Ugh, what an unbelievable couple of weeks. Our house, sequestered on our wondrous acreage in the southwestern desert, caught fire. The personal property damage was not very extensive but the damage to the house itself is bad. It will take about six months to get repaired and Mrs. Axe is having to deal with being in a strange temporary house without me there. Three more months to retirement.
– Progress on Pilgrimage has been slow due to the events mentioned above. Heh, every time I think I am going to get it together, something happens. I’ll keep at it.
– I now have two stories that are held for final decision by their respective magazines. Neither are pro-paying mags but both are venues in good esteem, that I’ve been trying to pierce for some time. Good steps, we’ll see what happens from here.
– While traveling recently, I read Brandon Sanderson’s latest, Steelheart. It was okay. I give it to Sanderson: he is an absolute ace at creating glum, dystopian worlds with a very desperate climate. His execution, though …
– With the rash of super hero movies coming out, I thought this blog entry about the five worst Avengers ever was kind of amusing. (In the interest of full disclosure, I haven’t read anything else on this site, so …. yeah, I take no responsibility for your wanderings.) It is a shame we will have an Ant Man movie before a Wonder Woman movie – or as another site put it, before we can have a superhero movie with “Woman” in the name, we have to have a movie about a character most famous for being a woman beater. Can you tell I don’t like Ant Man?
– A few months back, Apex Magazine ran a contest for a 250-word spec fiction tale related to Christmas. Figuring, “What the hell,” I whipped up a quick tale. I did not win, obviously, so here is what I entered:
The candy cane did not object when it was dumped from the box into a heap with its insensate kin.
It did not protest when the woman hung it from the tree branch. The scents of pine sap and the burnt ozone of cheap electric lights swamped its senses but the cane told itself, “Patience.”
It did not lash out when the cat, malicious beast that it was, batted the cane loose from the branch. Claws scored its surface and the cane’s mute rage swelled. But the cane endured, and the child chased the cat away, returning the cane to the branch. The cane told itself, “Just wait.”
Then at last, its time came. The child came to the tree and pointed. “Mommy, can I have a candy cane?”
The woman nodded. The child walked around the tree, eyes roaming across the selections. The cane shrieked in the vaults of its mind. “I’m here! Take me!”
The child reached out. The cane trembled in anticipation – then shuddered as the child plucked up another, one of plain sugar and corn syrup. “I want this one.”
The cane sighed. It did not move as the tree withered and faded. It did not object as the woman replaced it in the box, along with its mindless brethren. The dark spirit within, waiting to be unleashed into the body of an innocent, was patient. Christmas would come again.
The box lid closed. The candy cane told itself, “Next year.”
And it waited.
Not bad, eh?
Ah well. Thanks dear friends for allowing me to vomit my latest ramblings.