“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?
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.
Sandra landed the Raven, a crate with the pretense of a spaceship, as close to the space wreck as she deemed safe. A feeble automated distress signal had brought it to her attention. When she went out to investigate, she was surprised to see there was someone alive, because a shadow disconnected itself from the mangled overgrown rusty shape and turned into a burly in man dressed in rags aiming a plasma rifle at her.
Sandra had no weapons on her, because she hated guns and relied on her luck to get out of sticky situations. Someone once told her that relying on luck was silly, but she had replied that luck had gained her more than guns. And those who knew her well, like Eve, had to admit that it was true. Somewhere there had to be whole worlds populated by unlucky people to offset the imbalance.
“And if luck doesn’t help I can rely on my looks.” Sandra added smugly. Those poor saps were not only unlucky, but they were ugly too. Life really sucks.
“What a tasty morsel you are.” the man said with a gruff voice. “Now let’s get of this planet..”
After the Raven had entered space, the man leaned close to Sandra, who was sitting behind the controls of the ship. When he got that close he noticed red lights on one of displays..
“What are those lights?” He pointed.
“That is life support.”
“Yes, we removed most of it to make room for more essential things.” Sandra said in a deadpan manner.
“More essential things?”
“Yeah. We didn’t remove everything, of course. Like that one.” Sandra pressed a button and something started to hiss.
“What is that?”
“Let me see..” Sandra stood up, making such movements that he could not help but watch her and then she bent over the console so the shape of her body was silhouetted against the lights of the screens. She then looked over her shoulder and gave him one of her smiles, while holding up a package of cigarettes, “Mind if I smoke?”
The man started to turn pale and breathe loudly. He then grabbed at her. For a few moments they struggled and then he fell to the ground.
Sandra examined him thoughtfully for a few minutes and then gave him a vicious kick. When he didn’t react she pressed the button again to stop the hissing sound. Absentmindedly she grabbed one of her smokes and tried lighten it, but the lighter did not produce a flame.
“That sucks.” She wanted to say, but while her mouth made the movements, there was no sound..
She then went over to the communications console and typed a short message to Eve which said: Yeah, let’s keep the oxygen unit, it has it’s uses. Oh btw, I got a guest for dinner.” And she snickered an inaudible fanged laugh. She was sooo funny.
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.
“..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.
This flash story requires a bit of a background and explanation. One is that it is written because I heard about a row between Denmark and Sweden over a shows in which naked people were discussed. I sort of fantasized about it.The other is that I am sneaky introducing two characters from my vampire stories.
The couple was still dressed when they entered, as this was demanded for the show.
“Fine specimen.” said the girl with the broad grin and brown curly hair.
Her companion jury member, a young blond woman wearing dark sunglasses, smiled at this remark and said,”Lets see more.”
The women gave directions and gradually the couple undressed. The jurors then commented on the revealed parts and giggled a lot.
“Ladies, It is time to make a choice.” the showhost remarked at some point.
The two women then had a momentary private conversation, tossed a coin and then the blond girl said,”We like them both, but she takes the boy and I take the girl.”
Then the blond guided the woman off stage and the brown haired girl did the same with the man. The infrared cameras then showed how the brown girl became a ten feet werewolf and ripped the man apart, while the blond girl bared her needle-sharp fangs and ravaged the girl.
Afterwards the jury members retook their seats..
“This show is great!. We found our species don’t need to hate each other: we can share.” they said in unison. The showhost laughed heartily at that and fantasized about the rising rates.
After delivering his speech on outsourcing, the head of the IT department made a gesture as if to fold some papers in his hands, but he had none at the moment, as his department had been committed to substantial cost savings by becoming a real paperless office.
The handful of people that were with him in his room moved to congratulate him. They were familiar faces: the painted one of his secretary, the stubbled ones of the managers and the fresh ones of the management assistants who would become managers themselves in a few years time.
The amorphous mass of employees who were watching them on small and large screens in small and large rooms all over the world saw only the smug smiles on those faces. They had not yet been disconnected, but then.. they never had been connected anyway.