The Strand

Let me describe the first time I met her.

I was in The Strand bookstore, the one on 12th street, one of the most amazing places in the world. The smell of old books is almost overpowering there. I was in the mystery section looking through war torn copies of Raymond Chandler novels. It was Sunday, just after seven pm.

Across the aisle, I saw her. She had just moved out of Science Fiction and down the aisle that contained Letters, Criticisms, and Literary Biographies. She was short and bookish and dressed like your average college girl, a knee length skirt of dull gray and a fitted black button up blouse with three buttons open to expose just enough to make me follow her with my eyes. Then there was the red hair. Short, ridiculously curly, chin length and it seems like there was an attempt to part it in the middle. She looked deliciously almost criminally adorable.
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Barista

Jack was addicted. It was something he needed to admit to himself. It was something he needed help with. It was something that was part of him.

“Gimme a quad shot cappuccino, very dry, non-fat milk.”

He stood at the counter digging deep into the pockets of his jeans trying to get another fifty cents. It was a costly habit, four shots of espresso with a little steamed milk was five bucks.

Behind him a line of well dressed people tried to summon the psychic power needed to destroy him. He was holding up the line, therefor holding up their caffeine intake. This was a dangerous thing.

“Don’t worry, you come in every day like three times. I think I can overlook fifty cents.” the girl with the thick glasses and the tight shirt behind the counter said with a smile.

Blond, bright green eyes, a nose ring. She was very cute, but a little to skinny and bubbly for Jack’s taste. He smiled and handed her his deficient funds.

“Quad non fat cap, dry!” she barked over to the barista.
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Fiction – The Wrong Smith Girl

They broke up on the train.

Trains push his memories to the surface. All the trips into the country as a child. All the trees passing by, leaves changing to red and gold.

The city fades fast, faster then you can imagine. It is so small compared to the stretches of country to the Jersey Shore, to Upstate, to Boston and Maryland and DC.

Looking at Maggie, he could see her fighting her childhood memories. At least he wanted to think she was fighting them, hoping they were there to be fought. She had her nose in a notebook, making a list of things to do.
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Science Fiction/Erotica – The Long Run

I was 20 cycles old when I got my first ship. My father did “The Long Run” just before I was born. Ten years from Mars high orbit to various mining colonies and then on to Io and back. He missed my early childhood, but came back with one million credits.

I always wanted to make the long run. There was a certain devotion it took and a certain respect you got if you made it, plus the money of course. As much as I longed for the money and the adventure I was also afraid. There were these nightmares, dreams where I was out there in the inky blackness alone. I’m in a walksuit and I have enough oxygen and water for a few days, but I am out in the big black, the space between the edge of the Asteroid Belt and Jupiter. Hundreds of millions of kilometers from any outpost. Not even a remote chance of being saved.

That’s why I vowed never to go up alone.
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