Light up

The kids just stand quietly and stare with open mouths. I can’t imagine what it must be like to see the Pacific for the very first time.

At home on Mars, “oceans” are empty wastes of iron oxides and dust. These kids struggle to stand at one G, and they look horribly emaciated by our standards. Here in Malaysia, the gravity is triple what’s normal for them, and I fear a fall that snaps one of their Martian-thin leg bones.

Just one more stop before they go back to the military hospital. “O.K. kids, who wants some McDonalds and Marlboros?”

parkinkspot sq logo

100 words. Inspired by this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers prompt:

It occurs that a little explanation may be in order–in Malaysia, kids are actively encouraged to become smokers. The cigarette companies wield enormous political and economic power over the Malaysian economy.


22 thoughts on “Light up”

  1. My first impressions from that photo were “scrawny” and “nerd convention”. Rather than work the obvious, I went with a double culture clash. What makes us think Martian visitors would have to visit the U.S.?

  2. After reading your story, I now understand your comment on mine. I love your twist to the prompt and how you have the Martians visiting earth, and of all places and things, McDonalds and cigarettes! It seems the Martians are on the same path as Earthlings. (Not so good).

    1. Good is culturally relative. Malaysia allows cigarette advertising aimed at children, and no ID check on tobacco purchases. A lot of their playgrounds and sports teams have corporate cigarette sponsors.

      It’s a different world.

  3. They’re definitely getting a real taste of life on Earth with McDonalds and Marlboros! I love the detail you’ve included with the effects of the differences in gravity. Great story, Dave. 🙂

    1. To be honest, a lot of the gravity/martian effects are borrowed from Stranger in a Strange Land. Pretty standard SF fare.

  4. What with so many other silly things going on in this world, the back story does not surprise me. Martians must be used to our strange behaviour.

  5. A lot going on in so few words: Martians, Malaysian customs and comparisons of landscapes and bodily build. Your reference to MacDonalds and Marlboros has made for some interesting comments, too. I can only agree with those regarding cigarettes and children.

  6. Enjoyed your different take on the prompt. I guess Martians in Malaysia could be possible. We Americans are so egotistical. 🙂

  7. Hi Dave! Occasionally I like to stop by the blogs of those who participate in the FFfAW challenge and let them know that I appreciate their continued support and participation. I look forward to reading your story each week and I know the others do as well. Thank you Dave for so kindly sharing your stories with us.

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