The Signal

Photo by: Douglas M. MacIlroy

Gerald sat before his his laptop and patted the strange-looking ball beside it. “With my antennae, I’ve homed in on the signal.”

“What signal?” said Bryce, munching on Doritos.

“From the alien ship. I conducted a study and proved this signal renders humans inert on their couches, incapable of cognition. It’s an attempt to render humanity incapable of self-defense!”

“Blimey,” spluttered Bryce, Doritos flying. “It’s some kind of brain ray?”

“Nope.”

“A signal that hacks the brain and crashes it?”

“Nah.”

“Then what is it?”

“See for yourself,” said Gerald.

“Holy crap,” said Bryce. “Keeping up with the Karadashians reruns!”
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Written for the Friday Fictioneers: https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/12/12/14-december-2018/

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Perfectly Ordinary

Photo by: Dawn M. Miller

The train sailed over the old tracks, hovering millimeters above them with superconductors.

Virgil’s great-grandfather, Bertram, groaned. “First you clone me, resurrecting me from cells, and now a hovering train. It’s too much for me, born in the 1800s!”

“Hovertrains are perfectly ordinary,” argued Virgil.

The train entered a tunnel in Wyoming.

*flash*

The train reappeared in the Siberian railway.

Old Bertram moaned, “What the…?”

“Wormhole tunnel,” shrugged Virgil. “Perfectly ordinary.”

“One more crazy innovation,” spat Bertram. “And I’ll die of a heart attack!”

Brent held the soup that nanobots created in seconds. He grinned sheepishly. “Look! Perfectly ordinary stew.”
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Written for the Friday Fictioneers: https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/12/05/7-december-2018/

Author’s Notes:

Superconductors in trains: http://www.supraconductivite.fr/en/index.php?p=applications-trains-maglev-more

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The Order

Photo by Jilly Funell

A month after the Wertiger Insititute opened with its Space Communications Array, the aliens contacted humanity.

“For one month, we will monitor Earth’s transmissions, then give our Final Order.”

That was it. What did it mean?

To be safe, TV channels sanitized their broadcasts. “The Sound of Music” and “Bambi” played thousands of times. Movies like “A Clockwork Orange” and “50 Shades of Gray” never played once.

No one thought about the commercial content.

The hour arrived and the entire Earth waited with baited breath.

At last the aliens spoke, “Our Order is: One thousand pepperoni pizzas with extra cheese!”
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Written for the Friday Fictioners: https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/10/17/19-october-2018/

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The Emissary

Photo by: Gah Learner

“The aliens demanded total capitulation of Earth,” said President Soares. “We sent an emissary with our reply.”

“Who did you send?” shuddered Meghan, the First Lady.

“There were human volunteers, but we sent Alexa.”

“You sent a household robot on a diplomatic mission?”

Soares shrugged. “She was articulate enough to get an audience with the alien leader, inside the ship.”

“But diplomacy is complex and nuanced!”

“Oh she’s quite capable of presenting our position.”

“Look!” pointed Meghan at the light in the night sky. “Is that a new star?”

Soares grinned. “That’s Alexa’s answer. Five-hundred megatons of nuclear ‘Hell No!’ ”
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Written for the Friday Fictioneers: https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/09/05/7-september-2018/

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The True Essence

Photo by: Nathan Sowers

“It’s a magic mirror!” said Charles, the Senator’s majordomo. He aimed it towards the giant city. “In the reflection we can see the origins of things. See? The city of Megapolis began as a farmhouse.”

“Really?” drawled Senator Graves, looking bored.

“I look into it, and see a magnificent peacock!”

“Gimme that!” growled Graves. He gazed into the mirror, grimaced, and shook it around.

“What do you see?”

“It must be broken. It’s not working right.”

“I assure you it works fine,” said the majordomo, checking it again. “Try it now.”

Senator Graves sighed. “No, I still see a tapeworm!”
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Written for the Friday Fictioneers: https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/08/29/31-august-2018/

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A Myth Returned

Photo by: Carla Bicomong

In Holder Bay, people sincerely believed a mermaid lived in the waters. Every year they held a lantern festival, hoping to hear her song once more.

Becka placed her phone in the lantern to guard it from sand. “The ringtone plays Enya,” she told Bruce. “So magical!”

They chatted for a while then wandered down the beach. Behind them, true believers launched every lantern they could find. Everyone watched in silence, listening. And then a sweet, lovely voice drifted across. “It’s her!” called a man. “The mermaid is here!”

Down the beach, Becka said, “Call my phone again. It’s here somewhere!”
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Written for the Friday Fictioneers: https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/08/22/24-august-2018/

Author’s Notes:

I imagine the mermaid/ringtone sounded something like this…
Enya – Storms in Africa

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A Memory Rejected

Photo by: Ronda Del Boccio

Evan was starting to regret bringing Julian to the museum. The boy just couldn’t relate. He pointed to a display of plants, “Julian, look! That’s grass.”

Julian squinted. “Is that an herb?”

“No! It used to grow everywhere. People used to walk on it or sit on it and read books.”

“Sit on it? Dad, that makes no sense.”

“It’s true. We played games on it too.”

Julian turned to his friend, Tyler, beside him. “It’s grass. My Dad says people sat on it.” He rolled his eyes.

Tyler shook his head. “It’s a shame when parents start going senile.”
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Written for the Friday Fictioneers: https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/08/08/10-august-2018/

Author’s Notes:

Lyrics from Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s “Karn Evil 9”

There behind a glass
Stands a real blade of grass
Be careful as you pass
Move along! Move along

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