Table of Contents
FOREWORD TO VOLUME 2
1. Martian Colours by Jeremy Davies
2. Immutable With Limits by J. Richard Jacobs
3. The Thing Most Precious by K. L. Nappier
4. Moonbeams upon Stonehenge by Marilyn Peake
5. Two Birds with One Stone by Margaret Whitley
6. Soul Mates by Eugen M. Bacon
7. Boy from Brunet’s Cajun Café by E. Don Harpe and Eugen M. Bacon
8. Devil’s Triangle by Marilyn Peake
9. Ten Minutes by Anderson Gentry
10. Ticket by Christopher Hoare
FOREWORD TO VOLUME 2
Volume 1 of Twisted Tails II has done its dirty work. Now that your foundations have crumbled into loose sand and you are certain that the only certainty in life is its uncertainties, the Twisted Tails gang comes forward with ten more quirky little tales that are specifically designed to throw you for the last loop. They are here to sweep away the crumbs that remain of your once solid foundation, to leave you adrift in a void of time unraveled, trying desperately to rearrange your disheveled psyche, to find your footing in the quicksand they have happily dumped in your path.
But...there is a sound out there in the deep black unknown. Do you think you can hear the muffled tinkling of maniacal laughter in the darkness? You may trust that you surely do-it is not your imagination wrapped up in a hazy and twisted time line. It is the sound of the gang as they prepare to deliver the coup de grace-a final, merciful humanitarian act on their part. Your suffering will soon come to an end as they selflessly queue up to relieve you of whatever sanity remains in your scrambled brain, to reduce you to a gelatinous, protoplasmic mass spread across time and space-a simple, thin smear on the windshield of life.
You have been warned.
1. Martian Colours
The time machine works, but that’s not the only problem, my man. It’s not even the biggest problem.
You see, I’m lost in a landscape.
I started calling them ’landscapes’ after the third trip. Think of it like an art gallery, full of landscapes by a whole range of artists under a whole range of influences: everything from Dada to Classicism. Think of it like, instead of walking around looking at all these things, admiring the brushwork, taking in the light, trying to impress the skinny girl beside you with the couple of things you can remember from art school, instead of that, instead of actually getting to be you looking at them, you are them looking back at you.
You’re not even sure if there is a you anymore.
Time machines aren’t meant to be like this. I’ve seen the movies. And if you meet yourself you’re meant to disappear in a flash of energy, or the universe implodes, or something. Or is that just if you touch yourself?
But it hasn’t worked out that way, my man.
They came for me on a Wednesday. Wednesdays are always blue, and I can remember their so-serious clean-shaven faces were blue when I saw them on my doorstep. Their perfectly pressed suits navy, their ties bold cobalt, their noses deep sky, the rims around their ears a very dull aqua.
It’s not a metaphor. Wednesdays are always blue.
’You’re Chance.’ It was a statement, not a question. ’Lucas Chance.’
I was still coming down that morning. I’d just escaped my second cluster headache from Hades for the year, and it was only March. Lake Shore Drive is the only thing that works, my man. It’s the only place to go. Sometimes you can smell the green when your mind is feeling fine. Green smells like burnt toffee on Wednesdays. But it’s blue.
I’m not a junkie, by the way.
I sniffed and sort of stood there. ’Listen… You know…I…’ The sky is so blue on Wednesdays you could surf it.
The two suits pushed past me through the door. They stood there in the middle of my blue hallway and looked back at me.
One of them stood there and said: ’Chance, the government needs your help.’
The other one stood there and said: ’It’s a real opportunity to do something with your life. Something for your country.’
’You have the characteristics we need.’
’High range synaesthesia.’
’Cluster headaches combined with drug abuse.’
’You are a perfect candidate for the program.’
’You’ll be paid well for your services.’
’And you’ll be a pioneer: a great voyager, like Neil Armstrong.’
’And you have no choice.’
’We’ll bust you for the LSD, Chance.’
’And we’ll make sure you go down for it. Big. Time.’
They’d been turning a radiant yellow while they spoke, mixing with the blues, giving the whole hallway a green glow. And I could smell dog sweat mixed with barbecuing meat and sugary toffee. It wasn’t unpleasant so I closed my eyes. Sometimes you can smell the green when your mind is feeling fine. The odour grew stronger.
I felt fine.
One small step for man, my man. I giggled and let them walk me out to the car.
The car was blue, but it was slowly turning green.