The Sparrow

He called himself usfur duri, the sparrow.
He tried to set off a bomb on a school bus.
It took six men to bring him down. He was still trying to trigger it.
To murder. To kill.
He sat in his cell and didn’t say a word.
FREE THE SPARROW, the Amnesty International posters said.
No mention of the bomb. The children.
He called us evil during the trial.
Guilty. Thirty life sentences.
Years later, he was on the prisoner exchange list. A “goodwill gesture.”
He laughed at us.
We wrapped him in a poster and beat him to death.

Zilla

Nobody knows why Godzilla keeps attacking Tokyo, but the insurance companies learned their lesson after the first time.
They tried to add “zilla” to the end of “Act of God” in their policies, but that didn’t quite work out with Kanji characters. So, they said that Godzilla had used his atomic fire breath on the building that warehoused all the records and paperwork.
When that scam didn’t work, the insurance company called the bankers and worked up a deal.
“Godzilla destroyed our vault and records,” the bankers said.
They pocketed the cash, fled to Singapore, and lived happily ever after.

Jason

When I go to sleep, I play camping sounds on my phone.
Crickets, a crackling fire, owls, and frogs fill the air.
It helps me to dream of when we’d go camping long ago.
Back at Crystal Lake.
Yeah, there was this Jason kid that we harassed and drove into a homicidal fury. He put on a hockey mask and chopped up a bunch of hot teens.
Thank goodness I was a pimply nerd back then. Jason just passed me by without a single look. Dude just snickered. Jerk.
I still came down with poison ivy. Man, did that suck.

The Mozart Effect

Some scientists say that if you expose a baby to Mozart, it will boost their IQ.
Other scientists say that this has no effect on a baby’s IQ.
No matter what the scientists say, everyone agrees that exposing Mozart to babies really pissed him off.
“Vat’s mit all zees kinders!” he’d shout, sticking his fingers in his ears and scowling at the room full of babies. “Vere ist mein harpsichord?”
Then the babies would scream louder, and Mozart became even more irritable and outraged.
Further research is necessary on The Mozart Effect. And self-changing diapers to stop babies from screaming.

The Empties

Every container full of stuff they send here, we have to ship back so they can send us more stuff.
Some, we fill with trash for recycling.
Others, we put coal or other raw materials.
And with the rest of the empties?
They call it human trafficking.
Fifty to a container.
Thousands of containers on a ship.
Sex slaves?
Organ donors?
Cheap labor?
No. Hardly.
They feed them to the Trakha.
It’s part of the peace treaty.
They give up technology. Chemical formulas.
And what do they do with it?
Make stuff. To sell to us.
Just for the empties.

She Lived Seven Days

Our baby lived seven days.
She never breathed on her own.
Seven days of tubes. And wires. And beeps.
So many beeps. And then.
She never breathed on her own.
When they asked us if we wanted to hold her, we just sat there. We said nothing.
They opened the glass door, pulled out the tubes, pulled off the tape, unhooked the wires, and took her away.
We watched without watching.
The Sisters Of Mercy came, and they asked us if we needed anything. Do we need anything, they asked.
We just sat there. We said nothing.
Just seven days

The horse and the men

For centuries, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse owned just one horse.
This arrangement worked out great for when there was just War or Death doing on, but sometimes there were two or three of them on that horse.
Or, when things were particularly bad, all four.
Not only was the load unbearable, but as civilization spread and got more complicated, they had a lot more ground to cover.
The lone horse didn’t particularly like that arrangement, so the gang got three more horses.
Nowadays, they each have several horses. And they’ve hired a full-time vet, trainer, and stable manager.