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Dome Racer Sigma
Jun 9, 2021

"The Lone Wolf racer. Defies expectations."
I'm taking Blinding Lights and starting my in-gines


Dome Racer Sigma
Jun 9, 2021

"The Lone Wolf racer. Defies expectations."
I Just Like To Drive Fast
996 words

When I’m doing something I know is really stupid, I like to imagine I’m in a movie where someone does the same thing, but looks cool doing it. Which is why when I push Alison’s hoverbike over 120 mph, I’m thinking about Tron. True, in Tron the player wasn’t being chased by five cops, but it’s hard to think at this speed, especially with the tetra-beatnica music pounding in my helmet. I don’t know how to turn it off, though, so I just pay attention to the road, and imagine I’m in a movie, not real life where the cops just started firing their laser pistols at me.

“Please don’t say the words ‘one last job,’” I begged Alison. She rolled her eyes at me.

“Does that mean you’ll do another one for us later,” she asked.

“I haven’t even agreed to do this one,” I said, “but, no.” At least I don’t have a wife and kid’s I’m finally looking forward to spending me time with. That was comforting for once.

“What are we doing this time?” I asked. “Bank heist? Hostage rescue? Winning a street race so we can join an exclusive group of drug runners?”

“We’ve never done that last one,” Alison protested.

I decided to never try to convince her to watch The Fast and the Furious again.

“It’s a bank heist,” she said, “and it’s not exactly ‘we’ this time….” I felt my stomach sinking. The words “I’m too old for this poo poo” started to bubble up from my unconsciousness, but I ignored them.

“Please don’t say ‘rookie partner.’”

“New partner, no rookie. Carmella’s been doing this as long as you have. Besides, you just need to speed by the bank fast enough to get a couple cops chasing you, so she can do whatever she needs to do with….I didn’t understand, actually, but she something about physical access before the whole hacking thing.”

“No cash?” I asked.

“No, transfers to swiss bank accounts, etcetera. Probably like some movie you know of.” I could think of a couple, but I didn’t mention any of them. “The worst you can get is a ticket for reckless driving. It’s perfectly safe.”

Ah, it’s perfectly safe. She said it. She must’ve seen in my eyes that I was about to say no, because she added “You can drive my bike.”

And when that wasn’t enough, my holy grail.

“I’ll let you drive into the back of the truck.”

“While it’s moving?” I asked.

“Yes,” she agreed, reluctantly. “At least then it won’t be perfectly safe.”

I took the job.


Everything started out fine, but doesn’t it always?

I was parked about a block away from the cops. I assume the bank pays them extra to stay close, but they wouldn’t be able to ignore what I was about to do. I felt a little uncertain when I saw Carmella coming down the street, identified with the old rose-on-the-lapel trick. I thought Alison must have been joking when she said she had as much experience as I do, but from the way she hobbled along on her cane, it seemed possible. She flashed a huge smile at me, though, and I couldn’t help smiling back. Hell, I decided, we may as well have fun with this.

I took off, going about twice the speed limit. When I got to the cops, I popped a wheelie, then leaned over into a hyperspin. Flipover, Switchback, Kickstand, and finally the cops decided they’d better stop me. When they moved, they moved fast, and my exit from the kickstand wasn’t as smooth as it used to be. I must have hit something, because that’s when the music started.

I peeled out, the cops close behind. In my rearview mirror I saw that Carmella had stopped hobbling. Do people still say “you go girl?”


Me and the cops finally got to a straight stretch of the highway, and I decided to do something about the tetra-beatnica music, because I really prefer dubstep for escape soundtracks. Of course, I had no idea how to use the stereo on this thing. Finally, I saw a button for the CD player, which I did think was weird, since the time I had a car with a CD drive was sometime in the twenties. Maybe Alison’s more into retro stuff than I realized, I thought, and pushed the button.

It was not for the CD player, but the music in my helmet did stop.

“Did you just fire the Cop Destroyer?!” Alison yelled into my ear. I heard a giant explosion behind me.

That’s when the lasers started.


“Where’s the truck?” I shout.

“Oh no,” Alison says, “when I said you could drive into the truck, there were no laser pistols involved.”

“The laser pistols make driving into the truck even more important!” I say, weaving back and forth between lanes.

“Oh, let him drive into the truck,” a new voice says. It must be Carmella. “We’re at exit 245, there’s a nice big curve, so as long as you’ve got a good head start, we can get you in.”

I don’t know how fast the light cycles could go in Tron but I doubt it was 150 mph. All sorts of alarms are going off, including one that says the bike has about five minutes of batteries left at this speed. The truck should be four minutes away, and it is.

Driving into the truck is still as awesome as I thought it would be, even when I might die if I mess it up. Maybe even more fun. The bike dies as soon as I get inside. Perfect timing. We all watch the cops drive by, oblivious, on the monitors at the front of the trailer.

“That was so awesome,” Carmella says, high-fiving me. “Just like Spy Hunter! I’ve always wanted to do that.”

Over the headset, I hear Alison groan.

Dome Racer Sigma
Jun 9, 2021

"The Lone Wolf racer. Defies expectations."
my in-in-ingine is RevvINg up

Dome Racer Sigma
Jun 9, 2021

"The Lone Wolf racer. Defies expectations."
Accounting for Dragons
1,095 words

Benjamin looked down at the job description, then back up at the woman behind the desk at the unemployment agency. Then he did it a few more times, just to be sure.

“You’re kidding, right?” he asked.

“If you meet over 80% of the qualifications, you have to apply, or you forfeit your checks.” She did not look sympathetic.

“But one of the requirements is that I have to be a dragon.”

“That’s only one out of twelve requirements. You meet the rest. That’s over 80%, right?” She asked. “You were an accountant, do you want to pull out your calculator and check my math?”

“But it says, ‘Non-Dragon Applicants Will be Fired Immediately (and Literally),’” he protested.

She just shrugged.


The dragon costume was hot, but less hot, Benjamin reminded himself, than getting torched by a fire-breathing dragon. Plus, he only had to wear it long enough to not get hired, which shouldn’t take that long. He hoped. He’d already been waiting at the mouth of the cave for twenty minutes.

Then the ground shook, and the sound of falling rocks and ambiguous grumbling echoed deep in the cave, and then less deep, and then the dragon appeared. It was roughly the size of a school-bus, and yellow, too. Gold, Benjamin thought, dragons are gold, not yellow. It was very wrinkly, and creaked when it moved. It sniffed the air, and then turned towards Benjamin. He saw its eyes were a milky blue. This dragon was old he realized. And not powerful-old, but decrepit-old.

He hoped that would make it easier to get away with posing as a dragon for the next half-hour or so.

“I’m Idin the Hungry, Lord of the Skies,” the dragon said, revealing dull teeth almost as yellow as its scales. Benjamin was rapidly becoming less frightened.

“I’m Benjamin, the, uh…Former Accountant?” he said, then grimaced. Not the most dragon-like name.

“Specialization. I like that,” said Idin.

Idin described the job as a relatively small standard treasure inventory, that shouldn’t take much time. Once they got talking, it was hard for Benjamin to hide his enthusiasm for accounting, especially on a job that sounded so unusual. He did not, of course, admit that he had never performed a “standard treasure inventory.” Idin mostly asked him normal interview questions, like where have you worked, what did you do, what are your biggest strengths and weakness. Benjamin had relaxed so much by that point that he almost said “not being a dragon.”

At the end of the interview, Idin put a friendly, but giant claw on Benjamin’s shoulder, causing his knees to buckle. Benjamin froze, sure that he had been found out. Idin quickly remove the claw so Benjamin could stand back up. There was a moment of dreadful silence.

“Well, you’re a little small for a dragon,” Idin said, finally, “but I suppose it comes from thinking of all those numbers. You’re hired.”

Benjamin had one soaring moment of elation before Idin suggested they literally soar into the skies to seal the deal in the clouds. Right, the goal had been to NOT get hired. Benjamin muttered something about a broken wing, then stumbled back down the mountain to town, sweating in his dragon costume the entire way.


When Benjamin first set foot in the treasure cavern, his jaw dropped in shock. Shortly thereafter, his stomach joined it in dismay. Of course he had never seen such wealth, but he had been expecting that. He hadn’t been expecting a five-mile long hallway, hundreds of side-passages, and thousands of rooms, each overflowing with a jumble of treasure. Nothing was even sorted!

“I thought you said this wouldn’t take long,” he stammered.

“Shouldn’t,” agreed Idin cheerfully. “Forty-five, maybe fifty years at the most.”

That is a very long time to wear a dragon costume, Benjamin thought.


The costume, and the constant threat of death if Idin discovered he was a human, were really the only bad parts about the job.

At first, Idin had wanted to keep everything where it was. It was arranged by date of acquisition, he said, which made sense to him. Benjamin prepared a three-page report detailing why sorting by type and value would be more efficient in the long run. Idin didn’t read the report, naturally, but he listened to the first page and then agreed.

“Why hire an accountant if you’re not going to let them account,” he said, and followed Benjamin back into the treasure caverns.

While Benjamin sorted through pile after pile of assorted gemstones, gold, and jewelry made of gemstones and gold, Idin told him the story of how he acquired them, which thankfully rarely involved breathing fire, and how to tell which ones were cursed, which thankfully happened before Benjamin found anything cursed.

Idin tried to give him other advice, too. Wing exercises to get back into flying condition as soon as possible. Where the best updrafts were for doing loop-tee-loos. How to listen to the airport control tower to avoid flying into airplanes. Most of it was very flight-oriented, but not always.

“Now when you’re ready to get a virgin—“ Idin started one morning.

Benjamin broke into an unnaturally prolonged, if not obviously false, coughing fit.

“Sorry, I forgot virgins aren’t popular with the young set these days,” Idin apologized, and went back to flying advice.

Similar scenes played out when it came to advice about slaying knights, pillaging villages, and various other old fashioned dragon things. After about ten years, Benjamin hardly ever had to cough at all.


It was inevitable, really. A hot summer day, a zipper open to let in the breeze, an unluckily positioned box of amethysts. Benjamin yelped in pain as he sprawled across the floor, then watched in horror as his head—his dragon head, not his literal head—bounced across the room.

“What’s wrong—“ Idin spun towards Benjamin, then just as quickly spun away. There was a moment of frozen silence.

“Ahem,” Idin said. Behind his back, he waved a claw encouragingly towards Benjamin’s dragon head. Benjamin scrambled to put it back on. Idin squinted over his shoulder without moving his head. Apparently satisfied he turned all the way around again.

“Now then, Benjamin the Current Accountant,” he said, “physical grace is an important quality in a dragon, especially when it comes to aerial maneuvering.”

And so for the next several hours, Benjamin sat in his sweltering dragon costume, resorting the amethysts, and listening to a lecture on pitch and yaw. And the next day, he came back and did it again.

Dome Racer Sigma
Jun 9, 2021

"The Lone Wolf racer. Defies expectations."


Dome Racer Sigma
Jun 9, 2021

"The Lone Wolf racer. Defies expectations."
Misery Loves Company
1453 words

So like, lying on the internet is mostly okay, right? Especially if you’re in the witness protection program—which I’m not, but I probably should be, because I am hiding from the biggest crime syndicate in the Arctic Circle—which, okay, it may be the only crime syndicate in the Arctic Circle, but that doesn’t make you less dead when they find you and only half of the cocaine you stole from them—well, probably less than that now. I haven’t really been paying attention. But anyway, law enforcement probably isn’t going to be protecting me when I’m not actually a witness is what I’m saying, so I have to protect myself.

So that’s why I normally just tell people I live in a space station—which sounds cool and is technically accurate, so really, do I even need to question the ethics of digital honesty? What I don’t usually tell people, because it’s less cool, and also, due to the relatively small number of crash sites in the world, may reveal my location to people who want to kill me, is that I actually live in a burned-out chunk of a space station that abandoned its orbit decades ago, and is now just a very expensive way to keep out of the snow. Well, expensive for whoever built it. It’s free for me. Also, not that great at keeping out the snow in a literal blizzard, which this definitely is, and it’s making me nervous because 1) the internet is probably going to go out soon, and I’m kind of emotionally dependent on that connection right now, and 2) the Ghost will show up soon.

Oh, come on, Ghosts are everywhere, you still can’t be afraid of Ghosts, you’d say, not normal ones. But that’s Ghosts with an S. If there were a whole crew of Ghosts here, that would be fine. I mean, I might not live here, especially if they were Hell Ghosts, I mean, definitely not if they were Hell Ghosts, but a whole crew of Ghosts wouldn’t bother me conceptually.

Because if the crew went down with the station, why only one Ghost? That’s not how Ghosts normally work. Have you thought of a bunch of exceptions or haphazard explanations yet? Good, because they are all wrong. Because yes, I do have Google (usually), and yes, it did occur to me, multiple times even, in the six months since I’ve been living in a loving haunted space station, to look up how many people were on board the Stardust when it did the whole firey plummet thing.

(Pro-tip: maybe don’t name something you want to stay in one piece after a hotel most famous for being imploded on TV fifty years ago. Or maybe nothing with the name “dust” in it at all).

And do you know what the answer was?


The ghost just kinds of stands there, too, fading in and out. Not normal Normal Ghost behavior at all. I think it might be sick. Can Ghosts get sick?

Usually they walk around and talk to each other and just generally act superior, unless they are Hell Ghosts, in which case they manifest wherever they want, “arrest” people, and just generally act superior. “Arrest” is in quotes because normally when you’re arrested they put you in jail and have to charge you with something within forty-eight hours, and you can borrow money for a bail bond and then skip town and go hide in a space station, for example, but when the Hell Ghosts arrest you, you’re just gone.

Some people say they turn you into another Hell Ghost, but give me a break. They despise us. No way are they going around inviting idiot criminals to join them.

Well, invite isn’t the right word, but it isn’t happening, so it doesn’t matter.


So it’s pretty surprising when I get a ping from the Weird poo poo Chatroom I lurk in (it’s not really called that, but it should be).

Corrine07: Wow, it’s really dead in here tonight.

Is she making a joke about my Ghost? No wait, she can’t be. She doesn’t know about my Ghost. I scroll up a bit to make sure I didn’t tell her about my Ghost and then forget. I did not. I could tell her, though. There really isn’t anyone else here—not even timed out/away/lurking—we’re literally the only ones online at all. So maybe that’s why I don't just tell her I have a Ghost, I tell her the truth about all the other stuff, too.

Except the crime syndicate/cocaine/hiding part. That’s not really relevant to the Ghost Question.

MiserableWreck: And guess how many people were on board the Stardust when it crashed?
Corrine07: zero
MiserableWreck: ZERO!
MiserableWreck: oh. How did you know?!
Corrine07: That's what makes it mysterious?

drat, she’s right. Maybe I should work on my narrative skills.

Corrine07: Maybe it landed on someone?

This, again, is something that has occurred to me multiple times. I even risked my life going down into town to look in the newspaper archives for missing persons. Also to buy several bottles of vodka.

MiserableWreck: Plus, it was wearing a space station uniform!
Corrine07: Okay, it seems like cheating to have not mentioned that before.

Next up is probably the “stow away” suggestion, which, just…you can’t stow away on a space station, okay? Air, water, food, weight, it’s all tracked, calculated, precise, rocket science. Why don’t people think of this the first time? Not that I did, but still.

Corrine07: Well, she couldn’t have been a stow away, obviously.

(drat it, she’s smarter than me.)

Corrine07: Unless she didn’t weigh anything.
MiserableWreck: which isn’t possible.
Corrine07: Unless she was already a ghost.
MiserableWreck: how the hell would a ghost get on a space station?

Normal Ghosts, the ones that aren’t Hell Ghosts, walk around, but they still have a limited radius. I’ve never heard of one even getting on a plane, much less a space station.

Corrine07: Maybe she died on the space station.
MiserableWreck: But she wasn’t in the crew. I looked. There’s no one like her.
Corrine07: Maybe someone put her there.
MiserableWreck: how? and also why??
Corrine07: I don’t know.
Corrine07: What about a black box? Do space stations have those?

That, I do not know, despite having thought of it multiple times, because apparently space station designs are all “proprietary” or “top secret” and not easy to Google. But I was pretty sure my chunk of this space station did not have a black box. Lots of other weird poo poo that I have no idea what is, but a black box should be pretty obvious, and I had looked. A lot. I don’t have much else to do here, really. I mean, cocaine and vodka, but those don’t actually take up a lot of time in the actual doing part.

Corrine07: They’re not always black.
MiserableWreck: WHAT?! They are LITERALLY called that!
Corrine07: I’ve read that sometimes they are orange or something. So they are easier to see.

Well, gently caress. I did have a big mysterious ORANGE box. I’d been using it as a coffee table. Vodka table? Is that a thing? Anyway. Orange Box!


The fact that she knew how to activate and pull data from a black (orange) box really should have tipped me off. I mean, probably, the whole “online when the rest of the internet was down” or “started calling the Ghost ‘she’ when I hadn’t said anything about gender,” or “deliberately leading me to the obvious conclusion” things should also have tipped me off. But I’m lonely and bored and…maybe drunk? I may have been drinking. Wait a second.

“Someone put you there?” I ask. “How?!”

“The usual way a Ghost ends up somewhere,” she said, with an ironic half smile.

“They killed you?”

“Among other things.”

Jesus Christ. That meant—

“Yeah, that’s what Hell Ghosts do with people. Murder them and cram them into space stations or cars or whatever so you idiots can take a nap on the way to work or whatever.”

Jesus Christ.

“So, since being crammed into a vehicle is what I do best now, you are going to cram me into the Repair Bot, and I am going to go kill some Hell Ghosts.”

“But they’re already…”

“I will kill them again, among other things.”

She was even scarier like this than when she was just standing around fading, so I put her into the Repair Bot, which I had thought was a weird astronaut toilet, and didn’t even chase after her when I realized she had taken half my cocaine. It’s not like she took the vodka.

What could a Ghost even do with cocaine? Now there’s an interesting question.

(I mean, kind of.)

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