The Girl, The Unicorn, and Their Kitten

enisa

© Enisa

“Now you knew I had to grow up sometime, Marigold.”

“Yes, but it all seemed to happen so fast, Phoebe.”

Phoebe couldn’t actually see the unicorn, but that was just as well because she was driving South on Interstate 5 and unicorns are terribly distracting.

“That’s what Mom and Dad said, too.”

“But your parents aren’t immortal, Phoebe. I am. The passing of centuries to me is like how the passing of a few days is to you.”

“Then I aged from eight to eighteen in the wink of an eye.” Phoebe was joking around but it was no joke to Marigold.

“Please don’t jest. I want to savor every moment of being your friend.”

“You will, Marigold. I promise.”

“When do we get to this ‘UCLA?'”

“In just a few hours. You’ll have to stay hidden on my clothes when we’re there.”

“Fortunately, little Muffin can be my eyes and ears, Phoebe.”

“Familiar spirits do come in handy, Marigold.”

“They do indeed, Phoebe.”

“Meow and please don’t speak of me as if I’m not here.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of December 5, 2017. The idea is to use the photo above as the inspiration for authoring a piece of flash fiction no more than 175 words long. My word count is 175.

I admit to being momentarily flustered when seeing this week’s photo prompt. “What in the world can I make of that,” I thought.

In 1983, My wife and I moved from Berkeley to Orange County, California, both so I could attend graduate school and so she could take charge of her recently deceased Dad’s house. I drove down with our cat “Mamacat” (long story). Well even though I had her sedated and in a carrier, she was pretty unhappy, so I put my hand in her carrier to pet her. Bad mistake, grievous error. She was out like a flash and parked herself under the brake pedal. I was traveling South on Interstate 5 at about 75 mph and if I had to stop in a hurry, she was going to be toast.

Fortunately, everything all worked out, but the photo sort of reminded me of the journey. I couldn’t really use that story, but the horses on the woman’s blouse reminded me of unicorns.

True confession time. I read a comic strip called Phoebe and her Unicorn written and drawn by Dana Simpson. I don’t know why I started reading it. I saw that it was new at GoComics.com and decided to give it a whirl. Then I got hooked, although sometimes I get a little annoyed at Phoebe’s millennial generation parents (I assume they’re about Simpson’s age).

I decided to use the character names for my wee tale, age Phoebe ten years and have her going off to university. I had to make something up for the kitten since there isn’t one on the comic strip. Just a fun, lighthearted tale.

In the comic strip, absolutely no one is surprised or otherwise reacts to a full-sized unicorn always being around Phoebe, but I decided for the sake of UCLA that Marigold would have to hide as a design on Phoebe’s clothing. Besides, I’m not sure she would have fit inside the car otherwise.

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

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Vultan’s Aerie

burj khalifa

© Google – May 2013

The two friends, veterans of many battles, stood at the foot of the glass tower upon a strangely deserted street.

“We defeated Baron Dak-Tula and the Skorpi menace Flash, but at the cost of Mongo’s biosphere. Fortunately, Earth’s biosphere survived, though sadly, your race of humans were wiped out by a Skorpi induced plague. To our benefit, Zarkov created a space going ark to bring representatives of our races to your world in safety, though barely in time.”

“Thanks to you Prince Vultan, and your race of Hawkmen, we were victorious. It’s only fitting that, on behalf of Earth, I extend every courtesy to your Hawkmen and the rest of the brave races that survived Mongo. What is your wish?”

“Actually, this Burj Khalifa tower here in Dubai would make us a fine Aerie, Flash Gordon.”

I wrote this tale for the What Pegman Saw challenge. Thanks to Google maps, this week’s destination is the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai. The idea is to use the photo prompt above to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 136.

Originally, I was going to write about a group of robotic AI window washers forming a union to fight for better working conditions at their jobs cleaning Burj Khalifa, but then my wife sent me to the store and while driving, I started getting another idea.

Yes, I read the Flash Gordon comic strip every Sunday. They’re repeats and as far as I know, no new comic strips are being created for this franchise.

I had to look up the history of Flash Gordon at Wikipedia, which is where I learned that in his later history, Flash became an interstellar hero fighting the shape shifting Skorpi race. I created a situation where Mongo’s biosphere is ruined forcing a remnant of its many peoples to flee aboard a space ark built by Dr. Zarkov. They arrive on Earth, and while our world’s biosphere is intact, the Skorpi wiped out the human population with a plague. The disease has since run its course, so our planet is now the new world of the Mongoese refugees. Flash Gordon, Dale Arden, and Dr. Hans Zarkov are the only human beings left alive.

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

If I Had a Time Machine

time machine

Bizarro comic strip for Sunday, March 28, 2017

I doubt that buying one comic book will change history all that much, except maybe that one kid who would have read it before won’t be able to now.

“That’ll be 13 cents with tax.”

I’d made sure all of the coins in my pocket were minted before 1965, so I casually reached in and pulled out a quarter.

“Here you go, pal.”

“Thanks.” He bags my purchase, puts in the receipt, and hands it over along with my change. It’s been a long time since I saw anyone calculate change in their head, or for that matter, use a mechanical cash register. God it’s good to be back.

I take the bag and walk out of Walgreens into the bright Las Vegas afternoon. I’d better get back before they come. Not sure what time Grandpa and my ten-year-old self will show up, but I probably shouldn’t meet them.

Yeah, it’s stupid. I get my hands on a time machine and all I do is travel back to the mid 1960s to buy comic books. This one is special though. Space Family Robinson issue 14. My Grandpa bought it for me. He died when I was 16 and over the years, my comic book collection was foolishly sold. The missus thought they were a waste of space but now I realize they weren’t.

spf14

The comic book my Grandpa bought me.

I get my hands on a time machine and travel back, not just for the comic books, but for the memories. It’s been decades since I’ve seen my Grandpa. Maybe hanging around for a little peek wouldn’t hurt anything.

Here they come now.

I saw the comic strip at the top of the page and I started wondering. If you weren’t a scientist, a historian, or some power hungry person bent on changing history for your own gain, what would you do with a time machine? I mean, if you had access to this thing as an ordinary person, what would you use it for?

I gave it a little thought and came up with recapturing memories.

My Dad died a little over a month ago and I saw how devastated my children were at the loss of their Grandpa. Being a Grandpa myself, I understand the unique relationship I have with my grandchildren. It makes me think of how special my Grandpa was to me.

If you had a time machine, what would you use it for? If you want, write a little story based on the concept and post your link to it in the comments here.