Don’t Blink

KENT - RED SHIRT - EYES ONLY

 

“Remember, Ronnie. Don’t blink. If you blink, it’s all over.”

Those words pounded through my brain right before I took a seat in front of the webcam, preparing to look into the eyes of the most evil scientific mind on the planet. But I knew I had to cleanse those words from my brain. My expertise in the field of mind control and the organic manipulation that can emanate from it kept me from allowing those words to have power in my psyche. What I had to do instead was forget about the suggestion of blinking all together and focus on my opponent instead.

Liam Sigurdsson was well-known for his advanced studies and experimentation in mind control. But he hadn’t been heard from for three years. News media speculated about him, but the only thing anyone knew for sure was that he was holed up in a home he’d built for himself and his staff in Iceland.

Four days ago, all of that secrecy came to an end — a dramatic and terrorizing end. Sigurdsson suddenly came out of hibernation with the news that he had managed to plant powerful bombs in the capitals of six major western nations. He further stated that they were set to go off at exactly the same time unless he got complete cooperation from the UN, and each of those individual nations in making him supreme dictator over their entire geographic areas.

The President of the United States, as well as the leaders of the other five nations — Canada, England, France, Germany, and Italy —  had all tried to reason with him. But to no avail. That’s when the President called me in.

I’m Ronald Bridgeport, American scientist and mind control expert. I’ve made some amazing discoveries concerning mind control and using the mind to manipulate the body.  Those subjects used to be considered part of the paranormal fringes of science, but my work has proven that they may have some very genuine, solid scientific foundations. I’ve won my share of awards for my research and for being able to prove a good many of my theories over the years. I’m well known internationally, of course, but not held in the kind of scientific esteem that Sigurdsson has acquired over the past couple decades.

Two days after Sigurdsson’s brutal announcement, I found myself sitting at a conference table across from several leading congressmen and two of the most celebrated scientists of our day, with the President just to my right at the end of the table. The heaviness in the atmosphere of the room when I’d entered had caused me to take a seat without saying a word. There was a bottle of water in front of me, and I reached for it because my nerves were so stressed that my  mouth was already dry. As I swallowed a couple mouthfuls of water, the President cleared his throat and spoke.

“Ronnie, I’ve known you for years now, and I can say without reservation that you’re one of the coolest men in a crisis that I’ve ever met. We need that cool head today.”

I looked at him as he spoke, and I could see the tension in every fiber of his body. “What can I do for you, Mr. President,” I asked.

“You’re aware of the world-wide threat coming from Liam Sigurdsson,” he said in a half question.

“Yes, sir. I’ve been following the news coverage of the whole thing. Is there more to it?”

“Well, for the most part, the news media have let it all out of the bag, but the one thing we know that the news boys don’t seem to is that you and Liam Sigurdsson have a long history.”

I nodded. I wasn’t sure how much the President knew, but I was willing to bet he had all the data at his fingertips. Such was the nature of our government surveillance and investigative forces.

He continued: “I understand that the two of you competed in a number of scientific projects during graduate school and then competed for two prestigious international awards in later years.” He looked at me with a question in his eyes.

“That’s correct. He won exactly half of those competitions in our school years, and he won one of the awards after we were both in our professional careers.”

“But you won the other award, which he coveted very badly, and you went on to be selected for the position as head of the Bon Homme Mind Manipulation Project that got world-wide acclaim.”

“Yes, sir, but I don’t see what that has to do with this situation,” I said, honestly confused.

“We know from dealing with the man that Sigurdsson — although a genius in his field — is also mentally deranged. And he has the largest ego the world has ever known. He doesn’t believe he can be defeated — well — let’s say he’s evidently convinced himself that he cannot be defeated — ever again. The only competition he’s ever had that brought him defeat has been with you.”

The President looked me in the eye, and I did the same to him, but I didn’t speak. He continued:  “So, playing on that theme, we’ve managed to infiltrate Sigurdsson’s privacy enough to suggest to him that if he wants the whole word to believe that he’s worthy to rule the six major nations in the world that have been the bastions of freedom and democracy until now, he needs to be able to defeat his greatest peer once and for all.”

My mouth fell open slightly, and I’m sure my eyes must have bugged out, because the congressmen and scientists across from me — who had remained totally silent up to that point — began to shift in their seats. I could literally feel them holding their breaths.

Finally, I found my voice. “I still don’t understand. You want me to do some kind of combat with Sigurdsson? Something physical or scientific or what?”

“We’ve offered him a challenge in his field of expertise,” the President answered. “We’ve challenged him to pit his mind-control and biokinetic abilities that he’s so proud of against yours. And whoever wins that battle will determine what happens with the bombs.”

I just looked at him. Looked him in the eye. I couldn’t look away. Inside my head, I could hear myself screaming “What! Are you crazy!” But I couldn’t speak a word out loud. I just looked at him. And the other people in the room held themselves so rigid waiting for my answer that I could feel the tension from the other side of the table.

I finally spoke — in a surprisingly quiet voice: “And what did he say to your challenge?”

“He agreed.”

Again, I could hear shocked questions pounding through my head, but I didn’t speak them out. As I sat there silent for a few moments, I realized that I wasn’t really surprised at all. Liam Sigurdsson was deranged. It’s true he was a genius. So was I for that matter. In fact, we had exactly the same IQ. But the man could not live with a challenge to his ego. He felt compelled to rise to such a challenge, and he wouldn’t even think beyond that feat to what the possible repercussions might me. Of course, he was not even entertaining the idea of failure on his part.

“And you think you can actually believe a man who is so deranged, Mr. President?”

He nodded his head. “We’ve secured a mediator that is acceptable to both Sigurdsson and to us. Sigurdsson will give him the details concerning the bombs, and the mediator will be locked away in a secure place until the contest is over. When he’s notified of the winner, he’ll either turn the information over to us … or … in the event … ”  He stopped and took a deep breath. “In the event that Sigurdsson wins, the mediator will simply hand the information back to him.”

I took a deep breath as well. And the men and women on the other side of the table finally took one too. A few of them leaned back in their chairs, obviously glad the worst of the story had been related. I glanced at them and then back to the President.

“And when is this challenge supposed to take place?”

“Tomorrow at noon.”

“And how long does it last?”

“Until one of you blinks.”

“What?” I shook my head to clear it, certain I’d heard wrong. I glanced at the people across the table, saw shock on their faces as well, and realized they hadn’t been told the details yet either. So I looked back at the President. “What did you say?”

“The contest will last until one of you blinks. That’s the challenge. Both you and Sigurdsson have developed a large following for your research and proven theories in the areas of mind control and organic manipulation. That’s the arena he wants to defeat you in. To prove that he has developed in those areas to a much higher degree than you have. So that’s the challenge he has chosen to accept. You’ll sit and stare at each other via webcam, and whoever blinks first … loses.”

As wild and off-the-wall as the whole strategy sounded, I couldn’t refuse my commander-in-chief. Besides, what other option did we have? We could send in military power and annihilate Sigurdsson, but we couldn’t shut off the bombs.  So I went home to “get some rest” — the President’s words — not mine. That was about 7:00 last night.

As I prepared for bed, I found myself going over in my mind the Bible story I’d known from childhood about David and Goliath. I picked up my Bible and began reading the story again. It was inspiring, to say the least: a young, apparently defenseless, youth standing up to the biggest bully of his day — and winning. To be sure, there had to have been some supernatural help involved.

So as I lay my head on my pillow, I whispered, with all the vulnerability of a child, “Lord, it seems the fate of the whole free world is resting on my shoulders — or rather on my eyelids — tomorrow. Sir … I’d just like to say … I could sure use some of the same kind of help that You gave that shepherd boy.”

That brings us to this morning, 11:50 eastern time, when I took a seat in front of the webcam set up at the White House. I had requested that I be left in the room alone once the camera came on. So everyone else began filing out, and that’s when the President leaned over to me, gripped me by the shoulder and whispered, “Remember, Ronnie. Don’t blink. If you blink, it’s all over.”

 


Daily Post Prompt: Blink

~~~

What If? — Daily Post Prompt: Mushroom

My photographer friend, Terry Valley (Visions Seen Photography) loves photographing the little details in nature, and he has some great shots of mushrooms. I’ve shared a couple of them here. And I’ve also shared some graphic art Terry did, using the mushroom theme. Naturally, writer that I am, I had to create a story to go along with that artwork. I actually wrote the story about 4 years ago, but I decided it deserved another airing for this prompt.

ORANGE MUSHROOMSMUSHROOM LARGE

 

Terry’s Graphics and My Story:  WHAT IF . . . ?

TERRY'S GREEN PLANET - super bright

“What’s the latest report,” Oneida asked Tron.

“The planet Verdure is still in a state of internal combustion,” he replied, his face pinched. He looked at the camera relay screen. “Watching that planet disintegrate right before my eyes and knowing I can’t stop it is tearing my guts out.”

“How long do we have?”

“I’ll know more when Beryl and Oma return. They’re out measuring the light levels in the power garden.”

“That red gas is our main enemy?”

“Yes, as our energy pods absorb it the light energy that holds this planet together is drained off.”

He panned the camera across the power garden of mushroom-shaped growths from which the planet drew all of its life – and its name. “See, how many of the healthy purple pods have absorbed the gas until they have turned red and shrunk to half their original size?”

He panned to the pod where Oma and Beryl were still at work. Oneida spoke. “Look, Oma’s starting to descend. Maybe they’ll be back with their report soon.”

“Yes, but I’m not sure I want to hear it. Sometimes, I think we should turn off all the surveillance equipment so we can’t see it all happening one step at a time. Perhaps we should all just gather in the communal hall and do our best to comfort each other until it comes.”

“Until the end comes, do you mean?”

“Of course! What else?”

She looked at him gravely. “I’ve been thinking ….”

“Yes …?”

“Well … I’ve been wondering … Did we just happen?” Tron looked at her quizzically. “I mean … well … I find it hard to believe this whole planet of Mushroom just happened – and that all of us who live here were non-existent one second and then – bang – here we were!” She looked at him hopefully.

“I don’t think I’m following you. What does it have to do with Verdure’s decomposition and the subsequent destruction of everything within its electro-magnetic sphere – including us?”

“Don’t you see? If we didn’t just … happen … then someone or something more intelligent, more creative, more powerful than ourselves had to have created us. And if that someone cared enough to make us, then wouldn’t it – or he – care enough to save us?

Tron’s eyes grew large. Oneida could see that it was a concept he’d never imagined. But now … with no other possible avenue of hope … perhaps even he thought it was worth considering.

She continued. “I guess I’m wondering if we were to look back in all the records of Mushroom – especially the copies of those old black books the leaders buried underground last century ….”

“You mean you think there might be answers to our origins in those books? But the leaders insisted that they were lies and made it illegal for any citizen of Mushroom to read them.”

“But what if we could find out … and find a way to connect with our … creator –”

“That’s impossible!”

“Is it? Our survival is impossible as we are now. But, just think, Tron … what if …?”

 


Daily Post Prompt: Mushroom

 

 

~~~

Daily Post Prompt: Sound / ‘The Approaching Silence’

Ear 2
In response to today’s Daily Post Prompt (Sound), I’ve offered the first few pages of a story in progress. Just a little sci-fi to flavor your day.

THE APPROACHING SILENCE

“In other news today, Dr. Leopold Barnes, director of the U. S. Atmospheric and Meteorological Testing Center located inside the Arctic Circle, issued reports of unusual occurrences of silence in a fifty-mile radius surrounding their base. ‘For a period of eight or nine hours, there was no sound of any kind,’ said Barnes. ‘It was the strangest phenomena I’ve ever experienced,’ he added, ‘and all of my co-workers here agree. We could hear nothing, even when we spoke or pounded on a door.’ Barnes went on to say that the experience lasted only for that time period, and then things returned to normal. Scientists from the AMTC are doing further investigations, and Dr. Ruben Perez, director of the center’s headquarters in Leadville, Colorado, has declined comment until those investigations are finished.”

Ruben switched off the small TV in his office, his thoughts whirling, his adrenalin building. He walked to his desk in the next room and pulled a file from his drawer. It contained hard copy of a report that had been e-mailed to him yesterday from the British-manned testing base at the South Pole. The e-mail had been sent to seven scientists on a pre-approved list, and he’d been unable to get the words off his mind all night. “… total and absolute silence for a period of 7 hours,” it had said.

He picked up the sheet he’d printed out earlier. “Not one machine noise could be heard. We spoke to each other, but could hear nothing and, in fact, had to rely on reading lips and sign language even to do the work necessary to run some tests and figure out what was happening. So far, we just don’t know. But at the end of the 7 hours — can’t be more precise since it took several minutes to even realize that the situation existed all over the base – but at the end of that time, all sound returned and hasn’t fluctuated at all in these past 3 hours.”

That report had come in at almost midnight last night, and now this similar experience involving their own people up by the North Pole today was too much of a coincidence to be coincidence. Based on his experience – which covered the first twenty years of the new millennium – it was one for the books. He picked up the phone, punching in numbers memorized long ago. “Hello, John.” He spoke briskly, but the warmth in his voice denoted his long friendship with the listener.

“Ruben, my boy. Good to hear from you.”

“Same here, John, but I’m going to get right down to business this morning. You’ve, no doubt, been apprised of the report coming out of Barnes’ Arctic base this morning.”

“Yes, I read it this afternoon.” He paused, and Ruben waited. After the slight hesitation, John continued. “Boy, I’ve experienced some odd phenomena in my forty years of research, but this one beats the best of them in my book.”

“Right. I agree, but there’s more. Have you received any word about the e-mailed report from McGregor at the South Pole?”

“McGreggor? No, is he experiencing something similar?”

Ruben picked up the printed report again to read it to his colleague. “Well, I’m on the list of seven men who are kept updated on the work there, and let me read you my e-mail from last night.” He read the whole text and waited.

A long, low whistle sounded through the line. “Man!” Another pause as both men processed the facts they’d encountered. They couldn’t refute them, but they certainly didn’t want to believe them. Finally Ruben broke the silence.

“No thoughts on it?”

“Hmmm. Well … I have to say I’m stymied. No … more than that. … I guess I’d have to admit I’m a little troubled.”

Ruben sighed. “That’s not like you, John. You’re generally the last one to consider something alarming. What’s the difference here?”

John Cartwright sighed heavily. “I think it’s time for me to share some things that I’ve been keeping an eye on – privately – for the past few months. But, Ruben, this information has to be kept confidential until I decide how far to spread it. I’m sure I can trust you – and Soren Petroff. Does anyone else come to your mind who would be the soul of discretion in the face of some evidence that could – just possibly – be world-shaking?”

“Whoa! You mean you’ve been looking into something connected with this loss of sound for several months?”

“Let’s just say that I’ve been checking out a couple of minor – very minor – events that I’ve encountered and wondered about. Now … in the face of these two larger events … I don’t think I want to keep it to myself any longer. But I can’t begin to impress on you how vital secrecy is at this point, Ruben. I’m sure you can appreciate that fact.”

Ruben nodded, even though he knew his friend could not see him. “I do understand. I’m not arguing that point. I guess … well, I guess I’m just still in some degree of shock where all of it’s concerned. But, as far as a good man with a closed mouth is concerned, I do have a suggestion – although it’s not exactly a good man.”

“What?”

Ruben couldn’t resist a chuckle. “I’m talking about Dr. Lenora Coleman, John. She’s worked with me here in this center for three years now, and I’ve rarely worked with anyone more intelligent – or wise. She not only has what it takes in the brains department, but she seems to have a kind of sixth sense about how to use the knowledge she has to the best advantage for all parties concerned. That’s a rare quality in our work.”

“Well, if you have such high regard for her, I’m willing to let her in on the meeting. But, Ruben, it will have to take place at my home in Denver. I’m not taking any chances of being overheard by anyone else at this point. This whole situation may be one short, aberrant period of atmospheric distress and may have no meaning for the future at all. So I don’t want anyone overhearing bits and pieces and running wild with them. I don’t think we can afford not to be careful with our discussions at this point.”

John’s words were reverberating through Ruben’s mind even as he answered. “Agreed. When should we set the meeting?”

“I’d like to suggest tomorrow morning if you and Lenora can make it that soon. Say 10:00. I’ll give everyone lunch.”

“I’ll check with Nora and get right back to you.”

“Good. I’ll do the same with Soren, but I’m pretty positive he’ll drop anything else when I tell him the details.”

“Thanks, John. I’ll call back soon.”

“I’ll be waiting.”

Ruben couldn’t sit still. He got up and paced his office, hearing John’s words over and over: “… may be just one short aberrant period … may have no meaning for the future …” Ruben rubbed the back of his neck, trying to erase the tension that had grabbed him with those words. Before that statement, he’d felt they were dealing with a weird, but interesting phenomenon of nature that would prove to be one for the text books but little else. With those few words – coming from one of the nation’s most eminent scientists, whose hunches Ruben had learned long ago to trust implicitly – he could feel something else creeping in. He refused to acknowledge it as fear. He tore his thoughts away from the repetition of words and started down the hall to Nora’s office.

~

The following morning four puzzled scientists convened in the dining room of Dr. John Cartwright. The three men knew each other well since they had worked on several projects together over the years. Ruben introduced Dr. Coleman to his friends and explained that he had briefed her on all that he had discussed with John the previous day.

“Nora told me during our drive here that she spent two years working with Dr. Armond Newman in Germany.”

Soren looked up sharply. “The physicist who received so much notoriety for his work in acoustics?”

“Yes,” Nora said. “He discovered some interesting fluctuations in how sound waves traveled through air and through several other substances when there was a change in the magnetic field around the immediate area in which the sounds were being emitted.”

“But tell them about the experiments he did even after his article was published,” said Ruben.

“I was fascinated by some of the work he was doing and kept asking so many questions that he finally confided in me about some private experiments he was conducting and eventually allowed me to observe them and take part in them. He manipulated the magnetic fields in these experiments until he was able to strike a metal gong with a metal hammer, but not one sound came from it. Or, at least that’s what seemed to be the case. But when he checked the instruments that measured the sound waves themselves, he discovered that sound had been emitted, but was not picked up by our ears.”

“Fascinating,” John said, scooting his chair closer to the table and leaning his elbows on it, allowing him to come closer to Nora as she spoke.

“Yes,” she said. “I was totally fascinated – in fact I was captivated by all of it. “He then called in his dog and had him sit with us as he repeated the striking of the gong. Again we heard nothing, but his dog did. And, as I’m sure all of you know, dogs are capable of hearing a much higher pitch than humans, but are deaf to sound pitches below 40 hertz. His dog heard the gong, but in a later experiment, where Dr. Newman tried several different materials which would produce sound at much lower hertz than the gong, his dog heard only one of those experiments, and he and I still heard nothing.”

“And you say it was the change in the magnetic field? Nothing else?” asked John.

“That was the most fascinating part of the experiments. Absolutely everything remained the same in every experiment except the magnetic field around the instrument emitting the sound and its immediate area. With every significant change in that magnetic field, the ability to hear the sounds changed as well.”

“But physics doesn’t lead us to believe that the magnetic field plays that large a part in the emission and transmission of sound waves,” said Soren.

Ruben spoke for the first time then. “Well, up to this point in time, science hasn’t proven a connection, but you know as well as I, Soren, that one of the things we pride ourselves on as scientist is that we are learning more about the universe and its vagaries all the time.”

John spoke again. “Ruben, you have a degree in geomagnetics. Was there anything – anything at all – in your studies that hinted at a possibility of connection?”

“I did come across one interesting theory, proposed during the early 1940’s.” ………………


©2014 Sandra Conner

Tickle Me Tuesday — Week 6

CARTOON MAN LYING DOWN LAUGHING 2Sorry I’m so late getting this week’s Tickle up, but I have been swamped with technology problems today.  (I’m running way behind on my serialized story as well. But to quote a well-known character in English literature, “The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get.”)

Here’s today’s chuckle from me, and anyone else who has a chuckle, a giggle, a laugh, or a belly roll, just post your funny stuff on your blog and hop over here and paste your link into the “Comments” box. Keep it all safe for general audiences, and that’s the only rule you need to follow.

SPACED-OUT EXCUSESSPACESHIP CARTOON -PURPLE

“Johnny,” said his teacher, “where’s your homework?”
“Uh …” the child replied, “well, it’s like this.”
Then calling on his great imagination,
John recited his excuses like a list.

“I saved my book report until the last day
Because I wanted it to be so fresh;
I wanted to review again my story,
And to type it so it wouldn’t be a mess.

“But when I went to print it out on paper,
The printer said that it was out of ink.
So Dad said he would go to Wal-Mart for some,
And that he would be back in just two blinks.

“I waited and I waited with my printer,
And as the hours ticked by, I fell asleep,
But did not wake until the sun disturbed me,
So quickly from my chair then I did leap.

“I went in search of Dad, but found him nowhere.
My mom said he had called to say goodbye.
He’d seen a spaceship land not far from Wal-Mart,
And with those spacemen he’d agreed to fly.

“He said it was a chance for rare adventure,
And he was sure that you would understand,
And promised that when he returns with more ink,
My book report will be a story grand!

“I know you tell us life’s a great adventure;
Of opportunities to be aware,
So I was sure you’d want to wait ’till next week,
To have my book report to read and share.”

~~~

Friday Fictioneers – 3/7/14 — You Can’t Go Home Again

Well, another week has rolled around, and that means another Friday Fictioneers 100-word story challenge. This whole week, the number 1 has not worked on my computer keyboard. I have to take special pains to get it to type onto the page. So I got to thinking that perhaps I could use that as an excuse to say I’m going to have to do a 2 hundred word story instead – because my number 2 works just fine. However, I decided that even Rochelle, with her merciful attitude toward our rather liberal use of the term ‘100,’ would not be inclined to agree. So I bit the bullet and forced my keyboard to type the number 1 against its will.

This week’s prompt photo comes from Danny Bowman. However, due to the nature of my story, I needed to use a totally different photo at the story’s beginning. You will find Danny’s picture at the end, and the reasons will be self-explanatory.

To join the fun, visit Rochelle at her site:
http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/7-march-2014/

 

YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN

GREEN MOUNTAIN - greener
What are you looking at, Kor?”

Hmm?  Oh, this photograph of Kate’s homeland. She’s kept it over her bed these 12 years that she’s worked at the space station.”

My, what serene beauty. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”

Yes, she grew up on that mountain, and her greatest delight is the thought of returning tomorrow.”

But … what if …?”

I know.  I reminded her that earth has experienced a decade of atomic warfare. Much of it is beyond repair”

And …?”

She insists her mountain will be unchanged … but I … I fear for her a broken heart.”

DANNY BOWMAN VOLCANO CRATER

 

~~~

BlogFestivus – Day 4 – ‘Christmas Planet’

Day 4 is upon us, and our challenge is to write a 200-word story Happy BlogFestivus 2013about the Spirit of Christmas Future. Our Hostess is Blogdromedy, and you can hop over to her blog to check out the rules if you’d like to participate. I’d like to give special thanks to my great friend photographer/graphic artist Terry Valley for his artwork that inspired my take on today’s prompt. And, once again, you’ll find a list below my story that will link you to the other talented writers who are taking part in BlogFestivus this year.

TERRY'S GREEN PLANET 2 -CROPPED TOP

CHRISTMAS PLANET

“Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. KTZY-TV is here at the 2025 Christmas Market Preview to interview The Spirit of Christmas Future and learn what’s in store this coming holiday season. Future is currently standing atop one of the newest creations this year — the Self-Lighting Christmas Tree. Christmas Future, can you hear me all right?”

“I can hear you fine, Tom. And as you explained, I am atop one of the smartest Christmas decorating ideas to come out in centuries. These purple and red trees come with self-infused lighting that glows gently from within.”

“I see. And is that Santa who’s being hoisted up to the top where you are?”

“Yes, we wanted him on hand when we present the video feed of Christmas Planet.   Here’s the video now.”

“That’s spectacular!”

“Yes, NASA recently discovered this planet and developed it specifically for the celebration of Christmas. Those amazing red light displays are part of the planet’s atmosphere.”

“And any family from earth can travel by spaceship to Christmas Planet to celebrate the holidays?”

“Yes. About the same price as Disney World — which has now been demoted to Christmas Past, of course.”

“We’re out of time, but thank you, Christmas Future, for this thrilling report. Well, folks, there you have it. Contact NASA at the number on your screen for more information.”

~~~

Check Out These Stories As Well:

Theodore from This Blog Needs A Title
Linda penning at linda vernon humor

Tom over at Shouts from the Abyss
Steve from Stevil
Maria-Christina blogging at MCWhispers
Dylan of Treatment of Visions
Sarah from Parent Your Business
Dawn blogging at Lingering  Visions
K8edid from k8edid
Dave bringing it at 1pointperspective
Eileen from Not The Sword But The Pen
Lindsey at RewindRevise
Kandy of Kandy Talk
Natalie from So I Went Undercover
Jen at Blog It or Lose It
Amelie from In the Barberry
Cee Cee blogging at Cee Cee’s Blog
Ashley from LittleWonder2
BD writing Blogdramedy 

~~~

Friday Fictioneers – 5/10/13 – ‘Goodbye Snooky’


GOODBYE SNOOKY

 

TED STRUTZ' BAR PHOTO
Photo Copyright: TED STRUTZ

Here we are, folks: the legendary bar where Snooky Adams was gunned down by his partner, Lila Corbell.” The young guide positioned himself to imitate the gangster, dressed in Snooky’s signature red turtle-neck and gray, pinstriped jacket, his hair slicked back in Snooky’s oily-smooth style. The resemblance was disturbing.

He looked into the mirror behind the bar, intending to make eye contact with his group via that reflection, but he suddenly shouted, “Lila!”

His audience jerked heads to look behind them at the same second the shots rang out. But seeing no one, they turned back to their guide. He was on the floor, three bullet holes in his chest.

Lila’s reflection lingered in the mirror, smoking gun in hand.

~~~

(I took some license with the mirror. The one in my imagination is bigger than the one in the picture.)

Would you like to share your own story inspired by this photo?  We’d like to read it. Hop over to Rochell Wisoff-Fields’ site and get in on the fun:
http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/

 

Experimental Challenge 5/7/13 — ‘What If …?’

Well, even though I posted the “green planet” writing challenge on here Tuesday, I did not have a story of my own to go with the picture yet.  I was still thinking. Two other bloggers have jumped in with great contributions, though, and we are on our way. I finally dragged an idea out of my imagination this morning, so here’s my offering (along with a copy of the picture):

TERRY'S GREEN PLANET 2 - resized, credits

WHAT  IF  …?

What’s the latest report?” Oneida asked Tron.

The planet Verdure is still in a state of internal combustion,” he replied, his face pinched. He looked at the camera relay screen. “Watching that planet disintegrate right before my eyes and knowing I can’t stop it is tearing my guts out.”

How long do we have?”

I’ll know more when Beryl and Oma return. They’re out measuring the light levels in the power garden.”

That red gas is our main enemy?”

Yes, as our energy pods absorb it, the light energy that holds this planet together is drained off.”

He panned the camera across the power garden of mushroom-shaped growths from which the planet drew all of its life. “See, how many of the healthy purple pods have absorbed the gas until they have turned red and shrunk to half their original size?”

He panned to the pod where Beryl and Oma were still at work. Oneida spoke. “Look, Oma’s starting to descend. Maybe they’ll be back with their report soon.”

Yes, but I’m not sure I want to hear it. Sometimes, I think we should turn off all the surveillance equipment so we can’t see it all happening one step at a time. Perhaps we should all just gather in the communal hall and do our best to comfort each other until it comes.”

Until the end comes, do you mean?”

Of course! What else?”

She looked at him gravely. “I’ve been thinking ….”

Yes …?”

Well … I’ve been wondering … Did we just happen?” Tron looked at her quizzically. “I mean … well … I find it hard to believe this whole planet of Mushroom just happened – and that all of us who live here were non-existent one second and then – bang – here we were!” She looked at him hopefully.

I don’t think I’m following you. What does it have to do with Verdure’s decomposition and destruction of everything within its electro-magnetic sphere?”

Don’t you see? If we didn’t just … happen … then someone or something more intelligent, more creative, more powerful than ourselves had to have created us. And if that someone cared enough to make us, then wouldn’t it – or he – care enough to save us?”

Tron’s eyes grew large. Oneida could see that it was a concept he’d never imagined.  But now … with no other possible avenue of hope … perhaps even he thought it was worth considering.

She continued. “I guess I’m wondering if we were to look back in all the records of Mushroom – especially the copies of those old black books the leaders buried underground last century ….”

“You mean you think there might be answers to our origins in those books? But the leaders insisted that they were lies and made it illegal for any citizen of Mushroom to read them.”

But what if we could find out … and find a way to connect with our … creator —”

That’s impossible!”

Is it? Our survival is impossible as we are now. But, just think, Tron … what if ….”

~~~

Experimental Writing Challenge

Okay, I just can’t resist this. I love writing challenges, even though I don’t get to keep up with all of them.  A couple weeks ago, I began thinking about one particular piece of graphic art done by a friend that should spark several good ideas for stories. But, of course, no one else is going to use that photo for a challenge, so I decided I might as well do it myself.

Now, many of my blogging friends are involved in so many of these kinds of activities, they may not have time to add another — and that’s okay. Believe me, I do understand. However, for any of you out there who are looking for one more little adventure in the world of cyberspace writing, I’m going to offer this challenge.

For this time around, I’m suggesting you post your story on your own blog and then come to my comments section and post the link to it — with any other comments you want to make. If this should develop into something regular with a lot of people taking part, and it starts to get too crowded, I’ll FORCE myself to get more sophisticated and sign up for the “inlinkz” system or something similar. But for now, if you want to share your story, just post the link in the ‘Comments’ section below the challenge post.

Now for rules:  Uhhggg!

Only two rules:
1. Write a story inspired by the picture — 100-500 words in length.
2. I host a “G” rated blog, so please be sure your story is clean and wholesome enough to be read by any audience — in other words — Rated G.

And if it should transpire that no one is eager to take up this challenge, there’s no harm done. I’m just feeling a little whimsical this evening, and this is the result. Come to think of it, that’s the way I felt when I posted the “Thursday’s Windows” challenge originally — and look where that led!  If we do have a good turnout of stories, perhaps I’ll post a new challenge each month, but I’ll wait and see how this one goes.

Now for the picture: Some of you will recognize this work from a previous post on this site. It is by Terry Valley, a professional photographer and graphic artist friend in the U. S.  It clearly lends itself to a science fiction theme, but please don’t feel constrained to stick with that. I don’t doubt that many will be inspired to go a different route all together.

TERRY'S GREEN PLANET 2 - resized, credits

Of course, I guess this means I’ll have to write a story inspired by the picture as well. Hmmm. I don’t have any ideas yet, but I’ll work on it, and when I get one, I’ll post my link on here as well.

No time limit. If you’re inclined to take part, take your time and have fun.

~

100-Word Challenge for Grown Ups – # 86 — ‘Decisions’

This week’s 100-Word story challenge from Julia is the following phrase:     ” … the queue was so long …” 

We have to create a story with 100 words, plus this phrase. To join the fun visit Julia here: http://jfb57.wordpress.com/.

My story is four words over the limit, but you will find it below:


DECISIONS

THANKSGING LINE #2 - CROPPED

The queue was so long!  I was already doubting my decision.  

If I stood here much longer, I might change my mind. I didn’t want to change my mind.

I knew Roger loved me, and our life was good.  He’d begged me not to go.  But I couldn’t stop wondering … what would have happened if I’d made different decisions?  What life would I have …?

And when Dr. DeCamp taught the class on alternate lives — and explained that those lives were actually running concurrent to this one — and that there was a way to transfer into those lives — I decided.

But … now … every minute in line required a NEW decision!

~

NaPoWriMo – 2013 – Day 4 – A Series of Unlikely Explanations

NAPO 2013 BUTTON

Day 4 of the NaPoWriMo challenge offers a very unusual prompt.  Here it is in the words right from the NaPoWriMo site, in  host Maureen Thorson’s words:  “Recently, I read an article about the Scottish science fiction writer Iain M. Banks. His books often have spaceships in them. And those spaceships have extremely odd, poetic names. Like:

Prosthetic Conscience
Irregular Apocalypse

Unfortunate Conflict of Interest
Gunboat Diplomat
Very Little Gravitas Indeed
A Series of Unlikely Explanations

So your challenge for today is to write a poem with a title drawn from one of these spaceship names.”

Now, the list of spaceship names on the site is much longer, but I stopped with “A Series of Unlikely Explanations” because it is the one that inspired a poem for me. Since the title is borrowed from a science fiction writer, I kept the science fiction theme as well.

You’ll find the poem below, and if you want to take part in these fun challenges for National Poetry Writing Month, just visit this site:
http://www.napowrimo.net/


SPACESHIP CARTOON - MY PHOTO EXPLOS

A SERIES OF UNLIKELY EXPLANATIONS 

“Johnny,” said his teacher, “where’s your homework?”
“Uh …” the child replied, “well, it’s like this.”
Then calling on his great imagination,
John recited his excuses like a list.

 “I saved my book report until the last day
Because I wanted it to be so fresh;
I wanted to review again my story,
And type it so it wouldn’t be a mess.

“But when I went to print it out on paper,
The printer said that it was out of ink.
So Dad said he would go to Wal-Mart for some,
And that he would be back in just two blinks.

“I waited and I waited with my printer,
And as the hours ticked by, I fell asleep,
But did not wake until the sun disturbed me,
So quickly from my chair then I did leap.

“I went in search of Dad, but found him nowhere.
My mom said he had called to say goodbye.
He’d seen a spaceship land not far from Wal-Mart,
And with those spacemen he’d agreed to fly.

“He said it was a chance for rare adventure,
And he was sure that you would understand,
And promised that when he returns with more ink,
My book report will be a story grand! 

“I know you tell us life’s a great adventure;
Of opportunities to be aware,
So I was sure you’d want to wait ’til next week,
To have my book report to read and share.”

~

100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups — Week #74 — Freezing

Julia’s new challenge this week can be found at this link:100 WORD CHALLENGE LOGO
http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week74/

The prompt is the phrase:    “… the extreme weather meant …”

Here’s my contribution:

FREEZING

Dr. Corbet, from the U.S. Natural Disaster Center, is at the news conference to bring us up to date on what the extreme weather meant this past week. Dr. Corbet, what’s the latest report?”

Unfortunately, the reverse-magnetic dome forming around the earth is growing thicker and cutting off more sunlight every day. We’re getting hourly reports now from our scientists in all sectors. As of one hour ago, thermometers in New York registered 40 below zero, Fahrenheit, and thermometers at the equator registered zero.”

So you’re saying ….”

I’m saying the human race has about 3 weeks to live.”

~~~

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

I have a good friend who is a professional photographer, but he likes to experiment with computer graphics as well.  The picture below is one of his original computer creations, and I think it fits this week’s challenge nicely.