The Day Politeness Revealed Its Limits
Alien dwelling unearthed on Mars— Canadian explorers oh-so-polite. “After you.” “No, no, after you.” A shuffling sound from deep within— they flee, each vying to take the lead.
Blackbeard Returns as a Porch Pirate
Edward sits at the helm of the luxury SUV, its steering wheel wooden, spoked, decked out like that of an old-time sailing ship; drives with the window open, the slap of wind against his hirsute face reminding him of the high seas, the open water. His warehouse contains pilfered booty carefully inventoried, all of which gets posted for sale online. The office area includes a workout room—treadmills and weights— maintaining a certain fitness level helps his staff hurdle flower beds, sprint down driveways, elude irate guard dogs. There’s an in-house cafeteria, video game stations and leather couches. It’s all about employee retention these days. His own quarters contain a well-stocked bookcase and nautical knick-knacks, to remind him of old times. He’s replaced the pistols and dagger with box-cutters and a custom Glock. The daily routine is easy—attach a GPS tracker to a parcel delivery van, then trundle in its wake. Sometimes, the packages have already been spirited into the house by the time they get there, making Edward grind his teeth at the thought of lost opportunity. But often enough, the crew finds parcels waiting, ripe for the taking. Opening the cartons back at the warehouse evokes echoes of Christmas morning. The gaming stations. The high-end speakers. The 3D printers. Drones. Watches. Fashion accessories. Sure, there’s the odd disappointment, like the jumbo box of adult diapers plucked from the porch of a modest brick bungalow. Even that fails to faze him. Anything will sell, priced right. The lifestyle suits. Edward keeps regular hours, which pleases the many women who enter and leave his life. If he misses cannons and ocean chases, he doesn’t let on.
Lisa Timpf is a retired HR and communications professional who lives in Simcoe, Ontario. Her speculative poetry has appeared in Star*Line, New Myths, Liminality, Apparition Lit, Polar Borealis, and other venues. She has had over 30 speculative fiction pieces published in zines and anthologies, including Third Flatiron, Future Days, and From a Cat’s View. You can find out more about Lisa’s writing at http://lisatimpf.blogspot.com/.