This week’s Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge was a random word prompt.
Prompt: Story must contain the following words, or synonyms of the following words:
“Figure.” “Dusk.” “Flirt.” “Mobile Phone.” “Wig.”
1000 words or less.
“Wow! Look at this place,” she said. “You one of them rich scientists?”
She had long, blond, curly hair. She spun a lock on her finger chewing her gum with a loud POP! He led her in through the double reinforced metal doors.
“No, not really,” he said. “I managed to make most of this stuff from recycled parts.”
“Like they do with soda cans?”
He paused as a small muscle above his eye twitched. “Yeah… sort of like that.”
“I’m gonna call you my Soda Scientist,” she giggled around her gum and pinched him in the ribs.
Rich drew back and tried his best to smile through his discomfort. He really, really didn’t mean to bring her home, but he was lonely. He was also curious. What was the harm right? It was past dusk and she probably wouldn’t even remember this place or how to get here in the morning anyway. If it all went well, she wouldn’t even know where she was afterwards.
“Woooooow!” she said again, drawing out the vowels into a long drunken howl. “You got all sorts of cool stuff. You know my dad, he messed with stuff. Was into all sorts of neat stuff like computers and the thing that makes all the noise.”
“No dummy,” she said. “The phone thing. It goes–” and then she made a squawk like a lame bird, followed by a feline hiss.
“Oh, right,” said Rich. “You mean a modem.”
“Yeah a mode in, or whatever,” she said. Her blue eyes trailed along the pipes and vent couplings, the conduits and cables. It all led to a large tube at one end of the apartment. “What’s that?”
It was a seven foot, nondescript metal cylinder, gun metal gray and about three feet in diameter. A smoked glass window followed the contour of the tube elegantly. Rich flipped a switch and the inside glowed like a warm bathroom.
“Ooo!” she said. “That’s sexy. What is it, some sort of toilet?”
Rich tried to suppress a laugh. Twenty years he worked on this project and she calls it a toilet. Fantastic.
“No,” he said. “It’s a matter relocater.”
“A tele–ok look. You know how your dad used a modem?”
“So that modem transfers data–”
“Information,” he said. “It transfers it to another computer and that’s how they talk.”
“My dad’s computer never talked to me.”
Rich took a long, controlled breath. “Your dad’s computer wasn’t a teleporter.”
“Oh!” she said, her eyes going wide. Rich almost thought he saw a physical light shine from her head. “You mean like The Fly?”
He took another breath. “Yes,” he said. “Sort of, except this one you don’t need a secondary target pod. You can set coordinates to anywhere in the world, or in this case, anywhere in a hundred mile radius.”
“Hey!” she said. “My pad is like, a mile from here. Do you think you could give me a ride… you know… after we have a little fun?”
Rich found himself torn. It had been a painfully long time. And even in the full light of his apartment, she wasn’t totally unattractive. He could probably imagine she was Susan if he really tried, closed his eyes. Ten years though… He began to wonder if he even remembered how to do it.
“Well, it isn’t as simple as that,” he said.
“I’m not stupid,” she said, scowling. “I like smart guys, they talk at my level, all smart and brainy.”
“I just mean… look, you can’t go through it with anything inorganic,” he said.
“You trying to say I got fakies?” she said, winding up to slap him.
“No… well… no… I mean if you had implants it would be a no-no regardless. I mean you can’t go through with anything like piercings, clothes, etc. Even your gum is probably too artificial to go through.”
She looked back at the tube, wild curiosity in her eyes. She is probably one of those girls who likes to run through traffic just for the thrill, thought Rich. She turned back to him and smiled.
“What would happen?”
Oh god, thought Rich. Down the rabbit hole we go.
“Well the inorganic material creates a field, like metal in a microwave–”
“Yeah, okay. Like that,” said Rich. “Imagine that happening to an earring or maybe a pacemaker.”
Her smile only got wider. “I wanna do it!”
“Right… right now?”
“Yeah,” she said, then stopped herself. The disappointment was clear in Rich’s eyes. “Oh baby, you know if you give me a ride to my place right now, I’ll totally make it up to you.”
She ran a flirtatious finger down his chest and tugged at his belt.
“Okay,” he said. “Get naked.”
In a flash, she stood before him, her clothes in a neat pile next to the pod, hoop earrings on top. “You’ll call me?” she asked.
No, I am going to sell your $5 dress at Goodwill. “You bet.”
He watched her with a pang of regret as she stepped, nude, into the pod, his eyes tracing her figure as she moved. She turned as the door closed and gave him a wave.
Rich held up the remote, no bigger than a cell phone and punched a button. There was a whir, a flash, a POP! like the gum she had been chewing… and then smoke.
Smoke, that wasn’t good. Rich watched in horror as the door slid open. Like some sea creature washed ashore was a blond wig at the bottom of the pod. Fresh blood and something white and shattered was visible just beneath it.
Rich reached into his pocket, pulled out his cell phone and quickly erased her phone number.
(c) 2011 Marlan Smith