Flash Fiction: Light Tongues (448 words)

There were two trees in Nita’s yard. She named them when she was three, but forgot to say the names out loud often enough to remember them when she was nine. She thought she might have named them after stars, or like stars, or under the stars. She knew she had snuck out once, after a nightmare. She fell asleep curled up under one of them, cheek against the bark, buried in calm and company, because they were just named enough for her to believe they had heartbeats.

She was seven when she finally stretched tall enough to climb into their branches. She was never sure how it was that she grew enough on the same day that both trees fell into her reach, but she clambered through one, and then the other, for hours. The first had thicker branches and she could pull herself higher before it started to shake the same way her arms and legs did, and the common trembling forced her back down. The other spread wider, and one of the lower branches had a perfect twist for tangling her hips and knees and heels and sitting back for a while.

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Gwendoogle Part CXXXII – Organizing My Conspiracy Theories

GwendoogleAnswers served from Southern California. Holy Cow.

Kate Kearney searched: Why is organization so hard?
If you’ve been reading my blog over the past week, then you probably know that I have spent the last six days driving from the house that I have lived in since I was nine years old, to an apartment on the entire opposite coast. What you might not have realized, is that I was driving a cute little four-door Chevy, and that everything I now own was packed into the trunk and the back seat.


And eighty-five percent of those things are either clothing or books.

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Gwendoogle Part CXVI – The Pirates and the Yeti Will Definitely Get Invitations

GwendoogleAnswers served with a little magic and a little weirdness

Kate Kearney searched: Do you know of a scale for wackiness?
I like all of the following:

On a scale of one to hitting moles on the head with a padded hammer in the hopes of earning a rainbow slinky, how wacky is this?

On a scale of rubber ducky to Rick Rolling the President, how wacky is this?

On a scale of Uncle Fred to a pajama-clad, pink-dyed, poodle-cut yeti, how wacky is this?

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Flash Fiction: Cold Weight (771 words)

The knife was a long thing, thin, but heavy enough to do half the hand’s work in driving it deep. The hilt was wrapped in leather, the strips molded together by years of oil and use. The blade barely caught a gleam. The cross-guard was so narrow it could only suggest that a hand stay behind it while the sharp edge did the real convincing.

Beitris wouldn’t usually have taken it out to play with it. She had carried it long enough for the weight to have balanced itself into her stride, but she didn’t have any affection for it. It didn’t feel right in her hand, and it didn’t feel wrong. There was some safety in holding it, but no warmth. She might have said she forgot about it most of the time, except for how quickly she could put it into her hand when she needed it.

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Gwendoogle Part XC – Three Options

GwendoogleIf I had folded a paper crane for every answer given here, I would have earned one wish.

Kate Kearney searched: How do I entertain a ten year old for ten minutes?
Teach the ten-year-old to play chess. If she already knows, offer to teach her how people played “back in your day.” Then make up new rules, new names for the pieces, and do what you want. Just stay consistent. Pretend that you’re actually trying to improve on a 1500-year-old game.

When she catches on, ask her what rules she would make up.

You’ll probably spend more than ten minutes on it once the two of you get started.

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Gwendoogle Part LXXXII – Happiness and Some Strange Etymology


Answers served with a smile

Kate Kearney searched: What would you put inside an emergency happiness kit?
For myself, the kit would look something like:

– One bag of peppermint patties
– The DVD sets of Supernatural season 4 and 5 or the A Knight’s Tale DVD
– face paint (including at least three bright colors and black)
– soft socks
– a book I’ve never read before
– a cuddle blanket (implying that it is both large enough to wrap all the way around me, and heavy enough that I feel it as more than just warmth)
– a water bottle because I’m always losing mine, and the fact that I’m rarely hydrated properly is likely part of the problem
– something that no one will care if I either smash, shred, or otherwise destroy it

If you asked me to make a kit for someone else, it would probably just be a variant of this. The DVDs would be picked more personally for them. The socks might be exchanged for a fun hat or scarf. The face paint might be swapped out for play dough or yarn. The water bottle could be replaced with tea or hot chocolate. The item to destroy might be abandoned all together. I’m not sure how many other people actually feel happier after having become Wreck-It Ralph for thirty seconds.

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Flash Fiction: Broke Down (402 words)

“It’s a shame about your face,” Leah said.

Standing at the side of the road with her arms crossed, Shae glanced at her, then glanced back down the winding pavement. “Thanks,” she said.

“I mean, you just had it waxed,” Leah said.

Shae bit her lip, ran her tongue along the edge of it, and nodded again. “Yeah…”

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Gwendoogle Part XLI


Answers served: three-hundred sixty-six and counting…

Flip the Otter searched: What are three parallel universes I should be careful about avoiding and how do I get to them?
It should be noted that the first time I read this question, I thought you were asking for three very bad ideas, just so you could accomplish them.


I see now that you were asking how to get to these universes, so that you could avoid any accidental entrances. Usually, I would just give a blanket statement about avoiding dark alleys, glowing doorways, and any trail, hole, or cave frequented by talking animals. The following universes deserve a special warning however:

1. Any universe where your parents were never born, never met, or never gave birth to you. If I’ve learned one thing from Science Fiction, it’s that these worlds are full of either Social Awkwardness or Emotional Trauma, and nothing good comes from experiencing them. I doesn’t do you any good to know that your mother will give your name to her dog, if she doesn’t actually have you.

You get to this world through Rifts in the Space/Time Continuum (never Tears in Time and Space, though they sound like the same thing to me…). Stay away from aliens who can have anything they want with a snap of their fingers, and malfunctioning space ships.

2. Reality. Don’t stop reading. I’m talking about that universe where your life is just a movie set, and everyone in that world thinks that you are the actor who plays you. It’s unnerving. It’s unsettling. It’s enough to make you lose your lunch, when you realize that you can’t even survive in that world, because you don’t know how to play yourself in front of a camera. Nothing is more humiliating than being fired from that job.

Don’t jump through windows with glowing sigals on them. Don’t take doors that weren’t there thirty seconds before. Don’t fall asleep. (Good luck.)

3. The World Populated Entirely By Shrimp. All of its charms get old inside three seconds. You’ll tire of it very quickly.

The only way I’ve heard of getting there is riding piggy-back on an unspeakably powerful and unbearably ancient being. ShrimpWorld is probably the least of the reasons against taking that ride, though.

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Gwendoogle Part XL


Answers served: three hundred fifty-four and counting…

Kate Kearney searched: Why do twinkle lights incite joy?
Because in the near dark, your room animated by the shifting lights, you believe in good surprises flickering in the shadows. The dark doesn’t solidify enough to turn sinister, and the light doesn’t gather enough to take away the expectation. All the motion makes you believe that something like fate, or luck, or kismet is spinning its wheels.

Also, twinkle is just a sparkling word on your tongue, derived from other sparkling words like the Old English twinclian, and the Middle High German zwinken. 

I dare you to say “twinkle, twinclian, zwinken“, three times fast, under low light, and not summon an irrepressible smile.

E-boy searched: Does a turkey crow?
As a life-long turkey, I wanted to say yes. Apparently to be correct, I have to say no.

They gobble, cut, yelp, call, and sometimes sound like vaguely dissatisfied sports fans – [insert half-hearted booing, here] – but do not crow.

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Flash Fiction: Neverbeen (726 words)

It took Alasdair a long time to realize Jig wasn’t her real name. Parents had handed out stranger names, and she answered to it every time, without hesitation. Sometimes she even turned at similar words – jib, jug, jog – the way people do when they’ve answered to the sound all their lives.

But overhearing the men at early market describe her – the little girl, only so tall, with the dark hair, who moved too fast, settled too fast, and smiled too fast – he knew they were looking for her. They avoided giving her name. They knew her, but they didn’t know what she was calling herself now. Alasdair finished his business, and left market quickly, before they could stop him to ask if he’d seen her.

That night, Jig was at Alasdair’s back porch, perched on the edge of it, with her feet dangling into the air, eating her dinner clasped in both hands. She had some sort of bread, stuffed up with meat and sauce that ran down her fingers. It was still warm. He could smell the sweetness of it as he sat down next to her.

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