Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Book of Jobs (microfiction) published at Microfiction Monday Magazine

The Book of Jobs

The 40th issue of Microfiction Monday Magazine is published today and they chose my story - The Book of Jobs to lead with. Woo-Hoo!

Microfiction Monday Magazine

If you like it and would like to read more like it see my Prosthetic Amalgams collection from Amazon.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Return

The Return
Kenny A. Chaffin
All Rights Reserved © 2014 Kenny A. Chaffin

When I got up that morning and stumbled my way to the kitchen for my first cup of coffee he was waiting for me. Sitting at the kitchen table, back to the wall, he nodded. Rather than shock at a stranger in my home it was as if I had been expecting him though he’d been dead for over twenty years. I nodded my head, “Morning Daddy.”

“Coffee?” I asked as I filled my cup even though I’d never know him to drink coffee in his life. He shook his head and when he did I saw the crescent-shaped scar above his ear in his close-cropped hair – the one he’d gotten when a horse had kicked him as a boy.

“How’s the grandkids?” he asked. I shrugged, “Well as can be expected I suppose.” “Good,” he said. Silence filled the room. “Well I guess I best be goin’.” I nodded. He pushed his chair back and stood which is when I noticed he had his legs, he was whole, able-bodied. He stepped towards the front door and then turned back. “You remember that mean ol’ boar we had, the one that gored you?

“Daddy how could I forget, I’ve still got the scars.”

He nodded. “He’s up there.”

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Physics (flash fiction)

Kenny A. Chaffin
All Rights Reserved © 2015 Kenny A. Chaffin

By 2001 it was clear there was no HAL. It was just some garbage made up like fiction, like a Dilbert cartoon, like Frankenstein or Leonard Bernstein, yet still we would become machines listing into the future like slack-sailed ships crossing the Sargasso Sea. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Snails - Flash Fiction from my Prosthetic Amalgams collection

Kenny A. Chaffin
All Rights Reserved © 2014 Kenny A. Chaffin

The fluoride in the water did it, caused the snails to grow bigger and more intelligent than ever before. Soon they were invading homes, their fortified shells impossible to crush leaving a trail of glittering slime everywhere they went. Maybe you’re skeptical, you should be, intelligent snails you ask? I assure you it is true, not only that but they appeared to be able to communicate and coordinate their.... what other word can I use, but.... assaults. Because that is what they were, they could devastate a kitchen overnight, consuming and transporting anything of worth to their underground bases. The invasive pest people consulted with the wildlife biologists to try and figure out how they were communicating but were stymied until they brought in engineers who determined they were communicating with microwaves using the tiny antennae on their heads. Attempts were made to jam the signals but nothing seemed to work, the snails were using a coded frequency-hopping system that was both indecipherable and impossible to jam.
They began feeding in waves across the country. Attacking and consuming the elderly, the homeless and the incapacitated. It was beyond biblical proportions. Then someone noticed that in all the devastation, all the destroyed kitchens and cities, the one thing they never touched was salt. Cities began laying out rivers, moats, mountains of salt and they were saved. The air force began slurry bombing with salt-water and the crisis was averted.  But clearly these were no ordinary snails, they had only retreated to their underground bases, biding their time, evolving, building saline-resistant shells, growing more intelligent and preparing to dominate the Earth, to take their rightful God-given place stamping their massive feet upon the soil, the sea and the salt.

[ If you enjoyed reading this there is much more like it in my Prosthetic Amalgams Collection at Amazon. ]

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Smokejumper (flash fiction)

(first published at Eunoia Review)

Kenny A. Chaffin
All Rights Reserved © 2014 Kenny A. Chaffin

They call us smokejumpers but that’s a misnomer, we never jump into smoke if it can be avoided and it can always be avoided. It’s just a sexy, headline-grabbing moniker for what is a dirty, difficult, dangerous job.
After the Crystal Mountain fire Janie left me again. She said she couldn’t deal with not knowing if I’d be back or not. I sometimes think she doesn’t understand my work, how important it is and the care, safety and conviction we take in doing it. We almost always come home. I love her. I do. With her it feels more real than ever, but I’m torn by her reluctant support. Can’t she see this is my passion, my love? I’m a smokejumper. We save lives, the environment, perhaps even the world from global warming.
My dreams are of fire. It does not frighten me. It is warm, welcoming.
At first you do it for the thrill, the rush. Like wild passionate sex. It consumes you, draws you in. There’s building anticipation as the plane makes its way to the drop zone, your heart pounds as you step into the air and slows as silence engulfs you while drifting towards the ground.
All relationships are difficult, but more so when you’re a smokejumper. You can be called out any time of day or night for unknown durations. Even the military has better defined time-frames for deployment, leave, and duty. For smokejumpers it’s all up to the fire. Almost all of us are single, some in relationships, a few married – mostly the firebosses who somehow find a way to make it work. We don’t talk about relationships. On the fireline there’s no time for that anyway. We’re overwhelmed with clearing brush, digging firebreaks, setting backfires.
You do it for those that died. The fourteen on Storm King Mountain in Colorado, the nineteen Granite Mountain Hotshots on Yarnell Hill in Arizona, the twenty-nine at Griffith Park, California; Three hundred in the last ten years.
A wildfire burns at 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. It can consume you. You must constantly be on guard. We jump from planes to reach the fire in the backcountry before it gets out of control. With a forest fire you know exactly what you are up against.
They drop us in and once on site we establish a fireline, a perimeter. We fight the fire by clearing fuel it would burn, often by setting a backfire. When our work is done we pack out to the nearest access point. On rare occasions they transport us out by chopper if there is a base nearby.
Before Janie it was Mary. She was a vixen. We did it everywhere – in the car, in the shower, in the woods, in the elevator and yes we joined the mile-high club on a flight from Denver to Seattle. It was pure passion, pure raging sex. She was a wildfire.
The cones of the Lodgepole pine are sealed with a resin that requires fire to release the seeds. This is an evolutionary adaptation to wildfire called pyriscence.
Fire can be fast, passionate, intense, like first-time sex. Each fire has its own personality. Some are torrid and tempestuous others slow and sordid but all have the power to destroy.  The first time Janie and I made love I lost myself in her. It was a week after the Wind Ridge fire. She said she could smell the smoke in my hair.
Have you ever watched a wildfire move? It can be forceful, overpowering -- crowning, flashing and torching trees as it races across the forest and up slopes in a vortex of conflagration. It can be gentle like a first-time lover, moving slowly and carefully across the forest; caressing, embracing and loving the trees with its warmth.
The tools we use are minimal, a pulaski -- a combination axe and grub hoe, our helmets, protective clothing and fire shelters. That’s it. One-on-one, man against wildfire, digging a firebreak, setting a backfire, working with air support if we are lucky enough to have it.
It was the Rawlings Ridge fire that got us, climbing the hill in a swirling blast-furnace updraft, preheating and consuming everything in its path. We had only precious seconds to deploy our shelters and the rocky slope was a poor place to survive a wildfire. Jonathan didn’t. The rest of us are lucky to have made it, me with third degree burns on my back, and right arm, the others with similar injuries. Only Carol came away unscathed, having found an optimal place to dig in.
Janie was waiting at the hospital when I arrived. She never said it, but I knew from the look in her eyes, it would be the last time.

I’ve been through the initial healing, the therapies. Will need additional grafting, regrowth and recovery of muscle tone and I will never be as flexible as I once was, but I’ve had time to think, to realize and to know that the only time I am alive and at peace with myself is when fighting a wildfire. It consumes me, thrills me, centers me. It makes me who I am. Janie is gone, but the fire still rages. I will jump again.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

What Bukowski Thought

What Bukowski Thought

Red wheelbarrow my ass
I’ll glaze your friggin’ chickens
-- with peanut sauce
in my red-hot oven.

Kenny A. Chaffin – 6/19/2011

Friday, July 17, 2015

Bearded Squirrel

Bearded Squirrel
Kenny A. Chaffin
All Rights Reserved © 2014 Kenny A. Chaffin

            Seven years from now a bearded squirrel looking like Rasputin glares at me from atop a fence post along the canal. Yes, the same canal I walk along now. He scolds me saying, ‘Why are you here? What have you done, it’s been seven years?’ I just look at him and shake my head because I too can see the past and say, ‘You think it’s easy? You up on your high post from your future vantage point?’ I spit on the grass in front of the post to make my point. I know as well as him what the future holds and am content with it, for I will have looked back on it that seven years ago and I tell him, ‘The world will know of you!’ I turn and walk into the future.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Silent Spirit

With the news of Opportunity completing a marathon on Mars I thought it a good time to post this from a  few years back. First published in James Gunn's Ad Astra and then in my collection The Poet of Utah Park

Silent Spirit

The pictures were brilliant
the best ever seen from the
surface of Mars. Then
as it reached out
to touch that surface,
like Adam reaching
to touch the finger of God,
it died, sending only a
nondescript tone across
millions of miles –
a heart monitor flatlined
leaving humanity listening
with perked ears and
waiting on Opportunity.

Kenny A. Chaffin 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

BPD (flash fiction)

Kenny A. Chaffin
All Rights Reserved © 2015 Kenny A. Chaffin

            It started on the East Coast. Cases popped up from New York to Washington D.C. It spread like wildfire in ever increasing waves. The CDC had no explanation for the disease or its possible contamination vector. No explanation, no diagnosis and no method to fight it even though the symptoms were clear – the blue blood, the obsessive desire to speak in public, the need to take from the poor and give to the rich, and a strange fascination for guns and tea parties. The American Psychological Association rushed to update the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual to include Borderline Patriotic Disorder.  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sigmund Freud Psychoanalyzes Albert Einstein

Sigmund Freud Psychoanalyzes Albert Einstein
Kenny A. Chaffin
All Rights Reserved © 2015 Kenny A. Chaffin

So tell me when was it you started having these visions of riding a rainbow?

A light beam! A light beam! Are you even listening to what I’m saying?

Okay, okay a light beam. So tell me when did you first start having this delusion?

Oh Jesus and Mary, I’ve told you it’s not a delusion, it’s a thought experiment. I envision myself traveling at the speed of light – essentially riding a light beam – and look around and see what I see.

You mean like you think you are a light beam. Would you say that’s a little unusual. Most people dream of flying or being a sex star, not flying through the empty darkness of outer space.

Space is only part of it, time is the rest.

So you feel out of time as well.

No, no, no. Please listen to what I’m saying. I thought that was your job here, I thought that’s what you do. I suppose next you are going to ask me about my wandering uterus. Now listen, since I was a little boy I’ve imagined flying on a beam of light and trying to understand what the world, the universe would look like if I did.

So was this beam of light ‘penis-shaped.’

Oh Lord have mercy. No, just a beam of light, no rainbows, no penises, no Oedipus complex. Just physics. If I fly through the universe at the speed of light I will not grow old as fast as those I left behind, this is one result. It’s about the shrinkage.


Yes, shrinkage of space, dilation of the universe. Thrusting through and everything being relative.

Do you love your relatives as well? Do they fly with you?

No, how many times must I tell you, it’s just me on a light beam.

Ah, I see, self-pleasure. Hmmmm and look at that. My how time flies. I guess ours is up we’ll pick up there next week.

Monday, April 6, 2015

In Word and in Deed (flash fiction)

In Word and in Deed
Kenny A. Chaffin
All Rights Reserved © 2014 Kenny A. Chaffin

They met on the commuter train. Their eyes met across the paired passengers on their way to mostly meaningless jobs. She was like a magnet to him, he couldn’t tear his eyes away, nor could she. When they got off at the same stop downtown, he asked for her number. Within weeks they were inseparable, making the rounds to the clubs, dancing, meeting for dinner. It turned out they lived in adjoining neighborhoods just outside the city. They spent all their spare time together and a few months later they knew they were right for one another. They would be married.
Friends and family joined them at her church for the ceremony. The priest focused on the groom, “Do you Anton take this woman, Ginger for your lawfully wedded wife?”
“I do.”
“Do you Ginger take this man, Anton for your lawfully wedded husband?”
“I do.”
“Have you chosen your joining?”
“We have your holiness.”
“Please place your chosen hands in the bonding box.”

Anton placed his left hand on top of Ginger’s right hand in the box between them. The priest placed his hands on top. “You have each freely chosen to be bonded in holy matrimony. I ask now if there is anyone who has reason to believe this bonding should not happen in the eyes of the Lord let them speak or forever hold their words.” He paused for a moment looking out over the full pews. Hearing only silence he continued. “In my power as granted by divine providence and the laws of our state and country I now join you as man and wife.” A hum filled the air and the familiar blue glow emanated from the box as the couple stiffened and then fell to their knees. “The bonder opened to reveal their joined hands, their heads filled with each other’s thoughts, their hearts pumped the same blood.  “You are now one, joined in blood and flesh by God and man, forever, til death do you part.”

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Schrodinger’s Cats

Schrodinger’s Cats

They called them Schrodinger’s cats and they never failed to amaze me, even with all I've seen in my long life. The neocat lifeforms were fully designed amalgams of biology, physics and artificial intelligence. It was their behavior more than anything that intrigued me. They would warily approach an electrical outlet as if stalking it and then lap at it with their long blue tongues as if it were a bowl of milk -- the overhead lights flickering with each touch of those tongues.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Pilar (prose poem)


I, an old man cast my line into the sea hoping for marlin, hoping for the best, but distracted even in this adventure by the presence beside me and those who came before. Those that died and those that wonder if death is hard. Those killed in the Spanish War and those who passed in the back of his ambulance. The bulls in the afternoon, the elephants of course and that poor, poor soul on Kilimanjaro. Death is pretty easy, but it all depends. I fight and fight until finally he helps me lash the small fish to the boat.

Kenny A. Chaffin – 1/30/2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cyano Love (prose poem)

Cyano Love
(from my collection Prosthetic Amalgams)

Cyano loved life, loved freedom. The world was his oyster. He was free to come and go and do as he pleased, float about consuming the abundant feast, free to grow, reproduce and enjoy his life in the sun. His freewheeling activities however changed all that, changed everything in fact, forcing him to seek shelter behind and even within others who had better adapted to the deadly environment he had spawned. He abhorred relying on others, but it was unavoidable and in time they came to enjoy one another’s company. It was love. He moved in. They became eukaryotic together.

Kenny A. Chaffin – 2/3/2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015

We are all in this Together (prose poem)

We are all in this Together

It looks and feels like batter, thick yellowish, slightly lumpy. We are thrashing about trying to stay afloat. It is not easy even with the thickness of the slightly sweet substance we are in. There is a downward pull, a sucking like quicksand, but we fight. A child in a red jumper on the horizon is bobbing along. A black-haired woman somewhere behind me struggles and keeps dipping and emerging, gasping for air. Two teenagers to my left are oblivious as they play kissy-face. And now from above a whirring like a helicopter as the blades of the beaters descend.

Kenny A. Chaffin – 1/23/2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cow Town (prose poem)

Cow Town

No bull. They were excluded by law. Only cows allowed. Yeah, it was sexist but they wanted their own way without all that snorting and stomping and posturing and my God the smell. So much better without them around. They each had their own loft arranged just the way they wanted it; some with pink frilly curtains and others with plain curtains made from feed sacks. They could have calves if wanted or not. Just a matter of artificial insemination and none of that bull on your back crap. It was a pleasant society, a serene society, a sober society with no bull.

Kenny A. Chaffin – 1/1/2015