Friday Flash: Blind Date Night Out

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The strikingly beautiful brunette grinned at her reflection in the magic mirror.  The low cut black dress was flattering without being too revealing; she adjusted her sheer shawl over bare white shoulders and quickly headed out the door.

She saw her target waiting in the downstairs bar, a glass of fine whisky in his hand as he looked at the crowd swaying to the slow steady rhythm of a blues ballad. He eyed the many women in the undulating mass, a gradual smile spread his lips slightly, a predator selecting his prey. Taking a sip from his drink, he stood up and turned into the brunette beauty, spilling whisky down his crisp new suit and nearly falling in the process.

“Hey, handsome,” she said, the predatory smile on her own face a perfect reflection of his own. “Oh, I’m sorry. Let me get that for you.” She ran one long, slender finger up his front; her red nail made a zipping sound as it scratched against the suddenly dry fabric. “That better?”

“Now, that you’re here, hon’,” he said, recovering quickly, “everything’s better.”

“Really? You sure? You wouldn’t rather go after that sweet young thing over there?” She gestured disdainfully at the woman he had been watching the moment before.

“No, of course not,” he said. “I thought she might be a good match for Hermes, because, you know–”

She shushed him with one red painted nail to his lips. “Hon’, no talk about the kids on ‘date night,’ remember?”

“Oh,” he said, then breathed, “you truly are a goddess.” He ogled her sleek form all the way up to her large brown eyes and full red lips. “See what you do to me? I lose my head when I’m around you.”

His wife’s smile was secretive and seductive. “So, handsome,” she purred, “let me get you another drink.” A glass of champagne suddenly appeared from nowhere. She offered him the glass with one hand, her own pina colada in the other, and they entwined arms before sipping from their drinks. “Now, where were we?”

 

*Image courtesy of BigFoto.com
*I’ll admit, Hera has been on my mind a lot, ever since completing my 2016 NaNoWriMo, so I thought it’d be fun for them to have a date night where Zeus has to pick up Hera at a bar. I think she was tempted to impersonate a mortal to catch him in a dalliance, but she resisted on the advice of their marriage counselor.

Friday Flash: Capital Crimes

The following story also appears in my short story collection, An Optimist’s Journal of the End of Days and Other Stories, published via Venetian Spider Press.

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What is the meaning of this?

You are here, Mister E, due to the nature of certain letters that have come into our possession.

I’ve told you thugs before, my friend B is innocent! Since when is it a crime to say you don’t like war? Who does?! Only madmen and–

I do not refer to your friend’s anti-war sentiments, though that shall surely be investigated…

Stop shuffling those goddamn papers, and look at me! I don’t understand. Why are you even reading the mail when–

Now, you are the madman, Mister E! An enemy may send coded messages, and even newspaper columns may be employed to–

No, no, no! I mean, why read our mail? We’re just ambulance drivers, and B’s only crime is hating all the blood and death we’re exposed to in the service of “peace.”

Aha! This “peace” you refer to is an example of exactly the sort of thing we are concerned about.

What? I don’t…what?

The scare quotes you used when you referred to peace, which is the end goal of this military operation.

It’s no secret that saying war in the service of peace is an oxymoron!

No, Mister E, I am not referring to your attitude but rather your punctuation.

My punctuation! What on earth does that have to do with anything?

Have you noticed, Mister E, how you have used punctuation and capitalization throughout our conversation? Even the questionable use of scare quotes? I have.

Well?

That is something notably absent in your published works of poetry, even to the extent of not capitalizing your own name.

Now, Mister E–or should I say mister e? what do you have to say for yourself?

I’m a writer! We expand the use of language; poetry often breaks the rules of prose–with the exception of prose poetry, and–

To the extent that you even lowercase your own name?

Hey! You used lowercase as a verb, and that’s-

That is not the point, mister e.  Do not dare change the subject! Who are you working for?

No one! My poetry isn’t code for the enemy, I swear! I’m not working for the enemy!

And your idiosyncratic style? Besides the occasional odd usage of brackets and parentheses, your methodology makes no sense.

Hey, watch it! Art is in the eye of the beholder!

Eye and ear, apparently. Your excessive use of exclamation marks during our little talk is giving me almost as much of a headache as your printed works.

It’s a stressful situation! I resent that.

You are meant to.

How can you accuse me of anything when you just ended a sentence with a preposition?

It was correct usage, and you are in no position to do anything other than answer my questions.

Listen, can you at least untie these ropes? I’m beginning to chafe.

No.

No?

No. Not until you explain.

That wasn’t a proper sentence! There was no–ouch!!!

I see you are beginning to slip and reveal your true nature, mister e. Three exclamation points?

Dialogue is different.

How do you expect us to believe you are an author with so little vanity that you eschew capitalizing your own name? You must be getting paid a great deal, mister e, to go that far.

I swear to you, I am not a spy!

Spy? Who said anything, anything, about spying? Admit it. You are a saboteur.

If you don’t think I’m a spy, then what am I sabotaging?

I ask the questions, mister e!

Ow! I swear to you, I’m not working for anyone! All I did was experiment with punctuation and grammar! Since when is that a crime?

Crime? You are not under arrest.

But the ropes, the cuffs…?

They are merely details to ensure your cooperation.

Who do you work for?

Wait, you don’t work for the military?

Military, mister e? You wish. I work for a much more important organization.

Who? Dear gods, who could that be?

Let’s just say certain union officials are unhappy with the turn the language has taken recently. The editorial costs alone are enough to put a significant dent in their annual budget–a fact which does not please them. So, once again, who do you work for? The CIA?

You just said it wasn’t a spy thing!

Don’t play dumber than you already are. The CIA in this context is obviously the Committee for Interrobang Adaptation! Is it them?  A rival editorial group? The Typographers’ Guild? Who? Confess.

if you could loosen these ropes and get me some water for my throat I would appreciate it all those exclamation marks really did a number on me

seriously

i will tell you everything for the right price

Stop smiling like that, mister e. It is giving me the creeps.

thanks for the water friend

You are evil.

.

*Image courtesy of BigFoto.com

**written in honor of National Punctuation Day for #FridayFlash and inspired by e e cummings. I mean all due respect to Mr. Cummings.

***For those of you lucky enough to live in Northeast Ohio, Saturday the 24th of September is the Western Reserve Writers’ Conference. I hope to see you there!

Friday Flash: Sea Life

The following story also appears in my short story collection, An Optimist’s Journal of the End of Days and Other Stories, published via Venetian Spider Press.

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The blue dress uniforms co-opted from the Navy were itchy. The sailors imprisoned within them were tired and hot and couldn’t wait for the ceremony to be over. The captain looked across the water at the setting sun. At least this would soon be over, and they’d get some respite from this day’s infernal heat. But yet…

He looked down into the cool depths of the ocean waters surrounding the metal monstrosity he had called his home for the better part of three years. The setting sun glowed gold and orange upon the waves. He shuddered.

“And do you, Mark Wallace, take this mermaid, Jasmine Petals, to be your lawfully wedded wife? In sickness and in health… forever and ever, by Neptune’s salty bits?”

The young sailor looked down at the mermaid clinging to the ship’s side, gulped, and nodded his head. The red-haired beauty in the crystal blue waters smiled in approval, exposing sharp incisors in her delicate, full-lipped mouth.

“By the eternal laws of the sea, by Neptune’s trident and Amphitrite’s coral crown,  I now pronounce you mer-man and mer-wife. The bride may now—”

With a stupendous leap, the new bride pulled her husband over the edge of the warship, dragging him along with her as she splashed into the waters below. Soon, not even the emerald green of her tail could be seen as she brought the new merman to her lair in the deep, dark waters.

The men and women shook their heads in wonder. There was a reason humans steered clear of Neptune’s children. The mermaid’s kiss might cure their fellow sailor’s cancer, but the cure might just be worse than the disease.

Captain Deadly allowed himself a rare sigh of pity for his former crewman before ordering his crew to hoist the Jolly Roger. Fresh plunder lay ahead, and he might need the gold. Who knew? In his own future, he might need to hire an oncologist.

*originally inspired by a photo prompt from Six Minute Story, but has since been edited and extended. You can find the original here.

**I wrote this today, so I didn’t have time to let it simmer as much as I like before posting. Please be kind. Polite feedback is always welcome and appreciated.

****Image courtesy of BigFoto.com

Friday Flash: Pest Control

The following story also appears in my short story collection, An Optimist’s Journal of the End of Days and Other Stories, published via Venetian Spider Press.

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Luckily, Katie Kuttler found the stray fairy before her father did.

He kept an industrial size can of Fairy-Be-Gone next to the comfortable, threadbare recliner in the family room. Sometimes, while watching tv in the evenings, the little pests would sneak in, attracted to the flickering light of the boob tube. Mr. Kuttler would reach down beside the chair for his secret weapon, ready the sprayer, take careful aim, and (once clear of the glowing screen) he would spray the holy hell out of them, laughing as they floundered to their deaths.

Katie, a gentle soul with a tender heart, was always upset by these encounters but dared not voice her dissent. An avid reader, she couldn’t help thinking of all the wishes and treasure lost to her father’s dislike of these harmless innocents. As the room would fill with acrid-smelling fog, each sparkling victim resembled a shower of glitter as he fell to the stained carpet below. It was enough to make the girl weep. Such lost beauty and opportunity.

However, when she saw the glistening trail in the bathroom sink, she thought quickly. Grabbing the minivac, she sucked up the precious flickering fellow, snuck past her snoring dad, and quietly opened the household door to freedom. Once in the great outdoors of her front yard, she put her face up against the vac’s clear plastic container and watched the tiny shimmering creature shout, jump up and down, and give her an incandescent finger. She grinned impishly. She’d let him go eventually, but there was no point in wasting an opportunity for free wishes from her adorable little captive, was there?

She grinned wider and returned one of the ruder gestures.

*inspired by a photo prompt from the six minute story site which I ran out of time attempting to write about.

*Image courtesy of BigFoto.com

Friday Flash: Flash Drive

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Melvin regretted that his black-rimmed bifocals did not have the micro-camera, rear-viewing mirrors, or other standard equipment that other spies seemed to carry. As he walked to his ’99 VW Bug, he had to rely on the reflection in the car’s window to spot the thug sneaking up on him. He unhooked his keychain and readied the jagged piece of metal for either the car’s door or the goon’s eye–whichever came first.

As the large man’s reflection grew larger still, his gut clenched with the realization he would not make it to the car in time. Did the other man have a gun? Mace? An intimidating personal presence? All things that Melvin lacked. What was a middle manager at a mega industrial manufacturer to do? A lifetime of watching spy movies had not prepared him for real life as a spy. Where the hell was his Aston Martin?

In the window of his trusty vehicle, he could see everything behind him. The man bent over to grab something on the ground, most likely a rock to bash against the smaller man’s head. Melvin watched the reflection of the empty parking lot, the man’s right fist gripped at his side, and his left arm reaching toward him.

Melvin reacted. He turned and raked his key across the other man’s face like an  alley cat clawing its enemy. Freakin’ HELL, he was huge! The buttons on his adversary’s jacket were practically popping from the man’s enormous chest, his pectorals pushing against the fabric. The man’s square jaw looked like he chewed boulders for bubble-gum. His thick, muscular arms bulged against the leather of his jacket-

“Shiii-Holy CRAP, DUDE! What’s WRONG with you?” cried Melvin’s nemesis, his arm switching direction to cover his eye. His other hand dropped something to cover his groin a second too late. As far as Melvin was concerned, there was no such thing as a dirty fight, especially when he was outmatched so completely by his opponent’s pure physicality.

While the man squirmed in agony on the ground, tears leaking from his eyes, Melvin hurriedly got into his VW Bug and made his escape. The USB drive hidden in the sole of his shoe was safe, soon he would transfer the goods to his handler, and all would be right with the world.

Growing rapidly smaller in his rear-view mirror, the good Samaritan quietly cursed. That was the last time he tried to help a stranger. The world was just too dangerous. On the ground beside him, the USB drive glinted in the late afternoon sunlight.

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*Image courtesy of BigFoto.com

**This week’s flash was meant more as just a cute, funny story than a twisted one–since I gave plenty of warning what the twist would be. Polite feedback is always welcome and appreciated. Have a lovely week!

Friday Flash: New Genesis

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On the first day, they programmed the terraforming equipment.
On the second, they did routine maintenance, then removed the genetically enhanced lifeforms from the ship’s stasis chambers.
On the third day, the new species were released onto the surface of the newly habitable world.
On the fourth day, the terraforming equipment malfunctioned, causing massive flooding and necessitating the immediate evacuation of the planet by the original three explorers.
On the fifth day, their craft crashed onto the surface of the planet. They re-evaluated their decision to use a robot mechanic instead of a humanoid one, once the mechanic broke down.
On the sixth day, they sent out distress signals, hoping against hope for a rescue party to retrieve them from the remote, ass-end of the galaxy.
On the seventh day, they resigned themselves to being stranded away from the civilization they had known.
Their current practical needs made them bitterly regret their precautions against corporate espionage which had caused then to shroud their mission in such secrecy. 

After a painful encounter with what had first seemed a hilarious stunt, they regretted bioengineering the platypus.

Due to relativistic time dilation, they set their still functioning stasis pods to wake them in alternating century intervals, in the vain hope that future explorers would discover their whereabouts.

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*I realize this is a departure from my regular style, but when I saw the text prompt at the six minute story site, I couldn’t resist.
*written for a text prompt at the sixminutestory site 2/24/16: They were trapped for seven days.
**Image courtesy of BigFoto.com.

Friday Flash: Tempting Fate

The following story also appears in my short story collection, An Optimist’s Journal of the End of Days and Other Stories, published via Venetian Spider Press.

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Clotho inhaled, enjoying the heady aroma of roasted beans and caffeine that permeated the small coffee shop. The temptation to step inside and grab a cup was irresistable. She didn’t know if mortals could actually smell caffeine, but it gave the goddess a deep sense of satisfaction–almost like the burnt offerings humans used to offer the gods in the past. But not now. Now, if they burned her coffee? Well, she’d be pissed.

What’s the worst that could happen?

A little chime sounded on the Fate’s cell phone. In the old days, there had been an actual tiny bell that would appear and disappear, but she savored the advancements that came with the passage of time, just as she savored a good cup of joe. She also liked the little bell sound. Best of both worlds, really.

And why not? She wasn’t trapped by linear time the way mortals were, but she enjoyed watching its passage from their perspective. She sipped her coffee, sighing with pleasure. The little bell chimed again.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Long ago, she’d put a filter on the alert, only taking note of those “great ones” who tempted Fate with those fateful words. Great ones? Ha! Just another term for “more fun to mess with.” As if politicians and celebrities held more sway over the tapestry of life than she and her sisters–or even wandering beggars in the right circumstances. Just pull the right thread, snip another, and whole swathes of cloth would unravel, only to be rewoven in the pattern of their choosing.

Even the gods themselves knew not to tempt Clotho and her sisters, for while they could be generous, they also found a challenge hard to resist.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Let’s see. Buddha and Christ had both been beggars who changed the world for the better. Would she be that generous this time? She checked her notifications to see who had tempted…er, challenged her so often in the past few minutes. Upon seeing the name, she scowled and decided that perhaps this time, she and her sisters would not be kind.

She texted Atropos and Lachesis about their latest challenge. Their reply?
This will be FUN.
Clotho chuckled to herself. Two more mochaccinos suddenly appeared on the counter in front of the startled barista; the goddess grabbed the white styrofoam cups, tucked her cell back into her earth-friendly tote, and headed out the (now) automatic doors.

*Image courtesy of BigFoto.com.

Friday Flash: Hot Librarian

The following story also appears in my short story collection, An Optimist’s Journal of the End of Days and Other Stories, published via Venetian Spider Press.

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One hundred feet was all that separated them. Kenny surveyed the otherworldly creature: long glossy hair, sparkling eyes, gleaming teeth. Sweating a river, he swallowed, felt his heart beating against his chest like a convict on the bars of his prison cell. Wiping his sleeve against his damp forehead, he forced himself to approach. He would face his fate like a man–sexism be damned–even if it killed him. With his social skills, he’d likely die of embarrassment anyway.
“Excuse me,” he said to the lone librarian.

She turned penetrating green eyes on him, eyes that would have terrified a thousand schoolchildren with the mere idea of a scolding, eyes that bored into his soul from behind thick black rims and bifocal lenses. Those emerald orbs looked him up and down like a cat examining its dinner. “Yes?” she answered. A smile curled the corners of full pink lips; she watched him squirm beneath her gaze.

“I…,” replied Kenny. He prayed for a heart attack to end his torment.

Her grin widened, revealing slightly uneven teeth. This close, he noticed freckles scattered across her nose like assorted tic tacs. Her imperfections increased his desire as he realized he was being absurd. She was a person–not something to be fawned over, but someone he could talk to. He was being ridiculous, he could-

“Would you go out with me?” The question erupted from his mouth before his brain could catch up.

Her eyes grew larger, then lit up as her mouth widened into a lopsided grin. “I’m…working. Right now.”

“Later then? When do you get off?” His mouth had decided to go solo, but since things were going well his brain didn’t seem to mind.

“In a few minutes actu-actually, but, but the library is closing, I was just about to lock up. I need to ch-ch-change sssso you’d better go…for now. Right now.”

A stutter? Adorable!

“That’s okay. I’ll wait.” Way to go, mouth. But wait, why was she nervous? She liked him a minute ago. Was she trying to get rid of him?

“I’m Kenny, by the way. And you are..?” His mouth was on autopilot now.

The librarian hurried to the door, jingling a large metal ring of keys conspicuously near the waist of her pencil skirt. “Betty. I’m so-so-sorrrrrry but go nnnoOWWWWLLLL!” She screamed loud and long, and bent double, clutching her abdomen. She grabbed Kenny for support, her face contorted with…pain? Could pain stretch the skin across her face like–

“Great Caesar’s Ghost!” cried Kenny, struggling to pry her nails from his arm. As Betty performed the type of bodily stretches even yoga instructors avoided, he extricated himself from her grasp. He watched her transform, horrified–her enormous lupine body now blocked his only exit. He knew he should run, bolt, hide, but his legs refused to move.

The wolf turned emerald green eyes on Kenny, towered over his quivering form, and…smiled? It was hard to tell with her thick pink tongue hanging out and all the drool.

“Damn, I’m so embarrassed!” growled Betty, sloppy tears leaking from eyes the size of tennis balls. “I meet a nice guy and transform in front of him! I can’t believe I-uh, did you….?” Her elongated nose sniffed his crotch, where a large dark stain spread. Ashamed, she pulled back her nose. “Sorry about…that.

Was she was apologizing for the sniff or the leak?

“It’s not exactly first date stuff,” she said, meekly. At least, he thought she did; she was talking through a mouth full of teeth and tongue.

This was too much, even for Kenny. He edged toward the door when she shifted position. “Okay, I see you’re really busy tonight–you warned me! I mean, I didn’t think you meant changing changing, know what I mean, but no hard feelings, I’ll get out and leave you ahhh…alone?” He viewed her ripped clothes; the pencil skirt split down the middle, had landed on an endcap of supernatural romances.

Fate was just plain mean.

“Oh, I’m sorry! It’s just bad timing, isn’t it?” Remarkably, she spoke more clearly. Were-Betty fumbled with the keys in the door, her claws making the simple task cumbersome, but finally she held the door wide. “I’m so embarrassed. These winter hours! It gets dark so soon, I’m just blathering, aren’t I? I’ll just stay in, catch up on my graphic novels, and-”

“Graphic novels?” said Kenny, one foot out the door. “You read graphic novels?”

“Well, yeah. I know I could read the comics individually, but I like binge-reading. I special ordered the newest Walking Dead, so-”

“Wait, you read The Walking Dead?” said Kenny, pausing despite himself. This was an aspect of the library he had frankly never considered.

“Sure! I can show you what we have but, uh, don’t you want to…?” She waved one long paw in the direction of his dampened pants. He noticed her nose curl and felt responsible, petrified, mortified.

“Maybe when you come back tomorrow I can show you?” Betty looked like she was batting her eyes at him. It was disturbing.

No one was perfect though, right? Where was he going to find a hot librarian that liked comics and him? Kenny shrank again. What was he thinking? He couldn’t come back here! Maybe he’d phone up with a fake voice, ask for a loan through the mail or-

“Again, so sorry. Just go. I’ll use your library info to email you how to check out the digital comics-”

Kenny bolted.

She didn’t blame him. How could she? She would, of course, track him; though her nose was sufficient, there was no need to resort to something that crude. She’d use the library’s technology. Besides, she’d noticed the fresh scratches on his arm. A month was plenty of time for him to get used to the idea of her condition–as well as his own. He’d be back. After all, he’d need answers. What better place to get them than the library?

*Image courtesy of BigFoto.com.

Friday Flash: For Appearance’s Sake

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Sitting in the car, stuck behind the wheel, the couple stared into seeming nothingness and sighed. Or they would have sighed if they had actually had breath. What they did was the non-corporeal equivalent of breathing. Their spirit-bodies made the appropriate noises, the sucking in and exhaling whoosh sounds one would expect, and their non-corporeal chests heaved up and then down to signal an appropriate level of frustration with their situation. Now to see them, one might think that they were frustrated with the fact that their chests had been crushed from the impacts of various parts of the car, and that was true to a certain extent. One might also, to see their non-corporeal bodies superimposed onto their corporeal ones, deduce that they were frustrated the police or the jaws of life had taken longer than they would have liked to arrive on the scene. The jaws of life had failed to preserve its namesake, life–or in this case their lives (grammatical correctness sometimes smashes its way to the surface, despite its lack of poetry, and yes, the ‘smashing to the surface’ part is a bit fitting but let that go). Anyway, the point is all of those things contributed (but none specifically) to what the ghostly couple behind the wheel of the smashed ’57 Chevy were not-sighing about.

The woman–let’s call her Lucy–turned her face to her boyfriend–let’s call him Ricky–and not-sighed again. They had spent their lives with varying degrees of irresponsibility, intermittently unemployed through lack of interest rather than opportunity, content to live off their family’s good graces, namely Lucy’s father’s generosity.  They had coasted ’round the world looking for a good time, which is perfectly fine, but never actually contributing, which would also be fine if they did no harm, which they did. The world at large would not mourn their passing. But these were also not reasons the dead couple sat so dejectedly in their ruined car.

No, they had finally realized things were infinitely worse than they could have foreseen. Much to their chagrin, they found there was an afterlife, and with the instinctual knowledge of the newly deceased they knew there was no heaven or hell other than what they created for themselves. Knowing that, and knowing that they were stuck for eternity wearing the clothing they died in, they ultimately mourned the fact that they died on their way to a theme party dressed in the fashions of the 1970’s. They were doomed, not only to each others’ company but also bellbottoms and paisley and neon green polyester, for eternity. If there did turn out to be a God, they could not have come up with a more terrible punishment for the shallowest souls on Earth.

 

*Image courtesy of BigFoto.com.

**inspired by a photo prompt at the six minute story site on February 26th, 2016.

 

Friday Flash: Ziggy and Helga

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The door wouldn’t open.

The yawning void of space beyond its metal barrier was nothing compared to the look on Helga’s face as she wielded the torn box he’d given her. Bits of red cellophane still clung by small pieces of tape on its cardboard surface. Lightning flashed in the depths of her eyes, her voice echoed like thunder in the small cargo bay, and her scarlet cape billowed behind her as she approached. The small room had absolutely no wind, not even a small breeze from the air-conditioning vent, but she managed to make it billow just the same.

Ziggy tried the door once more, pounding on the big red button repeatedly, but the fail-safe refused to be overridden while the ship’s AI detected life-forms within the chamber. Then again, the AI wasn’t married to Helga.  Why did he buy his anniversary gift from Hans Olof of all people? Smugglers weren’t known for their expertise in romance, but since they both were in love with strong women…Valkyries weren’t that different from princesses, were they? They both had high standards, were tough as nails, and looked great in brass bikinis.

Still, for all her bravado, no matter how short Hans fell in the romance department, his beloved was still a diplomat whose displeasure would not result in physical violence upon his person. Valkyries were not known for diplomacy. Helga was a warrior maiden, servant of Odin, and kick-ass starship pilot, so her displeasure was an altogether different matter.

“What in the name of Asgard is this?” screamed Helga in the voice that had made lesser men turn to jelly, and she threw the box with deadly aim at Zigfried. It hit the thick metal door, just to the left of his head, and left a large dent.

“You missed,” he said. What the hell was he thinking? He watched her sparkling eyes, the way her nostrils flared, her ample hips and heaving bosom. She was not a tiny woman; her presence was intimidating. Was it any wonder he had fallen for her all those years ago?

“No, I didn’t,” corrected Helga, her voice low with terrifyingly sweetness. “We vowed ‘Til Death do you part’, and I’m not done with you yet.”

Ziggy, adrenaline singing, desperately tried to control himself as he bent to pick up the shattered remnants of his substandard gift. “It’s my anniversary present to the most beautiful-”

“Cut the crap. You know what I want,” said Helga. Then, in a throaty whisper, she added, “You always know what I want.”

Holding the demolished fragments of the ancient sword, Zigfried tossed them aside for the ship’s autobots to clean later. “Fine, you know what I want too.”

“That’s right, baby,” said Helga, quickly stripping down to her brass lingerie. “I do.”

##

Later, in the warm afterglow of post-coital bliss, they discussed other activities and adventures for their second honeymoon. Odin had given her two full weeks off, and they intended to make the most of it. After all, millennial anniversaries were special. Helga’s accrued vacation hours were more than enough time to visit the pleasure planets on the outer rim, as well as battle a few space-pirates along the way. What better way to spend a romantic getaway?

 

 
*Image courtesy of BigFoto.com.