theshoes76 (joined almost 12 years ago)

Stories


The gate closed behind them. Skidmark spun around and readied his rifle, scanned the scene and grunted to himself. He lowered the rifle slowly and turned back around. It appeared that there was no escaping the arena.

About fifty yards across from him, another contestant appeared, a tall, lithe woman in a jumpsuit, her Mohawk towering a good six inches above her scalp. From the way her eyes glowed red, Skidmark could tell that it was Annex Annie, reigning champion of Arena Combat League. In her hand was her trademark laser mace.

Skidmark cracked his neck in anticipation of a...

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It's bad enough that I spent 500 bucks on the phone, but now I've waited for months on end to get the latest software upgrade. It's become an obsession of mine; I bang the refresh button on blogs, Twitter, Facebook. I scour the internet and Google news for any shred, a tiny iota of new insight into why a multi-billion dollar corporation can't seem to release a timely software upgrade. To make matters worse, amateur phone enthusiasts have been able to release more in their spare time than the actual "professionals" who, as far as I know, are being paid...

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"Vanquished."

"No, the word you're looking for is 'vanished.'"

"I always get those mixed up. I also get the words 'camel' and 'camera' mixed up, too."

"Don't fret, it gets easier with practice."

"Thanks for the stupor."

"I think you meant 'support."

"Oh, right."

"So, when do we get to stop pretending to be humans?"

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The children were not at school. It was the first snow day of the season, and the buses couldn't get their engines started, so the Board of Education had no choice but to cancel classes. Tyler's parents decided to let him sleep in, but when he awoke at 10 o'clock, Tyler panicked. He leaped out of bed, grabbed his jeans and wiggled into them, pulled a crumpled sweater from his drawer and jammed it on over his pajama shirt, and ran down the hallway to the kitchen, all the while yelling "I'm late for school! I'm late for school! Mom!...

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In a world where walking was obsolete, Pat often wondered what the ground would feel like beneath his feet. Would it be spongy and soft, giving just a little with each step? Perhaps it was cold and hard, slippery like ice. Sure, hovering about everywhere was convenient and not at all physically demanding, but he longed for his feet to, just once, touch the earth below him.

Everybody knew, though, that if you touched the ground, you'd instantly explode. Pat didn't feel like exploding any time soon, so he just kept on floating. Damn those scientists and their exploding topsoil...

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A crappy painting of a girl in headphones standing on the crest of a mountain, surrounded by butterflies. This is what passes for art these days? Seriously, thought Darren, I've seen better finger paintings.

As he made his way from picture to picture, Darren realized that art wasn't really his thing. Eventually, he made his way back to the entrance of the labyrinthine museum and stepped back out into the practical, utilitarian world of the city in which he lived.

Still thinking about the butterfly painting, Darren wandered through the streets of the bustling, monochrome city, occasionally bumping elbows with...

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Once, in Beijing, a young girl in a red gown huddled in a doorway. She had just wrapped up a long evening answering the phone in her family's restaurant. She took the orders, and her brother and father cooked the food, while her mother ran the counter in the front of the neon food stall.

She was waiting for her best friend, but it looked like it was going to be a longer wait than usual. As she looked down at her red gown, she ran her hands over the cotton fabric and smoothed out some wrinkles, then created some...

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