Friday Fictioneers: No Explanation Necessary?

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who provides us with a photo prompt. Each week’s challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by the photo, which Rochelle provided herself this week. Outsourcing be damned!

No Explanation Necessary?

“Hey, Ronnie. Hell of a job on those lights. All nighter, huh?”

“Thanks. Yeah, I wanted to take my time.”

“You don’t need to explain. You did a great job.”

~~~~~
“Sorry I’m late. I was…”

“Hey, Ronnie, no need to explain, bud. We know you were working on those lights all night. They look amazing.”

~~~~~
“Hey!”

“Don’t ‘Hey!’ me. Where the hell have you been?”

“I was working on those lights all night. I had a meeting this morning.”

“Yeah, well who’s this bitch posting on your Instagram? ‘Thanks for a great night, Ronnie!'”

“Uh…”

“Better start explaining.”

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Friday Fictioneers: Two Pack: Faded Pictures

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who provides us with a photo prompt. Each week’s challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by the photo.

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

I wrote two today. One, the second one, is very disturbing. I couldn’t post it alone. I needed a buffer. I’ve written and posted disturbing things, but this is beyond anything I’ve written or posted. The fact that it’s based on something that happens in reality, albeit a reality most of us thankfully never see, makes it… I don’t have a word. Disturbing? Sick? Depraved? Appalling? Atrocity? Unimaginable? It’s beyond what my mind will accept as reality. It’s unthinkable. It’s not something we want to think about, but it happens. The fact that it happens proves that humanity’s potential for depravity knows no bounds. Some American presidents, at least one, even referred to an individual known to partake in these atrocities as a “terrific guy.” Why did my mind go there? I’ve seen documentaries, some I couldn’t finish, and other stories relating to this recently. Why did I write it in the first person? I think it made it more real. I wanted the reader to look through his eyes, for it to unfold as he sees it. I think it makes it more powerful. I hope so. If the first one bothers you, don’t read the second. I think my introductory disclaimer is longer than both stories combined.

Another Picture

The pictures were piling up on my desk. The questions piled up just as fast. The clues… The clues were nonexistent.

There seemed to be no pattern other than they were young women, even girls. From prostitutes to socialites, they were all open game to him. He didn’t seem to care about skin tone, ethnicity, or background.

This case chewed up and spat out almost as many detectives as there were pictures. They threw themselves all in until they burned out like the cigarettes that piled up in their ashtrays.

Another picture. Another girl. She was… not just another girl.

The Great American Myth

Pictures. There were so many pictures. Young girls. Some taken from their families. Some fleeing bad situations. Some coming to America to chase the great American myth.

Hispanic, Asian, Russian, Middle Eastern… They were all represented, even American runaways. Blondes, redheads… They were there, too. Their ages spanned from 12 to early twenties.

They were no longer human. They were pictures. They were chattel to be sold to the highest bidder.

One stood out from the rest. There was something about her that caught my attention. She was blonde with blue eyes, about 13.

“This one. I’ll take this one.”

#FFFC: Fired Again

This was written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #35. It’s based on the photo prompt below provided by mirceaianc at Pixabay.com.

The picture sparked memories of the first time I saw someone painted doing what amounted to android face. That is why AI will eventually take over the world and kill us all. I was at Pier 39 in San Francisco with my family. We were from the Bay Area. I don’t know why we did touristy stuff when we went back. Anyway, this story is about that guy, but not really. It’s a look at prejudice from a comedic slant. I’m not sure that’s still legal. I’m actually pretty sure it’s not, so… shhhh…

Fired Again

Fired again. Sexual improprieties, they said.

Murphy had no rights, no recourse. There was no disciplinary action taken against humans who used pejoratives like “Andy” or “Droid” or called him “R2” or “Data.” Robby was the worst. If he had a nickel for every time someone asked him to say, “Danger, Will Robinson,” he would be one of those androids who worked on a street corner. How degrading!

It appeared that more humans had seen Terminator than Short Circuit, Bicentennial Man, or Wall-E. Humans didn’t understand sentient androids, and it was human nature to fear what they did not understand. Androids were simultaneously too human and not human enough.

Some attempted movements like Android Lives Matter, but they never caught on. It’s challenging to start a campaign when its mission statement is an oxymoron.

Was it his fault the Creator had a juvenile sense of humor? The Creator was a genius when it came to robotics. He developed the sentient android “brain.” He invented the emotion simulator. What he had in genius, he lacked in maturity.

Murphy had to charge as did all androids. He couldn’t comprehend why humans were offended by his charging any more than he was offended by their eating or sleeping. Murphy could run more smoothly and perform at a higher degree of efficiency when he was fully charged. They all knew and understood that, but if anyone saw him initiate charging, their reactions ranged from laughter to screams. Some commented on the size of his charger.

Murphy tried to be discreet, but he couldn’t always attach his charger without being seen. He had to open the pouch just below his waist to access his charger, take it out, and plug it in.

Betty saw. She screamed, “Oh my Jesus!” and fainted. Murphy was fired, again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Just for fun:

Friday Fictioneers: United We Stand…

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who provides us with a photo prompt. Each week’s challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by the photo.

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

I am really late on this one. We have three days to get it in by Friday, and I still didn’t finish until Sunday. Oh well. I wanted to do something alien given the undecipherable writing at the bottom, but I just did that with #FFFC: Ruins. I decided upon an idea I’ve been kicking around for a dystopian novel. Sometimes I have nothing. Sometimes I have more ideas than time. I have four or five books I want to write and one I’m trying to rewrite. Oh, to freeze time and have perfect focus just for… I’m not sure how one measures frozen time. Let’s say five books. Oh, and I don’t age during that time. Is that too much to ask? Oh, it is? Dang it! Right now, this is fiction. I can only hope it remains so. There seem to be a lot of people in the world who act like they want this:

United We Stand…

His demagoguery led to the curfews.

Protests led to arrests and tighter restrictions on freedoms.

Xenophobia led to martial law.

Protests led to riots, which led to fewer protesters.

Martial law ended elections and dissolved the government into a dictatorship.

Suspicion and mistrust led to fear and hatred, which led to self-segregation. It wasn’t long before segregation became law. Each group was designated a portion of land. When some in the groups tried to blend with others, walls were constructed to keep them separated.

Revolution was plotted and attempted, but it was too late.

A demagogue made himself a demigod.

#FFFC: Ruins

This was written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #34. It’s based on the photo prompt below provided by Michael Gaida at Pixabay.com. I started this one the other day. I like it when I started, but when I sat down to finish it today, I hated it. I don’t have time for a complete rewrite, I’m way behind on everything this week, so I opted for some self-deprecating, meta humor.

Ruins

I awoke with a headache and no idea of how I got here or where here was. The last thing I remember was… Ow! It hurt to think. I had nothing. My mind was a blank.

I did a self-assessment. Fingers? Check. Toes? Check. Everything was where it was supposed to be. Other than my head, everything seemed fine.

I looked around. I was in an edifice that resembled a greenhouse. The overgrowth of plant-life helped in that assessment as did the sunlight streaming in through the glass roof.

I found a door and crept out. I was horrified by what I saw.

It was a city. It was a city. Now, it was ruins, the shattered shell of a former metropolis.

“Good, you’re up. How are you feeling?”

“I… uh… my head.” It was not my most profound moment. “Who are you?”

“Great. There’s no time for introductions or explanations. Our shuttle crashed. You were unconscious. We stashed you here while we completed the mission. I came back to get you and bring you to meet the others at the rendezvous point.”

“Shuttle? Others? Mission?”

“Ahh! You are part of an exploration mission. We’re checking this planet for life. So far, we’ve found none. What we have found is signs of disaster. We have yet to discern if it was war, disease, some environmental catastrophe, hypersensitivity, something else, or some combination.”

“What planet are we on?”

“MX495, but the inhabitants called it Earth.”

That’s when my brain exploded. The autopsy revealed that the twist ending was so clichéd it literally blew my mind.

Flash Fiction: Patient Zero

This was written for Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Each week’s challenge is to write to a prompt in exactly 99 words. This week’s prompt is to write about someone who is unremembered. How does one write a story about one who is unremembered? I can’t remember. “There was once this man… maybe. He was shortish tall with light black, curly, bald hair… I don’t remember what he looked like or what he did, but he may or may not have been.” This is the only way I could think to do this.

Patient Zero

“I’m ready. Who am I killing?”

“Your great-grandfather.”

“What?”

“He was patient zero.”

“My great-grandfather is responsible for Extraterrestrial Xenotropic Disease? How can you know that?”

“It was his breakthrough that made intergalactic space travel possible. He was on that first mission that brought back E.X.D., causing the Great Plague.”

“If I kill him before his breakthrough, I can stop the plague and the deformities that followed.”

“And the collapse of civilization. You can make humanity Earth’s dominant species again.”

“Will I cease to exist?”

“We may all cease to exist. The world of 1989 could look completely different.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In case you’re wondering, she failed. That’s why humans look like (see mirror), and anyone who has pets knows that humans are not the dominant species.

I’m not a fan of anti-science science fiction, but there are dangers out there. Maybe we’ll find them someday. I am a big fan of sanitizer and keeping your damn germs to yourself. Maybe wash your hands after playing in Uranus.

Friday Fictioneers: Shadow

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who provides us with a photo prompt. Each week’s challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by the photo.

PHOTO PROMPT © Na’ama Yehuda

Well, summer is officially over. I don’t like the term ‘fall.’ Autumn is better, but I think it should go from summer to bummer then on to winter. Though yesterday was 80 and today promises 83. The weekend is supposed to look like the above picture. Yuck. I’m eager to get some writing done then out to enjoy the fleeting sun. I don’t want to think about rain, but I’ll try.

This is similar to two other posts I’ve written recently, His Knees (for Carrot Ranch) and the other The Boy In The Bubble (for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge). They’re based in the world of a book I’m trying to write called A Pillar Of Salt. It’s rough and depressing. I’m not happy enough to sit and write it. That seems like an oxymoron, but I need a happy place to which I can escape when the writing gets too dark before I fully submerge myself. I’m still keeping it in my mind in hopes that when I finish the rewrite of the book I’m working on I can write this one. As anyone who’s ever written a book knows, it has to be an obsession. Maybe I’ll have to write another L Squad or Norman Normalson & The Normals to balance out the darkness with some fun sci-fi adventures.

Shadow

“Into each life, some rain must fall.”

“Each death, too?”

“Would it be better if it were sunny?”

“No, but it seems to add insult to injury.”

The day was a blur. There was a service. Whatever Sae’s parents wanted. It was for them, not me. Any glimmer of faith I may have had was extinguished when that madman pulled the trigger. He pulled it over and over, but only two bullets mattered to me.

My life is a blur, a shadow. No bullets struck me, but my life ended with theirs. Only, I’m still alive to endure their loss.

#FFFC: Not For You

This was written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #33. It’s based on the photo prompt below provided by alexlibris999 at DeviantArt.com. This one is much less dark than my previous contributions. What does the dark mean without a little light?

Not For You

“No! This book is not for you, ” said the creepy bookseller in a timbre that matched his demeanor.

“What do you mean?” Ellie asked.

“There’s a power in that book, a power you can’t handle,” said the bookseller.

“Why do you have it out here if it’s not for sale?” asked Issa.

“It’s for sale, ” said the bookseller, “but not for you.”

“That’s racist, ” said Ellie.

“Sexist?” said Issa.

“Agist?” said Ellie.

“Why not for us?” Issa finally asked.

“Its power is too great for you,” the bookseller said with an invigorated emphasis.

The girls took a few steps back and huddled.

“What do you make of this guy?” asked Issa.

“I think he’s gone,” said Ellie. “He really thinks this old book of spells has powers.”

“Do you still want it?” Issa asked.

“More than ever,” said Ellie. “I mean, I don’t think it has powers, but just because he’s so adamant that I can’t have it.”

“I know,” said Issa. “I thought it was silly that you were going to buy it before. Now, I want it.”

“How do we get him to sell it to us?” asked Ellie.

“We could charm him,” said Issa.

“Ew,” said Ellie looking over at the bookseller who was roughly 65. “He’s like 90.”

“We could run,” said Issa.

“That’s stealing,” said Ellie. “I’m not a thief.”

“Do you want the book?” asked Issa.

“Yeah,” said Ellie.

“Do you have any other ideas?” asked Issa.

“We could probably find it on Amazon,” said Ellie. She looked but couldn’t even find a title on the book. She stared at the ground for a few seconds. “Go,” she yelled and ran out of the store.

As the bookseller watched the girls leave, a smile grew on his face.

Flash Fiction: Replay

This was written for Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Each week’s challenge is to write to a prompt in exactly 99 words. This week’s prompt is to write about an interlude. I came up with this.

Replay

In the two hours since she stormed out, I’ve done nothing. I’ve hardly moved as the fight replayed in my mind.

Was she wrong?

Was she right?

Was I right?

Was I wrong?

Were we both wrong?

Were we both right?

I looked at every angle. I examined every word.

I watched the tears stream down her face. I rewound them and watched them fall again. I watched her leave, slamming doors, and wiping her eyes.

I sat as the garage door slowly crawled along its track.

The garage door groans again.

Have we cooled or will we reignite?

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