Bookshelf

The writings of Bill Ferris. You'll find short stories, essays, and satire.​

Where to find the work of Bill Ferris.

Short Fiction

A Crawlspace Full of Prizes - UNIDENTIFIED FUNNY OBJECTS 6

Unidentified Funny Objects 6 (Unidentified Funny Objects Annual Anthology Series of Humorous SF/F)
By Alex Shvartsman, Alan Dean Foster, Jack Campbell, Esther Friesner, Ken Liu, Jody Lynn Nye, Mike Resnick, Laura Resnick, Gini Koch
Thursday, you walk around to the rear of your house to the crawlspace to put away a box of Christmas decorations for the year. You expect that behind the three-by-five crawlspace door will be the crawlspace, since it's right there in its name and everything. But instead of the musty smell of garden tools and old maple boards from that cutting board you tried to make but gave up on, you find a neon-lit room with day-glo carpet. Top-40 radio blares over loudspeakers that sound nicer than anything you've got in your den. At the center of the room is a glass display case filled with little plastic spider-rings and Pixy Stix, as well as other assorted knick-knacks, candies, baubles, and gee-gaws. You couldn't be more surprised if a bear had jumped out of the crawl space. A bear would've at least made a certain kind of sense. You mention this to Sean, the surly, skinny, pimply teen wearing a green polo shirt and nametag, standing behind the glass counter. You also ask him what the heck he's doing here, anyway?
"Because it's my shift," Sean tells you. 

My Enemy, the Unicorn - Unidentified Funny Objects 5

Unidentified Funny Objects 5
By David Gerrold, Esther Friesner, Jody Lynn Nye, Mike Resnick, Laura Resnick, Tim Pratt, Gini Koch, Caroline M. Yoachim
Snowflake had been Jax Zoo's lone unicorn since his mate, Raindrop, broke her leg. Scuttlebutt was that the zookeepers had used their gun on her, then split the carcass between the griffins, tigers, and bears. This had come from Lily and her friends, though, and they were full of shit half the time, and at least half-full all of the time. They told Chad all sorts of things, like if he'd been taken to any other state, he'd have rights as a person, but like most creatures of arcane genetics and questionable legality, he'd ended up in Florida.
Opium 7.jpg

“Suicide Chef”

Tales to Terrify No. 130

Opium Magazine, Issue 7

Flagler leaned forward, looked around to make sure no one sat within earshot, and said, “I want you to kill me.”

Dane blinked several times, Morse code for, “Excuse me?”

“I don’t mean slice me with the bread knife. I want to eat myself to death.”

Dane responded with laughter. Flagler did not join him.

"Athlete's Foot" – Crowded, Issue 1

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It was the last game of the regular season. If we won, we’d go to the playoffs. If not, our season would end and I could go back to America, so it was win-win for me.
I stomped into the locker room before the game, looking for Morris, bent on revenge. I wanted him to watch me dump the contents of his bag, piece by piece, into the trash.
But I couldn’t find Morris anywhere. He’d ruined my season, possibly my career and certainly my love of the game, so it was only fitting he’d ruin my half-assed revenge, too. He must have known I’d do something like this.
After wandering the arena for fifteen minutes I’d decided on smashing his stupid bag over his head. Then throwing each of his rank shoes at his fat head. When I found Morris in a stairwell, crying, I knew I’d do none of those things. 

"Lucky" – Stupefying Stories, November 2012

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Dr. Gustaw stopped walking, turning to face Alan. “Here’s the Wikipedia version. Think of luck as a form of magnetism. It pulls you toward a certain outcome based on the positive or negative charge of certain particles.”
“Luck particles? There are luck particles?” Alan said
“Until they’re officially named Gustaw particles, yes. The guy at MIT wants to call them Ludtener particles even though I discovered them first. But that’s neither here nor there. An instance of good luck causes a buildup of positive luck particles. Bad luck, negative charge. With me?”
“I guess.” Alan wondered if he could find his way out of the building from here.
“Unlike magnetism, opposites don’t attract. Good luck attracts more good luck, and vice versa. The bigger the charge you’ve accumulated, the more good or bad luck you get. That’s happenstantial attraction. Ludtener uses a snowball/avalanche analogy, but I think it’s more cyclonic. Tornado.”
“So why am I supposed to lose an eye? Too many black cats crossing my path?”
Dr. Gustaw glared at Alan. “You don’t believe in that hokum, do you? I’m a scientist, sir, not some witch-doctor.”
“No offense.”
“You are what I call a class-four attractor,” Dr. Gustaw said. “If your test results are accurate, your luck center is a hundred times more attractive than class ones—average people.
“How many classes are there?”
“Theoretically infinite, but practically speaking, seven is as high as you could go. If you could attract more good or bad luck than that, you’d either be a god or suddenly burst into flames. I’ve met one class six, and she won two lotteries before dying in a bowling accident."
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“The Consolidated Brotherhood of Truly Bearded Santas”

Santa pointed to the floor. Krampus was on his belly, curled against the leg of Craig’s chair, licking cookie crumbs from the floor. Craig shuddered.

“Give him a little scratch behind the ears, he’ll love you forever,” Santa said. That sounded like a punishment. But how do you say no to Santa Claus?

Craig forced himself to put his hand on the Krampus’ head. The feeling of wiry hairs against his fingertips was like petting a tarantula.

“Just think of him as a big dog,” Santa said. Craig tried, which he would later blame for his lifelong fear of dogs.

Satire

 ”BCS Promises not to Listen to Reason” – Omaha Tattler

BCS officials vowed that, with a few tweaks of their arcane ranking system, 90 percent of all teams will be out of the running for the national championship by the first week of October, and some teams will actually have to lose a late-season game in order to qualify for a lucrative BCS bowl.

Southwest’s Answer to the Recession: Festival Seating – Omaha Tattler

Hoping to offset rising fuel prices and flagging profits, Southwest Airlines announced it will institute festival seating on all flights beginning in 2010. ”Southwest is committed to providing a festival like in-flight experience for our passengers,” said Southwest Airlines CEO Gary C. Kelly. “You are now free to mosh, crowd-surf, or noodle-dance about the country.”

Top 10 Business Books for 2009 – Capitalist Banter

Tenacity. Discipline. Innovation. You lacked all of these qualities in 2008. Avoid another year of failure by adding these Top 10 Business Books for 2009 to your Christmas list.

Coca-Cola Company Promises 1000 Varieties of Coke by 2015 – Capitalist Banter

“By differentiating our brand beyond the point of recognition, we’ll ensure that there’s a Coke for literally every potential beverage market in the civilized world,” said Coke President and CEO Muhtar Kent. “Rest assured, there is no random combination of fruity syrups we won’t mix together, and no slapdash tweaking of our iconic brand that we won’t foist on thirsty consumers.”

New Drug from Pfizer Clearly Just Methamphetamine – Capitalist banter

Vigoryn, touted as an answer to lethargy, low libido, excess body fat, and shyness, has proven effective in agency reviews at treating this wide variety of ailments. However, the FDA expressed concerns over side effects including diarrhea, pervasive sweating, irregular or flailing movements, rapid tooth decay, and incessant muttering about needing to “score some more fucking Vigoryn.”