Stories by Mail, Day 42 – The blue goddesses will see you now



When she hears the overhead bell announce your entrance, the shopkeeper looks up from her crochet and gifts you with the most welcoming smile you’ve received in recent memory. Her rumpled white jacket more closely resembles a lab coat than an artist’s smock, and her wavy chocolate curls swim in all directions, as if Medusa’s snakes were friendly and wanted to invite you in for a cookie. “Welcome to the Nena Sanchez Gallery,” she says in a Dutch Caribbean-tinged accent. “I am the current Nena, and I specialize in grandmother services and color consulting.”

She gestures to her right, where you notice several other women. Their appearance is remarkably similar to Nena’s, but they range in age from twenty to sixty. “Every Nena has her own artistic and personal area of expertise. Are you interested in something specific today?”

“I don’t…what?”, you sputter, eyes darting from one Nena to the next. “But your sign says–”

“It is a common misunderstanding.” She chuckles. “My paintings are visible throughout the world. They do not require another gallery. Please, sit! Perhaps you would enjoy a cup of tea?  Our excellent life coaching and mural painting courses are twenty percent off today.”

With pride, she hands you a price list and heats the kettle.


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Stories by Mail, Day 27 – Natural beauty has a price



Since her first mug of cinnamon hazelnut coffee that morning, Haley Middleton had done only two things: munch vegetable sticks that were not an acceptable substitute for edible food, and illustrate the smorgasbord of tiny creatures that lived in her backyard.

The text message arrived from an unfamiliar number as she was sketching a garden snail, the tips of her pencils waltzing slowly, faithfully replicating every intricate detail reflected into her eyes. “Things are getting worse. Please send chocolate,” Haley read aloud to the snail. “Well, whoever this is, I agree with their philosophy.” The snail said nothing. She resumed shading its shell, her gaze shifting between the sketchbook and her indifferent subject. An hour later, another text appeared, identical to the first.

Haley raised an eyebrow. ” Sorry, but you’ve got the wrong number,” she typed, and then pressed SEND. She reached for her auburn-colored pencil when the phone buzzed again, still in her hand. “No, Haley. I did not agree to model without proper compensation. Chocolate, please.”

She glanced up from her phone in confusion. The snail stared at her expectantly.

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Stories by Mail, Day 26 – It does a body good



“…and we’re smiling…and we’re raising the glass nice and high….a little to the left, Daisy. Perfect.” The photographer turned his hand slightly and pressed the shutter, capturing three different angles in a single breath. “Now, drink up…you’re thrilled that your body is getting so many essential nutrients!”  The supermodel concentrated, her eyes fluttering softly.

“Hold it…hold it…great. And we’re slowly lowering the glass….and…there’s the mustache again.” The photographer shook his head. “Daisy, didn’t you ever drink milk when you were a kid?”

Glaugrelhoffmxxmxx tried to think clearly as Daisy’s heartrate accelerated. Confessing that its planet was inhospitable to mammals did not seem like a successful strategy, nor did explaining that it had hijacked a supermodel’s body three days prior and was still learning basic skills. “Um, I did, yes. Milk has always been my preferred Earth liquid for sustenance, Christopher,” the alien said in Daisy’s voice. “I even regularly declined to share my milk with my sire’s other offspring. Ergo, I am occassionally overenthusiastic about its consumption.”

Christopher blinked. Glaugrelhoffmxxmxx felt Daisy’s mouth mold into a smirk–it was clearly a natural at this.

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Stories by Mail, Day 25 – Laughter is the best mutation



“Your Honor, we have the policy sheet from Ms. Kahan identified and marked,” Miranda Galloway said confidently, a slim black folder resting in her hand. She rose from the defendant’s table and had taken only a handful of steps before she paused. Her nose twitched. “Um, I would offer to Madam Clerk this….this, uh–”  She clamped her eyes shut as a vociferous sneeze thundered from her nostrils.  “I’m so sorry,” the self-assured attorney said quietly, and then giggled. A baffled look swept over her face. She inhaled deeply. “As I was saying, I would offer to Mad–” Another sneeze rocketed through her body, jolting her forward. She fought to contain her laughter.

The plaintiff, Dominique Smart, had maintained a spotless driving record and successfully avoided jury duty for decades, and she did not appreciate the gaiety unfolding in front of her. She motioned to her attorney, but as she leaned close, her throat tickled and a sharp sneeze slipped out. “Sorry. I…don’t have a cold?”, she squeaked out. Her worried expression shifted into a smile. She’d never realized how silly her voice sounded.

“Order,” The Honorable Rachel Livingston-Moody warned, thwacking her gavel threateningly. “I will have–”

She sniggered as her urge to sneeze soared.

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Stories by Mail, Day 24 – Appraisals



Emmeline struggled to place the expression on her sister’s primary face. Her own fortune-telling appointment had contained few surprises; her head began to jewelify on her fifth birthday, and once her parents realized she’d become a Diamond, her destiny was locked. Any door opened for her, as long as it led to the careers, universities, spouses, and interests considered acceptable for her social class.

Catrin’s gait seemed turbulent, as if they were walking on a rapidly-shifting surface. “Good news?”,  Emmeline asked as they entered their ship.

Her Sapphire-domed sister sighed, blonde curls bouncing softly. “I’m not sure. The reading proved….inconclusive. She hinted I may have some rough decisions to make soon. I assume yours was glowing, as usual.”

“It was. I’m thrilled,” Emmeline said. She hoped she sounded convincing.

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Stories by Mail, Day 22 – And the house without walls will carry you home



His midnight loafers sunk gently into the rusty sand. Most humans wouldn’t have noticed such a tiny cycle–slipping an inch below where he intended to travel, rising triumphantly, and then plummeting downward again. But the architect considered every step; he specialized in tending to details others overlooked.

He plodded unhurriedly towards the grand entrance, his blueprints and pickaxe snuggled in the crook of his arm. Outlines of alabaster pillars and a spiral staircase began to form, hazy light rippling from the corners. Stained glass with intricate patterns appeared at the doorway’s crown.

The architect studied his creation, listening to the seagulls squawking and the waves negotiating with the nearby cliffs. As he approached the door, it shimmered, waiting to be born.

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Stories by Mail, Day 21 – Thank you for shopping with us today



They captured Jared’s attention on their third trip through the snack aisle. In most cities, he would have been a relatively perceptive Assistant Manager, but living in Vegas had reconditioned the part of his brain that measured eccentricity. He squinted as the tallest among them–about four feet–grasped for a can of Pringles, its turquoise-tinged hand straining to reach the shelf. All five wore white sequined jackets with holes perfectly sized for their additional set of arms.

“Folks, I can assist you down here,” he called out when they approached the checkout line. They gathered near his register and regarded him suspiciously. “Where is game?”, one asked in an accent Jared had never heard before. He thought perhaps it was Portuguese.

“Game? Well, uh, there’s plenty of games outside,” Jared replied, pointing in all directions. “This is a CVS.”

The tourists simply blinked.

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Joseph Writes Fanfic Drabbles, Day 22 – Richard Scott Crawford

“And so the guy says ‘Well, if I wanted a dairy theme,  I would’ve played ‘Churnin’ for You” by  Moo-Cloistered Malt!'”, the dandy said, fighting back a giggle. His companion snickered. A tabby looked up from its half-eaten pineapple pizza and mewed strangely. In the bookstore across the street, a copy of Les Miserables unceremoniously fell on the floor. A college student sputtered as the olives in her sub exploded, spattering mustard all over her cardigan.

Faint blue lightning licked at the alley’s walls, and something Richard Crawford-shaped began to form and stir. It grinned. It had the perfect tweet.

The time of the Underpope hath arrived. “Muahahahaha!”, as they say.

Joseph Writes Fanfic Drabbles, Day 20 – Doctor Who

“What?”, Ten piped, his voice turning slightly squeaky. “The trainers, the brainy specs, the coat–you’re the spitting image of me! Well, that’s fitting, of course.”

Twelve’s cheeks flushed a bit. “Come on now, let’s not make a thing out of it. You still wear celery from time to time.”

“Right, of course you’d remember that. Timey-wimey. Hold up: this calls for a selfie.” The Doctor reached for his phone, beckoning the other Doctor to lean in. “Ready? One…two…three!”

Allons-y!”, Twelve yelled. He knew he seemed a tad gruff, but he was secretly pleased. His Ten cosplay was a hit.