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This Week in SHOWCASE #5
by Bruce Bethke
Editor, Stupefying Stories
Welcome to Issue #5 of SHOWCASE, the (approximately) weekly webzine companion to STUPEFYING STORIES magazine and the STUPEFYING STORIES PRESENTS anthology series. Each week (more or less) in SHOWCASE we’ll be offering up previews of coming attractions, samples of what we’re working on, reviews and comments, and of course, new stories by some of our favorite writers—who we hope will become some of your favorite writers, too.
This week we’re up to our eyebrows in finishing up both the August issue of STUPEFYING STORIES magazine and our first all-zombie special, PUTREFYING STORIES, so if you’ll excuse us, we’ll get right to the stories. This week we’re delighted to present—
Harry came through the screen door and paused a moment, as he lifted the ax to hold it across his body. He felt like an anti-hero in a horror movie, and imagined the camera looking up at him from the floor. He strode slowly and heavily—stiffly, in fact, as he was no actor, and had a strange idea of how an actor would move in this kind of scene—through the hallway and into the back den, with its pine walls. He came to the upright piano, a 120-year-old Boston, and then realized he would have to set down his ax, as he suddenly had the inspiration to start from the inside.
What Harry did not know is that a piano is like a pet that you get just because it is cute, and then find out what a chore it is to maintain it...
With a flash of light the man from the future appeared. Mac rolled his eyes. All eternity to explore and the time traveler kept hanging around Mac’s two-pump filling station in Perdue, North Caroline
Dressed in glowing silver, Philip Seven, the man from the future, stood in front of a shelf stocked with oil filters and air hoses. “How are things in 1971?” Philip Seven asked.
Mac busied himself at the cash register. “Same as when you came yesterday.” The day before Philip had stayed for six grueling hours, telling Mac never-ending stories of the distant future...
Ice. He hated when they filled his glass with ice. It wasn’t there to keep the cream soda cold. The soda was already cold. They put it in to serve him less.
Barney read the song lists on the mini-jukebox in the booth as he waited for Will. He resented having to huddle at a table, but a gang of raygun goths crowded the counter. The boys wore dark-toned imitation pressure suits—one had managed to slip a milkshake straw into a respirator mask—and greased their hair. The girls had on all-black or all-white, contrasted sharply by hair the color of electrified noble gases, from which sprouted antennae. They all wore makeup and looked like dead astronauts. Barney frowned. He would belt his kid for trying to leave the house like that...
The rover moved at turtle speed over the lifeless powdery dirt. I’d been directing it up a gentle slope for hours. Although it was hard to believe, the scenery of the Moon's surface was becoming a bit mundane, a bit mind-numbing. That was especially surprising considering how much the mottled gray Moon had beckoned since I was a kid.
Jan and Samir were sitting next to me and watching the camera monitors to make certain the rover didn’t get into trouble. “Stop for a few minutes next to that rock over there,” Samir said. He pointed to a stone on the monitor. “It’s unusual and I want to take a closer look.” With his wild gray hair, Samir looked like a mad scientist excited about studying some new and different specimen.
“Do you think there will ever be any more missions to the Moon?” Jan asked me, while the rover was stopped...
Nira was indeed pregnant, belly like an albino watermelon and nipples like dormant volcanoes. When she walked, she waddle-stomped, and when she walked, she burped. She waddle-stomp-burped down the stairs and up again to collect a package from Omaha.
Congratulations on your purchase of auction lot 74, the note read. We hope you find satisfaction in this antique brass teapot, and we hope you will rate us highly in your online feedback. The pot was lightweight and slender and smelled of salt. Nira buffed it with a dry palm and sure enough the kitchen filled with purple smoke and a genie appeared...