Friday Auctioneers: Sold!

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. There’s also a frog involved. This week’s is an odd one. I’m not sure why anybody would see this and feel an undeniable compulsion to photograph it then share it. I’m now very curious about the photo selection process. Rochelle?

PHOTO PROMPT © Ronda Del Boccio

Sold!

The fight began over dishes. It ended with Julia in cuffs.

“Why can’t you soak the dishes?” asked Julia.

“Why are you always nagging?” asked Alex while searching the net via implant.

“It’s easier to clean the dishes if they’re soaking instead of the food drying and hardening on them, which you would know if you ever did dishes.”

The electrocuffs appeared on Julia’s wrists, seemingly from nowhere. She screamed and struggled before giving Alex a look that would kill if it could. “You can’t.”

“I did.”

“Where?”

“Somewhere in Somalia.”

The credits appeared in Alex’s account as Julia dematerialized.

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

I know what you’re thinking. Don’t worry about Alex. He’ll buy someone else to take care of him. The real question is in a world where one can search the internet in one’s mind, sell someone in seconds, and transport them across the world instantly, why can’t we make a dishwasher that actually cleans dishes?

I woke up with this idea in my head, before I even saw the picture, what if we could buy and sell people? Anyone. A friend, relative, random person on the street. What if Capitalism becomes so powerful and human life so cheap, not unrealistic, that it becomes legal to sell each other just so the government can collect the tax? It’s like a duel. The first one to click sell can sell the other. I wanted to build the world and set rules, but there’s not time for that in 100 words.

#FFFC: PT-3,000

This is a new one for me. This is Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #23. I got in a little late. It’s better late than later. I like challenges and the picture that went along with this one. It took me somewhere dark.

d2856ece-1b73-4b67-8863-e6a64f9de91aCourtesy Johannes Plenio@pexels.com

PT-3,000

The sun peeking through the trees caught his attention. It was going into hiding as he made his way in. He was breathing heavily and sweating. He was almost done. A couple more shovels full and whew, done. Only half an hour until he had to be to work. Sleep was overrated. He was still too amped up to sleep, anyway. He had a great night, and the bodies were buried.

He thanked God for the personal teleporter. A night like last would not have been possible without the PT-3,000. If someone saw him walking out of the woods dirty and sweaty with his tools, it could raise some questions. He still had to go home and shower before work. There’s no way he could do that and be to work on time if he had to do something barbaric like drive. The thought made him chuckle. Nobody had driven for years.

He teleported home, showered, synthesized some coffee and made it to work with three minutes to spare. He gave himself an adrenaline injection and was ready to go for the day.

No one suspected a thing. They never did. One would have to be quite dull, indeed, mentally speaking, to get caught doing a crime since the advent of the PT-3,000. If it weren’t for the thrill of the kill, murder would actually be pretty boring.

It finally happened. He slipped up. He got careless. It was too many nights with too little sleep. Coffee and adrenaline injections could only carry one so far.

It didn’t matter. When the cops came knocking, he simply transported out of there. That night, he watched the sunset from a mountain in Fiji. He laughed a shrill cackle of a laugh.

His laughter was muted by the padded walls of his room.

In case you’ve missed them, all my A To Z Challenge writings are gathered and streamlined for reading convenience.

Rushing right along, here’s K. I might not even have time for tomorrow’s. L may be late and lame or completely left out. I have to go out of town for a ridiculously rushed, busy weekend. Only time will tell if I have time. I already rushed through this one. The potential typos will haunt me.

Kip

The heart monitor flatlined. The patient stopped responding. It was over. There was nothing left to do.

Kip curled up on Kip’s cot trying not to wet the bed. Yortian tears are serious business.

I hate to strip down a species to a few attributes, but for comprehension purposes, I should explain that Yortians are eyeballs with arms and legs. That is a ridiculously simplified explanation. I know how bereft humans are of their knowledge of other people and cultures, especially Yortians.

Captain Grek knew something was amiss. Kip was the best shot in all of R.A.D. Kip was a quick learner and excelled at Kip’s medical training. For some reason, when the other Yortians were around, Kip’s accuracy suffered. Kip’s abilities as a medic seemed to disappear. Captain Grek didn’t know what to do about it. Kip was incredibly skilled but was heading for the squad reserved for the worst performers.

Another day of training had ended badly for Kip. Kip only hit 54% of Kip’s targets and let a medical training dummy die. Kip was the subject of subtle mockery from the other Yortians. The optic capabilities of the Yortians allowed them to mock Kip without any other refugee noticing. Kip was a light iris, which, based on an archaic superstition, was inferior to darker irises. Kip was a refugee among refugees, an outcast among outcasts.

The next morning, Kip was awakened by a tap on the door.

“Hey, Kip. I’m Hitch. You’re with me today.”

“What?”

“Captain Grek broke us into squads. You’re on my squad.”

“Oh. I’m sorry.”

“There’s no time for that feeling sorry for yourself bullcheese.”

“What’s bullcheese?”

“You don’t want to know. Let’s go. I’ll meet you out there.”

“Are you sure you want me on your squad?”

“I don’t have a choice.”

“Oh.”

“Captain Grek gave me the outcasts, the misfits. You’ll fit right in.”

“I don’t fit in anywhere.”

“You’ll fit in here. The rest of Rad already gave up on us. They don’t expect anything from us. You’re part of something special, now. We’ll show them. We’ll show them all.”

That day, Kip hit every target and saved three dying dummies. It was the first time Kip felt at home since Kip left Yort.

This was written for me, but I’ll share it with you via #TellTaleThursday with Anshu & Priya because I am a gentleman. This week’s prompt is “You find an electronic bug in your home,” which I, of course, took way too literally.

Bugged

“I first noticed the bugs in June. I assumed they were ordinary bugs, cockroaches. I called an exterminator. They came and fumigated my apartment.”

“That sounds like the logical step. Did that take care of your bug problem?”

“I thought it did. A few days later, I started hearing a buzz. I searched for it. I assumed I left a device charging somewhere. I checked all my charging stations, and there was nothing ready. I tried to ignore the buzz, but it got louder. I searched and searched for days. It was making me crazy. Then, I saw it.”

“Saw what?”

“The cockroach. They were still in my apartment.”

“Couldn’t it have been that one survived? Cockroaches are notoriously resilient.”

“They were everywhere. They were hiding from me, spying on me.”

“Spying? You think the cockroaches were spying on you?”

“I know they were. I caught one. They were robotic. I was bugged with bugs.”

“Why would anyone bug you?”

“I was a member of the underground working to overthrow our government. The masses were apathetic, pacified, brainwashed. It was up to us to start the revolution.”

“There was no revolution.”

“Of course not. They bugged us. They knew all our plans and rounded us up before we could put them into action.”

“Thank you, Winston. I’ll have the nurse bring you your medication.”

“Good evening, Dr. O’Brien.”

“Good evening, Julia. We’re going to have to increase Winston’s medication.”

“Oh no! Is it not working?”

“It’s not. He’s remembering.”

A To Z Challenge: Laura Juarez

Catch up on all my previous installments here.

For today’s installment of the A To Z Challenge, we’re going by Laura’s surname. This is a look into some of the anti-alien sentiment that still exists around the time of the refugee’s release from quarantine. This is a precursor to one of my favorite chapters in The L Squad. I got weird, which is fun. Here’s the world’s introduction to Laura Juarez.

Laura Juarez

A phone smashed into the wall as Laura Juarez entered her boss’s office. She jumped and winced and considered leaving. She didn’t just want to leave the room and the building but the job. She thought of quitting many times, but this was her dream job. She followed in her father and grandfather’s footsteps. Journalist was the only job for her. She would have preferred to be employed by a network other than FBS, but they’re the network that gave her a chance.

“Have you heard?” Mr. Laurasbossman asked. Yes, it is quite the coincidence that he’s Laura’s boss, and his name is Mr. Laurasbossman. I think it’s Icelandic.

“Heard?” Laura asked, trying to suppress a cough. The cigar smoke made the room look like a dirty cloud.

“The aliens. Have you heard?” Mr. Laurasbossman repeated, cryptically.

“What about the aliens?” asked Laura Juarez.

“They’re being released. They’re freeing them from quarantine,” said Mr. Laurasbossman.

“Do you want me to do a report?” asked Laura. “I could interview some of the aliens and welcome them to our planet.”

“I want you to do a report,” said Mr. Laurasbossman. “I want a report on the dangers of these aliens. I want them portrayed as vicious and blood-sucking. Tell the world about the diseases they carry.”

“If any of that were true, they wouldn’t be released from quarantine,” said Laura Juarez.

“I don’t care what’s true,” said Mr. Laurasbossman. “That’s our stance. That’s our story.”

“I became a journalist to report the news, not makeup stories,” said Laura. “What about the facts?”

“No one cares about the facts,” said Mr. Laurasbossman. “People want sensationalism. They want to be scared. More importantly, they need to know that these aliens are a threat to our planet’s safety.”

“I don’t believe that,” said Laura. “I think…”

“Enough!” yelled Mr. Laurasbossman, shaking free the ash from the end of his cigar. “That is the story we’re telling. Now, go tell it or go back to whatever local news channel you escaped from before coming here.”

Laura paused. She pondered the value of her integrity. She wondered if the job of her dreams, the career she worked all her life to get was worth selling out her values and her forebearers. Rage swelled up inside her at the thought. It wasn’t worth it. The time had finally come for Laura to tell this megalomaniac what she really thought of him. He could take this job and…

“Go!”

Laura left and got to work on her report.

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