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On On Off

28 Jan

100 words for Friday Fictioneers based on the photo prompt supplied by Ted Strutz and selected for this week’s round of stories by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

 

On-on-off

(Copyright Ted Strutz)

The switch positions and the cord wound clockwise said the drop was compromised. The scorch mark told him to burn everything and run. The hole was new and sure to have a camera inside.

<–>

He walked by with measured steps, eyes on the ground. Another wage slave drone headed to a dead-end job. Mindless. Hopeless.

But they were wrong.

He would remove the RFID chip in his forearm and follow protocol for reintegration into the network. Different city. Change of identity. Same goal.

One man’s terrorist. Another man’s freedom fighter.

The victor writes the history books.

There is always hope.

 

 

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Shank’s Mare to Summer

7 Jan

100 words for Friday Fictioneers based on the photo prompt below (courtesy of a brilliant stained glass artist named Jean L. Hays). Every road, just like most stories, has a beginning, a middle and an end. Most of us know where ours began, many have seen the middle and a very few know where theirs will end. No matter where yours takes you, remember to enjoy the journey. Aloha, D.

 

Begin the Route

(Copyright Jean L. Hays)

Headed southwest through bitter cold and spindrift snow towards a distant home, he found a battered sheet of drywall near an overpass and dragged it up to where the span met sloped berm, hoping to use it as a windbreak or makeshift mattress.

On the concrete abutment above the ashes of an old campfire someone had written in charcoal, “Not all those who wander are lost.”

He stared at the words for a long time, thinking of her, then shivered and returned to the highway to search the windblown verge for something to wrap himself in besides Tolkien and memories.

 

 

Down on your luck

End of the Trail

Five after Whatever

15 Oct

100 words for Friday Fictioneers based on the photo prompt below.

Five after Whaever

(copyright Douglas MacIlroy)

 

I was building a cuboctahedron when a packet of hot peppers fell from an opening and onto the workbench. I peered inside and found myself seated in a restaurant opposite a beautiful woman with sparkling eyes and a sunny smile. Across the street sea met sky beyond a pristine white sand beach.

“I was strolling on the boardwalk when a craving for Calimari alla Griglia came over me.” she said.

“And I was….Oh, never mind.”

“This is going to be an unusual relationship, isn’t it?”

We meet at Scalini’s in St. Heliers every Thursday at five after.

Scalini's

Critical Excursion

24 Sep

100 words For Friday Fictioneers based on the photo prompt below. Those of you familiar with my weekly stories will know that I try to refrain from overlong introductions. Today is no different, but for those interested in the subject, I have added a short afterward. I highly recommend that you don’t read it (useless you’re curious and have the time). The story is accurate and stands alone.

 

Meltdown

Copyright Marie Gail Stratford

The soft glow flared to a brilliant, beautiful blue. Then darkness fell.

Above the turmoil of boiling water the phone at the end of the catwalk rings. My fingers never lose contact with the handrails as I find my way there.

“Rick, we’ve got a high radiation alarm in pond twenty-one,” my supervisor says. “What’s happening?”

“Criticality incident. Center section fuel rods.”

“You certain?”

“Cherenkov flare. Heat pulse. And I’m blind.”

“Can you self-evacuate?”

 

“Probably, but I can’t outrun what’s coming. Don’t send anyone. I’ll just rest here.”

 

“Rick…”

“Yeah?”

“Godspeed.”

 

 

 

 

Fuel rod cooling pool

 

 

 

Nuclear power is an esoteric field, full of jargon and unwieldy terms usually mangled by newscasters, but to those in the industry it is a pure science, stark yet somehow elegant. It is also a slippery beast that every now and then escapes from the mechanical prisons we try to confine it to. When this happens, it happens fast. Invisible high-energy sub-atomic particles rip through fragile DNA and other cellular structures and do irreparable damage in the blink of an eye. The human machine can keep running for a while, depending on the full body radiation dose it has received, but all the myriad chemical reactions required to sustain life are adversely affected and eventually the body grinds to a halt in an ugly and painful death. All nuclear industry workers know the risks and work hard to minimize them, but for the unlucky few down through history, being near a critical excursion is like winning the lottery in reverse.

And since you’re still here, I think it germane to note that our sun is a fusion reactor in the sky and that we are being irradiated every day by it. Radiation from the decay of Carbon-14 in the long bones of your legs is a significant part of your lifetime dose. If you linger in Grand Central Terminal for a day, radiation from the granite used in its construction will add to your lifetime dose. Fly much? Airline pilots have much higher lifetime doses of radiation than those of us who work on the ground. In my three years aboard the USS-Sargo, a fast attack submarine, I received exactly 1.625 rem of whole body radiation.

Radiation is electromagnetic energy. We are awash in it day and night, so much so that our eyes evolved to detect radiation in the visible spectrum. Nuclear power is a tool of man. If there is a danger associated with it, it stems wholly from our failure to maintain adequate safeguards. Educate yourself, know your physics and above all, don’t listen to the talking heads on the TV screen. Go figure it out for yourself.

 

Still here?

Ouroboros

25 Sep

100 words for Friday Fictioneers and an answer to a few of the comments I received on last week’s story.  (Thanks for all of those.)

Thanks to Mrs. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for continuing her cat herding duties, to Mr. Katzenjammer Voza for the photo prompt (below) for the stories this week, and to me for coming back and talking to me in 1967.  (It hasn’t happened yet, but the intent is there so you never know.)

 

Ouroboros123

The old man scared me until I realized that only I could have known the things he told me. When he finished, I believed.

“You’re fourteen now. Work your ass off and save every cent. When Microsoft and Apple go public, buy and keep buying.”

“Is there anything else I should do?”

“The Morrisey twins,” he replied, without hesitation.

“Did you?”

“Never asked. Faint heart and all that. Don’t want you still wondering when you’re seventy.”

“Which is when you first went through the portals?”

“Exactly. Blue door first.”

He handed me an envelope.

“It’s all in here. Have fun.”

 

 

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One Today is Worth Two Tomorrows

18 Sep

Here is this week’s 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers. It is based on a true story that is happening now and on the photo prompt shown below courtesy of John Nixon. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for winding the ship’s chronometer, to Ben Franklin for my title and to R. A. Heinlein for everything he ever wrote. The stories of all contributors can be found here. Take some time to check them out. Never know what you’ll find.

(For those of you new to Friday Fictioneers, the founder, Ms. Madison Woods, is getting married this weekend. Talk about your ripples in a pond. She has changed many people’s lives for the better, even if she doesn’t know it yet, or modestly denies it.)

Madison, thank you for all that you’ve done. May you find the magic and love you have deserved for so very long. Aloha, D.

One Tomorrow

Life was a holding action in which I could see no future. Seventy years of bad decisions found me worn out and headed straight to hell on a bad road paved with good intentions.

Which is why I paid attention when my doppelganger walked into the store and placed a satchel full of hundred dollar bills on the counter.

He handed me an envelope and one-thousand dollars.

“Tomorrow’s Kentucky Derby. Bet the trifecta, 19-6-5. After you collect, open the letter and follow the instructions. Don’t screw this up. Don’t think. You’ll only hurt yourself. We’ll talk again twice. It’s time.”

Click this link.

Or not.