Sunday, November 22, 2015

Weekly Prompt Story: Wind

Wind, or Wind
By Christopher Munroe

The wind whips your hair back and forth as you wind your way through the woods, wind whistling through wood as you wander, wondering where you will wind up.

Your watch has wound down, you would have wound it were you aware you’d wind up wandering these woods, but without warning it’s no wonder you wander without...

Your mind wanders, and you wish you were willing to welcome the wonders without, without wondering what those wonders wrought whereupon they wandered upon you, gentle wanderer.

And that’s when you realize: You’ve completely lost track of what you were trying to say…

Friday, November 20, 2015


It was, all told, a fairly run of the mill prophecy.

A Dark Force would rise, all would be swept before it and it would rule o’er the land until such time as a hero pure of heart might rise against it, to cast down what once had seemed unstoppable and return his people to their rightful place in the sun.

Hackneyed, to be frank. Overdone. The sort of thing you’d heard a thousand times before…

Still, they WERE my people, and hackneyed or not I was determined to protect them, no matter what hell I had to put myself through, what sacrifices or compromises I might have to make. They were my people, I had a duty to keep them safe, and whatever dark force might in time rise I’d keep them safe whatever price had to be paid.

If I didn’t, after all, what sort of hero would I be?

What sort of leader would I be?

Fighting the Dark Force, I decided, would be an easier matter were I to seek it out before it had time to take root and establish its base of power, and to this end I sent a network of spies to all four corners of the kingdom, to find whatever hole it might be hiding in and drag it out into the light.

Yes, there were tales of spies abusing their power over the locals, but I paid them no heed. They were doing important work, after all, and I couldn’t let the misdeeds of a few taint that work, however grave those alleged misdeeds might have been.

Some protested, because some will always protest, and I admit it did hurt my heart to order my generals to put the protests down. They were good people, after all, most of them were good people, they were probably good. But in a time of crisis a people must stand together, strong and resolute, and if the dissent of the few threaten to weaken the whole it has to end, however well meaning it might be.

There were those among my advisors who disagreed with the heaviness of my hand in dealing with the protests, and of course I encouraged those around me to voice their opinions on the matter.

It made it easier, after all, to know who was against me for when the long knives came…

By the second round of protests my precautions were really beginning to come to fruition. My spies told me well in advance they were being organized, and my forces, now freed from any in their leadership who might take moral issue with the crushing of dissent, cracked down with brutal efficiency. The streets ran red, and by the time the bodies had been carted away it was clear that, if a third wave of protests were ever to begin, they would begin far away from the capital.

I heard the rumors when they did, of a farm boy in the provinces giving speeches, rallying locals in support of the values our kingdom once held dear, as though every step I had taken had not been to protect those same values, but every time I sent an assassin, or a platoon of soldiers to put him down once and for all, all it did was drive more people to his cause.

I couldn’t believe, as the reports came in, how many eventually grew to support his cause. Did my people not understand that all I had done, I had done to protect them?

And now he and his rag-tag bunch is outside the walls of this very capital city, and more of my soldiers are abandoning their posts to join him every day.

Before long they will breach these walls, I understand this now, and they will find me in my castle and drag me out into the street. I could run, but I will not. When the end comes for me I will face it, not out of any sense of courage, but rather with the profound moral exhaustion of a man who has done everything he could to protect those he loves, only to see his best intentions come to less than nothing.

I have nothing left to fight for, now, and my heart is too heavy to try.

It’s never easy realizing that, at the end of the day, all you’ve made of yourself is the Evil King in someone else’s story…

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Weekly Prompt Story: Deck

Home Improvement
By Christopher Munroe

We were so excited when the project began.

I mean, none of us were carpenters, we’d never built a veranda before, but we were reasonably intelligent individuals, and youtube does exist after all, how hard could it be?

Unbelievably hard, as I’m sure will come as no surprise to the handier among you.

The resultant porch looked terrible but, more tragically, friendships ended over the fights attempting to build it caused among us. We went our separate ways, dispirited by failure, and never spoke again.

A tragic end to a tragic tale…

…especially as we’d started with such great deck-spectations.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Breakup

“I’m sorry,” I told her, “I’ve done my best to make this work, but it’s just not, I don’t think it ever will, and I think that on some level you know that I’m right. We’ve been telling each other that we’re in love, we’ve been telling ourselves we’re in love, but I think we both know we’ve both been kidding ourselves, and that I never loved you, and that you never loved me either. And moreover, I’m realizing that I never will. It’s not you, but it’s not me either, I think, you’re just… you’re not the droid I’m looking for.

And she just looked downward, at her feet, seeming sad. She was not sad, because she was not a living breathing person with an internal emotional life in the same way that I was, but she looked sad, because she had been programmed to look sad in the event that I broke up with her. Still, in spite of my knowledge that she was merely going through the motions, seeing her doing her best within the limits of her programming to express and then swallow sadness crushed me. We had had our share of good times, after all, simulated or not…

But, after a long, fake breath and a moment to appear to pull herself back together, she was able to look me in the eye once more.

“I understand,” she said, although she did not, “it is for the best. If you are not happy we should not be together.”

And then she closed her eyes, sank down into the chair in which she’d been sitting, and powered down once and for all.

And now I’m back on the market. Though after two years of living with a machine I’ll admit, I’m rusty when it comes to the dating scene. So, how about you? what brought you to OkCupid?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Weekly Prompt Story: Order

By Christohper Munroe

I believe there is a fundamental order to the universe..

By which I mean that everything in the universe has a certain, specific order.

Linear time, I mean, I believe in linear time.

Yes, I’m aware that there are theories to account for the notion that time does NOT occur in a linear fashion, but while I find them fascinating to consider each in their turn, I couldn’t speak to the likelihood of any of their truth.

I don’t have the background necessary.

But I don’t begrudge said theories’ existence.

After all, in an orderly universe, everything has its place…

Thursday, November 5, 2015

On Manicures...

Three blocks from the building where I currently live, there is a salon.

I’ve never been there myself, but I’ve seen the sign out front as I’ve walked past the place on my way home from work, night after night.

“MAN-icures” the sign reads, and it’s surrounded by little pictures of power tools that, presumably, the MAN-icurists will use upon your fingernails should you make an appointment to have them do so.

All of which begs the question: Surely, by this point, gendering things has gone too far?

Can we just come together as a culture and agree that, if a man requires reassurance that you offer a specifically masculine spa day, you are not going to convince him to get a manicure. This man is not a get for your place of business, and the sooner you realize that the better off you’ll be.

I’m not saying this is a good thing, or a bad thing, merely that it is. Facts have no moral weight, after all.

You own a salon, you want money from the fifty percent of the population that does not traditionally go to a salon, that’s fine. That’s normal. If men took spa days that would potentially double your profits and that would, as the owner of a business, be a desirable outcome indeed. I’m just saying that promising specifically masculine manicures is not going to bring anyone to you, and may well drive people away with it’s very outlandishness.

I do not own this salon, admittedly, perhaps it is very successful, I just can’t personally imagine the strategy working.

An advertizing campaign that said, “Hey, remember that one time your girlfriend took a spa day? Remember how relaxed she was afterward? You should totally do that!” for example, I would imagine bringing men to a salon. Men like to relax, and they like to be pampered, they just need to have the fact that it’s an option pointed out sometimes.

I have to have the fact that self-care is an option pointed out a lot of the time, I know how that is. All the ad would really have to do is remind me.

Perhaps simply a picture of Aziz Ansari, and the slogan “Treat Yourself!” That would DEFINITELY get men out for a spa day!

And then get you sued by Aziz Ansari.

So: Not that specifically. But something along those lines…

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Weekly Prompt Story: Crush

My Creed
By Christopher Munroe

What is best in life?

To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.

Now, it’s 2015, we want to be inclusive, so let me add: Crushing female/non-binary enemies and hearing male/non-binary lamentations is also best in life, in whatever combination is appropriate to your experience, both of your gender and that of whomever you count amongst your enemies.

It’s not “What’s best in life, given a particular limited demographic?” after all.

And if anyone claims otherwise, crush them, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of…

…well, of whomever.