The Cultist

I saw them planted, growing
by the glowing of a box lighting
all the faces fit to print and distant
ejaculations of rocket-stars crossing
sere alien landscapes, looping
X-shaped contrails.

And there was God—the box
before them—they communed,
touched tips of dicks to He, keyboards
clacking, controller-prayers
clicking, through that wall,
into space, into God.
And He saw that
it was good.

The boxed god grew
hungry for sacrifice.
Days, Hours, Minutes,
as real as the current—
sixty hertz of Lifestream—
Cloud fell in, and we all came
up blubbering idiots, armchairs
to wheelchairs. Then

prayer got cheap, and we
were never Zack,
and the cult grew
swathes wide through
the unbelievers:
sixty hertz ecstatic.


Dark Spirit Clive Cussler’s Author Photograph

The word “invader” can never not strike, like the shit-eating grin of Clive Cussler, a phantom shot to my kidneys. He lives behind the eyelids with a face recessed and wispy phosphorescent red, all dressed up for a nice Sunday brunch out in the Sahara with a cameraman, some old automobile I am too poor to recognize offhand, and Tim Curry from Legend.

Clive could scavenge Humanity from the bones of those that come back, but why would he, when he can pillage it from those he lays down? Time flows strangely at the Saharan Motorcar Exhibition and Brunch. Machines of old phase in and out. When your car quits on you at the base of a sand dune the stranger behind you pushes your vehicle up to the top with his own. He will not speak a word.

But sometimes, that stranger’s car is worth as much as a small house, and Clive Cussler’s inscrutable, shit-eating grin is behind the wheel. Then you’re fucked.


Another piece from a prompt that I cleaned up a bit. The exercise was to write about two unrelated things, one serious and one not-so-serious, then combine the two.


They Said

I could be anything
when I grew up,
so I decided to
be Disney’s Aladdin
for the Sega Genesis.

Every now and then
I look back on that
memory and I laugh
mighty thunder dragon
bleats out of my YM2612
FM synthesizer.

And I recall those quaint
years before the custom
spritework from real
Disney animators, my
faithfully adapted hit
soundtrack, and this
bitchin’ scimitar–too
cool for the movies.


Hot Cosplay

Hot Cosplay

By Bearshaman


Joe Shmoebert

Rebecca Armstrong

Robert Armstrong

Hotel room Rebecca and Joe are sitting very close to each other on a couch in front of a TV with NES controllers resting next to them. The NES is on and hooked up to the TV where the start screen for the game Metroid is displayed.

ROBERT throws open the door and takes a look at the two on the couch. REBECCA and JOE immediately put distance between themselves and reach for the controllers.

Robert        (Yelling) What the hell are you doing to my sweet little sister?

Joe              Nintendo! Nintendo!

Robert       (Walks over to couch) Nintendo, huh? So that’s what you kids are calling it these days.

Rebecca     C’mon big bro. You see the controller, don’t you?

Robert       Of course I do. I see you both…holding Nintendo controllers.

Rebecca     Yep. Met Joe here in the gaming room at the con. He wanted to play Metroid but they didn’t have it, so I invited him back to our room. (grins) He’s…really good at… Nintendo.

Robert       Nice story there sis. Funny thing, though…

Joe             (holds sides of head) Uh-oh.

Robert       Metroid isn’t a two-player game!

Robert walks over to the game box on the counter and picks it up.

Joe             Oh God!

Robert       Right there on the box! Single player! (waves the box around) I knew there was a reason I kept this box. But I never expected that reason to be catching my darling little sister in some lecherous lie. Metroid, a single-player game, and yet the both of you…are holding controllers!

Rebecca    What? No! We were just switching games.

Robert       A likely story.

Rebecca    A true one.

Joe            (Grows a pair) Yeah, I was just about to put on some Contra.

Robert      Oh. Really.

Joe             Yeah! (Promptly loses the pair) Uh, yes. Sir.

REBECCA reaches out over the couch and pats JOE’s hand.

Robert      So…where’s the cart?

Joe            Contra! (Looks around feverishly) It’s…that is…I know it was right…

Rebecca   Here. (She pulls out the cartridge from the side of the couch. JOE is visibly relieved.) Wanna join us, big bro? We can take turns.

Robert     Can’t. (Sighs dramatically and collapses into a nearby chair) You know I can’t play for shit when I’m…(Puts back of hand on head) upset…

Rebecca   Your loss. (She begins to set up the game.)

Joe           (Poking at his controller) Stupid Select button.

Robert      (Pulls hand down from head) What…did you…say?

Joe           (Gulps loudly) Uh, stupid Select button? It’s kinda useless.

Rebecca  (Quietly) Dammit.

Robert     (Calmly) But without Select how would you put in the code?

Joe           Huh?

Robert     The goddamn code!

Rebecca  The Konami code.

Joe           Up, up, down, down…

Robert     Everybody and their mother knows that goddamn part. It’s on half the shit in the Dealer’s Room. Say. The. End!

Joe           The…the..the end?

Robert     The end of the code, goddammit!

Joe           B…A…Start?

Robert     Ah hah! B, A, SELECT, Start! You have to hit Select or it won’t work two-player!

Rebecca (Quietly aside) Oh fer Chrissakes.

Robert     Were you really going to play Contra with my sweet little sister without thirty lives? And you call yourself a man…

Joe           No! The Select was implied, man!

Robert     I want to see you put it in!

Joe          (Flustered) You…want to see me do what?

Robert     Put it in!

JOE shrugs and reaches for his belt. REBECCA catches his hand.

Rebecca  (Whispers loudly to Joe) He means the code.

JOE puts in the code as ROBERT glowers over his shoulder. ROBERT is satisfied and sits back down again and puts the back of his hand over his eyes and sighs. REBECCA and JOE begin to play the game. ROBERT opens a gap between fingers and looks at the two, then sighs again, louder.

Rebecca  (Pauses the game) What’s wong my widdwe big bwuddah?

Robert     They lost it.

Rebecca   Lost what?

Robert     Our reservation.

Rebecca   They did WHAT? Like, for the rest of the con?

Robert      We have to leave.

Rebecca   When?

Robert      Tomorrow morning.

Rebecca   But we prepaid!

Robert      I know, I know.

Rebecca   What? How?

Joe            You guys don’t have an e-mail receipt?

Robert      Paid in cash.

Joe            How much you guys need?

Rebecca   Joe! No!

Robert     Three-hundred-and-eighty dollarydoos.

Joe            I’ll cover it.

Rebecca  (Grabs JOE’s hand, looks into his eyes) You don’t have to.

Joe           No. I want to.

Rebecca  (Sighs) Okay. But you at least have to let us pay you back.

Joe           Naw, don’t worry about it. I saw an ATM by the lobby. BRB. (He exits through the door. Footsteps can be heard outside that fade away.)

Rebecca  (Pulls out a joint and lights it up) Easy as pie.

Robert     You really think he’ll come back?

Rebecca   I’ll bet this Zippo on it.

Robert     You’re that sure?

Rebecca   You can’t tell?

Robert      I never can. That’s why I need you, my sweet…little…(Does airquotes)…sis.

Rebecca   Well I can, just by looking at him. Besides, he liked the Rei cosplay. He’s the…provider type. A real rescuer. By the way, that Select bullshit wasn’t in the script.

Robert     You really shouldn’t smoke those.

Rebecca   It’s just weed. Not like it’s a cigarette or anything. I’ll just blame it on you when he comes back anyway.

Robert     You can always tell with them, can’t you. You’ve got a real talent, you know. Still…

Rebecca   Still, what? (blows smoke at ROBERT) Why don’t I just tell him I’ll fuck him for four hundred?

Robert     It…would be easier.

Rebecca He’s not the kind of guy whose morals would allow him. But he is the kind of guy who feels the moral obligation to take care of the girl he was just inside of.

Robert     Eeeewww.

Rebecca   What? One too many vaginas involved in that mental picture, widdwe big bwuddah?

Robert     I’m just saying. With my guys, I just give them the cash and we do it and it’s a clean split.

Rebecca   What I do…It’s…different. It isn’t just sex. It’s fantasy. Wish fulfillment. A one-night stand with hot cosplay and Nintendo? That’s fucking romantic and shit.

Robert      Truly, you are the classiest girl in the room.

Rebecca   Only by default. Queens like you don’t count.

Robert     (matter-of-factly) Fuck you. So, was he any good?

Rebecca  (matter-of factly) Fuck you. He was okay. Had some trouble with the spiky caterpillar dudes.

Robert      I wasn’t talking about Metroid.

Rebecca   A lady…doesn’t kiss and tell.