“Chris, what’s going on?” Susan O’Hara stood at the storage shed watching her husband tap at the laptop keyboard, attached to a rough, plaster globe wrapped in wire.
“Tracking his spacecraft. Dad said he’d come back. Found the diagrams and the frequency in his papers.”
“Your Dad was crazy. He thought his uncle was a Martian.”
The forty-four year old engineer kept focused on the screen with occasional glances at a blip of light appearing on the makeshift sphere. “I’m getting something.”
He toggled the volume up and a voice came through. “Tim. Help. The robots are taking over Mars.”
I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo flash fiction challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction only 100 words long. My word count is 100.
Some of you may already have picked up references to the 1960s TV sitcom My Favorite Martian which starred Ray Walston and Bill Bixby. Walston played a martian stranded on Earth who is helped by a young newspaper reporter named Tim O’Hara (Bixby). O’Hara explained the martian to his landlady as his “Uncle Martin.” The show ran from 1963 to 1966 and I remember watching it as a kid.
Both Walston and Bixby are no longer with us, and I used the birth date of Bixby’s deceased son Christopher (he tragically died at age six) as the basis for creating the probable age of Tim O’Hara’s son, who has inherited the legacy of knowing there is life on Mars. Since we keep sending robots to the Red Planet, I thought I’d make that the source of “Martin’s” angst.
To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.