One of My Stories Published in Scaffolding Magazine

ellie

The first issue of Scaffolding Magazine

This magazine has taken some time to get off the ground, and I was pleased to see the announcement this morning that the first issue is now in print.

My short story “The Alien” is featured within (page 22) along with a lot of other terrific content by authors and artists a lot more talented than I am.

Right now, the magazine is only available in print, but there are plans for publishing it in digital and audio formats as well.

I submitted my story just like any other fledging writer and so can you. Click the link, find out what this eighty-page tome has to offer, and have a look at the submissions page

You can find a small sample of this my published story here on my blog, but the full tale is only available in Scaffolding.

Pretty exciting stuff.

Pointing Out the Road Homeward

uganda

© Google – June 2015

Thursday, April 30, 1970, Kampala, Uganda.

“Rabbi Sizomu, you have a year to get the Jews out of Kampala before Idi Amin gains power.”

“How can you be so certain of this, my friend?”

“Do you trust me?”

Both men were standing on a lonely road, untamed brush to the right, a large hothouse farm to the left.

“I have learned to trust you in the time you’ve spent among us. You know things I cannot explain.

“Trust me, Gershom. President Obote will be overthrown in a military coup. Amin will attack the Jews living in Kampala. Convince them to make Aliyah, emigrate to Israel.”

“Why are you warning us?”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

“Then it’s a matter of faith. Very well, I will do as you say.”

Time Traveler Martin Fields watched Rabbi Gershom Sizomu walk back to Kampala before returning home to 2017, his mission accomplished.

I wrote this small tale in response to K. Rawson’s What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above, taken from Google maps, and craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. Mine is 149, and it’s a difficult tale to tell in so few words. I once again employed my time traveler Martin Fields because it’s true. In 1971, Idi Amin took control of Uganda, deposing President Milton Obote in a military coup. Amin exiled all the Asians and viciously attacked the Jewish population of Kampala.

I couldn’t find any information about any Rabbis in Uganda in 1970, so I “borrowed” Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, who in February of last year, was elected to the Ugandan Parliament. You can read his story at Haaretz.com.

To read other stories based on this prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

To Fly Again

car in woods

© Tim Livingston

Every year, Norm would take a vacation from his job as an aeronautics engineer at Hughes Aircraft to go hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Norm liked to cut his own rough trails through the forest, which was why he was so surprised when he came across the old DeSoto. 1947 or 48 by the looks of her. His Dad owned one like it when Norm was a kid.

The trunk was half open. There was something bulky inside. Norm pulled the lid free and unwrapped the heavy, oiled canvas tarp.

“Oh my God, it can’t be.”

He remembered the old newsreels and stories his Dad told him about the hero. He wore a metal helmet, and with his rocket pack, fought the Nazis in the 30s and 40s. He’d disappeared without a trace. How his equipment got here, Norm couldn’t figure, but he knew he could get the old engine working.

With the Soviet threat looming and the race to the Moon heating up, it was time for the Rocketeer to fly again.

rocketeer

The Rocketeer – created by Dave Stevens

I wrote this in response to the FFfAW Challenge-Week of March 14, 2017. The idea is to use the photo prompt at the top to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words, with 150 being ideal. My tale comes in at 174 words. Wish it was less, but I needed that many words to do the set up for my reveal.

To read more stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

You can tell only by inference, but I set my story in the early 1960s. My late father-in-law worked at Hughes Aircraft, founded by the famous aviator and inventor Howard Hughes. The corporation no longer exists and Hughes is long dead, but I decided to use the company because it made a nice connection to the Rocketeer’s period in history. The comic book character was created by Dave Stevens in 1982 as an homage to the Saturday matinee serial heroes of the 30s and 40s.

In the 1991 film starring Billy Campbell in the lead role, a fictionalized Howard Hughes actually invented the rocket pack, which was stolen by gangsters and hastily stashed in stunt pilot Cliff Secord’s plane.

In both the comic book and film, Secord uses the rocket pack to become the superhero the Rocketeer. The story of this retro-hero is one of my guilty pleasures. I’d love to see the Rocketeer fly again.

The Old Astronaut

spacesuit

© A Mixed Bag 2012

I finally made it. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Never thought I’d get the chance to visit. I always wanted to see all these exhibits. I spent my childhood, my whole life really, admiring astronauts and their accomplishments. I used to spend hours pretending I was wearing a spacesuit, just like the one I’m standing in front of now.

It doesn’t look as impressive in real life, but then, it’s just an empty suit. What makes spacesuits heroic are the men and women who’ve worn them, who were blasted into space, who walked on the Moon. I was in high school when Neil Armstrong wore this suit and declared, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

I wish I could have had my shot at even sub-orbital space. I can afford a tourist’s ride on SpaceX now, but I’m too old.

My grandson’s not, though. Next month he and five other astronauts will be launched from the Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station, and from there, they’ll board the Ares One spaceship to Mars. I’ve got my shot into space because my grandson will always be in my heart. Thank you, boy.

I’m writing this in response to the Sunday Photo Fiction – March 12th 2017 hosted by Al Forbes. The idea is for authors to use the photo prompt above to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words. My story is exactly 200 words long.

Oh, I really did grow up with the NASA manned space missions, from Mercury, to Gemini, to Apollo, and beyond. I even got a chance to see and touch (I wasn’t supposed to touch it) one of the Apollo command modules once, although I’ve never been to the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum (I wish). I’ll never go into space, but my grandchildren’s generation will. To the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

To read other tales based on the photo, go to InLinkz.com.

The Komodo Cure

iss

The International Space Station (ISS) | NASA

NASA took every precaution when they launched it into space. It’s destination was the International Space Station (ISS). The station’s latest life form, methicillian-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) arrived via SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on February 18, 2017.

According to the official press release:

The idea is not to weaponize space with MRSA — a bacterium that kills more Americans every year than HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, emphysema, and homicide combined — but to send its mutation rates into hyperdrive, allowing scientists to see the pathogen’s next moves well before they appear on Earth.

That was five months ago.

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The Lost Steinway

piano

© Mike Vore

Of all places, she found it in the first floor public men’s room in a deserted hotel in upstate New York. It was Monday, September 2, 1985, 4:35 a.m. In less than two hours, the demolition crew would be here to level the place. They would have destroyed this priceless treasure.

NaCumbea placed her hand gently on the tarp covering the old Steinway. “I know a couple who would love to take care of you, beautiful.”

She expanded the field radius of her time jump suit to include the piano and set her coordinates for the distant future in a parallel quantum reality. Wyatt Ellison and Josue Hunter were protectors of rare historical artifacts. NaCumbea knew they’d take good care of the last piano Bill Evans played before he died.

It didn’t exist in their reality, but it did in hers, so she agreed to find it for them. After all, she owed them one.

I’m probably cheating a bit since these flash fiction stories are supposed to be stand-alones, but I couldn’t help leveraging not only my Martin Fields and NaCumbea time travel stories, but also a separate series involving the characters Wyatt Ellison and Josue Hunter, who I also referenced in my recent story Unraveling.

The photo prompt is from FFfAW Challenge-Week of March 07, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the prompt above to create a story between 100 and 175 words, with 150 being the ideal target. My story is 156 words long.

To read other stories based on this prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Unraveling

explosion

Image: giantbomb.com

A Martin Fields and NaCumbea Time Travel Story

Martin thought, “If we ever get out of this mess, I’m going to have to bring NaCumbea here. This must be the ultimate time tourist’s destination.”

The Temple of Karnak. Even the sacred enclosure of Amun alone could contain ten average-sized European Cathedrals.

“So here I am. Martin Fields, Time Traveler disguised as a priest. I’m so scared, I’ve left my jump suit’s stealth mode active so I shouldn’t be noticed. I’m in Egypt somewhere around 1958 BCE, although exact measurements get a little splashy when mapping them to a 21st century CE calendar.”

It was getting close to the climax of this year’s Opet Festival, the twenty-seven day period when Egyptians believed their gods and the earth required a recharge of chaotic energy from the cosmos.

Martin headed to the storage chamber where the accessories for the god Amun were kept. The most prized of the gold and silver jewelry used to adorn the god for the climatic ceremony that’s supposed to regenerate him are kept there. The key gold encrusted ruby is missing. The priests just don’t know it yet.

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The Impossible Direction

woman

From p90music.com

A Martin Fields Time Travel Story

“That was exhausting,” he said in English. “I can’t believe I let you convince me to come here. It’s worse than Disneyland.”

Martin Fields sat heavily on his chair at their table. It was June in Paris and the weather was very pleasant as the sun receded into the west.

“It’s not all that bad, Martin.” NaCumbea sat lightly in her seat as if totally unaffected by the past nine hours they’d spent touring the vast number of stunning exhibits at the 1925 International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts.

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Catching NaCumbea

pearl harbor

© National Archives – Washington D.C.

“So who is she?” Martin Fields had just put on his upgraded time jump suit. He didn’t see Isis materialize behind him in the center of his bedroom, but he knew how to feel her presence by now.

“Consider it a challenge to discover that for yourself, Martin.”

“Too easy, Isis.” He turned to face her. “The new suit’s sensors can detect her jumps. I can literally be one step ahead of her and I have all the time in the universe to do it in.”

“Then please proceed.”

Isis was always smug and condescending, but he still thought she was up to something. What did she know about the other time traveler? Probably everything.

There were no more manual controls on the suit. Not since the incident with the Zodiac killer. Now the suit was virtually skin-tight and with holographic properties that allowed Martin to project any costume he needed to blend in with any period in history. He could control the suit at the speed of thought.

Catching NaCumbea should be a breeze.

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NaCumbea

olive

© A Mixed Bag

Time Traveler Martin Fields was spending Tuesday evening experimenting with the perfect vodka martini. The single olive might offend James Bond, but Martin thought it was the appropriate garnish. No time travel assignment from Isis in more than two weeks, so he mostly focused on his non-existent love life.

Martin felt nauseous, but sure it had nothing to do with his drink.

“What the hell!”

The olive and thin liquid streams were rising out of his glass.

She materialized in the center of his living room in a purplish haze. The olive and vodka returned to gravity’s control.

“Hello.” She had an enchanting smile and a time jump suit to die for, if it was a jump suit. Could have just been a freakishly futuristic skin-tight catsuit laced with photo-circuits.

I sat up. “I suppose stuff like this shouldn’t surprise me.”

“It shouldn’t, Martin.”

Great. She knows my name and where (and when) I live.

“Name’s NaCumbea.” She didn’t extend her hand by way of introduction. “I thought now that you know the ropes, you should know you’re not the only one.”

Before I could respond, the purple haze around her brightened. “Come get me.” The chase had begun.

Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction for February 26th 2017. The goal is to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. Mine is 199.

To read other stories based on the photo prompt above, go to InLinkz.com.

Again, I’m using my recurring time traveler Martin Fields, who first started training for this job in the story On Wednesday The Time Traveler Got Wet.

This story concludes in Catching NaCumbea.