The Angel of Death and Other Snippers and Snippets



At the Library

1:15 p.m.
At the library
where my desk
Is piled high
with books to

Working on them
at reference desk.
Adding them in
Or throwing them back.

Generous people
keep me supplied
with stuff to do.
Adding things
you'd never find
on selection lists
from library lit.


Creation, Evolution, Destruction, Burp
     by Ken St. Andre

     He was a minor god, living his humdrum life in the world of the gods, but he woke up one morning determined to create a world that day.  He entered the numinous room and gathered the material from which he would make his mini-universe.
     First he took the Sacred Container and filled it with the Water of Life.  He purified the Sacred Water for two eons.
     Then he took the Sacred Powder from the Sacred Rectangular Tin of Crimson and White and with the Holy Spoon of Creation poured the Earth upon the Sacred Water where it floated in a massive mountain.
     Let every nanosecond of god time equal 1000 years of world time, he decreed.  And evolution began.
     After 5 billion years, the god began to stir the mix.  The sky-towering mountain sank into the sea, and became one gigantic continent.  And still the waters swirled in divine agitation.
     The continent broke into many parts and became hundreds of islands, each continuing to melt into the sea in one cataclysm after another.  With one billionth of a second equal to 1000 years, the destruction of the earth was vast and slow, but inexorable.  A time came when all the land was gone.
     And then the god lifted up the world and drank his morning cup of coffee.

The End


Just Say No
     by Ken St. Andre


"What's that?"

'Don't know.  Over there, by the smooth stone.'

"Looks a bit like worms  Nice brown worms."

'Looks kinda good.  Maybe we should go over and nibble a bit.'

[No!  Don't go, younglings!  It's danger.]

"Oh, Gramps!  You always think everything is dangerous." 

[And that's how I got to be as big and old and wise as I am.]

'Look!  Clyde's going over to investigate it.'

[Clyde!  Stay away!  Danger!]

(Don't be silly, Gramps.  These worms can't hurt me. Ohh, that feels kind 
of good.)

"What are the worms doing?"

'They are rubbing against Clyde's belly.  Look at the smile on his face.   He loves it.'

"I want some."

'Me too!'


"What happened?"

'Where's Clyde?'

[The thing got him.  Clyde is gone.]

"Gone where?"

[Don't know for sure, but I doubt if he will return.]

'How did you know about the danger, Gramps?'

[When I was younger, something like this happened to me.  Strange delicious looking worms appeared in the water, they stroked my stomach, it felt     better than anything ever has before or since . . .]


[Suddenly the thing grabbed me, and pulled me out of the world.  I flew    through outer space, but I wriggled and twisted.  I came down and hit hard.  It wasn't water.  Something huge lunged for me, but I twisted and flopped as hard as I could . . .]

"And you got back in the water?"

[Yes.  I was very lucky.]


'Look, here it comes again.'

"Ooh, they do look good!"

[Just say no.  You will live longer.]

'Let's get out of here.'

* * * * * * * * *




     by Ken St. Andre

The third planet from the cool yellow star on the galactic rim was almost 
perfect for the Zz'nng.  Right gravity, right temperature range, plenty of natural resources.  The only real difficulty was not enough sulphur in the atmosphere, and a bit of zoobleforming would take care of that.

A closer examination showed a second problem.  The planet was already inhabited by intelligent life forms--pre-technological, but much like the Zz'nng in many ways.  Something would have to be done about them.

It took some planning and some work, but the Zz'nng had a star-spanning    civilization with thousands of planets in it.  Millions of ships could be  mobilized when necessary.

Yes, it took a few planetary rotations around its sun, but every bee, wasp, hornet, termite, and ant along with all of their hives were successfully  evacuated to a resource poor but tranquil planet less than 10 light years  away.  With the intelligent life safely removed, the zoobleforming could   begin. 



The Hero
     by Ken St. Andre
I paused by a forest pool to refresh myself and my mount.  I was kneeling and using my cupped hands to drink the  cool, refreshing water when suddenly I heard a shout, and a man rushed out of the trees at me, his hands       upraised as if he wanted to throttle me.
It surprised me, but I fear no man.  Lightly rising to my feet, I          side-stepped his mad rush and drew my rapier in one clean motion.  As he   turned to attack again, I foined at his neck and drove the keen blade      through his bearded throat and out the back.  He fell down in a geyser of  blood.  I dodged back so that none of it would soil my clothing.  He gasped and burbled, but he couldn't speak and in about a minute he bled to death.
That was unpleasant.  I searched the body, but he had nothing on him but a peasant's filthy ragged clothing and a poor knife of blunt iron--nothing   that I would want, and nothing to tell why he attacked me.  Come to think  of it, perhaps he had simply been happy to see me in this godforsaken      forest.  Now that I had a moment to think, i realized the shouts hadn't    sounded that angry.
Well, I had no way to bury him.  I dragged him away from the pool and left him behind some bushes--carrion for the forest wolves.  Filling my water   bottles, I rode on and presently reached Tintaglia.
And the moral of the story, lads?  Never rush a fighting man, and stay out of my face!


The Angel of Death
     by Ken St. Andre

The Angel of Death visited me (again) just before waking up.  It didn't 
have a shape this time--no big-eyed maiden or skeleton with a scythe--just a vague area of darkness with a presence to it.

"Are you ready to go?" it asked.  I somehow knew this was not the first    time it had asked me.

"Do I have a choice?"

"You always have a choice," it answered.  "God gave you free will."

"Is that true for everyone?" I asked.

"Yes.  Everyone has free will.  Not everyone realizes it.  Most souls just come away with me the first time I ask them."

"I'm going to say no.  I still have things to do in this life."

"Nothing important.  You've experienced childhood and manhood, sired       children, loved women, travelled the world, helped, harmed, learned, taught and so forth.  What else do you still want to do in this life?"

"I want to write, I want to eat, I want to love, I want to spend time with my son, I want to travel.  I want to win this online game I'm playing.     Just because my biological function has been fulfilled doesn't mean I'm    ready to die."

"Live then, but pay the price.  I'll be waiting for you."

"I have a feeling that I've denied you before."

"True!  You have."

"I don't remember, but I feel I've turned you down many times."

"One thousand four hundred eighty-six times you have turned me down.  Would you like to remember?"

"Yes, I would."


"That seems like a lot of refusals."

"It is nowhere near the record."

"What happens after you die?"

"I am not allowed to tell you?

"Can you give me some hints?  Am I destined for hell?" 

"Do you believe you should go to hell?"

"How should I know?  I hope not.  I haven't been that evil."

"You probably won't go then.  There are a lot of other possibilities."

"Like what?"

"I can't tell you.  Let go.  Come with me and find out."

"I don't think so.  Nice try though."

It smiled grimly--that is if a vague presence in the dark can smile grimly.

"You sure you won't change your mind?"

"Not this time."

"Return to life then!"  It vanished . . .

. . . and I felt a stab of agony shoot through my stomach and I awoke in a cold sweat.  At that moment the muscles in my left calf spasmed and the leg tried to tear itself apart.  I gasped and cried out a little bit in agony.

And I paid the price gladly enough, waking to the pain I feel everyday.  I remember now.  You can live if you're willing to pay the price.  Life is 


Epilog:  Now that I can remember my visits from the Angel of Death, I have understood something else.  The pain of life keeps getting worse the longer I stay here.  It is much worse now than it was a year ago.  I was thinking that with simple willpower, I could deny the Angel of Death forever.  But I am realizing that some day I am going to say yes to the Angel.  Some day I will not be willing to pay the price any longer.



Children of the Heart and Mind

Every book, every story, every film, every poem, every song, every 
painting, sculpture, crafted item,

All of these things are children of the heart and mind.

And we, their parents, wish nothing more than that they will be born, grow strong, and make their way in the world.

Some achieve fame and glory; some slide through life as quietly as a ghost.

Some have great staying power--they seem to be as immortal as Gilgamesh. 

Others die young--alive only for an hour or a month or two.

Yet, for the most part, we writers, painters, sculptors, dreamers, we 
parents and progenitors,--we love those children that were once part of us, but now have an independent existence.  Oh how we hate to see our children perish!

Damn those librarians weeding their collections!  Damn those censors and those mercenary merchants and those jaded users who throw our children in the boneyard of outdated and forgotten dreams!

     --Ken St. Andre, another damned author and librarian, Jan. 6, 2005.


Dream Power

     by Ken St. Andre

Male pattern baldness has been robbing me of my hair for twenty-five years now.  What was once a lustrous forest had become a shining dome.

But, a while back, I had an interesting dream.  In my dream I had my hair 
back, and it made me smile, even in my sleep.  When I awoke, alas, it was 
not true.  Then I had a thought.  We've all been told of the power of 
visualization, and of the human will.  What if I could dream my hair back?  Why not try?

Since then, every night when I go to bed, I take a few minutes to visualize myself with a full head of hair, and I tell myself that I will dream of myself with that full head of hair.  And for the most part, I do. 

During the day, when I get a moment free for daydreaming, I imagine myself with a full head of hair, close my eyes, and see it. (usually with a 
beautiful redhead or blonde running their fingers through my shining brown hair.)  Mmmmm--what beautiful dreams they are!

And . . . I am happy to tell you that the process is working.  The hair 
growing back on top of my head is still kind of thin, but it's getting 
thicker and stronger every day.  I bought a comb again, and some vaseline 
hair tonic.

Yes, it's working.  Dream power!

And . . . the Rogaine I've been using for the last three months probably 
has something to do with my success also.



Just a Dream?
    by Ken St. Andre

I thought it was a good party.  It had all the ingredients for having a good time.  Hamburgers.  Girls.  Ice cream.  Girlz.  Champagne.  Grrlz.  Music.  Babes!  Woo Hoo! 

Yes, it was a good party.  But it finally ended some time around four in the morning, and since it was my house, I was stuck there at home, alone, 
with a big mess to clean up.  I put all the loose trash and discarded 
pieces of clothing in trash sacks.  I piled all the dishes in the sink. And then, head spinning, I crashed.

And I had a very strange dream. 

I dreamed I was the Sun.  There were no pictures really, just a sense of 
warmth and light.  And I was in a conversation with other stars--actually 
something like 100 billion different conversations with all the other stars in the galaxy.  We weren't speaking anything like English, of course, and I only really followed one conversation in my dream.

<<Have you ever wondered?>> I radioed, <<if we're the only form of intelligent life in the universe?>>

[[Not really,]] answered Alf, one of my two closest neighbors.  [[Why do 
you ask?]]

<<Mostly because somebody else just recently started talking around here.  Haven't you noticed?  I think there has been plenty of time for the signal to reach you.>>

[[I did notice, but I thought it was you.  The new signal, which is pretty weak, but very, very fast and chaotic, seems to be coming from you.]]

<<I'm not making it!>>

[[It certainly seems to be coming from you.  I thought you were humming or something.  Where else could it come from?]]

<<You know how our sense of gravity allows us to experience other objects?>>


<<I have a lot of small cold objects orbiting me.>>

[[That's common.  That cold matter is the condensed remnants of our older comrades who have died.]]

<<One of them is producing all the talk.>>

[[Preposterous!  Those chunks of rock are too small and too cold to ever 
develop a mind and intelligence.]]

<<I think so too, but you can't deny the signal exists.>>

[[There's a signal alright, but you're making it.  That's the only logical explanation.]]

<<I'm not making it.  Why would I do that?>>

[[Just to mess with my mind, I guess.  I wish you'd stop.]]

<<I am not doing it!!!  You're making me hot by not trusting me!>>  And in my dream I felt as if I was getting really really hot--maybe hot enough to nova.

Then I woke up.  The house was on fire, and I barely got out alive.


Message to the United Nations
     by Ken St. Andre

    The aliens looked an awful lot like dinosaurs.  They had very large 
brains, and wore a sort of shimmery metallic sarape for clothing--at least that's how they showed up on television.  They did the usual thing for 
aliens, and seized control of all television broadcasts around the planet.  Astronomers said that there were close to a million ships in earth orbit 
out about the distance of the moon.  One minute space was normal and empty; the next moment radar showed it full of a million huge spacecraft--give or take a few thousand--it was real hard to get an accurate count.

    The alien on television had a very short message, and it repeated 
constantlly.  He obviously used some kind of mechanical translator, as the sound accompanying the picture was a combination of hisses and whistles and clicks.  An inflectionless metallic voice broadcast in English alternating with Chinese.

     The message was short and a bit perplexing.  It said, "You understand the concept of property.  Good.  Prepare for a message from the owner."

     The message filled the airwaves for nearly a month.  It saturated the broadcast spectrum, much to the dismay of people on Earth, who had to find alternate means of communication.  Then a ship came in for a landing.

     The ship was like nothing ever seen on earth before--an eight-sided truncated pyramid made of a glowing green stone with a base one mile square.  It came down, quite slowly actually in New York City not far from the United Nations building.  As it settled a kind of klaxon sounded--so loud it 
could deafen a person in a single blast. 

     Of course, there was no room for it to land, far too many buildings in the area in which it was settling.  It hovered for over an hour above the highest skyscraper.  All attempts to communicate were ignored.  Then it 
began to settle again, and it crumpled the steel tower of the building like it was soggy cardboard beneath a brick.

     Anyone with half a brain had already evacuated the area.  Now the rest of the population began to stream out of the landing zone.  Panic, 
confusion, chaos--and of course the U.S. Army had to arrive with tanks and jets and coptors and missiles.

     And as the ship came down, slowly crushing everything beneath it, and all communications failed, the military opened up with everything it had, 
all to absolutely no effect.  The bullets bounced off.  The explosions blew back into open air.  The ray weapons fizzled out.  And the ship came down.

     In the middle of the barrage, a great mechanical voice boomed out.  
"Stop that!"  Seeing that their weapons had no effect at all, the Army 
stopped shooting.  Maybe someone remembered that there were a million more ships like this one in orbit.

     The alien ship finally reached the ground, and it settled down, down, down through the earth until it reached bedrock.  And there it sat for 
seven days and nights.

     Finally a portal opened in the smooth skin of the ship, and a ramp extended, and out floated a small army of dinosaur-aliens, 81 of them to be exact.  They were enclosed in a light blue forcefield, and they rode on platforms of green stone, and they didn't touch the ground.  They made their way to the entrance to the United Nations, and used some sort of tool to dematerialize an opening in the building wall large enough for their party to float through.  Ignoring all the people who tried to block or guide them, they went directly to the assembly station.

The President of the United Nations put it as gently as he could, but finally had to ask, "Why are you here?"

The alien dinosaur barked at him.  "Exactly what we wanted to ask you!  Why are you creatures here?"

"This is our home planet.  We evolved here," said the human.

"Wrong," snapped the dinosaur.  "We evolved here and had a high 
civilization on this world more than 70 million years ago.  When we 
developed a star drive, we set out to explore the galaxy.  Now we have 
returned, and find that our planet has been infested with mammals.  And 
you're ruining and polluting the world.  That has to stop, and we're here 
to tell you we want our planet back!"

"What? You want the planet back?"  The delegates erupted into a maelstorm 
of shouting and noise.

"Since you seem to be marginally intelligent, the Galactic Council ruled 
that we could not just come in and wipe you out like the vermin you are.  
But we can evict you," snarled the dinosaur.  "This is your formal notice.  You have one hundred years to leave the planet, and if you're not gone by then, you will be thrown off the planet with all the force at our disposal!"

The End


Cat in Hat

There once was an obnoxious cat
Who walked around wearing a hat
Star of book, stage, and screen,
He was crazy, not mean,
Though he caught neither bird, mouse, nor rat.



     by Ken St. Andre

Zorg was the best nova-ship pilot in two galaxies!  But when the new quasar class ships came out, ick still lost ick's job.

High intelligence, lightning-like reflexes, and experience with every black hole, asteroid belt, and navigational hazard in the Milky Way--none of 
these things made any difference at all. Ick lost ick's job and found 
ickself stuck on a planet somewhere out on the Grnokh-forsaken galactic rim.
Zorg simply didn't have enough tentacles to do the job!



The saga continues.
Zorg was the Best Nova Ship Pilot in Two Galaxies, Part Two
     Zorg's nova-ship sat at the spaceport in storage.  Nobody wanted to 
charter it now that the quasar-ships were doing all the work--four times as fast, eight times the cargo capacity, half as expensive.  Quasar-ships 
ruled the galaxy and had for many years now.
     Zorg glumphed in the Brittle Periwinkle Stewplace with a Denebian 
Slime Devil named Glap!Togg.  He had a snifter of Rigellian rum in one 
tentacle and a pernishity pod in another and he regaled his companion with the tale of how he foiled Captain Gleedlikk of the Orion space pirates.
      Suddenly, the galactovision screen emitted a strident alarm and the 
grave countenance of Ran Dather appeared.  "This is a hyper-space bulletin.  The super giant star Urkto Thrombosis in the Omega-13 quadrant has just 
gone super-nova.  Trillions of sentients have perished.  Reports are coming in of quasar-ships all over the galaxy exploding.  Stay tuned to this 
channel for further reports."
     "Hmmm," said Zorg, "perhaps Ick had better sober up."
     "Glg!!!bffflmook!!!?" said the Denebian Slime Devil who was a good deal more inebriated than Zorg.
     Before long, the bizchip implanted in Zorg's third auxiliary brain 
bleetled, and he processed a request for emergency transport of medical 
supplies and workers to Morphun-12.  It seemed that Zorg was back in 
     Ick later learned that due to a design flaw in the quasar-ships 
hyperdrive engines, they were all flooded with unimaginable quantities of 
energy from the super-nova conveyed directly through hyperspace.  Who knew that something like that could happen?  Poof!  Sizzle!  No more 
quasar-ships anywhere.  Loss of life and goods throughout the twin galaxies was huge.
      Between the stars Zorg had a momentary thought for all the 
quasar-ship pilots who had been better than he, and who were all dead.  
"Better to be lucky than good," Zorg mused.  "Of course, it doesn't hurt to be good also."
      Zorg soon regained his old skills.  And it wasn't long before once 
again it was well known that Zorg was the best nova-ship pilot in two 


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