Your first impression of this machine is that whoever has been working on it has no idea what he’s doing.  Your second impression is he knows exactly what he’s doing -- even if you can’t comprehend it. by Matthew Wolfe
Author:
Publish date:

Your first impression of this machine is that whoever has been working on it has no idea what he’s doing. Your second impression is he knows exactly what he’s doing -- even if you can’t comprehend it.

Image placeholder title

The Hummer, which has suffered many mishaps, is riddled with odd bits of metal, things that seem recognizable and at the same time, entirely foreign. The grill is a chrome tube job from a 50’s era Ford truck -- only it’s up-side-down. Two of its headlights have been shaded green, giving the front end a pair of crossed eyes. A blue atomization pulse bar weighs down the hood. Air horns and chrome exhaust tubes have been mounted to the roof. Behind these is a mess of tubes, wires, antennas, and metal grills.

As the vehicle rolls to a stop, the whole thing sags and sighs -- white plumes of toxic vapors spew out from under the carriage of the beast.

Image placeholder title

Two creatures sit in the cockpit, dimly lit by the lights of the dashboard. The dash and interior are cluttered with lights, switches, levers, and gauges. One of the creatures is actually seated backwards, the passenger seat having been turned a full 180. The figures are humanesque and male, but their profiles are not normal. Their noses are just a little too hooked, their eyes too far apart -- almost on the sides of their heads.

The driver’s side door creaks open, and the driver slowly, quietly steps out. He is short, slightly hunched, and dressed in worn, blue coveralls. He holds a cigarette firmly between his thin lips and walks to the rear of the Hummer where he reaches for a short length of rope to pull down a back gate fashioned from old, greasy lumber. The gate has a stolen Route 66 sign and a home-made nuclear energy poster near the top. At the bottom a Kentucky license plate is fixed to the wood -- a 20 year old plate, a plate that reads “TRY-666.” You just know these two aren’t from Kentucky -- or anywhere else for that matter.

With the gate down, Driver Dude peers into the belly of the truck to see the DroF-100/53 photon aerator tubes, the chrome tachyon plate, a Scisy 101 Accelerator Bulb, and a jumble of cables and hoses. And, as he walks up the wooden ramp, he sees the mean sneer of his tall comrade, who is sitting at a maze of controls, including a chrome 1950’s hot rod steering wheel.

Image placeholder title

Driver Dude stares back with a sadistic smile and reaches for the short-snouted converter chamber, his weapon of choice in such delicate situations -- suburbia being what it is. The weapon is racked just inside the back area and attached to a long green tube coiled on a vertical capstan. The gun looks like a bazooka cut in half and welded to itself with a push-button thumb trigger on top of a hand grip. It has a plasma screen sight and two short, copper antennas. With the weapon firmly cradled in his left arm, Driver Dude takes one last drag on the cigarette and drops it on the wooden gate. He snuffs it out with a heavy (though very small) boot. He strides into the street, the green hose trailing behind him, spinning off the capstan, an umbilical cord, a line between creation and destruction.

He gives his partner a thumbs up.

Adapt vs. Adept vs. Adopt (Grammar Rules)

Adapt vs. Adept vs. Adopt (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use adapt vs. adept vs. adopt with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

wow no thank you

Nuggets of Humor

Bestselling humor author Samantha Irby talks about her writing process and finding funny topics for essays.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Guidelines

Announcing the 14th annual April Poem-A-Day Challenge on Poetic Asides. Here are the guidelines for this fun annual poeming challenge that starts on April 1.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Call for Submissions, Free Downloads, and more!

This week, we’re excited to announce a call for submissions to the WD Self-Published Book Awards, free resources for writers, and more!

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 28

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write a story using only dialogue.

Nicole Galland: On Returning to Familiar Characters

Nicole Galland: On Returning to Familiar Characters

Bestselling author Nicole Galland explains what it was like to dive into writing a series and how speculative fiction allows her to explore her interests.

6 Tools for Writing Nonfiction That Breathes

6 Tools for Writing Nonfiction That Breathes

Nonfiction author Liz Heinecke gives her top 6 tips for crafting a nonfiction book that will really capture your subject.

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 27

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write something that makes you laugh.

Poetic Forms

Ars Poetica: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at ars poetica and the art of writing poems about poems.