New Release “Power”
Power is here! You can download it from Smashwords right now, and it will be available via Nook, Kindle or any other eBook store by the end of the month. Power is the 3rd book of the Crim and Denek Chronicles so if you haven’t read the first two feel free to download Freedom and Choice so you know what is going on. The story is going back ward so is the book number, as you notice Freedom is book 00, Choice is book -01 and Power is -02; FYI: that negative sign is not a typo.
All shorts stories are free for your enjoyment. All we ask is your kindness in dropping us a note, a review, a thought etc of what you read. It may be positive or negative, just not unnecessary harsh and/or foul language, as it would give the author insights on how to improve his story and writing style. Thank you for all your support!
Have fun reading!
Tiny Earth Declares War On Earth
A short story by J. T. Pearson
The king pushed the button again and the horses and the ranch disappeared back into the wall.
“How about a compromise, King Johnson? How about shrinking us down to ten percent of our original size? Then we could still live in our big houses and drive our big cars but we couldn’t eat as many of our neighbors. That might be easier to sell to the people of Big Earth,” offered Secretary Maynard.
“No compromise,” said the king.
“If you can already shrink us then why don’t you just do it,” asked President Pierce.
“Because they can only shrink a few things at a time when they’re on our planet,” interrupted Luigi. “They need our cooperation to do it on a grand scale.
“I’m not giving up steak,” persisted Holcomb.
The king clapped his hands and two very young attractive women entered, fully clothed.
“Bring Madeline and a pair of communicators in, please.”
The women exited.
“Why is it that those women are clothed?” asked Tom.
“Those are necessary uniforms so that their jobs can readily be identified,” answered the king as if it was obvious.
The women returned with a cow and two pair of what looked like DJ headphones.
“I’m going to give you, President Holcomb, the opportunity to tell Madeline why you’d like to eat her. Put this on.” He held out one of the head pieces to Holcomb, who put it on, and the other he placed on the cow.
Holcomb looked really uncomfortable as he faced the cow.
“Go ahead, Mr. Holcomb. These devices allow you to communicate with her. Explain to her why you feel it’s okay to eat her.”
Holcomb took a deep breath. “It’s not meant to be cruel. I just love the way you taste. I think your fantastic with steak sauce or ketchup, or even plain old mustard if that’s all that’s available.”
“I really wish you’d see it for what it actually is. A tremendous compliment. There’s nothing back on Earth that I’d rather eat than you.”
Madeline moaned again and looked to King Donald.
“That’s enough, President Holcomb?” the king said angrily. He yanked the head piece from Holcomb.
“I thought that went okay. I thought she understood.”
“Listen to me, inhabitants of Big Earth,” said King Johnson. “We’re not asking for your cooperation. We’re demanding it.”
“And if we don’t meet your demands?” asked Secretary Maynard.
“Then the inhabitants of Big Earth will be eradicated.” The king looked at each of them and let it sink in. “I’m going to give you some privacy so you can discuss what you’ll need to tell your people and then I’ll be back to get things started.” The king, Madeline, and the attractive women, left the committee to themselves.
“The citizens of our Earth are never going to go for this. We like everything big from our beverages to our cars,” said the president.
“And bloody,” added Holcomb. “I’m not about to start eating dandelions for dinner every night and neither is anyone else.”
“We’re going to have to fight them,” said Secretary Maynard.
“That’s a certain loss. They’re far too advanced for us to fight. They’d destroy us easily,” said Luigi.
“We could take them out,” said Tom. “But it’d have to be here and now.”
“We can’t just kick ass on all of them like you do in your movies, Mr. Cruise,” said an irritated Holcomb.
“What do you have, Tom? I know that something’s going on in that adventurous brain of yours,” said President Pierce.
“I learned a rare type of communication from John Travolta when I was dog sledding on retreat with him in Siberia. He taught me to make a call to a dog by channeling air through my nose. The sound is so irritating to dogs that they’ll bite you just to make it stop. A dog will even bite his master. But make no mistake about it. There’ll be no escape. We’ll be martyrs.”
“How the hell is making one of these tiny dogs bite you going to save Earth?” asked the secretary.
“No. I know what Tom is thinking. Dogs have one hundred times the hearing ability of humans, and Tiny Earth is hovering in a crowded park right now,” said Luigi.
“A park crowded with dogs,” added the president. “Tom, you’re a genius. I knew there was a reason that we needed to have you with us.” The president looked to the other members of the peace committee. “The people of earth still live in a democracy. America will never put up with a dictator like King Johnson. This may be our only opportunity. What do you guys think? Should we do this? Like Tom said, it’ll cost us our lives.”
The president looked at the nervous faces of the committee from one member to the next as they nodded in agreement, with the exception of Holcomb who dejectedly voted present.
“We’ve got our vote. Let’s do this. Today we have the opportunity to be heroes, fellas,” said the president. “Even if no one else ever knows about it. Like Tom said, we can be martyrs.”
“You know, I’ve had a moment to think about it and giving up meat might not be that hard,” argued Holcomb.
“I’ll lead us in prayer before Tom begins,” said the president. “Please Lord, let the inhabitants of Tiny Earth get smashed into a billion pieces as they are chewed up by a random dog in the park back on our beloved planet, and afterwards, please let their dismembered corpses rot in the belly of that dog until they are shit from its bowels and eaten by maggots. We thank you, Lord. Amen.”
The others all said Amen too except for Holcomb.
“Let’s do it, Tom. Whenever you’re ready.” The president clapped him on the shoulder.
Tom nodded and crouched down. He pinched his nostrils together and took a deep breath. He contracted all of his abdominal muscles until he was shaking. The committee looked on in wonder. Tom relaxed for a minute and did it again, his body convulsing, occasionally allowing audible hissing noises to escape from his nose. In the park back on Big Earth Nema broke away from her owner and ran to a spot in the park and stared at the air, turning her head from one side to the other, her ears perked, then back, her teeth bared, and suddenly-
Madeline came running into the room and bit Tom. He screamed and grabbed his arm.
“Get that damn cow out of here! And close the door this time!” Tom screamed at the others. “That really hurt.”
Luigi led the cow from the room and secured the door while Tom took a deep breath and pinched his nose again. He started to tremble, high pitched squeaking noises sneaking out of his nose again. Back on Big Earth a woman shouted for her dog to come back, “NEMA, COME HERE! WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT? WHAT ARE YOU DOING!” and suddenly, as the peace committee examined each other nervously, Tiny Earth went black.
Guest Post by J. T. Pearson
Tumblr Short Filmmaker Month
Tumblr staff announced that each week, in the month of May, there will be three Short films for consideration on Reel 13. It will be voted by viewers through Wednesday at 5pm and the winner will be airs on Saturday at midnight. Don’t hesitate to check weekly and join the fun of voting for your favorite short film.
Good Luck! to all filmmakers.
Tiny Earth Declares War On Earth
A short story by J. T. Pearson
“Gentlemen, ladies, the Secretary of Defense has briefed you about why we’ve requested that you join us this morning. We’re in a bit of a pickle and we need some help.” The president surveyed their faces.
The continual popping and snapping of the stenographer’s typing matched the president as he spoke.
“I want to know what these tiny people may request before arriving on their planet. I want an edge so that-”
Suddenly the stenographer pulled back from her machine and watched it slowly bending and crumbling inward, creating loud clanking and screeching metal noises, until it wasn’t much bigger than a football. Then it floated up to the ceiling and remained there like a helium balloon that had slipped its string through a child’s tiny fingers and escaped. The appointed committee sat silently, slack-jawed. The president remained composed.
“Did you bring a spare, Miss Flannigan, as I requested.
She nodded nervously.
“Well?” the president waited.
She reached under her chair and extracted a black case which she opened and removed the backup machine from. Then she placed it on the desk where the first one had been and took a slow deep breath.
“Are we ready?” asked the president.
She nodded and they resumed.
“This planet, Tiny Earth, though very small, is quite a big bully and-”
The second stenography machine started to bend into a ball like the first. The stenographer pushed back from the desk, breathing unevenly, as if she may begin to hyperventilate. After the machine was thoroughly mangled it rose to the ceiling and parked next to the first. Then both of them began circling the room on the ceiling as tough they were racing.
“That’s not a little unnerving,” said Tom, sarcastically.
The Secretary of Defense had come prepared. He reached under the table and produced a box containing several dozen pens and a dozen notebooks and brought them to Miss Flannigan.
“How’s your shorthand?” the president chuckled. The smile faded from his face and he became angry when the pens hopped out of the box paired up, walked to the edge of the table, and leapt off, burrowing into the carpet when they hit the floor. Then the paper began tearing from the notebooks, sheet after sheet, twisting into some kind of voodoo-fueled origami, as they congaed around the long table, pausing every so often in front of each of the horrified committee members to give them a private dance.
“These sons of bitches want to play tough? Fine!” yelled the president. “We’re going to have to go down there to Tiny Earth and meet them eye to eye! Show them what we’re made of! That we aren’t intimidated by floating stenography machines and dancing paper! Tiny Earth disrupted our meeting! That’s fine! Tiny Earth disrupts everything!” President Pierce stood up and pointed. “Luigi, you will accompany me.” Luigi nodded but never turned away from the stenography machines that were now driving around on the walls, careening off of each other like bumper cars. “You will come, Mr. Secretary.” The secretary was examining his hat that had been gravity-crushed flat while he was distracted by the dancing paper. “And you will come, Mr. Cruise.” Tom was now standing on the table throwing karate kicks and chops at the pieces of paper that bounced at him, terrifying and harassing. “Mr. Secretary, get the FBI to round up Holcomb and get him down here too. That weasel’s going with us. The rest of you go home today and don’t tell anyone that we’re on the edge of going to war with the microscopic planet. Keep it to yourselves. You’re on the honor system. And damn it, Mr. Secretary, tell Tiny Earth to cease the harassment because we’re agreeing to meet them!” As soon as the president said it the items in the room dropped, one of the stenography machines fell from the ceiling through the table, making everyone jump.
The next day, earth’s peace committee gathered in the park in a tight circle with their backs to each other and waited to be shrunken down and transported to Tiny Earth.
“So, Luigi,” said President Pierce, “why is it that we need to be in this park in order for them to bring us to their planet?”
“They need to be close to us, their planet near the surface of our planet in order to get their technology to work. I’m certain that there planet is fairly close to us right now.”
Suddenly Tom Cruise threw out a couple of random karate kicks into the air, followed by a downward chop. Maynard was wearing a small ear piece that he was using to stay in contact with Tiny Earth.
“Mr. Cruise, they would like you to please stop that. You’re messing with their subatomic particle locater.”
“Maybe I want to mess with their subatomic particle - thing.”
“They said that your random movement presents the possibility that you’ll arrive without your limbs.”
“Fine. But I’m choosing to stop on my own.” Tom became very still.
“Why the hell am I here, Winston? You had me dragged right out of a warm bed this morning. Do you have any idea how much you frightened Norma?”
“You knew about Tiny Earth for years and never said a thing.”
“If I had, do you really think you would’ve taken the job as president? Why do you think you came on so strong at the end? This country wasn’t going to elect you. I had to stage that last minute scandal with those Girl Scouts just to lose the election. What a surprise, the upstart challenger Winston Pierce has just taken both Texas and Florida!” the former president said sarcastically. “Those were my states, Winston. Do you really think they would’ve ever voted for you if I hadn’t forced it to happen?”
“It’s starting. Please keep still, Mr. Presidents” said Maynard.
The peace committee felt the warmth of their atoms beginning to speed up and then suddenly it was done. They found themselves in a glamorous room with a very tall, very old, and very naked man, watching them.
“Who are you?” asked the president as soon as he was oriented.
“Does this help?” The naked man grabbed a crown from his desk and placed it on his head, then sat down on the corner of his desk and folded his arms. “How about that. The flesh eating waste mongers have finally arrived.”
“King Johnson,” Said Holcomb.
“You’re a slippery one, President Holcomb. Your promises are as hard to contain as a buttered epotna.” He motioned to a large table that was rising from the floor. Chairs followed. “Why don’t you men have a seat and I’ll have one of the inhabitants of our planet killed and cooked so that we can satiate your blood lust,” said the king sarcastically.
“Good. I’m starving,” said Holcomb as he headed for the table.
Tom kept looking at his body and then at everyone else.
“Why am I like a foot shorter than everybody else? This isn’t right. You guys screwed up. I’m not even close to being proportional to the others.”
“Perhaps it was all the moving and kicking you did just before transport, Tom.” The king smirked.
“All of you wasters, please take a seat.” King Donald’s smile was condescending. “We have demands to get to.”
The peace committee sat politely at the table watching King Donald, except for the president, who remained standing at the front of the table, an intentional exhibition of equality to the king. The king walked up alongside the president and stood very close so that he could look down on him.
“You know that shrinking me down until I’m smaller than you and then looking down on me like you’re superior to me because you’re now taller makes very little sense because in actuality I’m far taller than you are. In fact, I’m immense in comparison to you.”
“Really,” said the king flashing his condescending smile again. “Not anymore. Sit down.”
“Only because I choose to,” said the president and then nodding to Cruise. “We don’t follow orders.”
The king’s wife entered and looked at the peace committee. She was as tall as he was and not much prettier.
“Oh, we have guests, how nice.”
“The president leaned into Tom and asked him, “You think you could seduce her and get us some type of advantage?”
“I really don’t think so.”
“No? Not even with your charm and good looks?”
“I couldn’t do it.”
“You want to give it a try, Tom, you know, without alerting the king to what you’re up to?”
Tom looked at the enormous naked bony woman.
“I’m afraid that it just wouldn’t work.”
“I always say nothing ventured, nothing gained, but I’ll respect your opinion.”
The king’s wife left.
A couple of men even older than the king brought in a tray of fruit. One of the men brushed Holcomb’s face with his underarm as he reached forward to set the tray on the table. Holcomb’s face contorted and he rubbed his tongue with the back of his sleeve and spat.
“Where are your clothes?” asked the former president.
“Clothing is just another constraint,” answered the king.
The men who had brought the fruit left.
“Let’s get right to it,” said the president. “What is it that you want from us?”
“Your diplomacy needs work, Mr. President, but I’ll do as you like and cut to the chase. First, the inhabitants of Big Earth will immediately cease eating their fellow inhabitants and keep their nutritional choices to vegetation, and second, they will agree to be resized so that they are less of a burden on Earth’s resources. Those are our simple and reasonable demands,”
“No more meat?” asked a shocked Holcomb. “No deal. That means giving up burgers and steak and chicken and pork chops and bacon and-”
“Yes, President Holcomb, no more eating your neighbors.”
“And we need to become as small as you are?”
“That’s correct, President Pierce. You’ve already got a leg up on the rest of your people. Your golf clubs are nearly down to size.” King Donald laughed.
“What you did to Gentlebird’s dog was cruel. Maury was so frightened.”
“A harmless but necessary warning, Mr. President. We actually treat our animals far better than you do on Big Earth. We miniaturize them even further so that they have plenty of room to move around.” The king pushed a button on the wall and a tiny ranch slid out with extremely small horses galloping around in it. The king grabbed a pitcher from a nearby shelf and watered them. “Here it comes, guys, rainstorm.”
“When does this madness end? How small do you shrink things?” said Holcomb, tugging at his hair.
Post 5 will continue on Tuesday May 21, 2013
Guest Post by J. T. Pearson
Tiny Earth Declares War On Earth
A short story by J. T. Pearson
Behind them a painting of George Washington fell to the floor with a crash, the carpeting parted, and the priceless art piece sunk out of sight.
“King Johnson can be tremendously rude,” Maynard said. “And disrespectful,” as he watched the top of Washington’s head disappear below the line of cobalt blue. “If only General Washington was here now. There’d be some tiny ass kicking coming their way.”
“Where does this assault on my office end, Maynard? When are they going to stop?”
“This isn’t the same as our previous contact with them. They’re being particularly aggressive this time, Mr. President. I need to let you know that the last time they contacted President Holcomb they indicated that they wanted to shrink him down and bring him to their planet so that he could address their demands. Now, that would be your job, Mr. President, to go down to their planet and meet them. They don’t want to meet on our planet.”
“Holcomb just ignored their request?”
“He did. With a lot of stalling and filibustering until you took office.”
“Holcomb!” the president yelled, throwing his hands up. “That son of a bitch!” Then the president thought for a moment. “Perhaps I can stall too?”
“For four years, Mr. President?”
“How long did Holcomb stall?”
“Two. But General Peck informed me that in their last message they stated that their patience is up and they expect our leader to come down to their planet before the week’s out or else.”
“Or else? Pretty big words for a tiny planet. They don’t think I can be as tough as Holcomb?”
“Perhaps your emphasis on social programs has led them to believe that you’re a weak leader, one to be taken advantage of and pushed around.”
“What the hell?”
“I’m not the one saying that, Mr. President.”
“We’ll see who is soft.”
“What do you plan to do?”
“Let’s get a committee together. More brains in the room. A committee of small men, but with large constitutions. A small man brainstorm. I need a tiny person’s perspective. Why does Tiny Earth feel that they need to harass us? I want to understand what I’m up against before I negotiate or find a way to destroy them. I need to get into their tiny brains. Don’t include a single man in this committee over five foot seven, Maynard. If it’s a woman, under five feet – no – under four feet. Do you understand, Mr. Secretary?”
“That would make the women midgets.”
“No women, then?”
“No, Mr. President. You need women on the panel. When prompted women are much better at inflicting punishment than men.”
“Right. Then women midgets will be just fine. And already angry, if possible.”
“I’ll find a panel of experts that are all as short as you request.”
“I’m considering bringing Tom Cruise in on this, Mr. Secretary. I think he might be able to help.”
“I know it’s not necessary to point out to you, Mr. President, that Mr. Cruise is only an actor and that he’s never really solved an actual world crisis.”
“Then why did you say it? I know that. I’ve just got a gut feeling about bringing him in on this, okay? Besides, he’s only five foot seven. He fits the initial criteria.” The president waved the secretary away angrily and walked to the window, looking out at what had started to be a beautiful day but was quickly becoming overcast. “You’re still here, aren’t you, Mr. Secretary?”
“Yes, Mr. President.”
“You’ll also need to contact DC CARPET and DRAPES, Mr. President.”
“Do whatever you need to tidy the place up, Mr. Secretary, but please don’t bother me with the details. I doubt that bastard Holcomb dealt with keeping this place clean.”
“No, Mr. President. DC CARPET AND DRAPES is the most sophisticated and secretive branch of the government. Their identities are so secure that the agents sometimes forget that they are agents and begin to believe that they clean carpets and drapes for a living, which is really what they do about ninety percent of the time. It creates an amazing cover.”
“The agents actually do clean carpeting? That’s not some type of code you’re talking right now, like cleaning the carpeting means replacing an existing regime that we find unfriendly?”
“No, Mr. President. They do a hell of a good job cleaning – even the shag during the Nixon term.”
“Well, get them to the White House and get them up to speed, Mr. Secretary.”
“I’ll contact DC CARPET AND DRAPES and tell them to come. Informing them of anything is pointless. They acquire all of the critical details well before anyone else.”
“Perhaps I should call them, personally.”
“You don’t call them on a phone, Mr. President. We post a sign that lets them know that their presence is requested.”
“You can’t mean like signaling Batman with the bat signal?”
“No. Theirs is an ever-changing code that appears to fit no rhyme or reason, indecipherable.”
“What is the signal this time?”
“We need to decorate a tree in Cleveland that’s as close to a Pizza King as possible with Christmas tinsel, homemade pipe bombs, a portrait of George Clooney, and dozens of dead mice. Then call the local news media to make certain that it makes the evening report and so that bomb experts get down there right away keeping curious Cals in Cleveland from getting their ear muffs blown off. And then, we need to hold a press conference where we identify the bio-explosive materials in the tree as an act of terrorism and blame it on the French.”
“None of what you just said is some bizarre form of agent code?”
“No, it’s all literal, Mr. President.”
“Then I guess you’ve got some dead mice and berets to round up. You’d better get to it.”
The Secretary walked out of the office. Just after the door closed, three bismarks that were on the tray on the desk suddenly flattened like shrinking balloons, jelly dribbling out on to the desk.
The Secretary of Defense made the arrangements to contact DC CARPET AND DRAPES. The agents were all over the White House by the next morning diligently cleaning the carpets and window treatments. The president approached a chubby man with a severe spinal curvature. He had a heavily tanned and balding pate which was poorly covered by an erratic white comb-over, and a moustache equally snowy to the hair. He looked to be in his early sixties, of Italian decent, wearing an ill-fitting grey sweatshirt embroidered with the company logo, DC CARPET AND DRAPES, and doing a smashingly thorough job of cleaning the crimson drapes that covered the windows in the hall outside the Oval Office. His men throughout the building had a similar disheveled appearance. The man, his face mapped with sun damage and a continual grin, looked up and turned off the noisy machine he was working with, slightly bowing his head respectfully as the president approached.
“Oh my goodness, your honor! It’s my honor!” The man’s accent was thick. “How about this? How about this? The President of the United States and its Luigi Giacomini, the humble grandson of Italian immigrants, that gets the honor to meet him. It’s such a pleasure, Mr. President.”
“Okay, very good, a very convincing act. It is nice to meet you as well, Luigi, but we really need to get down to business. I’ll need you and your men in the War Room in half an hour to discuss the intelligence you’ve gathered.”
Luigi looked at him, confused but still smiling.
“What kind of carpita you got in there? Is it wool like you got out here or prolypopoline like you got in the Lincoln bedroom?”
“The secretary counted five men that you have with you on the premises. Is that an accurate count?”
“Alberto and Jonny only do the drapes, but so clean that your wife could wrap up a baby boy in them and feed him from her naked tiny bosom.”
“In the War Room, Luigi,” said the president examining his watch, “twenty nine minutes,” and he walked down the hall.
“I’ll need more shampoo from my truck,” Luigi shouted after him.
“I hope that’s agent code this time,” the president mumbled to himself as he walked away. He arrived at the War Room, went in, and took a seat at the end of a long maple conference table. As soon as he was seated the phone that had been placed in front of him rang. He stared at it for five rings, remembering the ear assault that Maynard had endured, before he finally decided to answer it.
“You wanted to speak with me?” said a steady cool voice from the receiver.
The President recognized the voice from the last movie he’d seen.
“You can call me Tom, Mr. President.”
“We’ve got a national emergency – hell, a global emergency, Tom, and we could really use your help.”
“You do understand that I’m just an actor, Mr. President?”
“Of course I do.”
“I mean if you want to stage Romeo and Juliet on the White House lawn and invite all of your rich friends over for a fund raiser I can do that. I could even do a celebrity cook off. I make an amazing beef stroganoff. But if this is the type of crisis that is generally handled with guns, Mr. President, I advise you take the conventional route and call the CIA or the Navy Seals, somebody that has killing explicitly stated in their job description.”
“This is a very delicate and specialized case, Tom. I wouldn’t ask if I really didn’t need the favor.”
“Enough said. I’ll fly my chopper in right away, Mr. President.”
The dial went dead and the president found himself alone with his thoughts. He thought about the elation that he’d felt upon winning the presidency, and then about how tired and old Holcomb now looked after serving only four years. Luigi and his men came into the room, set up their equipment, and started cleaning the carpet around him.
Maynard managed to get DC CARPET AND DRAPES to drop their cover and provide the intelligence that they had collected to the file he had on Tiny Earth. But the day hadn’t started out so promising for the president that morning. Upon getting out of bed that morning the president was greeted by a panic stricken Gentlebird. She held out a small cake dome that encased her golden retriever Maury. Maury had been reduced to the size of a penny, his tiny barking barely audible. The president’s priceless set of golf clubs, clubs that had belonged to Teddy Roosevelt had been miniaturized and were in the tiny dome as well. He hugged his wife, being careful not to crush her dog or his golf clubs. “Don’t worry. Everything will be fine.”
“I’m not happy, Winston.”
“Hey little buddy, we’re going to do something about this. You hear me, Maury?” he knocked on the dome and shouted through the glass.
On the way to the White House the car that Secretary Maynard rode in slowed down to a crawl as if it had suddenly started moving through syrup. It lifted inches above the ground, and then dropped violently, spilling the secretary’s coffee down the front of his uniform and bringing his teeth together smartly. This went on throughout the ride every time Maynard attempted to take a sip of his beverage. He cursed under his breath while he scrubbed at the stains on his shirt. “You’re a horrible little people. I hate you, Tiny Earth.”
The president arrived at the War Room to the six agents from DC CARPET AND DRAPES, a handful of short scientists, two of which were female midgets, the Secretary of Defense, and Tom Cruise, who was wearing a leather jacket that looked similar to one he wore in TOP GUN. One of the midgets kept placing her hand on Tom’s shoulder and he kept removing it. Luigi and the other agents of DC CARPET AND DRAPES no longer wore work attire and messy hair. They wore crisp blue suits with black ties and matching sunglasses. They were no longer smiling, their expressions now professional, all business, all bad ass. In the corner, with her machine ready, sat the stenographer. The president took his customary seat at the end of the table.
Post 4 is available here
Guest Post by J. T. Pearson
Tiny Earth Declares War On Earch
A short story by J. T. Pearson
Maynard waited quietly for another outbreak but sacrificing the apple fritter seemed to quell the president’s anger at exiting President Holcomb for the moment.
“Should I continue?”
The president waved him on.
“You see, Mr. President, Tiny Earth is-
“That son of a bitch!” the president interrupted as he circled the room. He took another deep breath. “Okay, go ahead.”
“I’m going to continue, Mr. President.”
“I said to continue!”
“Yes, you did. Tiny Earth is nearly identical to our planet and used to revolve in the same orbit as ours. It was about the size of a full grown elephant then. It was actually a stroke of luck that an amateur star gazer spotted the little planet and reported its existence to us. We tracked it for years until one day it seemed to vanish. The inhabitants of Tiny Earth had developed technology that allowed them to resize their planet so that it was on scale so small that it would require a microscope for us to view the planet. We didn’t even know that the planet existed anymore until they made contact with us. Now their planet is located somewhere in our atmosphere, sharing our sun, our oxygen, our water, but so far we’ve had limited success locating their location. Pardon me if I seem like I’m repeating myself but I’m reviewing the facts now that your attention isn’t divided. Their planet is microscopic. And as I stated, they have a king, the man that crushed the message into your desk this morning, King Donald Johnson. He occasionally gets a bit unreasonable and threatens to destroy our planet. And, again, as I’ve already indicated, the sad fact of the matter is that we’re not really sure whether he could do it or not. Our engineers developed a tracking system that could identify their planet’s location down to a five mile radius. We employed the new technology last year when President Holcomb had received a similar threat to the one you received this morning.”
“And it failed.”
“Yes, sir, I was getting to those. When our men crept into their location they used their gravity control technology to raise all of the soldiers several inches above the ground so that their feet just swam in place and they got nowhere. All of those rows of men, their rifles in arms, their legs churning away helplessly. It was a pathetic sight. After we agreed to leave, they moved the location of their planet out of the area and then let our soldiers down on the ground again. The morale of the men was severely diminished. You should’ve seen how dejected those soldiers were. I get so angry even thinking about it. I’m telling you, Mr. President, sometimes I think that if I could just get Tiny Earth under the edge of my heel for one second I’d-”
“Okay, okay, Mr. Secretary, I hear you but please try to maintain. Do your best not to say anything that you may come to regret.” The president paced his office. Suddenly a pencil on his desk started to give off cracking noises and then the pen next to it trembled. Ink seeped from the ballpoint, staining the mahogany, and the pencil parted down the middle like the Red Sea, revealing the graphite interior. “Oh come on! I just got the place and they’re trashing it! Come on!” he yelled at the ceiling. “Can the king from Tiny Earth hear me right now?”
“We don’t believe so. But once again, Mr. President, we’re not certain.”
“I don’t care if they do hear. We’ve got to find their location! We’re not going to deal with Tiny Earth from our knees! The United States of America does not play that way! What about using our nuclear weapons?”
“We tried that too, Mr. President. We were desperate after we saw how easily they rendered our soldiers useless with antigravity so President Holcomb and I devised a more permanent way of dealing with King Johnson’s threats. After we were able to get a lock on their general location again, which happened to be somewhere in Orange County at the time, we sent a Stealth Bomber armed with a nuclear warhead into the airspace above them and dropped the bomb.”
“With all of those taxpaying voters in harm’s way?”
“They would’ve died a patriot’s death, Mr. President.”
“Still, it seems a bit much.”
“What else could President Holcomb have done?”
“A bit ruthless but, okay, I see your point. You’re saying that he felt that he had exhausted all of his resources.”
“And did it work at all?”
“No. They used their gravity technology to lock on to the bomb and pull it away from the Earth, sending it somewhere into space.”
“That was pretty reckless of them. Who knows where that bomb went?” Pierce continued to pace the office. “Also a complete waste of a perfectly good bomb. If they’re so smart why didn’t they just disarm it?”
“I don’t know, Mr. President. Perhaps they didn’t want us to have it again.”
“But disarming it and giving it back might’ve been perceived as a friendly gesture. Something that can never be overlooked when negotiating war. I think you and your so called experts may have overestimated the intelligence of these tiny beings, Maynard.”
“Perhaps, Mr. President.”
“Did you try to drop another bomb?”
“Yes, and it was met with the same fate, redirected somewhere into our Milky Way. Two perfectly good bombs, as you stated, completely wasted. There was no use wasting any more.”
“Right. Those bombs are expensive. I’m aware of that. And the American people are always whining about the budget and the national debt. It’s all that ever seems to come out of their mouths.” The president made a whiny voice. “How much did that cost? And what about that, and that?” He threw his hands up. “I’ve just gotten into office and I’m already sick of hearing it.”
“The American people do have a tendency to whine, Mr. President.”
The president fingered the cleft in his chin and thought hard. “We’re going to need to bring more people in on this, form a committee. Hell, after all is said and done, if we can’t kill them maybe we’ll just have to figure out a way to get along with Tiny Earth. Coexist. I don’t know. I just don’t know.”
“I don’t know either, Mr. President.”
“At this point we really need to explore all options. Why don’t you attempt to open up negotiations with them? Set up an interplanetary summit.”
“They’ve already demanded a meeting.”
“Alright. Tell them that I’m inviting them to Camp David. We’ll have some drinks, ride some horses, sort this whole thing out.”
“It’s not that easy to find or contact them. Satellites and the weather are involved. We need to wait for our window. I don’t think you’re getting a clear picture of just how small Tiny Earth is, Mr. President. Tiny Earth is very, very small.” Maynard held out his thumb and index finger and slowly closed them together until they were so close the distance between them was nearly imperceptible. “So very, very tiny, Mr. President. Even smaller than this distance between my fingers. Not very easy to find at all.”
“I understand that they’re very small, Mr. Secretary. But you do have the tracking machine.”
“Can you imagine how big this cigar would seem to them?” the secretary said, holding out his cigar.
“I imagine that the cigar would seem quite large, Mr. Secretary.”
“It’d probably be bigger than the sun to them.”
“I beg your pardon.”
“Relatively speaking I mean, the cigar would be bigger to them than the sun is to us.” The secretary chomped on the cigar and sucked in, creating a glowing facsimile of a sun at its tip. “Can you imagine how big our sun must seem to them?”
“Relatively speaking again?”
“No, Mr. President. Literally, this time.”
“I imagine our sun seems very, very, very large to the inhabitants of tiny earth.”
Suddenly the phone rang, causing both of them to jump. Then they stood motionless, examining it.
“Were you expecting any phone calls, Mr. President?” Secretary Maynard asked.
“No,” the president answered, shaking his head, gravely.
“You’d better let me handle this, Mr. President.”
Maynard lifted the receiver and held it to his ear. For a moment there was only silence, but suddenly, an ear-splitting horrible noise. BLAAAAAAGERRRRRAAAAA! Secretary Maynard pulled the phone away from his head and slammed it down on its crib.
“Son of a bitch, that’s painful!” Maynard said, rubbing his ear. “That was them manipulating our radio waves so that they could send you another warning.”
Post 3 is available here.
Guest Post by J. T. Pearson
Tiny Earth Declares War on Earth
A short story by J. T. Pearson
Secretary of Defense, Lance Maynard, produced a cigar from his breast pocket and held it out. “Do you mind, Mr. President? They’re kind of like a security blanket for me in times of stress.”
“Under the circumstances I think that we can overlook it. Go ahead,” said the president, with a slight hint of a smile that he was struggling to conceal. He didn’t want to spoil the fun his staff was entitled while hazing him his first day in office. Maynard was a leftover from the departing administration that the new president, Winston Westmont Pierce, had decided to keep aboard.
Maynard produced his lighter, lit the cigar, and took a couple of puffs before proceeding.
“The inhabitants of Tiny Earth don’t use bullets and bombs. They’ve developed the technology to manipulate some of Earth’s physical laws, like gravity and radio waves. They also claim that they are able to shrink whatever is in our atmosphere, reduce the mass, or compress it- we’re not real sure about what they mean - although that technology hasn’t actually been confirmed. To be clear, we aren’t really certain how much of a danger they are to our planet but they’ve exhibited a significant superiority to our scientific knowledge in the past, using it more as a warning, creating nuisance situations rather than actual harm so far.”
“Nuisance situations, mmm hmm.” The president picked a sweet roll from his desk and rolled it around in his hand while he feigned a limited amount of distress. It wouldn’t look very presidential not to appear brave and manly. He posed with his shoulders back. “I see.” He tried not to look obvious as he scanned the office for hidden cameras. He inwardly chastised himself for looking too long and directly at a potted rubber tree that sat along the eastern wall.
“Only a couple dozen people in the world, dating back to 1973 when their King first contacted us, know of the existence of Tiny Earth. Since then, each president and whoever he had felt it was necessary to confide in, have been informed that Tiny Earth has been living under the stars with us, breathing the same oxygen, sharing the same sun that we see in our sky.”
“So they have a king, hmmm, interesting.” He glanced more casually at the rubber tree this time.
The smell of Maynard’s cigar filled the Oval Office with a combination of vanilla and cherry wood. He was getting frustrated by the trouble he was having getting the new President to believe that the message from Tiny Earth that he’d found crushed into the mahogany of his desk that morning was real and needed to be taken seriously. The warning from King Donald Johnson of Tiny Earth stated that if Big Earth did not meet Tiny Earth’s demands this time then they should consider themselves at war with the planet. The King of Tiny Earth, however, hadn’t yet bothered to state what those demands were.
Back on Tiny Earth King Johnson and his top military experts watched the two men in the Oval Office through a visual portal, listening, and waiting for a reaction. After seeing the new president’s state of doubt, King Johnson realized that an additional warning was needed, a demonstration of Tiny Earth’s superior technology. The king directed his top general to increase the gravitational pull on the president’s coffee mug until it started trembling, then shaking more violently, then the area of the desk around the mug started cracking until the mug collapsed through the corner of his desk, and then through the floor, and then through the floor below, and so on, until the mug was out of sight, well below the White House. The president stood frozen staring at the gaping hole left in the floor.
Winston had loved that coffee mug even though he’d only had it for a day, a gift from the First Lady, Jenny (nicknamed Gentlebird for her generous contributions of time and money to a multitude of charities). She had presented it to Winston when he won the election with the phrase HAVE A PRESIDENTIAL DAY inscribed in bold red caps on the glossy exterior. She had been up in the air as whether to destroy the mug or give it to her gardener if her husband had lost the election. She just hated waste.
The breakfast pastry slipped from the president’s hand back to his desk with a squishy PLOP.
“How the hell did you just do that, Maynard?” The president peered down the hole and then ran his hands above the new opening, searching for invisible wires. He looked over at the rubber tree. “How’d you guys do that?” He walked over and searched the small tree and then the pot frantically. He turned and looked angrily at Maynard. “What the hell is going on?”
“I’m sorry, Mr. President. This is always very difficult for the incoming leader.”
“Maynard, come on! What the hell? You’re not serious.”
“I’m very sorry, Mr. President.”
The president ravaged the room looking for hidden cameras, upturning furniture and knocking paintings from the walls, while Maynard watched on patiently. The Color drained from the president’s face as he realized that he wasn’t being put on. He took a deep breath before bending forward and rubbing his stomach. “This is real?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“I’ve got an ulcer that acts up sometimes, Maynard. Go on with what you’ve been saying. You’ve got my full attention now.” He remained bent toward the floor.
“Do you need anything, Mr. President? Should I call for someone?”
“I need you to continue, Maynard. Are we in danger as you speak? Are they about to crush us like an ant in one of their tiny hands?”
“I don’t believe it to be the case. And besides, an ant would never fit in one of their hands. An ant is much bigger than their entire planet.”
The exiting president was of another party and had decided to go against the tradition of informing the new leader of the free world about our planet’s ongoing struggle with their microscopic nemesis.
The president straightened up. “Let us be clear. Everything that you’ve been describing, about a teeny angry planet, is real?”
“Damn that Holcomb to the deepest ring of hell! He never said a word about a technologically advanced tiny planet threatening us with war! He just waltzed right out of here and went on his merry way! That’s why the parties need to work together! Because of situations like this!”
“I understand your anger, Mr. President.”
“I would’ve told him about Tiny Earth. That would only have been the sporting thing to do.”
“Perhaps?” The president grabbed the roll that he’d dropped on his desk earlier that morning and slammed it into the waste basket. THUNK! “What can you expect from a republican?” He paced the room.
Post 2 available here
Guest Post by J. T. Pearson
My Brother’s Keeper
A short story by J. T. Pearson
Each time I returned from the kitchen with refreshments he had his face nuzzling her arms and legs. She kept laughing and playfully fighting him off but I found myself growing very angry.
The three of us went out on the balcony. It was getting cold outside so I built a fire in the fireplace. I had to work the ashes with the poker several times in order to get the logs to stay lit. We all sat on the couch and he nestled right up against Elaine. She rubbed him behind the ears and when he turned over on his back she rubbed his stomach. We were watching True Grit, the original. I looked away from John Wayne and over at Franklin and what I saw shocked me. It was the look in his eyes. The look of lust.
“Elaine, stop that!” I pointed at him. “Look at his face!”
His expression changed immediately to one of embarrassment, and he looked hurt.
She was startled by my sudden outburst and asked, “What is wrong with you, Charles?”
I tried not to seem completely insane. “He was – he was – just acting weird,” I told her.
“Just acting weird?” she asked.
“Yes,” I replied, not knowing what else to say about the matter.
“I’ll tell you who’s acting weird, Charles. You scared me. You could’ve given me a heart attack.”
“I’m sorry. It’s just that…do you mind if he doesn’t sit right up against you like that? Can you please stop stroking him?” I asked cautiously.
“Just because, okay?” I tried ineffectively.
“Are you actually jealous of a dog, Charles?” she asked me.
I threw my hands up and told her. “I don’t know what I’m thinking. I guess I’m just tired.”
The mood took a turn for the better when she surprised me by saying, “I find your jealousy very weird but a little sexy, Charles. Maybe we should retire to the bedroom and leave him here to watch TV.”
He suddenly got up on his haunches and started to growl at her, baring his teeth. He had originally believed that I had arranged for Elaine to come so that he could see her. Now, the relationship I had with Elaine was suddenly very clear to him.
“Oh my!” She said, sliding away from him. “Get him away from me, Charles!”
I ran to the fireplace and grabbed the poker. Franklin was slowly advancing on Elaine with his teeth bared. I attempted to back him off with the poker. He snapped at my hands but I continued to advance, moving him away from us.
“Throw him off. Charles!” Elaine screamed at me in a panic.
“Off the balcony?” I asked. I was mortified that she would even suggest such a thing.
There was a small utility shed in the corner of the balcony hidden behind a rubber tree plant. I used it to house items that I wanted to protect against inclement weather. I opened the door and threatened him with the poker until he went in.
“You should call the pound, Charles, and have someone take him away right now! That thing is dangerous!” She sat down. She was shaking and her breathing was uneasy. After a couple of minutes she managed to catch her breath. “To think that thing was sitting right up against me. Just imagine if it had attacked me then.” She shuddered. “Where did you say you got that thing?”
“From a very dear friend,” I told her.
“You really should see if he can take it back.”
“I’m afraid that’s impossible. He unfortunately passed on not too long ago,” I lied.
I said good night to Elaine and walked her out to her car. When I got back into the house I grabbed the poker and approached the utility shed. What I heard on the other side broke my heart. I could hear him crying again. After a few moments I slowly opened the door. I needed to console him and come clean about the indecent relationship that I’d been having behind his back. The second the door was open more than a foot he lunged at me, knocking me down, and got his teeth on my neck. I managed to get one of my hands into his mouth before he was able to clamp down. Grabbing the poker once again, which had fallen from my hand when he had attacked, I hit him repeatedly along his side and the top of his head until he was bleeding all over me. His eyes rolled up and he slumped from me to the floor. I pulled my hand from his mouth and tried to work my fingers. He’d done damage to my arm but the tendons were intact. The image of him lying on the ground, not moving, was almost too much for me. I cried and begged God to make him live. The police arrived twenty minutes after I’d called them. A report was filed and then they prepared to take Franklin with them.
“Where are you going to take him?” I asked them.
“For now, we’ll bring him to the animal shelter where a vet will see if he can patch him up unless you want your dog put down. I assumed that you didn’t because you said he never behaves like this and that an unusual situation had set him off. An animal expert will have to weigh in on whether it’s safe to let the animal live but when it’s an altercation with the pet and the owner it’s generally their say.”
After I returned from the hospital I attempted to sleep but I wept off and on that night, barely getting any rest. I tried to reason that the chimera wasn’t my brother but I knew differently. I knew the truth. I couldn’t help thinking back about the conversation I had with Dr. Kripps - about where the soul goes when creating a new being with cells from someone who’d already lived. Maybe he never gave it much consideration because he didn’t believe in souls.
Things went pretty much as the officer had described and the next day I was called down to the shelter to make a decision. Franklin laid on one of the tables, his head bandaged up, sedated.
“What do you want to do?” the vet asked me. She was young, green eyed, attractive, compassionate, with dark hair and a cleft chin. She asked the question but her green eyes pled with me to save him. I approached Franklin and studied his face. With his eyes closed he just looked like a dog.
I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Franklin.”
“I beg your pardon.”
“Franklin. That’s his name. I’m taking him home.”
I brought Franklin home. For the next couple of weeks I nursed Franklin back to health. Elaine and I fought over Franklin daily. She wanted him gone, wanted him put down. Often she lingered near his bed and I found myself fearing that she would interfere with his recovery. After a while, although still heavily bandaged, Franklin could wobble his way around the apartment. One of his eyes was permanently destroyed, causing it to point up and off to the side, a white glaze covering it. The sight of it caused me unspeakable guilt.
Time passed and I was pleased with how Franklin’s recovery was coming along. Elaine managed to become tolerant of him but insisted that he still frightened her and demanded that she never have to be left alone with him. She was also disgusted by the fact that I was still calling him Franklin.
One day I heard a commotion coming from the balcony. Franklin had Elaine backed up near the edge of the rail and she was defending herself with the poker. This was the second transgression that I wrote of at the beginning of this journal entry.
She screamed at me, “Throw him off! Throw him off the balcony, Charles! Do it!”
Franklin looked back at me, teeth bared, but his one good eye looked as though he were pleading for understanding.
It took everything I had in me to do it but I did what was necessary and threw the monster over the edge, watching it tumble through the air as it plunged toward destruction, the view of sky and street exchanging places for the poor soul, one over the other until they were a blur, the long plunge ending with an explosive crash, crushing the top of a delivery van and setting off multiple car alarms below. My heart was lanced by sadness.
I convinced the police when they arrived that it had been a horrible accident. In the weeks that followed I found the terrible event replaying in my mind over and over. It robbed me of sleep. But then one day guilt gave way to feelings of liberation. A burden seemed to float from my shoulders, leaving my life in a much better place. I was actually finally able to get off of the depression medicine that I had been taking for years.
The triangle relationship was finally broken. The two of us enjoyed a renewed love and became as close as we’d ever been. We both still experience a bad day here and there but just like when we were children, those days were nothing that a grilled cheese and a bowl of tomato soup couldn’t solve. I couldn’t have gone on living with how I had treated Franklin without rectifying the matter and I am eternally grateful for his forgiveness. It is only recently, as I face my own death, that I think about the fact that I took a life and covered the facts with lies. And I can’t help but fear what God has in store for me. And so I created this document, my confession, to be found upon my passing. May I, Elaine, and Franklin all rest in peace one day. Charles Stanford.
Guest Post by J. T. Pearson
My Brother’s Keeper
A short story by J. T. Pearson
“Charles Stanford?” he asked, as we first met, extending his hand for me to shake before sitting down at the table. I had agreed to meet him at one of my favorite restaurants, The Pearl. On a Saturday evening the five star eatery would be teaming with business. Much harder to kidnap an aging billionaire under such conditions. I had gotten a little nervous about our meeting and momentarily considered telling him that I had no idea who Stanford was. Anytime you tell someone that you have unlimited financial resources you run the risk of hucksters racing your direction like hounds with the scent of blood in their snouts. I took the risk and shook his hand.
“Yes, Dr. Kripps. Please have a seat,” I offered.
He began his pitch. “You’ve already indicated, Charles, that you are familiar with much of my work and the success that I’ve had with mixing human and animal DNA so I won’t waste your time trying to sell you on the fact that I can do what I say I can do. I’m also certain that you are aware of GBCs involvement with cloning and that there has been some scandal in our past. That’s been in the news again lately. What I’d actually like to talk to you about is transgenesis. The science of transgenesis, Charles, is much farther along than the public is aware of.”
“Why did you bring up cloning first, Dr. Kripps? Are you saying that you can clone my brother?” I asked him. “Is that what you’re proposing?”
“No. I’m not talking about a clone exactly, although cells from your brother would be involved in this process. But this isn’t a clone. This is a new being that is created when foreign DNA is introduced to an embryo. It has its own identity – like your twin had a separate identity from you, even though you shared DNA so very similar. A clone is actually very similar to a twin but – this is altogether different.”
I was curt with him. “I’m finding this conversation both confusing and a little disturbing so far, Dr. Kripps, and I’m considering putting an end to it before long so I advise you to get to the point.”
“No reason to be disturbed, Charles, I assure you. All I’m talking about is an amazingly complex and very special pet – a dog,” he explained.
“You arranged this meeting to sell me a dog? You must be out of your mind.”
“No, Charles, not just any dog. A chimera – a mix of human and animal DNA – the DNA taken from your dying brother and mixed with the embryo of a Border Collie - we’ve had our highest success rate with Border Collies, possibly because they are the smartest of all breeds of dog. We’ll create a companion that looks like an animal but whose cellular machinery will conceal a unique biochemistry. He will be bright like your brother but more importantly he will have personality traits that only your brother had – his essence, if you will.”
“A dog can’t replace my brother, Doctor Kripps.”I started to get up but he waved me down.
I paused. “I’ve really had just about enough of this conversation.”
“Just allow me to finish. I certainly wasn’t trying to suggest that a dog could replace your brother, Charles. I’m just trying to offer you a very special way to commemorate your brother – to continue to celebrate a man you loved so much – bringing part of him back to stay with you – to comfort you – to relieve some of your grief.”
“That part of a man that continues to carry his essence is generally referred to as a child, Doctor.”
“That would be ideal, Charles, but it is my understanding that your brother didn’t have any children.”
“Something seems very wrong about this. Would the dog have my brother’s soul?”
“No, Charles, as I indicated, the dog would be a new and completely different being than your brother. I, personally, don’t believe in souls but if you do, I suppose the dog would have a dog soul.”
“But you said it wasn’t a dog,” I argued.
“Not technically. Not entirely, but essentially it would still be a dog,” he replied.
“Why hasn’t anyone else done this?” I asked, suspiciously.
“Because they are unable to do so. And because it’s highly illegal, Charles.”
“So you contacted me. You just want to do it for me because I loved my brother so much and you can’t bear the thought that I’ll suddenly be without him. Just feeling sorry for me. Is that right, doctor? I have to say that I find that hard to believe.”
“Obviously, there’s more to it than that, Charles. I wouldn’t risk my career lightly,” he explained. “You’ve indicated that you are a man of extraordinary means. I’m in desperate need of an investor with such qualities. GBC had an unfortunate incident, a break in that caused many of our backers to retract funding. Some animal activists broke into our labs and freed goats that contained human DNA. We were able to immediately round up all of the thirteen chimeras except for two that weren’t recovered for over a day. When the animals still hadn’t turned up on the second day of the search we were compelled morally to alert the authorities and get their cooperation in retrieving the animals. With their cooperation we found them. If the chimeras had been able find and mate with other goats the result would’ve been devastating. Human DNA in our food chain could result in the rampant spread of diseases that our immune systems would be completely unfamiliar with.”
“But you’re certain that you recovered the animals before that happened?” I asked him.
“We believe so. The remaining two animals were found in a sparsely populated area but there were a couple of farms that had goats that were within reach of the chimeras. Only time will really tell if something disastrous took place.”
“Our government shouldn’t allow you people to be so careless with technology that you know so little about.”
“This field of exploration is not brand new. We’ve been working in this area since 1964. And I assure you, Charles, the reward is great enough that it is worth the gamble. We could be on the edge of curing most of the known diseases with this technology.”
“Why would it be safe for me to have a chimera if there was such a risk with the goats?”
“First off, your animal will be sterile so that he can’t mate, and second, we’ve managed with dogs to design an immune system that doesn’t allow the animal to contract any diseases that are foreign to dogs. The chimera won’t be a threat to humans, other animals, or the environment.” He leaned forward. “You become our primary investor and not only will you reap the benefits of one of the most profitable businesses of all time but you will have the most unique companion ever to roam the earth.”
I told the good doctor that I would get back to him but I didn’t, not for several months. For a time Franklin’s cancer went into remission, shocking the team of specialists that my brother had seen. There was even a possibility that he might recover but the disease came back progressing more aggressively than ever. When Franklin was nearing the end I contacted the doctor and made the arrangements. Dr. Kripps visited my brother in the hospital with me. I told my brother that he was just one more specialist that needed to take a few samples. The doctor acquired what he needed. Within a week my brother was dead and I was devastated. Remarkably, Elaine seemed relatively unaffected by Franklin’s passing. She even brought up the idea that she might not attend his funeral but backtracked when she saw my reaction.
I mourned for weeks without leaving my home. Not bothering to bathe, or even eat some days. I was a mess. I feared at one point that I’d never recover but I slowly started getting back to my routine. Eventually I gave in to Elaine’s continual phone calls pestering me to come see her, and still burdened with a heavy heart, I left my home and met her at her apartment. I was struggling with more than grief. I was also dealing with the fear and guilt of attempting to toy with nature’s original design and bring a part of Franklin back. Elaine just considered my odd behavior to be a part of my grieving process. She did ask me whether Franklin’s death had any effect on my portfolio and then seemed relieved when I told her that our business affairs were separate and my estate was perfectly intact. The fact that she even asked such a question angered me. We viciously argued that night. Then I told her that I hadn’t slept well and feared that I was coming down with a bug and we managed to take back some of the things we had said to each other. We ended the night in her bedroom. I couldn’t tell her about what was really on my mind, about the chimera that was being created.
I arrived at GBC Biotherapeutics still a little uncertain whether what I’d done had been a good idea. But the deed was done. I had conspired in this warped resurrection. I was certain that I had made a sound business decision and that I was going to make a sizeable fortune with my investment in the company but the thought of being responsible for creating a new being was so nerve-racking that I nearly ordered them to terminate the fetus. But I knew I couldn’t do that. Not with it containing all that was left of my brother.
The chimera had been alive for several weeks when Dr. Kripps had called and informed me that I could come to the facility and pick him up. He carried the chimera in his arms and an assistant accompanying him carried an animal cage meant for transport. I shook the doctor’s hand and then examined the chimera. As soon as our eyes met I felt shivers down my spine. He had Franklin’s eyes and more. They seemed to reveal Franklin’s soul. As the doctor handed him over to me he stared straight into my eyes as if he knew me.
“You look uneasy, Charles. I assure you that he’s not going to bite you. He’s much too bright for that, and besides, it’s not in his personality. Didn’t you describe your brother as a confirmed pacifist when we first met? A kind and gentle heart unmatched, is how I believe you put it. Go ahead, Charles, hug him. Get to know him. Go ahead and love him.”
I continued gazing into his eyes – my brother’s eyes - and I felt a tear escaping mine. I pulled him close and embraced him.
I took the chimera home. I had driven myself to the clinic, opting out of my usual car service. Now I struggled to find a parking spot within a reasonable distance of my building. I gave up and parked the car illegally and called for my assistant to take care of it. I could see that the Chimera wanted to walk. They had given me a leash along with other effects intended for him but I couldn’t see putting it on him. I wasn’t sure how much of him was dog but I knew he needed to be treated with dignity. I set him on the ground and we walked together. The chimera made every turn as if he knew exactly where we were going – like he could read my mind – or more accurately, like he’d been there before.
We reached the penthouse and exited the elevator into my hallway where we were immediately assaulted by Mrs. Livingston’s poodle. The chimera did everything it could to avoid tangling with the vicious animal, desperately trying to climb my leg, but he got bitten on the ear pretty badly. Mrs. Livingston called her dog back to her apartment angrily and then gave a half-hearted apology that included the phrase, “neither of us really had our dogs on a leash.”
I felt guilty for reacting so slowly and letting him get hurt. Franklin had never been much of a fighter and he was visibly shaken by the event. I did my best to dress the wound while he cried. It was so strange hearing him cry – just like my brother always had. Instinctively, I prepared our favorite lunch for him, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, just like our mother used to do for us when we were young and had had a bad day. That seemed to cheer him up quickly. I have a balcony that overlooks the city, complete with a fireplace and an entertainment system that was professionally modified to withstand outdoor conditions. We sat outside on the couch, enjoying the glorious sunshine, and watched TV. He nudged me whenever he wanted me to change the channel. I was feeling extremely comfortable with him – familiar. And very happy that I’d made the decision not to terminate him.
Things were great for the first two days and then Elaine came over. In all the stress and confusion I’d completely forgotten to return her phone messages. When she came through the door Franklin leapt to her, wagging his tail, licking her everywhere he could. She was flattered by the affection. He kept turning back to me and licking me before returning to her, just genuinely happy to be around the two of us again. She examined the injury to his ear. I hadn’t even prepared an explanation for her.
“You got a dog, Charles? Why on earth did you get a dog? You don’t care for animals.”
“I care for him.”
“I swear, Charles, your brother’s death is certainly weighing on your sanity.” She rubbed his head and stared at his eyes. For a moment I feared that she recognized him. “What’s his name, Charles?” she asked me.
“I don’t know,” I replied nervously. “I haven’t decided yet. I was thinking of naming him Franklin, after my brother.”
He barked twice loudly.
She looked at me with what bordered on disgust and said, “You can’t name him after your brother, Charles. I know you miss your brother but that’s just too weird.”
“Perhaps I’ll have to think about it some more,” I told her.
“Well, you better come up with a name for him soon because leaving a pet without a name is bad luck.”
“Not to mention, it makes it pretty hard to call him.” I thought the comment witty, but she ignored it. She never had much of a sense of humor.
Post 3 available here.
Guest Post by J. T. Pearson