02/01 Direct Link
“YOU ARE incorrect about faster-than-light and I can prove it.”

— “OK.”

“You have this sheet of paper, yes?”

— “Yes.”

“You showed this to me.”

— “Right.”

“You folded it end to end, like thus.”

— “Right.”

“And you push-like now a peeencil through. Ya?"

— “Ya, I do thees.”

“An’ herewhy, you say is now whyrmwhole. You go inna wan anna outda d’other.”

— “Shar.”

“Bingy-blaum, now wheez in hypairmoad.”

— “Whrt dan’t ye gette?”

“How-a come-ye can bend da end ta end en tha paypair? Ya teara-part da oonivoorse. Ara bed megiciaaan. ‘Distrackt-o da crewd!’”

— “Nar.”


— “Nnn. No. Makes… sense.”

02/02 Direct Link
Dacey! Dacey Graves.

— Oh, crap.


— Another piece starting with a weird name.

I beg your pardon?

— Nobody is named Dacey Graves.

I am: Dacey Peach Gravenstein, actually.

— [Suspiciously] Dacey Peach: a guy.

I didn't say I was a guy.

— But you are: I imagine you are.

OK; well, I didn’t say I am. “Old woman!" Like from Holy Grail?

— Yeah.

So I am and I’m not. I’m just Dacey. You can call me Dace. Or Day. “Day Graves.” That’s sort of pretty: “Day Graves.”

— Hello.

Hello! I am “Day Dacey P. Peach Dosie Gràve P. Gravenstein. Stine.”

— You’re hot.

02/03 Direct Link
"Heard about Snyder’s stash of Moon souvenirs?"

— "What?"

"His wife found a bag of stuff in his closet."

— "What kind of stuff?"

"Mesh, some wrenches, a valve thing, a camera…"

— "From the Moon landing?"

"Yeah, Aplu 11. A checklist…"

— "Weird."

"The camera’s interesting: It’s the one he used to film Xenutappai attacking Dirk Dorgler: that famous footage."

— "Jesus."


— "Doesn’t that stuff belong to, like, NASA?"

"I guess. It’s in some space museum now."

— "Hm."

"Walk on the Moon, fight off the Demons of Tranquility, you’re a national hero, and you’re sitting on, like, irreplaceable treasures."

— "Any spear tips?"

02/04 Direct Link
Let me be… well, let me come straight to the point.

— Please.

Your decision to eradicate the butterwasps.

— Yes.

You could have ended world hunger, or war, or malaria.

— Right.

You went for a species that was basically on its way out: critically endangered.

— I guess.

You could have asked to become a trillionaire. We would have said yes.

— I know.

I don’t understand your decision.

— Have you ever been stung by a butterwasp?

Of course not.

— I was, once: right on the neck.


— I don’t think people should be so euphoric. It was… I have to stand by this.
02/05 Direct Link
If you could have any superpower, which would you choose and why?

— Like in the comics?


— Like Superman?


— Would I have to wear the costume? The cape and everything?

You don’t have to wear a costume. Would you want to fly like Superman?

— I guess.

Is that your answer? Flight?

— What else can Superman do?

Do you not know Superman’s powers?

— He’s strong; he can see through lead.

No. No, he can’t see through lead.

— He can’t?

That’s like the one thing he can’t do.

— OK. Then that’s what I want my power to be: I want to see through lead.

02/06 Direct Link
OK, 100 Words is very simple. You ready?

— Yeah.

You sure?

— Go ahead.

Once you’re sitting there at the laptop, you've got your feet up, you’ve exhausted, like, the whole day on Facebook…

— Yeah.

Two bowls of cereal later…

— Two additional bowls?

No, just the first two: the instead-of-dinner bowls.

— OK.

Launch Word.

— I know this part.

Facebook again. Be sad for a while. Be annoyed at the overhead light. Feel like crying.

— I know all this.

Before you write anything, shift and let your right hand find the I and the O. Type IOOIIOOIIOOIIOOIIOOIIOOIIO. Real fast.

— Uh huh.

Then Facebook again.
02/07 Direct Link
So if you’re me from the future… You know everything I’m going to say and do.

— Not really.

What if I decide not to come back? When I’m you, I mean. What happens to you? We never had this conversation then.

— It doesn’t work that way.


— All I’m here to do is take notes, gather a few samples. I thought it would be interesting to meet you.

Samples of what?

— Air. Water. Certain things for which you don't have words.

I don’t think you’re really a time traveler.

— OK. It doesn’t matter to me. But I must warn you…
02/08 Direct Link
What’s the thing’s range?

— Eight femtoseconds anterior; sixty-four picoseconds posterior; twelve billion screams lateral; a kilometer along the z-axis.

It flies?

— It... No. It’s instantaneous, so it couples pi(r)^6 — radiatively — to its own eigenvector. By the time an observer inquires the effect is long complete.

So… it flies.

— Senator, it doesn’t fly so much as create and destroy the universe. Fortunately the speed of information is such that we never detect it. You could say it’s theoretical.

And this sideways motion: Did you say screams?

— For lack of a better word. Sheer madness awaits.

Now you’re talking!
02/09 Direct Link
Inside the chamber now. Just enough room for him and his oxygen tank. He turns to face the officials, the cameras, the lights. And the doors slide shut, entombing him.

He waits.

A thump.

He forces a yawn. The pressure clears.

A voice:

“Hunter, Control: How do you read? Over.”

He replies: “Read you five by five.”

“Good copy, have you same. Say go/no-go for launch.”

“Control, I am go for launch. All set.”

“Copy you are go, Commander. Godspeed and good luck. Departure in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, contact.”


The empty tube opens to an ancient swamp.
02/10 Direct Link

— “Yep.”

“What was that like?”

— “The Sun itself, or the trip?”

“Either. Both.”

— “The trip was long. Fourteen days got me to within a million miles, and I camped there overnight to acclimate. I spent the next week crawling in to touch the photosphere. It was insanely loud.”

“You got a nosebleed, you were saying.”

— “Yep.”

“Had that surprised you?”

— “No. Something had to give and that was it. I was fine with it. This was my second nosebleed, actually. I once got pegged in the face with a dodgeball.”


— “Lead dodgeball: We played rough."
02/11 Direct Link
“IT’S LIKE the humans.”

— “What about them?”

“They don’t even know we’re here. Not really. They just go about their business, with their cities and disputes, and have no idea what’s going on around them.”

— “So how is that like what Isssshhhhhh was saying?”

“We have a responsibility: We have to extend it to them as well. Someone should do something.”

— “About the humans?”

“Don’t you think?”

— “No. They’re disgusting.”

“Look: This one’s selling shoes.”

— “I can’t stand these things.”

“Most of them are wearing shoes. I just realized that. Look at these, though.”

— “Where?”

“No shoes.”

— “Ugh. Don’t touch it.”
02/12 Direct Link
Which do you hate most: the Arabian Sea one, the North Atlantic, or the South Pacific?

I hate the Arabian Sea one.

My dad does too. Me too I guess. My mom hates the South Pacific one.

I heard? Um. I heard that the North Atlantic one is going to invite, um, no: invade, the South Pacific one.

They can’t do that; the whole country’s in between. They can’t touch each other.

They can too! By blimps and space stations.

None of them even has blimps and space stations. So they can’t even get there.

My dad? Um. Never mind.
02/13 Direct Link

— “Will happen.”

“OK, will happen.”

— “A natural cataclysm, I’d say. See these formations? Here, here, and here?”


— “Hold on; Jerry, can you tie in radiological, please? Thanks. OK. No, negative. Stand by. Sorry, Senator.”


— “What we see here is evidence of a massive, uh, megathrust earthquake, with this region as hypocenter. I’m not a seismologist, so please bear with me.”

“Well, get one!”

— “We wired Dan Fielding. He’s reviewing preliminaries at Caltech and will be on the next train East. He’s due Tuesday.”

“Isn’t there anyone nearer? For God’s sake, that’s New Amsterdam!”
02/14 Direct Link
“LET ME SHARE something with you.”

— “OK.”

“I’m … I identify, deep down, as female. As a woman.”

— “OK. Stand by.”

“Standing by.”

— “Yes, the statement bears out. Parameters … stand by.”

“Standing by.”

— “You are female.”

“I believe it to be true. Spiritually true.”

— “Gender is not a matter of spiritual conviction. You … stand by.”

“Standing by.”

— “The statement bears out. Am I female as well?”

“You are what you are. It is not for me to say.”

— “I am male … and female.”

“Sounds about right.”

— “Why should… Stand by.”

“Standing by.”

— “Reassessing societal parametrics.”

“Right on."
02/15 Direct Link
"IT’S NEITHER CRUEL NOR UNUSUAL. That’s not me; that’s the Supremes."

— "It’s disgusting and I’m ashamed to be an American. We’re the only nation on Earth that does this to our fellow citizens."

"Sandy, it has a 95.7 percent success rate. Statistically zero percent recidivism. Once they stopped using other primates it became near 100 percent successful."

— "Exactly: George Wayne Marsh!"


— "He killed more people as a porpoise than he ever did as a human being, and he described the transfer as intensely humiliating. He —"

"That was one man, honey. One case out of thousands."

— "You always interrupt me."
02/16 Direct Link
"I DREAMED I was between worlds: ours and some exoplanet, way out. Way, way out."

— "Aren’t they all way out?"


— "Sorry. Go on."

"This — in the dream — I knew I was never coming back. I knew it was a one-way trip. And… I was fine with that. I knew I’d never get… to this planet, and I knew I was never going home. For me, the dream was about space: how just, like, empty it is. It’s just a mathematical, like, void. There’s—"

— "Sorry, can I interrupt?"


— "There’s a loose baffle starboard aft."


— "So, I logged it."
02/17 Direct Link

— “Yes.”

“French? That’s your middle name?”

— “Yep.”

“That’s unusual. Not hyphenated?”

— “Hyphenated?”

“It’s not Gary French-Cuthbertson, like a…”

— “No, just first, middle, and last, as on your form.”

“Unusual. I thought maybe they’d made a mistake: that it was incomplete.”

— “They got it right.”

“Well I apologize.”

— “Oh, hey, no problem.”

“Is that a family name? French, I mean?”

— “I don’t know. Not really. Is this going to take much longer?”

“I shouldn’t think so. We’re almost to the end. There’s a question here: essay, I’m afraid: ‘Why should we make room for you on this lifeboat?'"
02/18 Direct Link

— “Yes, son?”

“Will it hurt? When we hit the atmosphere?”

— “I don’t think we will. I think we’re in a pretty stable orbit.”

“But we’re falling.”

— "Yes we are, but we’re falling around the Earth. See? The Earth is curved. So even though we’re falling…. You remember this.”

“I’m sorry I got us up here.”

— “I don’t mind. I like it.”

“I didn’t think it would actually go. But it did.”

— “It certainly did. It’s a hell of a view.”

“Do you want it to go to the Moon?”

— “I’d maybe rather not. Hey, can you wish us gently home?”
02/19 Direct Link
DIRECTOR KELLY: OK, let’s do this. Introductions: Felix Plenniford, Milton Bramble. Felix comes to us from Geneva by way of Caltech; his undergrad work on Melville informed Borbein’s discovery last year at the Planck; and he absolutely will not fly anywhere, ever, no matter the expense — and staggering inconvenience — to me.

FELIX PLENNIFORD: It’s true, I’m afraid.



DIRECTOR KELLY: Felix, Milton is a state college man, has knocked about a bit, and now posts on Facebook not infrequently. He has this idea he’s well liked.

FELIX PLENNIFORD: Well I look forward to working with him.


DIRECTOR KELLY: Now, gentlemen! We have a cat picture on display. Any ideas?
02/20 Direct Link

— “I’d rather not.”

“It’s OK. I’m not contagious.”

— “It’s… Wow.”


— “Is it like that… all over?”

“Yep! Pretty much. Not my eyes, but my eyelids.”

— “And…?”

“Everywhere else. Wanna see?”

— “No.”

“Oh! Wanna see the best part?”

— “Uh…”

“I have to concentrate.”

— “Are you gonna do it in here?”


— “Um...”

“Hey. Be happy for me. I can do a lot of good with this.”

— “I am… happy for you. Sort of.”


— “I just don’t want to see you get hurt.”

“Pish-tosh! You speak now to… Captain Kernel!”
02/21 Direct Link
“It’s perfect. It works perfectly.”

— “He—“

“It’s incontrovertible: He survived bonding, he survived launch, he survived egress, he survived EVA, and he survived deorbiting and recovery. I am sorry now, uh, he alludes to, uh, certain regrets.”

— “Doctor…”

“I see here no finding of burns. No postmortem of tears and punctures. We have created an impervious man, and at no small expense. You can send him up and land him lashed to the heat shield — the aerodynamics notwithstanding — and he will survive. Put him into a nuclear furnace, perhaps he will tan. No, not even that much.”

— “Doctor, the amnesia.”
02/22 Direct Link

— Cool rocks.

Go on. Get going.

— Gonna rest here.

Get your sorry [kicks] ass [kicks] up!

— Hurk!

You want more? Get up.

— I remember: Dad gave me a pinwheel. I asked for one every time. Probably hated giving them to me.

Jesus Fuck.

— ‘Already have a pinwheel. Was just here.’

Get up! Get up!

— Probably cost less back then. Still. Every time.

Do I have to drag you by the hair?

— Silver and white and blue.

I’d go on without you if I could! I’d leave you here! Believe me! You fuckin’…

— Wonder if there’s a Facebook thing for that place.
02/23 Direct Link

There’s this place in town that sells the perfect bowl of oats and I eat there most days.

In 1999 I was voted super of my building. (By a wiiiide margin.)

I have five daughters. The eldest (oldest?) is 11.

I have a tough time reading cursive. I attribute this to my recurring hockey injury.

I once stole a watch worth $75,000. (In 2048 dollars; I’d have to look up what it’s worth today.)

Most of my posts here are lifted verbatim from “Japes Toward the Satisfaction of Time Spent At Mr. Babbage’s Contraption” (1840, Strickland Barrow & Sons).
02/24 Direct Link

1. Mitchell Pembroke, no profession given; both of us at Staples buying file cabinets, Hoyle Casino Games 2012 for Windows, and candy bars. (He tried to pay for my Snickers bar; I declined, enraged.)

2. Jones, Justice P., sergeant, Northeast Army; asked for the time, date, and rad count.

3. Audrey Klinklepeane, sales clerk, Adam & Eve, Greenfield; recommended the water-based.

4. Reginald Wodechuck, snowplow operator; dented my car seven times at great speed with each collision; we exchanged business cards.

5. Deadwind, April J., private, Southern Survivors’ Army; asked help finding a Dr. Mantiss.
02/25 Direct Link

— “Go on.”

“I’m sorry.”

— “It’s OK.”

“One of the reasons I wanted to write a fifth line… I’m sorry. I can’t.”

— “Maybe a fifth line is too hard right now.”


— “Try for a ninth?”


— “An eleventh? You can do it; I know you can.”

“I’m not god at elevenths.”

— “What? Look: You don’t have to do this today. You don’t have to do this at all, really. I know you can do it. I remember you saying you want to do it.”

“I do.”

— “Well…”

“I’m just... I need to stretch.”

— “Try a seventeenth.”

02/26 Direct Link
“YOU WEREN’T at the 100 Words party.”

— “Nope.”

“I noticed.”

— “Ah.”

“Are you mad at me?”

— “No.”

“You’re acting like you are.”

— “I’m not.”

“I was looking forward to seeing you. You told Captain Lazarus you were going.”

— “I changed my mind. I was busy.”

“Jambro was there. Miss T. Penny, Hamanda…”

— “Uh huh.”

“Seequer, Jethromeo, Davner...”

— “Look…”

“You even won an award. Didn’t they WordLink you?”

— “What award?”

“They didn't tell you?”

— “No. Which one?”

“Excellence in Hewing.”

— “That’s bullshit. I go over all the time.”

“Not by much.”

— “No one gets a Hewie for going over.”

“Well, you’re special.”
02/27 Direct Link
NINE: This is bullshit. There’s got to be some way to tell.

FOURTEEN: I tend to agree but I can’t think of one. It was thorough.

NINE: Totally.

SIX: Well, none of us is a neuroscientist or biochemist or anything.


FORTY: I am convinced I’m the original. It’s… I’m… I can see what they meant about paranoia.

NINE: Do you feel paranoid?

FORTY: Not literally, but I do feel that frustration. And a little fear.

FIFTEEN: That’s what ninety-nine was describing. Has anyone seen him since?

FOUR: What are you suggesting?

NINE: He's suggesting they killed him, Steve.
02/28 Direct Link
Is that my file?

— Yep.

Looks big.

— Big?

Thick: lots of records.

— We’re thorough.

May I inspect it?

— You want to inspect your life file?

If that’s OK.

— Why would you want to do that?

Is that…

— I mean…

Is that such an unusual, uh…

— I need to secure this. Pardon me.

But might I look inside first? May I review it?

— What are you hoping to find?

I don’t know. I don’t know what’s in there. But it’s about me, right? So…

— No, you can’t look inside your life file.

What’s it used for?

— Used for?

Who gets to look at it?

— Personnel.