Arsonist Interruptus

But I promised a superpowers genre tale for Flush the Fiction, so here you go:

He billed himself as the Human Fireball. Generic name for a weak pyrokinetic. All that he could really do was light things he was touching aflame. He could light himself too–but that cost him a fortune in clothes, so he usually didn’t.

Lorelei was tending bar that night when he got drunk and lit it. All of those flammables—first thing, she tripped the sprinkler system. After the fire was out, she took his face between her hands and kissed him deeply.

When he crumbled to arid dust, she swept him into a dust pan. Don’t upset an aquamancer.

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Oddly enough, this tale was inspired by this image:

Photo credit: “Sample Images” FUJINON LENS XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS

That turned up on Google’s first images page with the search term “image”. That’s random, no? (Hell No.)





And in the darkness bind them (2)

Continued from yesterday.

Rick removed the ring from the crumbled debris of his meteorite. It was highly polished and contained multi-colored metallic flecks. He brushed the remaining fragments of meteorite rock away, and rubbed the ring clean with his fingertips. It appeared to be the perfect size for his ring finger.

Without really stopping to think, Rick put the ring on.

And jumped back in surprise. His hand turned black. Jet, pitch, ink—the complete and utter absence of color. His other arm, his legs, his stomach, his whole body was now as dark as the deepest shadow, just a hole punched out of the corn and dirt and color of the world around him. Now that’s just eerie-looking as hell, Rick thought, and his heartbeat skyrocketed.

He turned his hand over, he could feel the muscles moving it, but he wasn’t getting any visual cues. No sunlight on the top or shadow beneath, no color at all. A hole shaped like a hand. Light behind it, cornfield and dirt and sunshine, normal.

Curious, Rick glanced down. He wasn’t casting a shadow. Light seemed to strike him and just disappear. Heat—no, he couldn’t feel any heat from the sun, but he didn’t feel cold either. Temperature neutral? What do they called that, thermal equilibrium? Is that even possible?

He touched his hands together, and that still felt normal. No pain, no discomfort. And he felt—yep, he slipped off the ring.

And jumped again, dropping the ring in the dirt. Color just turned back on, *snap*, and his hands were back to normal. He stooped and picked the ring back up, his hand shaking.

Whatever this thing is

“Think it landed over there.” A voice, shouting from over in the corn field, maybe a hundred yards away.

Osterman. Without a doubt, the Frankenstein Brigade was headed this way.

Rick slipped the ring into his pants pocket and slipped deeper into the standing corn. Time to exit stage right before the Jocks found his meteor site. Once he felt far enough away, he turned in the direction of the corn rows and began running.

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We’re knocking on a thousand words, and there’s so much still to explore. I’ve reached the conclusion that this tale can’t be told without at least a novelette. YA novel, probably; they tend to fall in the gap between long-form short stories and short novels.

So it’s inappropriate for Flush the Fiction. Going to just back-burner this project (for now).

A socially acceptable nitwit

People have to tell fibs, or else they couldn’t stand each other.

Anyone who takes personal pride in telling the absolute truth at every moment is a sadist, not a saint.

Aphorisms are incomplete descriptions of the world that is. But the same society that attempts to create restrictions, “lying is wrong”, that same society also creates conventions about when lying is not only not wrong, but nearly a requirement.

You can’t tell Aunt Frieda that she looks like a walking corpse today, even if she does. You can’t ever tell the truth about the deceased at a wake. There are literally thousands of these required white lies, little harmless social-convention fibs. “We don’t ask someone that, Jimmy. It isn’t polite.”

It’s a confusing world for kids. Dad’s proud of how he “talked his way out of” that speeding ticket. Mom told Julie how stunning she looks in that fugly puce bridesmaid dress. Kids learn to lie very early, and from their parents. But teaching the social convention constructions that surround concepts like “tact” or “diplomacy” is a live minefield, for parents with children at certain ages.

Because the parents themselves often haven’t ever formalized their ethics. Under what conditions, and for what goals, is lying acceptable to me. I certainly haven’t. When is “what will the neighbors think” more important than the Truth (capital “T”)?

Hell, I dunno. Like most folks I just muddle through, and try to avoid lying (generally) but whip out the white lies in a heartbeat when cornered.

Guess I’m weak.

RecDave Seal

A lie by any other name would smell…oh never mind

As kids, we’re told, time and again, that lying is wrong. Do you believe that’s always true? In your book, are there any exceptions?