Santa’s Little Helper (1)

A creature traveled three hundred million light-years and gave a sleeping girl a gift.

“What is it?” She asked, for she was young and naive, and thought the timeless and inscrutable creature stood before her was Santa Claus.

The creature noticed this.

“A present, my dear, for a good little girl.” The alien mouth struggled for a moment around unfamiliar sounds, a problem quickly overcome.

“Are you Santa? It’s not Christmas.”

The creature paused, accessed the planet’s knowledge. “Not Santa, dear girl. A helper. We would like you to test out this new toy for us, to make sure it will work just right by Christmas.”

The girl nodded sagely, turned the small device over in her hands. Black, it was, and somewhat translucent. She held it up to peer through it, looking around the room. It fell upon the Helper, who reached out and gently pushed it down before she could resolve him through the glasslike machine.

“What’s it do?”

“It,” a pause, a consideration of several variables, “captures.” The being detected a micro-expression on the girl’s face, made an adjustment. “It takes pictures. Special pictures.”

“What’s special about pictures?”

“That is for you to discover, little one. Now, sleep.” His voice drawled into a hypnotic predatory drone, and the girl slept.



Water sluiced along the sides of Tetsuya’s bike, turning the city lights into rounded lines that danced around rainbows of oilspots. Tetsuya felt as if he was in a dream. It was the perfect time to get blasted off his bike. Watch the lights for too long and he’d get unfocused, lose the sharp edge he relied upon in his line of work. A simple mistake would be all it took for the hounds to tear him to pieces. Facing off against a robot brain, especially a pack of robot brains, required a clarity of mind that bordered on the electronic.

So Testuya ignored the play of city lights against the water and wake. He tightened his grip, pulled his throttle, squeezed his legs, and swerved around the corner of an alley a half second before metal jaws could snap onto the synthetic rubber of his rear tire. The lead hound smashed into a building, failing to adjust to the new trajectory in time.

Three left.

Tetsuya sped as fast as he dared through a dim alley, headlights illuminated at a maximum, turning the night ahead of him into day. He was acutely aware of the expensive sensor clusters in the heads of the hounds pursuing him. They had no need for the primitive and illusionary visual spectrum.

A road ahead. Two lanes, fast. If there were no gaps in either lane, Tetsuya would be a pink smear in a few short seconds.

He shot out of the alley, locked his rear tire into a skid, screeched into the farthest lane, avoiding a long-haul by inches. The dim AI in the truck swerved briefly, driver barely aware, lost in a PAX haze. A crack of metal, a series of thumps as the long-haul smashed into two of the hounds and then ground them into the pavement.

One left.

Tetsuya watched the remaining hound sail over the long-haul, the luckiest of the three hounds, having chosen the trajectory that didn’t end in annihilation.

He rode between the lanes. It was a game of chess now. The hounds were fast, but exponentially less creative as their pack sized dwindled. One hound would always choose the optimal solution, the most likely path of success. Always.

The cars around him passed in a blur. He imagined what he was to the occupants. A flash, a dopplered whine, his high-torque electric engine quieter than his tires. They’d wonder if he was a racer, or maybe a daredevil, speeding through traffic in manual mode, and then the hound would pass by soundlessly, legs a blur, and they’d know. A criminal, a thief, a data-miner. A blackhat transporting high volumes of information in the most untraceable manner that could be devised – on foot.

As long as he could avoid the hound.

It was out of site, using other vehicles to mask its location. It didn’t need line of sight, it could predict Tetsuya’s location using an ever collapsing list of probabilities.

Tetsuya chose an option that probably wasn’t on the list.

He put himself in front of a family van unit, watching the hound zipping behind another long-haul to his right. As soon as it was out of sight, Tetsuya locked his front wheel, tipped the bike straight into the vertical, switched to front-wheel drive, gunned the motor, and slammed his back tire onto the hood of the van, leaving a sizable dent in the hood. He locked the back wheel, stood on the tire, and with a tremendous grunt of effort, lifted the front of his bike clear of the road. The van slowed,  onboard AI desperately searching for a solution to a situation well outside the scope of its programming.

The hound landed where Tetsuya had been seconds before. Tetsuya dropped the front of his bike on its spine, turned sideways, gunned the front wheel. The hound was pulled up into his bike and shredded instantly. The remaining half disappeared under the van, destroying the undercarriage and causing it to light into crash-mode. Strobes flashed along the exterior as the occupants fought uselessly against the airbags that now filled the cabin.

Tetsuya switched into rear-wheel drive, dismounted the van, and turned into a side street, following a path that lacked any cameras.

Home free, and he had only come within inches of a devastating death about fifteen times that night.

No time to question his career choices. With no hounds, Tetsuya could enjoy the lights of the city reflected in the wet streets.

Prompt: There is a new Presidential speechwriter, courtesy of The Internet

“‘Dear debt-rotted people of America:’ ? Is this some sort of joke?”


“We should start off punchy.”


“‘Hold on to your butts, it’s about to get real.’ That’s what you call punchy?”


“What do you call it, if not punchy?”


White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough rubbed at a stabbing pain in his forehead. This is what he had to deal with, this?


The girl before him was careless in dress and manner. Her clothes would be tasteful were it not for the artful slashes in controversial locations. Her hair would be professional were it not for the splotch of pink engulfing the entire right side of her head. Her shoes… Holy mother of god, she had none.


How did this woman make it past security, let alone be appointed the President’s primary speech writer?


“Look, Mr. Secretary,” she spoke as if chewing around nonexistent bubblegum, “I know you’re worried about, like, PC and all that.”


“Yes. Hence why we can’t refer to Wall Street investors as ‘scum-sucking rapers of th–‘”


“But, democrats just won a landslide in the midterm elections! It’s time to stick it to the people where they’ll feel it for generations, show them that the democrats can really play hardball when there’s something at stake.”


McDonough’s migraine was threatening to rip out of his skull. “And what is it that you believe is at stake, Ms. Achter?”


“Well, for one thing, we gotta get these people to start voting. I mean come on, a 35 percent turnout at midterms?”


“I suppose you address that with the line, ‘It’s time to stop jacking off and actually do something useful with your citizenship’?”




“And the line, ‘start shoving those tax dollars to noble causes, rather than stuffing them into the asses of corporate interests like you’re pegging the polished sphincter of JP Morgan Chase himself,’ what exactly were you hoping to accomplish there?”


“It’s time for the American people to focus on themselves! Pull themselves out from their debt slavery to big corporations! Start making money for themselves, carve wood, that kind of thing.”


“Make farms?”


“‘Work that hoe harder than a coked-out pedophile in a Chuck E Cheese’ is the line you’re looking for.”


“Of course, how could I forget.”


McDonough thought about the past. Far into the past. He thought about the history of the country that employed him. Over 200 years of relative sanity. Some wars, some social uprising, a couple market crashes, monopolies, oligopolies, the usual. People who said “black people” on TV losing their political appointments, presidents rolling up their shirtsleeves and taking pictures next to hurricane-wrecked neighborhoods. Sanity.


What god-forsaken fluke in social engineering had spawned this situation?


“Ms. Achter, could you remind me again how you came into this position?”


She smiled. “Well! Now that the collective anonymous voice of the internet is the most powerful lobbyist in Washington, Homie Brobama decided it was time to get on the level of young people in the country. After all, you guys only got, what, another decade before you start kicking the bucket?”


“Right.” He sighed. “Well, despite gems of lines like ‘time to start warring on our own dumbfuckery rather than the drugs and brown people’ or ‘kill all CEOs,’ I can’t, in good faith, deliver this speech to the President.”


“Oh?” Ms. Achter delivered a wickedly crooked smile. “Why’s that?”


“To put it in your terms, Ms. Achter, it’s fucking retarded.”


“What’s fucking retarded, Denis?” Came a dignified voice.


McDonough stiffed and turned to the door. “Mr. President. I was just going over some of our options for the State of the Union speech. I think…” he trailed off as the President and Ms. Achter engaged in a complex and mind-boggling system of handshakes that ended with a mid-air butt-bump.


Obama straightened his tie. “Good to see you settling in, homegirl. What do you think of her work, Denis? Class act, am I right?”


Denis shifted. He felt very hot. “Ah, well sir, I was thinking we could go with something more, baseline, more tested.”


“Hmm.” The President glanced over the draft Achner handed him. “Maybe. We’ll see.” He passed the paper back, winked at Achner, and said, “keep up the good work you two. You’ll know my decision come the day of the speech.”


A week later, Denis sat in his well-worn seat in the press room as The President cleared his throat and prepared to deliver a speech listened to by billions.




McDonough leaned forward in his seat.




Mother of god.



(Inspired by: 4chan’s letter to the NSA)

Prompt: A man has successfully journeyed to the afterlife and back. His press conference:

“Shit’s pretty fucked up.”

“Could you elaborate, Mr. Baker? What do you mean by ‘fucked up?'”

Ten thousand microphones buzzed around him, fighting for space with the cameras. Buried in there, somewhere, were people shouting questions.

“The fuck do you think I mean? It was *fucked up* I’m telling you!”

“Could you give us an example?” Came a voice to his left.

“Well, for one thing, pretty much everyone there is being raped. Constantly.”

“Raped? You said raped?” the word passed like through the crowd like goosebumps across an arm.

“You heard me. Raped. By Demons.”


“Demons. Horrible ones, all sorts of shapes and colors, but generally what you’d expect. Horns. Lots of horns. Dicks, too. Dicks on horns, horns that look like dicks, dicks with horns on them.”


“Horns. And scales. Scaly, horny rape.”

“Mr. Baker, you don’t seem too shaken by the experience.”

“Oh, I’m shaken all right. That’s another thing they got down there. They call it ‘the shake and bake.'”

“Like the chicken!” Someone shouted triumphantly from within the crowd.

“Exactly. Except, ever imagine what it was like to be the chicken? That’s shake and bake. Reserved for the Gluttonous, if I remember correctly.”

“Did you see anybody famous?”

“I saw a lot of people! Hitler, Pol Pot, my old English teacher, man she was a bitch.”

“Anybody recently dead?” said someone looking for a celebrity scandal angle.

“Oh, well, I saw Robin Williams getting pegged by a pretty viciously horny demon.”

“Robin Williams? But he was a saint!” someone shouted.

“An angel!” said someone else.

“Oh did I forget to mention? Yea turns out there’s only *one* afterlife. Being good or evil doesn’t really matter. Nope, we’re all slated for an eternity of giant demon dick.”

“Is there no hope for humankind? Did you meet no prophet or savior who gave you a message to deliver us to our salvation?” Mr. Baker peered and saw the question came from a priest.

“Sorry pops, nothing like that.”

There was a collective moan from the crowd.

“Oh! Wait, I did meet Jesus.”

“Jesus!” The crowd shouted in unison.

“Yea, he was pretty alright. Only dude there not getting raped, well, other than Freddie Mercury of course. Man, you should have *seen* Freddie, he -”

“What did Jesus say!” someone shouted.

“Oh, that’s right, let me remember.” He paused and thought for a moment. The crowd leaned in. “That’s right! He said ‘fuck yall, this is for nailing me to a damned cross.'”