Poor Translation

The Spaniards arrived at the temple first, looking for gold. New to Cambodia, their translations were incomplete. All the Spanish got from the monks was, “Beware the Nangalang.”

Fearless leader Diaz merely scoffed, “A monster?” He stepped inside the entrance, screamed, and disappeared. The remaining Spaniards fled, telling stories of the horrific monster guarding the temple. Rumors spread across Europe.

In the 1930s, fearless treasure hunter Idaho Johnson braved the temple. He disappeared in an instant.

During the Vietnam War, fearless war hero Colonel Davidson heard about the terrifying monster guarding gold. “Beware the Nangalang!” warned the monks. He ignored the “superstitious” natives…and screamed as he disappeared.

In the 90s, High Priest Dong-Hue introduced his son to the temple. At the entrance he said, “Beware the Nangalang!”

“Right, Dad,” said Quok, obviously fluent in the local language. “I’ll watch out for the hole in the stairs leading to a bottomless pit.”
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Written for What Pegman Saw: https://whatpegmansaw.com/2017/09/23/sambor-prei-kuk-temple-cambodia/

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A Difficult Pet

Photo by: Sarah Potter

Paul and Marjorie returned home from an afternoon of shopping. In the garage, Paul saw his shoes and groaned, “Binky!”

“What’s wrong?” said Marjorie.

Paul pointed, “Binky got hold of my work shoes.”

Marjorie crossed her arms. “You wanted a Giant Spider for a pet.”

“Oh stop. Binky’s just a baby…”

“Baby Giant Spider,” corrected Marjorie.

“Oh, he’s a sweetheart. He’s just acting out because he misses us.”

“Uh huh.” Marjorie continued into the house while Paul brushed out his shoes. She returned moments later.

“Binky’s just acting out, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Then you’ll love what he did to the living room.”
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Written for the Friday Fictioneers: https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/09/20/22-september-2017/

Pets: You gotta love ’em.

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Two Can Play

Photo by: Pamela S. Canepa

The war with the alien Aphrileans ended thirty years before, though they and Humans still hated each other. This loathing manifested in non-violent ways.

Humanity’s Sheppard building, the tallest in all Human space, was destroyed during the war. The Aphrileans insisted on building their embassy on the site. They even placed lights in the shape of the Sheppard building. A subtle, nightly, jab at human dignity.

Looking up at the embassy’s lights from across the street, Vice Ambassador Bertram muttered to Ambassador Winton, “They love reminding us don’t they?”

The two diplomats always dreaded entering the embassy. Inside, they had to shower several times, then don unscented scrubs provided by the embassy. The sensitive Aphrilean sense of smell required it. The odor of a dried leaf could make the aliens’ eyes water.

“That’s alright,” said Winton, smiling beatifically. He smoked one last cigar before entering the building. “I made a deal with the city mayor.”

Bertram suddenly had a sneezing fit. “Yeah?”

“Yep. We placed a ground black pepper factory beside the embassy.”
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Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers: https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/fffaw-challenge-week-of-september-19-2017/

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Bureaucracy Meets Its Match

Photo by: John Robinson

Dr. Haanraadts stood before reporters, safely across the river from the High-Energy Physics Institute. “I’m proud to say we’ve successfully tested the Wells Drive,” he grinned. “Our time-traveling team has returned from the past safe and sound.”

Reporters surged forward in excitement.

“Unfortunately, traveling to a very different Earth has dangers. A Foreign Biological Element has returned with them.”

“What does that mean?” shouted reporters. “Dangerous bacteria?”

“Microbes?”

“Exotic pollen?”

“Is the public in danger?”

“I assure you, you are all safe,” said Haanraadts. “We are containing the foreign element for study. That’s all for now. Thank you!”

A winded grad student ran up to Haanraadts and whispered, “It’s in the administration processing wing.”

“Administration processing?” grinned Haanraadts. “It could be trapped in there forever! At last we’ve got it cornered.”

“Well, not exactly.”

“Why not? That space is filled with obstacles.”

The student winced. “Yeah. All those cubicles and government overseers do stop us from ordering more toilet paper, for instance.”

“Right!”

“They don’t slow down an angry Triceratops!”
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Written for Sunday Photo Fiction: https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/sunday-photo-fiction-september-17th-2017/

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Unusual Skills

CIA Agent Warfield sat on a bench alongside another of St. Petersburg’s beautiful churches. Beside him, new agent Barnes fidgeted.

“Where is agent Privideniye coming out?” said Barnes.

“Over there.”

“I don’t see a door there.”

Warfield turned a page of his newspaper. “Not to worry.”

Moments later a middle-aged man walked through the wall of the church. As he passed the pair Privideniye murmured, “They made the switch. It’s transferring to Khabarovsk.”

Warfield just nodded. Barnes stared aghast and hissed, “He walked through a wall!”

“When in Russia, we bring our A-game. Privideniye has unusual skills.”

“Is he a mutant?”

“No.”

“Manipulates quantum fields?”

Nyet.

“Right! Nanotechnology.”

“Hardly. He’s worked for American intelligence for almost 100 years.”

“We had age-defying drugs way back then? Hmm. Guess he disagreed with the October Revolution of 1917.”

“You could say that,” murmured Warfield. “He died defending the Tsars in 1917.”
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Written for What Pegman Saw: https://whatpegmansaw.com/2017/09/16/st-petersburg-russia/

Author’s Notes:

The October Revolution was the Communist takeover of Russia in October 1917:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_Revolution

Privideniye: One of the Russian words for “Ghost.”
https://www.wordhippo.com/what-is/the/russian-word-for-c4745785181de931cfd5bd79294cb1687d82aea9.html

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Heart Sandwiches

Photo by: Kelvin M. Knight

The heart sandwiches at Stein’s Deli developed an amazing reputation. They could cure any disease.

Wall Street tycoon Mitchell Fromme visited the doctor’s office. “What’s this withering disease, doc?”

Doctor Liston said, “Not sure yet.”

“Ate a pastrami sandwich at Stein’s. It didn’t help.”

“Well, it’s been medically documented. Those sandwiches work.”

“Why not for me?”

Liston checked his heart. “Wall Street guy, right?”

“Yep. Put three companies out of business last year. Made millions!”

Liston grimaced and tapped his stethoscope. Tried again. He sighed, “The medical literature is clear. Heart sandwiches only work…”

“Yeah?”

“…If you have a heart.”
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Written for the Friday Fictioneers: https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/09/13/15-september-2017/

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Modern Fable

Photo by: shivamt25

Monique visited the Indian cultural festival alone. Phil wouldn’t go to it, or any festival. Inside the auditorium, she met Anup, who was selling flowers.

“These aren’t just any flowers,” explained Anup. “They’re magical!”

“How so?” smirked Monique. Magic? Right!

“They make the person they’re for, happy.”

“Uh huh,” sighed Monique. I would be nice if only it were true. “These marigolds are pretty. I’ll buy them for me.”

Back at home, her boyfriend Phil whined. “I had to make my own sandwich! And all you got was flowers? Worthless! How about beers. Must I think of everything?”

The flowers suddenly whirled and blasted pollen into Phil’s face. He fell over, deep in a coma.

“How do these flowers make me happy?” moaned Monique, dialing 911.

Glenn the EMT was tall, tanned, and good-looking.

“It was the flowers!” explained Monique.

“I just bought flowers for myself too,” noted Glenn. “Nobody would go to the festival with me.”

Monique stared. “Are you gay?”

“I’m not. Why?”

“Just wondering,” she blushed. “Guess these flowers are magical!”
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Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers: https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/09/11/fffaw-challenge-week-of-september-12-2017/

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