The Highest Bidder

Photo by: J Hardy Carroll

“Sinbad” was the first person to take Harry’s invention seriously.

So the fifteen-year old felt bad when FBI agents swept in and grabbed the Russian at Holbarth subway station, beside the payphone.

FBI Agent Knight said, “Lemme see that thing.”

Harry showed him the counter-gravity skateboard.

Knight snorted at the cobbled-together device. “A seasoned GRU agent got suckered by that crap?” Handing Harry $10, he sneered, “Your country appreciates your service. Go buy a comic book.”

Harry sped down the tunnel, hovering on counter-gravity fields. He had to get to Cabrese Station to answer the phone. The Israelis were offering $30,000,000.
________________________________________
Written for the Friday Fictioneers: https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/07/26/28-july-2017/

Author’s Notes:

Everyone is familiar with the Russian KGB, but with the collapse of the USSR the KGB no longer exists. New spy agencies have replaced it.

Russian Intelligence Services:

FSB – Domestic Intelligence (Similar to FBI)
SVR – Foreign Intelligence
GRU – Military Foreign Intelligence: “The GRU is Russia’s largest foreign intelligence agency. In 1997 it deployed six times as many agents in foreign countries as the SVR, the successor of the KGB’s foreign operations directorate (PGU KGB).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Intelligence_Service_(Russia)

Posted in Short Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A New Ending

Photo by: Louise with The Storyteller’s Abode

Raul was fishing off the Portuguese coast when he found her. Thalassa climbed into his boat as he hauled on the nets. The mermaid was lovely. Beneath her sea green hair were two huge, enticing, glistening…green eyes.

Thalassa told him of the wondrous castles below with lovely gardens. All the creatures lived in fairness and equality. She spoke for hours of the wonders of the deep.

“Your world seems beautiful,” said Raul.

“So is yours!” grinned Thalassa.

“How do you know about it?”

She held up a waterproof cell phone. “YouTube!”

Raul covered his eyes.

“I’ve fallen in love with you!” exclaimed Thalassa. “Don’t worry, I know how the story ends. I sacrifice my home, grow legs, and live with you!”

“Uh….,” hesitated Raul.

“Tell me more about your…my, new home! Isn’t it fabulous?”

Unemployment soared. Violent nationalism and racism spun out of control. The soon-to-be-elected populous president would likely deport Raul’s ailing Sudanese father, and otherwise wreck the country.

Raul sighed, “How about a new ending? Any chance I could grow a tail?”
________________________________
Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers: https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/fffaw-challenge-week-of-july-25-2017/

Posted in Short Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Special

Photo by: Al Forbes

Atlanta in 2114 differed from much of the world. It was a counter-gravity society. Cars, signs, even buildings all floated in the air, held aloft by invisible counter-gravity beams. It changed the people there in curious ways.

Talia and her husband Mark raised their son Henry in Atlanta. The couple grew up in Bismark, North Dakota, and were still adjusting to Atlanta’s peculiar society. Henry, having grown up there, never doubted anything.

When Julio went to visit cousin Talia she warned him, “Be careful. Henry is special.”

Saddened by the news, Julio resigned himself to the fact that Henry was developmentally challenged. But as the whole group rode to Talia’s home in a transit pod, apparently hovering in the air, Henry proved capable of a regular conversation. Henry didn’t seem so special. He seemed ordinary.

They stopped beside a hovering market and Henry stepped out of the pod. He walked across thin air to go inside. Julio realized he wanted ice cream and started to follow Henry. Talia grabbed his arm. “Don’t!”

“What?” said Julio. “I’m just going to follow Henry across the counter-gravity walkway.”

“There is no walkway.”

“Huh?”

“Did I mention Henry is special?”
__________________________________
Written for Sunday Photo Fiction: https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/07/23/sunday-photo-fiction-july-23rd-2017/

Author’s Notes:

You will never see me use the term, “Anti-Gravity.” It’s perhaps elitist of me, but that’s the way I roll. The term itself implies certain things that cannot possibly be. Think of it. If anti-gravity were possible our universe could never form stars and planets. So in my stories I always write, “counter-gravity.” Airplanes, hot air balloons, and helicopters use various forms of counter-gravity. The “effect” of gravity can be “countered” by things like aerodynamic lift (how an airplane flies), but there is no opposite (or “anti-“) of gravity. From Wiki: ” ‘Anti-gravity’ is often used colloquially to refer to devices that look as if they reverse gravity even though they operate through other means, such as lifters, which fly in the air by moving air with electromagnetic fields. ”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-gravity

Posted in Short Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

The Critical Delay

The world’s most influential climate change skeptic, James Malhof, smoked a cigar on his yacht. Elatedly, he explained his method to a trio of bikini-clad, busty blonds.

“It doesn’t matter what experts say,” he explained. “All I do is pretend to want fair discussion, and cause delay. Repeat a lie (that climate change isn’t really proven and that it’s a hoax) enough times and people will eventually believe it. I’ve told this lie through so many sources, overwhelming actual scientists, that now people believe me!” He waved his hand. “And now my salary pays for this yacht!”

A freak wave suddenly hit the boat and Malhof fell overboard. Sharks began to circle. “Help!” he called, but the blonds didn’t hear him. They were absorbed with taking selfies.

A family of the last sentient sea turtles in the world cruised nearby. All were quite malnourished. The coral reef, providing their food, was dying off in the acidified ocean.

One popped its head head above water, “You called for help?”

“Yes! These sharks will eat me any second!”

“Sharks eat people?”

“Of course! Ask any scientist!”

“But is that really proven?” smirked the turtle. “Let’s discuss this. Don’t scientists perpetrate hoaxes?”
________________________________________
Written for What Pegman Saw: https://whatpegmansaw.com/2017/07/22/great-barrier-reef-australia/

Author’s Notes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_denial

Posted in Short Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

The Reunion

Photo by: Kent Bonham

Ray tried many elaborate schemes to sleep with Karen during high school. He never succeeded in impressing her. She liked him, just not in a sexual way.

Ten years later, they reconnected through Facebook.

Ray hadn’t changed. He claimed he met the Dalai Lama. He supposedly traveled to 60 countries, in the same car.

“Yeah, right,” Karen scoffed. He was still trying to sleep with her.

In Chicago, Karen said, “Your car isn’t safe here.”

“Right,” said Ray. He pressed a button on his key fob. In seconds, the car collapsed into a tiny cube.

Staring at Ray in wonder, Karen whispered, “What was the Dalai Lama like?”
__________________________________
Written for the Friday Fictioneers: https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/07/19/21-july-2017/

Posted in Short Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

A Delicate Woman

Photo by: J.S. Brand

Prince Armine became enamored by the farmer’s daughter when still a boy.

Angelica’s gentle, frail features glowed in sunlight. Her curly blond hair swirled like a halo as she smiled sweetly to everyone. Twice a day her tiny frame carried two large buckets of water up the steps. Each afternoon, she heaved hay bales over the fence to the waiting horses.

Armine only saw her delicate beauty.

When Armine came of age, Angelica happily accepted the Prince’s marriage proposal. On the road to their honeymoon, a highwayman stopped their carriage. The Prince pushed Angelica behind him. “Be safe my frail flower,” he instructed, gamely brandishing a pitiable dagger.

“Darling, please!” protested Angelica.

“I’ll protect you!” he squeaked.

Angelica shoved him aside with shocking strength and disarmed the bandit, hauling the burly rogue off his feet by his own axe.

“My delicate flower!” blustered Armine.

Standing upon the highwayman’s neck, she hauled Armine off his feet and kissed him gently. “Be good to me, my prince. This flower has thorns…big ones.”
__________________________________
Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers: https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/fffaw-challenge-week-of-july-18-2017/

Posted in Short Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

The Catalyst

Photo by: Mike Vore

Some people in the world function as catalysts, changing society simply by being there.

Ainsley Cohen produced some of his greatest inventions in the old Watt Building just outside Birmingham, Alabama. Anytime Ainsley sequestered himself there everyone knew something world-changing would eventually emerge. Would it be improved fusion? Counter-gravity beams?

Tech news outlets tried to peek inside the building and scoop all rivals. They used Ainsley’s surveillance drones, some as small as fleas, to peek inside the old building. The exterior crawled with insectoid drones. One outlet realized they would never scoop anyone if everybody was there. They created combat drones to destroy rival machines. Other outlets produced their own. Drone vs. drone battles ensued. Specialized machines appeared, some for penetrating the building’s surveillance defenses, some for escorting such machines. Others defended territory, while still more attacked.

The tiny war raged on.

Inside the building, Ainsley spoke on the phone with his agent. “I know, I know!” He loosened his bathrobe. “I can say I’m developing the latest military combat nanobots.”

Taking a bite of pepperoni pizza, he paused to watch a monitor displaying the building’s exterior. Hundreds of tiny sparks marked explosions in the miniaturized war outside. Ainsley grinned, “Development is proceeding at an accelerated pace.”
_________________________________

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction: https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/sunday-photo-fiction-16th-july-2017/

Posted in Short Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments