Dr. Tundra admits he has a problem

bloodshot eyes

Once again, Dr. Tundra woke with a splitting headache, the feeling that he’d fallen asleep with a mouthful of half-masticated rat, and a pain in his lower back that could only be called apocalyptic.

He opened his eyes; it felt as though a demented carpenter had been at his eyelids with coarse grit sandpaper all night.

The walls were swimming a bit, and he could just barely focus on the floor, where he could see the empty pizza boxes, Coke cans, and what … was that a pair of panties?

He sat up in bed, and realized that at the tender age of 37, perhaps it was time to admit he had a problem. This was worse than his days of pretending he was Carlos Castaneda — the peyote days. He’d fallen under the thrall of a new mistress, and not the nice kind decked out in leather and handling a whip either. No, he’d sunk into a new addiction. One that could ruin him — ruin his relationships, his work, his life.

At the far end of the bedroom was the TV, and sitting underneath, the device. And within it, the software that caused his cravings:

Fallout 4.

Put down the controller and mess up your eyes with some of my addictive long fiction!

It is wise to consider if you are an addictive personality before you load up any form of electronic crack on your gaming console or computer: Gaming fanatics show hallmarks of drug addiction. Thanks to maxf for the eye. Alltop also has a series of addictions. Originally published in 2008, when the punchline was Civilization IV.

The dream of flight

Fly away (from) home. by Kera Robson

It seemed impossible, but it was happening. Glen was flying!

The geese had flown higher and higher, above the clouds, so he could now take in the glorious early morning sunlight — Glen guessed about eight or nine-thousand feet. It was spectacular. He whooped and hollered with delight. The geese honked back at him. Glen thought he may have been projecting his own elation onto the geese, but it seemed like they were actually excited about their feat too. It was an achievement for both species!

But more than anything, Glen was filled with pure joy. He’d never felt more alive, at one with the immensity and power of the universe. He laughed aloud, over the sound of the the geese beating their powerful wings, louder than the rush of wind in his ears.

Then the 747 hit him.

Looking for your own escape? Read some of my high-flying long fiction!

Alltop misses in-flight meals. Fly away (from) home., a photo by Kera Robson on Flickr.

Star-crossed lovers

The being had crossed all of known space to find her, Lola LaBozla, the smartest woman on Earth. It had tracked her from Earth orbit using the prototype of her own wearable artificial intelligence unit and spaghetti cleanser (AIUSC), that while bulky, had a certain caché and definitely worked with her fish-net stockings. Of course, she realized right away that a being from another star system was using the AIUSC to track her movements, and she was intrigued. Who was this person? Was it a person, or was it some kind of hive mind that inhabited a pile of pasta bacterium?

She was relieved to discover that it not only an individual, but he had a form that was more or less humanoid. She felt this was further evidence of the Anthropic Principle. He had two arms, two legs, and a giant mouth in the middle of his face that had possibilities. His reflective bug-like eyes and claw like hands were a little off-putting, but she was encouraged by the size and girth of his cranium.

She just hoped he wasn’t too attached to the shower cap.

Laying off the pasta? Read some of my long fiction — guaranteed gluten-free!

Alltop is never without its ablutions hat. Originally published, October 2011.

Disquieting Postcards I’ve Recently Received from My Future Self

aliens in switzerland

Dude!

Recognize the handwriting? Yeah, it’s me. More precisely, it’s you, circa fifteen years from now. Good news — you’ve finally lost that twenty pounds! Too bad you had to amputate your right leg to do it. At least it means our BMI is low enough to keep us out of the local “Fat Reduction Centre.” The less said about those, the better. I hope you like the card. This is a picture of our home town after the alien invasion. Cool, eh?

M.

— P.S. Don’t sweat the aliens. They’re good for us.

* * *

Dude!

You again. Okay, first things first. If I know me, you’re having your doubts about how legit these postcards are. You’ve probably even noticed that the postmark is today (your time). Here’s how it works: Some day soon you (previous me) will invent time travel. It’s limited to flat objects no bigger than a postcard and no more chemically complex than a postcard. Actually, it’s limited to postcards, but you’ve invented it. (Will invent it, rather.) Way to go. Oh, and there are still some overheating problems, so I can only send one postcard each day.

Or it’s a hoax. Ha ha.

Now, there’s something you need to remember for tomorrow — don’t have dinner with Susie from accounting. I know you’ve been looking forward to it, but just trust me. Crap, I’m running out of room. Promise me. Whatever you do, don’t go out with Susie. And especially don’t sleep with her. Really.

M.

— P.S. Seriously. BTW, this is a pic of the Ruins of Manhattan.

* * *

Dear Asshole:

You still went out with her, didn’t you? I can tell because I (you) still have Susiecular Herpes. Yes, I know you’ve never heard of it. That’s because in about five years you’ll be first person ever diagnosed with it. When that happens, you’ll be sorry you didn’t listen to me. Okay, let’s try something simple. You probably still don’t believe I’m future you. Here is a prediction that will convince you: Next week, you are going to narrowly escape death. Don’t freak out. Don’t worry about it. You escape it. I’ll write again after that’s happened, and then we might be able to make some progress.

M.

— P.S. This is a picture of Our Glorious Leader. Yes, that’s an accordion. All the aliens play them.

* * *

Mark,

Listen, I know you’re an ornery bastard, but what’s the point in sending these notes if you insist on manhandling the timeline? By spending the entire week in your apartment, you’ve seriously messed things up. For starters, you didn’t get the promotion you had coming. Which means no trip to the Mayan Riviera this (that) winter. Which means you never meet our wife. And before you ask, the reason I can still remember her is because I’m writing these postcards from within a Grubenstorbian Bubble. I can see with infuriating clarity the repercussions of your actions (or in this case, milquetoast inaction). If you are going to be a complete dick-wad about it, I’m going to stop sending these notes altogether. You know, it’s almost like you’re trying to sabotage your future. (Which pisses me off for obvious reasons.) I loved Sheila! She was very understanding about the Susiecular Herpes, even when the virus mutated and turned our boy Chad into Balzrog the Destroyer. Crap, I’m almost out of space again.

M.

— P.S. This is a picture of the on-ice celebration when the Leafs won the Stanley Cup for the first time in more than sixty years. But you’ll never get to see it now, you bastard. Who could have guessed your vacation in Mexico was so critical to the timeline?

* * *

Dude!

Hey, more good news. I’ve used all the null-time I’ve had in the Grubenstorbian Bubble to invent an adaptive energy field that will act as a perfect prosthetic for my missing leg. It looks as though I’m hobbling around on thin air; freaky, but who cares? I think this is the last note that I’m going to send. The Bubble is almost out of entropy, and I’d like to get this prosthetic to market as soon as I can. Just promise me you won’t bet against the Leafs, okay? And in case you do finally believe me, for God’s sake, don’t try to track down Susie or Sheila, or act on anything else I’ve told you okay? This whole thing was just one big bad idea.

M.

— P.S. This is a picture of the first Transnormative Human. Freaky, no? Get used to it. They’ve survived your non-trip to Mexico.

* * *

Dear Early-Twenty-First-Century Wanker,

Okay, you win. I guess it really is impossible to improve yourself through time travel. Once again, you’ve screwed me over. The minute I left the Bubble, I was arrested by the Fat Police for Transtemporal Violation of the Fat Laws. Look, remember when I said “The less said about the Fat Reduction Camps the better”? What that didn’t mean was: “It would sure be a great idea for you to write a short story about FRCs and send it off to some shitty science fiction e-zine.” I would have noticed and warned you if it hadn’t taken years for the issue to reach print. I don’t know who to curse (more), you or the glacial pace of the publishing industry. It hardly matters, they’ve got me now. Still, even Our Glorious Leader can’t take away my new invention. And I may just survive the Slorg Diet. At any rate, I won’t be able to send any more notes from where I’m going, so I just have one more thing to say: Play these every week: 3-15-27-29-44-46

In time,

M.

— P.S. Wish you were here.

The End

 

Not into time travel? Read some of my long fiction before your future self returns to warn you about them!

Originally published by AE – The Canadian Review of Science Fiction in their first issue, October 2010, and it was one of the Million Writers Notable Stories of 2010. Alltop once married its own great-great grandparents. Postcard image by Franco Brambilla.