The Silver Lining

Photo by: Footy and Foodie

Keith and Aubry saw it happen whilst standing on the shore of Lake Erie. Watching the city of Detroit die was curiously beautiful, a sunset at 3:17 in the afternoon.

Luckily, scientists provided enough warning. They saw the hundred-meter asteroid coming. City planners managed to get everyone out. They had to be sneaky about it. They couldn’t broadcast, “Get out, we’re all gonna die!” The highways would’ve jammed and most would never escape. Instead, they evacuated whole neighborhoods in stages, claiming water toxicity problems. Given Michigan’s history, that was believable.

About 30-meters of nickel-iron survived reentry to strike. It was no extinction event, but enough to obliterate a city.

Watching from Magee Wildlife area, Keith said, “I’ll miss the sub sandwiches at Harry’s.”

“The pasta at Antonio’s,” sighed Aubry.

“Great cars were made in Detroit.”

“Motown was born there.”

Keith smiled wanly. “Some of the best music ever.”

As the fireball marking a city’s death rose, Keith said, “I suppose there’s a silver lining to this.”

“Huh?”

“They finally solved the parking problem downtown.”
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Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers: https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/11/20/fffaw-reflection/

Author’s Notes:

Worst Cities for drivers: Detroit is number 9.
https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/loans/worst-cities-for-car-drivers-2015/

Chicago is on the list for worst parking, but I couldn’t do it. I’d miss the Chicago Bears and deep dish pizza too much. Anyway, I’ve never once seen a large city without a downtown parking problem.

Magee Wildlife area is real. Just look for: Magee Marsh Wildlife Area

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The Lost War

Many countries wanted access to Dr. Taggart’s home and his computer files. Inside, his experiments with superdense-storage batteries promised to revolutionize transportation. The country that controlled the batteries would become the next “hyper-power.”

A Praying Mantis crawled up the wall, seeking entry.

In Vladivostok, Dr. Lupinov controlled the mantis reconnaissance drone. “The drone’s GPS receiver has placed it precisely at Taggart’s home,” he explained. “But now the key is selecting an animal form for maximum stealth but also great combat abilities,” he grinned evilly. “Observe!”

Viciously, the drone destroyed American spider drones. It obliterated Japanese moth drones.

But then, a Chinese toad drone swallowed the Russian mantis.

A British raven drone murdered the Chinese toad.

Hundreds of drones in many animal forms, battled for supremacy all over the house. The war had gone on for months. No one nation had gained access, unable to fight past the other countries’ drones.

Next door, merely thirty yards away, Gary the grad student rang the door bell. The door opened and he began apologizing. “I’m so sorry! I got lost. My GPS sent me to the wrong house.”

“Not to worry,” smiled Dr. Taggart. “GPS gets my house location wrong all the time.”
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Written for Sunday Photo Fiction: https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/11/19/sunday-photo-fiction-19-november-2017/

Author’s Notes:

Battery technology developed very slowly in the past century. It didn’t need to advance, the requirements weren’t steep. But with a recent fascination with electric cars, suddenly battery tech is racing ahead.
https://www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2015/09/15/five-emerging-battery-technologies-for-electric-vehicles/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/bertelschmitt/2017/07/25/ultrafast-charging-solid-state-ev-batteries-around-the-corner-toyota-confirms/#7a7df7c244bb

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How Sharks Are Smart

Science reporter James Henretty found the two sharing notes on the beach at the Encrucijada Reserve. They easily agreed to an interview.

James said, “I understand you’re combining animal DNA with Human DNA. Most countries have regulations preventing that. How did you get around them?”

“Easy,” said Dr. Wolcyzki. “We used politicians. So we got an exemption.”

James shrugged. “Fair enough. So how are your experiments going?”

“Mixed results,” said Dr. Okeke. “I combined a politician with a bee. I wanted a politician that actually got busy and did something.”

“How did it go?”

Okeke slumped sadly. “He crashed a small country’s economy in three months instead of the usual two years. Then he got rich from the collapse.”

James winced. “How about you, Doctor Wolcyzki?”

“I’m combining a politician and a shark.”

“And…?”

“My creations always starve to death. They keep expecting all the other sharks to feed them.”
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Written for What Pegman Saw: https://whatpegmansaw.com/2017/11/18/san-jose-el-huayate-chiapas-mexico/

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The Difficult Retirement

Photo by: J Hardy Carroll

The fire trucks arrived quickly. They knew the address well. As usual, the fire was localized and the team put the flames out quickly.

Fire Chief Walton was still unhappy.

He stomped up the stairs to Apartment 17. Johnny answered Walton’s insistent knocks. “Hey Chief.”

“Hey Johnny.”

The silence between them dragged slowly like an arthritic sloth.

“Thought we made an agreement.”

Johnny studied his shoes upon the scorched floorboards. “Yeah.”

“Look, I get it. You’re civic-minded and you still want to help since retiring. But when you get excited…”

“I know.”

“You gotta stop watching the political news, Human Torch!”
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Written for the Friday Fictioneers: https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/11/15/10-november-2017/

Author’s Notes:

The Human Torch (Johnny Storm): “The Human Torch is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is a founding member of the Fantastic Four…”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Torch

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The Translation

Photo by: any1mark66

The scientists huddled jabbering excitedly. The time traveling team had convinced a Native-American to return with them. At last, the meaning of the enigmatic South-Western Native-American pictographs could be conclusively decoded.

Everyone from the anthropological team inserted translator earbuds. The time travel team approached with a sun-browned Paiute Indian between them.

Professor Diaz, leader of the scientists shook Colonel Seton’s hand. “Fantastic work, Colonel. How did you convince him to leave his home?”

Seton shrugged. “I showed him my Twitter feed. He wants to follow Sophia Vergara.”

“Right.” Diaz turned to their guest WoodRunner. “Welcome, Brother.”

WoodRunner nodded shyly.

Diaz turned to a pictograph upon a stone, visible for miles. Obviously a significant message. “What does this mean?”

The scientists interrupted, offering their pet theories.

“It calls on the gods for a good harvest!”

“A warning to rival tribes!”

“No,” said WoodRunner. “This man seeks a wife.”

“Aha! It is a plea to the gods.”

“A magical spell!”

WoodRunner sighed, “It just says he likes long walks holding hands, and he’s a good kisser.”
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Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers: https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/fffaw-challenge-week-of-november-14-2017/

Author’s Notes:

If anyone is interested here’s the link I used to decide which tribe WoodRunner is from:
https://www.davemcgary.com/native-american-tribes-of-the-southwest/

A page about pictographs:
https://www.legendsofamerica.com/na-symbols/

Sophia Vergara (stars in the comedy: Modern Family)

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The Water Folk

Photo by: Al Forbes

The town of Bailey grew faster thanĀ  other small towns. Its town council and individual businessman all made savvy decisions. Outsiders never knew why, but locals thanked the Water Folk.

Water Folk arrived on comets more than two billion years ago. Nearly all water, with trace minerals and electrical charges, the creatures generated magnetic fields with which they controlled their form. Their intelligence was immeasurable, their wisdom beyond imagining.

They lived in the storm drains of Bailey, offering advice to anyone who asked for it. At Vine and Main, Windom appeared before Monica. His anthropomorphic form was comforting though he was still slightly translucent. He listened carefully to Monica’s question then spat, “Well fire her then! You’ll both be better off.”

To Michael, Windom said, “Sell that worthless stock! What are you thinking?”

Everyone noticed that Windom had become abrasive lately. People began asking other Water Folk how to deal with him.

Months later, a different Water Folk streamed up onto the sidewalk.

“You’re not Windom,” said Stephanie.

“I’m Waldren, Windom’s son.”

“Oh! He’s become so angry lately.”

“He needed a vacation.”

“I see. So you’re not like him?”

“Not at all! I’m the watered down version.”
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Written for Sunday Photo Fiction: https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/sunday-photo-fiction-november-12th-2017/

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Times Are Changing

athens-greece

Investigator Melina Eliopoulos looked for clues. Above her a statue of Athena loomed atop a tall plinth. Nearby, her partner Kyros Nicolaides sighed, “Do you really believe her?”

“Sure I do,” said Melina. “Politos is a powerful politician. We’ve known for years that he’s forced himself upon young women. We just never found enough proof to beat his tricky lawyers.”

“That’s true but…”

“And even though the American looks pretty and delicate, she’s a hand-to-hand combat specialist. It’s no surprise Politos’ face needed reconstruction.”

“Right. We’ve got the proof to convict the bastard too. So why are we here?”

“You mean you don’t believe the actual goddess Athena stood by her and encouraged her to fight back? That even Politis’ lawyers couldn’t help him this time?”

“Exactly. The Gods are gone.”

Melina looked up to see mud on the feet of Athena’s statue. “Who knows? Maybe times are changing.”
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Written for What Pegman Saw: https://whatpegmansaw.com/2017/11/11/athens-greece/

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