Growing Back

overgrown city

Found at playstationlifestyle.net – no image credit available

“I’ll be out front taking care of the weeds, Diane.” Rudy Harper was yelling as he held the door open between the laundry room and the garage.

“Okay.” He could hear her well enough, though she was in the kitchen.

He shut the door. The garage was already open to the driveway so he had plenty of light to see. He wasn’t in a good mood, and was muttering to himself as he opened one of the utility cabinets. “Freaking summer. Everybody loves freaking summer. Gonna be another scorcher today, freaking hundred degrees at least. There. Gotcha.” He pulled the bottle of weed killer and a pair of gloves out and closed the cabinet.

Putting on the gloves, he wielded his weapon, preparing to vanquish one of his sworn enemies. “Freaking weeds, always growing up through the cracks in the concrete. Got the lawn mowed and edged early enough, but I’ll end up sweating like a pig over the damn weeds.”

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When Meg Comes to Visit

ferry and birds

white-ship-traveling-through-vast-body-of-water-with-white-birds-flying-beside-879479 Pixel Photo

The Golden Gate Bridge was almost completely concealed in early morning fog as the 6:30 a.m. ferry made its way from Vallejo to the San Francisco Ferry Building. It was a typical Monday morning commute, and a much more civilized way to get into the City, though the crowding on board was still barely tolerable.

It was Erma Carr’s first day traveling to work by water, having given up with both driving and BART, this being somewhat ironic, seeing that she was an Ichthyologist.

“Hey, look at that.”

“Is it a whale?”

“Whatever it is, the thing’s huge.”

The comments of her fellow passengers pulled her toward the starboard side of the ferry, which was facing the Golden Gate and the Pacific Ocean beyond.

“There’s a dorsal fin. Is it an Orca?”

Carr’s blood proverbially froze in her veins. She was a shark biologist working at the Steinhart Aquarium, and had done her Master’s Thesis on extinct shark species. What she was looking at was impossible. The Megalodon species had perished over two-and-a-half million years ago. It was nearly as big as the ferry, and as it breached the water, she knew it would kill them all.

I wrote this for Week #29 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 195.

I found out the other day that a film called The Meg is coming to theaters in August, based on the book series by Steve Alten. Yes, another shark movie, but this time the shark is 60 or 70 feet long. You can read more about Megalodons at Wikipedia or do a Google image search to get some sort of idea of how huge these brutes were.

I wrote this one just for giggles.

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

So far, I’m the only one participating in this week’s linkup, so please consider adding your own story. Thanks.

Going Up

swing

Image credit Gamze Bozkaya via Unsplash

“Get back here, Deric! Do it now!”

The minute Enoch Fischer noticed the boy was missing, he knew there’d be trouble, but he didn’t suspect that not only had some fool strung up a swing at the edge of the cliff, but that the fifteen-year-old would use it.

“Relax. I’m fine. Can’t I have some fun once in a while?” The boy turned his head around as far as he could, but Enoch still could hardly hear him.

“That’s not fun, it’s suicide. Get off this instant.”

“Poor choice of words on your part, Dad.” He was laughing, taunting his adoptive father the way he had since he was able to walk. At the apex of the arc out into empty air, Deric pulled himself up by the ropes, twisted, and then falling, grabbed the seat with both hands. On the return swing, his legs were low enough to drag on the dirt and grass pulling him to a stop.

“You should have seen the look on your face.” He stood and swatted dust off of his pant legs, still laughing at the effect his stunt had on the older man.

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Another Assignment

town

Found at Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers – Image credit unavailable

This could be a lot of places in the world spanning decades or even centuries. I don’t know how I got here, but then, I never do. It’s morning but it’s getting warm fast, which probably means summer. Where are the people? There should be people here.

Electrical conduits. That puts me somewhere in the 20th or maybe 21st century. Wait. That sounds like radio or maybe a television set. Maradona does what? Now there’s a huge amount of cheering. Of course. Maradona. The 1986 World Cup. That was the goal that made him internationally famous.

I’m in Argentina. Now I’m remembering. My assignments are always to save a single human life or to take it. I’m a gun used by unseen forces to eliminate a threat to the timeline, or the hand used to protect an asset to history. Yes, it’s this door. In the next few seconds, I have to change history, but until the moment arrives, I won’t know how.

I wrote this for the 174th FFfAW Challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 162.

I received a certain set of reactions to how I depicted Diego Maradona in my wee tale The Fan, so I thought I’d take another stab at it by at least mentioning the 1986 World Cup and his famous “Hand of God” goal as well as the “Goal of the Century.” It made him an instant legend, so I suppose I should give credit where credit is due, though it means less to my mysterious time traveler than his current assignment, whatever that is.

To read other tales based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

The Industry

abortion industry

Image found at the European Centre for Law and Justice – ACLI Site Banner – Credit unavailable

Dr. Edna Thomas had drawn the proverbial short straw this month, and was assigned to the “Disposal Unit,” a slight euphemism for the plant that provided for the orderly disposal of what was left of the aborted “material” once the stem cells and other useful biological components had been removed.

Since inadvertent contact with the remains was always a possibility in so massive an operation, she had donned the required smock and gloves, though she wouldn’t use the mask and protective lenses unless the needed to personally examine the “leftovers” on the “production” floor.

“Reynolds, have you go the latest audit info uploaded to the database yet?” She turned to the IT tech sitting next to her at the control console in the glassed-in observation room.

“Just now, Doctor. Nationally, we’ve extracted and processed 108,773 units this month alone. That should keep the bosses happy.” Glenn Reynolds seemed to authentically enjoy his work here, and was totally unphased by all of the blood and tiny body parts passing by in buckets on six parallel conveyor belts.

“What about our plant?”

“Statewide? Wait one. Yes, here it is. Just over 2,100.”

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The Future King

peabody

© Google, 2017 – Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University

Twelve-year-old David Cohen experienced a rare moment of awe standing in the George Peabody Library. He’d been accepted in the Cantate, a part of the Peabody Children’s Chorus, certainly a tremendous honor, but a secondary achievement.

He had started reading at age two, mastered algebra at four, spoke five languages by six, and written his first symphony by eight.

His goal now was to devour the contents of this library in under six months, just as he had already consumed most data sources accessible online.

His mother used her influence as the President of the National Academy of Sciences to conceal David’s “talents.” If the government found out his IQ was rated somewhere between 300 and 450, they’d turn him into a lab rat when his ambition was to cure the ills of the world.

But even he had no idea that one day, he would be called King and Messiah.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw flash fiction challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps image/location as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 149.

Today, the Pegman takes us to the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. Of course, I looked it up, but it wasn’t until I paid more attention to the image above and imagined myself standing in the middle of that library that I got my “hook, or rather part of it.”

Of course, the information about the Peabody Children’s Chorus figured into my tale, as did the ScienceTrends.com article Here Is The Highest Possible IQ And The People Who Hold The World Record.

But there was still one piece missing. What sort of goals should David have? I’d picked his last name at random, but then I realized that if one were to become the long-awaited Messiah, one would certainly have to train for it.

Unlike Christianity, in Judaism, the Messiah isn’t a supernatural being, but rather a wholly human Jewish male of the line of David and the tribe of Judah, who would grow to become both a great military leader, and a person of remarkable wisdom and piety.

150 words didn’t give me enough “space” to describe his religious training and accomplishments, so they’ll have to be assumed.

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

Waiting For Time to Pass (Expanded Version)

airport

flight-airport-airplane-plane-34631 pixel photo

I can barely see them inside because of the glare on the window, but they all look like ordinary people flying out or flying in. Ordinary people getting on with their lives, unlike me. In the window, I can see the reflection of the plane behind me, the luggage carts, the main terminal, everything out here except my own rather ordinary face. You see, I don’t have one yet.

I caught “CBS Sunday Morning” on the tube and saw the front page of “USA Today.” It’s Wednesday, 11 July 2018. If I can keep from losing my mind another ten years or so, I’ll be back, at least that’s my theory. I’m glad I’m the inventor and not a test pilot. One of them wouldn’t have a clue as to what happened.

Oh, my name is Ernie Pratt. Actually, Dr. Ernest Irving Pratt (no relation to the actor), Ph.D in Temporal Mechanics, though I never thought I’d be the one to invent a time machine, even by accident. I was working on the core of an experimental time-space drive that would manipulate a tertiary quantum realm, ultimately propelling a vessel faster than light.

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Waiting for Time to Pass

airport

flight-airport-airplane-plane-34631 pixel photo

I can barely see them inside because of the glare on the window, but they all look like ordinary people. Ordinary people getting on with their lives, unlike me. In the window, the reflection reveals the plane behind me, the luggage carts, the main terminal, everything out here except my own rather ordinary face. You see, I don’t have one yet.

I’m an inventor, Dr. Ernest Pratt (no relation to the actor). I had (or will have) a research lab on the grounds of the Albany International Air and Spaceport. My company “Superluminal” is trying to develop a faster-than-light drive. I was the only one in the lab sometime past 2 a.m. when it happened; the accident. One minute, I was trying a new lattice configuration, and the next I was looking at an airplane that Charles Lindbergh should have been flying.

A newspaper told me it was June 15, 1928. It was still the Albany Airport, but a hundred years ago.

mail plane

EARLY BIRD…This Fairchild FC-2 Cabin Monoplane, with strut-supported wing, was probably similar to the plane E.B. White rode in his flight over New York City. (Quora)

I’m invisible and immaterial. My theory is that if I stay sane and catch up with present time, I’ll have a body again. I’ve made it ninety years so far. Another ten and I’ll have it made…I hope.

I wrote this for Week #28 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner writing challenge hosted by Roger Shipp. The idea is to use the image at the top as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 198.

I forgot about the word count limit as I was writing, so I was most of the way through a longer story when I realized it wasn’t going to fit the challenge. I’ll publish it later and put a link to it here if you’re interested in more of the details of Ernest’s woes.

Anyway, I looked up the The world’s 10 oldest airports and found that Albany International Airport best suited my needs. According to that site:

The first airmail operations at the airport began in June 1928, while passenger services began in October of the same year. The airport witnessed the movement of 180 passengers in 1929 and now handles over 2.5 million passengers per annum.

Above, I’ve included the photo of an old mail plane from that era for reference.

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

I’m seeing more participation this week, but it’s not to late to write and contribute a story for Roger’s Linkup.

For a longer version of this tale, read Waiting for Time to Pass (Expanded Version).

The Other Side of the Fence

fence

Image credit: Mattias Milos via Unsplash

Gabriel peered though the tear in the chain link fence that separated Lucia from the foothills. The foothills used to be part of a State Park before the west coast cities separated from the rest of California. They kept enough land to go on hikes or walk their dogs, but except for a few community gardens, they had all their food flown in.

He was only sixteen and had been born after “The Schism,” the separation of what his Grandpa called “The Left Coast” from the more rural and conservative parts of the state. He said that other big cities had done the same thing, not just in the U.S., but in Canada and Europe, too. The state capitol had been moved from Sacramento to Los Angeles, and people in the “rightist” coastal areas, like Orange County, had chosen to sell their houses at a premium, and move to mid-sized cities here or in other states such as Idaho, which was a pretty popular destination.

“What makes you so special?”

In spite of his Grandpa, his parents, and most other people he knew, including the kids he’d grown up with, he was curious. What did the coast cities have that the rest of California didn’t? They had video games, but so did he, though not from the same manufacturers, and “coastie” products were deliberately overpriced for what they called “hicks” and “deplorables”or just plain not sold outside the cities.

Same thing with movies, music, and most of the other stuff produced in the big population centers. Yeah, the central part of the state had their own tech and entertainment products, but not the same ones. He’d never see the latest superhero movies or TV shows made by Marvel or DC unless they were pirated, and he suspected that what he and the other kids saw, listened to, and played weren’t quite as good.

“Hello.”

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The Last Hunt: A Short Story Review

to be men

Cover image of the soon to be published book “To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity.”

I’m in the process of reading for review the Superversive Press anthology To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity. I plan on writing both an Amazon review and a much more detailed one on this blog when I finish.

But I can’t wait. I’m going to create a wee preview highlighting one of the short stories enshrined therein.

But first things first. Why an anthology about “celebrating masculinity” when so much of what has been traditionally defined as masculine (for good or for ill) has been deemed toxic, not the least of which by third wave feminists and progressives?

Here’s an answer I found in the descriptive “blurb” for the book on Amazon:

Tired of stories about men as bumbling idiots? Of fathers as incompetents? Of masculinity as “toxic”? Tired of misandry? Ready for some real masculine role models? Stories about heroes and men who do the right thing? Stories about real men? The kind that provide for their families, love their wives and children, and make sacrifices. And save the world. A collection of seventeen stories and two essays, To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity pays homage to men and masculinity. Fun. Action-packed. Thought-provoking. Whatever your tastes, you will find enjoyment in these pages.

In other words, as I wrote about here almost a year ago, Not All #menaretrash.

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