The First Page

First published in Scifaikuest magazine in 2008 (I need to track down publication details). Also published in Failed Haiku #72, December 2021, page 61.

Garreth’s Zeeko 417 space cruiser idled outside the prefecture court building, its cold-fusion radiator dripping into the gutter. Inside, he was dropping off papers to will his duodenum to his nephew. Next week he’d come in for the phaser surgery, and his nephew, though far away in Sarkaytus, would receive the new organ telekinetically. Ever since he’d fought in the autumn rodent wars, his nephew had slowly deteriorated on account of a wombat bite to his middle buttock. Strangely, the bite coincided with an acupuncture point for stable duodenum function, and within weeks his duodenum had atrophied and failed. So here was Garreth, born with an extra duodenum due to a genetic mix-up at the midtown cloning center, dropping off his disease disclosure and organ donation paperwork at the court building. Little did he know that in five minutes his space cruiser would explode, his extra duodenum would mysteriously disappear, and a large wombat would fall from the sky furiously waving an anti-war placard. But that was in five minutes. For now, Garreth couldn’t find the dual-sex bathroom.


turning the first page

of the bestselling novel—

cooling breeze