Flash Fiction: History

History

“I had not expected you to be here, sir.” I said and I wanted to leave him to his moment of solitude, a moment which he would have seldom time to enjoy.

He was standing near the balcony overlooking the boulevard that was in front the house.

He was his usually tall self, slender to the point of wiry and holding a cigarette. The one that was kept from the public eye, because smoking was bad now and it was something that could be used against him, even though the elections were still few years away.

“Don’t leave..please join me for a moment.” He said.

I walked over to him and we both stared out of the window, looking at people and cars on the street. Small figures in the distance. The sky was losing the redness of the dusk and the black of the night was taking over.

“There will be no stars tonight.” He remarked.

“No sir. It is going to rain.”

He nodded.

“I have not seen you before.”

“No sir. My name is Claire Redmond and it would have been unlikely that you would have seen me otherwise.”

“Oh? How so?”

“We are not encouraged to.” I said.

 “Meaning you are told to avoid me.”, he laughed.

“That would be one way to say it, mister President.”

He nodded.

“What is it that you do, Claire?”

“I am a historian, mister President.” I said, “You might also call me record keeper. I write down what happens here.”

“Ah, you make history.”

“I would say you make history and I write it down.”

“That might be one way of putting it.” He smiled.

“It is unavoidable, being who you are.”

He nodded.

“Ever wondered about that, mister president?”

“About me making history?” He squeezed his eyes, sucked on his cigarette and was silent for a moment.

“Whenever I see a movie about a president, like one about Kennedy or Nixon, I think about it. But when I am in the midst of it I often forget,  but sometimes I feel it:  this is a historic moment, but that is just a small moment among all the other moments. It somehow becomes normal.”

“And was this a historic moment? One where you have this melancholic moment where you stare out over the city to make a decision about bombing a country or not?”

“I was just enjoying a cigarette.” He smiled.

“Pity. It would have made a nice historic movie moment, mister president.”

“It would have.”

“Maybe I could alter history a little bit and make this a historic moment, for the benefit of us both?”

“You would willing write yourself into history?” He said.

“A historians privilege.”

“I would have to make a decision first, though.”

“True, but even not making one could be a historic moment.”

“Sounds like a done deal then.”

“If I was narcissistic enough.”

“And you are not?”

“No mister president. I am historian.. not a politician.” And I gave him my best smile to cushion the shock.

He laughed, even with his eyes.

Silly laws 2: moose

This was a flash version.

 

Unfortunately for the prosecution, Raine Moya got the help of the defense attorney Bulwark Trotski.  Raine Moya had been arrested together with her pilot after the latter had crashed landed their plane at Nowaki Airport. One of the two engines had blown and they had barely managed to reach the airport. They had only achieved this by feeding a captive moose two crates of Triple X beer before it allowed itself to be pushed from the plane.

The pilot got a fine, but Raine was facing an undetermined length of imprisonment due to the fact that she was charged with three offenses: pushing a moose from the plane, feeding it alcohol and watching it drop to the river while dangling from a safety cord attached to that plane.

Bulwark immediately set to work to badger, terrorize and ridicule the prosecution. It took him no time to convince the jury that dangling from a plane and watching a moose, was not the same as watching a moose from inside the plane, hence that charge was dropped.

In addition nobody had actually seen Raine feeding the moose nor seen her pushing the moose from the plane. In fact the pilot, now called up as witness for the prosecution, had to admit that he had not witnessed anything since he was more focused on flying the plane. Since Raine could not incriminate herself, she could be called up as a witness for the prosecution and therefore the pushing charge was dropped..

Finally Bulwark tore to shred the evidence surrounding the beer feeding, since the moose raided a village store and drunk itself into a stupor after it had swam ashore..

After being cleared of all charges, Bulwark even got Raine some compensation for all the trouble the state had given her.

“You have my gratitude” Raine said to Bulwark, “I would not know how to repay you…”

Bulwark looked the young slender hispanic with brown eyes and brown hair up and down and then said, “Maybe not with money, but I can think of other ways to be rewarded.”

And Bulwark Trotski grinned. He had no morals whatsoever.

 

(Alternative ending)

 

Then a perplexed look appeared on his face and he doubled over groaning with pain.

Raine had placed a well aimed kick in his crotch.

‘Women have no sense of gratitude.’ He thought as he saw the fiery hispanic strut out of his office while he was cringing in pain on the floor.

Signs of life 4: Fuzz

“No!”  Meena, the eldest of the two daughters said with an indignant expression on her face  when her parents proposed to go to the market fair.

Eve, the youngest, fell into an uncomfortable silence squeezing a plushie against her chest. She did not dare to go against her older sisters opinion, yet she feared her mother’s displeasure equally. She withdrew into the only direction she could: into herself.

“We never go to anything that we like. We always have to go to these boring things you like.” Meena continued waving her frail hand about,  ”I am not going and that is final!”

Harry, the father, tried to reason with her, but she was not going to listen: hormones and peer pressure were much more important for the budding teen than whatever considered arguments parents brought to bear.

Jane, the mother, then played the power card. “We all go and that is final!”

Meena grabbed her hand-held, stomped upstairs and closed the door of her room with such an audible bang that even the neighbors heard it. Everyone got that message. Then she started to whatsap all her friends that parents were the worst creatures in the universe by far and her parents were the vilest of the bunch.

Jane then shouted up the stairs that Meena should come down this instance or she would be facing a week of extra chores. Eve started to pout her lips and Harry began to tell Jane that maybe they should reconsider this fair business.

“See, even father doesn’t want to go!” Meena shouted, she triumphantly rubbed the words into her mothers face.

“I didn’t mean that!” Harry said, hearing how his words were being twisted into arguments for the defence.

“What then do you mean?”  Jane said. She felt slightly backstabbed by her husband but also knew that her eldest was twisting the knife on purpose. At the same time she saw her youngest discomfort and she grabbed Eve’s hand.
Harry smiled disarmingly at his wife. Meena had walked halfway down the stairs not wanting to give in to her mother, but also not wanting to face a week of extra chores. She looked down on the scene with her arms folded in front of her chest.

Purr the cat sat in front of the door that led to the garden. She mewed at it and glanced at them to see if they would notice. Purr was certain that door would open sooner or later, and if it didn’t  she would lie down on her cushion on the couch. From that vantage point  she would then stare at them with an expression that seemed to say: what on earth are you all doing?

Flash: Collateral

Jonathan Ames had saluted with a blank expression on his face after they had pinned up his medal.

“Well done, Captain.”  the general had said, a man Ames had only known by name. “A vital contribution to the war against terrorism. ”

He remembered that moment every time they held their ceremony at the veterans day. They would raise the flag, play the national anthem and they would all salute. And he would have his blank expression on his face.

“What did you get the medal for?” someone would ask sometimes.

“Programming.” he would answer.

“Programming? Programming what?” the next question would be.

“A robot plane.”

“How does that get you a medal?” would be asked..

He could not tell because of security reasons, but if he could have, he would have answered, “It launched a guided missile that blew up a car containing Muhafeed Al Jazar.”

And the questioner would whistle and say, “That guy? Did you do that?”

But he never got to this point as he was sworn to silence, because several groups of fanatics had howled revenge for this high tech assassination and the deaths of twenty-seven men, women and children of the village the car had been in when the rocket exploded.

He sometimes wondered who had actually gained from this vital contribution.

Mr Perfect

Sarah sat at her favorite table in that little Italian restaurant on the corner of Sixth Street and Main when Mr Perfect walked in. Of course, he did not wear a tag that said he was Mr Perfect, but she knew he was the moment she saw him. He was slender and dressed in a white jacket with stone washed jeans. He had a catchy smile, was slightly unshaven, had short curly hair and when he passed her table a scent of man lingered.

Sarah was a longtime single pushing thirty and that made her walk over to his table and ask him if he would like to have some company. He gave her his infectious smile, stood up and offered her a chair. At the end of a delightful evening he paid their bill and then accompanied her outside, where he hailed a cab.

When they arrived at her house he helped her out of the cab and then took her hand and said to her, “Dear Sarah, I loved the dinner, I loved the conversation and would love to do it again.”
“You are so Mr Perfect.” Sarah breathed, ”Do you want to come in..?”
He gave her that smile again but with a hint of sadness, “ Lovely Sarah, I might be Mr Perfect to you, bui..,” He stopped for a moment.
“Yes?”
“..but you are not to me.”
He gave her an apologizing smile, kissed her hand, got back into the cab and had it drive off into the star spangled night to find his own Mr Perfect.

For my friend: Misaki Andel and the love of his life Davie Holden.

Magnificent(for Sandor)

When, during the Crimean war, an English cavalry unit frontally charged a Russian line of guns,  and got massacred in the process, the French general Bosquet (witness to this debacle) remarked that ‘ it is magnificent, but it is not war.’.

This quote was on first Lieutenant John Maltowes  mind when sixty two years later, during the ‘Big Push’ of 1916, he was the only one to survive the slaughter of his platoon on a  death trap field swept by German machine guns and mortar fire. This, he wrote in his biography, is not magnificent: it is war.

More than eighty years later the United Nations Inspector  Bernard Jansen remembered both lines when he concluded in his report about the Srebrenica Massacre of 1995, that this is neither magnificent nor is it war.

Two hundreds years later a statue of Earth was unveiled by a randomly selected child to celebrate a century of peace undisturbed by organized bloodshed. The quote from the French general was on the base of the statue, but slightly altered. It read: ‘it is magnificent: it knows not war.’

note: This story is dedicated to Sandor. He dedicated himself to bring peace and understanding in this world. I heard his health was failing and people were asked to help him with positive thoughts.. well I don’t know much about that, but I wrote this story.

 

Note: changed the last entry from 1000 years to 200 years because i felt this did not fit with Sandor.

Capricorn Two

The red dust took some time to settle after they landed but that did not dampen their excitement.

“Who goes first?” Tomi voiced their question..

Mission control had told them who would go first, but in the face of history, far off Earth had no say.

Marchand stepped forward, but Indra tripped him. The crew started to fight and they fought all the way down the ladder in front of the camera.

“This is embarrassing.” Humboldt, UN Commissioner for Spaceflight, turned off the player, “In every simulation they start to fight.”

“Going down history as the first to land on Mars gets the better of us all.”, said Sir Irons, project psychologist, “But I have an idea.” He placed old video tape with the title ‘Capricorn one’ on the table.

The first broadcasted Mars landing was an astounding cooperative success: the flag of the United Nation was planted on a red hill and some evocative lines were spoken.

The  next landing, a year later, was equally successful. When the crew of that second  mission scanned  the red planet for signs of the first mission, they found no trace of them.  Not even after they had landed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capricorn_One

Men!

“Let’s ask the woman in our midst.” His Most Divine Emperor Maximilian the third said.

The gathered nobles of the realm, fitted in their shiniest armors adorned with silver and gold, turned their gazes towards her.

Eveline, envoy of the empress-mother,  looked at the princess Isobel, who was laying at the feet of the emperor. Even in defeat the rebel princess was a comely figure, with her long golden hair, blue eyes and armor that hugged her slender young figure.

Eveline waited for a few seconds, then gave the much rehearsed answer. “Kill her or marry her. She will be trouble either way.”

The nobles laughed loudly as the emperor dismissed both idea’s..

Isobel and Eveline smiled at each other. The empress-mother had exactly predicted this reaction.  They would be great friends, Eveline was sure of it.

In memoriam

“So you finally set yourself to it?”  His neighbors voice rumbled. He was a big fellow, with a large beard. He was the kind that roared when he laughed or when he downed too many beers at the pub down the road.

James looked up and took in the solid shape that loomed over the two of them. The last leaves, showing a myriad colors, floated down, released by the wind. One caressed his nose and then continued its way to the mossy ground.

He smelled wet grass and earth. He remembered a rope swing hanging from lowest the big branch. He recalled the laughter of children and a picnic in August in the cool comfort of the shades.

James patted the old worn surface. Felt the irregularities. The  deep groves. Parts of the bark had fallen off, more were giving way under the pressure of his touch. One piece showed the fading shape of a heart. Two names one each side, unreadable, but he knew them anyway.

“It is dead now..”  His voice trembled.

“And one day it will topple over.  A storm will come and  then it falls. It is a danger now..”

“A danger.. I guess it is.”

“I could get my chain saw. It will be easier.”.

“You could,” James nodded. He fingered the lenght of wood in his hand. It felt sturdy, new, and strong. The heavy metal at the end would be unrelenting, “but i want to do it like this.”

“It will take you forever..”

“It is the least I can do…”

The other one peered at him and smiled. “Like burying a loved one, huh?

“Something like that…”

“It is just a piece of wood now, you know. Dead wood.”

James grabbed the handle of the axe with both hands. He felt the weight of the head pulling itself to the ground. He practised a swing.

“It feels sturdy.”

“Better get started then, before you grow roots and someone comes along and cuts down the both of you. “

James took a step forward, braced himself and started the first of his many swings.

The tree did not cry out, but he felt a pain nevertheless.