Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor


Go for the Dome
by Sean Monaghan

Quantum Rose
by Jude-Marie Green

Autumn’s Net
by Matt Thompson

Crawley, I Tell You!
by Tim McDaniel

In the Cave of the Silver Pool
by Peter J Larrivee

How Uncle Larry Became a Shape-Shifting Blob
by Marc Rokoff

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Through a Poisoned Stream I Flow
by Brandon Ketchum

Shorter Stories

Robot Story
by Robin Wyatt Dunn

by Jeffrey Abrams

Dumb Luck
by Michael N. Farney


Xenophobia Destroys Science Fiction
by Carol Kean

Computed Cryptograms
by Sam Bellotto Jr.



Comic Strips






By Jeffrey Abrams

EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE FAILURES, you’d think that after all these encounters, I’d be used to the drill. Then again, maybe that’s why I’m so nervous. With you’re introduced to at most seven different people. If you haven’t met “that special person” by then, they consider you a loser and cut you off. Because this is my last shot at meeting a normal guy, the pressure’s enormous.

Punctuality’s important to me, so CD and I arrive at CafĂ© Arzu five minutes ahead of schedule. Complying with the contractual rules, I place an ID placard on my table. Not only will this make it easier for Mister Seven to find me, it should also keep the other creeps at bay.

Attempting to appear calm, I lean back in my chair and gaze at the trendily dressed men and women hovering around the bar. They all look so perfect; are they an illusion? Do they wonder if this place makes the right statement? Do they worry about having broccoli in their teeth?

I jolt when a shadow darkens my table. Looking up, I feast my eyes on a man in his late twenties. His dress is both casual and expensive; Mephisto shoes and Versace khakis and shirt. It takes all my composure not to gawk slack-jawed at him. With his dark curly hair and strikingly blue eyes, this guy is gorgeous.

“Kelly?” he asks in a baritone voice.

“Uh, yes, I’m Kelly. You must be Carter.”

“Yup, that’s me. It’s great to finally meet you.” Then he pauses as a quizzical look crosses his face. “Umm, am I interrupting something? It looks like you already have company.”

“Huh? Oh, you mean CD? He’s not really company, he’s my compatibility detector.”

“I see ... What’s a compatibility detector?”

“You don’t know? Well, they just came out a few months ago, and I was lucky enough to get CD, one of the first models. Mostly, he just sits and listens to conversations. He might ask a question or two, but nothing intrusive. Once he’s gathered and analyzed enough data, he’ll come up with a compatibility rating for us.”

“Uh, don’t you think it’s a little early for that?”

“Oh no! When you meet someone new, you learn more about them during the first hour than at any other time. Like they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

“Well said,” CD adds, joining the conversation. “Carter, I can tell by your facial expressions, eye-dilation, and posture, that you’re not comfortable with my presence. Please, I’m not here to ruin your date. Believe me, if I could make myself invisible, I would. But look at it from Kelly’s perspective. With so many unbalanced people out there, don’t you think she’s wise to protect herself against predators?”

Carter pulls out a chair and sits. “I totally agree, but it’s not like she’s alone with me in the woods. Do you really think I’d try something stupid with all these people around?

“Are you saying it’s the crowd that’s protecting her?”

Before things get too out of control, I change the subject. “When CD arrived, he spent hours asking me questions. I have to admit that some of them were pretty intimate, but now I think he knows me better than I know myself. He’s like a wise father, and I trust his opinions.”

“Yes, Kelly is a very complex person,” CD says, nodding like a bobblehead doll.

“I’m sure you’re right,” Carter replies. “But I came here for a drink and some conversation, not to be dissected. I don’t need a machine to tell me if there’s chemistry between two people; I can do that just fine on my own.”

“Perhaps,” CD adds, “but your tone and demeanor tell me you don’t like being challenged. In addition, your shallow breathing and flushed face signal a heightened emotional state.”

“This is unbelievable,” Carter shouts, then turns his beautiful eyes toward me. “Kelly, do you really think this is a normal way to meet someone?”

“Uh ... Maybe not conventional, but like CD says, I’ve got a right to be safe.”

“Well, I’m sorry, and I don’t mean to be rude, but if you think it’s reasonable to bring a glorified lie-detector on a first date, then I don’t need to wait for your new toy’s decision. I’m outta here.”

With that, Carter stands and walks out of my life, forever.

“That was the shortest date I’ve ever had,” I sigh. “And the guy was so cute. Here I am, twenty-eight years old, and not a single prospect in sight.”

“Kelly, don’t beat yourself up over this. I’m sure you can see how mismatched you and Carter were. You’re much more of a forward thinker than he’ll ever be.”

“Thanks CD. You always have the right words to cheer me up.”

“I’m glad I can help. I also sense that you’re feeling tense, very stressed. Would you like me to give you a neck rub?” END

Jeffrey Abrams holds a Master’s degree in physiological psychology. He received a Writer's of the Future Honorable Mention in 2014 and 2015. His work has also appeared in “Nebula Rift” magazine.