American Chimera – 1.4

American Chimera Cover Small

We brought the egg back to the trailer and kicked all the dogs outta our bedroom. We opened the bottom drawer of our plastic dresser and stuffed it full of clean shirts and underwear, makin’ sure the egg were sittin’ in the plushest place you e’er did see.

Janie’s parents had raised chickens while she grew up, so she knew the thing needed to be warm. We unhooked the meth setup from the propane and drove to town to get a space heater, then stuck it in the room. Even with the dogs outta the room, the heat started makin’ all the shit stink to high heaven, so we cleaned that place up. While our lil’ egg grew in the underwear drawer, Janie and I slept in the livin’ room on the couch.

Well, turns out we didn’t have enough money for another propane tank to cook the meth, so Janie went to town and got a job fixin’ the Bojangles’ robots. I started workin’ for the Mexicans buildin’ a piece of the school down the road, plannin’ just to do it as long as I needed to get a new propane tank, but it weren’t that bad. It felt a bit healthier, too, not to be cookin’ meth or havin’ drug pushers breathin’ down my back. About then’s when we started to backslide on our cookin.’

Every night, Janie and me’d turn the egg. The swelterin’ summer soon turned into a nice, cool fall, and we cranked that space heater up to keep the room nice and cozy. Soon we was conflicted ’bout whether or not to sleep in the bedroom, considerin’ how cold it got outside, but we decided it better to keep it real, real hot in there instead.

One propane tank turned into two, then three, then four. Eventually it got so hard to keep up the gas that I near ’bout considered admittin’ where we was parked and hookin’ into electricity. I moved on with the Mexicans to the next job, and Janie was good enough at her job that they wanted her to become a specialist in the Bojangles’ Biscuit Bots.

At last the egg started hatchin’ in November of ’72. It was the middle of the night when I felt Janie’s lil’ hand shakin’ me to wake up, and I stirred just the slightest amount.

“Y’hear that?” I ’member her askin. I blinked my eyes a couple times, seein’ her eyes sparkle in the dark and the dogs pantin’ in the background.

I listened close for a minute, mostly just hearin’ a dog scratchin’ at the bedroom door and the whir of the space heater in the background. But then, sure ’nuff, I got an earful of the eggshell crackin’ away. My eyes lit up and I scrambled, hands picking myself up from the floor where I was sleepin.’ Some of the carpet came up in my hand, makin’ me fall, but my clever mind followed what Janie asked. “The egg.”

She nodded and helped me up. “C’mon – let’s go watch!”

I shoved the dog out of the way and opened the door behind her. I turned on the overhead lights, disappointed to find most of the bulbs had burnt out and it’d be dim in the room at best. The ceilin’ fan attached started wigglin’ the light every which-a-way, too, since a couple of the blades had been whacked off by my cousin Jim, who’d owned the trailer afore we did.

Janie didn’t pause a lick when she went over to the drawer. She picked up the Coleman lantern and revved it up. “It’s hatchin’!” she cried out. “Brett, lookit! We’re about to have a baby!”

I squeezed her so hard that she prob’ly near ’bout burst. I’d waited and waited for this moment, and finally it was happening. The cracks formed around the egg in a random pattern, much as you would expect from a dragon or a bird.

“I love you, Janie.” I gave her a kiss.

Then a spike poked out of the egg. Janie gasped and sat back. “Brett, what was that?”

More spikes poked out, goop from the egg splurting out everywhere. I heard screaming, just like a child, come from the egg, and my heart began to hurt. “It needs help!” I said.

“No – you cain’t! You never want to help something out of its egg, ever!”

At about that moment, the creature succeeded at pushing enough of the eggshell away that I could see it was a spider the size of a basketball, screechin’ like a newborn and all the black legs wigglin’ crazy.

Janie just put her hands up to her face and screamed. “Get the gun!” I shouted, pushin’ her back.

She froze, though, so I had to scramble out of the room. I fought through the dogs to get out the bedroom door and find the gun stuffed under the couch cushions. A couple of shells popped into the double barrel twelve gauge and I was ready to fight the monster.

I came back into the bedroom to find that Janie’s mood had changed. I pointed the gun at the dresser, but she was in the way. “Janie,” I said, “Janie, get out of the way.”

She turned her head to look at me and kept her fingers in the dresser drawer. “Brett,” she said, “Brett…it’s cryin.’ It’s cryin,’ and I don’t know how to fix it.”

“A shotgun to the head, that’s what! We shoulda known the damn Yanks couldn’t do anything good – this ain’t a dragon, honey, it’s a gol-dern spider!”

The spider’s legs wiggled in the drawer, the egg continued to crack more. I listened to it cry, saw it wasn’t harming Janie in the least. I didn’t understand how Janie brought herself to touch the thing, not at the time, but I heard the same cry she did.

It was a human cry.

“It’s a baby,” Janie said. “It’s…it’s not a dragon, but it’s just a baby…”

I put the gun down to my side. “We cain’t keep a spider, Janie. Spiders eat blood.”

She brushed a finger over the spider, fearless, then used a shirt to wipe away some of the grime from its legs. Though it didn’t seem to know what she was doin,’ it reached up to her. “I don’t know what to do,” she said. “Get it some instant breakfast or somethin.”’ She reached deeper into the drawer, picking up the baby spider and cradling it in her arms. “It’s our baby, Brett.”

And so I did what she asked, goin’ to the kitchen and fixin’ our baby spider a protein shake. That did good ’nuff ’til we went to the vet and got some formula the next day.

Divider

Previous Chapters List Next

American Chimera – 1.3

American Chimera Cover Small

The interrogator lifted a brow. “You kept the contents of the box because you were high and thought you’d found a dragon’s egg.”

Mr. Huffman guffawed and rolled his eyes. “I thought I’d ’splicitly told you we weren’t high.”

She just wrote something down on her notepad. “Sure, Mr. Huffman. I’ll make a note of that. But surely you also understand that the explanation doesn’t ring true – you must realize that we all know now that you hadn’t found a dragon’s egg. What happened when Dani hatched?”

Brett Huffman crossed his arms. “Where’s my chaw? Chaw first, then I’ll tell you.”

“I have all the power here, Mr. Huffman. Finish your story. Tell me how you kept the egg and what you did when Dani hatched.”

He squinted. “Then you’ll let me have a bit of chaw?”

“Without a doubt, Mr. Huffman.”

“And I want some peanuts and Pepsi.” With deep seriousness, he pointed directly at her face. “Copenhagen, Lance, and Pepsi in a glass bottle. Got it?”

The interrogator put her hand to her face, repressing a chuckle. “I understand this is serious to you, Mr. Huffman. Surely you realize there’s no more peanuts in existence, though? I will get you your dip, a Pepsi, and some potato chips if you agree to talk.”

He gave a nod and sat a bit straighter, his back pressed against the back of the chair. “As long as you act in good faith, so will I.”

Divider

Previous Chapters List Next

American Chimera – 1.2

American Chimera Cover Small

It’s a mite hard to remember that time. Me and Janie were cookin’ meth in this scheme to get capital and start one of them marijuana farms, and now that I come to think of it, that sounds like a purty bad idea. We were 26, though, so give us a lil’ slack.

So we was walkin’ down the road, enjoyin’ the summertime and poppin’ the jewelweed pods. I was probably shirtless, and Janie’s calloused feet were tough enough to go barefoot in the gravel. The Southern air filled my lungs with freshness and vigor, and the scent of an afternoon thunderstorm heavy on the horizon.

Janie lifted her head first and turned to look behind us. “Y’hear that?”

Spry, young, and manly, I listened close. The roar of a mighty diesel echoed up the holler. “That shouldn’t be travelin’ on this road. Too twisty turny for a big truck.” I craned my neck and tried to look around the trees that stood in my way, only to gather a little peek of the chrome shinin’ off the bumpers. “Goin’ awful fast, too.”

“Who you think it is?” Janie asked. Her bare feet squished through some of the mud in the ditch as she reached for a nice, juicy pod. It exploded at a touch, seeds flung ever’ which-a-way.

I shrugged. “They wreck, I ain’t helpin’ ’em. Their own stupid fault drivin’ like that.”

I got a little skeered that the truck was barrelin’ too fast down the road. I was only wearin’ a pair of flip flops and some socks with holes in ’em, though, so I followed Janie into the mushy ditch and waited. The truck was just a flyin’ – flyin,’ I tell ya – down that there road. My eyes nearly bugged outta my poor skull when I saw it in its full glory, black paint job dusty from the gravel, the grill like bared teeth ready to gobble us up. The driver honked the horn, not slowin’ despite us bein’ just off the edge of the road.

The truck was as wide as the entire road, so I grabbed Janie and pushed her into the jewelweed. It was soft, save for the briars and some of the ’luminum cans ’neath the weeds, but I layed atop her to protect her beautiful hide.

I heard the truck smooshin’ the gravel, felt a few of the rocks pelt my backside as it went by. The doors on the back of the truck rattled loose, openin’ and closin’ with every bump and pit in the road. Just as the gravel dust kicked up enough that I coughed and had to squint to see through it, something launched from the back of the trailer and rolled down the embankment on the other side of the road.

Janie spat up at me and pushed me ’way as she struggled to get up. “What the hell, Brett? That truck was gonna miss us, you didn’t -”

“Hey, lookit here. Right here.” I pointed to where the gravel had pelted me, a couple spots on my back where blood flowed out like a reg’lar fountain of bravery. “See that? I protected you real good, Janie. Real good.”

She swooned. Her eyes got all big and purty, starin’ at me with love and mushy feelings. “Oh, Brett, my strong and beautiful prince, I will never leave you nor forsake you. Love is like a red, red rose, you’re the best.”

She was skinnier ’n a rail at the time, so I swept her off her feet. “Never fear, dear Janie mine! One day, I’ll get you out of this holler, and we’ll have a real house. A real house with an actual foundation, and we’ll fill it with trophies – eight pointers, even! I certainly won’t get us abducted in the middle of the night and locked up in a desert facility in Massachussets!” I walked her into the road and gently placed her down.

The rumble of the truck’s engine died down in the distance. I half expected the fool driver to get himself – or herself, ahem, knowing you government types – kilt, but I ne’er heard ’bout no wreck later.

“Well, nothin’ for it,” I said to Janie. I held her hand tight and wandered over to the other side of the road. “I saw somethin’ come out the back of that truck. You think it coulda been valuable?”

Janie followed me willingly, then shrugged. “I dunno. Coulda been haulin’ trash.” She poked her head over the brush, helpin’ me look down in the holler.

The bank was already littered with tires and other junk people found worthwhile to toss out but were too lazy to get their butts over to the dump for. Nothin’ moved down in the little holler, save for the tiny creek that dribbled down the hill.

Janie, who’s good at spottin’ stuff, pointed to a wooden box. “That looks new. I ain’t seen a wood box that big afore, I don’t think. And lookit – there’s red paint on the sides.”

I agreed and let go of her hand. “I’mma go check it out.”

“I’mma go with you.”

Now, you gotta ’member this happened back before old man Potter got drunk and ran that school bus off the bank, so there weren’t no rails up yet. Janie and I weren’t high at all, hadn’t smoked even a lick of the wacky weed, so we carefully went down that holler. It was slippery on all them leaves, but we used some roots that stuck out of the hill to scramble down on hands and knees until we made it to the box.

It was a purty big box, but you prob’ly know. You prob’ly packed it. The red paint on the side said, “PROPURTY OF THE US GUVMENT,” and in smaller letters, “DON’T OPIN – TOP SEECRIT.” It coulda said other stuff, but I don’t ’member.

“Wanna open it?” Janie asked.

I was already ahead of her. I whipped out my Case knife from its sheath in my back pocket and started pryin’ some of the loose boards off from their nails. “Ain’t no cell service out here. We ort to make sure it ain’t a bomb gonna blow us all to hell, you know.”

“Would you know what to do if it were a bomb?”

I ripped the board away and tossed it to the side. “Yeah. Save it for when the South rises again or for the zombie apocalypse, whichever comes first.” With the locking board gone, it wasn’t hard to pry open the top of the crate. “Don’t be silly, Janie, you know we cain’t trust the Man. This’s gotta be checked.”

The box was filled with foam, so I slashed my knife right through it, careful not to swipe into wires or summat that’d cause it to get radioactive or explode or turn us into Muslims or release anthrax. After the foam I found a layer of hay, so I raised a brow.

Janie, though, she got interested at that. She bent down next to me and stuck her lil’ hand deep into the box, takin’ out the straw. “It’s fragile, that’s for sure,” she mentioned. Eventually her hand hit somethin’ solid, so she pulled the hay out from around the object in the center of the crate and eased it out.

Both of us stared at it, mouths agape, the purtiest thing you e’er did see. For a while we just turned it around, amazed at how beautiful it was. We weren’t high.

The egg was blue, robin’s egg blue, and hefty. It was a big ol’ egg about the size of a basketball, not egg-sized like… like those little diddle eggs you used to get in the store before they slaughtered all the chickens. Little dots of teal speckled the sides. Janie held it up to the sky, the light of the sun shinin’ just enough through the shell that we could see what was inside.

I near ’bout keeled over my heart beat so hard. I could see the shape of wings forming, each of the finger-like spikes that bat wings have curled up inside the little dragon’s egg. Its head curled onto its stomach, and I couldn’t see a tail, but certainly this was a dragon egg.

Janie spoke first. “It’s just like in the movies,” she said, “’Cept I ne’er thought I’d get to be a dragon tamer.”

I realized just how long we took to get to this point, so I stuck my hand in my back pocket and fished around for my lighter. I felt the giant hole in my pocket, so I gave up and reached into Janie’s pocket for her lighter instead. “You ain’t gonna be a dragon tamer if the Yanks find out what you did. Here – put that egg down, it ain’t gonna hatch for a while yet.”

I flicked the top off the lighter – gasoline and fuel hadn’t been banned yet, you know – and lit some of the hay on fire. It started off in a great conflagration, and the foam that had lined the box burned hotter ’n blue blazes.

Janie stood next to me, dragon’s egg still cradled in her arms, not a care in the world about destroyin’ the evidence. “We’re gonna keep it, right?”

“Damn straight,” I answered with a nod. I placed my brawny, thick arm over Janie’s slender, womanly shoulder. “Think about what the guv’ment could do with a dragon. It’d be a waste of our tax dollars to let this thing fall back in them Yanks’ grimy hands.”

“Yes, it would most def’nitely be a waste of the tax dollars that we have definitely paid and not skipped out on even once. We are so glad we’re not high right now,” Janie confirmed.

We watched the blaze until we realized it was getting out of control, then we scrambled up the hill with our dragon egg and went back home before the fire department could get called.

Divider

Previous Chapters List Next

 

American Chimera – 1.1

American Chimera Cover Small

“And you thought this was a good idea why?” The interrogator sat with her legs crossed, tablet and stylus at the ready, waiting for a response. Cameras and microphones hung from the ceiling just behind her, recording anything her organic mind might miss.

A man in a prison jumpsuit slouched even further in his chair, rear end nearly falling off the front edge. A few more hairs graced his chin than the top of his head, but the middle-aged white man scowled and wrinkled his brow all the more anyway. He crossed his arms and managed to jangle the steel cuffs on his wrists in an even more annoying manner than before, making the interrogator wince. “I ain’t tellin’ you nothin.’ Gov’ment ain’t ne’er done nothin’ good for me – not now, not ever.” He leaned to his left and spat on the floor.

The interrogator put her tablet onto the small side table next to her chair, taking care not to disturb the small orchid that sat there. “Mr. Huffman, do you know where you are?”

“Not too good, no.” He took a deep breath. “Some basement ’bove the Mason Dixon line, I’d reckon. Smell of Yankee cowardice gives that away.”

“Well, you’re wrong.” She clicked the screen of the tablet and brought up something other than a notepad, sifting through images that flashed different colors in the dark room until landing on something brown. “This is an image of the facility, Mr. Huffman.”

He took the tablet from her delicate fingers and considered the barren desert landscape for a few seconds. “It’s a wasteland. Prob’ly Massachussets.”

The interrogator refused to take the tablet back when he proffered it, instead leaving her hand hanging just off her knee. “I suppose your guess is…inconsequential. While you may be able to escape this facility, you would be dead long before you could reach either water or another person. Even if you managed to get out, the only thing you could do is return, because no one here is going to risk going after you.” Her fingers twitched and her eyes squinted as she finally leaned forward and plucked the tablet from Mr. Huffman’s grasp. “You won’t leave this place, ever, but you can make it more comfortable. Now tell me – why did you pick up that box?”

He lifted sad, thoughtful eyes. “If I tell you, will I git me some chaw?”

“What?”

“Some chaw.” He mimicked taking something from his pocket and lining his lower lip with it. “You know, chewin’ tabaccy.”

She shook her head with a vigorous no. “This is a government facility, Mr. Huffman, and tobacco is banned throughout most of the country. No, you will not-”

“Then you git nothin’ out of me.”

She squinted and tapped the screen of her tablet. “If that bribe will work, I will put in a request you be blindfolded and taken somewhere to enjoy a bit of tobacco.” She held up the tablet and showed him how easily she could submit the request. “All you have to do is tell me why you and Mrs. Huffman picked up that box, and I will press this little button.”

His hands flexed, his blue eyes twinkled, and his jaw tightened. Mr. Huffman held out as long as he could, but at last his resolve wavered. “I suppose it ain’t no big deal to tell you that. Don’t let Janie or Dani know I squealed, y’hear?”

The interrogator smiled and reopened her notes on the tablet. “Not a word from me, Mr. Huffman. Not a word.”

Divider

Introduction Chapters List Next

 

Reading List – January 2020

Welcome to my first Indie Book month of 2020! I’m kicking off this year right with a bunch of books that I have high hopes for, and I hope you enjoy these reviews.

A Bit of 2020 Reading Announcements

First, I’ve planned most of this year’s reading. If you go to my reading page here, you’ll see the entire year splayed out! You’ll also see there are 3 open spots for indie books, and you can go to my reading page and send a review request. There’s also a few July slots that I haven’t completely set in stone, but you have to be pretty convincing to get me to switch one of those. Also, even though the open slots are for October reviews, I will do Amazon and/or Goodreads reviews far sooner.

Speaking of Goodreads, I’ve made a new Goodreads profile that you can friend. It’s not well filled-out yet, but you can expect me to start rating and filling it up.

Because I’ve joined Goodreads and committed to giving star ratings, I thought I’d put those on the books I read this year. Present on my blog posts will be Discoball Snowcone ratings!

These snowcones will be given the same as stars. I am also giving old reviews ratings!

51n4vq2bfuylSoul Swallowers – D. Wallace Peach

I reviewed The Melding of Aeris by Diane back in April 2019, and I really enjoyed it. For that reason, I decided to see if her quality carries through to her newest series, The Shattered Sea! It seems to be a fantasy with soul-based magic, and I hope it carries similar tinges of darkness as Aeris did.
Amazon Link

41lpbrmcfsl._sx322_bo1204203200_What Words May Come – Kevin D. Parish

Kevin Parish has a WordPress blog that I follow. Not only does he write good poetry for his blog, he’s one of the nicest people out there. When he announced his book, I looked at the comments on his page and saw that he’d “delayed” publishing this book so his mom could get the first copy.

MY EYES DIDN’T TEAR UP AT THAT I SWEAR.

Anyway, I’m excited to read this book of poetry and see what Kevin publishes that could possibly be better than what’s already on his blog!
Amazon Link

clara-fjm_thumbnail_200x300Clara – Susanna Linton

I saw this advertised for free on Twitter, and I was like, “This person tweets well and seems nice. I’m going to read this first book in the series because I don’t think it will be bad.” Epic fantasy is usually right up my alley anyway.

Want to know something else?

She doesn’t use Amazon, and her system still works incredibly well with Kindle. I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ve downloaded it from Bookfunnel through a link on her beautiful website (which I am freaking jealous of).
Website/Bookfunnel Link

The Leftovers: Something from YOU?

Do you have a published book and a method of purchasing it that isn’t sketch as hell? I need indie books to read, and those slots will be opening before you know it! Let me know if you have something you’d like me to peruse!

See my old reviews here

Introducing American Chimera

Looking for a (free) book that’s completely out of the box?

American Chimera’s first section is being posted here on hrrgorman.wordpress.com starting next week, then serially posted every few days.

However, if you would like to read the entire thing immediately (or save it on your hard drive with the intent to read it but never get around to it), you can download this beautifully formatted PDF file.

American Chimera Cover Small

Summary

It’s 2087, and all’s well.

At least, that’s what everyone thought, until Dani Huffman showed up.

Now the American government’s got to scramble to hide the Chimera they let escape. An interrogator, a scientist, and a small team of soldiers work to find out just how many people know of the monster’s existence.

 

Delve into a Southern Gothic Sci-Fi adventure with American Chimera. Rife with multiple social issues from racism and income inequality to climate change and eugenics, this book melds a dark humor with a unique format to create a story unlike any you’ve read before.

Warning: Does contain violence, imprisonment, and rape.

The Truth About Santa’s Elves

Santa Elf

Peppermint Jolly finished soldering the knockoff iPad’s connections. He put the iron down so as to rest his bleeding and blistered hands, then placed his creation into the “finished” basket. He took a moment to breathe, to let his hands shake while the popped blisters seeped liquid.

But the overseer – a burly elf who’d earned the nickname Bad Figgy – caught Peppermint Jolly on this unapproved break. He strode over, broadening his shoulders and filling out his lederhosen. “What you doing, boy? Did Santa say you could stop?”

Peppermint Jolly shut his eyes tightly, expecting a punch or a slap. “Sir, my hands are bleeding, sir. I don’t want to ruin the product by dripping in them-”

“These products aren’t real iPads. They’re going to China, where everything is ripped off and broken anyway. We only buy the real ones for the kids who’ll know better. Now get back to work or I’ll put you on chemical weapons duty next year.” Bad Figgy boxed Peppermint Jolly’s ears, causing him to wince, then went off to whip up on the next electronics worker who slacked off.

Peppermint Jolly picked up the soldering iron despite the agonizing boils and wounds. He didn’t want to go on chemical weapons duty ever again – his lungs still hadn’t recovered from last time, and the sales of black market goods only made money that went toward the purchase of gifts like the real iPads or DRM intact materials.

But it was Christmas Eve. Praise God – the next day was Christmas, the one day of the year that the elves could rest. The one day of the year none of the females would be forced into reproducing, the one day of the year the forced labor would stop, the one day the overseers wouldn’t beat a slave for eating too much or slacking off.

But Peppermint Jolly knew the cycle would just start up again. While the next Christmas season was still a ways off, he’d be put on drone duty, soldering and building the electronic pieces used in military drones to sell to terrorists. He was also smart, so Santa could choose anytime now to force him into a living arrangement with a fertile female. He could whip them both if results didn’t happen.

And there was no escape. The magic barrier was impenetrable, and none of the humans besides Master Kringle could see inside.

Could he handle another year? Could Peppermint Jolly make it through more of this madness?

“Fuck you, Santa,” he said. He turned the iron to his neck and pierced the jugular as quick as he could.

Divider

This Christmas, think of the people and elves who make the presents you purchase. There are real kids in the Congo who are forced to dig cobalt for batteries, real people in Bangladesh and India who work harrowing hours in hazardous conditions for your soft goods. Many of us can’t afford gifts otherwise, but if you have the option, consider looking into what you purchase and try to incorporate the least slave labor you can.

Also, boycott Santa. Don’t let that asshole come down your chimney. Don’t pay that slave-owning piece of shit with milk and cookies. We’re better than this.

Image by SilviaP_Design from Pixabay

The Repairman

microphone

The microphone still sat, open and in pieces, on my workbench. I dreaded having to stay awake all night to get this antique fixed, but the owner needed it repaired by tomorrow.

That was easier said than done. The diaphragm on the capacitor was shot, but I didn’t have a replacement part handy.

“Oh!” I mumbled. “What I wouldn’t give to have that part!”

A man in a pinstripe suit and thin mustache appeared at my side. He held a new diaphragm with his fingertips. “Your soul sound a fair price?” he asked.

“Sure.”

“Then let’s make a deal…”

Divider

This was written for the December 19th Flash Fiction Challenge at the Carrot Ranch. With a prompt like “open mic night,” I decided to attempt going way, way out there and made a literal opened microphone at night. This was partway inspired by the BBC series The Repair Shop (which my mom forced on me recently) and also by Hazbin Hotel‘s Radio Demon character.

Image by Thanks for your Like • donations welcome from Pixabay

The King

copy-of-working-template-for-ff-challenges8

Aunt Shoo put the final dollop of meringue atop the key lime pie. She placed it back in the oven to bake the meringue top.

I watched through the glass window – small back in those days – at the caramelizing sugar. “Aunt Shoo,” I asked, “What’s a key lime?”

“Well,” Aunt Shoo replied, bending closer to my tender height, “It’s the kind of lime Elvis liked, and it makes the kind of pie Elvis liked, so it has to be the best.”

“Who’s this ‘Elvis’?”

Her face blanched. “Come with me,” she said before leading me upstairs to her shrine.

Divider

This was written for the December 5th Flash Fiction Challenge on the Carrot Ranch, key lime pie. This is based on my real-life introduction to key lime pie, wherein my Aunt (who I called “Shoo” at the time because I couldn’t pronounce her real name) claimed it was Elvis’s favorite and thus should be enjoyed. Was it really his favorite? I don’t know. But she was convinced of it, and therefore I will believe it until told otherwise.

Also I don’t actually know if she has a shrine, I just thought that was a nice touch.

The H.L. Hunley

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 75

Captain Payne cackled, “It’s all or nothing, boys! Can you turn the crank, or will the sub sink?”

Ensign Nose Bender – a brawler – drew in a useless lungful of air. “I can’t breathe!”

“Don’t scare the Heartbreak Kid,” Ensign Bodacious huffed. “He’s got a girl back home.”

I squeaked. Losing the Captain’s game would widow her.

The Captian’s mad laughter curdled our blood. “Sink the Housatonic, steal that Union powder! Take home the prize, men, and win it all!”

The torpedo hit the mark, but we’d already run out of time and air. The Hunley sank with her prey.

Divider

This was written during the Carrot Ranch Rodeo for the Pro-Bull Mashup, wherein we had three bull names – Nose Bender, Heartbreak Kid, and Bodacious – that had to be used along with pirates and a game show.

So what did I choose to do? I wrote about the first submarine in history to successfully sink an enemy war vessel. The H.L. Hunley was a Confederate submarine/deathtrap, and while it was mildly successful, everyone died during the attack. I’m personally scared to death of submarines, so I have a morbid curiosity about them. Also I had a hard time coming up with something to fit this prompt.