Joe2stories

Stories from a Dublin Scientist

Month: October, 2013

The Artist

“Philistines! Barbarians!”

“It didn’t go well; did it? Did they boo at your performance?”

“Boo? Boo! If only they had the decency to just Boo! No! It was worse than that! Far worse!”

“What? What did they do?”

“They… They laughed at it!”

“Laughed? But it was meant to be a…”

“A dramatic tour de force! But these… Cretins just thought it was funny!”

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Written for Trifecta Week One hundred and One

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Changes

After Fairyland defaulted, many fairytale creatures had to immigrate to find work.

The big bad wolf is a fashion designer.

The third little pig founded an architecture firm.

And the troll’s a bouncer.

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Written for Trifecta’s Trifextra Week Ninety-One

Horoscopes 12

Capricorn (22 December-20 January): They say life is full of surprises. The fact that you have survived this long has certainly been a shock to a great many.

Aquarius (21 January-19 February): The stars foresee a new relationship in your life closer than any you’ve had before. They’re confident you’ll come to love your new tapeworm.

Pisces (20 February – 20 March): Romance beckons to you this week. It will then see that it called you over, make a pathetic excuse, and hurriedly walk away.

Aries (21 March – 20 April): You may think it a smart move for a Halloween costume, but dressing as a deer in the hunting capital of the world? That’s a recipe for disaster.

Taurus (21 April – 21 May): You will reach a new level of educational attainment this week. It’s about time too. No one should spend that much time in primary school.

Gemini (22 May – 21 June): New opportunities will present themselves this week when you find that you can sell your organs for a tidy sum.

Cancer (22 June – 23 July): There will be new complications in your love-life. Sourcing the pool of yoghurt alone will tax your time considerably.

Leo (24 July – 23 August): They say bears can smell fear. You will find next week that they also have a good sense for your bull-shit.

Virgo (24 August – 23 September): Smile and the whole world smiles with you. Or in your case, gets incredibly freaked out and backs away slowly.

Libra (24 September – 23 October): People say that nothing provides comfort and security better than the love of your partner. But next week, as the zombies break down your door the stars think you’ll rather have a shotgun.

Scorpio (24 October – 22 November): You love the great outdoors which will be fortunate as you shall soon become homeless.

Sagittarius (23 November – 21 December): Expect the unexpected. That should make the same boring crap that always happens a bit of a surprise.

Derelict

We found the derelict nearly twenty light-days off the main trade-route between New Chicago and Cicero. The emergency beacon had so degraded that the signal was barely enough for our sensors to pick it up. That meant that it must have been there for a long time, a very long time.

Approaching, I took a look at it. It was a standard bulk-carrier. One long shaft between the engines and command section with an assortment of cargo pods stuck along it. Not many places to hide I thought.

I suited up and crossed to the derelict. I had to jimmy the door but made it through and started to explore.

The crew left reminders of their presence everywhere, a ghostly phantom of habitation, posters on the walls, unwashed dishes in the galley, even hand-written notes on a board. “Movie Night, The Princess Bride, Thursday” said one, I wondered if they’d escaped.

They hadn’t. Moving carelessly in the zero gravity I accidentally bumped into the first body. It showed the dessicated look of something that had been exposed to vacuum. It was wearing half of a spacesuit. Whatever befell them must have caught them with their pants down.

I found three more like that and two strapped in bed. I found the captain last.

She was in a suit hunched over a console as if trying to bring life to systems long dead. The suit she had can keep you alive for a week. She used up every second of it, never leaving her post. They say astronauts are a different breed of people. She is the proof.

I carefully retrieved the flight recorder from the console and headed back to my ship.

I watched as we cast the derelict back out into the abyss. I took time to switch off the beacon so it couldn’t be found again. That seemed fitting. Her crew died there, it was only right that they should be allowed to drift, forever through the cosmos, at peace.

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Written for trifecta week one hundred

Picture it and Write: A Tear

Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s Picture it and Write for Ermilia’s blog here. Once again, the picture is not mine I only use if for inspiration. Anyway; Enjoy!

A Tear

Martin couldn’t cry. No matter how sad he was, no matter how great the pain, he just could not bring tears to his eyes to show it. Doctors looked him over yet couldn’t figure out what was wrong. They told him to just get on with life without it.

He met Allison near the end of his twentieth year. She was perfect for him, full of empathy and kindness and so understanding.  It was love by the end of the first conversation.

After a year they married and shortly thereafter came the good news that Allison was expecting.

They had everything planned but sometimes Fate has other ideas. At seven months there was a late night panic and a rush to the hospital but it came far too late.

As others rushed to comfort him the tears would still not come. As his heart broke into a million pieces and scattered to the four winds, the tears would not come. People would stare at him, expectantly, yet still the tears did not come.

It was only at the funeral, his family bearing Allison’s coffin, Martin following holding a tiny one for his little boy that he felt a wetness on his eye and a single drop trickle down his cheek. Those who didn’t know Martin nodded sympathetically, those who did were aghast at his unprecedented display of grief.

They say the tear was so filled with despair that it burned a mark on Martin’s skin. It is there to this very day many years on. He has yet to cry again and those who know him, those who truly care about him, hope he never has cause to.

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Falling

I gripped tightly, refusing to go further.

“Listen!” Clive said, “You’re scared. Don’t look and you won’t fall.”

I grimaced. “It’s not falling I’m scared of. It’s the sudden stop at the bottom!”

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Written for Trifecta’s Trifextra Week Ninety

Scandal

Gossip and Scandal make the best sweetener for tea.”

It doesn’t take much for some to become scandalised.

Take James Wilson; a habitual bachelor with a stream of ladies coming and going from his apartment. The women would go in well-dressed but then leave frazzled. You could only imagine what was going on.

Imagining was all anybody did until someone had the sense to ask someone what was going on. It turns out he was a photographer, specializing in portraits.

They also found that he, shall we say, played for the other team. That was a totally different scandal.

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Written or Trifecta, week Ninety-nine

Picture it and Write: The Next Step

Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s Picture it and Write from Ermilia’s blog here. Once again; the picture is not mine, it is by Benoit Courti, I only use it for inspiration. Anyway, Enjoy!

The Next Step:

“I’m just saying that you can’t predict how the next phase of human evolution will turn out, the process is inherently unpredictable so dependent on chance and circumstance. What may seem likely may never come to pass. I doubt if you reran the whole process again you would get the same result this time round.”

Professor Wilson maintained the composure that had terrified so many debating opponents over the years. “I am aware of the ‘Just History’ concept but I counter that we can theorise with some degree of success how things will turn out in the near-term if we know the environmental conditions. After all there are only so many ways that nature can turn out. Take for example a fish moving from open water to mangrove swamp. It is likely that it will reduce in size or become more more flexible to navigate through all those branches.”

“But people are not fish” Countered Dr Smith “They are far more complicated. We for example can change our environment to suit ourselves. That should make the whole process all random; shouldn’t it?”

Wilson took three dice out of his pocket and placed his afternoon coffee down. “Is it that random though? How much control do we really have over all this. Even now who here can tell you exactly how everything around us works hmm? And that will only get worse in the future. Sure you will be able to make cosmetic changes to our environment but it’s base nature, it’s fundamental base will be as beyond our control as a mangrove forest will be to a fish.

“To live in this new world will require us to be smarter, to think beyond the present and adapt in synchrony with our changing surroundings. We may even need new methods of perceiving and manipulating what is around us in order to cope.”

Smith raised a hand. “What are you talking about; some form of E.S.P., mind moving matter? You know that is all a load of nonsense!”

Wilson shrugged and started to play with the dice, “You can never imagine what kind of latent powers our future selves will have in their possession.” He threw them into the air. The three dice reached the top of their trajectory and slowed to a stop, hanging suspended in mid-air.

Wilson grinned at a shocked Smith, “For all we know nature has already started to experiment.”

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The company

“My God! It’s so horrible. Is this hell?”

“It is!” Said a sharply dressed man,

“It mightn’t look so good.”

He placed a hand on my shoulder,

“But all your friends are here!”

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Written for Trifecta’s Trifextra week eighty-nine

Picture it and Write: Witness

Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s picture it and write from Ermilia’s blog here. Once again; the picture is not mine, it is my TaniaLosada, I only use it for inspiration. Anyway; enjoy!

Witness

There have been reports over the centuries of a presence of a ghost in the East wing if the castle. Investigators have determined that it is the tortured soul linked to the assassination of King Edvard the 6th in 1044.

The king was a popular ruler, by all means a moderate and not prone to extreme cruelty. His major flaw however was he was somewhat trusting and as a result was unable to fathom that people in the palace court were in anyway indisposed to him. His naivety extended to walking around the castle without a single bodyguard and it was on one such excursion that he met the then Duke of Colchester, the future John the fourth, with five very heavily armed retainers. The poor king did not stand a chance.

Most of the details about how the king met his fate did not make it into history, Colchester made sure that the official narrative did not include much more than the king dying from “Natural Causes” however there was a report of a death-bed confession from one of the henchmen that there was another person present at the king’s death.

He said it was just a boy, a young page who unluckily found himself at the other end of the corridor when Colchester made his move. The duke was paranoid and would not tolerate anyone, no matter how insignificant, knowing the truth. While the king’s body was left for all to see. That poor boy was left for dead in a place that “Satan himself would not dare go to find him”

It is this boy; this poor unfortunate who is the ghost in the castle. Forever stuck in the place where his fate was sealed, an eternal reminder of the horrible deeds done by those in power and that common folk, no matter how innocent, are nothing but pawns in the game of nobles and kings.

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