Attack of the of the killer alpaca

Attack of the of the killer alpacas

“Run Tommy Run!” his siblings yelled as Tommy dove over the hood of a vandalized dodge. “Watch out! It’s right behind you!” Tommy ducked and rolled forward narrowly missing the gnashing teeth of the blood red alpaca chasing him.

    He came up with facing the alpaca and in one smooth motion pulled back a pine-cone he had grabbed and fired it into the foaming mouth of the beast. Then turned and quickly made his way up the tree-house ladder.

    He and his friends had successfully connected most of the neighbourhood using walkways or zip lines. Most houses had tents set up on their roofs and of the total of over fifty people living in the makeshift community only three were adults. They had been a couple moms, and the retired Mr. Henderson, who had successfully escaped onto their roofs during the hectic first attack.

    Below another red alpaca came charging over with a dress on, one bra cup stuck on its head as it ran headfirst into a signpost. “Ouch!” Tommy winced, “Jen, tell your brother we found his mom but she’s an alpaca too now.” The alpacas were biting and spitting on their victims who would instantly be turned into large red alpacas of doom. Unfortunately due to the speed of the change most of them were still wearing pieces of clothing they had been wearing when they had either accidentally ingested the torrent of spit, or had been bit.

    “Hey Will, I can see your mom’s bra!” Doug yelled before Will and his little sister Jen both turned and punched him.

    “Hey knock it off!” Tommy yelled, “Save it for the enemy!”

    Tommy marched across the tree-house then slung a bent bar over the zip line and flew across the street as alpacas snapped at his feet below. He landed on the roof where a greenhouse had been modified into a makeshift laboratory. Inside a pair of goggled twins looked up at him, “Daisy, Lily, I have It.” he pulled off his backpack and tossed a brown paper bag to them.

    “All of it?” Lily asked as she caught the bag and opened it to find the most human ingredient of all, toothpaste.

    “Everything I could find, do you think one of them will work?” Tommy asked examining the elaborate array of chemical tubing lining the ceiling.

    Daisy squeezed out exactly ten millilitres into the flask of green goo, then stirred it. “This will either revert the adults back to humans or…”

    “It will turn them into kangaroos with British accents.” Lily concluded as she poured the substance into the canister of a super soaker the handed the loaded weapon to Tommy, then they went on to make more.

    “Well” Tommy said as he pumped up the weapon against alpacafication, “only one way to find out.”

    He walked to the edge of the roof, raised a hand in the air then dropped it. A charging alpaca was caught and lifted into the air and dangled a few meters away. Tommy took aim and fired. The alpaca screeched as the solution soaked in, within seconds it had shrunk into the form of a woman in a stretched dress with a bra cup still on her head. “Will, Jen!” Tommy yelled, “Your mom is back, I think she probably won’t ground you since we saved her!”

Homework

Homework

He hadn’t seen anything like it in twenty years of teaching. His students were all huddled behind him as he held the robotic dogs back with a pair of meter long rulers. “Stay back kids, they’re here for your homework!” He smacked one of the dogs on the snout with the ruler. An electric bolt shot from its head as it yelped and scampered back.

“Mr. Lancaster, are we going to die?” Zack asked.

“Not if we stay out of their way, ergh!” he grunted as he swung both rulers down hard on head of a particularly stubborn robodog as it inched towards the children.

“Why is this happening?” Theresa asked.

“No idea,” Mr. Lancaster said, “But I suspect they’re from the technology institute a few blocks away.” One of the dogs lunged at his throat but Victoria threw a stuffed cat in its way cushioning the blow but still winding the teacher.

Two of the larger boys each grabbed a ruler and began doing their best to hold off the raging robots while they waited for Mr. Lancaster to catch his breath.

   “What do we do Mr. Lancaster?” Bobby said shaking his teacher’s arm.

   “Jimmy” Mr. Lancaster rasped, “Fire…Alarm…”

   Jimmy raised an eyebrow then grinned mischievously from the time out chair at the back of the group. He stood up and grabbed a skipping rope and an eraser from the chalkboard. He charged one of the dogs, threw the eraser at its cameras, then jumped on its back using the skipping rope to lasso its jaws. Riding the bucking dog across the room, Jimmy dove for fire alarm pulling it down. Immediately the sprinklers sprayed to life as the sirens blared throughout the school.

   The dogs began to short out violently before, collapsing and twitching on the ground. The students cheered as Mr. Lancaster got slowly to his feet. He and his students watched as Jimmy the troublemaker walked over to the dog next to his desk and pried a paper out of its teeth. He showed it to his teacher and said, “You might want to remember this the next time one of us says a dog ate our homework.”  Mr. Lancaster looked down at what was a surprisingly shredded copy of the homework he’d assigned, completed to boot. The room grew tense as everyone waited for his response. He crumpled the paper and began to laugh, slowly joined by all his students.

Writing Prompt

Use the first sentence

“He hadn’t seen anything like it in twenty years of teaching”

Zombie Butterflies

    “What the heck were you thinking?” their mom yelled, “Where did you even find that?”

    Zed and Ola looked at one another then back at their mother, and in unison said “We got it from Daddy’s trunk.”

    “Why were you in there? You know you shouldn’t be playing in there.” mom sighed. “What is this thing anyway?” she held up the watch. Seven of the hands jumped randomly around the face. The other three hands remained motionless but changed colours on a whim.

    “All we know is that it saved Mr. Crawly” Ola said with a shrug.

    “Though he lost all of his colours.” Zed added holding up a jar with a white butterfly fluttering around.

    “It looks like a moth now?” mom said.

    “We think the watch did it” Ola added cheerfully

    Mom just sighed and put the watch back in it’s box. “I don’t know what this thing is but you two are not to come near it. You’ve caused enough chaos in the five minutes I left you alone already. Now go and take that zombie butterfly outside. Last thing I need is for it to start eating all the socks and bringing those to life.”

    The kids nodded in agreement and ran off to free Mr. Crawly into the garden. Where it was quickly eaten by a cat. But as legend goes, that cat’s poop still crawls onto doorsteps in the dead of night.

True story?

Writing prompts:

Chaos, Moth, Watch

The Breach

The Breach

2nd May 2048
BBC International reporting

Authorities are at the scene in Geneva, Switzerland where the brand new Future Circular Collider where some sort of breach has just opened. As of this moment there isn’t much information, press and the public are being kept at a safe distance. From what we can see the breach is about ten meters in diameter. We are unsure if the brilliant light is dangerous but so far there have been no negative side effects. 

The public relations representative from CERN has said they will be sending a probe through shortly. It has a complete sensor package and will be able to show us what kind of environment is on the other side of the anomaly. They are sending the probe through now and… did you see that? 

Ladies and gentlemen we are just checking over the footage of the probe entering the  breach. Many of us thought we saw something as the it passed through. 

There! What is it? It looks like an aerial shot of an island? But the water? It looks more like some kind of wavy circuit board? It could be….

What? The breach is gone? It just… It just vanished. The probe is gone! What was that? 

Ladies and gentlemen I’m not sure what just happened, the breach that formed on the initial test of the FCC and froze the facilities servers has just disappeared. We will have to wait until the facility is brought online again to find out if this was a one time occurrence or something more. Until then I’m sure the information gathered today will occupy the time of scientists from around the world.

The A-choco-lypse Cupcake

The A-choco-lypse Cupcake

“Why did you just scream like that?” her co-worker asked.

She spun her screen around to show him the website she was looking at. “See! See!” she squealed, “My unicorn is on its way! And the plutonium is only three days behind.”

Her co-worker laughed thinking it was a practical joke but leaned down to read the page, it was a black market version of amazon. Sure enough, on the screen displayed and “Out for delivery” status on a one year old female unicorn being shipped from Scotland. Just below that was the pending delivery of over five kilograms of refined plutonium, listed for use as a catalyst.

“Good one Lisa,” he laughed, “I almost thought that was legit.” he turned and walked quickly away before she could correct him.

Lisa frowned and turned the screen back to face her. “Idiot, he wouldn’t know titanium from uranium.” She reached into her bag and pulled out a small book out with multiple dog-eared pages and sticky notes. She turned to the page of ingredients for the most terrible dish ever conceived. The title was barely visible behind a pile of words like beware, do not make, warning, run away, don’t even think about it, etc.

“The A-choco-lypse Cupcake” Lisa read with a smile, “I have the unicorn milk, the plutonium for the oven, the platypus eggs, the dead sea sugar, the prismic baking soda, and the flour made with ground meteorites. All I’m missing is the cocoa powder from the trees that grow next to the river Styx. Let’s see…” she scrolled through a few more pages on her site. “Here we go, wait, the Hades Pickers wants seven dollars for shipping, what a rip!”

She sighed, “Maybe I can find a coupon online, or a suitable substitute from Hel, those Vikings never charge extra shipping, bless their immortal souls.” 

A week later the staff at the Oracle’s Loan Services were all hospitalized after growing extra arms or being turned into various animals or sentient furniture after eating mysterious cupcakes left by an employee who happened to be on vacation that day. No one knows who delivered them.

Writing prompts

Use the first line
“Why did you just scream like that?”

Gate by the ocean

Gate by the ocean

    “Are you sure this is the place?” Francine said as they stared down at the gate.

    “That’s what the map says” Arnold replied checking the map. “I mean you said you wanted to find real magic right?”

    “I did but I have trouble believing the world’s most powerful magician would be so obvious as to leave a fence like that right out in the open.”  she scowled as they climbed down the cliffs towards the fence sitting in the surf.

    “Well it did take us three days to hike here and that was only possible because of the map and the fact that you were intimately knowledgeable on fortune cookies.” he countered. She helped him down onto the sand and they made their way over to the large gate that shone with a faint pearlescence.

    “What does the map say now?” she grabbed the paper from his hands and read over the notes next to the small drawing of a pair of crossed wands. “Wait? Seriously?”

    “What did it say?” Arnold asked as he examined the lock on the gate.

    “It says we need to prove our passion” she scoffed.

    “I see,” he said looking at her enthusiastically, “so are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

    With a sly smile she began undoing her back pack and let is fall forgotten to the ground. Then helped Arnold remove his.In minutes they were ready hiding behind a nearby boulder panting from the excitement. “Are you ready?” she asked.

    “Nervous but excited, I’ve never done it like this before.” He said sheepishly.

    “Me either, that’s what makes it fun.” she winked. “Now on the count of three push it in okay?” he nodded. She breathed in deeply and counted, “One… Two…. Three!” she yelled the last number. Arnold pushed the plunger down and the gate was blown clean off its hinges.

    “Wow” he gasped looking over the boulder with her at the smoking remains of the gate. “I’m amazed that actually worked. I thought the magic would protect it more.”

    “Me too” admitted Francine.

   “What the hell is wrong with you two?” a voice yelled from the smoking hole where the gate once was. “Seriously, you two actually manage to find my house and the most logical thing you can think to do is to blow up my gate!”

    Arnold and Francine stared at the woman, then with a glance at each other they just shrugged and nodded.

    The woman put her head in her hand and rubbed her eyes. “Whatever, just come inside so I can fix the gate you lunatics!” she turned and headed inside. Francine and Arnold grabbed their bags and ran after her. The border of the fence, that from the outside was flooded by the surf of the ocean, failed to so much as drip over the boundary as they entered. Inside was a ridiculously tall manor that stretched at least seven stories high, hidden and safe within the confines of the gate as a bubble shimmered around them.

Failed Lessons

Failed Lessons

“Today we celebrate the Total Independence Day!” the president said, “The day when we created the perfect society. We abolished lawyers, scientists, and teachers. All students are taught by machines, and our beautiful pillar cities are the envy of every nation  in the world!” The crowd cheered in unison in their camo and sequined clothes.

The president walked off the stage waving to his people. His white inbred people. He shuddered when he was out of sight. With a sigh he made his security escorted him to his private jet. His assistant made an official statement on his behalf about needing to travel abroad to help less fortunate countries build better governments.

As soon as they were airborne, the president threw up. “I can’t do this anymore he said staring in horror out the window. The entire country had been irradiated and destroyed, sealed off from the rest of the world. He made speeches about capitalism and progress, but the truth was money was useless to the rest of the world now. Only the remains of what he had been taught was the ‘greatest country in the world’ still used the stupid garbage.

He knew that he would most likely be the last president, the domes those various super powered companies had built were beginning to shut down. They  had detonated an entire city tower last month. They claimed it was another terrorist attack from a jealous country of differently colored people. He threw up again.

“Sir I know it’s hard but it’s for the best. We failed, and we burnt our bridges with the United Nations.” his assistant said shaking his head, “We were so violent and arrogant we ended up becoming the polarizing force that united the rest of the world into one unified organization. They walled us in, stripped us of power, water, and food. Left us to rot in the mess we had created.”

“I know” snapped the president, “I was the one who reached out, I was the one who said he would change things.” He said as tears began to roll down his cheeks, “I tried so hard to make them see but they just wouldn’t listen!”

His assistant nodded and handed him a handkerchief, “I know sir, but we couldn’t save them all. At least some will be free to live and learn after today.”

“I hope so.” The president said as he watched the mushroom clouds consume the last remnants of his country, and all the lessons they had failed to learn along with it. “I hope so.”

Chemically Speaking

The kiss reminded him of chemistry lessons in school, when if the right two elements were put together, they’d explode. He was so lost in bliss that he never saw the beer mug. It hit him in the head knocking him off his stool. His head was ringing but he swore he could make out a pair of voices yelling around him. He blinked his eyes until they managed to focus and for a brief second he could make out the tiny form of Amelia jabbing a finger into the chest of some muscle bound thug. The thug glared down at her, his face going red as his handlebar moustache flared and his muscle rippled under his business suit.

She went to help her date up and the thug grabbed her hand. She whipped it away and went to help again. This time handlebar grabbed her and tossed her onto the bench of a nearby booth. On the floor the man was still hazy but his mind was clearing quickly after seeing his friend was in danger. Well, maybe they were more than friends now but that all depended on how well he handled the current situation.

Looking around groggily he noticed the beer mug still in one piece, as well as the glass front of the bar which felt cold. A cool vapour fell down the front of it for special effect. He reached up and found an insulated cable with frost on it. He wrapped his hands in his shirt and yanked the cable as hard as he could. It bent and cracked leaking a freezing substance. He filled the beer mug a third of the way with the cold freon and then pulled himself to his feet.

He tapped handlebar on the shoulder, the man turned and scowled at him. Just as the big mas was raising a fist he shoved the mug into the man’s chest and sheepishly said, “You won, beer’s on me, no need to fight, I’ll go” The thug grabbed the cool mug never taking his eyes off the smaller man. With a grin he went to chug the mug back in one intimidating motion. Instead he fell to the floor screaming in pain as the freon burned his mouth and throat with cold.

His date got to her feet and kicked the big man between the legs for good measure. She walked over to her date, apologized for the thug’s behaviour saying something about him being friends with her sister. She then looked at the mug, and said, “What did you do to him?”

He grinned and said, “I just apologized for the misunderstanding. Then he just fell over, must have been something he drank.” he mused earning him a sly grin from her in response. An ambulance arrived a few minutes later, called by the bar owner after the mug was thrown. Then after being released by the paramedics they decided a movie was safer than a bar, chemically speaking of course.

Writing Prompt:

first line:

The kiss reminded him of chemistry lessons in school, when if the right two elements were put together, they’d explode

The Picnic that Never Was

The Picnic that Never Was

            “Hi I’m Melanie, now before we get started, I want you both to know that I’m only here to get the whole story, no judgement, all I ask is that you just be honest and open, okay?” the police therapist said as she sat down, getting out a bedazzled pen and notepad. Zed and Nat shared a disbelieving look, then through a series of eyebrow movements and head nods they decided Nat would go first.

            She inhaled sharply then began, “So it’s like this, we were on our way to the get some Slurpee’s”

            “I wanted a mix of grape and blue raspberry crush.” Zed added.

            “We were dressed in our finest summer festival attire. When this giant sloth walks out onto the road and passed out right in front of us.” Nat said gesturing with her hands to show the size of it.

            Melanie nods as she writes everything down, “…raspberry crush…” she mumbles. “So, then what happened?”

            Zed grinned, “That’s when things got weird. You see we pulled up a side street and parked but there were these kids selling fresh limenade…”

            “Wait? Limenade?” Melanie asked.

            Nodding in unison the pair said, “Limenade”.

            “Anyway,” Zed continued, “we bought a couple of glasses, but when we turned around…”

            “The whole stand was gone!” Nat said dramatically.

            Zed made spooky gestures with his hand well he whistled the twilight zone theme. “After that we walked up the street to the bank.”

            “We didn’t know it was being robbed.” Nat emphasized.

            “We walked right in and thought it was some kind of circus of savings event or something.” Zed said solemnly.

            “I’m guessing it wasn’t a circus of savings?” Melanie asked. They both shook their heads.

            “They thought we were part of the crew robbing the bank because of the bright clothes.” Nat deadpanned.

            “They gave us guns” Zed mirrored.

            “Anyway, we didn’t want to get shot so we just started filling our pockets with money when this guy in a pimp costume starts yelling.”

            “It was pretty messed up”

            Nat shuddered as she remembered, “I don’t think I’ll be able to ever look at big bird the same way again.”

            “The pimp’s head…um…let’s call her assistant, confused Nat for a new…assistant and they started to fight.” Zed said tactfully.

            “Yeah” Nat nodded, “so while they were trying to kill each other we broke a window and escaped.”

            “But what does all this have to do with the ice cream shop?” Melanie asked.

            “We were getting to that,” Zed said, “So after we got away, we were feeling pretty relieved. We just wanted to sit down and process things over, you guessed it, ice cream.”

            “Except as soon as we got the ice cream some twelve-year-old girl genius breaks in, yelling about freeing the dairy. I think that little girl needed a hug or something.” Nat said with heartbroken pity.

            “So, then we got locked in the freezer after she turned the owner into a bucket of disturbed looking gelato.” Zed continued.

            “I see and then that’s when they found you with gelato owner and the stolen money.” Melanie said triumphantly.

            They both shrugged, “Pretty much”

            “Except for that zombie mouse we crushed under that birthday cake” Zed added.

            “Oooh, and that batch of sugar-free pineapple gelato that tried to eat us.” said Nat.

            “Oh and…” and so it went for hours as the two retold the tale of the picnic that never was.

Bologna

Bologna

Henry walked into the grocery store, thinking to himself that certain people shouldn’t be allowed to drive. Specifically the person who had just crashed his huge Dodge truck with the lift kit into a parked minivan. The mom in the minivan was tearing a strip off driver for endangering her children while he just rolled his eyes and gave her the finger. I’m sure he would have driven off but one of his oversized tires had gotten impaled on half a sign post he ran over backing up.

He was going to lose his license most likely and in Henry’s opinion it wasn’t a bad thing. Still part of him could sympathize with the man. That dumb bastard had just destroyed his vehicle which he had clearly invested substantial time and money into. Sure his priorities may be a little messed up but it was still an investment he had just let his anger flush away.

He grabbed a fresh loaf of bread, some imported cheese, and filled his basket with vegetables he had never heard of as a kid. He had made his millions and could now afford whatever he wanted. Henry had grown up poor and hated every minute of it. His parents told him to work hard so he could have a good life. That was a load of crap, he became rich the same way everyone does, by being an asshole and sucking up to bigger assholes.

“But that’s not what this self help book says?” you may be thinking, well that’s because self help books are subtly telling you exactly that. The author wrote a bunch of positive tripe, wrapped it in a beautiful sunrise photo, and added a fluffy title  like “Be the best you” or “Success through Positive energy”. They then live comfortably off the fact that they just robbed you and made you feel good about it for awhile in the process.

Henry was now the vice president of a company that published that same tripe. He chuckled to himself as he headed to the deli. The woman in front of him was standing with her two children and nervously arguing with the man behind the counter. “But it’s bologna, why is it so expensive?”

“It’s viewed as somewhat of a delicacy now.” the man shrugged, “now are you going to buy something or not?”

Henry looked at the basket the woman was carrying, it was mostly cheap canned foods, and noodles. She clearly looked like she was calculating between gas and food for her children. Henry remembered seeing his parents have that expression, he remembered the times they had to eat canned fruit for lunch and horrible cheap noodles for dinner if they had enough for dinner. He scowled, and marched forward, “Sir I want you to give them five hundred grams of chicken, turkey, ham, and” he looked over his shoulder at the mom, “bologna! And the same for me if you please.”

She choked back tears as he handed her the meat and a fifty dollar bill for her groceries. Though he was careful to hide this from the eyes of her children. He knew they already were aware that money was a precious commodity but also didn’t want their mom to feel belittled in front of her children. He simply smiled and nodded. “Thank you” she whispered, “You don’t know what this means to me.”

As he watched her walk away and grab a few essentials like eggs, milk, and vegetables he was aware of how incredibly wrong she was. He knew exactly how much it meant to her, because he knew how much it would have meant to him to have a bologna sandwich as a kid.

Writing Prompt:
Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.
—  James Baldwin

A Free Lunch

A Free Lunch

            “That robot took my Job!”, “What do you mean there isn’t any money anymore, how will I get paid?”, “My job doesn’t exist, what do I do now?”, “You bankrupted me! I want my money back!”. The mob screamed outside the offices of Weird Tech Innovations Enterprises.

            “Excuse me ma’am,” a voice said from the doorway, “the mob is preventing incoming shipments of raw materials from reaching us.”

            “When will the shuttles be ready?” the woman at the window asked as she peered down at the mob below her.

            “Tomorrow, but we won’t be able to start shipping with them until next week for logistical reasons.” Her assistant at the door checked over his notes on his tablet. “Of course, we still have enough raw materials to last us another ninety-two days, though it is a major drain on our energy resources. The government says they are still interested in our power plant technology; however, they do not want to give us a nationwide contract until the general populace adjusts more to the current changes.”

            With a heavy sigh the woman sat down at her desk. In the old days she could have at least said that she had a good job and made a lot of money. Today however she had personally helped remove money as the default currency. Over sixty percent of jobs had already been replaced with automation with the other thirty percent to be replaced over the next five years. This didn’t mean everyone was without work, as thousands of jobs were being created daily as everyone adjusted to the new moneyless society. “Philo, can I ask you a question?”

            “Of course,” he stammered.

            “Do you like your job? I mean, you’re not getting paid, that’s not how things work anymore. So, I need to know, why are you still here.” she looked up at him with a tired anticipation.

            He smiled and looked down at his tablet, for a few minutes he said nothing then handed it to his boss. On the screen was a news article about the impending change dated five years ago in 2020. It credited the change to MTI Ent. and its CEO Tulip Yıldız for building the technology that would make it possible. “I’ve learned that there is more to life than a paycheck, and I believe this company has created a positive work environment to move forward with that vision. We are granted free education, we work as needed, and are encouraged to pursue hobbies and activities in our spare time. I’ll admit the shock of little things like getting groceries without paying and giving up my vehicle took a lot of getting used to. Still, we’re finally seeing massive declines in conditions of anxiety, depression, alcoholism, and violence.”

            He reached down and flicked to the next related story, it was about a group of thieves that returned a hundred television sets they had taken in broad daylight. According to the article they had realized the futility of stealing in a moneyless society as there was no benefit to stealing them. “Why are you showing me these?” Tulip asked having read both stories repeatedly.

“Because ma’am, I want you to remember what you’ve done for all of us. Everyday I come into work I get to learn from one of the greatest minds in the world. It hasn’t always been easy sure, but it has never been boring and has always shown me a new way of looking at whatever oppressing problem threatened the company at that given time.” He took a seat across from her as she scrolled through other stories praising the work they had done.

Finally, she shut the tablet off and sat back in her chair, “Thank you Philo, I really needed that right now. You know Kim isn’t talking to me since she lost her job. She’s had several offers for new programming jobs, but she says she needs time. She’s also under a lot of fire when she leaves the house from similarly upset people. One group even threw rancid apples at her.”

“That’s disturbingly poetic, but it’s not her fault, that company had burnt their bridges with the rest of the technological community years ago, she can hardly be blamed for their collapse.” he defended.

Tulip sighed and turned back to the window, “We did nothing to incite this mob either but they are holding us responsible all the same.”

Philo stood and walked over to the window, “People like to see the worst because it distracts from their own lives. Now their lives have been taken care of, they only need to work if they want to, but people get accustomed to complaining. It’s a bad habit like swearing, but it won’t change anything for them or anyone else. They just need an outlet for their confusion and have chosen us.”

“I know you’re right but I still feel like I’ve failed them.” Tulip sighed.

“Give it a bit, they just need time to adjust to everything. They’ll see the beauty in their new freedom once they have time to sit down and really register the freedom that’s been given to them.” As Philo spoke a food truck had pulled up and started handing out various food dishes. Several people began slowly drifting away from the mob as they praised the wonderful food truck that gave them a free lunch. The two in the office chuckled as they realized all the lunches would be free now.

Writing Prompt:

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
— Abraham Lincoln

Touch of genius

Touch of genius

“Fifteen minutes until impact!” said the computer soothingly, Stephen checked the sensors one last time to make sure the payload was still intact. Everything was running smoothly and the fusion generator was almost at critical output. A second counter under the first counted down from fourteen minutes, at which point everything would go miraculously right or he would learn the horror a bug feels right before impacting onto the windshield of a car.

“Ten minutes until impact” the computer chimed, “Please take your seat and prep for FTL.”

As Stephen buckled himself into his chair and donned his helmet, he crossed his fingers, then checked his calculation for the twelfth last time again while muttering “Please work, please work, please work,”

“Five minutes until impact…. Finishing final scans…. Scans complete!… Calculating launch vectors…. Launch vectors complete… Would you like to start the FTL sequence? Y/N?” the computer asked displaying the point-of-no-return message on the screen.

“I guess this is the windmill Marty!” Stephen joked as he clicked the ‘Y’ for yes and immediately felt the engine start drawing from the massive power his generator had just built up. As it did a large blue aura seemed to expand from the ship like a catcher’s mitt, ready to grab that asteroid before it could destroy his home.

Meanwhile Stephen watched the clock, it read thirty seconds as he gritted his teeth, “Please work, please work,”

Finally, the stars stretched in reds and blues for a brief moment before everything returned to normal, he punched the thrusters and headed perpendicular to the asteroids trajectory which was now safely on the other side of earth with no chance of impact. As he cleared the asteroid and Earth came back into view and his radio clicked on.

“That was a touch of genius Steve!” said Fred at ground control.

“No,” replied Stephen, “that was just courageous, genius would have been bringing an extra pair of shorts.”

It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.

E. F. Schumacher