The Fish Expert

Photo by: The Storyteller’s Abode

The small town of Anagnos on the Grecian coast enjoyed a reputation for great fishing. Part of this was due to the exploits and the sage advice blog of The Fish Expert.

Stewart trudged along the beach past tourists and sunbathers to join his fishing friends. When he joined them, he began baiting his hooks with Tuna.

Anatolio shook his head at Stewart. He held up his tablet with The Fish Expert blog. “The Expert says you need Halibut right now.”

“Cor!” complained Stewart. “All I’ve got is Tuna.”

“Have some of mine.”

***

In the waters beyond the beach, a random mutation granted a group of octopuses outstanding intelligence.

“I love fishing,” said the octopus, Floo.

“Me too!” agreed Ooridoo, plucking some Halibut off a hook. “It’s the easy way to feed.”

“I’m getting bored with Halibut, though.”

“Yeah. Maybe some Orange Roughy.”

“Right!”

Floo opened his waterproof tablet and logged into his The Fish Expert account. He wrote:

Halibut is losing efficacy. Orange Roughy is what the skilled angler baits his hooks with now.

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Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers: https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/fffaw-challenge-week-of-may-23-2017/

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The Bet

Photo by: Al Forbes

The guards led former Prime Minister Gallaway through Traiter’s Gate. Senator Broughton looked smug as he walked beside him, pleased with his victory. “What’s in it for you?” said Gallaway.

“You think I’ll actually reveal my plans?” snorted Broughton.

The two entered the gate and it clanged behind them. “True. I could still mousetrap you, and make a dollar out of it.”

“Ha!” scoffed Broughton. “Your Technology Party doesn’t own all the high-tech. Your party’s snooping nano-flys are all disabled. These guards are hand-picked loyalists. You’ve got nothing!”

“So it’s true. The Ptolemy Federation does own you.”

“Of course. My populist ideals appealed to common-folk’s paranoia enough to establish my power base. The Ptolemy Federation will soon employ our computer codes which I leaked to them. I’ll blame it all on your Technology Party, of course. In a few weeks their hackers will take over our systems and we’ll be ripe for invasion.”

“You’re the real traitor here!”

“So?” smirked Broughton. “My proper title will be Planetary Governor.”

“Excellent,” grinned Gallaway.

“Eh?”

“I told you I could mousetrap you.”

Broughton’s smirk fell. “But we swept for bugs! Your nanos are destroyed!”

“Oh yes, you did get them. But you just walked into Traitor’s Gate with one…” The bodies of Gallaway and the “loyal guards” began to break apart. They collapsed into clouds of nano-dust drifting in the breeze.

As Senator Broughton howled in the dungeons beyond Traitor’s Gate, the real Prime Minister Gallaway stood in a control room watching the scene beside Foreign Minister Gloucester.

“Told you I’d get him to walk through Traitor’s Gate,” said Gallaway.

Gloucester shook his head. “He did it with a smile too!”

“A bet’s a bet,” reminded Gallaway.

Wordlessly, Gloucester handed him a measly, piddling, dollar bill.
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Written for Sunday Photo Fiction: https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/sunday-photo-fiction-may-21st-2017/

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Birthday Greetings

In Portal, North Dakota, the US and Canadian customs agents often hung out together, telling tall tales about their respective countries.

Morris, the American customs agent stood 6’10” and boasted nearly three-hundred pounds of solid muscle. Morris was used to getting his way in life. If he wanted anything he would rumble, “But I want to!” which usually convinced anyone. Lastly, his favorite greeting was to pick up someone and shake them. Morris alone thought this was hysterically funny.

One day, the agents met on the Canadian side to celebrate Etienne’s birthday. Before Morris entered the tavern, the Canadians looked at him very seriously and said, “They say Etienne is half-moose. So, it’s best not to shake him.”

Morris scoffed at the obvious tall tale. “But I want to!”

He entered the tavern and roared, “Where’s Etienne! C’mere little buddy!”

“Hello!” said Etienne. All 8-feet of him eclipsed even Morris. His four-foot antlers cast deep shadows across the big man’s stricken expression.

As Etienne shook him like a ragdoll, Morris squeaked, “Happy Birthday?”
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Written for What Pegman Saw: https://whatpegmansaw.com/2017/05/20/portal-nd/

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Calibration Problem

Photo by: Roger Bultot

Marconi’s submarine sandwiches were already famous when the diner upgraded their kitchens. When it was done, they claimed their nanotechnology ovens recreated their traditional flavors and textures perfectly. Quincy hoped it was true.

“I’ll take the Hot Six-Inch Italian,” said Quincy to the server robot.

Four minutes later, the robot returned with his plate. Quincy recoiled at what he saw on his plate. He called over a human supervisor.

Giovanni stared down at the plate in horror. “Ohmigosh, I’m sorry!”

“That’s okay, Gio,” said Quincy. “Looks like a calibration problem.”

Carefully, Giovanni carried away the six-inch tall, angry Italian man.
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Written for the Friday Fictioneers: https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/05/17/12-may-2017/

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Side Effects

Photo by: loniangraphics

Natalia Gantz, perhaps the richest woman in the world, gazed into the microscope. “Alright, doctor,” she sneered. “What am I looking at?”

Doctor Bengtsdotter sighed privately. “This is a plant frozen in the normal way. See the ice crystals? They rupture cell walls. That’s why nothing survives being frozen…under normal conditions.”

“So?” Natalia lit a cigarette.

“There’s no smoking in this hospital, ma’am.”

Her look said she could buy the hospital with her pocket change.

Bengtsdotter continued, “Our cryogenic procedure doesn’t create ice crystals. We employ a blood system like the Arctic Frog’s, which can be frozen and survive unaffected.”

“Sounds repugnant,” she gagged. “Can it kill me?”

“Unlikely, but your current brain cancer will kill you for certain.”

Natalia dropped the lit cigarette on the floor. “I’m exhausted. Make it so, Bertram.”

As Natalia wandered off, glaring at anyone in her path, Bertram sat with the doctor.

“There may be bad side effects to the personality,” warned Bengtsdotter to Bertram.

Bertram sighed in Natalia’s direction. “That’s alright, doctor. I doubt anyone would notice.”
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Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers: https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/fffaw-challenge-week-of-may-16-2017/

Author’s Notes:

The Arctic Frog really can survive being frozen: http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2013/08/21/how-the-alaska-wood-frog-survives-being-frozen/

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The Phone Call

Sheriff Tom Ramache had seen a lot of things happening on Parker Beach, but this one was new. He began the long walk from the coast road to the site.

The cairn stood nearly five-feet tall. The man assembling it stood over seven-feet tall. His strangely elongated face appeared calm. He worked industriously, placing a flat stone, bits of various powders, then three small stones on the powders. Another flat stone went on top of the three and so on.

“Rock Balancing” went against park rules. Despite the beautiful workmanship Ramache had to tell the fellow to stop.

He arrived at the cairn where the man paid him no attention. On the sand beside the cairn he saw a partially dismantled straight jacket, on which various ground minerals lay in powder form. Beside that, rested an old radio. Ramache cleared his throat. “Howdy,” he said.

“Good day,” said the man. He sprinkled ground quartz and placed a small rock on top of it.

This was very different from what Rock Balancers usually did. His curiosity was piqued. “I’m Tom Ramache, Sheriff’s Office. You?”

“Oh, my name is quite unpronounceable. Just call me Pin.”

“Okay, Pin. Whatcha’ doing here?”

“Just making a phone call.”

Curiouser and curiouser. “With stones? Hardly, digital quality eh? I don’t suppose you’re calling San Diego.”

Pin chuckled. “No sir. A lot further than that. About 2,000 light years from here.”

Okay. That explained the straight jacket. Pin seemed mighty calm and reasonable for an asylum patient. Ramache wondered if he could reason with the man. “I’ve read a bit of science fiction. Learned some things from it.”

“That’s good.”

“Wouldn’t it take 2,000 years, because you’re calling someplace 2,000 light years away, to get a reply from your ‘phone call?'”

“Absolutely correct,” grinned Pin. “If I were using radio signals. This will be an FTL call.”

“Faster Than Light communications? With stones?”

The cairn had grown to seven feet. Pin shrugged. “The math is arguably complex. Are you familiar with Hueroplyctic Subplasmic Interactions?”

“Ah, no.” Ramache noted the printing on the straight jacket. “How long were you in Marigold Asylum?”

Pin paused a moment, looking askance. “Six months.”

“What happened, if you don’t mind me asking.”

“Not at all,” smiled Pin. “I foolishly admitted my true purpose here.”

“Did you harm someone or threaten anyone?” This part was critical in Ramache’s thinking.

“Absolutely not! I’m here to study your indigenous peoples, not interfere.”

“You mean Native Americans?”

“Not just them. All Humans.” Pin smiled up at the nine-foot cairn and began attaching wires from the old radio to it. “I’m no harm to anyone Sheriff. I just want to get home.”

Ramache kicked at the sand unhappily. “Well Pin, we all want things. I dream about a yellow DeTomaso Pantera. It’s a beautiful car, but so rare I’ll never afford one.”

“It’s too bad you never studied Hueroplyctics.” Pin smiled wanly. “I’ll see what I can do.”

Ramache hid a smirk. Why couldn’t all crazies be this nice? “Can I trust you to stay where you are, Pin?”

“For now, yes.”

Ramache stepped out of earshot and was soon discussing the case with Deputy Callahan. “They can’t hold him for more than three months if he hasn’t proven to be a threat. They violated this guys rights, I don’t care if he’s homeless. Now that’s an offense I will prosecute. Did you tell them that? Okay, I’ll wait.”

Behind the Sheriff, another call got through.

*fzzt fzzt*

Operations Control. Please explain your emergency.

“This is Research Agent FWY23785B-1, Requesting immediate extraction. ”

Copy that, FWY23785B-1. Do you request Total Planetary Sterilization for hostile species?

“Ah, negative, control.” Pin gazed at Ramache. “Some are quite evolved. Recommend revisiting at a later century.”

Copy that, FWY23785B-1. Stand by for pickup.

Pin smiled towards Ramache. “I have one more request, Control…”

Ramache roared into his mic, “Oh now they say he’s dangerous? I’ve seen more hostile Gerbils! Yeah…well I can see somebody has psychotic fantasies. You tell them to get their shit together before I get there, and…”

Ramache turned back to look for Pin, and dropped his mic.

The cairn was gone, as if it never existed. Pin had disappeared too, nowhere to be seen in miles of open beach. In his place stood a shining, yellow, DeTomaso Pantera.

Ramache picked his mic back up. “Callahan. How long is the drive to Marigold Asylum? Thirty minutes, right?” He grinned at the low, lean muscle car. “Tell Marigold I’ll be there, and I’ll want answers, in fifteen minutes.”
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Written for the Grammar Ghoul Press: http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/gg-writing-challenge-71/

Author’s Notes:

Rock Balancing (art): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_balancing

DeTomaso Pantera:

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Virgin Birth

Photo by: Sally Ann Hodgekiss

Governor Vittorio was a vain man. He liked to keep beautiful things around him. He restored the beauty of the ancient city of Tuscolio. He commissioned the massive sculpture, “Dance of the Satyrs” and placed it the City Center.

Perhaps it is no surprise that his daughter, Rosetta emerged as one of Europe’s most beautiful women. Men arrived from everywhere in the world to court her. This kept Vittorio rather busy. Eventually, he placed her in the tower of the Capital Building beside the City Center. From the age of sixteen on, she had no contact with anyone beside her matronly assistants.

The press still photographed the beautiful Rosetta as she stood at the window. Fans would wave to her, and even one supernaturally lifelike satyr in the sculpture seemed to wave too.

Then one day, a scandal broke. Rosetta was pregnant! Vittorio raged through the Capital Building, screaming at his staff and hurling things. His staff claimed no one had entered her rooms. Her pregnancy was a miracle, they claimed. Vittorio would have none of it. Within hours, all the males of his staff were sacked.

Days after Rosetta gave birth, she finally emerged in public after years of isolation. She carried her baby in her arms amid crowds of adoring fans. She stopped at the sculpture. A nearby photographer saw her look up at the waving satyr and murmur, “Say hello to your son, my love.”
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Written for Sunday Photo Fiction: https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/05/14/sunday-photo-fiction-may-14th-2017/

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