Back in July -- or was it June ? -- the Piker Press staff were hanging around the "water" cooler (I think Lydia Manx had had it filled with gin that week, saying we all needed some tonic to jump-start our writing again) and decided that August 24 would be a great date for an "Aliens" issue.
And so it was decreed. This week, a spectrum of aliens have been exposed to one and all, from nine-foot Gurstockians to petite creatures small enough to hide in a ... no, I'm going to let you readers figure that one out yourself.
The Filthy Pikers have come up with an array of stories to make any ezine proud. Mel Trent's "Footnote" is an intense story of alien invasion that will run in parts for three weeks. Tyler Willson's story is both a speculative fiction about human-alien encounters and also a cautionary tale about the perils of drink. Carrie Golden gives us a gruesome suspense thriller, and Chas Wallace looks at the inevitable end of life as we know it. Dan Mulhollen shows us how segregation becomes integration; Lydia Manx makes an alien encounter very personal and extremely annoying in the early part of the day. With this issue, original Filthy Piker Press writers Ed Moyer and Josh Brown return to the venue with engaging aliens and humans enraging aliens.
Richard Voza's beautiful "Peek of the Week" has an unearthly feel to it that enhances the writing in this issue.
Now why, readers may ask, has such a delicious issue shown up so late?
It starts with the winter's load of wood being delivered in a huge, dusty pile in my driveway on Friday afternoon. Stack wood on Saturday, wreck Managing Editor's hands and shoulders and back. Simple. Sunday is a Day of Rest in this household. (See Saturday for reasons.) Monday, the Tooth Fairy, miserable slut that she is, slipped in and stole a huge chunk out of one of my teeth, requiring an emergency dentist appointment for a repair.
For those of you who do not know the Managing Editor's history, an alien abduction and subsequent testing and mutilation and implants would be FAR more tolerable than dentistry. Thus the Managing Editor had a very late start in uploading the Piker Press.
Wait. That's not right. I'm a writer, too.
"In the wee hours of the morning, when the temperature dropped below 55 Fahrenheit, a spacecraft straddled the swimming pool outside Sand's bedroom window. Screens in the window not withstanding, her sleeping body was transported in a bluish ray of light to the laboratory bay, where little gray-skinned meddlers removed the transponder from her dental work, ending a twenty-year experiment in what happens to humans when you make them quit smoking cigarettes.
"One of the skinny gray heathens said to another, 'Well, this one got fat as a tick.'
"She was incensed, but could not move to tell them so, or kick either one in the shins or more sensitive areas. While the horrid short creatures yanked the device out of her tooth with no consideration at all, she sweated in her inert state, vowing that she would write them into so many stories that the Universe would reverberate with her ill-wishes.
"They dumped her back on the loading dock, and the light lifted her and plopped her on the brick patio outside her bedroom window, among the purslane sprouts and the trails of slugs.
"She awakened some hours after dawn, when ants had begun crawling across her face and hands. After calling ants in particular, and all insects and aliens in general, a 'horde of offal-eating dirty crumb-bustards,' she showered for about 90 minutes, and then dressed in a loose blouse and clean blue jeans.
"After spending some time with Dr. Mike, who took a spelunking crew into her maw to assess and repair the damage, Sand limped home, battered, invaded and patched up, to turn on her computer and look at what needed to happen with the Piker Press. "
This week, the Aliens have supplanted regular features: "Strange Bedfellows," "Transitions," and Wendy Robard's book reviews will return next week.
Also, art work is going to change a bit over the next week. Keep checking back to see what transpires.