False Front

The city of Littlecoal, WV was very remote. Documentary filmmaker Joyce Morton had to walk five miles in sweltering July heat just to meet “Granny.”

Granny lived in a ramshackle home beside Main Street…a dirt road.

“This town was booming during the good ol’ coal days,” said Granny. “There was food on the table fer ever’body.”

“And then the coal company your family owned went bust,” prompted Joyce.

“Yep. Hurt us bad. Whole towns died.”

Joyce looked around at the home’s worn out interior. “It must be awful living in poverty.”

“Poverty? squeaked Granny. “Oh, I just keep this place for show. The family bought into renewable energy since then.” She led Joyce into the back yard where electric BMW and Tesla supercars waited. “Let’s get you a ride back to town.”

Joyce just gaped.

“Hope you don’t mind ’em,” said Granny. “Our private helicopter is in the shop.”
Written for What Pegman Saw: https://whatpegmansaw.com/2017/10/07/littleton-west-virginia/

Author’s Notes:

Energy Jobs are out there, they just aren’t in coal. Pretending to revive a failing energy industry like coal, with a poor future, seems like throwing good money after bad. What folks in West Virginia have gone through is awful. How about giving them a viable, realistic hope by retraining for a booming energy industry that offers far more jobs than coal? According to EESI, direct and indirect coal jobs amount to over 160 thousand jobs nationwide. That doesn’t leave much for West Virginia’s slice of the pie. Renewable energy jobs currently employ 3.3 million!

It’s the job that matters, not whether its coal or not. Promising to restore the coal industry is nothing less than an empty, false promise.

More and more supercars are going electric or at least hybrid. Here’s what BMW’s offering looks like:

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Lantern Festival

Recently, we went to the Lantern Festival in Paige, TX. We’ve seen pics of such festivals in Asia many times and it’s been a dream for Shey and me to attend one. Here’s some pics from Shey’s camera.

The lanterns are made out of thin paper. Cardboard beneath it is lit and the hot air from the flame lifts the lantern up. About 4,000 people attended.

Hannah tried her first Smores. Naturally she loved them!

The hotdogs were awesome.

Hannah hung out with a Disney princess.

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Paying Attention

Photo by: Ted Strutz

The ferry captain kneeled before 7-year old Chris. “…This ferry has special engines. They use portals to travel to distant planets! Wanna go?”

“Can I mom?” grinned Chris.

“I suppose,” groaned Sylvia, flipping through her Twitter feeds.

When they left, Graham said, “You don’t sound happy.”

“Chris lives in imaginary places too much,” grated Sylvia, flipping to Taylor Swift’s Twitter page. “He should pay attention to real things.”


Graham blinked, stunned.

Sylvia finally looked up from her iPad. “Are you listening? I’d give the Moon for Chris to see the real world.”

Graham pointed up. “What about two moons?”
Written for the Friday Fictioneers: https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/10/04/13-october-2017-2/

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Unnecessary Testing

Photo by: Elaine Farrington Johnson

The alien research vessel cruised in stealth mode above Earth. Harypht zoomed the cameras into the zone of the tragedy. He could see a little girl holding a sign that read, “Love.” Once again, the alien doubted his work.

“The Humans have suffered enough, I think,” he said to Pallyphyt.

“Suffered? They’re just simple creatures.”

“But they still feel. We have moral obligations.”

“Moral?” scoffed Pallyphyt. “Don’t the humans spray perfume into rabbits’ eyes, knowing it will hurt?”

“Does that justify continuing to fire the Violence Ray?”

Pallyphyt sighed, “More data is needed. You know that.”

Harypht bristled. “You’ve aimed it at Columbine, Sandy Hook, Orlando, now Las Vegas. Isn’t that enough?”

“Our signal is getting jammed. I think the humans have discovered us,” grimaced Pallyphyt.

“If that’s true, we’re dead meat!”

“Hardly. Our mission is peaceful.”

“Peaceful? The humans will see it as an attack.”

“It’s science! We’ll tell them we’re just testing.”

Harypht saw the nuclear missile fast approaching their ship on his sensors. “Well then you better talk fast!”
Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers: https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/10/02/fffaw-challenge-week-of-october-3-2017/

Author’s Notes:

The worst mass shooting in US history just occurred recently in Las Vegas. Thoughts and condolences go out to friends and families of the victims. I found myself wondering what causes these things. I wish there was a way to stop it. This story is one of my many thoughts about that.

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Dinner is Served!

Photo by: Al Forbes

The solar flare was massive and far more powerful than anyone expected. Earth’s magnetic field protected it as usual, but intense strips of radiation slipped through at a few small locations. In a farm outside Davenport, Iowa, small but critical changes developed.

Foxes, Max and Maury, watched the farm from a distance. “I’m tellin’ you,” said Max. “The farmer hasn’t been there in weeks! The dogs are gone too.”

“No way…” said Maury.

“Way!” Max quivered with excitement. “Best of all, the chicken coop is unlocked!”

“For reals?”

“Yep. Dinner is served!”

The foxes sneaked onto the farm, encountering no opposition. Though the presence of stripped skeletons in the yard seemed odd. They sneaked to the chicken coop. The door opened easily, and the two slipped in.

Maury grinned at Max. This was a dream come true.

Nearby, one carnivorous chicken grinned at the other carnivorous chicken. “I told you they’d come,” it whispered. “Dinner is served!”
Written for Sunday Photo Fiction: https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/sunday-photo-fiction-october-1st-2017/

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The Big Oops

Photo by: J Hardy Carroll

Evil Dr. Genesplice stood outside the old factory, beaming. “Just think, Poc!” he said to his assistant.

Poc, belonged to a species of intelligent Lemur that worked for the evil genius. “Sure, boss.”

“Inside this building, a gigantic creature lies in wait. It can destroy whole cities! The only thing on Earth that can hold it is the containment chamber it grew in!”

“You thought of everything, boss.”

“Indeed I did!”

“Right, boss.”

“Now it is time. Release the Heraken!”

Poc received a radio call. He whispered into Genesplice’s ear.

“What do you mean the doors aren’t tall enough?”
Written for the Friday Fictioneers: https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/09/27/29-september-2017/

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Magic Sunglasses

Photo by: shivamt25

The sunglasses has done their work. Eva had met Brad several months earlier and he, not unexpectedly, fell in love with her. That was all well and good, but would he love her without the magic glasses? In the weeks that followed he proved this to her satisfaction.

So what about the sunglasses? It was time to pass them on. Who would believe they were magic? Better that someone discovered them.

At the diner, she placed them on her coffee cup where they were easily seen. With a smile, she left them behind.

Something awakened in the coffee cup. It sidled up to another cup and said, “Hey baby…”

The diner staff soon gathered with shocked expressions. They watched the curiously animated cups, not believing their eyes.

“I didn’t know coffee cups did that,” said Dana.

“Silly,” chided Marco. “How do you think coffee cups are made?”
Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers: https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/fffaw-challenge-week-of-september-26-2017/

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