Short Story – Lemon Laws – Cereal Juicer

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“Over here, Sheriff! We got another one,” Deputy Barry said.

Sheriff Lemon’s handlebar mustache twitched as he looked down at the sidewalk. Applesauce. Applesauce everywhere. Lemon’s bushy gray eyebrows lowered into a look of disgust. It didn’t matter how many times he saw it, this kind of thing always turned his pulp.

“Doesn’t matter how many times I see it, this kind of thing always turns my pulp,” Lemon said. “Any evidence?”

Deputy Barry shook his head.

“Same as last time, Sheriff. And the time before that. And the time before that. This guy does a thorough job of covering up his tracks.”

Sheriff Lemon sighed heavily.

“Alright. Go over it one more time, Barry. I’ve gotta go make a call.”

***

Lemon sat down behind his desk and reached for the phone. He paused, leaned back in his chair, and rubbed his lemonhead. A zesty scent filled the room. Lemon sighed, sat forward, and slapped his desk before picking up the phone. After a few rings, someone picked up on the other end.

“Mango,” the voice answered.

“Mango, it’s Lemon. How’re things goin’?”

“Can’t complain.”

“How’s the family?”

“Expanding at an exponential rate. How’s the Missus?” Mango asked.

“Just as sour as ever! Hahahaha!”

“Hahaha! …So, what’s the real reason you called?” Mango asked…

Continue reading “Short Story – Lemon Laws – Cereal Juicer”

Short Story – Deuces Wild

I challenged myself with this short piece. I wanted to create a story that was not just driven by dialogue, but that consisted of as much organic dialogue as possible with as little exposition as possible. This is what I got!

“Insert the ruby please, Doctor,” Dr. Absalom Crenshaw said.

“One moment… Ruby is in place,” Dr. Alan Riggs said.

“Connect the power source please, Petey,” Crenshaw said.

“Power source connected,” Peter said.

“Energize…,” Crenshaw said, throwing the switch.

“Readings, nominal. Beam is stable,” Riggs said.

“That’s it… there! Cut the power!” Crenshaw shouted excitedly.

“Ruby is intact!” Riggs said.

“You did it, Doctors!” Peter said.

“Yes… yes, I did,” Crenshaw said, under his breath.

***

“Missouri Jackson! To what do I owe the pleasure?” Crenshaw said. He leaned back in his chair and kicked his feet up on his desk.

“Oh, I think you know, Dr. Crenshaw. I’d like a progress report.”

“It’s… coming along.”

“You’re going to have to do better, Doctor,” Jackson said, reaching into his coat.

Crenshaw lifted his legs and fell forward as Jackson slowly pulled his hand from his coat. Jackson wiped his brow with a handkerchief and adjusted the patch over his left eye.

“You’re awfully jumpy, Dr. Crenshaw,” Jackson said, placing the kerchief back into his coat pocket.

“As I was saying…” Crenshaw started, uneasy. “It’s coming along. I’ve had some difficulty finding a stable medium. Rubies aren’t dense enough.”

“I don’t need excuses, Crenshaw; I need results. Maybe your colleague will be more…”

“No! No… This is my invention. I created it! I’ll get you your results, Mr. Jackson.”

“Gooood.”

The one-eyed man turned and walked out. Crenshaw sat staring through the empty doorway at the dark lab outside.

***

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“He just quit?” Riggs asked, bewildered.

“Yep. He called late last night shouting something about not being valued and said he was taking a position overseas,” Crenshaw said.

“I can’t believe Pete would just quit like that… He didn’t say anything else?”

Crenshaw shrugged and gave a half shake of his head.

“Well… I’ll give him a call. Guess we better put in for a new assistant,” Riggs said.

“I’ll put the word out,” Crenshaw said.

“Huh, guess you just never know what people are thinking.”

***

“Y-you’re seeing Alice?” Crenshaw stuttered.

“Isn’t it wonderful!” Riggs said. “I finally worked up the nerve to ask her out, and she said, ‘yes’! Can you believe it?”

Crenshaw nodded shakily. His face was pale, eyes sunken.

“Say, Doc, you don’t look so well. In fact, you’re absolutely jaundiced. I was just about to go for a walk. Why don’t you join me? The sun will do you good.”

“Uhh… n-no, I’ve got some paperwork to finish,” Crenshaw said, clearing his throat.

“You sure?” Riggs asked. “Alright, well, don’t work too hard. You’ll start to slip.”

Crenshaw took a deep breath and put on a fake smile.

“I’m fine, really. I’ll catch up with you later. Close the door on your way out, would you?”

Riggs looked at Crenshaw, nodded once, and left.

As the door closed, Crenshaw’s smile turned into a grimace. He picked up the phone and dialed.

“Hello, Mr. Jackson. It’s Crenshaw… Yes, I’ve had quite the breakthrough. Perhaps you’d like to join me for a demonstration… That would be perfect… Yes. See you then.”

***

“Ladies and gentlemen, if I could have your attention, please,” the master of ceremonies called out over the drone of conversation. “If you would take your seats, the demonstration of Doctors Riggs and Crenshaw’s marvelous machine will commence shortly.”

Crenshaw’s eye twitched.

The machine rolled out, an array of wires, pipes, and cathodes. Crenshaw adjusted a dial, flipped a switch, and turned a crank. The machine changed direction, aiming its metallic needle at a table in the front row where one man sat alone. Crenshaw pressed a button, and the machine roared to life. A large deep red ruby glowed at the center of the mechanism.

Suddenly, a brilliant beam of red light shot from the needle, striking the table. The table and everything on it started to glow red hot and then… POP! The machine shut off and a cloud of playing cards rained down where the table had been.

The man sat stunned as the cards fluttered to the ground. He reached down, picking one up. The 3-of-Diamonds, and there was a picture of a plate on it. Another, 5-of-Spades with a silver fork. A table, 9-of-Clubs. Riggs stepped down and picked up one of the cards.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest revolution in storage and transport technology!” Riggs announced. He tossed the card back on the pile. “Sir, if you will replace the cards.”

The man dropped the cards on the floor. Crenshaw started the machine once again and…POP! The table and all its dressings stood before the man once more. The audience erupted in applause.

Crenshaw smiled as Alice climbed on stage. His eye twitched as she passed him by, throwing her arms around Riggs.

“It’s stupendous!” Alice said. “It’s the most magnificent thing I’ve ever seen!”

“I have one more surprise, my darling,” Riggs said. He pulled an ornate brooch from his coat pocket. “Would you do me the honor of being Missus Alan Riggs?” Alice gasped with her hands to her mouth.

“Yes, yes! Of course I will! Yes!” Alice said excitedly. She turned. “Oh Absalom, isn’t it…”

Crenshaw was gone.

***

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“One moment, honey. I just have to get my wallet from my room and we can head out,” Riggs said, leaving Alice in the hotel hallway.

Riggs passed by the light switch and grabbed his wallet from the desktop when something glimmered in the dark mirror. Riggs turned quickly to find Crenshaw sitting in the shadows.

“Crenshaw! What are you…”

“Quiet! I’ve heard quite enough out of you,” Crenshaw shrieked. “You take credit for my hard work. My invention! Then you take my Alice! What next, Riggs?!”

“Crenshaw… I don’t know what to say. I had no idea…”

“Oh, please! Well… It will all be over for you soon enough,” Crenshaw said, stepping into the moonlight. A metallic blaster shown in his hand. The needle barrel held a single cathode containing a fine sapphire.

“I worked out that little problem, you know. About how to stabilize the Sapphire Wave. You know what that means, don’t you?” Crenshaw said. Riggs swallowed hard.

“You can compress… biological material. Living…”

“Living organisms!”

Crenshaw pulled two cards from his pocket. The 10-of-Diamonds, Peter O’Connor. The Jack-of-Spades, Missouri Jackson.

“Egads! Change them back, man!” Riggs said.

“Sorry, I couldn’t if I wanted to. I do miss Petey though. He was a good assistant. Too bad he had to take that job overseas,” Crenshaw said. “There is one other drawback. You see, to stabilize the Sapphire Wave, the subject must have a sapphire in its immediate vicinity.”

Riggs looked down at his class ring. He hadn’t been able to remove it in years. He tugged at it fruitlessly, cursing September.

“You can’t do this, Crenshaw! You just can’t! Where’s your humanity?!”

“Humanity?! You stole it! Every time I had to stand by while you got all the credit for my work! And then… then you take away my…!” The door creaked.

“Alan? I thought I heard shouting. Is everything… Absalom!” Alice gasped and ran over to Riggs, grabbing hold of him.

“No, Alice, stay back!” Riggs said, but she refused.

“Absalom, please, put that thing away!” Alice pleaded.

“A-Alice…” Crenshaw faltered. “No. You’ll see. You’ll understand once he’s gone. Then we… we can…”

Crenshaw held the blaster at arm’s length and fired a blue beam at Riggs. The two figures began to glow brightly, then…POP! A class ring, a brooch, and two playing cards dropped to the floor. The King-of-Spades and the Queen-of-Hearts.

Crenshaw fell to his knees, stunned. He lifted the brooch, hands shaking. A painted gold peacock with tiny sapphires set in the eyes of the feathers.

Crenshaw stood, clutching the brooch so tightly that it dug into his hand. He turned the blaster on himself and fired.

The device crashed to the floor, smashing into oblivion. The sapphire brooch fell and clattered among the wreckage. And a single card drifted down, sticking upright in a copper spring.

2-of-Clubs.

Writing Prompt – 5 Words #45

Today’s words are:

  • Definitive
  • Masked
  • Hyena
  • Communal
  • Coat

The goal is to exercise your brain and split writer’s block. You can write anything! A story, a poem, a paragraph, a sentence, anything! The only rule is that it includes the words given or is inspired by the words given. If you post something, link it in a comment. I’d love to see what everyone comes up with! Have fun and remember to include #5words

Writing Prompt – 5 Words #44

Today’s words are:

  • Samuel
  • Notes
  • Bright
  • Uncomplicated
  • Clatter

The goal is to exercise your brain and split writer’s block. You can write anything! A story, a poem, a paragraph, a sentence, anything! The only rule is that it includes the words given or is inspired by the words given. If you post something, link it in a comment. I’d love to see what everyone comes up with! Have fun and remember to include #5words

Flash Fiction – Electrum Infinium

Zippy Flash Fiction

“Increase frequency by 80 hertz, gradually,” a man in a lab coat said.

“It can’t take it, Professor, it’s going to break up,” his assistant replied.

“Do it, Mark.”

Mark reluctantly pushed the lever forward. The crystal began to vibrate more and more violently, until it seemed like a blur of blue light. There was an eerie silence as the crystal suddenly burst into fine dust.

“Bah!” the Professor shouted, throwing down his goggles. “We need a purer sample!”

“The samples we received from Tunguska were the purest found so far. Face it, Professor, maybe it’s just a myth.”

“Mark, I don’t pay you for opinions. Get your bag packed; we’re going on a trip,” the Professor said, walking out.

Professor Calhoun was a wretched old miser. After inheriting half a billion dollars at age 16, he went on to study history, archeology, geology, and any other ology that pertained to peoples or the ancient earth. Then, after a romp through India and the Far East, he spent the rest of his life in pursuit of the bizarre, the mythical, and, some might say, the idiotic. Ventures which often led to failure and bitterness. It was just such a venture that had absorbed the past 14 years of his life up to this point.

Two international flights, a long train ride, and four hours on horseback saw Professor Calhoun and his unfortunate, yet well compensated, assistant at the edge of a dark pit in the jungles of Sri Lanka. It was here that Calhoun expected to find his long-sought-after crystal.

“Ahhhh, beautiful!” Calhoun exclaimed. “Come along, Mark. Unload the climbing gear, will you.”

Mark was less than enthusiastic about climbing into a bottomless pit in the middle of a jungle, but he figured he’d at least be able to pocket some gemstones.

“Do you know what’s down here, Mark?” Calhoun asked.

“Possibly the largest cluster of Reverberite ever found,” Calhoun and Mark said simultaneously.

Agggghh!” Calhoun groaned, waving off his assistant.

Thirty minutes later, the two were at the bottom of the pit without incident. Mark stared upward at the little jagged circle of light far above. Calhoun lit a flare with a fizz and crackle.

“Come along, Mark.”

The two made their way through the dank cavern, carefully traversing slippery footings and steep drop-offs.

“Imagine, Mark! A crystal infinitely amplifying a single sound wave. The energy created by just one resonating crystal could power all of humanity for eternity! Ohhohoho, yes! We’re close this time. I know it!”

“Really Professor, have you ever stopped to consid-“ Mark stopped dead as they entered a cavern. Calhoun held up his flare, illuminating the room. For as far as they could see, blue crystals glittered in the light of the flare. From the floor, the walls, and the ceiling stood massive Reverberite crystals jutting out like daggers.

Calhoun pulled out a small tuning fork and tapped it on a nearby crystal. A deep base growl came from the crystal which continued to grow to a higher and higher pitch until it released a loud whistle. The sound traveled around the cavern, bouncing in and out of crystals until the whole cave was a symphony. Calhoun laughed, his voice nearly drowned out as he shouted.

“Infinite energy, Mark! Infinite energy!”

Writing Prompt – 5 Words #43

Today’s words are:

  • Egyptian
  • Calcium
  • Lunar
  • Pique
  • Angular

The goal is to exercise your brain and split writer’s block. You can write anything! A story, a poem, a paragraph, a sentence, anything! The only rule is that it includes the words given or is inspired by the words given. If you post something, link it in a comment. I’d love to see what everyone comes up with! Have fun and remember to include #5words

Writing Prompt – 5 Words #42

Today’s words are:

  • Lemon
  • Land
  • Log
  • Lift
  • Languid

The goal is to exercise your brain and split writer’s block. You can write anything! A story, a poem, a paragraph, a sentence, anything! The only rule is that it includes the words given or is inspired by the words given. If you post something, link it in a comment. I’d love to see what everyone comes up with! Have fun and remember to include #5words

Flash Fiction – Zephyr

Zippy Flash Fiction

Zephyr put her head to the wind as she sped down the narrow gap of a crystal canyon. Her eyes watered as the sharp mirror faces glinted bluish white sun at her like teeth flashing in expectation. Metallic hooves crashed against the crystalline surface sending out a chiming reverberation across the planet and into the sky. The curls of her glowing orange mane whipped against her body like a flame roaring in the face of the storm.

A single image hung in Zephyr’s mind; a point focused to deadly sharpness. The embodiment of all the pain, grief, and suffering of a thousand generations. Never again, she told herself. With the single thought, she put her head to the wind and took hold of her freedom.

Writing Prompt – 5 Words #41

Today’s words are:

  • Eastern
  • Weakly
  • Claws
  • Appear
  • Reflection

The goal is to exercise your brain and split writer’s block. You can write anything! A story, a poem, a paragraph, a sentence, anything! The only rule is that it includes the words given or is inspired by the words given. If you post something, link it in a comment. I’d love to see what everyone comes up with! Have fun and remember to include #5words

Writing Prompt – 5 Words #39

Today’s words are:

  • Robot
  • Sunlight
  • Medley
  • Cool
  • Starve

The goal is to exercise your brain and split writer’s block. You can write anything! A story, a poem, a paragraph, a sentence, anything! The only rule is that it includes the words given or is inspired by the words given. If you post something, leave it or link it in the comments.