Stealing The Rose

We launched Ray Gun Revival magazine in the summer of 2006 and as a brand-spankin’ new publication, quickly found ourselves short on stories to publish. We published a new chapter of serialized novel every week in the beginning but were short on original stories. As we were beginning to fill our slush pile, I thought I’d write a short story under a pseudonym, submit it through the normal process, and see what happened. I grabbed the name Ian Stewart out of the blue and thought about what I could write that I could submit for a new Space Opera ‘zine.

At that time, two things were on my mind – the almost mystical telepathic link I have with my wife on occasion, and a near-disastrous first meeting with a new security guard where I worked in Madison, WI. While walking the halls to drop off a document for review, I’d run into a new Security Guard and had gotten off on the wrong foot. I felt foolish but amused at myself, and the encounter gave me an idea. I went home and wrote this story out in one sitting. I refined it over the course of a couple of weeks and submitted the story to RGR and it was accepted and ultimately published in the sixth issue. After that, we had enough submissions in the slush pile and we were off to the races.

I tracked found where the Security office was and slide the manuscript under the door with a note. He got the story and really liked it and it broke the ice. We shared a laugh at my expense and became good friends. I’ve lost track of him over the years but I still think of him fondly whenever I read this story and remember how we met all those years ago.


“Well, if it isn’t the new Security guy,” I said cheerfully, and then smiled to show that I meant nothing by it. My cheesy grin bounced off his stony silence and evaporated, and I knew in that moment that we were in Big Trouble.

He spoke in a deep, flinty voice. “I’m not a Security ‘
guy,’ I am Dock Security Officer Qarl Tammeson, and today I’m keeping the dock area in order.” He looked me in the eye. “What are you doing?” And then, after measuring me quickly up and down, he grudgingly added “…Sir.”