Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 31
Challenge #13: Write a story involving a character who is somewhere they shouldn’t be but doesn’t seem to mind. It must also include the following words: satchel, cookie, penguin, tuque, vixen, marbles, sunglasses.
There was a crackle of lightning. A ball of light appeared and slowly grew, vaporising part of a lighting rig and leaving the cut edges glowing molten orange. A figure appeared, kneeling, in the epicentre of the event.
Richard Nixon shielded his eyes, partly because of the fierce light and partly because—as expected—the figure was completely nude. He nodded for his aide to take the next step, and the aide nodded in response, sunglasses flashing in the studio spotlights.
The aide approached the figure and handed over a simple robe, which was gratefully accepted.
“James Cameron,” said the President. “Do you know where you are? And…when you are?”
“Oh, yeah!” The filmmaker looked around the sound stage in awe. “I remember watching this when I was fourteen! I had no idea it was faked, though. That’s some spectacular work! Who did it?”
“If all goes to plan,” said Richard Nixon, significantly, “you.” Continue reading
Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 17
“Password?” grunted the bouncer through the metal shutter.
There was the sound of a bolt being drawn. The door swung open.
Grant tipped his hat and made his way down towards the basement, the “Oontz, oontz, oontz” of the music getting louder with every step.
Larry was at the bar as always, eating a Wilson’s Snack Pie: “Scrumptious Steak,” it looked like.
“I’m after some information,” said Grant.
“Aren’t you always?”
“Well I’m not here for the twelve-dollar mojitos.”
“Two-for-one on Fridays,” Larry pointed out. “But point taken. What is it this time?”
“Missing person.” He slid the photo across the bar. “You know anyone who might know something?”
“Not here, but try the docks. I hear Big Martha’s having trouble shifting her merchandise: if one of her competitors has anything to do with this disappearance, I’m sure she’d be only too happy to send you their way.” Continue reading
Flash Fiction Month 2015, Day 8
“A heated rock in every home!”
The crowd gave a few uncertain claps.
“Free locusts for every school!”
Confused muttering. An aide took this opportunity to step up and whisper something in the Prime Minister’s ear.
The Prime Minister gave a quick nod in response. “Something something hardworking families!”
Doug squinted at the TV. “I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something odd about this guy…”
“Seriously?” Eugene put down his copy of UFO Afficionado. “You’ve only just noticed? He’s a reptilian alien in a latex human suit. Everyone knows that.”
“Well,” Eugene shrugged. “Everyone on the internet. The sheeple on the street wouldn’t know a Neptunian impostorbot if it was living in their spare room.”
“Ha! Ha! Ha!” laughed Ian. “What an elegantly constructed hypothetical humour scenario! I will be sure to relate that one to my many biological relatives who definitely exist.”
On screen, the Prime Minister passed his tongue over his eyebrow in preparation for a photo.
“Huh.” Doug squinted some more. “You know, you might be right.”
“Of course I’m right! I’ve been right all along!”
“Hang on…” it was hard to read the Prime Minister’s name on Eugene’s tiny CRT TV, but Doug thought he recognised it. “Isn’t this the guy you said would never get voted in?”
“Okay, yeah. But I’ve still been right most of the way along!”
Nobody said anything for a while. The only sound was a faint mechanical rumble from Eugene’s housemate, Ian.
“Sorry,” said Ian. “I must have eaten a bad food.”
“You know what?” Eugene stood up. “That speech is going on just down the road. I think it’s time people knew the truth.”
“Oh, no.” Doug turned to him. “What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to march right over there and pull off that alien’s latex human mask right in front of everybody. Then they’ll have to believe me!”
“I don’t think he’s going to just let you do that.”
“He won’t know until it’s too late.” Eugene ran into the bathroom. Doug could hear water running. “The reptilians’ vision is heat-based. You’ve seen Predator, right?” Eugene stepped out of the bathroom. He had wrapped himself head to toe in wet towels. “I’ve got it all thought out.”
“Look out!” shouted the bodyguard. “That crazy towel guy is going for the Prime Minister!”
“Aw, nuts,” said Eugene, as three police officers with Tasers piled towards him. “I didn’t think this through.”
“Yay!” said Ian. “Free electricity!”
Things were going much as Doug had expected they would, which was why he’d specifically kept his distance from Ian and Eugene as they made their way towards the stage. However, with literally all the security staff trying to overcome Ian’s baffling resistance to being tased, he couldn’t help but notice that there was nothing stopping him from peeling the Prime Minister’s mask off himself.
With a battle cry of “I’m gonna be on TV, yo!” Doug jumped up on stage.
“Wait,” said the Prime Minister. “Stop. I’ll let you be Secretary for the Ants and Humidities if you don’t do what you’re thinking about doing.”
But Doug did it anyway. “Look!” he shouted to the crowd below. “This guy is a lizard or something!”
“I told you!” yelled Eugene, on the floor. “I told all of you.”
“Yes!” shouted Ian, still standing. “Let us all look at that thing that was pretending to be human but is really not! It is surely the only thing to have attempted that in this general area and we should not bother investigating further!”
There was a surprising lack of reaction from the crowd.
“We already knew that!” yelled an old woman from the front row.
“Wait.” Eugene got up. “Really?”
“Yeah,” called someone else. “It’s really obvious.”
“He can lick his own eyebrows,” added a third person. “That was kind of a clue.”
“Also the fact that he represents the Lizard Party.”
“Come to think of it,” the old woman spoke up again, “I’m not actually sure it was ever a secret.”
Eugene stared about in disbelief. “Then why on Earth did you vote for him?”
The people in the crowd exchanged glances.
“Well, he’s different. You’ve got to admit that. All the other politicians are like clones of one another.”
Eugene was flabbergasted. “He was grown in a vat!”
“Yeah, but the others don’t even seem like they’re from this planet.”
“The vat was in the Draco constellation!”
“Yeah, yeah. What I mean is that he’s generally in touch with reality.”
The Prime Minister opened his mouth. “I know all and see all!” he hissed.
“Yeah!” agreed someone nearby. “He knows how much a pint of milk costs.”
“And he’s been outside Westminster. You’ve got to admit that.”
“Plus, he’s promised a referendum on Europe and Europa. So that’s something.”
“Is your only objection that he’s a lizard? Because if so that’s kind of racist.”
The crowd stared at Eugene.
“Alright,” he said, “fine. I’ll let you guys get on with it.”
Doug and Ian followed Eugene back to the house. Nobody said anything for a while.
It was Doug who broke the silence. “I’m sure there are other conspiracies you can expose.”
“No,” said Ian, quickly. “I’m sure there aren’t.”
If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:
Click any cover to download that book in your choice of format.
The year is 1983. The place? A stretch of desert near Roswell. A convoy of trucks makes its way through a ring of private security, dumps thousands of boxes of small electronic devices, then turns back the way it came. In the dusty mirror, the last driver to leave catches a glimpse of a bulldozer ploughing over the pit of boxes. The site was later sealed with concrete. What lay beneath would remain hidden for thirty years, not resurfacing until April 26th, 2014…
It sounds like something from a science fiction film. And in fact, that’s not too far off. Many of the mysterious boxes were in fact copies of videogame developer Atari’s notorious (in some circles) 1982 flop, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, based on the beloved Spielberg film. Widely considered the worst game ever commercially released, millions of cartridges were manufactured, but most were never sold and, of those that were, a significant proportion were returned for a refund.
The game’s commercial failure is said to have contributed to the decline of Atari—prompting this burial of unsold games and hardware—and even a slump in the U.S. videogame industry as a whole. However, the sheer poor quality of the E.T. videogame has earned it fame (or at least infamy) unmatched by any other title resting in that landfill, excavated just this week.
If you would like to experience the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial videogame first-hand—and that’s a big “if”—you can play it online, courtesy of The Internet Archive.