Excerpt for Outposts of Beyond October 2017 by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Outposts of Beyond

October 2017

Published by Alban Lake Publishing at Smashwords

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


Short Stories

Customer Soivice by Tyree Campbell

A Father’s Love by Karen & Bill Otto

Man Is My Armor by Pedro Iniguez

First and Third by Vaughan Stanger

Flash Fiction

Dance by the Light of the Moon by Tyree Campbell


The President Was a Space Alien by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

Ching Shih Covets Another Pirate’s Treasure by Kendall Evans

After the Exodus by Rose Blackthorn

portrait of the moon, two different ones by Lee Clark Zumpe

Anaconda Cat by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

Cataclysm Days: Sheriff Tadi Etsiddy Establishes The Window Rock Detention Center by Charles Von Nordheim


Editorial: Why I Write

Worlds to Come by Robert E. Porter

A Little Help, Please


EDITOR: Tyree Campbell


WEBMASTER: Tyree Campbell


Cover art “Wasteland” by Betharyelle Taylor

Cover design by Laura Givens

We highly encourage letters to the editor, and will publish some as a feature in future editions of Outposts of Beyond. Send them to albanlake@yahoo.com, and please put Letters in the subject line.

Vol. V, No.2 October 2017

Outposts of Beyond is published quarterly on the 1st day of January, April, July, and October in the United States of America by Alban Lake Publishing, P.O. Box 141, Colo, Iowa, 50056-0141. Copyright 2017 by Alban Lake Publishing. All rights revert to authors and artists upon publication except as noted in selected individual contracts. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the authors and artists. Any similarity between places and persons mentioned in the fiction or semi-fiction and real places or persons living or dead is coincidental. Writers and artists guidelines are available online at www.albanlake.com. Guidelines are also available upon request from Alban Lake, P.O. Box 141, Colo, Iowa, USA, 50056-0141, if request is accompanied by a self-addressed #10 envelope with a first-class US stamp. Editor: Tyree Campbell. Subscriptions: $27 for one year [4 issues], $50 for two years [8 issues]. Single copies $8.00 postage paid in the United States. Subscriptions to Canada: $33 for one year, $60 for two years. Single copies $10.00 postage paid to Canada. U.S. and Canadian subscribers remit in U.S. funds. All other countries inquire about rates.

Editorial: Why I Write

There’s a very easy answer, and I could end this piece almost immediately with it: I have stories to tell.

But telling stories is and has always been an act of creation, a means of relaying events both actual and fictitious to an audience eager to learn, to imagine, to dream. That necessarily makes complicated the writers’ acts of creation. The key words here are “to an audience.” True, and especially in the world of the small independent press, the audiences are small. Our voices, our words, are drowned out by the overwhelming noise that emanates from the major publishing houses.

Theodore Sturgeon’s Law applies, of course, to presses big and small: 90% of everything is crap. Still, we try harder as a small indie, simply because we cannot compete monetarily with the behemoths, so we have to do qualitatively. And leave it up to the reader to decide whether a story is worth reading.

But that decision is out of my direct control. I must tell my stories, even if no one reads them. It’s how I think, it’s the heart of my motivation. That motivation began back at the end of my junior year in high school. In a creative writing class, we were asked to write short stories. I wrote one, schlocky and angsty and emotional . . . and it was the only one the teacher [for the record, Mrs. Ertl] read aloud to the class, without revealing the author. When she had finished, the prettiest and most intelligent girl in the class breathed, “Oh, who wrote that?”

That’s a great source of motivation.

But there is also the satisfaction of putting ordinary characters in situations where they have to do something to save the day. Whether it’s an autistic girl using her imagination to take her and her friend to a safe place [“Slong Ooni olive”] or a white man and a black woman about to do battle with slavers in outer space [“The Breathless Stars”] or an apocalyptic tale in which each character is a metaphor for one of society’s problems, yet the characters have to get along to survive [“A Wolf to Guard the Door”], or a dead clone trying to pass St. Peter and the Pearly Gates, I bring all this to life with my words. Because I must.

It’s not the awards, although I’ve won a couple, and been nominated for a score more; it’s not the reviews, although “Wolf” just had one that probably measured five stars. It’s for the readers, who say to themselves they were “glad they read that.” I get that a lot.

I write, then, not just because I must, but also because I can make a difference. So do most other writers. You’ll hear their voices in this, and in our other publications. You’re invited . . .

Tyree Campbell

September 2017

btw, Letters to the Editor will be read and, perhaps, even published. Address them to albanlake@yahoo.com.

The President Was a Space Alien

David C. Kopaska-Merkel

When the saucers landed, he wasn’t fazed,

Hell, he wasn’t even surprised,

The Admiral of the invading fleet

Was the Prexy’s 2nd cousin once removed,

Or, whatever. Anyway,

Turned out the Sheriff was too,

And the Gov. Was his MIL.

Point of fact, they were running

The whole goddamn government,

Had been, since the Norman invasion,

So I told the Chief (also, a S.A.),

WTF!? I mean WTAF!!

You all have done a lousy job

Of managing our civilization,

And she said, Hold on there, partner,

Before we came, life was nasty brutish and short,

Need I mention Carthage?

Yeah, we’ve had problems, but you Terrans,

She shook her fat alien head,

Look at what we have to work with here!

I’ve built better civilizations from dog poop!

That’s when I snapped.

I mean, a human boy can only take so much,

So we cleaned them out and we’re

running the show now,

And we’re building a big old fleet of ships;

We’re taking this into space,

By the time we’re done with them,

They’ll see how wrong they were about humans.

We can be as civilized as we want to be!

On the Brink of Never

Edited by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

The ancient Maya had a rich mythology. Their religious beliefs included the notion that the world would end on December 21, 2012. For reasons best known to themselves, hordes of modern folk have converted to this ancient religion. If belief sustains the existence of gods, as some have suggested, then perhaps it also sustains the validity of prophecy. I hope not. Because if belief alone can make prophecy real, millions and millions of lapsed Abrahamic religionists may have doomed the rest of us to extinction along with themselves. Nice going guys! In a spirit of hopelessness and despair, engendered by the realization that a boatload of gullible fools are taking us with them into oblivion, we offer the following tribute. I don't know what day you bought this book, but just in case: read fast!

~ David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Terra, Year N-2

"The look in your wife's eyes,

and her courage as she turns off the TV, forcing smiles

as she calls the children to come down and play

their favorite board game, after the confirmed report

that dawn will never come again."

from "The Important Things"

by Marcie Lynn Tentchoff


Customer Soivice

Tyree Campbell

I work behind a podium. On my side there're some shelves; on the top shelf is a red button. It's not connected to anything, but I'm to push it if I need him. I needed him. So I pushed it.

[Damn silly exercise. He knows everything there is to be known, ever, although he pays scant attention to recent developments, especially down below. Still, he knew I needed him even before I needed him].

[Oh, I hope he's not a woman today. He gets soooo bitchy when it's that time of the eon].

The woman standing in front of the podium just smiled. Been there, done that. Probably she worked in Customer Service, once upon a time.

I smiled back, and put her on hold—she'd know what that's like. “Sometimes it takes him a while to respond,” I added, with just the proper tone of apology.

[Sometimes it takes him a looong while. Like that time he spent three days knocking u...impregnating that Jewish girl. Everything had to be kosher, and “three days” is so typically Biblical].

[...hope he's not enthralled by an Irish girl this time. They fight back . . . could get messy].

“And you've never been here before?” I asked. The woman shrugged, and shook her head. Pale lashes batted over turquoise eyes. She looked so innocent. Might have practiced that look in Customer Service. [Sorry, sir, but unless you fax me a copy of the bill of sale, I can't help you, and if you've lost the bill of sale, there's nothing I can do].

I hadn't lost—or mislaid—the bill of sale...meta-phorically speaking, of course. Quite the contrary: I had too many of them.

He does appearances well . . . makes an impression. I jumped at his “Yeah?” Then he added, in an affected coarse hoarse whisper, “So where's Pete?”

“On lunch break, God-the-Father.” I glanced at him and winced. He's such a metamorph. For this occasion he looked like Dom DeLuise playing Robert Loggia playing a decadent Roman emperor. Wads of cotton inserted into the cheeks to puff them out. Thick lips, good for going wibble-wibble-wibble with the finger. Fat eyelids shading rheumy eyes. Lots of forehead.

I can read dose t'oughts, Vincent,” he whispered, still hoarse. To the woman, he added, “Youse gotta 'scuse my temp here, he's new. Vinnie Patella. Use-ta do kneecaps in Joysey.” He patted me affectionately on the shoulder. “So what can I do for youse, Miss?”

“I have a scheduled appointment,” she said.

“Is that so?” he asked me.

“I don't know.”

Now I received the full measure of his authority. He turned as if he were standing on a Lazy-Susan. “How can youse not know? It's yes, or it's no, capisce? Dis isn't Heaven Can Wait. Dis is real life. How can youse not know dat?”

Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-10 show above.)