Joined June 2009 and calls This Live Test home.

76 stories, 6 challenges, 164 comments, and 18 friends

NOTE: I am happy to build feedback loops, where I comment on all your stories if you comment on all mine. If you have less than twenty stories, I’ll go first – but otherwise, I’d offer batch processing.

A gamer born and bred, a writer clawing his way out from inside.

I’m still 39, married, a cog in a corporate machine, and I play just about any game known to modern geeks. SmilinStan on XBox Live, in case you wanna look.


  1. Don't Read The Autograph

    Sometimes mage’s work is drudgery – that’s what it was tonight. Molly and I were down in my lab, figuring out what ingredients I was low on. That meant knowing what ingredients I do have. Hence, drudgery – I can’t afford a...

  2. The Moon is Grey, Too

    The horizon blurred red with the dawn. Frank, Cherie and Mike faced east, backs on the cooling plane. “What now?” Mike’s voice cracked. “It’s over,” Cherie said with cold detachment. Frank kicked the ground in futile...

  3. The Centre Cannot Hold

    He gently pushed the key into the lock, trying desperately to push each tumbler down quietly. The lock, old as the house, nevertheless agreeably snicked open. He thanked his own need for neatness as he stepped onto the plush rug. It both quieted his tr...

  4. Peace At Last

    I can’t let them turn Earth into potential drowned in sleep. My name’s Mack. It fits a lot of eras. Just like my duds – boots, black pants, white shirt, black coat. It’s not hip – but explain sequins to a Sumerian. I’...

  5. Dead To The World

    I can hold out for two weeks, but after that… I’m in the attic of my folks’ house. Nailed the door, barred the windows. I left an inch to see. They move in aimless circles. Sometimes they leave for hours, but they always come back. Co...

  6. You Look Away For A While...

    And that’s it, I note as I rub my brow. They’ve turned down the last option for society. Annnd they’re eating each other. Only a matter of time now. I look over the scarred world. The fungi of fire that burst across the surface of thi...

  7. We Make Contact, Part 4

    They didn’t have longer to go. And then, their eyes locked onto a single shape on one of the ice towers that spiraled up in a smooth conical rope. A single moving shape. All they could make out as they hurled downward was four or six arms, a head...

  8. We Make Contact, Part 3

    Then, they screamed. Nell, then Ted. The colossal chamber was miles wide, and they had entered from the top. They had already fallen some way, but they still had minutes to go. They were falling straight to the darkly undulating lake of fluid ice. The ...

  9. We Make Contact, Part 1

    Nell chipped at the ice while Ted took pictures. Paleontologists looking for Ice Age life trapped in ice, here on reports of tremors that might bring old ice upwards. They wouldn’t miss out. The chip of the axe and the shutter of the camera almos...

  10. We Make Contact, Part 2

    The landscape went on forever. Deeply blue ice spiraled up in minarets, towers and peaks. Some showed crystalline roots – rough-hewn hexagonal bases and delicate branches at the top. Others were spindly coils of a wide icy thread. The closest way...

  11. For Family and Friends

    Long ago, my grandmother took a recipe for spaghetti and meatballs and thought, “I’m too tired to make meatballs. I’m just throwing it all in one pot.” 2.0 lbs hamburger 0.5 tsp salt 1.0 tsp oregano 0.5 tsp garlic powder Brown i...

  12. Long Walks Every Day

    “Frank?” “Yes, Bill?” “Please come to my office.” “Sure thing.” And I make the walk again that I dread – the one to the president’s office. The walk has always had an air of potential finality...

  13. Last Embrace

    The wind snakes through my hair, pulling my shirt with the vigor of a hungry 5-year-old. The breeze lathers me with the cold night air, sneaking fingers under the fabric. I sway, letting it hold me. The wafting wind carries a thick salty smell, a taste...

  14. Name That Tune, Author's Note

    I ask you, as a riddle – what song inspired me to write this scene? I will only say that it is NOT a direct phrasement of the song. It is an extrapolated analogy, one that speaks to the song’s application throughout the ages. And yes, I hav...

  15. Name That Tune, Conclusion

    Martill had long ago become tired of straining his voice to order the final attack. His men knew the signal flare, and boomed forth off the ridgeline and down towards the village. Martill held for a second, waiting for the vanguard to pass him. It was ...

  16. Name That Tune, Part 4

    “Vann? How rich am I?” The question was a ritual. “You have wealth unequaled, sir. Of all freelords of the king, you have the most spoils and been given the most from the king’s coffers.” “Does it matter?” R...

  17. Name That Tune, Part 3

    Vann, his lieutenant, signaled to the unit leaders to double-time. It was their standard raid deployment – used to terrify. If a commander wanted to win efficiently, he deployed his troops in waves, with reinforcements to support momentary weakne...

  18. Name That Tune, Part 2

    He used his axe as a walking staff for the march from his halls, but now the strength of light coming from above the next rise hearkened to the arrival at his place of employment. The rings of metal in Martill’s gloves rang against the brass fitt...

  19. Name That Tune, Part 1

    He had walked thirty miles to kill a man. Martill strode firmly across the dale, but his eyes were tired and he had no smile nor gleam for his men. They bore hearts hardened to their work, as did he. He had no desire to kill this man, but honor and dut...

  20. Making Popcorn In-House

    As the moviegoers shuffled to their seats, none noticed the small hose behind the back row with holes to flow the oil down the slight slope of the room – nor the man standing near to the door who was fingering a lighter in his pocket.

  21. Seventeen

    (I was 18, actually.) It’s the High School Variety Show. I’m an emcee – I got in without audition, as I was the only guy to try out. They gave me a bit of stage makeup, but really it’s just hanging around backstage waiting for m...

  22. Your New Best Friend

    In 2044, a breakthrough in AI by the Colorado Organic Research Academy changed the world forever. Overnight, the fabrication units in every home (that long ago replaced shopping) made a holoprojector for every human on Earth. They were solar-powered an...

  23. The Patient's Dilemma

    He was completely prepared. He knew the nature of the brain injury that required surgery. He knew the risks. He’d reviewed the CAT scan, the MRI. He’d consulted online sources about the operation. The operating room was clean, and all the s...

  24. Working Nine To Ph'tagn

    The followers stood in the chamber. Benches faced a dais, and shadows from torches might have flitted over faces – but two years ago, the chamber was redone with a drop ceiling and fluorescents. The Elder ordered it so he could see unholy texts w...

  25. Besieged

    “Okay, how about work?” “The IRS continues to digest things Congress wrote in ’06. So all our clients needs 2 batches of major work.” “How many?” “Around 600.” “Um, let’s NOT look at wor...

  26. Just A Memory

    It was an ordinary day until Elvis robbed me. I was at his gig at the House of Blues – light crowd. He finished his set, and applause was rendered. I’d cleaned out my wallet buying dinner, but there was an ATM down the street. I headed out ...

  27. Laughing Boy

    Laughing Boy, Guild craftsman and scion of royalty, strode into the castle yard. The sun sparkled over the bay, sending sparks of glare back to the sky. Sunbeams washed over his silvery skin with a lustrous glow. He looked to the sun, letting it bathe ...

  28. Live On Stage

    I’m disintegrating on stage – it’s like a burlesque of my soul, right from the opener. “Hey – found a wallet with $300. If it’s yours, ask the manager. But he will need you to show ID.” They laugh, I laugh R...

  29. Something of Worth

    The mages stood at a table, examining an object. That’s all two of them could say – it shimmered in vague translucent outlines. It might be a cube – but might not. The shaman, Wing Eyes, spoke first. “So – what is this?...

  30. Deela Deals Her Own Way

    “Consisting of 13 justices drawn from the ranks of the Big 10 megacorps, the Corporate Court represents the only authority that has any chance of riding herd over the megacorporations.” Deela read the dry words in her textbook – and k...

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TextMason's Followers (18)

  • April Raines
  • jesteram
  • futurist
  • Fyora Cartagan
  • Marli
  • The Silence [All By Myself] {LoA}
  • ElshaHawk (LoA)
  • Brebelles {LoA}
  • ♦ Jenunique ♦
  • Eloquent Mess {(LoA)}
  • Coccinella
  • Mighty-Joe Young (A.K.A Strong Coffee)(LoA)
  • RockPaperScissors
  • Not You (LoA)
  • Sneaky"LoA"Cleazy
  • StudMuffin (LoA)
  • Robert Quick
  • Garsecg