Fragments

This writing comes from fragments, literally, from a file that sat for 20 years, and notebooks that haven’t been opened in a long time. I don’t know what they all mean, but if I put them here, I can throw away the scraps of paper.

* * *

Paul set the leatherette controls to Full and leaned back on his way to Vermont, his left foot in flames.

— From Ski Weekend (1973)

* * *

Xyrkon’s disgusting yellow laugh filled the high-ceilinged chamber with its insidiously mocking tones as he withdrew Joyce Fairchild’s shrunken head from the slithering folds of his long shimmering blood-red silk gown and held it before the widening young eyes of Tom North who strained at his chains shrieking, “You demon! You’ll burn in Hades for this! You despicable rogue!” not knowing that at this moment on the distant planet Earth a small but wiry, young boy’s bedside radio was receiving a distress signal from the harried but undaunted Dr. Larkov who was picking his way up the rocky slopes with seventeen wasp-borne warriors in methodical pursuit whose dragon green capes could not conceal the deadly burn-guns slung across their backs which even now they were reaching for as they closed on their seemingly helpless prey whose eyes were widening in horror as he looked over the sheer eight-mile precipice he had come to without noticing above the leathery condor whose wings were already unfolding to their hundred-yard span, its pearl-white eyes fixed on the fleeing Larkov and the pursuing wasps it had hated since they had murdered his mother that cold howling night so many years ago when they had taken the surface from the White-Robed Old Ones and driven the few survivors to the Secret Caves of Milnor where they now sat around a blue-screen that showed them the harem chambers of Xyrkon whose absence had occasioned lascivious games among his myriad beauties who lay strewn like spilled jewels of every color on the rolling hills of tasseled pillows, writhing in slow smoldering lust around the trembling, scantily clad figure of blonde-tressed Linda Fairchild whose twin sister Joyce had disappeared forever with Xyrkon earlier that day and left Linda here in the incense-filled twilight with the ever closing, softly stroking, wet lipped concubines whose long painted nails even now traced small lines down Linda’s shivering skin, parting the wispy silken-gauze garments while strange music filled the heavy air with hauntingly alluring melodies that the three daicots could hear but faintly in the small ante-chamber through the murky alcove where they sat bent over an ancient map holding a jeweled brass lamp deciphering the twisted symbols, not hearing Linda’s husky moan in the darkness nor realizing that in the Caves of Milnor the Seven Bearded Old Ones were looking up from the screen at this moment as the startled Dr. Larkov was deposited at the cave’s entrance by the silent enormity that was Korok, King of the Condors.

— The opening (and only) sentence of The Sapphire Flame (1973)

* * *

Tim was absent-mindedly vacuuming when a Kodiak bear stepped from the hall closet.

— From The Missing Ruby (1974)

* * *

Basil lunged through the portal, his nostrils flaring.

“Drop your weapon, Crains, or you’ll be shaking your mother’s hand in Hell.”

The craven Crains’ zorp-ray slid from his sweaty grasp, his eyes darting about frantically for means of escape. Sweat ran to the carpet from his shoe tops.

“I… I…” A sizzling bolt from Basil’s sear-spear withered Crains’ arm and cut short his explanation. He swooned after a harsh cry, and Basil began to kick him. Soon tiring of his sport, Basil strode from the room, fondling a locket which contained the hair of an elk.

Outside, the wind howled. Basil’s steel-toed shoes rang on the stone steps spiraling down to the caves below. I must, he thought, prepare the balloon immediately. He swung open a locked gate without a hint of a key and rubbed the head of the cougar that had padded to his side.

“Come, Xenax, we have some persuading to do.”

“Anyone I know?” growled the cougar.

“Zorcoph the Fat, the merchant of secrets”

The cougar coughed in anticipation.

* * *

Amos walked into the Men’s Room and stood frozen. Everett the Copywriter was munching on a deodorant cake from the urinal.

“Mint, ” said Everett, flashing a crystalline smile, and then, his eyes narrowing, “The taste you can see through.”

* * *

He loved her so much that he had even come to treasure her refusals, so delicate and gentle, diplomatic and touching, warm and compassionate. Better, in fact, than any of the acceptances he’d received in his life.

* * *

He wasn’t the hawk, but he wasn’t the mouse either.

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