be.  She wasn’t here for comfort.

She sat down in the chair the woman indicated.  She closed her eyes.

“We can’t sedate you for this part, but don’t worry.  Most people lose consciousness very quickly.”

She didn’t know if that was a good thing.  She knew – if half the rumors were true – that nothing was the same after you’d been Zonked.  She knew – if even a quarter of the rumors were true – that it wasn’t reversible.

None of that mattered.

The wires attached to her head.  The pill set on her tongue, a wafer that tasted fakely of fruit.  She felt it dissolve. She felt a sudden jolt of pain. And then…

Then she felt nothing.

“There we go.”  The woman removed the wires and waved her hand in front of Tepha’s face.  The eyes tracked. There was no expression.

“Good.”  The woman nodded.  “Stand up and go through the blue door.  Follow the instructions you are given.”

Zonked people were cheaper than robots, could often still handle independent thought, and the price of feeding and housing them was minimized by their lack of want.  If the woman found them creepy… feeling was not part of her job description either.

The woman who had been Tepha did as she had been told.  There was nothing in her to suggest any desire to do otherwise.


Written to July 19th’s Thimbleful Thursday prompt: Zonked Out

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What The… Doll?

Written to Del’s prompt to my new “WTF?” Prompt Call.  This Miiiiiight be Science! or Dragons Next Door universes – what do you think?

I suppose I had nobody to blame but myself.

I’m one of those compulsive “clickers” that likes to play with online dollies, you know ‘dress up Soldier Sapphire!  Make a Fashion Doll!”

It’s not a habit I really admit to people in real life, but the online world has always been different.

So when “make your mini-mi!” came up in the advertisements for one of the sites I like a lot – they have wings!  And some pretty funky skin colors! – I couldn’t resist clicking.

And then I spent an hour playing – maybe two hours – it could have been three.  All I know is that when I was done, I had a nice little character that looked “just like me.”

I mean, if me had blue hair.  Continue reading

What The Spell?

Written to Victoria’s prompt to my new “WTF?” Prompt Call.  Set in the same world as Parts and Points, which itself is the same world as a cyberpunk-ish novel I’m working on. 

The book was old – ancient –  the sort of thing that people hoard and pass on to their descendants in their wills, and Jenivere had found it in the back of a flea market booth, hiding in a bargain bin.

She’d felt a little guilty about what she’d paid for it, so she’d done a little spell around the booth, one of her favorite easy ones that just made everything a little fresher without ruining the quality of something old or antique (although it sometimes had unfortunate effects on ‘shabby chic’ sorts of things).

Now that she’d read the whole thing three times, she was ready to start one of the spells in it.  It was a shield spell – it was listed as ‘defend and protect’ – and the ingredients were almost all supermarket-easy. Continue reading

Teaching the Geometry (of Life) – a Patreon story

originally posted Jun 14, 2018 on Patreon

Mr. Reginato had been teaching 10th-grade advanced mathematics for a very long time.  A very, very long time, but the old paper records were long since gone and, since students enjoyed his class, he didn’t seem to be a line-item on the pension fund, and the school’s test scores in mathematics grade 10 and above had always been superb – or at least as long as people knew Mr. Reginato had been there – nobody was going to talk to him about retiring.

As a matter of fact, they were paying him, it appeared, approximately $100 a year, which absolutely couldn’t be correct, but that was the number that the accountant had in her files, and nobody really wanted to ask her any questions either. Continue reading

Two Microfics/Tootfics From Last Night

I was feeling a bit meh last night, but I wanted to write *something*, so I took a couple prompts for toot fic – fic that fits in a 500-character toot on Mastodon. 

This is what I got.

👶

The thing about a baby was, it was literally made of connections. Polly finished spinning wool from her friend’s sheep, twisting into it a strand of the feelings she had for her friend.

She wound the yarn into a ball with sororal affection and the big-sister feeling that never went away, then reached for the line that connected the mother & father to the baby.

Babies were born of connections. She knit the echo of those connections into a tiny sweater of protection & love.

🐑

To @DialMforMara‘s prompt: Knitting with Strands. 

🖋️🖋️🖋️

“Damn.” The book hit the tile. “Fuck. Shit.” Amy’s arms went up. “This… fuck.”

“Fuck,” Tod and Amy saw eye to eye for once. “We can – can not…” The word he had need for was too long. Every word was too long.

“Draw!” Amy went to work with a pen on the tile. “Pic-”

“Icon.” Tod did the same. “Icon.”

The 👿 was the 1st of its kind to be sent to hell with a 😀.

👹

To @tomasino’s prompt

A grammatical demon has been summoned at Oxford and was let free accidentally by the lack of a third comma. It has already devoured all words longer than four letters.

January By the Numbers Ten: Busy bees buzzing brightly (fiction Piece)

January by the numbers continues (still a day off~)!
From [personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘s prompt “Busy bees buzzing brightly, bearing beauteous bouquets.;” a ficlet
.
🐝
“The hive’s alight tonight.” Oshen stared at the office building, bright with lights in the middle of the night. From their vantage point, three buildings over, the people moving around looked like ants — or maybe bees — insects anyway, buzzing around, bopping here and there in what looked like a random pattern. “Who do you think kicked it?”

“It doesn’t look that much like a hive,” Nensho complained. “I mean, okay, it’s sort of got that shape, but—”

“But it’s full of worker bees, moving here and there, doing whatever their little Queen Bee tells them. Except for Eidercorp, it’s not a Queen Bee, is it? It’s a King Bee. Unnatural.” Oshen grinned, liking the taste of the word. “Unnatural. Against the natural order of things. Counter to the way things are supposed to be.”

“Easy now,” Nensho chided. “You’re doing that thing where you get carried away again and then you start believing your own propaganda. Don’t forget that thing last year with Tenor, Inc. It ended up being a big mess, and all because you got caught up in your alliteration and allegory.”

“There was some onomatopoeia, too,” Oshen complained. “And maybe some rhyme.”

“Either way, every way, anyway, just don’t. We have a goal, no?”

“We have a goal, now.”

“Good. So, let’s get to the goal.” Nensho stared at Eidercorp through high-powered binoculars. “All right, they’re clearly up to something. I can’t tell quite what from here but it looks a little bit like a dance, doesn’t it?”

“What, they’re telling the King Bee where the honey is? That seems a little too literal when they’re working off of my metaphor,” Oshen complained.

“No.” Nensho frowned. “It looks like they’re taking bouquets to the CFO. All of them. Everyone in the company.”

“…And you say I get carried away.”
🐝

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The Magical Disaster, a story beginning written off of a 7th Sanctum prompt

From this prompt generator: http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=writeprompt


We survived the magical disaster by hiding in her bank, or that’s what they thought.

We used the same trick we always did: play off of people’s assumptions. We crawled out from under a table and staggered out of the building with the two dozen people who’d been hiding in there. We looked woozy – I really was woozy, and Sharna’s expertise was in faking any number of illnesses and weakness. And we were genuinely surprised by the chaos outside.

We looked a little strange, but even the people hiding in strong stone buildings like the bank had been affected by the backlash. We looked a little lost, but that was easily explained by the wooziness. The hardest part to explain would have been our ID’s, and there was such a mess outside that nobody cared, not even the police.

The sweetest part of the mess? One of those police looked Sharna straight in the face and didn’t recognize her. Her face had been on wanted posters all over town…

…but that had been back home. I wondered how long it would be before they realized that the magical catastrophe had opened doors into other worlds? By then, I was sure, we’d already have vanished into this world and be working on another con.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1062784.html. You can comment here or there.

If a Tree Grows in the Forest… a drabble

Written to [profile] kiarrith‘s prompt here

The thing was, the industrial areas of the city hadn’t been abandoned that long. 15 years since the last manufacturing business folded in the area, sure, seven since the last start-up trying to use the old spaces fizzled out. But there were hobos and drifters, skaters and hippies. There was always someone wandering through the space. Leticia walked through herself, Tuesdays and Thursdays when she didn’t have much time between work and classes.

Which is how she knew something was up when she encountered the oak grove. It was Tuesday, which meant she’d last been through this cut-through – between the old Gleason Works building and the even older Lomb plant, where the workers of both had once shared bag lunches and a brief bit of unfiltered sunlight – it had last been only 5 days ago.

Last week, the courtyard had been full of weeds, a little bit of trash, with a beaten path straight through the middle.

Today, there were five oak trees in a circle where a picnic table had once stood. They weren’t small trees, either; the smallest one was too big for Letitia to encircle with her arms.

She walked around the trees cautiously. This had to be some sort of trick, some sort of urban graffiti gone supremely weird. Trees just didn’t grow overnight. Not in a vacant lot, not anywhere.

Her foot hit something hard. Letita knelt down to look, perplexed beyond caution.

A piece of metal twisted out of the weeds, so rusted it fell apart in her hands. Another piece of metal caught her eye, white and pitted. In the flat metal, a heart was etched, dirt rubbed deep into the lines.

Letita felt chill. She knew this heart. If she pulled the rest of the metal out of the weeds, it would say QW + ZX. She’d puzzled over those initials and the heart’s wobbly arrow for months. They’d been carved into the picnic table, the table that had stood where the oak trees now grew.

Slowly, her heart in her throat, Letita turned around to look at the city skyline.

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