Water and Sky

I’m floating on my back in a lake, there are storm clouds moving in, and I don’t have even the faintest idea how I got here. The last thing I remember is driving on I-80 just west of Rawlins. I was listening to the latest from Jason Aldean… The rest is just a blank.

Wading up to the closest shore, I see it’s a featureless expanse of mud without either tire tracks or footprints.

I didn’t notice the ambient sounds from the wildlife, not until they suddenly stopped.

A saucer shape is slowly rising over the treetops.

Now I remember.

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In response to this week’s Picture It & Write prompt:

Flickr / davideji

Man of the Mists

I used to pilot that boat, the Maid of the Mist. Lots of tourists in attractive plastic sacks, lots of happy newlyweds drenched to the bone. It was actually a fun job, except for the Coast Guard cutters.

See, they don’t want you getting too close. The tightrope walks don’t happen upstream any more. No one goes over in barrels these days. Insurance companies, fear of litigation. The marrow has been sucked out of the Falls, really. People with cojones can’t be allowed to make a buck here, not any more.

While I’m stuck here at the bottom, at least the Coast Guard lets boats get fairly (and I emphasize fairly) close to the base. Which is all I need. I’ve got something planned that the lawyers haven’t fortified defenses against yet.

Me and my showy barrel are gonna go up the Falls. At dusk, lights on and glowing like a Christmas Tree, just before the last of the news-and-tourist-cams pack things up to go home. I’ll turn it into a lucrative memoir after they arrest me hovering over the falls. All thanks to this nifty portable gravity polarizer I lifted from the M.I.T. physics lab.

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In response to this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

No image attribution.


Signal to Noise

“So there’s a signal?” asked Groesbeck.

“Not really. It’s more like a harmonic effect.” Adams was the communications specialist. “It’s a distortion of the electromagnetic fields that are all around us every day. But it is growing stronger.”

“Harmonic effect; it’s unintentional, then?”

“Almost certainly. At worst, a single source that’s just picked up and retransmitted, reinforced by other signals from the cell phone towers and such.”

The third member of the group, Franklin, suddenly perked up. He began a Google search as the conversation continued.

“It sounds harmless enough.”

“I thought so too,” Adams replied. “But there’s research just out from Columbia. There may be some low-level behavioral effects.”

Unnoticed in the background, Franklin laughed quietly to himself and changed the parameters of his internet search.

“What sort of effects?”

“This harmonic buildup taking place does seem to affect the human brain subtly. The researchers at Columbia suggest it acts as an aggression-suppressant, like low dosage Lithium.”

“So…” Groesbeck thought aloud, “Less crime and aggressive violence, in general. But also lowered achievement drive, competition, impaired memory and concentration… Yeah, Uncle Sam’s going to need a solution.”

“Well, it’s going to take major network overhauls and shielding, won’t be cheap or fast. There might be some short-term palliatives while we clean it up.”

“You mean like this.” Franklin turned his monitor around with glee. On his screen was a popular conspiracy-theorist website, featuring an image of a man wearing a hat made from tin foil.

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