Mike, the Wolfman and Me

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            The past couple of weeks have been eventful writing-wise. February 25, 2017 (a week or so ago) I received an acceptance of one of my stories that I sent off to an anthology about three months ago, (and not for the first time either!) A few days later (Monday, Feb. 28) I got an e-mail from SciFan Magazine saying that since I’d published with them they wanted to see if I’d subscribed with the magazine.

            I didn’t know I’d published anything in SciFan. I checked; there was a payment in my account. And there, in the February 2017 issue was my story “The Shifter,” the fourth of the Demeter’s Bar science fiction tall-tales to be published (counting two on this blog as “published”) and actually the first written. Influenced heavily by L. Sprague DeCamp and Fletcher Pratt’s stories about Gavagan’s Bar and Arthur C. Clarke’s White Hart stories, they are different in that they are set in a gay bar (or at least they start out there!) “The Shifter” looks good (thank you Kindle!) and is a credit on my expanding resume.

            Today, Monday March 6, I got an e-mail from the editor of the anthology series “Werewolves Vs…” about my story “Wolves in the Cloisters,” which he loved and wants to publish! Three in a week’s time, give or take a day! “Werewolves Vs. Fascism,” the e-anthology in question will donate all proceeds to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The story will appear under my nom-de-plume Mike Mayak, first time I’ve published under the name, which I started using in the hopes of getting into a magazine which seemed to be rejecting Jeff Baker’s stuff willy-nilly. I’ve since found out the magazine rejects everybody like that, but Mayak is launched.

            Three stories at the early part of the year. Such are the rewards of a writer. I’ll have to get back to the grindstone—I have at least three stories underway, with a deadline at the end of the month, to say nothing of a novel I’m working on. Progress, progress!

            And the rewards are there.

                                                                        —-Jeff Baker

                                                                        March 6, 2017

           

Posted in Demeter's Bar, Uncategorized, Writing | 6 Comments

Butterflies swoop in for Monday Flash Fics, March 6, 2017

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                                         Butterflies are Forever

                                                By Jeff Baker

                                          

 

            They kept asking for a story, so he told them about the field.

            It had been late summer, the time of year when butterflies and bees are seemingly everywhere. The three sisters who lived near the field had been jealous of each other their whole lives and when they first saw Marcel, each one of them wanted to have him for herself.

            The first sister lost interest when she found that Marcel wasn’t rich. She wanted to outdo her sisters with money. The second sister wanted to outdo the others with passion, so she wined and dined Marcel and plied him with affection and they even made love in the field in broad daylight beneath the summer butterflies. The third sister sought to win over Marcel with pity and so she wept and moped and could be heard sobbing all over town, trying to outdo her sisters with sorrow.

            Marcel decided he wanted none of them and when he suddenly left town, the third sister laid down in the field to die of a broken heart.

            But that wasn’t the end of it.

            Late that next summer, when the butterflies were hovering low, the townspeople swore they saw the third sister rise up from the field to look for her lost Marcel.

            Here the man paused in the story, remembering when he was a young man in the town he had laughed at the story of the three sisters until one afternoon when the butterflies were brushing against everything in the late Summer air he had seen a pair of arms slowly rise up from the field, butterflies circling in obeisance and he had run, run, run and never looked back.

            And never returned.

 

                                                —end—

           

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Monday Flash Fiction, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

“I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” Monday Flash Fic. for February 27, 2017

16832033_637487209771703_8346055720847872019_n                                   I’ve Got You Under My Skin

                                                By Jeff Baker

 

            “What do you mean I can’t use the redhead?” 27 asked.

            “The last one who used it didn’t put it away,” 53 said. “It’s all brittle this morning.”

            “I like the redhead,” 27 said.

            “Me too,” said 53. “A day in the spray and he’ll be good as new.”

            “A day in the spray? As good as new?” 27 said. “You sound human!”

            “Too bad I don’t look it,” 53 said, opening the chamber door. “Ah, here he is, all moist. As fresh as the day we grew him.”

            “It’s supposed to be his off-day today,” 27 said.

            “Day off,” 53 corrected. “Just remember to complain a few times.”

            “I’ll remember,” 27 said, stepping into the simulacrum which was still moist from its time in the spray. A moment later, the simulacrum stretched its arms, and 27, now inside and in control said; “Darn this job!”

            “Close enough,” 53 said with what passed for a smile.

            Rock Hard Tattoo didn’t look like it had a spaceship under its basement. In the parlor’s front room, 27, his current human form grown from borrowed cells, was busy adding ink to a young man’s body while simultaneously extracting a few choice cells as the young man talked the way humans often did.

            “So, I told him, ‘Hey, like I love you but you gotta get a job. I mean, I was okay with the working two shifts thing at first but it’s getting,’ Ow!”

            “Sorry!” 27 said. This man was very good at complaining, 27 thought. And he hadn’t even lost a world.

 

                                                —end—

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Posted in Fiction, Monday Flash Fiction, Science Fiction | 4 Comments

Monday Flash Fics; February 20, 2017; “Wild Horses.”

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Wild Horses

By Jeff Baker

 

Their love was forbidden.

Zavid and Zannic were both pledged to serve their own Masters, but they were able to be together when their Masters met to race their horses. Zavid and Zannic were able to grab a few moments together in the stables or in the paddock. And the horses, who know more than men think they do, took pity on them. For they knew that Zannic’s Master was planning to move out of the country, and that Zannic and Zavid would never see each other again.

And the Harras called upon the Horse Lords who transformed the two lovers into horses.

Zannic and Zavid galloped from the Master’s paddock, free for the first time in their lives.

And they say, when the three moons are high and bright in the summer sky, the two lovers can be seen galloping together in the moonlight. And in the dark of winter when a noise is heard in the paddock or stable and men check for wild beasts they always count the horses. They may find two extra; Zavid and Zannic, bringing their warmth to their fellows in the night.

 

—end—

 

Author’s note: a “harras,”is a gathering or group of horses.

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Monday Flash Fiction, Science Fiction, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Monday Flash Fics for February 13, 2017; “Cold War.”

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Cold War

By Jeff Baker

 

The two men sat on the park bench in the snowy dusk.

“Snow everywhere, just like in Russia,” said Illianovich.

“Snow like in New Jersey,” Meader said, idly brushing snow off the edge of the bench. It wasn’t snowing at the moment, but it was still cold.

“I don’t remember the snow fifty years ago,” Illianovich said.

“We had other things on our mind,” Meader said with a smile. “But the first time we had a meeting here was in September that year.”

“That building across the street wasn’t built yet,” Illianovich said pointing. “And there was a stone building by the pond at the end of the park, remember?”

“I remember. I thought it looked like a mausoleum,” Meader said.

“Appropriate,” Illianovich mused. “Considering what we were a part of.”

“I know,” Meader said. “If we’d each played our intended parts it would have been death on a grand scale.”

“But I was a new father,” Illianovich said.

“So was I,” Meader said. “And we sat right here, shared a bottle of vodka…”

“I remember the vodka!” Illianovich said. “And we wondered what our governments were fighting about.”

“Politics.” Meader said, flicking snow off the bench with a finger.

“Politicians.” Illianovich said.

“We were just cogs. Cogs in a machine,” Meader said.

“Small, unnoticed, pivotal cogs,” Illianovich said, raising a gloved finger. “We were Gabriel blowing his trumpet. Yes, I knew who Gabriel was back then!”

Meader had looked at the other man in surprise.

“But we met, knew who the other was.” Meader said. “We talked.”

“And talked,” Illianovich said.

“And talked,” Meader said. “And your government never knew?”

“That I was colluding with the enemy? And that we were telling our governments what they needed to hear? No.” Illianovich said.

“To avoid Armageddon,” Meader said.

The two men sat in silence in the growing dark.

“When did you come to America? To stay, I mean?” Meader asked.

“1971,” Illianovich said. “I asked for asylum.”

“Mmmmmmm…” Meader said.

“Enough of this chit chat,” Illianovich said. “Did you bring the vodka?”

Meader laughed. “My doctor told me it wasn’t good for me, so I don’t drink anymore.”

“Pity. It would have kept us warm,” Illianovich said. “Well, I’m going home. My wife is with our great-grandchild.”

“Wonderful!” Meader said standing up.

They shook hands and the two old men walked out of the park as light snow began to fall.

 

—end—

 

Author’s Note: I know of at least two incidents, one during the Cuban Missile Crisis and one in 1983 where Russians in charge of launching missiles and effectively beginning a nuclear war refused to do so. There were probably a few other incidents we don’t know about. This story is for them. —-J.S.B.

 

Posted in Fiction, Monday Flash Fiction, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Monday Flash Fics for February 6, 2017; “A Line in the Sand.”

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A Line in the Sand

By Jeff Baker

“Okay,” Chad said, scrawling with his finger in the sand as they sat on the beach. “The coffee table’s here.”

“That doesn’t look like a coffee table,” Gary said.

“It’s rectangular, it’s in the living room, it’s a coffee table.” Chad said. “Now, we go in through here…”

“Where?” Gary said.

“The back door. Don’t grin like that. I’ve got the key. They never got around to changing the lock on that one.” Chad said.

“Then what?” Gary asked.

“We check the fridge, see if there’s room,” Chad said, drawing a small square next to where he’d drawn the line to represent the back door.

“Ooooo! I love what you’ve done with the place!” Gary said, leaning over Chad for a better look.

“Shut up, you!” Chad said playfully hanging his hat on Gary’s face. The two of them laughed and Chad stretched out his leg and ploughed through his diagram in the sand.

“Awww, look!” Chad said. “I should have brought my tablet!”

“Okay, we’re giving your folks a surprise party, you don’t have to plan it like it’s the Normandy invasion,” Gary said.

“Yes, I do.” Chad said. “Planning is the whole…”

Gary shut him up with a kiss.

“You plan too much!” Gary said when they pulled apart. “It’s what I get for marrying an Army Ranger.”

“Yeah,” Chad said, kissing him again. “Think my folks will be surprised with this anniversary party tomorrow?”

“Considering their real anniversary isn’t for four more months, I’d say yes.”

 

—end—

Posted in Fiction, Monday Flash Fiction, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Monday Flash Fics: “The Case of the Velvet Clause.”

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                               The Case of the Velvet Clause

                                                By Jeff Baker

 

            “Hey! Watch your hand! That’s my crotch you’re squishing!”

            “Oh, sorry!”

            It was an occupational hazard at the law firm of Musselman and Pearce. Their office was so cramped they couldn’t reach for a book without bumping into each other. Leaning over to grab a book from the shelves that lined the room was how they wound up in that clinch.

            “Got it!” Pearce said, bracing himself against Musselman’s shoulder and pushing himself back into his chair.

            “You know,” Musselman said, “we’re just a roll of toilet paper and a metal bar away from being a large restroom stall in here.”

            “What about the toilet?” Pearce asked grinning.

            “You mean like the one we’ll be going down if we don’t start getting some clients?” Musselman asked grinning back.

            “Or even A Client,” Pearce said with a sigh.

            In the three months since they had struck out on their own after leaving Brown, Foster and Kleiner most of their walk-in traffic had been traffic tickets and their only Facebook follower was Pearce’s Mother.

            The office door suddenly opened and banged against the metal wastebasket.

            “Is this the law firm?” said the young woman who stood in the doorway.

            “Uh, yeah,  Musselman and Pearce. I’m Musselman, he’s Pearce. Come in and sit down,” he said as they stood up.

            “I’ll stand,” she said. “I’m Marjorie Arbothnott. I need someone to invalidate my great-uncle’s will.”

            “What about the will?” Pearce said.

            “Uncle Jasper left me all his money but he added a clause saying I had to get married by the time I’m twenty-six. I’m twenty-five right now and I’m not rushing into anything.”

            “Any idea why he made his will out like that?” Musselman asked.

            “He wanted me to be wrapped in velvet,” Arbothnott said. “All safe and alone.”

            “About how much would you inherit?” Pearce asked.

            “A hundred and fifty-five,” she said.

            Pearce whistled. “A hundred fifty-five million dollars!”

            “No, just a hundred fifty-five dollars,” she said. “And if I don’t get married in a couple of months the money goes to the United Chicken Liberation Fund.”

            Musselman and Pearce looked at each other for a moment.

            “My advice is to let the chickens have the money,” Pearce said, standing back up. “Hey, could you step out into the hall?”

            “Are you hitting on me?” Arbothnott said with a smile.

            “No, I’ve got to stretch my leg,” he said. “We’ve got to get a bigger office.”

 

                                               —end—

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