Fourth Place: Caller by Stoney Setzer
Fifth Place: The Sole of a Giant by Dan Devine
Second Place: Over Time by Stoney Setzer
Third Place: Tongue Twister by Francis Alexander
First Place: Doggone It! by Stoney Setzer
by Stoney M. Setzer
“Who is this?” Susan shouted into the phone. “I’m getting sick and tired of this!”
Still the heavy breathing on the other end persisted, just as it always did. “Why don’t you say something?” Susan screamed.
For the first time in the week’s worth of calls, the caller spoke. “Are all of your parts the ones you were born with?” he asked in a husky voice.
“Are you all natural, or are you like me?”
Every fiber of Susan’s being wanted to hang up, but she fought back the urge. You’ve told the police, and they’re tracing the call. All you have to do is keep him on the line long enough... “Why, don’t I look natural?” she asked, forcing herself to sound flirtatious. “And what do you mean, like you? Aren’t you all natural?”
“As a matter of fact, I’m--hey!” Susan could hear the sound of the phone being dropped, followed by some shouts and the noise of a scuffle. After a moment, she heard a different voice. “Miss Giles, this is Officer Winston. We’ve got him. Actually, we’ve had trouble out of him before.”
“What do you mean?”
“The man’s actually connected with Hamlin Labs. He’s had roughly half of his natural body replaced by cloned material, but now he’s fixated on it. Guy’s been calling all sorts of people trying to find out if anyone else is part-clone like him.”
“So what are you going to do with him?” Susan inquired.
“What else? We’re arresting him for making obscene clone calls!”
© 2007 Stoney Setzer
The Sole of a Giant
by Dan Devine
Terry sipped deeply from his tall, dark lager and sighed with satisfaction. It was just what the little man needed after a long day in the fields.
The tavern was unusually quiet tonight but it wasn't too difficult to figure out what was missing. Terry motioned for Tubby, the bartender, to come closer. "Where's Erg tonight?" he asked.
The half-giant's looming presence was a near constant at the Homey Hearth. Sure, he wasn't much for intelligent conversation, in fact it was a bit of a stretch for him to put two syllables together, but Terry missed his exuberant cheer just the same.
"Had a doctor's appointment to go to," answered Tubby with a shrug.
"Is he alright?" asked Terry. The only thing kept Erg's actions from being fatally stupid was the fact that he was very hard to kill.
"I think so," replied Tubby, leaning in and lowering his voice. "I heard he's been seeing a she-ogre lately. Wants him to clean up his act - watch his diet, get routine physicals and all that."
Terry snorted beer through his nose. "Good luck to her!" he raised his mug in mock salute.
Just then, the door flew open wide, slamming hard against the far wall. Terry reflected that if Erg didn't drink several times his considerable weight daily, he wouldn't be worth what Tubby paid in insurance.
The ugly, mismatched eyes of the half-giant peered over his bulbous nose, searching the tavern as they adjusted to the darkness inside. Erg visibly brightened when he made out Terry and Tubby talking together and he started towards them purposefully, upending a few tables.
"Hey there, Er...ulk!" began Terry, his greeting interrupted by Erg's enormous foot when it made contact with his chin and launched him flying into the air. Erg was on him in an instant, battering him repeatedly with kicks to the head and stomach, giving the tiny little man no chance to recover.
"Erg! What in blazes is the matter with you?" yelled Tubby, dousing the half-giant with a pitcher of cold water to distract him from homicide. “What could Terry have possibly done to you?"
Erg stopped and shot a well-practiced puzzled look in Tubby's direction.
"Nothin'," he answered. "But the doctor said to stay in shape I had to kick my drinking hobbit."
© 2007 Dan Devine
by Stoney M. Setzer
“What is this place?” Pewt the Ogre asked as he turned about.
“Some sort of inter-temporal dungeon,” replied Derbin as he analyzed the cylindrical walls surrounding them. “If you look out the windows, you’ll see that the timeframe is constantly changing.”
The old wizard was right. Dinosaurs were in plain sight one moment, only to be replaced by Roman soldiers, cowboys, spacecraft, and everything in between.
“Surely there must be some way out of here!” exclaimed Princess Mara. “Quick, everybody pull at some of the panels!”
The three of them tried desperately to find a loose panel, but only Derbin had any success. He shouted in alarm as he found not an escape route, but rather a swarm of fruit flies.
“Disgusting!” Mara protested. “Try something else!”
“No, please don’t!” Pewt objected, a smile of childlike exuberance on his face. He was grabbing as many flies as he could and tossing them into his mouth.
“But we’re in an inter-temporal dungeon,” Derbin said, trying to reason with him. “Do you really want to be marooned in time forever?”
“Why not?” Pewt replied. “Time’s fun when you’re having flies!”
© 2007 Stoney Setzer
by Francis W. Alexander
"Aliens abducted me," Jeter, my best friend, had told me. He became my candidate for the psycho ward when he added that, "They implanted part of an alien's brain in mine and now Zaul shares my body."
From that point on Jeter refused to get out of bed and I had to run errands for him. I had to do something or he was going to be one of those half ton guys on the front page of The National Inquirer.
He also told me, "Zaul suffers from motion sickness because his sense of balance is tuned to outer space, not earth. Somehow, the aliens’ made a mistake and now the wrong kind of movement can kill Zaul."
One day I came by earlier than usual and noticed that the door was open. Stepping inside, I spotted Jeter on his belly.
"What are you doing!" I didn't mean for it to be a question. He was inching across the floor like a worm.
"My name is Zaul, nitwit,” a deep voice interspersed with a shrill voice said, “You should mind your own business."
I placed the groceries on the floor and left, contemplating ways to have my friend committed. That night while surfing the internet, I saw something about astronauts having bone loss and difficulty with balance after returning to earth. Maybe there was something to what Jeter had told me. It gave me an idea.
The next day, I brought him a rocking chair.
"What's this?" Zaul eyed me suspiciously.
"I think you'll love this," I said.
He let me place him in the rocker. Then I took a rope and rapped it tight around him.
"Let me out of here," Zaul demanded.
"Rock-a-bye baby." I rocked the chair with all my might.
"Stop it!" Zaul tried standing. He screamed and cried.
"On the treetop." I rocked with fervor.
His head moved in circles. I saw dizziness in his eyes. I rocked with more passion as his head staggered and his chest heaved. Then, he let loose buckets full of bluish-green vomit. I thought he was going to die and stopped rocking. My stomach turned at the sight of the huge puddle. I untied the ropes and rushed to the door before the fumes overcame me.
"Thanks," Jeter shouted as I looked back at my friend. He sounded like his old self again.
"It's nothing," I hunched my shoulders. "Just rocking Jeter to slay Zaul."
© 2007 Francis W. Alexander
by Stoney M. Setzer
King Werltz of the Flea Empire sat forlornly upon his throne. Gerf, the court jester, had been performing his standard repertoire of buffoonery for over an hour, to no avail. “Sire, why such a long face?” Gerf finally asked in his silliest voice.
“Our kingdom is doomed, and you expect me to laugh?” Werltz retorted. His irritation with the jester was at an all-time high, but he had yet to devise a way to justify sending him to the executioners.
“Doomed? Whatever do you mean, sire?” Gerf cackled. “Has this empire not stood as long as this dog has lived?”
Grudgingly, Werltz had to admit the jester was right. The flea’s empire had been founded on the dog’s back before the mammal was even weaned. “But we face bleaker days than ever before,” the monarch countered. “Not only have the ticks begun to encroach upon our borders, but the dog’s owners have forced us into retreat with their new chemical repellants.”
“I can solve the first problem easily enough, sire,” Gerf giggled as he stood on his head. “Send someone out to fight the ticks, a champion to retake our borders.”
“A brilliant suggestion,” Werltz said with a sneer. “Go, Gerf, and get fitted for your armor. Thank you for volunteering your services.”
For the first time in years, the jester’s smile vanished. “Me? Sire, would not one of our most valiant knights have a better chance of...well, of survival?”
“Perhaps, but what with the repellents, I would rather risk you, good jester. I wouldn’t send a knight out on a dog like this!”
© 2007 Stoney Setzer