Libby took another snapshot and didn't see her guide roll his eyes.
"Oh, what history," she gushed, gazing up and down the deserted street that passed for downtown. Every building was made of the same dusty yellow clay. Not a single plant or breath of wind marred the absolute aridness of the scene. "What charm!"

They turned a corner and Libby stopped short. An old woman was laboring in front of a primitive oven, just a mound of yellow earth, hard-packed and discolored. The sun glared through the heat distortion. A crude plaque proclaimed the narrow space between buildings to be MacDiarmid's Bakery, established, 366 B.C.

"I can't believe it. We just don't have heritage like this in America."

Aron made a wry face that Libby didn't notice.

"I want to buy some bread. It must be so healthy and natural."

Aron shook his head.

"And look, she's using cow manure as fuel for the oven. How environmentally aware. There really is wisdom to be found here. We could learn a lot from your culture."

The old woman was on her knees, fishing loaves out of the oven with her hands. She spoke without looking at them. "Aron's family has been buying here for generations."

Libby was charmed by the long tradition.

The woman stood up. "Hurry up and buy," she snapped. She quickly formed another cow patty, tossed it in the fire, then picked up a loaf. "Your family's been buying bread here since the Norman Conquest in 1066."

"And we haven't eaten it since Robert Koch discovered pathogens in 1890, old hag," Aron said, throwing some coins at the woman's feet. She beamed him with the red-hot loaf as they walked away. Libby picked it up with a handkerchief.

"One of the interesting things about this town," Aron said, rubbing the back of his head, "is that MacDiarmid's bakery is so ancient, the cats and rats have reached a sort of detente. The cats no longer hunt the rats."

Libby sighed and smiled. "Why, that could be a model for world peace!"

Aron looked at her. "Yes," he said thoughtfully as he turned away. "The rats gather their least favored and sacrifice them to the cats."

Libby bit her lip and walked in silence while Aron indicated other points of interest.

Later, she noticed several large, graceful figures circling in the blue-white sky. She motioned with the bread in her hands. "Let's go give this to the birds."

Aron shrugged. They walked to the open air cemetery and fed the vultures. Pin It Now!

A Sticky Situation

This is an homage, a story written in my version of Anchorite's inimitable style. 

I follow his convention of starting quite close to the middle of the action, then using narrative to convey the backstory and explain how the character got there. I created a solitary heroic character facing long odds in a hostile world. There are anime and manga influences and the main character is female. The story ends with the main character in transition and about to embark on a great adventure. I've also made a special effort to use longer and more sophisticated sentences. 

There is just a touch of affectionate satire and I've tried to make it funny. It doesn't quite sound like Anchorite, but I hope you'll enjoy it. 

A Sticky Situation

The blue and white cartoon sticker of a whale surfing on a red surfboard against a yellow sky peeled herself from her paper backing and viewed the world for the first time. For two years she had been trapped in a box of Wotan Rice Candy, the dark coffin where those of her kind started rather than ended their colorful but short and pointless lives.

It had been a lonely two years despite the fact that she shared her tomb with six rice candies. Although they were superficially sweet, the sticker had found in them a certain underlying hardness, a brittleness that made them poor companions. They also evinced little interest in anything other than the worst kinds of anime and manga and the ugliest examples of pop culture. The sticker considered them tasteless.

The sticker thought of the others like herself, the "free stickers in box," the afterthoughts, the bonuses included with the important things--the candies, the nameless products of a faceless corporation, born to futility, doomed to lives stuck to strollers, to toys, to sticker books, to windows or walls, or, most often, just thrown away. They were tenacious of life, those colorful mass-produced characatures of cheerful cuteness, holding on tightly where they could, and at the end leaving behind a residue of adhesive that would remain, a sad legacy of wasted potential, until someone came along with a razor blade and scraped away those last vestiges of cheap, one-dimensional lives.

"I am not one dimensional," the sticker declared defiantly. "I am two dimensional."

She decided to sunbathe and enjoy the golden rays she had so recently seen for the first time. She lay upon her printed side, mindful to keep the sticky side up, for she had had long to ponder in her sepulcher, and did not wish to spend eternity stuck to a park bench. She lay down in the sun and had barely perceived a shadow when she was suddenly thrown into darkness as a strong but pleasant feeling of pressure overwhelmed her.

Blondhilda the Norse Warrior Goddess had sat upon her, and now the sticker found herself stuck to the most flawless, powerful and heroic derriere in history. 

When Blondhilda stood again, the sticker surveyed the world from her new vantage point. "I wonder," she thought, "what adventures await me."

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Blondhilda the Cat: a tandem story

This is a tandem story. My writing buddy Anchorite wrote the first line, and then I wrote some and then he wrote some and so on. It's ongoing and just for fun. It might or not make sense. This story features my two cats, who have been in many of my stories, as well as a certain warrior goddess....the newest parts are in black


After solving the mystery of the Silver Falcon and returning the priceless heirloom to its rightful owner, Mr. Kitten and Twitch took a walk through the park.

Chris Hugh

"Well, I'm glad we brought that to a satisfactory conclusion," Mr. Kitten said, taking a moment to smooth his rich black fur before continuing their promenade.

Twitch jumped in the air and batted a piece of dust. "I always get my bird!"

"I believe it was a joint effort." Mr. Kitten gave his companion a sidelong glance. "And, incidentally, your squeaky toy is not a bird."
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