Logo of author Edge O. Erin www.edgeoerin.com
Episode One

Advice on The Edge

Note: The following opinions are from fictional characters, and neither they nor I bear any responsibility for the authenticity, accuracy, or intention of claims and counsel. In fact, I advise you totally ignore their advice and use your own best judgment.
This week’s contributors are Mariot (from Legacy of Seconds), Franklin (from Odin’s Tillit), Time Sneak (from Time Sneak: Emergence), and Raf (from Terraform Charlie).

The question is from Becky (thank you, Becky):
Should I dress provocatively or conservatively on a first date?
Mariot Ghan elegantly moves a strand of red hair from her cyclops and runs her hands down her chest to her waist. She then eyeballs me like I’m a three-layer cake she is about to devour before speaking.
“You have to ask yourself, Becky, do you want to get laid or not? As for me, I dress however I want, and whether I wear a low-cut blouse or a potato sack, that guy will want to bang me until next Tuesday, if he should be so lucky. But then again, I am the hottest and most desired woman on the planet. Now, chances are you don’t have my amazing body, ginger awesomeness, and skin to die for but do use your assets to their maximum potential. Or, alternatively, get him in a dark and quiet place and grab him by the junk; he will come around.”
“Ah, thanks for that, Mariot, or “Riot,” as your friends call you.”
Please note: Riot is insatiable and a clone.
Franklin Daring wipes the sweat off his bulbous balding head and chimes in:
“Oh, toot, toot! I both love and hate this question, Brandy! Honestly, I don’t give a shit. Well, maybe I do. I remember a first date with this fine southern gal named Sue. She reminded me of my mother but with my cousin Randy’s peach fuzz. Her upper lip stayed white from the milk she was drinking for far too long, but no biggie, for I couldn’t keep my eyes off her tremendous rack, toot, toot. I’ve always been a tits guy, so be “daring,” I say, for I am Franklin Daring by name, daring by nature.”
“You certainly are daring, Franklin (looking away eye roll).”
Note: I’ve learned to appease Franklin, for if he senses you don’t like him, he may gut you like a pig.
“By the way, Franklin, whatever happened to Becky?”
“She married my cousin Randy. They met and fell in love at a family reunion, toot, toot.”
Say what you will about the Darings; they are a tight-knit family.

“How about you, Raf?”
The enormous white raven jumped from side to side on his limb, then sat motionless, clearly pondering the question.
“What the awwhhk is first date?!”
“Basically, the first encounter with another to see if they might be a good mate.”
“Mate, mate! Ravens, no clokes, no clokes!”
“Yes, you are right, of course, Raf. However, I will pose the question differently. Should a raven do anything special to attract a mate?”
“We uck in flight, uck in flight, so best she can fly!”
“Ah, okay.”
“Raf horny now, must go.”
Raf winged off before I could say goodbye.

Time Sneak arrived today, animating the body of Donald Trump.
“Fake tits, that’s all we have to say.”
“Oh, come now, Lord of the Greyworld Faces, surely you can do better than that for Becky?”
Agitated, the depends-able, orange-topped septuagenarian morphed into a cloud, with fylfots mostly disguising a cold black sinister snake eye.
“Becky, another useless human,” came the words into my brain, which was the manner of the fifth-dimension entity’s communication to mere mortals in his original form.
“You say that about everyone, your highness.”
The cutting edge of a swastika grazed my neck, and I swallowed hard.
“In our realm, we don’t date; we take.”
“Kind of takes the fun and romance out of it, doesn’t it?”
A finger of cloud knocked my cap off.
“Fun is incorporating the essence of a being and giving it meaning, a meaning that far surpasses anything a bag of flesh and blood and bone might otherwise attain.”
“With all due respect, I don’t think your advice will help Becky.”
“Perhaps, not, but it doesn’t matter, for my friend, Clutch, already invited her to play.”
Oh, shit.

Becky, if you’re still out there and haven’t been possessed by a one-eyed, hideous being, I advise you to dress however you want. Be confident, for that, and intelligence are truly sexy.

Episode Two

Advice on The Edge

Note: The following opinions are from fictional characters, and neither they nor I bear any responsibility for the authenticity, accuracy, or intention of claims and counsel. In fact, I advise you totally ignore their advice and use your own best judgment.
Back this week are Mariot (from Legacy of Seconds), Franklin (from Odin’s Tillit), Time Sneak (from Time Sneak: Emergence), and Raf (from Terraform Charlie).
This week’s question is from Tammy L Nieuwoudt (thank you @TLNieuwoudt), who asks, “What’s the best way to say you’re sorry?”
Mariot, posture arrow straight, seductively crosses her left leg over her right, and as she does, her red skirt rises tantalizingly upward. I dare a glance. Busted. She smiles and says, “In your dreams, white man,” which is, of course, how we first met.
Not a little embarrassed, I meet her penetrating gaze and ask again, “What’s the best way to say sorry, Mariot?”
“As you may know, I’m allergic to apologizing, for the last time I did, Abigalius Ghan zapped me with her broach.”
“Yeah, I read that… that must’ve hurt.”
“If only you knew, Edgey.”
Mariot is six-parts power-hungry, seductive genius, and a half-dozen mean-spirited, vengeful, sarcastic, b-----.
I look at her expectantly, and she twigs to my desire, at least the one about receiving an answer to Tammy’s question.
“If you simply must apologize, and I would only do so if it was a matter of life and death, walk the fine line between obtuse and sincere.”
“For example.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t wear a longer skirt. You’re sorry it wasn’t shorter. We all make mistakes.”
“I’m sorry I asked.”
“There you go, Edgey, well done!”
I knew I was never going to get any from Mariot.

“Sorry? Toot, toot.”
“Yes, Franklin, what’s the best way to say ‘sorry.’”
With an agility surprising for his rotund frame, Franklin hops from his chair and brandishes an invisible knife.
Oh, lord, here we go…
Despite having told me the story several times, Franklin retold it today.
“They had the drop on me, see, but you don’t underestimate a Daring. And me being Franklin Daring, Daring by name, and daring by nature, spun the tables on them. See, Heavy Bloke, that’s what he was called because he was a big, fat dude, and his scrawny girlfriend, Scrawny Scrotie, they called her that because she was a nasty stick of a thing, they had the drop on me, toot, toot. Heavy had an axe, see, and Scrotie, well she had a pitchfork. Oh, Fox, you should have seen it, toot, toot!”
Franklin then morphed into a thespian mode, starting with how Scrotie menaced the pitchfork.
“She kept jabbing it at me, to show her intent, but I knew she would only act when Heavy moved on me. So, oh man, and this was a moment of smarts, toot, toot. I rose from my chair and tossed it at Heavy. Scrotie couldn’t help but turn a bit toward her lover, and I pushed the pitchfork aside and stuck her right through the tits with Jasmine. I called my knife, Jasmine, you see, because she was as beautiful as the first girl I ever corn-holed, toot, toot. Scrotie looked at me like I stole something from her, and I sure as fuck did, toot, toot!”
At that, Franklin slapped his thick thigh. “She was dead before she hit the floor. It was the cleanest kill I ever made, toot, toot.”
“Heavy Bloke, seeing his woman deader than a donkey’s dick, hesitated for just a second, and that’s all a Daring needs. I might be pudgy, but I can move my two-fitty like nobody’s business.”
I added, “And, Daring by name, and daring by deed.” [internal eye roll]
The smile that had animated Franklin’s head-bobs morphed into a twisted snarl, and Franklin nodded his head several times.
“Damn straight, Edge, damn straight, toot, toot.”
Then Franklin continued to act out the events.
“As I was saying, Heavy Bloke, well, he hesitated, and me being a Daring by name, and daring by nature, took that tad of second to split his skull open, toot, toot!”
“Holy smokes, do tell, Franklin.”
“Oh ya, ya, I will.” Franklin was as excited as a kid in a candy store.
“See, in that moment when Heavy Bloke was shocked by Scrawny Scrotie falling dead, I flung Jasmine through the air, ninja-like, and it stuck him in the chest. Then, I pulled the pitchfork out of Scrawnies hand, and I rammed that pointy hayfork into his guts, toot, toot.”
“Whoa, so what happened next?!” [as if I didn’t know]
“I yard that fork out of him and stick him again, only right where Mr. Wiggly meets Jingle Balls. Oh, you should have seen his face, Edge! He didn’t know whether to cry for his bitch or his berries, toot, toot.”
“Forgive me, Franklin, but what does this have to do with how best to say sorry.”
“Honestly, I’m sorry I tooted.”
“You mean, you’re sorry you say, ‘toot, toot’ so much?”
As the smell of a pickled egg and beer fart reached me, I knew Franklin was being sincere. Mariot pinched her nostrils closed and abruptly got up and left the room. Both Franklin and I watched her go and forgot about his flatulence.

Time Sneak, today within a mall cop he had “borrowed,” didn’t need to be asked.
“I’m sorry we’re here. I’m sorry you’re disgusting. Your middling intelligence is even more offensive than this failure of evolution I presently animate.”
“Apology accepted.” I wasn’t going to take any shit from this entity today, not after they burst my bubble of watching Mariot’s amazing behind walk her luscious legs out of the room.
A vortex of disembodied heads swirled around me, but I knew, or at least hoped, Time Sneak was just indulging in another one of his saber-rattling shenanigans.
The deadheads disappeared, and I seized the initiative.
“Now, how best to say you are sorry, commands your master, Seelenstahl!
The innate fear of the mall cop compromised Time Sneak’s integrity, and they blurted out, “Say it like you mean it!”
The poor man started to cry as Time Sneak forced him to choke himself unconscious.

Raf immediately rose from his perch and started pecking at the man.
“Raf, Raf, no, he’s not dead, he’s not dead!”
Raf spread his 12-foot wingspan, and I thought he might be about to tear me apart.
I appealed to his reason.
“Raf, you know, Time Sneak wouldn’t kill him…they need him until they find a new host.”
“Time Sheak, trihkster, trihkster! But Raf trihk you both!”
The majestic white bird, a ruler in his realm, crackled and cawed his laughter and flew back to his perch.
“As to how best to say sorry, Raf?”
“No sorry, no sorry. Ravens only do what ravens must.”

Concerning Tammy’s question of how best to say you are sorry, I lean on Raf’s practical wisdom. Do what you must, but please keep it real.

Episode 3

Advice on the Edge

Note: The following opinions are from fictional characters, and neither they nor I bear any responsibility for the authenticity, accuracy, or intention of claims and counsel. In fact, I advise you totally ignore their advice and use your own best judgment.
Tonight’s guests are Mariot (from Legacy of Seconds), Ren and Sheriff J.J. (from Odin’s Tillit), and Raf (from Terraform Charlie).
This week’s question from Travis (@MFibrillations) is, “Why can’t I find some money to date?”
Ren: “If I, as a girl living in a ghost town on the inhospitable shores of British Columbia’s Arrow Lakes, can come up with some money, so can he.”
“Now, Ren, Travis may not have a cocaine-running, human-trafficking scumbag Sheriff sending gobs of money to make people disappear on a possessed tugboat?”
Ren tips back her green Stetson and replies. “True that, but I also make money selling fruit and transporting rafts of logs.”

If you read Odin’s Tillit, you will see that Ren is an incredibly industrious young woman.

“Maybe Travis isn’t proximate to natural wealth?”
“Everybody has something they can sell. Furniture, vehicle, why, even themselves.”
“Yikes, that sounds like something Sheriff J.J. Raskin would say!”
“Not anymore.”
I wasn’t going to press Ren further, not with the Sheriff in attendance and already fuming at what Ren said.

Mariot seized her opportunity to talk, which was her custom:
“Money, to date?” She looked at me blankly, and then her head went back, and she laughed hysterically.
“Oh, Edge, that’s so funny!”
“Ah, thanks, Mariot, but the person asking is a man.”
“You take questions from fellow balltoids.”
The “balltoid” reference was a new one to me, but as Mariot was an elite Ghan, albeit a cloned one, she, like all Reds, didn’t need money to date. They chose their suitors and sexual partners and, occasionally, sexed them to death. Looking at Mariot in her skin-tight red pants and asset-snuggling sweater, I figured it would be a decent way to go. But I digress…
“Yes, here in our time, we take questions from anyone. All people are supposed to be equal.”
“That’s fucked up.”
Mariot, a “child” of the Ghan matriarchal plutocracy that ruthlessly suppressed equal rights for men, wasn’t ever going to see the light.
“Please, help me out, Mariot. If you were a man, how would you find some money to date?”
Mariot scrunched her nose and pursed her lips. “Gross, Edgey, very gross.”
I didn’t say anything, only met her stare, and somehow avoided looking at her cleavage. It was arguably my most spectacular instance of resisting temptation, and I knew I would forever regret it.
“Okay, Edgey, my darling.”
Mariot got up, slinked over beside me, then bent gracefully to rest her head gently on my shoulder.
She smelled like lavender and roses, only better, and I felt myself sliding down in my chair.
Mariot placed a red-nailed index finger under my chin, and the power of her touch and being stopped my slide.
Then she put her luscious red, come-hither-and, ahem, lips close to my ear.
“To the right buyer, eunuchs are priceless.”
I swallowed hard before she gave me a noogie and retreated to her chair to smile at me as if I would forever be under her heel, or spell, or both.

“Money to date, Money to date?” Raf, the raven, cawed his confusion.
“Yes, Raf, in our time and on Earth, humans generally need money to treat another…to go for a meal or some other event where they can laugh, maybe even love. On your world of Nova Terra, money can be thought of as the colorful stones that lay everywhere or as a good item to trade.”
“Awwkh, Raf see, Raf, see! Can hooman bugeye make trade? Trade what has for what has not? Trade, trade!”
FYI, “bugeyes” are what the residents of Nova Terra call future humans.
Raf grew excited, for trading with segments of Nova Terra’s indigenous Manot population was entertaining and important.
Raf strode powerfully over to Ren, who was shorter than the regal, white raven despite being tall for a young lady.
“Raf trade for hat. Hat trade!”
Ren, who I will always admire for her grit, said, “I’m sorry, Raf, but the answer is ‘no.’ But I could trade a drug-smugglers carcass for one of those beautiful gemstones from your world.”
Raf bounced up and down excitedly and fanned out his wings, which caused Mariot’s flaming red hair to whisp and wave about like she…
“Don’t even think about it, Edgey.”
Ren laughed at Mariot’s quip, and I felt emasculated.
Mariot, sensing my mood change, pulled her cyclops [like a monocle with a tricorder and built-in wifi] over her eye and scanned me.
“Oh, Ren, we’ve hurt Edgey’s feelings. Whatever shall we do?”
Ren walked carefully past Raf and unceremoniously plopped her Stetson on my head.
Then, much to my surprise, Mariot rushed over and kissed me on the cheek! I resolved not to wash my cheek, and I felt WAY LESS “eunechy.”
Raf looked at me disapprovingly.
“Edge do nothing for hat! Edge, stupid question! Tell Travis bugeye to trade thing he has for buy thing to take other bugeye to some thing, so they smile fake hooman bugeye smiles.”
Mariot let out a “reeyearr” to mimic the sound of an angry cat to poke fun at Raf, which was a serious no-no!
Raf towered over Mariot, and for a moment, I thought they might fight, which would’ve resulted in at least one death and a most unfortunate end to “Advice on the Edge.”
Thankfully, Sheriff J.J. Raskin brought out his revolver and blasted two rounds into the ceiling. It stopped Raf and Mariot from coming to blows, but I did hear a “thump” from above. My Manot statue must’ve taken it on the chin.
“Seems you have the floor, J.J., and thank you.”
The Sheriff removed a soiled handkerchief from his pocket, wiped off his gun, and holstered it. He then pulled his chair up close to mine and stuck his legs out such that his brand new cowboy boots rested on my old coffee table. J.J. then lit a Cuban and began blowing the smoke at me, which caused my eyes to tear up. Then I started to cough.
“Reckon you don’t have the cojones for one of these, Edge...if that is your real name.”
The Sheriff extended a cigar in my direction, but I politely declined.
“Thought so. As to your friend’s question, ‘Why can’t I find some money to date,’ I have a business proposition for him. It’s just a simple matter of transporting some product.”
“I don’t think that would be appropriate, Sheriff.”
“Why? Does he have to ask his mommy?”
“That seems rather condescending and all-too personal, don’t you think?”
“I’m just trying to help the fucking guy, okay!”
At that, the Sheriff butted his cigar out on my tiny stuffed toy koala.
“Tell him, and I suspect this might also apply to you as little as you get out, ‘pardner,’ to upend his couch, search through old jackets and boxes of collectibles. People always forget they stuffed a few bucks here and there, like the zip-away sections of a suitcase. He has the money; he just hasn’t looked hard enough.”
At that, the Sheriff tossed a $100 US bill at me and said, “That should be enough to replace your little toy with plenty left over for your friend.”

So, there you have it, Travis and other readers. In a nutshell, ‘Why you can’t find money to date’ might be better rephrased to, “What are you willing to sacrifice for the money necessary to go on a date?”
Episode 4

Advice on the Edge

Note: The following opinions are from fictional characters, and neither they nor I bear any responsibility for the authenticity, accuracy, or intention of claims and counsel. In fact, I advise you totally ignore their advice and use your own best judgment.
With us this today are Cole (from Terraform Charlie), Franklin Daring (from Odin's Tillit), Clutch (from Time Sneak: Emergence), and Cheriot (from Legacy of Seconds).
This week's question is from @BazMiralles, who asks, "Will I meet everyone I hate in Heaven?"
It was clear on the furrowed broken brow of Cole, the ten-foot-tall Manot from Nova Terra, that he was not familiar with the word "Heaven."
Just as I was about to explain, Franklin Daring spoke up.
"You see, Cole, Heaven is where all good people go after they croak. Or you can, as I did, proclaim my love and belief in Jesus Christ, and even a murderer and screw-anything-that-moves guy such as I can still get past the pearly gates, toot, toot. Christianity runs deep in us Darings, and I am daring by deed, daring by creed, toot, toot."
Cole shook his head at Franklin and looked back at me. Though the hairy giant had only known Franklin for an hour, he already saw through his bs.
For my part, I could not contain an eye-roll and an exasperated sigh at Franklin's "heavenly" foray.
"Cole, perhaps I could give you some standard definitions for Heaven?"
"Please." Cole's "please" sounded more like "pleathsuh," a function of a voice that seemed to come from deep within his massive chest.
I read the definitions straight out of the dictionary: "Heaven is a place regarded in various religions as the abode of God (or the gods) and the angels, and of the good after death, often traditionally depicted as being above the sky. Another interpretation is that Heaven is 'the sky, especially perceived as a vault in which the sun, moon, stars, and planets are situated.'"
Cole nodded his understanding. Franklin started to speak, but Cole extended a massive hand toward him, and Franklin shut it. At a self-described "two-fitty," Franklin was only half the size of the pock-marked, scary, and scarred hominid.
Cole spoke. "I cannot speak for The Person Manots and the Truth, but the Manots of the Tahoe-Kehlar believe we join our friends and family in the afterlife. It is a place free of the colossal storms that plague our planet, a 'Heaven' as you call it, where we do not want for game, fruit, love, or companionship. As such, we will not meet anyone we hate, though hate is a word we seldom use. Not since the Great War of the Scavengers did Manots hate. Of course, that changed when human bugeyes arrived from Earth. But now that I know good people such as Shia Arn, I believe some humans deserve a rewarding existence in the great beyond."
"Ignorance is truly bliss," came the words into our brains as fifth-dimension entity Clutch spoke from behind an inverted waterfall composed of ghoulish Greyworld faces. "Many is the shaman or adept I have incorporated into my essence, and all believed in truth and light, of a reward for the abstract that hominids call "good behaviour" or "righteousness." The truth is that there is no Heaven or Hell, only a grey curtain that falls and extinguishes. Perhaps Heaven could be considered becoming one with me, for at least then feeble beings such as yourselves can live to experience the InBetween, see ages come and go, and perhaps become a feather in the great one, Lord Seelenstahl. That, humans, and hairy hominid, is an elevated place!"
"Toot, toot! Do tell, Clutchmeister! Can I go there? Are there brothels and all-you-can-eat breakfast buffets in that InBetween place?"
Clutch "laughed," though his laugh was like styrofoam rubbing against bleached bones.
"No, Franklin Daring, Daring by name, dumb-as-dirt by nature. I would sooner devour the big ugly Manot than an empty vessel like you."
Wounded by the words, Franklin slid from his chair and lay in a fetal position. His "To Hell with all you fuckers, toot, toot" was barely audible.
But always courageous, Cole stood up and approached the liquid nightmare that was Clutch. "Who are you calling ugly, you soggy-bottomed, bottom-feeder?"
A stream of disembodied Greyworld heads leapt from Clutch, but Cole deftly smashed them with his club.
Clutch shrieked and began speaking in cascading tongues to summon his Lord, which I couldn't allow, so I squirted some dish soap on him. Clutch cursed me, which he had done religiously since I first put him in my book, bubbled over, and fell silent.
Cole grabbed a mop and bucket, swept up Clutch's clutch, and slid them over to them, which Clutch absorbed without so much as a thank you. Fifth-dimension demigods were a bitchy lot.
Cheriot, a dead ringer for our regular guest, Mariot, sat silent and merely observed the spectacle.
Due to her incredible ability to compartmentalize and empathize, Cheriot had survived treatment that would break most people. She instinctively touched her left ear, where a PIP, or Process Interface Portal, had been installed at the Ghan's secret cloning facility. The PIP was now gone, but it would always be with her.
Cheriot looked at me and smiled faintly.
"Take your time, Cheriot."
Unlike, Mariot and other Legacy clones, Cheriot dressed plainly. Today she wore a knee-length charcoal grey business dress, and her red hair was short, just barely long enough to hold a butterfly barrette. Cheriot loved wildlife. For a long time, nature scenes were all she had in her cell, all she could focus on when she wasn't being tested or abused.
Two minutes passed before she cleared her throat and asked politely. "May I comment now?"
"Yes, of course, Chariot." I smiled at her with affection. While I may occasionally lust after her sister, Mariot, I loved Cheriot; like an uncle loves a favorite niece.
"I should hate them, should I not, Mr. Edge?"
Try as I may, she always called me Mr. Edge, never just Edge.
"You have every right to hate Jop, Mariot, Abigalius Ghan, the doctors, and all those who wronged you, Cheriot."
"I know." Cheriot looked down at her hands, which she rubbed softly and slowly, before looking at me again with her classic kindness.
"But I don't hate them anymore. They were like wounded animals, wounded from the start, scar tissue over scar tissue." Again, she touched her ear and quickly brought her hand down, embarrassed that she still had her automatic responses.
"And, because of that...." I tried to take her a bit farther down her healing road, which often helped me as much as it did her.
"Because of that, I have forgiven them, even Jop. I may have been incarcerated and abused, but they were brutalized by a system, conditioned by family and society, coached, and rewarded by evil. As a result, they didn't have the unconditional love I had from nature and Mary."
"She is well?"
"Yes," and then Cheriot smiled, a beaming white, sincere smile that even beguiled Cole and Franklin and brought a watery eye to Clutch and me.
"Mary is always well. This year, we planted lettuce! And get this, Edge, it grew so fast, and then the dear ate it all!"
Cheriot laughed, and I laughed with her. My heart soared; she actually called me Edge!
Mary stopped laughing and returned to looking at her hands before she continued.
"Could you please tell your friend Baz something for me?"
"Of course, Cheriot."
"He asked, 'Will I meet everyone I hate in Heaven?' correct?"
"If he is as good a person as you say, he need not worry about that. I honestly don't know if Heaven exists, but I've been through Hell and back, and in the happiest of places, my 'Heavens' – which I knew to be her gardens and flower beds and the creative room she shared with Mary – there are only smiles, love, and butterflies, loads of butterflies!"
We exchanged a long look then, and this time, when she brought her left hand up toward her head, she didn't touch her ear, only adjusted her blue and white butterfly barrette.

So, there you have it, folks. Typically I would add my two cents, but I believe Cheriot said it best.
Episode 5

Advice on the Edge

Today's guests are Franklin Daring (from Odin's Tillit), Emily Morgan (from Time Sneak: Emergence), and Raf (from Terraform Charlie).
This week's question is from Nicole Lindsay (@NicoleCLindsay), who asks, “What would you do if you found a wallet full of cash?”
We had only just taken our seats and already Franklin Daring looked uncomfortable. His cheeks became red, and he shifted his ample frame in his chair.

“Have something to say, Franklin?”

Emily smiled her soft, caring smile at me, which was an obvious cue she was happy to start first.

“Okay, how about you, Emily?”

“As much as I could use the money, I would post something on Facebook and Twitter, maybe even put up a few posters near where I found the wallet. It’s possible the person really needs the money to pay rent, buy food or pick up meds. Plus, having to get a new ID and cancel all your bank and credit cards is a real pain in the butt.”
“Pain in the butt, I feel that, even given it a time or two, toot, toot.” Franklin raised his eyebrows suggestively in Emily’s direction.

Emily shook her head, “You know, Franklin, you’re almost as demented as some of the whacko’s I dealt with in Time Sneak Emergence, and a couple of those units weren’t even human!”

Franklin just shrugged, and shifted himself uncomfortably in his chair, as if he was sitting on a brick.

“Can I get you a different chair, or even a pillow, Franklin?”

“Oh, no, this is fine. What was the question again? I lost my train of thought.”

Franklin was nearly always a few cars and one caboose short of a train of thought.
“The question was, ‘What would you do if you found a wallet full of cash?’”

“Hypomythaletically, or for real?”

“A real-world scenario is better than a hypothetical one, Franklin.”

Franklin got up and, with great effort and not a little discomfort, pulled a huge wallet full of cash out of the back pocket of his jeans. It reminded me of an episode of Seinfeld when George Costanza had stuffed his wallet with a myriad of receipts.
“Where did you get all that cash, Franklin!?”

“Uh, I found it, toot, toot.”

It wasn’t worth pressing Franklin on the matter, but it was highly unlikely the small-time criminal, big-time boaster, found thousands of dollars.

“I will not ask where you found all that money, Franklin, but what do you want to do with it?”

“Strippers and shots, baby! I’m buying, for I am Daring by name, and daring with greenbacks! Plus, I know a place that’s just down the street and it stays open until 3am!”

“No, we can’t do that, Franklin.”

“Why not?” The big man pressed me.

“Because this group has standards to uphold. Also, some of us have jobs we have to get to in the morning.”

“Hooters then? It’s been too long since I ogled me some great hooters, toot toot.”

Raf, the regal white raven, had just stepped through the door. It was unusual for Raf to be late, but as a king is his world, there was probably something he had to deal with on Nova Terra.
"Squawk, squawk, squawk, noisy hoo-mans! Raf hear you from outside! What’s all squawking about hooters?”

“Franklin wants to check out the local Hooters.”

“Owls! Owls! Raf no want see Owls.”

Franklin sat down exasperatedly and said, “It’s not a place with owls, Raf, it’s a fine establishment where you can see chicks with great breasts, and even eat some too, toot, toot.”

Raf shook his head. “Frank-lin is sick head hoo-man…very sick hoo-man.”

“Suit yourself, bird-brain,” Franklin muttered.

I launched myself from my chair to stop Raf from tearing Franklin apart. It’s not that I would’ve minded, but I had brought no bleach and garbage bags with me.

Raf merely raked one of his talons across Franklin’s blue jeans, which tore a section away.

“Sweet, thanks, Raf! I be stylin and profilin in these ripped jeans. The strippers will dig it, toot, toot!”

We all just shook our heads.

If there is a moral to the story, free money may not be in your jeans and you might be better off just keeping your mouth shut.
Episode 6

Advice on the Edge

With us this week are Charlie (from Terraform Charlie), Mariot (from Legacy of Seconds), and Fox, Ren, and Franklin Daring (from Odin’s Tillit). This week’s question is in the text below. ;)
Unlike other meetings, where the guests had no foreknowledge of the question of the week, I asked them to bring a musical instrument to this session for the question would be about music.
As they all walked in, their prescience and enthusiasm impressed me, for each was carrying an instrument case and sporting a smile.
They all sat down and looked at me expectantly. Franklin effected a partially toothless grin. Charlie winked at me, Fox tipped his Canucks hat, and Mariot raised a suggestive eyebrow.
This was the first time I had ever seen the group so stoked for a meeting.
“Hi everyone. I am so glad you all brought instruments, for this week’s question is…”
In unison, they completed my sentence, “What is your favorite instrument?”
I stuttered a “How did… what the… who…” which made Franklin chortle and slap his knee, Charlie laugh heartedly, Fox snicker, and Mariot, predictably and provocatively, blow me a kiss.
Then I noticed the asker of the question, one Travis Funderburk (of @MFibrillations Twitter fame) pop out of the storage room. He dragged a corded mic over and sat a big old ghetto blaster on the desk beside me.
“Fancy some Alison Krauss and Union Station, Edge?”
“Travis, you didn’t, you wouldn’t?!”
“You said you like to sing that song, Edge.”
As I had once penned in Time Sneak, Emergence, I was basically “hogtied to a Winnebago.” I was going to having to suck it up and be the lead singer.
When next I looked up, everybody was in “stage mode.” Franklin held a banjo, Charlie sat in front of a steel guitar, Fox had a harmonica set to jaw, and Mariot was twirling drumsticks in her hands.
Before my nerves could get the better of me, Travis pressed play, and instinctively I sang.
“I am a man of constant sorrow
I’ve seen trouble all my day
I bid farewell to old Kentucky
The place where I was born and raised,”
To which my band of characters quickly reinforced, “The place where he was born and raised.”
I pressed stop on the ghetto blaster.
“Hey, you guys have been practicing!”
They all looked at each and laughed. “We got you good, Edge, toot, toot!”
“I could expect such a thing from you Franklin, and even you, Mariot, but Charlie, what gives, man?”
“It was actually Fox’s idea. He said music has a way of bringing people together. It really worked for him and Ren, so I engineered a surprise for you.”
As the chief terraforming scientist responsible for life on Nova Terra, I should’ve expected nothing less from Charlie.
I then turned my attention to Fox.
“Now I understand how you survived all those years running cocaine for the Sheriff. You are sly, like a fox!”
“Actually, I can’t take all the credit, or blame, depending on how you look at it. Ren actually…”
“Ren? Your stepsister? She isn’t even here!” I exclaimed.
Then suddenly, Ren was standing next to me, her green Stetson tilted up on her head, and all Alison Krauss-like with a violin perched on her shoulder, and tucked against her chin.
“Let’s roll,” she yelled, and once again, Travis hit the play button.
“For six long years, I’ve been in trouble
No pleasures here on earth I found
For in this world I’m bound to ramble
I have no friends to help me now
He has no friends to help him now.”
My caterwauling notwithstanding, the talent of the group amazed me, for Franklin was doing an Earl Scruggs impression, Charlie was sliding like Jerry Douglas, Mariot was pure rhythm on the drums, and Ren was a strawberry-blonde songstress at my side.
We played the entire song three times before we collectively collapsed onto the floor, simultaneously exhausted and exhilarated.
Finally, I pulled myself into my chair.
“You guys were unbelievable! I am beyond impressed. Franklin, I didn’t know you had it in you! Mariot, wow, just wow! Charlie, I always knew you were creative, but this takes the cake! Fox, clearly Mallory taught you all he knew about the harmonica, and Ren. What can I say? You do one helluva Alison Krauss!”
Mariot walked up and poked me in the chest with a drumstick. In a spirited attempt at a southern accent, she drawled, “You were fair to middling, too, Edge.” That was about as close to a compliment as one could get from Mariot.
As Mariot walked back to her drums, Franklin spoke up.
“You did beat off a good rhythm, Mariot!”
“You mean beat out, right?”
“Ya, sure.”
Then Franklin looked over at Charlie and Fox and said, “I have it on the down low from Wezer Smik that Mariot is better with the ‘ol trombone, if you know what I mean, toot, toot.” Franklin affected a not-so-subtle slide of the hand.
“What the fuck did you just say, Franklin?” Mariot’s red hot temper had just flared up.
“You better not have said what I thought you said.”
Franklin blushed, and Mariot, temporarily distracted by the beauty that was Ren walking by, didn’t see Franklin snicker behind his hand.
Then, Franklin touched his index finger to his chin in thought, and said to himself, but unfortunately out loud, “Or did Wezer say, skin flute?”
Ten seconds later, Franklin lay half-buried under the wreckage of a violin, portable drum set, banjo, and steel guitar. I don’t want to tell you where the harmonica went.
As Franklin moaned and groaned, everybody, including Travis, beat a hasty retreat for the exit.
For whatever reason, the scene prompted me to sing the fourth verse of the song.
“You can bury me in some deep valley
For many years where I may lay
Then you may learn to love another
While I am sleeping in my grave,”
To which Franklin moaned, “While he is sleeping in his grave, toot, toot.”