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Bewildering Stories debates the question


by Don Webb

Scene: the Managing Editor’s cluttered office. E-mail arrives. It poses a daily question.

A contributor: When will [my story/poem/essay/artwork] appear in Bewildering Stories?

Managing Editor (thinks): When will anything appear in BwS? When? Ha. Haha. Hahaha. Hahahahaaaaaaa....

Orderlies appear and encase ye Managing Editor in a straitjacket. Sedatives are applied. He returns after a restorative nap. He contacts the archangel in charge of cosmic scheduling.

Archangel (befuddled): Big Bangs? Supernovas and black holes? Right on schedule. But Bewildering Stories beats all. Why not omit dates in the schedule and simply list all the titles by genres, more or less in the order accepted?

ManEd: Sounds good, but contributors will still ask, “When When WHEN?!

Archangel (sighs): For that, we need professional help. (Picks up phone, dials 666.) Hey, Lucifer, do we ever have one for you... (explains the situation).

Lucifer: Ha. Haha. Hahahaaaa... Wait. That’s a good one. I’ll add it to the repertoire Down Here. We’ll get back to you.

Archangel: When?

Lucifer (muses): Can’t say, really...

Archangel (sarcastically) Light a fire under ’em?

Lucifer (as always, impervious to sarcasm): What with global warming, we’re running short of fuel. And all our top operatives are busy in politics, working manfully to keep the Dark Age on schedule.

ManEd: “Manfully” sounds sexist.

Lucifer: Indeed. Give me any -ist or -ism; I’ll organize it. But, as I was saying, on top — or bottom — of it all, social media is already a new level Down Here. Is it the Tenth or Eleventh? I’ve lost count...

ManEd: Look, guys, you have my every sympathy. And I understand: Bewildering Stories has a cosmic problem. Why not quantum-tunnel right through it? Blow a hole in it, so to speak.

Archangel: Quantum tunnels are fun.

Lucifer: I like blowing holes in things.

ManEd: We put everything in grab bags by genres. We have a randomizing algorithm shake the bag, reach in, and come up with something for us every week.

Lucifer: Or make it a collection of piñatas. Smash and grab is more my style.

Archangel: Either way, it sounds like a new Big Bang. And it solves the scheduling problem by defining it as non-existent.

Lucifer: Yeah, blowing it to smithereens.

ManEd (anxiously): Does this affect my standing Up or Down There?

Archangel and Lucifer (chorus): We’ll add it to your credit.

ManEd: Thanks. I’ll give this some more thought.

Archangel: Take more naps.

Lucifer (chuckles evilly): Float the question on social media. Lotsa luck!

Copyright © 2020 by Don Webb

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