Story Words
Very short fiction, written on the fly, from words submitted by readers.
© 2002, 2003, 2004 Jay Lake

Saturday, February 21, 2004
Oblate Spheroid

Pedoball is the metabolic sport of crowns and rulers, inch by yard and line by coke-deep line we push the oblate spheroid peanut-style with noses running bloody-coked to the end zone where pretty millions are stacked.

Friday, February 20, 2004

The perusal is a small reviewing stand employed primarily by the armies of city-states, principalities and other political entities whose military tends to consist of three drunkards and a yard dog. Officers overlook their men and grumble enthusiastically.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Leaves whirled in their autumn dance. The air moved with a chill that promised wintery retribution for all the sun's late summery kindness. The geese carved themselves into the sky, while the squirrels buried nuts with an intensity that reflected mostly the evolution of oaks. Only in the rivers did time go at slower pace. Below the blanket of the thermocline, wise old fish pursued their own cold ends indifferent to the violence of the seasons a few feet above their dorsal fins.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The drill whined like a mosquito the size of a muskrat. Bone chips scattered in a spiral on the grubby tiles of my bathroom floor. By God, I was going to get it right this time.

The strange thing is, boring holes in your head really doesn't hurt much.

I glanced at the tub. The worms writhed in their bed of mulberry leaves. Do you have any idea how fucking expensive mulberry leaves are? In Omaha? In the winter?

If I wasn't going to be so rich, I'd have to call myself broke already.

The drill broke through, sank a little deeper than I'd intended accompanied by adagios for kazoo and chartreuse. I smelled my mother's voice for a moment before the visions of money assaulted me as they always did at these moments.

After my orgasms finished, I wound my scalp in clingwrap for the germs then tinfoil for the Homeland Security snoops and returned to my happy state of multicaulismania. Soon I would own the world. Soon.

Unless I ran out of drill bits, or skull, first.

("Multicaulismania" -- the dream of growing rich by growing silkworms -- courtesy of the indefatigable AnnaH)

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

"I see," said Dexter at last. And he did.

All was clear. There were only two people in the world, Dexter and Mariak. Everyone else was one of them, or the other of them, or some vapid prop like a frosty hoplite.

"No, no, no!" shouted Mariak. "We are many, legion perhaps, but the world is still there. My frosty hoplites battle your household guards even now. The War Monotreme trainers sleep uneasily in their horsehide hammocks. The maids of Castle Dioscuri scrub flagstones as they always have. You and I are archetypes, not Everyman."

"What is the purpose of an archetype?" Dexter asked in all his voices.

"To be as we are. To battle broadly upon the canvas of the earth." Mariak grinned again. "To live well and large."

"What is next?"

"The Pirates of the Callipyg have been raiding the Italian coast again."

Dexter grinned back. "Then let us embark upon an expedition Callypigian."

And that's exactly what they did.

Thus endeth this chapter of the lay of Dexter and Mariak.

("Callipygian" courtesy of AnnaH)

Monday, February 16, 2004

"So who the hell am I?" Dexter asked.

"We," said Mariak, and he was grinning. "We are all still here, archetypes in appostion."

"You're the Ice King," Dexter said.

"You're Sinister."

"And the Anakim?"

"Right." Mariak's grin grew larger. "I am the bright angel of the ship, too."

"I am singular, not twin, then."

Mariak stepped forward and took Dexter's hand. "You are twin to me."

Dexter's fingers were cold as diamonds in that moment.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

In that epiphanic moment, Dexter realized that Mariak and the Ice King were somehow one. Had they always been one and the same?

Yes, said the Anakim, still invisible in the dark.

"Yes," said Mariak, his smile glittering like the ransom of a bard.

"Yes," said Sinister.

"Oh," said Mariak.

  I've been nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novelette, and for the John W. Campbell, Jr. Award for Best New Writer!
Award info | Me

Read the Hugo-nominated story for free at

Q: What is this?
A: A fiction experiment. Every day, people email me words. At some random point in the day, I pick a word, write a quick story about it on the spot, and post it unedited (except for a quick typo patrol).

Q: What did that word mean?
A: Look it up:

Q: Can I send you a word?
A: You bet. Include a definition if the word is deeply obscure -- or not, if you prefer. Send it to

Q: I've got something to say about this.
A: Click over to the Story Words discussion topic.

Q: Who else is silly enough to do this? I think it's kind of neat.
A: David Jones, for one. Surf over there and check him out. Drop him an encouraging word, too. He's a brave man.
A: Jeremy Tolbert, for another, with his Microscopica project. Likewise show him some love.
A: Jason Erik Lundberg with his Mythologism blog.

Q: You're even cooler than KITT the Knight Rider car. Do you have a mailing list to announce your latest hijinks?
A: Of course I do. What kind of self-promoting, narcissistic writer would I be otherwise? Email me. Occasional mailings regarding stories appearing in print and online, weird stuff in general, and appearances of the Greek Chorus.