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The Short Story Thread. Post Yours Here!

  1. May 14, 2017 #1

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    I see a lot of posts here in the writing and world-building forum that ask for help in creating a story, but I rarely see any actual stories! Perhaps you've never shown your writing to anyone else or maybe you've never gotten to the part of writing where you actually do some writing (it's quite common).

    Whatever the case, that's what this thread is for. Type up a short story that can fit within a single post and post it! It doesn't have to be long. A few sentences is fine. Any amount of writing is a good amount!

    However, please don't spam the thread with lots of short posts in a short amount of time. If you're writing that much that quickly, you might as well combine it all into a single post before posting.

    And please, no critiques or comments. This is just for posting stories, not for feedback.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 14, 2017 #2

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    Here's a little story to start the thread off:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rust and steel. You can't find one without the other. Not here. Not at this place of slow death, where the interned were doomed to succumb to the unstoppable corrosion of time and the elements. Some called it a junkyard. Others a scrapyard. Her father called it a wrecking yard. Laura called it a tomb.

    "This one is good. This one excellent."

    Laura turned to the man walking beside her. Tall and lanky, with limbs that seemed far too long for his body, the man wasn't really a man. A man couldn't be called four eyes unless he was wearing glasses. A man didn't have hair that looked more like thick spines. A man's legs didn't bend the wrong way when he walked.

    The man's mouth opened, the lower jaw parting vertically even as it moved down, and out came a sound that wouldn't be out of place coming from a dying raccoon. Laura's translator clicked and an emotionless voice came through, "I tell your father you like this one. It is good."

    He was pointing at something just up ahead. They rounded a heap of rusting... something, and Laura's eyes raised in surprise. It couldn't be. Not here. Not among the skeletons of thousands of steel beasts lying in rot in this abysmal place.

    It was an aircraft. A DF-17. Officially named after a bird she couldn’t remember the name of, everyone called it a Dragonfly. It was certainly shaped like one. It had four narrow, pivoting wings, one pair behind and slightly above the other, with a dirty anti-grav engine mounted in the base of each. The cockpit was a single-seater that you had to enter from the inside of the aircraft, and smudges covered the bulbous canopy protecting it from the elements. The fuselage, just large enough to hold a handful of passengers, blended seamlessly into a long thin tail with two stabilizers arranged in a v-shape at the end.

    They approached the vehicle and Laura reached out and touched it. The metal was cold and dirty under her fingertips. She circled the vehicle, her fingers making trails in the dirt on the skin of the aircraft. Dirt was good. Dirt was better than rust. Dirt wasn’t a cancer that ate away at you like what took her mother.

    Laura took off her backpack and set it on the ground in front of her. She unzipped a pouch and reached in, pulling back a moment later with a silvery orb the size of her hand. Her thumb clicked a button on the side and the orb whirred to life, quickly springing from her hand to hover in front of her. A violet glow emanated from a small depression in the orb, like a single eye that stared at her.

    “Hello, Binary,” she said.

    “Hello!” it said in a quick, high-pitched, electronic voice. “How can Binary be of assistance?”

    Laura pointed to the aircraft. “Get a full scan. And see if you can boot up the flight computer. Once you’re done, forward everything to me.”

    “Binary is happy to comply!”

    Binary surged forward and swooped around her head once before making a beeline towards the craft. While the little drone worked, she grabbed a small ladder that had been laid up against the side of the aircraft and climbed up and onto a wing to look at the engines. They appeared to be in good condition, despite the dirt and grime covering them. It had taken her a few minutes to pop the latches and pry open the panels covering each one and by the time she was almost done with the fourth engine Binary came whirring up to her.

    “Binary has completed its task and forwarded all relevant data to your implants! Is there anything else Binary can help you with?”

    Laura pulled up an overlay on top of her vision and quickly went through the data. She smiled. Yes. Yes this was excellent. Better than excellent. Turning back to the drone, she said, “Thank you, Binary but I think that’s all. Go back to sleep.”

    “Binary is happy to have assisted you! Returning to designated power-down location and entering sleep mode!”

    With that, Binary dropped down and out of sight. Laura closed the latches on the last panel and walked back to the ladder.

    The “man” met her when she climbed back down, asking, “You like?”

    Unable to take her eyes off the aircraft, she said, “Yeah. Yeah I like.”

    “Good! I tell your father you like! I no lie!”

    Laura added a reminder to her calendar to update her translator software and then transferred the funds over to him.

    “Sleep tight, Beautiful,” she said to the Dragonfly, “Mama will be back for you tomorrow.”

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Edit: Ugh, it's hard to resist the urge to correct a bunch of things, but I'll leave this story as-is to demonstrate that you don't need to have a fully fleshed-out or "perfect" short story to post here. Post anything!
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
  4. May 14, 2017 #3

    jim hardy

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    Gold Member
    2016 Award

    Drakkith

    I hope you enjoy this bit of frivolity. Sorry if punctuation is strange, you see this was writ in wordperefct and translated to who knows what. I hope i fixed most of the errors.

    This was for a night course in creative writing. Assignment was to create a plausible story about anything using some real references.
    So i got a bunch of books on Kennedys.
    ..........................................................................................................................................................

    Sins of the Father

    old jim hardy

    On November 22, 1963, at twenty minutes past noon a serious looking man about forty five, carrying no identification and a long cardboard box stepped onto the roof of a warehouse just across Houston street from the Texas School Book Depository. He looked around, the surrounding rooftops were lower than he, more important they were clear of people. He sat down on the gravel behind a sign that advertised Hertz Car Rental and set the box across his lap. He opened the box, lifted out a long gun wrapped in blue terrycloth, unwrapped it and spread the cloth flat over the box.
    He knew that in a few minutes he would need to put the rifle back without fumbling.
    He cradled the rifle, a Remington 700 with a Leupold four to twelve power telescopic sight, in his left arm and opened the bolt action. He took a shell from his jacket pocket and pushed it into the magazine, repeated this twice more, closed the bolt and pushed the safety to "on". He peered through the 'scope into the railroad yards across Dealy Plaza, the private Pullman car was there with a white lamp in the rearmost window. He waved once and unseen hands changed the lamp to green. It was a go.
    He checked the windage and parallax settings on his scope then laid on his stomach and crawled almost to the edge of the roof. There he shouldered the rifle and traversed Main street through the scope, then relaxed to wait.
    He could see Lee's open window on the sixth floor of the depository just a few yards away, but from this angle he couldn't see inside. Good thing, that meant Lee couldn't see him. It was vital that Lee believe himself the lone gunman.

    He thought of the three shells in his rifle, and the other three he had made as well. Each was a 30-06 case containing a few carefully measured grams of Permadex powder, with a 161 grain bullet of slightly smaller caliber at the business end. These particular bullets were 6.5 millimeter, smaller in diameter than a thirty caliber by forty five thousandths of an inch. The smaller diameter was made up by a thin plastic jacket, called a sabot, around the bullet which when fired would guide the small projectile down the larger barrel and disintegrate a few feet beyond the muzzle. More important, because of the sabot the metal bullet would not contact the inside of the barrel. The sabot would act as a sheath and the bullet would not acquire any telltale rifling marks from the barrel, so the bullet would have no information later for forensics. In fact these particular bullets, having been previously fired once into cotton and recovered, already had rifle marks from another gun, a $21 war surplus 6.5 millimeter Mannlicher-Carcano belonging to Lee Harvey Oswald.
    Wrong information can be more useful than no information.

    The man with no name let his thoughts drift back to the war, not yet twenty years in the past. He remembered his excitement at the transfer from a rifle brigade to security at Penemunde, finally to intelligence, and of the last days of the war at the V2 factory underground. He had been resettled at Huntsville in '45 along with Von Braun and the others in Operation Paperclip. Shortly thereafter the non scientists were moved to Kermit Roosevelt's fledgling CIA, which in turn was built around another war prize, Reinhard Gehlen's Nazi intelligence organization.
    As the late autumn sun began to warm his back he let his mind drift to the 1930's and his beautiful Inga, her deep blue eyes and her eager arms. The cool air on his face, the muffled sounds of the city, all was so peaceful, his eyes got heavy and he let them close for just an instant.

    He awoke from a dream of approaching airplanes but the engines were not American P-40's they were American police motorcycles -- the motorcade was here. It was not on Main street as planned but on Elm, about a hundred feet further North. Right under Lee's window. This would rush the shot.
    He muttered something in German as he shook the sleep out of his head, switched off the safety and brought the rifle around to find the limousine. He glanced at the Pullman car, the lamp was yellow now meaning Oswald was in place.

    Oswald knew nothing of the other gunman, he had been duped into believing he was part of a Secret Service ploy to convince Kennedy of the importance of security precautions. They had told Oswald the Service didn't like the president in an open limousine, that this was to look like a "close call". Oswald was to place one shot into the pavement well behind the limousine. As the echoes of that shot were rebounding around the square, the man with no name was to shoot the president through the head then quietly slip away from the fracas. The angle of his shot was close to Oswald's and the sabot rounds assured a ballistics match. The man with no name had to admit this one was well planned, even if perhaps too complex for his taste.

    CRACK! came Oswald's shot, before the man with no name was ready.
    Hurriedly he centered the president's head in the scope then raised his aim two feet to compensate for the forward travel of the limousine during the flight time of the bullet. The first echoes of Oswald's harmless shot were reverberating as he squeezed the trigger. A split second before his own gun went off he saw the young president clutch his throat. Another CRACK reached his ears. He knew the backup man behind the fence on the knoll had fired once. His own shot was high, he saw it hit the cowboy in the front seat directly ahead of the president. He was reaching for the bolt to load the next round when he saw the president lurch backward, pieces of his skull scattering across the trunk of the huge black Lincoln. He knew another shot would be unnecessary.
    As he scuttled back toward the cover of the sign he instinctively chambered another round. Already flustered from his mistakes he did not pick up the empty cartridge case.

    Moving deliberately now, the unnamed man placed the rifle back in the box, folded the terrycloth over it, calmly walked down the stairwell and out the rear door of the warehouse. He put the rifle behind the seat of a black Ford pickup truck, tossed the box in a dumpster then got in the truck and drove quietly away.

    In about ten minutes the man with no name was at the Carousel Bar and Grill with a long neck Budweiser beer. An older man with a bad, reddish complexion came in through the front door. The go-go dancer on stage livened her step and said "Hello, Mr Ruby". He acknowledged her with a glance and took a seat next to the man with no name.

    "What happened?" Ruby asked simply.

    "I missed."

    "Well, your backup took two, we're all getting too old for this ****.
    He's clear now. One of Dallas' finest will nail Lee in a few minutes, the poor schmuck."

    "Jack, why did we do this?"

    Ruby looked him in the eye and said "I don't know for sure. Rumor is it's some ancient revenge thing, leftover from the war. I think it's this one drove Kermit out."

    The man with no name said "Kennedy wasn't old enough to have enemies that big. Must be a family feud." He took a swig of beer.
    Ruby replied "Well, his father racked up plenty of enemies, clear back to the first war. I think somebody has waited a long time to make a major payback to old Joe. But I don't want to know, I just do as I'm told. There are still people I care about, so they still own me."

    Ruby handed him a thick file folder and laughed. "Here's your new identity, passport and bankbook, you old retired industrialist you.
    At Lancaster airport, eight miles South of town on 77 there's a twin Beech that'll take you to Miami. Stay at the Traveler's Motel in Miami Springs, it's a suitable dive and safe house. You're on Pan Am at 7 AM to Rio, Varig's nooner from there to Paraguay. You're to find the "LION OF IDAHO" restaurant tomorrow night, ask to be seated at William Borah's table. That's all the instructions I got."

    The man with no name said "Thanks, Jack. This is it for me, I'm staying out. Goodbye."

    "I wish I could join you, but they still own me. Good luck in your new life, Mr. er, uh, Mr, what is it again..,, uhhh, Haller!. Harry Haller. Paraguay will be like a family reunion."

    The newfound Harry Haller shook Ruby's hand, turned and walked through the door almost a free man. Almost free but tired, tattered and worn down, feeling deeply sad and alone, like an old wolf from the steppes.

    An hour later in the Beechcraft over Texas there was little conversation. The pilot knew something about this flight was hush-hush. When you're paid in advance in small uncirculated bills, you don't ask. He handed Harry Haller another envelope. "Oh, by the way I was told to give you this once we were in the air. I don't know where it came from."

    Inside the envelope were newspaper clippings from as far back as 1938, most bearing the name Inga Arvad, and a note. The familiar handwriting stopped Harry Haller's breathing, a warm tingling sensation engulfed his chest then spread out to his fingertips which trembled holding the scraps of paper as he choked back tears of , of, well he wasn't sure what.....
    He swallowed hard, recovered his equilibrium and read the following synopsis of the old news accounts:

    London, Summer of 1938

    Joseph Kennedy, US Ambassador to England befriends Herbert von Dirksen, Germany's ambassador to London,
    tells him (among other things):
    "I myself understand your Jewish policy completely... [Perhaps if it were done without]...such a clamor."
    (ref 1 pp 569)

    London, 18 March 1938

    Hitler has just taken Austria (12 March), with no opposition from England or France. Joseph Kennedy speaks to "The Pilgrims Society", an organization promoting harmony between the US and Britain. The US is largely in an isolationist mood. " It must be realized that the great majority of Americans oppose any entangling alliances. Most of our people insist that their country maintain its independent and unmortgaged judgements as to the merits of world crises as they arise."

    These were mild words compared to what Secretary of State Cordell Hull had cut out of the speech, to wit:
    "...the United States has no plan to seek or offer assistance..." ( ref 1 pp 520)

    Joe Kennedy was an isolationist, trying to keep the US out of the war. He feared the increased centralization of government that would result in the US from mobilization. Like Chamberlain, he wanted peace at any price. In 1939 Kennedy's close friend Montagu Norman, director of the Bank of England, rescued Hitler's Reichbank with a large credit. (ref 1 pp 520).
    Kennedy and General Motors also tried to arrange a large loan to Hitler of American gold, but Roosevelt squashed the idea. (ref 1 pp 573)

    Washington, DC, early 1940

    Franklin Roosevelt, becoming disenchanted with his ambassador, said to his son in law: "Kennedy has a positive horror of change in the present methods of life in America. To him the future of a small capitalistic class is safer under a Hitler than a Churchill." (ref 2 pp 401)

    London, summer of 1940

    Joseph Kennedy receives from his son Jack (JFK) his college thesis "Appeasement at Munich" which criticized the democratic system as unwieldy and an unaffordable luxury, inherently inferior to dictatorships at dealing with world problems. (ref 1 pp 604)
    JFK also became hopelessly enamored with one Inga Arvad, a Danish beauty queen working as a reporter in New York, well known in German high circles. She was a personal friend of A. Hitler who described her as "the supreme example of Nordic beauty". She was tracked by FBI as a probable German spy. (ref 1 pp 630)
    Not surprisingly, Hitler thought he had a friend in Joseph Kennedy, one influential enough to keep America out of the war.

    Boise, Idaho, 1940

    Isolationist senator William Borah, known as the "Lion of Idaho", dies. Among his personal effects is found several hundred thousand dollars in cash, attributed by Senator Gore (Ok) to have come from "The Nazis. To keep us out of the war." (ref 5 pp 735)


    Washington, DC, November, 1940

    Joe Kennedy ten days before the election throws his support to FDR, swinging substantial isolationist vote to him. Hitler receives this as a tremendous betrayal. Later that month Kennedy is thrown out of FDR's office in Hyde Park. FDR said "I never want to see that son of a ***** again. He wanted us to make a deal with Hitler." (ref 1 pp 612; ref 5 pp 748; ref 3 pp 312)

    Washington, DC, 1945

    "Operation Paperclip" brings Wehrner Von Braun and many others to US government agencies. While the scientists were centered at Huntsville Alabama, the intelligence organization was moved lock, stock and barrel to Washington DC. It absorbed our fledgling intelligence organization, the OSS, and became the CIA. Kermit Roosevelt, and a lot of other Roosevelts, were highly placed in CIA, as were many former Nazi officers including Reinhard Gehlen. (ref 4 pp 82; ref 2 pp 447)

    Washington, DC, 1962

    Kermit Roosevelt retires from CIA because he fears the agency is"... getting out of control." He warns his superiors "... the agency is about to catch overthrow fever". (Kermit himself had recently overthrown Iran). (ref 2 pp 471)

    At the end of the last page was this note , in beautiful script on a pink card:


    My Dearest Little Schnitzel
    Imagine my surprise to find we are both in the same business. Fate has a sense of humor, no?
    I suppose you'll be getting out now, as I am.
    I'm going to Paraguay to write my novel, what you just read is the plotline. Perhaps you'll help me finish it?

    I Loved you always, Inga A.
    P.S. Bring the schnitzel.

    ____________________________________________________________-

    References:

    1. The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, by Doris K. Goodwin

    2. The Roosevelts, by Peter Collier

    3. The Kennedy Women, by L. Leamer

    4. Who Killed JFK?, by Carl Oglesby

    5. Essays 1952 © 1972 , by Gore Vidal

    Author's note: references are real, and a spent .30 caliber cartridge was found on the roof across from Oswald's window some years after "that day".
    I borrowed two ideas from a book called "Appointment in Dallas" , if i could recall author i'd credit him too.

    Submitted for Mr Wilkinson's writing class, 4 December 1996

    old jim hardy

    ps yes, i have the Hertz sign on the wrong building.... jh
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
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