Drabble: "Is Reproduction Romantic?"

Is Reproduction Romantic?

by Chris Hugh

"Isn't it romantic? Soon we'll have a fresh crop of little ones!"

Kendrick snorted and looked at the line of citizens behind them. "Reality TV and soap operas have infected every corner of the galaxy, haven't they? There's nothing the least bit romantic about reproduction."

"But we have to increase our population."

"Of course," Kendrick agreed. He looked forward. "Your turn."

When it his turn came, six-foot-four Kendrick slid into the reproduction chamber. After a decent interval, Ken and Rick, both three-feet-two inches long, slid out. They nodded primly and went their separate ways.
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Drabble: New Moan: A Twilight Parody

New Moan: A Twilight Parody

By Christina Hugh

"I don't know," Bella said. "I mean, we're so different."

"You've dated vampires and werewolves," the 3000-year-old Egyptian mummy replied. "What's wrong with me?"

"Well, aren't our religions different?"

The mummy stood wrapped in thought. Then he stretched out his arms and put his hands on her shoulders. "I worship the Sun God, Ra."

"Really?" Bella brightened. "I worship the Son of God too. Rah! Cool, we're both Mormons!" Bella bit her lip. "But I thought you were Muslim."

The mummy moaned. "No, Bella," he said. "I'm not Muslim. I'm wrapped in muslin."

Bella chuckled. They went to a movie. Pin It Now!

Victorian vs. Flapper Posture

As a followup to the Posture article, here are some more pictures. If you use Google Images, you can find occassional pictures of Victorian women slouching and Flappers standing straight, especially when you look at family pictures. However, the art and illustrations of the era show the ideals from thos eras, so that's what I've included here. Click here to read the original article "I'll Tell You What is Causing Pain for Almost Everyone in the Western World."
Victorian Era - examples of upright posture

jules bastien-lepage: portrait of sarah bernhardt

Flapper fashions

Judge magazine 1927
Happy Arbor Day!
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The Legend of Blondhilda Story VI: Evil Appliances and the Three Fridges of Fate

Evil Appliances and the Three Fridges of Fate

by Chris Hugh

"Fire!" someone shouted and the word echoed in Oroka's sleeping mind.

Not fire, she thought in her dream. Darkness. Suffocation. All her precautions had failed her, just as she knew they would. She groaned in her sleep. The dream was terrifyingly real: she was stuffed in a refrigerator, like so many female comic heroines before her. She'd known this would be her destiny the moment she lost her powers. That was the day she stopped being a Manga Magical Girlfriend and became a Disposable Romantic Interest.

"Fire!" the voice cried again. Oroka's dream shifted. Was she at the gun range? She spent hours there every week, honing her skills in a hopeless effort to escape her fate. Or did she have heartburn? All the takeout meals took their toll. She hadn't set foot in the kitchen, not once since she and her boyfriend moved to the United States.

Something landed on the bed next to Oroka and broke the dream. She smiled in her sleep. It was Mr. Kitten, her magical cat. Then she frowned as she began to wake up. No, it couldn't be. Taikutsu had insisted they leave the cat behind in Japan. Now he worked as a robotics scientist on a top-secret project, and she spent her days alone, trying to survive.
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Exercise: Blondhilda and Hello Sailor Disagree

The writing assignment was: write a story about two characters who are faced with the same challenge and who have different approaches to responding to it. I called on my characters of Blondhilda and Hello Sailor, and here it is.
Blondhilda and Hello Sailor Disagree

"The injustice of it!" Blondhilda cried. "I cannot abide it!" She stood up from the recliner and shook out her sheet of pale golden hair. A glowing light suffused the room and she held her sword high.

"Stop, Blondhilda," Hello Sailor said, hopping up from her own recliner. An inexplicable breeze tossed back her hair and ruffled her miniskirt. "We cannot directly interfere with the affairs of mortals. We must let them find their own way."
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Article: I'll Tell You What is Causing Pain for Almost Everyone in the Western World

Manual LaborerIf you're one of the millions of knowledge workers slaving away in your cubicle all day, you deserve to work pain free. This article will help you on your way.

Muscles Get Tired, Bones Don't.

There are two ways human beings can hold themselves. You can slouch, using the large muscles to hold yourself into something that approximates an upright posture. This is what nearly everyone over the age of four in the Western World does. This posture became popular among flappers in the 1920's and became an enduring fashion. Unfortunately, it compresses the lungs and causes muscles and tendons to work constantly and in a way they weren't designed to. This causes pain and injury.
The other way to sit or stand upright is to balance on your bones. You balance your head on top of your neck and your shoulders over your hips. In this posture, you do not use your muscles to hold yourself up; you merely use them to make slight balance adjustments.

Good posture
All children under the age of four use an upright posture. Because their heads are so large in relation to their bodies, they physically do not have the strength to slouch; they have to balance upright. The upright posture is the natural human posture. The Masai, many people in so-called primitive cultures, gymnasts (but only when they're actually doing exercises) and anyone who carries rocks on their heads for a living, have an upright posture. Do a Google image search to see examples of good posture. It's important to look at good examples of posture; we're very influenced by other humans and tend to copy them unconsciously.

How to Stand Straight
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The Legend of Blondhilda Story IV: Bondhilda and the Escape from the Insane Asylum

Blondhilda and the Escape from the Insane Asylum

by Chris Hugh

The Norse goddess looked down at Stan fondly, her great bosom heaving in happiness.

"Now we can be together forever, my Stanley!"

Stanley Chester Brown, fabulously successful graphic novel author and former lawyer, proudly stood on his tiptoes. He kissed Blondhilda's gorgeous lips and the entire Hall of Valhalla erupted into applause. Shields clash, swords rattled, goblets clinked (and were quickly drained), and many mighty fighting men and mighty fighting wenches yelled "Aooga!"
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The Legend of Blondhilda Story III: Blondhilda and the Mystery at Skull Manor

Blondhilda and the Mystery at Skull Manor

by Chris Hugh

Stanley Chester Brown, world-famous graphics novel artist and newly-wed husband of the Norse Goddess Blondhilda, adjusted his thick glasses and peered down the steep stairs. A large crumpled form lay there. Stan had been awakened by the sound of running feet followed by the boom of a shotgun. Now the head of the stairs was splintered by a shotgun blast and a dead man lay at its foot.

Stan and Blondhilda had booked two weeks at an abandoned manor house on a deserted island. The vacation was a gift from Loki, the Norse god of mischief. The honeymoon had started out pleasantly. The accommodations were lovely and the combination gardener, cook and butler had been exemplary. Unfortunately he was also an amateur photographer. When Blondhilda found certain candid honeymoon videos floating around on YouTube, she'd discovered the multi-talented man was the shape shifter Loki. She kicked Loki off the island, literally.

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Drabble: "Alien vs. Predator: A Twit-light Parody"

Alien vs. Predator: A Twilight Parody
By Chris Hugh

Hi, I'm Bella, with the accent on the second syllable, so it sounds like "blah." I just moved to Oregon from Arizona.

Edward's so handsome, with his dreadlocks and the way he chuckles through his criss-cross mandibles.

I think I'll make him jealous. Jacob skitters by, his reticulated inner skull extending from his outer skull as he drips caustic acid. "Jacob makes my chest flutter."

"Why? Did he insert a pod down your throat?"

We chuckle; I bite my lip. Jacob overhears. "I knew you'd be prejudiced against aliens. Stupid Arizonan."

And here's a link to an even funnier Twit-light parody that I did not write. Pin It Now!

Sketch: Helen's Downfall

Here I'm trying out a voice for Mr. Kitten, the narrator of my Mr. Kitten Murder Mystery. I think this voice would be a bit much for an entire book, but here's a little story anyway.

Helen's Downfall

Helen's a well-rounded person, but means not to be, which is why she avoids chocolate at all times she is not actively consuming it. Of course, she can do as she wishes nowadays, what with the terms of Grandpa Calvin's will being so, dare I use the word, heavily in her favor. She spends at least one month a year at an exclusive fat farm in South Carolina, saving up, as it were, for the rest of the year and relieving the local carpenters the burden of having to widen the doors. Thus she stands in pleasingly broad contrast to her cousin Madeleine who haunts the halls in a continual state of self-imposed starvation, disappears when she turns sideways and possesses a body so weakened with deprivation rumor has it she was once injured by a falling leaf.
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Duelling Stories: Kathlee Gets a Letter

Kathlee is a creation of my writing partner, Anchorite. She's a combination of various vapid pop music stars. Here's a slice from her life by Anchorite (posted with his permission)....and my response.

Kathlee Gets a Letter
by Anchorite

Kathlee’s night went like all others: staying out until seven in the morning drinking and dancing with her entourage. Such was the life of the superstar musician with her finger on the pulse of pop culture and three platinum albums under her belt, when the average indie band struggled to move a hundred thousand copies. She slept in until three in the afternoon and after taking a chug of her patented hangover cure, which in her opinion was a better discovery than her brand of energy drinks, Kathlee went to check the mail. She was surprised by one letter from MIT addressed to her real name Kathleen Lee, which no one used outside of the police and the IRS.

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Story 1: The Birth of Blondhilda

The Birth of Blondhilda
by Chris Hugh

Blondhilda jumped from the pages of the graphic novel storyboard. Literally.

Stanley Chester Brown, author and illustrator of the fantastically successful Blondhilda series, scooted back in his Aeron drawing chair until he bumped his head against his wall of vintage Star Wars posters. He looked up at Blondhilda through heavy glasses that now hung from one ear.

Stan stared at Blondhilda, shaking. She towered over him in her high-heeled thigh-high Viking warrior boots. Her feet were planted shoulder width apart, her arms on her hips. The architectural-inspired designer lighting glinted off her scanty armor. An icy wind roared through Stan's work studio, scattering papers onto the gleaming hardwood floors, rushing dramatically through Blondhilda's flaxen hair and tossing Stan's comb-over onto the entirely wrong side of his head.

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drabble: "Ting-Ting the Sacred Cat"

My writing buddy sent me a vivid little drabble where a certain Pope Holt Su Van Hian killed a cat named Ting Ting. Here is my response.


Ting Ting the Sacred Cat

"Watch Ting-Ting, Excellency!"

Pope Hian didn't, and thus tripped on the sacred cat and fell down the stairs. His realistic pompadour flew off as his head struck the railing. Panicked, he stuck out his arm to catch himself, but it caught between two of the banister's vertical supports. A crack echoed as a damasked-covered bone snapped. Prone, feet pointed downward, the Pope slid down the remainder of the stairway, friction causing his elaborate costume to ride up, exposing his bare backside to the assembled Court and also causing certain damage insuring he would produce no further hereditary heirs.

Everyone laughed.

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Drabble: "Quitting the Game"

The challenge here was to take the first couple sentences which my friend provided and then tack a story onto the end. For once, this drabble is not cat-related!

Quitting the Game
by Chris Hugh

I was quitting the game. After all the years I'd played it for them, I was finally getting out, leaving it, the booze, the bimbos, the smoky too-bright rooms smelling of desire and desperation.

I took a practice swing with my Louisville Slugger, then tossed it aside. This time tomorrow I'd be on a beach in Mexico. No one would find me. I was leaving everything behind me but the money.

I looked at the deadbeat gambler groveling on the floor. "Let him up, boys." He'd pissed himself. I laughed. "I'm retiring tonight, buddy. You get to keep your kneecaps."
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Drabble: "Race Against Time"

My challenge was "write a story entitled 'Race Against Time.'" Here it is; it's a retelling of a true story I read in a cat anthology. I can't remember the name of the original piece. [I found it. "The Conscientious Cat" by Agnes A. Sandham in Cat Encounters: A Cat-Lover's Anthology, 1979.]

Race Against Time
by Chris Hugh

As the Victorian author arrived at the coal mine she was shocked to see a black cat streak out of the opening followed by a group of miners. "Why are you chasing that cat?" she demanded. The men just laughed.
One of them finally caught his breath and tipped his hat to her. "We use hydraulic equipment to do the mining here ma'am," he explained. "But after a while the wall collapses. This here cat likes to perch on the machine. He can tell when the wall's about to give way and runs off. We follow him!"

The cat preened.
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Drabble: "I Meant to Do That"

I Meant to Do That
by Chris Hugh

The new desk fascinated me. All new things fascinate me. I need to sit in them as soon as possible, rub my nose against them and, if the woman's not looking, scratch them. I hid around a corner until the coast was clear and then I ran. Ran, ran, ran, streaked through the house like a black bolt of lightning, showing off, jumped on the desk and, um, slid across its treacherously polished surface, got splatted like Wile E. Coyote into a nearly wall and then slipped to the carpet in slow motion.

Don't laugh. I meant to do that.
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Announcement: "A Wife's Revenge" is in Flashshot!

"A Wife's Revenge" is in Flashshot today. It's a great site with lots of bite-sized 100-word stories. Check it out! Pin It Now!

Story: The Lost Country of Freeland

The Lost Country of Freeland

The woman drew her shawl 'round her head and gathered her children to her. "I'm going to tell you a story," she whispered. "A story about the most wonderful place that ever was. Come close now, and be very quiet so no one will hear us. I will tell you the story of Freeland."

Once upon a time, there was a country called Freeland. It was a beautiful country. It had mountains and deserts, plains and forests. It was a very, very large country with two ocean coasts. Far to the north, part of Freeland was in the Arctic Circle. Way off to the west, part of Freeland was in the Tropics. Not only was the country vast and varied, but so were its people. People from all over the world had come to live in Freeland

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Duelling Stories - Anchorite vs. Chris Hugh!!!

Part 1: The Apricot Princess
by Anchorite

The Apricot Kingdom was known all around the world for its fruits, most of all for the delicious and juicy apricots that gave the land its name. The wise old king watered every tree in the orchard and picked every apricot himself at harvest time. He collected baskets full of apricots to hand out to the poor and hungry all across the kingdom at the Harvest Festival. It was a tradition to show how much the king cared for his people, and the people in turn loved their kind and generous ruler.

The King decided this year that his daughter the Apricot Princess was old enough to carry on the tradition like a proper, responsible adult. He tasked her with watering the trees, pulling weeds, shooing away bugs, and finally collecting the apricots for the Harvest Festival. The Princess cried and pouted in protest, but she wanted to be Queen someday so she had to do her duty even if it was too much hard, boring work under the long sun.
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Story: Pastor Terry Jones

The Pastor of Freeland

Once upon a time, Abe, Ben, Cindy and Darla lived in the country of Freeland. They were all very happy because they were free. They were free because a lot of people lived and fought and died for their freedom.

One day, evil people from another country attacked Freeland in one cowardly, insane, devastating bloody blow that shocked the entire world. The people of Freeland were supremely pissed and bombed the shit out of two fairly random Middle Eastern countries for the next ten years. It was a measured response, all things considered.
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"With This Ring I Thee Wed" to be published

Long and the Short Reviews has very kindly accepted my followup to "Sparkle Threw Us Together."  Caitlin and Rob fell in love in the first story. In the second story they're getting married--but loss and disappointment almost mar the ceremony. Will a stray cat step in to save the day? Read all about it on October 14! (This link will work on October 14-20.) In the meantime, read the terrific story that's at that link right now! I just flipped over to that site to get the link, took one look at the story and couldn't stop reading. It's absolutely charming. I'm literally misty-eyed thinking that my little story will be in such fine company.
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Drabble: Addiction


Addiction. Ad-dic-tion. What does it mean? What do the sounds mean? Nothing. The German word is better: suchtig. Suchen means "to seek." I'm an addict. I'm suchtig, always seeking. Always seeking my next fix. It's the only interesting thing in my world.

Do addicts have a hierarchy? Do smokers have contempt for hypes? Do crackheads consider alchoholics hopelessly old-fashioned? They probably all look down on the biggest group of addicts: sugar addicts. Yeah, I made a pun.

We're the same, though. Feeding our addiction is all that matters. I could quit, but then I wouldn't have any reason to live.

* * *

By the way, I'm not really an addict. (Mom!) I'm just a writer who's listened to Alkohol by Eisbrecher too many times today. Ich bin süchtig nach Eisbrecher!

Oh, btw, the lyrics for the Eisbrecher album "Die Hoelle Muss Warten" are here. Eisbrecher Die Hoelle Muss Warten English Translations Pin It Now!