Howie Good is the author most recently of Spooky Action at a Distance from Analog Submission Press. He co-edits the journals Unbroken and UnLost.
Awl Fwk Tup
I never saw or heard a gunshot. What I have seen is the aftermath. Dazed mothers, dead children cradled in their arms. There’s just barely enough space for everyone. I watch a man whose stubbly chin and shuffling, arthritic walk interest me. I am him. You have to be reasonable and understand the situation. Invaders disguised as saviors won’t leave us alone. The rubble and weeds stretching toward the river have a different meaning now. If you click on the link, it will take you there. Do it for love; if you do it for love, you can’t fuck up.
X’s for Eyes
Years ago we loved life so much, everything in the world, including the air. The moral should be obvious. It’s big enough to be seen among the cacophony of windows. I’m just wondering what comes next, if we’ll only be able to view nature in assigned locations. You’ll go and sit in a dark room, surrounded by strangers. When you scream, only half of the people will understand.
I fell asleep to the rat-tat-tat of rain and dreamed I could breathe underwater. The grieving came later, when we learned there could be such a thing as too much sunshine. Animal rescuers cut open a whale’s belly on the beach and found coins and plastic water bottles inside. Maybe it was a cry for help, but maybe not. People were saying it was only a matter of time before those little white birds returned to pick clean the teeth of crocodiles. Meanwhile, the rain would be represented by a succession of broken lines, and death by x’s for eyes.
You arrive with 100 gallons of red paint, and all these people are thinking, “Oh my God,” while you work out the next steps that need to be taken. It kind of gives you something to do with your sadness. You serve an idea that doesn’t belong to you. There’s no way you can just stop. You’ve got to keep accelerating. The invisible world is teetering between becoming and dying, and it can go in either direction at any moment. So the answer is “no” should anyone happen to ask if every ray of light comes back to us.
Sam Cooke Enters Heaven
You were surrounded by angels, balls of light, not quite as big as a volleyball, moving, breathing, shining, all different colors, and three of the angels – woop, woop, woop – came up to you, and one said in a small voice: “We’ll have fun every day. We’ll go on picnics in the hills and spend the whole night there. We’ll bring musicians and instruments with us, and dance all night, and no one will ask why you were killed.” It didn’t really matter. Starving deer were already wandering the streets in search of food, and the wind smelled like a bonfire.
A Town Called Heartbreak
In the third week of the war, she heard a strange sound and stepped out onto the terrace of her house. She was killed instantly by a stray bullet. I haven’t slept too well since then. Opinion leaders keep shouting, “Stop resisting! Stop resisting!” That’s a rather antiquated and narrow notion of conflict. A Molotov cocktail also poses a risk to the person who throws it. I think this is how I will end – disappearing in a blur. If you want reality, just go and stand there. You’ll see it. It’s there. Life is full of pictures we didn’t take.