Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Distances Involved

Merry Christmas Everyone!

My story The Distances Involved is published today at 365 Tomorrows.

The Distances Involved
by Kenny A. Chaffin

“What is it you would want to know?” the synthesized voice asked. Johnson scanned the cryptic and stonewall faces assembled around him and the computer screen before typing. “Who are you? Where are you from? How do we know this is not some prank, some hacker?”

“You know where your antennas are pointed. You know the region we are from.”
....

http://365tomorrows.com/2016/12/25/the-distances-involved/

Enjoy!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Annual Writing Status



Annual Writing Status

I know there's still a week left, maybe a few more things, but completed work as of today:

33 - Flash (and micro) Fictions (last year - 49)
3 - Short Stories (last year - 2)
20 - Poems (last year - 0)
10 - Prose Poems (last year - 34)
1 - Flash NonFiction (last year - 4)

Published - Prosthetic Amalgams II

Happy Holidays All!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

For the Good of the Country




For the Good of the Country


We become a nation of bigots
a nation of Fascists
by turning the other cheek
by accepting a Racist as our president
in a smooth transition of power
because that is the Democratic way


Kenny A. Chaffin – 11/15/2016


Sheep



Sheep


When Dolly had babies they were all exactly like her.
The scientists had somehow locked her genome.
No one knew how or why, but the world
would never be the same.


Kenny A. Chaffin – 11/15/2016


Monday, November 14, 2016

Joy




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



 Joy was shunned by society. She chose therefore to spend much of her time alone; in her room, in her cubicle at work, listening to music on the bus, eyes downcast to avoid attention or conversation.
For her mother it was a difficult pregnancy with morning sickness, back and pelvic pain, near miscarriages, and bedrest which pushed her to the brink. When the nurse brought Joy in for her first feeding her mother said, “This is not my child,” and turned away. Despite reassurances from the hospital staff she refused to accept that Joy was hers. They never bonded. Joy was provided for, but there was no love.
In childhood, even before being ostracized by her classmates Joy began creating elaborate scenarios, languages, people and societies in her mind. She saw them, felt them, touched them, and even smelled them. To her they were more real than life. She felt as if it was where she belonged. There were multitudes of detail in her mind. The blue-green grass was thick, lush. The stucco-like textured walls of all the buildings were something soft instead of hard and caused a tingling in her palms when pressed against them. The people there were nice and friendly. They accepted one another, relied upon one another, helped one another, something she’d never really experienced. The languages they spoke were elaborate and detailed with nuances of meaning that were perfectly clear to her. Nothing like the crude English she had to speak in real life. Joy never told anyone of these wonders in her mind, never spoke of then, never wrote of them, not even in the detailed daily journals she had kept since teaching herself to write at age four.
When the aliens approached Joy knew it before anyone. It was weeks later that the president announced on national TV the approach of an interstellar ship. He said they were attempting to communicate with the ship but were so far were unsuccessful. The news media played a clip of the transmission and Joy immediately knew it said, “We come in peace.” She didn’t tell anyone.
Joy knew they would be landing in western Wyoming. She got in her old beaten-up car and drove, hoping to make it, hoping to meet the aliens. She drove through the night and the entire next day to reach the spot where she knew they would be landing. It was nothing more than a simple crossroads of two state highways outside of Big Piney.
They landed silently and slowly a few hundred feet from her car with no smoke, no fire or rockets. She loved them even before they lowered a ladder and two of them in protective suits clambered down it to the Earth. Joy approached and spoke to them in their own language. “Welcome to Earth. We are pleased to have you.” The larger of the two aliens spoke, its voice muffled by the suit. “Thank you. We come in peace.” Joy was at a loss for what to say next. The alien filled the silence, ‘We would like to enjoy your company, to have you join us.”
Yes. Of course,” Joy said.
They climbed the ladder into the ship and were gone long before the F-16s arrived.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Morning After



The Morning After


America is at a Crossroads
we are a Gathering of fools
we have given the reins
of power to a madman.



Kenny A. Chaffin – 11/9/2016

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Alone (from Prosthetic Amalgams II)

(since writing this last year there has been talk and science journal articles discussing this possibility)



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



We built the dishes and listened. We scanned the skies seeking others, not knowing if we were alone or if we could even know. We launched probes, built silver orbiting machines to watch, to seek, to search from above an atmosphere growing more deadly with each passing day.
We studied fossils, physics, and chemistry to learn how life came to our lonely watery planet. We studied the universe for clues, for answers. We created computers, robots, and AIs and upon realizing our fate set them free. Others were yet to be. We would never meet. We had arrived too soon.





Monday, August 15, 2016

The Spark of Life (from Prosthetic Amalgams)



The Spark of Life
by
Kenny A. Chaffin
All Rights Reserved © 2014 Kenny A. Chaffin




            After days of surveying, sampling, testing, analyzing and finding nothing Sam took the shuttle down for direct observations, not expecting to see anything new. He stepped out of the airlock into the fresh air he knew was breathable and filled his lungs. It was almost like an elixir compared to the recycled, reprocessed air of the ship. It had a sharp somewhat cinnamon-like aroma. He scanned the barren wasteland around him and shook his head in disgust before spitting into the dirt. “What a piece of shit planet.”  He turned, climbed into the shuttle and boosted back to the ship. As he did the static microbes in the soil flashed into overdrive, taking what they wanted from his DNA, using the liquid and nutrients to fuel their nascent metabolism.

            Scenario I
After a few million years the planet was covered with Sams all stomping around, bumping into each other, spitting and proclaiming, “What a piece of shit.”

            Scenario II
A billion years later the planet resembled nothing more so than a giant turd.

            Scenario III
A few billion years later intelligent life had developed, space had been conquered and they were spreading it thick throughout the galaxy.    
            

Monday, July 4, 2016

Entropy Explained published at Microfiction Monday Magazine



The 49th edition of Microfiction Monday Magazine is published today.

It includes my story Entropy Explained which is my third appearance in this publication over the last year. 

Enjoy!

https://microfictionmondaymagazine.com/2016/07/04/microfiction-monday-49th-edition/


Monday, June 20, 2016

Change in my Pocket



Change in my Pocket
by
Kenny A. Chaffin
All Rights Reserved © 2016 Kenny A. Chaffin

Sick of our constant fights I fled to Safeway for beer. The translucent red cube was there when I pulled change from my pocket to pay the cashier. I stopped, entranced by its billions of tiny blinking specks deep inside. An entire universe of swirling galaxies and stars full of possibility.
“Seventeen ninety-five!” he said.
Back home I held the cube out to her. “Look at it dammit! Look at it!” She rolled her eyes. I pushed it under her nose. “Look!” I said, touching it, tapping one, two, three times and she was gone as if she'd never been.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Matter of Interpretation



A Matter of Interpretation
by
Kenny A. Chaffin
All Rights Reserved © 2016 Kenny A. Chaffin



Little Johnny Rocket
had a cracker in his pocket
he pulled it out, pushed in his thumb
and Silly Sally sucked it.



Kenny A. Chaffin – 5/10/2016

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May the Fourth Be With You!



May the Fourth Be With You!
by
Kenny A. Chaffin
All Rights Reserved © 2015 Kenny A. Chaffin


“May the fourth be with you! .... And all week long!” My dad said in a text message on the fourth of May, that silly date celebrated by Star Wars fans. He knew I had an overwhelming week ahead of me I’m sure he was trying to lighten the mood. I had to complete my PhD thesis submission by Friday and there were major holes in its firmament. On top of that I had a ton of lab work complete in analyzing a new batch of data from the Maven Mars orbiter, to say nothing of the day-to-day-to-day goings on as a PhD student.
Monday, May the fourth was a good day. I began filling in and patching the holes in my thesis and the lab work went well for a change. I got the new data imported and sorted in preparation for analysis.
Tuesday however was different – very different. It should have been Tuesday the fifth, but the calendar said Tuesday the fourth. What? It was as if the calendar had changed. I was confused. Maybe it was the stress. I thought I’d lost a day or something, it was Tuesday the fourth, the fourth again, the same as yesterday, same month, same year, same date -- different day of the week. I checked my phone, my computer, they all matched. It was really Tuesday May fourth. But this couldn’t be Ground Hog Day. The day was not repeating, it was a different day of the week and the work I’d done yesterday was still there on my computer. It must be the pressure, but I didn’t have time to deal with it, all I could do was ignore it and press on. Friday was fast approaching and my thesis committee would not be deterred.
Wednesday the fourth dawned bright and sunny. I completed filling in and patching the holes in my thesis. All that was left now was a full editing and a polishing pass. I couldn’t worry about it still being the fourth, but it certainly looked like dad was right, the fourth was going to be with me for a while. On Thursday May the fourth they dumped a revised set of Mars data on me and I had to start over after two days of processing. Typical! At least it was still the fourth!
By Friday....yes...the fourth...again...I finished the thesis, made copies and distributed it to the committee.
Whew! Relief!
Now the only thing left was to defend it in a couple of weeks – hopefully on the twenty-second not the fourth, but at this point I wasn’t placing bets.
Saturday, the fourth arrived and I felt like I could relax for the first time since I started this journey four years back with all its ups and downs, twists and turns, politics, rivalries and technicalities. If things went as planned I’d have my PhD, my promised post-doc job and be able to continue flinging things into space with hopes of advancing our knowledge of the cosmos!
On Sunday the fourth -- which I pretended not to even notice -- I went out for breakfast with friends. We toasted the day, celebrated and I sleep well!

When I opened my eyes and saw Monday May the fourth on my phone I was unimpressed, it had been the fourth every day for the past week. It was nothing new. Then I noticed the year. It said 2026. What? How could eleven years have passed as I slept? I jumped up; Ran to the bathroom. I took a deep look into my eyes – slightly bloodshot but otherwise normal. I could see subtle changes in my face though, lines on my forehead and at the corners of my eyes, my hair a bit dull. I thought of calling dad, but what if he wishes me another May the fourth!



Thursday, March 17, 2016

Snakebite



Snakebite
by
Kenny A. Chaffin
All Rights Reserved © 2016 Kenny A. Chaffin


I worry. I worry about doctors. I worry particularly about psychiatrists. Always being responsible for others. Dealing with hidden, invisible terrors invited anew into their office each half-hour. Each with their own issues. Psychosis, obsessive-compulsive, depression, mania, bipolar, schizophrenia, eating disorders and narcissism. Listening to them, trying to understand, trying to help, trying to make them better. Absorbing all those lives, all those problems, all those disorders into themselves. Extracting the insanity in any manner possible. Not unlike lancing a snakebite, placing delicate lips upon the wound, sucking the venom free and turning only to find no place to spit.

Kenny A. Chaffin – 2/24/2016

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Alone


Alone

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


We built the dishes and listened. We scanned the skies seeking others, not knowing if we were alone or if we could even know. We launched probes, built silver orbiting machines to watch, to seek, to search from above an atmosphere growing more deadly with each passing day.

We studied fossils, physics, and chemistry to learn how life came to our lonely watery planet. We studied the universe for clues, for answers. We created computers, robots, and AIs and upon realizing our fate set them free. Others were yet to be. We would never meet. We had arrived too soon.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Dreaming of New York City




Dreaming of New York City
by
Kenny A. Chaffin
All Rights Reserved © 2015 Kenny A. Chaffin


We wore masks, filters, respirators on the streets. It was all so normal. Crowds rushing along the sidewalks, hailing taxis, tourists craning their necks looking up at the buildings and in Times Square. The hotdog vendors also wore respirators, prepared hotdogs to order inside transparent hoods atop their carts and served them in sealed plastic bags. My friends took me to their tenement. I went along. Inside the double-sealed door it was just long open identical connected ‘living spaces.’ There were raised squares, perhaps beds. Many had cats or dogs lounging on them. I recognized a couple of the cats. Each space had square depressions with bench-like seats surrounding a television that was recessed into something like a darkened underground cave. People watched, enthralled. The cats slept. I needed to pee as always and someone showed me the facilities. It was a utility room or janitor closet. A sink hung on the wall with a pipe and funnel draining into a hole in the cement floor. A loose rubber hose with a showerhead hung on the wall. I peed in the hole doing my best to avoid peeing on the floor or on the funnel/drain from the sink. When I emerged my friends had disappeared, I wandered through the connected domiciles looking for them but seeing only strangers sitting, watching TV. The cats slept.