Summer Re-run

It’s vacation time at Friday Fictioneers! Actually, it’s not much of a vacation for our leader, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, who is under a deadline for her third novel. So she is re-running a favorite photo prompt from 2012, and I am re-running the story that it inspired.

I love cheesy science fiction movies from the 1940s and 1950s. The preposterous plots and archetypical characters provide not only entertainment but insight into the sometimes hilarious cultural stereotypes of the era. Some of my favorites are:

It! The Terror from Beyond Space (you can see the zipper on the back of the Martian’s costume)

The Thing (an evil alien, a nebbish reporter and an inept military)

The Beginning of the End (giant locusts eat Chicago)

The Blob (bad boy turns out to be the hero)

This is a piece of fan fiction based on The Blob. I believe it was Steve McQueen’s first feature film role. His character had to fight off an alien creature, a growing pink gelatinous blob. He discovered it was vulnerable to cold, and he convinced the townfolk to get a bunch of CO2 fire extinguishers and freeze it to death before it “ate” the diner and all the people in it.

The 1988 remake had a similar gooey blob, but it turned out to be a mutation of a biological weapon invented by–wait for it–the U.S. Department of Defense. The film was set in a ski resort town, so Kevin Dillon and his hot girlfriend killed it (well, most of it) with a snow-making machine.

The photo reminds me of curtains hanging in a diner, like the imperiled diner in the original movie, so I invented a sequel. I hope you enjoy it! I’ve included the old movie trailer for extra chuckles.

ice-on-the-window

Photo copyright: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Ice Ain’t Nice

(with apologies to Steve McQueen and Kevin Dillon)

by Jan Brown

It was a viscous combination of sleet and snow, and it was coming at us horizontally. Each icy fragment hit our unprotected faces with the force of a miniature missile. We ran as fast as the slippery street would allow, finally reaching safety inside the diner.

We couldn’t resist staring out the window as it was pelted with the same sideways slush. Then we realized that safety was just an illusion. With a deafening crack, the glass fractured and the slush quickly coated every available surface. The Blob was back, and this time it wasn’t afraid of the cold.

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How to Deal with a Dalek

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers! We are a lively and friendly international writing community. Between Wednesday and Friday of every week, we each post a 100-word story to share. To learn more about us, or to post your own story, please visit our lovely leader’s website, author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Addicted to Purple.

This week’s photo prompt is from fellow writer Kent Bonham. Thank you, Kent! One of the drawings on the right page of the book reminded me of an upside-down Dalek, the alien-machine creature that has been intriguing viewers of BBC’s Dr.Who television series for decades. If you are not a Whovian, all you need to know is that the Daleks chased Dr.Who through time and space while screaming “Exterminate! Exterminate!”

Perhaps the illustration in the photo is an early blueprint for the monstrosity. Or perhaps it’s just a sweet children’s book….

dalek kent bonham

How to Deal with a Dalek

by Jan Brown

“Self-destruct in two minutes,” the mechanical voice shrieked.

“Clara!” pleaded the Doctor, clearly panicked. “If the Dalek explodes, it’ll take us along for the ride. Boom!”

“Hand me the sonic screwdriver, and we’ll be rid of it in a few seconds. Thank God this is the last one.” The cyborg’s back panel creaked open.  “It’s an old one. But stubborn.”

“What exactly are you doing?” asked the Doctor.

“I’m switching firmware for its core functions. The new code will cut power to the Dalek’s brain before it can self-destruct.”

As she closed the panel, they watched the last Dalek die.

 

 

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How to Beat the Heat

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers! We are a lively and friendly international writing community. Between Wednesday and Friday of every week, we each post a 100-word story to share. To learn more about us, or to post your own story, please visit our lovely leader’s website, author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Addicted to Purple.

This week’s photo prompt is from fellow writer J. Hardy Carroll.

Photo Copyright: J. Hardy Carroll

Photo Copyright: J. Hardy Carroll

 How to Beat the Heat

by Jan Brown

Emma lay in shallow water, in a wading pool that she set-up in the backyard. She was almost comfortable for a moment. 

Almost. 

She looked up at the moon through the many shade trees they’d planted over the last decade. It wasn’t enough. It was never enough. 

Relentless, searing heat was the new normal. Rolling brownouts meant that air conditioning was erratic at best. 

Her husband was away, fighting the ubiquitous wildfires. When she thought about the conditions he endured, she felt ridiculous complaining. 

Wisps of smoke from nearby fires swirled around the moon. It almost looked romantic. 

Almost. 

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How to Grieve in Five Stages

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, where every story is a surprise!

This week’s very unique photo prompt is from fellow writer Ted Strutz. Thank you for the challenge, Ted 🙂

The photo is filled with old, failed implements intended to contain the flow of water.  When they fail, it floods.

It made me think of the homeless population that lives and hides among abandoned junk. How might a homeless man grieve the loss of his lifestyle?

That’s the micro theme of the story.

On a macro level, how might any man grieve the loss of his lifestyle–and the very ecosystem in which he lives–in the case of a real-life, cataclysmic flood? I’ve written a few stories about this environmental scenario previously: one ended on the highest floor of a downtown condo complex, and another ended in the post-op ward of a high rise hospital. Apparently, my protagonists survive the watershed by seeking higher ground….

Now I will try to combine the above themes with a little dark humor and a Twilight Zone ending!

toilet ted strutz

How to Grieve in Five Stages

by Jan Brown

1. Denial

I was a climate change denier.

But when the big melt-down began, I went with the flow.

2.  Anger

I ran out of anger long ago.

First, when I lost my job.

Next, when my daughter kicked my drunken ass out of her guest room.

3. Bargaining

I was living in a crate when it happened.

The crate floated away, and I begged to camp in the library.

4. Depression

I flooded the world again—with alcohol and tears. Mostly alcohol.

5. Acceptance

I’m the only one left in the library. Or anywhere else.

Where are my reading glasses???

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To learn more about Friday Fictioneers, visit our lovely leader’s web site, author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Addicted to Purple. To read more Fictioneers’ stories, click the link below:

Anniversary

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers!  We are a community of writers from around the world who post 100-word stories every week, based on a photo prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog.

Photo Copyright: Rochelle Wisoff-Field

Photo Copyright: Rochelle Wisoff-Field

Anniversary

by Jan Brown

Driving through freezing rain and streaming tears, Jenna approached the site of last year’s crash.

This must be what it’s like to go insane.

She swerved sharply, plowing through the barrier and plummeting down a steep incline. Momentarily lifeless, she eventually rallied and climbed out of a shattered window.

The rain stopped. Shimmering sunlight blocked her vision. Jenna felt a warm hand wipe the tears from her cheek and looked up to see her husband’s smile. The small hand tugging on Jenna’s belonged to their daughter, no longer bloody and broken.

This must be what it’s like to come Home.

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The Warning

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers! We are a community of writers from around the world who post 100-word stories every week, based on a photo prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog.

This week’s photo by Sandra Crook highlights some of the charming architecture of Dijon, France. It evokes the feeling of another time and place. That is where my story starts…and ends.

Photo Copyright: Sandra Crook

Photo Copyright: Sandra Crook

The Warning

by Jan Brown

Renee woke with a traveler’s headache, temples and eardrums throbbing. Pierre had been the only engineer who could transport her through the timeline without any side effects. But Pierre was gone–kidnapped, tortured and killed by alien invaders.

She stood in the courtyard, admiring the architecture and hoping to see her younger self, to warn her. The war would reduce this city, and indeed much of the planet, to rubble.

Renee spotted her, bouquet of roses in hand. She was walking with Pierre, snuggled into the crook of his arm. She wished they could stay in that moment forever.

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Visitor

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers! We are a community of writers from around the world who post 100-word stories every week, based on a photo prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog.

This week’s photo by Stephen Baum evokes the city walkways and tunnels where homeless people occasionally take refuge. You might see an aging veteran pull up his collar against the wind, or a weatherworn grandmother with a plastic garbage bag to keep out the rain. Or you might notice a man talking to no one in particular (and unaided by a Bluetooth headset). I’ve often wondered who’s on the other end of that conversation. If the voices are in his head, are they any less real?

Photo Copyright: Stephen Baum

Photo Copyright: Stephen Baum

Visitor

by Jan Brown

My daily walk through the park led through some sketchy places. In one of several tunnels, I was routinely greeted by a lively old homeless man. He never begged, just offered a friendly “Good morning!” He always carried a satchel, brimming with tablets of scribbled calculations. In our conversations, I learned that he’d been a scientist–but he never said where.

Yesterday as I walked away, I heard him whispering: “Yes, tomorrow….Yes, I’ll have the data.”

This morning he said, “I’ve been waiting for you. I wanted to say goodbye.”

In a flash of brilliant light, he was gone.

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Kip and Dredge Go to the Beach

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, where every story is a surprise!

The photo prompt this week is mysterious. Could it be mutant leeches crawling up from the ocean? Or a giant chain? What’s it doing there? Will Kip and Dredge, notorious slackers and mental giants, figure it out in time?

If you would like to read other Friday Fictioneers’ work, click the blue frog below my story. If you would like to create your own 100-word work of art, visit our fearless leader’s website–Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Addicted to Purple.

Photo Copyright: C. Hase

Photo Copyright: C. Hase

Kip and Dredge Go to the Beach

by Jan Brown

Kip and Dredge were participating in their favorite activity, dumpster diving, on an abandoned film set.

“Wow, look at this. Must be a prop from the old ‘King Kong’ movie.”

“This is no prop–it’s solid metal.”

Just then, a huge beast emerged from the ocean. But it wasn’t King Kong. It had a head like a meat cleaver.

“Oh, man, is that Guiron?”

“Yes, I’m Guiron.” The beast spoke English! “Are you the lunch guys?”

“No, man, we don’t have any lunch.”

“You misunderstand.” Guiron brought his cleaver-head down close. “You’re a little scrawny, but could be crunchy appetizers!”

Guiron - Image Source: http://godzilla.wikia.com/wiki/Guiron

Guiron – Image Source: http://godzilla.wikia.com/wiki/Guiron

Thankful

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, where every story is a surprise. Every week between Wednesday and Friday, writers from around the world post 100-word stories based on a photo prompt. If you’d like to read other Fictioneers’ stories or post one of your own, click here. For more information, visit the website of our fabulous, hard-working leader, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Photo Copyright: Marie Gail Stratford

Photo Copyright: Marie Gail Stratford

Thankful

by Jan Brown

I was on my way to a new life, driving from CalTech to my new job in San Francisco. My parents said  it was once a beautiful drive. I can’t imagine that world. Now there are just two metropolitan areas, separated by an arid wasteland.

I stopped to connect my car to a charging station at the side of the road. Women travelling alone were at risk, even after the law passed requiring all women to be issued a handgun when they turned twenty-one. Today, as the predators charged out of the silo, I thanked the legislature for their foresight.

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Virus

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, where every story is a surprise. If you’d like to read other Fictioneers’ stories or post one of your own, click here. For more information, visit the website of our fabulous, hard-working leader, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

This week’s photo prompt is by Dee Lovering. Thank you, Dee!

Photo Copyright: Dee Lovering

Photo Copyright: Dee Lovering

Virus

by Jan Brown

The kids were so happy to be in Europe on “vacation.” The weather was mild, and they were enjoying the sights. I hadn’t told them about the virus. They’d heard rumors in school. Fathers sick and in hospital, families disappearing….

No one was prepared for a virus like this. Trendy zombie fiction hadn’t prepared us. The reality of Ebola hadn’t prepared us. When my husband got it, he went mad like all the rest. They annihilate their families, then go on to kill others.

It only affects males. I wonder if the world will be more peaceful, once they’re gone.

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