Sent for takeout


Shubblurbpop’s slave-vessel landed, quickly blackholing its shattered jumpcore before disgorging its human cargo for processing.
“Ship’s a wreck, Your Slimeness” said the spaceport administrator. “Where’s the rest of your fleet?”
“Lost it,” said Shubblurbpop. “Bad maps.”
“Good luck explaining it,” said the administrator.
Heading back home, the oozeway was busier than usual, but Shubblurbpop arrived before Mudfall.
“Announcing Shubblurbpop!” shouted the palace pages.
“Um… I wrecked the fleet, Dad,” said Shubblurbpop.
His father writhed pseudopods in annoyance, but Queen Pipblipshububble soothed his rage and welcomed her son home.
“Did you bring Chinese?” asked the Queen.
Shubblurbpop nodded.
All was forgiven.

Something in the air


That smell you’re smelling is the Sweet Smell of Success.
Today, a cold front is lowering the Success Dew Point, so it’s precipitating success out of the air. Normally, it’s less than two or three parts per billion, much less than what a human nose can sense.
Of course, at that concentration, it still drives the dogs wild, almost mad with ambition.
You can train a dug-sniffing dog or a bomb-sniffing dog. There’s even cancer-sniffing dogs in the works. But nobody trains success-sniffing dogs.
So, please, sit still, Mr. Trump. Rover’s a friendly boy.
Just no sudden moves, okay?

The Clock Be Damned


“Meow!” said Frisky, turning circles by his bowl in the kitchen.
“For the last time, it is not time for dinner!” I said.
“Meow!” said Nardo.
“Mew!” exclaimed Piper.
“Look what you’ve done,” I told Frisky. “Now you’ve got the other two all riled up.”
It’s the same thing every year when Daylight Savings Time ends.
I don’t know whether it’s their little furry bellies rumbling or the sun going down earlier every evening, but there’s no telling a cat when his or her dinner is going to be.
The clock be damned, the cats tell you that it’s suppertime.

He wore pink


Another hot night in Miami.
In the Ferrari, Crockett and Tubbs were discussing philosophy, as usual.
“It’s a fuzzy hat,” said Crockett.
“It’s a cat,” said Tubbs.
“Hat,” said Crockett.
“Cat,” said Tubbs.
Crockett and Tubbs argued all night when they should have been watching the subject.
Surveillance usually went this way.
Several days later, they got their man and headed back to the station.
“Hat,” said Crockett.
“Cat,” said Tubbs.
“What?” said The Lieutenant.
“That can’t possibly be a mustache, sir,” said Tubbs.
The Lieutenant scowled, mumbled something like “morons,” and stared as Crockett and Tubbs left the room.

The Phrasebook


“Good news, everyone!” is not the kind of thing you’d expect in a traveler’s phrasebook, but it’s right there alongside “Can you please direct me to the nearest vapor reclamation chamber?” and “Please do not consume my moltings.”
If you think it’s tough working up a list of common social situations between two vastly different species, then I’m pretty sure your mind will rattle and explode at the thought of having to construct a phrasebook for pandimensional travelers.
The truth is, it’s not hard. “How do I get home” is pretty much all you need.
Otherwise, you’re pretty much fucked.

Batting zero in the year 3000


So pretty, he had to try.
“Never in a thousand years” she answered when he asked for a date.
Travis didn’t hear rejection. Instead, he saw a challenge.
And success.
Thanks to his research in Cryostasic Neuromedicine, Travis defeated Death and opened a bridge to eternity for mankind.
He scanned the databases and looked her up.
“Have the centuries thawed your heart to me?” he asked when the last of the ice crystals melted away from her brainjar.
“Absolutely not,” her electrovoder answered. “Go away.”
Travis didn’t wait for the system to finish clonareplicating a cerebral implantation vessel for confirmation.

The Old Man and the Sea of Tranquility


Everybody’s familiar with the movies showing astronauts moon-golfing, but you’ll never any of Luke “Studs” Morgan casting his fishing reel.
In the lesser lunar gravity. he could cast a mile.
Reeling it back in with those thick gloves was hard, Luke said, but the worst part was spearing a vacuum-exposed, subzero-frozen worm on the hook.
His crewmate “Tank” Washington hid behind a boulder and planned on sticking a frozen salmon on the hook, but there’s a scream and that’s where the tape ends.
He came back as cargo and got buried at Arlington.
Hence the tape label: “Fishing Tank Accident.”

Send in the clowns!


The 101st Clown Brigade may be the laughingstock of our armed forces, but this doesn’t bother them.
Every division has its Special Comedy Operations component, from the sappers disarming dangerous banana peels to cream pie chefs in the mess hall.
Some say that the Pentagon is full of them.
The most important aspect of the 101st by far is the team of rapid-deployment medical specialists.
After all, isn’t laughter the best medicine?
If you thought that a dozen heavily-armed Marines popping out of an APC was an impressive sight, try a few hundred of the 101st coming out of one.

Reality blows


The show is called Weathering The Storm.
The producers own homes all along the Gulf Coast.
Once they know a hurricane is heading towards one of them, we’re dropped into the nearest house.
Well, actually, they’re just run-down shacks. No better than a house of cards.
Cameras… canned food… bandages…
Body bags.
Survivors share five million bucks. Less survivors means split fewer ways.
It’s a big storm. Maybe even too big. Category two… three…
The producers are banging on the door, telling us we have to get out.
Everyone flees with them.
Except me. I know it’s a trick.

Crosseyed Joe


Crosseyed Joe’s work was done. Black Bart and his gang of cattle rustlers were dead.
So was the sheriff.
And the barber.
For that matter, everyone else with the bad luck to be in the Last Chance Saloon this afternoon with Joe firing wildly.
Joe tipped his hat and rode off into the sunset, despite the horse’s protests. He spurred the horse harder and harder until the thing just gave up and ran for all it was worth.
That was yesterday.
This morning, vultures are circling over the canyon.
So much for Crosseyed Joe.
I feel bad for his horse.