Contrary to Rumors, Still Alive

Sorry, guys, I really meant to post, but I’m getting pulled about fifteen ways, work and family, and I kept forgetting.  I’m also either having the flu or in the middle of an auto-immune attack.  (Could be either.)

So, since you guys like visual cues to stories, I’m going to give you one, from Pixabay, and then go back to pushing liquids and getting some work done.

I’m so sorry.


48 thoughts on “Contrary to Rumors, Still Alive

  1. I’ve lost so much time to illness myself. Prioritize: Do what makes sense. Family and work come first.

  2. Attempted channelling of L. Sprague de Camp:

    Book portals were easy, addictive, and treacherous. Take ‘The Jungle Book’, for example. It seemed like a good idea at the time – a beloved old setting, a quick escape. One that was hundreds of miles from the next nearest book, and that is if you could read Sanskrit. Did Nagpur even exist in 1894? Did it even exist in this fictional setting? Traversing a jungle is great if you’re an outrageously healthy Indian boy. It looks considerably more daunting if you’re an anemic wizard in a bathrobe.

  3. “Bill, I’ve got a level 2 alarm. We’re detecting a memory leak – looks like a Bound Volume is leaking over into another multiverse.”
    “A Bound Volume!? Why is there one of those loose? Better yet, who is the Registered Publisher?”
    “Umm… there’s no reg coming up. It looks like it’s an unregistered volume.”
    “Ah. OK. Well, I guess we get to talk to some MIA agents. Don’t touch anything yet – just let it leak They will want to see investigate it clean. I’ll make the call.”

  4. Ron stood gaping.  Harry knew that Hagrid was inclined to assign the most unusual of books.  Magical Creatures of the Waterways, not vicious in and of itself, was proving a handful.  He had mastered the drying spells, but what was he going to do with these fish flopping around?

      1. Probably. I do know that when we get to it it becomes apparent that Ron is not gaping at the fish floundering on the floor, but rather at the grinning teeth of the large reptile barely visible in the darkness behind Trevor’s bed … which Harry has yet to notice.

  5. “How to Clean The Augean Stables?”
    “Yeah, but if you peek under that label, what’s it’s say?”
    “The Lost River.”
    “Okay, that’s the one. Just make sure you’re standing out of the way when you open it. Better yet, let’s levitate the thing up a couple thousand feet before we do.”
    “It’s… raining? We broke the curse?”
    “Workarounds. Now, the book’s tied to you, so we better start walking before this section gets washed away. It’s more of a rain shuffle than a rain dance, but hey, you take what you can get. Make sure you camp somewhere stony tonight.”
    “How long… it’s going to rain until I shut the book?”
    “It’s going to rain until we break the curse. And then it’ll really rain. Whenever you find a loophole in a curse, son, you don’t let it go. Because it’s usually gone and something nasty sprung in its place when you come back.”

  6. That was the thing about most portals. Wardrobes? Too hard to carry. Actual doorways, of course, were worse. Even mirrors had their downside, namely, no wizard ever thought it worth his time to enchant one small enough to carry.
    But a book? Even falling through the sky through thick clouds did not prevent her carrying one.
    She opened hers.
    Water flooded out of it. It looked as if they would soar over the forest and the roaring river, which would bear them back out on its current. But she had learned to be wise to its appearance, and flew in.

  7. I haven’t done this for a long time so hope I can provide at least a small measure of amusement. I’ve spent more time the last 15 years writing code than stories.

    A homeless man in DC stumbled down the street. After a day of thick dark grey clouds overhead he’d found himself becoming somber. The church at the end of this street had always felt comforting and if asked, he wouldn’t have been able to tell you whether he was even aware of his destination.

    As a sleek black limo passed him by, much to his own surprise, he found himself yelling at it, “REPENT, REPENT, REPENT”. Both the driver and passengers of the limo failed to notice the yelling and the old derelict. As a shiver passed down the driver’s spine he vowed to find a new job. The passengers. . .well, the best that can be said is that the lack of awareness regarding the events that would happen to them during the next week were a small mercy.

    While the old bum was muttering to himself about needing a drink, far overhead hidden by the clouds a seldom used door to heaven opened providing a rare glimpse of the celestial home of God.

    Cackling with glee a small winged figure shot out of the door. Quickly scanning his surrounding, he determined that his ‘escape’ was going to work. After being confined to Heaven for most of the last century do to an unfortunate practical joke involving fuzzy dice, a hooker, and Hitler (remaining details having been struck from the Heavenly records) the Angel of Mischief reveled in the freedom of the skies.

    The repugnant odor of corruption, rot, and evil from below quickly drove the smile from his face. “Alright then, I’ve got work to do. I see just where I need to start”.

  8. He sighed and closed the cover to the Book of Life, then pointed His finger at the nearby fly that was hovering motionlessly near the book. The fly was replaced by what humans expected a fallen angel to look like.

    Putting his quill into an inkwell that was shaped like a Lamb He studied the smirking former angel. “Moving your wings would improve the illusion.”

    You knew it was me anyway, so why bother? Besides, I just wanted to look at the Book again.”

    “You still can’t affect the Book, and you never will be able to.”

    “Eh, I’ve decided that there isn’t really much reason to. There are so few names there, and anyone not written there is MINE!”

    “Not exactly. They will be forever exiled from My presence, as you will be. That doesn’t make them yours.”

    “Bah! Once you and the paltry few you have written in the Book settle in here for all eternity they’ll be mine to do with as I please!”

    “Lucifer, that’s a function of the power that you have, not because they are yours.”

    “They are-”

    “No.” The Almighty heaved a vast ethereal sigh. “You’ll never understand this because of the limitations I created you with.”


    “Yes, limitations. You see, when I created you and the others like you, you were already Mine. You didn’t need to learn that you needed Me and come to Me, you were created belonging to Me. This meant that the only way that you could exercise your limited free will was by rebellion.”

    “They are different.”

    Lucifer bristled. “You aren’t going to try to tell me they were made out of clay, are you?”

    “What they were made from is irrelevant. They got the important part right. I breathed the Breath of Life into them, and man became a Living Soul.”

    “That soul was separate from Me. The rebellion of the originals made that separation plain, but they were always separate, and that meant that their free will, unfettered by the limitations that you have, could choose to come to me.”

    “And look how many of them use that free will to come to me instead!” Lucifer preened.

    “Almost nobody actually chooses you. They choose money, or fame, or pleasure, or laziness, or a quick high, or power, or many other things, some of them quite silly. But very few actually choose you. Even most of the ones who say that they choose you are actually choosing the notoriety or the bad boy image, not you.”

    “But you could make them come to You! You could-”

    “If I made them come to me then the choice would be meaningless. The service of the angels is convenient, but on another level it is meaningless. The humans can choose to come to Me. That has meaning. That is what their free will is for. Everything else that they do with it is … A side effect.”

    “But if they can choose to come to you then couldn’t I-”

    “You already made your choice Lucifer,” the Almighty said gently.

  9. Every literary-minded youngster thinks that being a bookstore clerk must be the best job ever. Trust me, taking the books out for their morning flight gets old quickly. And it doesn’t help when the street-cleaners don’t manage to return the road on-time. “In by ten, back by 7” my ass — yet again they’ve “run late” and we have to work while walking on clouds.

  10. and then go back to pushing liquids and getting some work done.

    I’m so sorry.

    Sorry for what? Sounds like your priorities are straight…

    1. Take care of self/ family/ friends
    2. Paying work
    3. Profit! Umm, I mean Other Stuff

  11. Ray stared at the open book. “Uh, Bo, look at this.”

    Bo looked up from his paperwork and glanced at the startlingly 3D landscape. “Nice.” He turned back to the estate sale inventory.

    “You’re awfully blase about it,” Ray said.

    Bo shrugged. “You’ve seen one pop-up book; you’ve seen them all.”

  12. The stories are really good this week. Here’s mine (a little downbeat):

    “Look!”, cried the young man, gazing into the sky, his eyes wide. “They’ve finally done it! Once you had to imagine the worlds in books – now they’re real! Soon there will be hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of books up there, pouring out worlds of color, wonder, and adventure!”
    The older man looked up, scowled, and said nothing.
    “What’s the matter? Why so glum?”
    “You’ve heard of Sturgeon’s Law?”
    “Who hasn’t? ‘Ninety percent of everything is cr—’ Uh-oh.”
    “And you thought pigeons were bad.”

    1. “Oh, good, it’s just a book with a river or such.”

      “But the flooding rains!”

      “It could have been S. J. Doppelyew’s tome.”


      “The…Great Sh*tstorm.”


  13. “Honey, wake up!”

    “Hmph – lemme sleep – it’s a long flight.”

    “But there’s a book outside the window. A flying book!”

    “That’s nice. You read the book and I’ll sleep.”

    “It’s got a picture of a river, and trees, and waterfalls going right over the edge! Like magic! Oh, please wake up and look!”

    Resigned to the interruption of his nap, he opened his eyes and turned to see what the fuss was about.

    “See, Honey? Isn’t it pretty?”

    A look of disgust came over his face.

    Bewildered, she asked, “What’s the matter?”

    “There’s a fly on the window.”

  14. Odin sat on Hliðskjálf, pinching the bridge of his nose between thumb and forefinger. The book unleashed by Loki’s little rodent avatar poured water across the fields of Vígríðr.

    Odin’s tried to call out the name Loki kenned as the little rodent, but no sound came forth. The One-Eyed god lamented that they could not have bound Fenrir with a Disney cease and desist order.

  15. That was me, you know, my head always in the troposphere: All my Big Ideas, grounded in nothing much. That you would pour into me the wonders of the everyday, the forests, streams, and waterfalls, was I gift I wouldn’t have even known how to ask for, much less expect.

    I do hope you’re feeling better, Ms. Hoyt!

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