Mr Burke

Mr Burke

published here


The tiger folded his paws, cuffs slipping, showing monograms on his golden cufflinks.

Peterson shuddered. The bureau was huge, bigger than his house.

It made the boss look even more elegant and sophisticated, then before.

The white marble-topped table was impressive, the tiger enthroning the big black leather chair looked like a king holding court.

“Peterson. Do you think, this impresses me?” The tiger snorted and laid his ears back. His golden eyes pierced the weasel sitting in front of his desk. “Do you think this is ENOUGH?” The growl in his voice made the glass of the windows tremble.

And he sat on a wooden chair in front of a man, who could snap him in two, probably only with the power in his left pinky… His tail twitched nervously, licking his lips didn’t help. Peterson tried to hide in his hide, as he felt his boss’ eyes burning into his skull.

“…No? Sir.” The weasel trembled too, eyeing the door. “Sir? May I suggest Chef Michael prepares you an early lunch?” Peterson tried to save himself from his boss’ rage. He knew he fucked up, and the numbers were more than awful. But that didn’t mean, that he had to die for them. Hopefully… The tiger popped all claws on his left paw, and tapped the marble tabletop impatiently. He leaned back in his office chair.

“This will not suffice, Peterson. I’m disappointed with your performance.” The claws pierced the paper stack Peterson just brought with him. With a careless gesture he swept the stack to the floor. “Pick that up, Peterson.” The weasel swallowed audible.”You know what? Leave it. You reek like a dead dog. Have you been rolling in dead dog?”

“Uh, uh… nyes?” Peterson hurried to get to the door, and to close it as fast as he could from the outside.  The tiger smiled an amused smile and punched a button on his intercom. “Sally, darling, please do come in, and brighten up my day.”

“Yes, Mr. Burke.” The female voice chirped through the line.

The tiger got up and out of his navy blue blazer. The snow-white shirt was fitting him perfectly. He loosed the golden silk tie and unbuttoned his collar. His right ear twitched. Sharp clacking sounds were approaching the door. “Ah, Sally! Please come in, come in.” He opened the door for her. Sally had both hands busy with holding and over-sized bath brush, a pillow filled with catnip, and a box full of alive mice.

Mr Burke hugged her and lifted her from the ground. Sally thrashed a bit, then gave up, when hearing Mr. Burke’s purring. “Sir? Mr Burke? You know that it isn’t professional, to have your toys brought to you, if you are upset,” she asked in his shoulder.

“Mhm,” he purred.

“The CEO of a company worth multimillion dollars in arms business, is supposed to be awe-inspiring, terrifying and mighty impressive.” She lessoned him. “Shall I have Chef Michael prepare lunch?” He shook his head and let her very gently touch the ground.

“Ready?” She wiggled the pillow a bit before she threw it into the furthest corner of the bureau.


image: Kuoni

War Time Tours

War Time Tours

“Right behind you!”

That’s all I need.

Alec’s leather suit creaks, as he leans over to shut off the master inhibitory signals on our implants. The log-tunnel lights up. 

Protocol, protocol. My babysitter-in-time is a babysitter-by-the-book; dutifully complicating my plans. He’s the best. He’s the best I can buy. His missions are like good thrillers, never lost anyone – neither in combat, nor on a time trip. Alec is going to be so pissed, when he finds out I switched coordinates.  Continue reading “War Time Tours”

Thorns and Rose

Thorns and Rose

Old age was a curse.

Anyone old enough could relate.

It marked the slow end of abilities, and the beginning of limitations. But this was a world made of limitations, wasn’t it? Old age was an abomination, a fence, an unscalable wall, but only if you ignored your abilities all your life long. Within those boundaries, anyone could roam freely.

My name is Rose, like the flower. My short-lived husband, Carl, loved my bloom, my thorns, my venom.  He called my sense of justice, venom.

Continue reading “Thorns and Rose”

Nothing

Nothing

Published here


The metro reeks of sweat and wet dog.

Her expression is empty.

It always is. Holding that old crutch of hers, she walks. She walks slowly, and looks miserable too. But that isn’t hard with those exposed, burnt and broken legs of hers.

“A cripple has nothing to lose,” her father says so, before burning her. He says it, before he breaks her ankle and knee. First her right leg, then the left. 

She stretches out a hand, hovering in front of her, like a small cloud over a desert; white and calm, waiting to dissolve into the blue of space. She doesn’t look at the faces. People are easily annoyed. No eye contact. That’s the rule. 

There is nothing to see. She tells herself. Although… There is something worth looking at, maybe even staring at.

She feels the eyes stabbing at her. It makes her want to puke, right on the shoes of everyone. She has seen it, so many times – the thing she refuses to acknowledge: disgust, and pity. What a hateful thing to show her!

The pang of regret she can handle, maybe the glow of relief in their eyes too… Truly. She hates the naked gladness. They do not have to share her fate… Their ease, when she hobbles away.

There is nothing to see. No bother, she won’t look. She breathes.  

In.  

Out.

Three seconds.

After that, she turns to the next person. Still begging with her free hand. Repeating, carefully pronounced: “Danke schön,” and the pleading, “Bitte. Hilfe,” the best she can. She concentrates to pronounce the german words in the proper order. No slurring, no biting off syllables. The metro shakes violently, throwing her off balance.

A big hand grabs her under her armpit. She dares not move. It pulls her up. She dares not look. The grip tightens. It’s her guard, pulling her to her feet. A fat man, smelling of onion, beer and cigarettes, who can beat her to death, without remorse. 

In fact, he guards the money, not her. He leans on one of her crutches. He scratches his back with it, beats stray dogs and homeless people, beats her too. Tool and weapon.

The only good thing about being a cripple, not one man bothers her in bed. The only thing she thanks her father for. Men are disgusted by her looks. No one touches her burnt lower back, her burnt and bent legs.

They look away.

Everybody does.

Even she looks away.

Home floats back into her head. Dreams of her family occur from time to time. Mum and her little brothers dig into the familiar pain. Her knees and ankles wobble. She’s back in the hut. The stench of the abandoned dump is everywhere. Mum makes a fire and white smoke billows in. She sits in her cracked plastic chair, at the mouth of the hut. Her legs hide under a winter coat. She peels potatoes, and her brothers shout and scream. They hit each other with sticks, pretending they wield swords. 

This is where the dream takes a bad turn.

Father comes home, and he is not alone. A shiny white Hummer rolls into view, golden hub caps blinding. Father, uncle and a stranger. Mum is somewhere behind the hut, or climbing the dump for scraps. The pot bellied stranger has a golden watch on his wrist. He smiles a lot. No, that is not a smile. He bares his teeth. The men talk and laugh. 

“You don’t need to peel those potatoes anymore,” the stranger says warmly. “We are going on an adventure now!” He is the only one sober.

Mum’s voice is behind the hut, low and urgent. Father screams. “Know your place!” A loud slap. “Bitch!” Sobbing.

“You know.” The stranger squats down beside her. “You are a smart girl. If you come with me, you will make money. A lot of money. More than you can imagine. You can do with it, what you want. Maybe send it home? To your mother? So she doesn’t have to work so hard.” The stranger’s eyes lock on hers.

She nods.

Mum needs help. He’s right. In her state, the best she can do, is to go with the man. Earning money. What a dream!  He even helps her into his car, buckles her up. Then she turns around to look back. She wants to wave mum good-bye. She’s not there. At the entrance of their hut, father and uncle smile and wave at her.

Earning money… What a nightmare!

Next week, she turns fourteen. If police shows up… Jail waits for her. But that’s not important.  

After all, cripple has nothing to lose.


Image: A public display  of Shame: Prague’s beggars, by Miriam Rosseau

Dead Serious and Not Sorry

Dead Serious and Not Sorry

Published here


The undertaker lied. It wasn’t comfortable at all! His buttocks had gone dead a while ago.

Wait!

That wasn’t how he was going to put it!

He was lying in his coffin – yes – but he was very much alive.

“This is the best you can buy for money, Mr. Jones. Pure silk and lace. Our bestseller! The epitome of comfortableness, elegance and beauty,” the undertaker preached. Not how he imagined it… The forever-box was uncomfortable. On the other hand, no one could ever tell the man, that his coffins were crap.

Continue reading “Dead Serious and Not Sorry”

Electric Shinigami (1)

Electric Shinigami (1)

Part 2 – Interceptor


PART 1:

Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo

F***. I’ll miss you. Oz mumbled around his mouthful of Al-Capone Pizza. He wiped the grease from his mouth with his sleeve. He toasted the city with the rest of the slice in his hand. …Maybe.

He has been on the roof all evening, to watch his last sunset. He let Izanami record all his visual input. Every bit of visual and sensorial memory was important. He was going to be home-sick, he supposed. Everyone was, at least, that was, what they had told him.

Why so serious? Isn’t this what you wanted? Izanami whispered into his ear from his new Uplink implant. He still had to get used to the vision tracking commands, so he wouldn’t zoom in on a passing bottle fly, or falling pigeon poop. If he wanted, he could count the hairs on a mosquito leg, but who would want that? Continue reading “Electric Shinigami (1)”

Electric Shinigami (2)

Electric Shinigami (2)

Part 1: Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo


PART 2

INTERCEPTOR

This April evening darkness came early. It was hardly past 5 pm and Newport City didn’t stand a chance, engulfed by a tidal wave of flickering electric light, mist and a gentle rain.

The big ads on the skyscrapers flared to life, bathing the windows in neon blue, bright green and crimson. The street lights flashed, blinked and faded away, only to restart in less than half a minute.

Oz moved through his empty apartment without making light. Not that he would have needed light ever again… His new prosthetic eyes automatically switched to night vision, showing him his empty apartment as shabby as it felt to him now. Continue reading “Electric Shinigami (2)”