The Good Son.

My son, God love him, turned twenty this year. It’s hard not to think of him as a teenager, though, as he still lacks that special something that signifies him as an adult. No, not body hair; he’s got more than enough of that–inherited from his grandfather, who’s known as the ‘silverback’ (yeah, you guessed it. After the gorilla).

It’s common sense I’m talking about. That undefinable understanding about how to get by in life, how stuff works; that sort of thing. No, not how the internal combustion engine works, because even I don’t understand that. It’s about the basics:

  • actually looking for stuff, rather than saying “I can’t find it”, then letting Dad locate it and it’s there right in front of his face
  • realising that water pressure builds up in a hose when you shut off the pistol end (and yes, it will pop off when you drop the pistol on the concrete, thus spraying water over everything because the pressure was on too high to start with)
  • don’t wear Dad’s good leather sandals to wash the car
  • don’t hit Dad up for cash when I’ve just been talking about how little of it I have
  • paying attention to what you’re actually doing and not getting distracted by the nearest thing (I swear he has the shortest attention span known to man)
  • understanding that YouTube is NOT a source of reliable news
  • knowing how gravity works (yes, son—water flows down, not up)

Just a few examples. From this morning.

And while my son may resent being treated like a kid, he often brings it on himself, because he still thinks like one: no responsibility, no cares, no job, no drivers license. Yep, his mother (my first ex-wife) and I still drive him everywhere.

It’s our fault of course. We’ve mollycoddled him (as many parents do when they have an only child), spoiled him (as all parents do with their kids) and not let him learn from his mistakes.

I believe that he will develop some common sense, in time. Like when he’s forty. Maybe.

Oh, well. I still love him to death.

But he’s still not having that cash.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Magnetic. A poem.

Feel me here:
antediluvian, lumbering.

As unlike as we are,
an inordinate attraction like
opposite magnetic poles,
dragging us together
like merciless luna tides.

Your lightning source code
will tame this savage beast,
magnetic moments designed
to simulate a halcyon dream
of mesmerism and strident yearning.

I am alone with you,
and you are all I crave.

My first book of poetry, The All or the Nothing, is available now as an e-book from most online distributors. To find out more, click here.

Anvil. Part 4.

Shi-Cho has worked spec ops for many years. His body has been wounded, trashed and rebuilt so many times he almost forgets which parts are human and which are cybernetic. His left eye is biosynthetic, but his right is original. He prefers the artificial one. After this job he will have the human eye replaced—a better combination, that way.

His plasma carbine is aimed directly at a tall, muscular man; probably a synthetic, based on the shell with the plassteel cap protruding from his back. Around him are the detritus of the surfers, the underscum that frequent the waveruins below the hovering city. Shi-Cho’s matt-black flexiplas full body armour insulates him from all types of toxins, but he still avoids touching anything. The sooner he’s out of here the better, then on to the next job. The life of a mercenary is never boring.

Shi-Cho’s amplified speech grinds like gravel under tyres. He lost his voice box a few months back and he’s still breaking in the new one. “All right,” he says. “You know the drill. Weapons on the ground. Hands on the back of your heads. No sudden movements.”

The old woman in the body armour still has her pumpgun raised. The synthetic is standing there, placidly. Routine scans show nothing out of the ordinary—just a baby carrier, it seems. Shin-Cho sighs. “You know, when you’re searching for someone, it’s not a good idea to announce it openly, surfer marketplace or not. Amateurs.” He smiles. “Last warning—weapons grounded and hands behind heads.”

* * *

Chun elbows the Anvil as she sights the speaker, shadowed amongst the stalls. “No multiple choice,” she whispers.

Violet hugs her teddy in the little capsule-like womb. From up here she can see nearly everything: the back of the Anvil’s head (is this man really her mother?), the dim glowglobes floating overhead, the hundreds of stalls dotting the floor into the distance, the occasional ray of sunlight through the cracks in the building’s skin; the men dressed in black and the pretty red-light beams in the air, all directed at the Anvil. She tilts her head, curious.

The Anvil registers twenty men, all their locations, calculates reaction times and course and vectors of their potential movements. Her megajoule Microwave Emitters go live, rising from her hidden forearm compartments as she raises her arms to respond.

* * *

Shin-Cho swears. The synthetic just lit up like a Christmas tree—subdermal armaments, concussion shielding, neural enhancers and active/passive retrograde defensives. He fires at the old woman as his troops light up the synthetic, which he knows now is a maxi-class armature. And knowing that, he realises this firefight won’t last long.

* * *

The Anvil moves as Granny Chun drops to the ground and fires. The air around them fills with plasma flechette rounds, but the Anvil is already gone.

* * *

Shin-Cho rolls as the MWE blast fries a line of stalls to his left, then to his right. He sees two of his men burning, limbs flailing, screams registering in his earpieces. The armature is on him in less than a second, its speed phenomenal. He manages to squeeze off two plasma rounds. One glances off the armature’s leg, but its fist connects with Shin-Cho’s helmet and he’s sent flying nearly ten metres into the building wall, which bursts like shredded ricemeal and sends him dropping down, down, down, into the perilous surf below.

* * *

Granny Cho rolls behind a stall, pumping ion shells into whatever she can see. A black armoured chest plate explodes and the merc collapses like a string-less marionette. Another of Chun’s shots takes off another’s arm. “Of course, I love this gun,” she says, cackling with glee.

Her leg is pulsing a thick stream of blood from a plasma round that found it’s mark, but her adrenalin is rushing and her bloodlust is up. “Just like the good old days,” she cries, running and blasting another black-suited merc in the chest.

* * *

The Anvil moves so quickly it’s like the troops are in slow motion. Her MWEs fry bodies and brains to the left and right. Her HUD shows predicted movements and she lays suppressing fire in anticipation. Plasma shells play light trails across the room and old clothes, toys, ancient electronics, crystals, dinnerware and meat products are exploding into fragments and dust that fill the air. A few shells find their mark in her chest, right arm and right leg, but she manages to keep Violet protected at her rear.

Fifteen men are down. Granny Chun has taken out another four.

The last has broken ranks and is fleeing for the far wall, where a great gash in the building’s outer shell provides a convenient exit. The Anvil’s MWEs have reached max temp and shut down to prevent overloading. She reaches for a steel dinner plate sitting on a broken kiosk next to her. The merc is twenty metres away. She aims (precursive tracking arrays ensure there is no chance of missing) and throws.

The dinner plate slices through the merc’s neck from the rear. It doesn’t quite take his helmeted head off; he slows to a crawl, stands still for a moment and then drops to his knees, where he stays, like a petrified silhouette.

Violet is laughing and giggling. The running, jumping and general destruction has her very excited. The various ruined bodies and torrents of blood are hidden by the robust dust clouds choking the air, making the scene appear fantastical.

“All Clear?” calls Chun from somewhere further back.

“Clear,” says the Anvil. She retracts her still-warm MWEs into their forearm compartments. She turns her chiselled male head back to see Violet in the cockpit. The Anvil notes her masculine jawline and cheek bones reflected in the glass. What a nice-looking guy she is. Must have paid extra for that. “You okay, Violet?”

Violet goes shy and sucks her thumb.

Chun hobbles over, applying a halo-patch to the bloody hole in her leg. “Of course, that’s going to scar,” she says, smiling painfully. She claps the Anvil on the shoulder. “Good work. No multiple choice, after all.”

The Anvil wipes her brow, pushes her medium cut male hair back into place. Internally, adreno-stim healers and fibre refabs are repairing any damage. Clothing is reconstituted where bullets have shredded or torn fabric. “So, who were they?”

Chun grimaces as she presses the halo-patch firmly into place. “Of course, your memory’s still up the crapper. Those ‘amateurs’ were sent by the other person looking for Violet.”

“And who would that be?”

“Your husband, you idiot.”

To be continued…

Missed earlier instalments? Click here.

What is ANVIL?

ANVIL is a deliberately unplanned, multi-part short story I’ve created to challenge myself as a writer (I’ve done this before with The Sale – check it out). My intention is to write an episode as often as possible, generally (but not always) ending with a cliff hanger, then work out how to solve the dilemma and continue the story. I have no idea how the story will progress, no idea what it’s about until I get there.

Only you can tell me if it’s successful, or not. I hope you enjoy my continuing experiment.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

 

Linger Longer. A poem.

Why do I always linger
longer in this place?
Why do I capitulate to my
black dog space?
I throw the stick for him
and he brings it back
for me to beat myself again,
so he can jump and laugh
and grin.

This field of pain and torpor,
where my muddied feet
are caught in errant stupor,
where my constant aches
and cravings for self-hate
feed my empty belly
in an immolating feast.

I have fed so well
upon these tasty fears,
perhaps I will linger longer here.
Until my will is done
and all that I hold dear
is gone
again.

Until I linger longer here, again
in darkened fields with
formless friends.

My first book of poetry, The All or the Nothing, is available now as an e-book from most online distributors. To find out more, click here.

Haiku Friday. ‘Dressed to Kill’, a haiku trilogy.

Dressed to Kill. A haiku trilogy.

1. Dressed

Dressed to kill, you are;
A fortunate turn for me,
can’t avert my eyes.

2. High

You float on high heels,
that could puncture my heart through
like Cupid’s arrow.

3. Gone

In an instant, gone;
Another mystery, you.
The past is fleeting.

My first book of poetry, The All or the Nothing, is available now as an e-book from most online distributors. To find out more, click here.

Upstart Photographer #7. And poems, no less.

Yep, it’s that time of the month, again. Time for some dreary photos to liven up your/my dreary world.

This time, I’ve included a few (very) brief poems to accompany my black and white, unfiltered shots.

Sunlight - - stevestillstanding.com

Sunlight. A poem.

Through the ancient boughs, you shine,
shadow fall and illumine.

Statue - stevestillstanding.com

Statue. A poem.

The weight of thought and remonstrance.
Who is left to argue, now?
Who is left, with you, to stand?

View - stevestillstanding.com

View. A poem.

I won’t weary of your patina sky,
my square-cut, sandwiched, glassy eyes
that see the world as it could be
as evidenced, so literally.

You like? If no, then sorry.

Cheers

Steve 😊

My first book of poetry, The All or the Nothing, is available now as an e-book from most online distributors. To find out more, click here.

U r. A poem.

U r
the heavenly glimpse unspoken.
U r
the enigmatic mystery unleashed.
U r
my unfettered tragedy in the making.
U r
the starving soul to which I’m drawn.
U r
the the boundless ocean to which I succumb.
U r
the burning pyre that leads me home.

Txt translation:
U r th only 1 4 me
I am th
luv struck 1
who misses U
24/7
Evry moment
Evry day
I am th
crzy, impatient 1
who longs 4 U
24/7
Evry minute
Evry nite
I am th 1
who would
complete U
2 as 1
1 as 2
If only U knew

 

My first book of poetry, The All or the Nothing, is available now as an e-book from most online distributors. To find out more, click here.

Strangely Surprised. A poem.

Strangely surprised:
it would seem I believed
that I’d be so much wiser
from here on, indeed.

It just took one glance
and I’m back on the teat,
pride reined in per chance,
all humility.

Strangely surprised
that there’s no freedom ride,
and no tunnel end light
to set a course by.

It seems fate has decided
that it’s better for me
to be forever derided.
And so shall it be.

I never liked the thought
of being strangely surprised.
In an overwrought world,
perhaps this is why.

My first book of poetry, The All or the Nothing, is available now as an e-book from most online distributors. To find out more, click here.

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