Tags: fiction, flash fiction, time travel
I skipped a challenge or two–I had things going on. But I needed to get back to the writing, so this one came along at just the right time. Chuck’s Challenge this week was to write something using present tense.
Originally I thought of a story about time travel. I think it still is.
Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge: The Present Tense
I’m laying on my deathbed. Lying? Laying? I’m laying on it, and lying. My daughter holds my hand. “I had a good life, Sweetheart. I have no regrets.” And I’m gone.
It was what she needed to hear, but I’ll never see her again. Probably. Here I go with the peaceful calm feeling and the sensation of floating and the goddamn light again. Oooh, a heavenly choir. Angelic voices. Fuck em.
Because here I am again getting pushed out of the womb. Again. Can’t a guy catch a break? You assholes who think you’ll sleep when you’re dead have got it all wrong. Sleep when you’re alive. I’ve been dead a few thousand times, and I never get so much as a catnap.
It doesn’t hurt, but it is annoying. The light hurts, but I refuse to cry. Not this time. The midwife slaps my ass and I choke and cough a little, and I give her a single “Wah.” I’m done with this shit.
I have the same mother, and the same tired, used nipples. Ain’t life grand?
I try so hard to remember everything, but it’s no use. It just fades away. I bet I’ve tried to remember before, too…but I don’t remember trying to remember.
Everything seems like déjà vu to me, but only because it is. I get caught up living life again, swept up in the exci—
A girl. I’m twenty. I turn. She looks familiar. If only I could remember what I did before. We’re sitting in the commons at university. I don’t know what I did before, but this time I’m studying engineering. She says to me, “Do you ever have déjà vu?”
I mumble, “My life is déjà vu.”
She smiled, not understanding. “What?”
I say to her, “I don’t remember.” It’s the only time I ever tell the truth.
We date, we marry. We have kids. This time, it’s three boys. My middle son, John, dies in a car accident when he’s 17. He dies because he is my favorite. Oh, well. I’ll have more. Next time.
“He seems out of sorts, doesn’t he? Since Johnny died.” I hear them in the next room talking about me. I smile and pretend to read the paper. Ha! I’ve always been out of sorts. That’s the problem.
As bored as I am with it all, Life always throws some curves at me. This time, my wife cheats on me. Chuck is supposed to be my friend, but I guess this is what people do. I’m sure I’ve done something to him. I hope he’s had a hot wife before, and that I fucked her.
I forgive Charlotte, but not because I’m forgiving. Slowly, over the years, I make her pay. She’s such a martyr, she just takes it. What a pathetic excuse for—
Just as I’m really invested in my hatred of her, she comes home crying. She just came from the doctor. She has cancer. She’s dying. I hold her and comfort her because she gives me no choice. “It’s going to be okay,” I tell her. I’m surprised that I tell her the truth, two times in one lifetime. It will be okay. She will die, and she will suffer no more.
And I have to go on.
Charlotte hangs in there like a trooper. Or to spite me, I can’t decide which.
Looking at her tombstone, with the space for my name ominously blank, I do what passes for reflection. I get the feeling, the sensation—
You know how when you have a dream, and you aren’t told things, but you just seem to know them? Like the rules for this dream and how things are done? I have that. I have that most of the time.
And I feel like I used to think I knew why this kept happening to me. Like the Hindu reincarnation, or I’m supposed to learn something and change and be a better person, and then I can move on.
I know it’s not like that, however.
It’s 2007, again. I’m 60 years old, and I’m alone. My two remaining sons have families conveniently on the coast, several hundred miles away. If I did it right, I pushed them away. In my condo I flip on the TV, and happen to see a movie coming up. Bill Murray—“Ground Hog’s Day.”
I’ve only seen it once before but it seems like I’ve seen it a hundred times.
When it gets to the part where he realizes he can become a better person for love, I pull the trigger.
The bright light hurts, but it’s a relief to be out. Still, I start crying before I get slapped by the midwife. That’s okay, because she cleans me off and hands me to my mommy. I love my mommy.
This is going to be a good one, I can feel it. I feel love, and I feel loved. When my eyes can see better I take in my surroundings. Middle-class post war, oddly familiar décor. I can read and I can think, I just can’t talk. Such is the life of a baby. From Mommy’s shoulder I see the calendar from the First National Bank. October, 1947. I’ve been here before, I bet.
The deep, strong voice of Papa fills the room. I’ve only known him for a day, but already I love him. He comes up to us and kisses Momma and gently touches me.
He says to Momma, “What are we going to name her?”
Tags: bodice ripper, fiction, flash fiction, historical fiction, serial killer, sub-genre mashup
Chuck’s flash fiction challenge this was another subgenre mash-up. I really like these, because I get to explore other kinds of writing. This week, we had to choose any two from this list: Dystopian Sci-Fi, Cozy Mysteries, Slasher or Serial Killer, Lost World, Spy Fiction, and Bodice Ripper. So if I tell you the two I chose, from that and other clues I expect you to be able to figure out the identity of the good doctor.
I chose Serial Killer and Bodice Ripper. The two really just go hand in hand.
To see more catch a horse and buggy and ride on over here:
Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge: Revenge of the Sub-Genre Mash-up
Anne-Marie first met the dashing young doctor at her aunt’s garden party. Initially she felt ambivalent about attending—
Until she met him. Anne-Marie felt a strange stirring in her loins, and she felt the heat rise to her bosom. She felt her cheeks flush, and dared not make eye contact.
The medical man noticed her symptoms straight away, and took pity on the young thing. “Good evening to you, Madam.” His dark eyes gazed forcefully at her, taking her in. She flushed more when he said, “You look stunningly beautiful this evening.”
At once he was close to her, taking in her perfumed scent and her warmth. Ann-Marie could sense his animal lust, barely concealed beneath the silk shirt and wool vest that kept him civilized. Were it not for the crowd, she thought, I would mount him this moment—
As if reading her thoughts, the doctor offered her a gloved hand. “Take a walk with me,” he ordered. He didn’t ask, he just ordered. His hot breath sent a cool chill down her neck as she crossed in front of him, acquiescing to his gentle demand.
“Wherewith would you take me, sir?”
“For a carriage ride, I think.” They were at his coach, just beyond the walls of the garden.
“But sir,” she purred at him, “you could take me most anywhere.”
“I intend to.” He gave her a hand up, steadying her by holding her thin, corseted waist. He told his driver, “Head over to Whitechapel, my good man,” before entering the coupe himself.
Anne-Marie said, “Whitechapel? That’s not the best part of town, is it?”
The doctor brushed it off as he sat close with his arm around her, immediately touching her lightly in exactly the right place. “It’s the perfect place for an adventure, my dear. And it’s on the way to my office.”
Thusly placated, Anne-Marie looked into his dark, hypnotic eyes. “I-I’ve never…I don’t do this sort of thing, you know. I don’t go off with just any man. I’m not a Pinchcock, I’ll have you know.”
The doctor was deftly maneuvering through her layers of clothing to get to her commodity. “Of course not, my dear. I don’t associate with those types.” He reached her mound and delicately caressed it with a gloved hand, eliciting a gasp from Ann-Marie. “Aye, but I bet you’re a bit of a bobtail, aren’t you?”
Breathily, desperate for his pulsating member, she reached for his trousers. The doctor drew back. “Aye, now’s not the time, love. Plenty for that later. Just enjoy the ride for now.” He held her and kissed her neck whilst he fingered her cock alley. Anne-Marie was breathing hard and fast and nearly there when the coach stopped.
A voice from above said, “Aye, sir, here are, then.” Quickly, Anne-Marie worked to regain her composure. After he helped her out, the handsome, mysterious doctor sent his driver off for the evening.
Shunting herself against the cold evening, and noticing an absence of streetlamps, Anne-Marie turned to hold herself against his hard, broad shoulders. “Are we far? From your office? Can we go there? I dislike this lowly part of town, it’s unsavory.”
He turned to her, and his dark eyes seemed cold, penetrating. “Really?” He grabbed her roughly and pushed her against the wall in an alley. “You seemed fine moments ago, when you were ready to salivate on my willy. Weren’t you?” He shook her at the last statement.
Anne-Marie felt as if she had been slapped. “What? How dare you—No. I am a lady, good sir. I would never—“
“Well, that’s not what I heard, milady.” A devious grin fell upon his face as he sneered the last word, and began roughly feeling her body. “I have it on good authority that you’d just as soon take three cocks at once.”
The heat and the sensual desire began to drain from Anne-Marie like a thick pudding into a rain barrel. The realization slowly came to her that she was in trouble. This was not a date. This was not brazen illicit sex. This was probably going to be a murder.
Trying to regain some control, and find a way to parlay, she put her hands on his chest tenderly, but it was unyielding. “Pl-please, kind sir. There’s no need for anything rash. I can make you feel good, I can.” Trembling, she put her head on his chest and held him, trying to get him to yield, to soften.
Or to harden, she thought. If I can get my hands on his lobcock, I can make him forget everything except my lips.
Her hands moved to the buttons of his trousers. He seemed to relax, and Anne-Marie made the barest motion of moving downward to open them. When she did, the doctor violently grabbed her by the scruff of her neck and threw her back against the other wall. “There’ll be none of that!” he hissed at her. “I knew it. I knew you were just like the others. All you want is a man’s private business. Well, ye not be getting mine. Not today!”
With that, the doctor began to unbutton his pants and open his breeches. To her horror, Anne-Marie saw that the doctor had neither willy nor bullocks. Instead was a scarred, horrible mass of flesh. She was in shock as he fastened his trousers back.
Shock was replaced with fear he pulled out a surgical knife, which shined in the dim light from blocks away. “Please, sir—please—“
Anne-Marie now begged for her life, and horrified that she could no longer curry favor with her sex. Maybe she can buy some time.
“Please, sir—I would—don’t kill me. Don’t kill me without telling me your name.”
The doctor paused briefly, and considered this odd statement. He shrugged. “My name is Jack.”
Jack then ripped Anne-Marie’s bodice from her. It made the next step easier.
Tags: apocalypse, bill collectors, fiction
This is another in the series of flash fiction from Chuck Wendig’s site “Terrible Minds.” This week it’s a thousand words, about your favorite apocalypse. Everyone has their favorite, right? To see more and to check out the other entries, go shopping here:
Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge: An uncharted Apocalypse
And this is a first for me–a double entry. I already put in one story, but it was one that I had written before and just had to edit. I had been sitting on this idea for a while, but was wondering just how to exploit it.
There is a reason for rules, Ted thought angrily, as he pulled the decayed corpse from the car. This is what happens when people don’t abide. Ted was immune to any punishment. He was upholding rule and order when he took this Cadillac as his new ride to the office.
Commuting was hell, but it had gotten better since ninety percent of the people had died. The bastards that had died on the highway—in the fast lane, for Christ’s sake—had no regard for rules and deserved what they got. I just want to give them all tickets for dying in the express lane.
At the office, Ted gave himself a promotion. The CEO’s office was his, as well as all the perks that went with it. He had a great parking spot right up front, the closest one to the door besides the handicapped spots. Ted was not one to flaunt the rules. He did not want to get fined.
What started off as a great day turned sour when his secretary exploded in the copy room. Fuck. Now who’s going to make my coffee? She was a temp, anyway—someone Ted had hired when he made himself Vice-President of Collections and Intimidation. Rachel thought he was going to “save” her. From what, exactly? Just because a meteor shower filled with space pollen killed everyone with allergies doesn’t mean she doesn’t have to work to pay off her VISA card. She worked four days, and she owed 1743.44. That debt is not paid off, and it will accrue interest on the next billing cycle. “You can’t shirk your obligations that easily, bitch!” Ted screamed and kicked at what was left of her corpse, until it fell off the finisher of the Sharp MX-623.
Ted’s afternoon appointment schedule was full. The company was short-staffed because he had to lay off everyone that died. Some of these people did not have to courtesy to die elsewhere. This economy has been a ball-buster.
But the growth industry has been collections.
In a seminar Ted gave last week to three sickly people and four dead bodies, Ted explained with PowerPoint that it was a fine line between sales and collections. The difference is in the attitude. For sales, you have to be polite. “In conclusion—stop trying to leave, Rhonda, or I will shoot you where you lie—in conclusion, since the valued customer has already received the services or merchandise and we have upheld our part of the sales contract, it is within our legal right to do whatever is necessary to collect from them. Any questions?”
“I thought there was help here. Is there a doctor? Can you help us?”
“No, Eric, I cannot help you. Not unless you hit your quotas.”
“Please help us?”
“This is not part of our incentive program for the month.”
Ted pulled into the sweeping circle drive of a massive house. This house in this neighborhood, before the bubble burst, was easily 1.2 million. The market took a dive before the pollen meteors. That was no excuse, however, for the owner to become delinquent on his payments.
Ted had prepared a strategy. He would try the friendly touch first; let him know that Ted was his friend. Then make him an offer. If he gave the house to Ted, and signed over the paperwork, not only would all collection efforts stop, but Ted would clean up Mr. Stanley’s credit rating. It wouldn’t be easy—but we’re in this together, as partners. Ted went up to the door, briefcase in one hand, and shotgun in the other.
Later, Ted sat by the pool of his new house. Luckily, the owners were not home. Lucky for them. They were probably vacationing in Delaware or Singapore. That’s just irresponsible, going on an expensive vacation to a glamorous place like Delaware when you’re six months behind on your house payment. What happened to values? He was going to keep the papers handy, to have Mr. Stanley sign them upon his arrival. It would all be perfectly legal—Ted was also a notary.
Ted sipped his drink and thought about Delaware. That’s where Ted would like to go, for his vacation. According to his incentive program that he had developed, he should get a hefty bonus to pay for the trip as well. He drifted off to sleep thinking happy thoughts.
The next morning Ted was looking forward to a productive day at work. Friday before Labor day—you want to make as many collection calls as you can, and ruin as many weekends as you can. But people shouldn’t be spending their money on beer and barbeque anyway when they owe money they haven’t paid. There are rules. There is order. He just hoped that today he would be able to get a line out.
The group of survivors was waiting for him inside, hidden behind cubicle walls on the production floor. They jumped him and beat him, and tied him spread eagle to a small conference table. Ted didn’t think to bring his gun into the office. The office was safe, it was his haven. Besides, firearms were forbidden in the workplace.
He and the table were dragged uncarefully outside, and tossed on a pile of random timber along with three others similarly constrained.
Stan, with a second mortgage and 420 credit score, said, “What is it with these people, hanging on to…the old ways of doing things?”
Jean, whose homeowner’s association had numerous nuisance suits filed against her, said, “I don’t know—collections people and lawyers.”
Robert, who had to close his business and file bankruptcy, said, “They don’t have any other skills. They certainly don’t have the skills for survival.”
Tracy, who already had more student loan debt than she could ever pay off, asked, “Is that enough gas?”
Stan said, “Yeah. Not too much. We don’t want them to burn fast, otherwise they don’t scream long enough.”
Tracy giggled. “I know, right?”
Tags: apocalypse, fiction
This is another in the series of flash fiction from Chuck Wendig’s site “Terrible Minds.” This week it’s a thousand words, about your favorite apocalypse. Everyone has their favorite, right? To see more and to check out the other entries, go shopping here:
Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge: An uncharted Apocalypse
I wrote this story many years ago–in fact the original appears elsewhere on this blog. This story has seen more rewrites than a sitcom with an out of control diva with a producer credit. So…this should be the best version, in theory. Right?
And I do have an idea for another one that I may write, to keep it fresh.
The streets were empty, save for the man selling his wares from a handcart, and the woman sweeping her stoop. The old brick buildings and the cobblestone path made even the most subtle noise echo, giving them life beyond their want.
This country is a different place now. There was a time when children would play in the streets, and adults would gather and talk, sharing the family wine or perhaps some lager. Hardly anyone has children anymore.
Everyone came around to a new way of thinking: Do what you want. Think of yourself. Live for today. With these thoughts our goals changed. Why have children? Burdensome and expensive, not to mention the smell. Would we ever get a peaceful night’s sleep again? Ever? Non.
And so, the children started to grow up and hardly any replaced them. Schools started to close. Having a child almost seemed to carry with it a stigma. What were they thinking?
I could see it in their faces, down at the pub. All the adults drinking and laughing, enjoying their childless life. With a twinkle in their eye—
I came from another funeral today: the provost of this area. Suicide. No one said it. No one cried, either. Too many tearless funerals of late. The service was in a church, but no one mentioned God. No one has for years. The priest gave a little talk, and his concubines handed out beer and crackers. Ashes to ashes-
I felt as though I was standing on the edge of the world. Close, perhaps. Was it the edge of civilization? Some individuals face the end of the world every day.
Is this what it was like in Pompeii?
Or when Rome fell? The rules and order that they had known was overwritten by the new order. Like a thousand other times throughout the course of civilization.
I stood at the bar in the pub. Normally loud, it had taken a somber tone recently. It suited me.
Old Man Johann sat next to me, brooding. He was ready to fight. Trouble was, he wanted to fight everyone. Sometimes, I agreed with him.
“Slovenly bastards,” he muttered quietly. I nodded as I tilted my glass. When the time came, I would fight. I was going to use what dignity I retained and go out like a man.
We imagined we could hear the hordes just over the mountains. Taking the land, killing the people, and changing the world. I would fight them. And Old Man Johann, and the half-score others who were so disgusted with their own people that we felt like killing them ourselves, for practice–and to prove a point.
My Spartan existence, that I once thought so chic, has left me with little to show for my life. When this ground is buried beneath layers of civilization, will there be anything to show of what my life had been? Trinkets, souvenirs, and heirlooms…I have none.
Will the scientists and philosophers know that I had loved, truly and deeply, and that my love had gone?
The bare walls betrayed the paintings that had once hung. My love had a flair for the creative, and making a statement. When she died, I made a statement and ripped them from the wall. My bed was now a single.
With my beloved gone, I thought I had nothing to live for. But in my early morning café-induced meditation, I realized that I wanted our love to never be forgotten. Whether I was remembered or she was, it mattered not; I wanted our love to be remembered.
Looking out at the empty square, I had an idea.
The side of the old courthouse, long abandoned because there was no law anymore, became my canvas. With somberness of purpose, I painted. I painted a picture that was a story, a poem, a sonnet; an ode to the love we shared, that was bigger than all of us. The self-involved townsfolk left me to work in peace, saying nary a word. I knew what they thought, though: I was crazy.
Ha! At least I wanted to live! Who was crazy?
It took weeks. Time was marked for me only by the setting sun. What else did I have?
I knew the savage hordes that would come would not destroy it, because it was the largest building in our valley. Their savage kings and savage priests would claim the building as their new temple, as they often did. In generations to come, it would be forgotten that the old people had put it there, and they would claim credit. And the mural would enter their mythology, and it would be a story passed down through the ages in their barbaric tongue.
And perhaps the painting itself and the story it tells would inspire one of these savages, and cause a turn in their thinking, ever so slightly, and down through the ages, and perhaps be the catalyst for a renaissance for their people. Perhaps some good can come from this after all.
That night at the pub, I celebrated quietly the completion of my work. I could die in peace. Levin read us the news, and the story of his travel over the mountains. The news always made me angry; that’s why I listened to it. I had so little emotion left, anger was the only one I could muster with any real conviction.
They are close, and closing in. We won’t last the winter here. The fall leaves crunched beneath my feet as I ambled drunkenly home. A fitting metaphor for our whole stinkin—
A couple of coffees later, and of course I couldn’t sleep. Lately, I never did. I sat up thinking and sharpening my sword. I would take some of the savage horde with me. I swear to the God who has abandoned us to our fate that I would.
The price of civilization is blood, and theirs was going to cost them.
Tags: fiction, fireworks, holidays, zombies
This is another in the series of flash fiction from Chuck Wendig’s site “Terrible Minds.” This week’s mission? One thousand words, with the theme being the Fourth of July. Check out the other entries here:
Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge, “The Fourth of July.”
Right at a thousand words, by the way. I couldn’t cut another syllable.
Breathless, Bob closed the door behind him. He slid down and sat in front of it.
He lost them. For now. The Midwestern July sun beat down on him and everything on the roof of this building. He was used to it now. Wiping sweat from his bald head, he reflected that he had often wondered how people had lived before air conditioning. The answer was: The same way they lived after air conditioning.
Of course, it probably didn’t smell this bad a hundred years ago, what with all the rotting flesh walking around and so forth.
Bob got up and looked around. He had been gathering supplies for this event for the past month. Sometimes it had gone easy. Sometimes not, like today. He thought of the blood that was dried on his leg, but he didn’t want to look at the wound. He was unsure if it was a scrape from a shard of glass–
Or a bite wound.
Scenes from movies played in his head.
(“I know what you’re thinking. Did he fight off six zombies or only five? Well, to tell you truth, in the middle of all this apocalypse, I kinda lost track myself–“)
He moved the barricade into place. He was safe here now.
Under his makeshift sun shade, he drank some hot water from a bucket, and eyed his food supplies but resisted. Food was scarce starting with the second day of this whole mess, and getting scarcer with each passing day. If that was a word.
(“One word.” “One word?” “Zombies.”)
From the roof he had a fair view of downtown. There’s The Arch, there’s the ballpark.
(“Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”)
Below him the street was deserted. Downtown hadn’t changed much–if it wasn’t near the ballpark or the clubs, there was no one around. A deer walked down the street. Okay, that part was different.
It never occurred to Bob to think of the deer as food. Bob was not an outdoorsman. Bob was not handy. Bob had no skills for dealing with a lack of technology.
Bob was in marketing. How he survived all this time was a combination of miracles and dumb luck. Oh, and he was a runner.
(“Run, Forest! Run!”)
Indeed, life was like a box of zombies. Don’t open that shit up.
Darkness was something to fear lately, but now he couldn’t wait. Bob’s one original marketing idea came too late to receive accolades or a bonus. Or hell, even a mention in the trades. But that was a different world. This was to be his shining moment.
He found the prize he had risked everything for today: one of those butane lighters with the long nozzle, perfect for lighting a barbeque.
Bob took a deep breath. It was time. He went to his first set-up and prepared to light the fuse.
He heard a loud bang in the sky behind him. As he turned, he heard another, and saw the fireworks in the sky. Those bastards! This was his idea! His!
(“Nobody puts baby in a corner.”)
Dammit. Still, it was time to show the rest of the fragments of the living world that he was still here.
(“Say hello to my little friend!”)
He lit his first array. And jumped back.
The rockets took off more or less the way he had intended. He didn’t have the professional set up that official displays use, and he didn’t understand the difference.
For several minutes, he lit his fireworks off, taking note of other rooftops in the city that were doing the same. He was over being mad–it had served its purpose. On the Fourth of July, he knew now that he was not alone in the world. Over a dozen different light displays were going on.
He stopped when he saw one display suddenly explode in an orgasm of light and sound. The finale?
Hmmm. “Does the light and sound attract zombies?” he wondered. Then he heard pounding on the door and the creaks of metal and wood giving under pressure.
Oh, shit. He was on the roof. That was the only way out. A weapon–he needed a weapon. He picked up a golf club–
(“Cinderella story, out of nowhere–“)
He threw it down.
He ran to the edge of the roof. More were coming.
(“The cops are here.” “How many?” “All of them, I think.”)
The door was starting to give, and his hapless barricade was sliding. A cart with wheels, even weighted down, still has wheels. He wished he was better at this stuff.
(“Zombies mean never having to say you’re sorry.”)
Maybe if he fired the last of his stash at them?
(“If you light it, they will come. And eat you.”)
In a panic, he lit an array and kicked it over, aiming at the door. He hoped. The rockets launched and went everywhere. The flames from the exhaust lit other rockets.
And so on.
Before Bob caught on fire, his barricade gave way and a swarm entered.
(“I see dead people.”)
The zombies rushed him even as he was burning and running around. The zombies nearest him caught some flame as well, and the fireworks were still going off. All this noise drowned out the sound of Bob’s screams.
(“Get your stinkin paws off me, you damned dirty apes!”)
With flames and zombies all around, Bob’s options were limited. He ran for the edge of the roof, with a few flaming undead close behind. He ran, he jumped, and he headed for the ground, a human fireball with an ultimately useless degree.
Three zombies followed him down.
(“I want to be alone.”)
(“You can’t handle the truth!”)
(“You’re going to need a bigger boat.”)
(“Everyone thinks they have a sense of humor, but then they don’t all.”)
(“I’ll suck your cock for a thousand dollars.”)
(“I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy, Yankee Doodle do or–“)
Tags: fiction, noir, steampunk, superheroes
This is another in the series of flash fiction from Chuck Wendig’s site “Terrible Minds.” The mission? One thousand words, mixing together a couple of these sub-genres: Steampunk, Super hero, Noir, erotica, farce, and men’s adventure. I’m not sure what some of those are. Check out the other entries here:
Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge, “Sub-Genre Mash-Up.”
ITT climbed out of his Delorean exactly the way you would expect a middle aged fat guy to climb out of a sports car: huffing, grunting, squirming, and not the least bit ironic, even when his toupee snagged on the overhead door.
“Fuck it,” he decided. It’ll be there when he comes back. His penny loafers squished in the semi-frozen blood that covered the ground. He ambled his way to the crowd that was gathered around the police tape and pushed his way through.
An old woman cursed as he pushed, then let him through. “Oh, it’s you!” She yelled out to the crowd, “Everything’s okay, folks! The Time Traveler is here!”
ITT reflected that fame was one thing, and notoriety was something else entirely. He made a mental note to travel back in time and find this old hag, and fuck her when she was young.
But that would be inappropriate.
The uniform was waiting at the tape for him. “I don’t think we need your help on this one.” There was a laugh in his voice.
“Ju-just tell me what you got here, Fenway.” ITT had a contract with the city to fight crime. ITT was the lowest bidder.
“Whatever. Come on.” Fenway talked as he led ITT through the carnage. “We got an air bus full of degenerates that fell out of the sky. It landed on the Blue Key–”
“Yeah. We don’t know how that happened. Before it hit, though, a street cleaner got under it. Maybe trying to stop it, we don’t know. Some the of the degens are programmed to save their hosts, so they climbed out onto the pipes of the bus. The first couple melted to it–”
“But that made a cushion for some of the others. About a half a dozen of these degen cyborgs made it out onto the wing and tried to get on the street cleaner.
“What about the pilot?”
“Most of these street cleaners are on auto; they just float around sucking shit up. No safety. So–”
“So the degens–”
“Got sucked completely off the airbus.”
“And not in a good way.”
“Is there a good way to suck a degen?”
“Ask your mom.” ITT ignored the reply from Fenway as he looked around. Robots and former human flesh was everywhere, and moving slightly, twitching, and in one case dragging itself toward the sewer opening.
Undamaged and untouched was the Blue Key, even though a street cleaner was shredded to pieces and balanced on it. On top of that was the air bus. A head and a robotic arm and shoulder slid out of a vent on the cleaner, reminding ITT of a turd.
But it was still very disturbing: The Keys were indestructible, yes–but they were also supposed to be untouchable, like a woman was to him at this stage in his life.
“We having a problem getting this cleaned up because of the Key?” ITT asked. It made sense–the power they generate made a field of impenetrability, like a chastity belt, or an aggressive bouncer.
“Nope. We have em on standby around the corner. FIC wants a look first. Here they come.”
Before he could react, a bulky-yet-sleek black and gold steamer came gliding in, making the horrible racket of real power and complete disregard that was the FIC’s calling card.
The Fucking Intelligence Community. Solar-powered Jesus, what next? ITT wished he wasn’t there. He and the FIC had a history, to put it mildly.
He turned around and noticed the crowd had dissipated. No one wants to be around when the FIC shows up. He turned to Fenway. “Why’d you get the short straw?”
Fenway said, “It fits easier in your mom’s mouth. I was tailing the airbus when it happened. They’re looking for someone to blame it on.”
ITT felt sick to his stomach. No one knew what would happen to him, but it wasn’t going to be nice.
To punctuate that point, the FIC team disembarked from their ride in one cool, synchronized movement, with the motorized accelerators on their legs clicking unison. No one was sure if the metallic arms were robotic, or cyborg, or just armor, but they bad-assedly raised dark sunglasses to their hosts’ faces. In unison. The group came towards them.
ITT really regretted the fact that he had gone back in time, fucked Fenway’s mom and got her pregnant, and that he was Fenway’s dad and Fenway didn’t know it. But that’s part of the gig when you are the Inappropriate Time Traveller.
He had mild regret about his next move as well. *I think I’m going back to the 80s, when Deloreans were cool* he thought to himself, and vanished.