Saturday, February 17, 2024

Flash Fiction #602 -- Winter Tale/4 (Drabble)


Albert the snowman watched cars whiz by on the nearby road.  One day he did something daring.  He saw a car racing along the cross street and knew what would happen.  He waved his stick-arms, drew a young child to run to him, and the others followed.

The car spun on ice, jumped the curb, and smashed into the bus stop where the family would have been sitting.

No one believed the little girl saw the arms move, but they did admit the miracle of their survival. They visited Albert all through the winter, and rebuilt him for years afterward.

Friday, February 09, 2024

Flash Fiction #601 -- A Change of Lace


The humans were getting rowdy again, barely six thousand years after the Trojan Fiasco. Apollo turned over in bed, mumbling something impolite and crude about humans. Still, it didn't stop them from getting louder.

Getting sleep was proving more difficult by the century.  Even fluffy, soft white clouds couldn't muffle the noise. Apollo went so far as to kick at the closest clouds and actually kicked up a storm.  That took the humans by surprise.

Of course, he felt guilty and had to go to Earth to save a few.  It was not their fault that he was doing his best to avoid the rest of his family by sleeping the eons away.

And now, as he shoved a car away from a landslide, he looked over to see Hades sitting on a large boulder. It could have been worse- at least it wasn't Athena.

"That's counterproductive to getting rid of them, you know."   

"Ha," Apollo grumbled, still not in the best of moods.  "Do you want something?"

"I am taking a break from Athena, much like you.  When did she turn so insufferable?"


"That was a long time ago."

"Not to her.  She wants to fight it again."

Hades looked at him as if he were the crazy one, not his sister.  "Don't even say things like that. It's not funny."

"I didn't think it was, either. We go through this every few years, and nothing changes.  Last I talked to Athena, she told me she wants Troy itself again, not just the haphazard wars the humans keep throwing together.  I suggest you prepare your group because unless we think of something else to entertain her, we will be looking for the face that launched a thousand ships."

"That again? Has she no imagination?"

"Not since Troy."

Although he wasn't happy about being awake, Apollo still appreciated that it was Hades who had shown up and not one of the others. Although they had their apparent differences, they had managed to work together on other projects, keeping things calm on Olympus. Humans had no idea how close they came to disaster more than once, all because a God or ten thought it would be fun to make factions. That didn't even take into account the interference from other groups of gods.

Hades gave several small kicks to the clouds, spreading storms over half the world. The poor meteorologists would likely go mad trying to figure out what was triggering things.

"Other than messing with the lives of humans," he said, flashing a bright smile, "what is Athena's main interest?"

"It used to be history," Apollo replied. "But then the humans decided we weren't real and had no effect on the actual changes in the world. That frustrated her. She refuses to read any of it now. Since then, she's turned her attention mostly to art. She seems fascinated by the ongoing change in clothing styles."

"Perfect," Hades replied. "I think we can distract her from Troy."

It wasn't as easy as Apollo had imagined. His sister had a fixation with Troy, and it took more than the two of them to draw her away from it.

In fact, it took Hera wearing a dazzlingly inappropriate dress to one of the dinner gatherings before Athena even took notice.  

It was hard to ignore.  The dress was a floor-length undergarment of silver mesh covered in uneven rows of white lace and a scattering of small pink bows. The cavernous purple hood remained secured by a huge pink bow hiding most of Hera's face.

That was good because Hera's grin would have given it all away. And since Hera was not known for her humor or her pranks, it would have been obvious someone else had worked with her.

Apollo and Hades did not want that to happen.

The gown was truly hideous -- so much so that Hera had finally given up on finding 'appropriate' shoes and arrived barefoot.

The room's silence lasted for several heartbeats before everyone decided that staring at the Queen of Olympus with shock and dismay may not be wise.

However, she did have Athena's attention since she had followed Hera into the dining hall.

"Hera, that is – –" Athena stopped for lack of words. Apollo thought it was a wonder to see and hoped they all survived to discuss it later. "Hera," Athena began again and stopped once more.

"Isn't this the most hideous dress you have ever seen?" Hera asked her. "It is from Casa del Karens, and their creations are all the rage in New York and Paris."

"We could do better with a rat skin and rubber bands."

"I think we should give it a try," Hera said, surprising Apollo and Hades as much as the others.

Athena agreed.  She and Hera spent the evening discussing fashion shows and the often over-the-top cloth art. They were soon building their own fashion house, which included a legendary rise to fame.

They achieved that without magic.  Athena had a knack for design, and Hera had an excellent sense for business. It also helped that they had access to 'models' the other houses would have killed for.  The Olympus Clan were all happy to join if it meant avoiding another history-changing war.

Apollo enjoyed his time on the catwalk.  Artemis almost always took the show, though.  She was lovely enough, but her jaguar drew all the humans' attention.

It made a nice break from wars and naps.  They even convinced Zeus to help them with a charity ball by playing Father Christmas.

"You realize this is existentially inappropriate," Zeus said, straightening his hat again.

No one argued.

They had a great time, and Athena didn't mention Troy for decades.  Sometimes, all you need to improve things is a new hobby and some bored gods.

Friday, February 02, 2024

Flash Fiction #600-- Introducing...


Welcome to the world of Macready and LeeLee, two cat private detectives determined to make the world a better place -- at least for cats. Working out of a mostly abandoned office building in downtown, they do their best not to draw human attention while solving crimes in the animal world.

Dealing with the underground network of rats or rival raccoon street gangs is no easy task for two small cats, but Macready is smart and LeeLee is crazy.

They were doing well until the appearance of a piece of fluff dog at their office puts them on their toughest case.

(I will actually start the Macready and LeeLee series in early March with a set of novellas and shorter works.  This should be fun.)

Friday, January 26, 2024

Flash Fiction 599 -- Winter Tales/3 (Drabble)



A cranky, old dragon heats my house. I realized this the first winter. We set the temperature and could hear him in the basement: click, clack, click, rumble, squeal -- and heat.

Despite the rumbles and squeals, the old dragon worked well.  However, you could tell the days when he wasn't happy. His squeals grew louder and stopped in mid-shriek.


The door to his secret room slammed closed.

One day he decided he'd worked enough. He let us know by squealing louder than usual before stopping without even slamming his door. We hired a wizard tech to get him back.