Yesterday’s Tomorrow


“We’re getting another one.” He hit the record button before she had to tell him to.

She sighed. “All right.”

Flight Control, Awahou. We’re still nominal.” Sometimes they came in awash in static, stretched out slower or compressed faster, chopped up into bits and pieces; this one was oddly normal, like it was coming from a few miles away. “Drive system seems to have settled in after that first hiccup.

“Gotta be from early on in the test flight.”

“God, Earl, just turn off the speaker. I don’t want to listen to it. Just turn off the speaker and forward the recording like you’re supposed to.”

“What, I’m interested. I don’t think I’ve heard this one before. Might be something new in it.”

“You signed a paper, Earl, it’s—”

“Oh, they don’t really care about that after all this time. Come on.” He took a sip of his drink. “Just a bit of history, isn’t it?”

Preparing to ramp up to full power now. Having trouble hearing your replies, Flight Control. Almost sounded like the countdown there a second ago.”

“Time got weird for them too. See, that’s new, we didn’t know that.”

Here we go, Flight Control. Full power…”



What was it, that piece that Grandpa Knowles always played, the one I loved then hated then loved again when it was too late? He told me, several times, but I don’t remember the name; it’s lost somewhere amidst comic books and reruns and realizing girls smelled nice. If I knew more about music — anything about music, to be honest — I could at least narrow it down from the style. I’d know it if I heard it, I’d bet anything.

I wish I could ask him. But there’s a dust cover on Grandpa Knowles’ piano now, has been for years.

Zombie Drabble #444: “Our Friend In The Lake”


Paulie drowned somewhere here, a few hundred yards out from the North shore, just rowed out, dropped himself into the water. We watched him go, yelling and pleading the whole time for him to come back.

I’m not sure if it’s possible for him to come back up. I don’t think they float, especially once they’re decayed enough that there’s no gasses trapped inside them. But I go out and check every so often, hoping he’s near enough the surface for me to reach with the boat-hook; I can’t stand the thought of him trapped in the murky darkness, forever.

SF Drabble #486: “Abduction By Permit Only”

The agent asked, gently, “Can you describe the room?”

“There were bright lights above me. Blinding, I had to squint the whole time. So I couldn’t really see the room. But the table was metal.”

“Metal table, ok. And were there any sounds? Noise? Anything that sounded like talking?

“There was… it sounded like slurping. And definitely rustling. Like, newspapers.”

“Okay. Excuse us for a minute, please.”

The agents stepped out into the hall, closed the door behind them.

“Slurping and rustling—”

“Definitely the Pyorwheen.”

“This is, what, the third time they’ve grabbed somebody out-of-season?”

“The fine’s gonna be astronomical.”

SF Drabble #485: “Cultural Ambassador”

“Five minutes”

Greg pulled the brush through the back of her hair one more time, backed up, surveyed his work, looked at her reflected eyes and nodded. She turned to one side and then the other. “Yeah.”

“They’re gonna love you.”

By this point there was usually cheering, chanting, a rolling boil of crowd noise. Outside, in the oddly-shaped venue, the audience of Shchinwhee sat in near-silence in seats recently designed and installed. “Sure.”

“Just like a normal show.”

She locked eyes with her own reflection. Ten years since that mall food court. Poughkeepsie? Maybe Albany? “Like a normal show.”

Fantasy Drabble #383: “Trace”

Photo by Alfaz Sayed on Unsplash

Are you there? Can you hear me?

They’d been here together, that day, just before the end. She’d been happy, she’d twirled with face upturned to the sun and sky, and then lowered her chin to smile at him mischievously.

Can you answer? Can you speak? Wave if you can. Hold up your hand so I know you can hear me.

The tiny jade  statuette was cold in his hands, where it had been warm.

I’ll try again. I’ll find something more powerful, I’ll go find someone who knows how to fix it. I’ll keep trying. This has to work.

Restore From Backup


“Do you still remember how to play?”

He turned his face towards her, cocked his head, stared, then turned back and pushed down another key.

Does he even understand me? There was enough flash memory to hold him, at least after the hurried hardware upgrade, but the CPU was still a small one. “Do you remember the Debussy? Or the Stravinsky… ‘The Five Fingers?’

He turned, stared at her again.

“I know, you don’t have enough fingers now.”

He leapt from the edge of the keyboard into the air, flapped his wings, circled the room twice before finally alighting on the windowsill. He didn’t seem to be concerned with the outside, but rather with his own reflection.

“It was the only thing I had anywhere near ready. I’ll have to build a new chassis for you, call in Rémy to do the skin and hair, it’ll take some time.” She tapped the keyboard so the screen would wake, revealing design plans already begun. “Weeks, maybe?”

He didn’t look at the computer. After a moment, he flew back to the piano, slowly pushed down a key, then another.

“I wonder if, when you’re a man again, you’ll remember how to fly.”

SF Drabble #484 : “Minor Changes”

“It’s simple,” Canton shouted over the high-pitched whine of the machine. “When I say go, you step forward, you grab her, you pull her backwards, and then you step back through to this side—”


“— then it closes behind you. The bus misses her, she never knows you were even there. Simple.”

“And you’re sure this won’t, like, wreck the timeline, right?”

“It was two weeks ago, Redmond. Anything happen in the last two weeks you couldn’t stand to see undone?” He laughed. “Somebody cure cancer? Anyway, Billie isn’t important enough to change anything. Except to you.”

“Right. Okay.”