“The Annual Times Square Paint Dry” • by Larry Hodges

Thousands stared in stymied excitement as the beige paint covering the One Times Square building slowly dried. 

According to calculations, it would completely dry at midnight, signaling the New Year.

Ever since the also beige-colored wasp-like Andromedan superheroes conquered Earth, millions swooped about the world, enforcing their moronic morality mandates. If it was fun, it was illegal. They’d even declared the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop at Times Square “too exciting.”

Not everyone was happy with its replacement.

Happy New Year!” Susie cried at midnight, splashing bright red paint against the building. A dozen bug-eyed Andromedan superheroes grabbed her.

The Andromedan morality courts pronounced sentence one year later. Susie could have gone to Times Square to watch the paint dry on New Year’s Eve but instead, thanks to the stupid Andromedans guarding her, she had been waiting in line for hours for the flight to Mars, the Andromedan prison.


Larry Hodges, from Germantown, MD, is an active member of Science Fiction Writers of America with over 120 short story sales and four novels. He's a member of Codexwriters and a graduate of the Odyssey and the Taos Toolbox Writers Workshops. He has 17 books and over 2000 published articles in over 170 different publications. He's also a member of the USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame, and claims to be the best table tennis player in Science Fiction Writers of America, and the best science fiction writer in USA Table Tennis!!! Visit him at larryhodges.com.

P.S. If you enjoyed this story, be sure to check out his story, “The Roads to Hell,” on the old SHOWCASE site.