You Want Fries With That? Friday Flash Fics, September 4, 2020 by Jeff Baker.

You Want Fries With That?

by Jeff Baker

                                           

            I am sitting outside Dinglehoff’s Bar and Grill with my laptop, on account of they will not let me back in after the incident with the soy sauce when I see the first flying saucer.

I am sitting there on the sidewalk because the light is better and they will let me call in and order take out. They have fries with the best dipping sauce in the world so I do not complain.

            So anyway, I am in the middle of the article that is due the next day when I notice the first saucer which has coasted to a stop over the parking lot on the other side of the building right next to the closed battery store. I check on the news website and there is no buzz about it, nor is there any on Facebook, so I crane my neck to see (not wanting to get up, it is only a flying saucer) when the second saucer lands right in front of me with no sound except a “click” when the three metal legs touch the pavement. Hopefully not cracking it, as Mr. Dinglehoff gets very upset when the eighteen-wheelers park there. It is, you will see, not too difficult to upset Mr. Dinglehoff. A few minutes later a tall man exits the ship on a ladder, looking a lot like the ordinary guys you see going to baseball games, wearing (so help me!) a silver suit and walks across the lot to meet up with the other silver-suited man who has exited the other saucer via a similar ladder extending from the ship. They then walk in to Dinglehoff’s.

            Now I am just glad the ship did not land one of its metal feet on me (they are about nine feet long and about as wide as the chair I am sitting in) but I am still curious about whether this is the beginning of an alien takeover of Earth. If it is, I figure I need to save the story I am working on and cover this one. A few minutes later, one of the spacemen walks out of the restaurant with Mr. Dinglehoff; points to the spaceship and Mr. Dinglehoff stares up at it open mouthed. They then walk back into the restaurant, and I am starting to write all about the spacemen and describe the size and shape of the saucers and eat the rest of my fries with the last of the sauce.

            It is about fifteen minutes later when the two aliens leave the restaurant and return to their respective spaceships, and the spaceships take off a few minutes later with barely a sound and vanish into the sky. I walk over to the restaurant, as I see Mr. Dinglehoff standing there staring upward.

            “What did they say? “ I ask. “I’m covering the story for the Daily Beacon,” I explain when he glares at me. He understands the need for good publicity and so he tells me, and I will tell you what he said.

            “They were passing by and monitoring our radio broadcasts, heard one of my commercials and got curious,” Mr. Dinglehoff says. “We say that we have the best dipping sauce in the world and they wanted some. So I gave them a complimentary bag of fries and a cup of the sauce and they liked it. So, they placed an order for take out the next time they’re passing by.”

            “And when,” I asked, being M. Reporter, “will that be?”

            “Middle of next week,” he said. “Hey, that reminds me.” He sticks his head in the door and hollers out to Buddy, Eric and Stephen to call everybody in, saying they will be “working late.”

            “What exactly did they order?” I am asking. He shakes his head and sighs.

            “One thousand, three hundred and twenty-four orders of fries with sauce,” he said.

            “This could be an historic opening in interplanetary relations,” I say. “And you will want good publicity on this story from the reporter on the scene. Shall we continue this interview inside in my old booth?”

            He is holding the restaurant door open for me as I walk inside.

                                    —end—

            (With apologies to Damon Runyon.)

Posted in Fiction, Friday Flash Fics, Science Fiction, Short-Stories | 2 Comments

Progress Report, September 1, 2020 from Jeff Baker.

Wrote about a page worth on the longer story (for the market that opens this Fall!) and wrote up the Friday Flash story.

That’s it for now.

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Progress Report: August27/28, 2020, from Jeff Baker

Wrote the weekly flash story on Thursday, wrote about a page and-a-half on the story I’m sending off in Fall (when this market opens up.) Also went through (all) my notebooks, looking for the notes to the story, finally realized it’s from 2018! Found it, including an ending I wrote when I was considering writing this story!

That’s it for now!

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A Comet Soars Through Friday Flash Fics, by Jeff Baker. (August 28, 2020)

CometTennis

The Comet

By Jeff Baker

 

We’d been playing tennis on the old court on the edge of town (the one without lights) until it got dark. We were far away from town so we could see the stars without interference from the streetlights. I could make out the Milky Way stretching across the heavens.

“Hey, look!” he said, pointing up with his racket. “There’s that comet everybody’s been talking about.”

“Yeah,” I said. It was dim and fuzzy but definitely had a tail and definitely wasn’t a star.

“What do they call it anyway?”

“Some anagram.” I said.

“Yeah, Comet NORAD or NORAD…”

“Or COVID,” I snickered.

“Smartass!” he said.

We stood and watched the comet.

“You know, my Granddad discovered a comet once, or at least, he took a picture of one.”

“Really?” I said.

“Yeah,” I said. “In 1956. LOOK Magazine. Picture of the tops of a bunch of houses with the comet in the sky overhead. Granddad had to climb on top of the house to get the picture. His Dad about paddled his butt. But they framed the picture from the magazine.”

“Wow,” he breathed. “Hey, this isn’t the same comet, is it?”

“Naah. That one won’t be back for a thousand years. Something like that. This one won’t be back for longer. Probably.”

“You know, I think by then they’ll have the lights on the tennis court fixed.”

We stood there and watched the comet move among the stars.

 

—end—

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Progress Report! August 20-21, 2020.

Wrote the Friday Flash story Friday (early, like around 2:00am!!!) Came off okay for a flash mystery, actually using a couple of characters I whipped up back in 2016 for an earlier flash story.

Also proofread, tightened up and read aloud (to Darryl) the mystery I’ve been working on for months and meant to work on for the past few weeks. Maybe it’s better that I waited. I may have seen a few things I hadn’t before.

Now, I have a few stories and the longer one I’m sending off to a magazine this fall when the market opens up.

That’s it for now!

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Mystery on the Beach; The Bird’s the Word; Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker, August21, 2020.

JetskiFFF82120

Surfin’ Bird

By Jeff Baker

 

There was no other way.

Donna Reidel stared at the ocean, at the man pulling the girl on water skis. It looked fast and wet. She shuddered. Staking out somebody in a car she was used to, waterskiing she wasn’t.

Donna and Sean Reidel had been hired by the hotel to investigate a series of jewel thefts. Items stolen from the rooms because rich vacationers would keep the jewels they were going to wear, and didn’t trust the hotel safe.

“Too many people can get into that,” one of the guests had said.

The Malaki Hotel had fake-Hawaiian décor and high prices for its exclusive stretch of California beach and rich clientele. Clientele who liked to be seen rich when they weren’t in swimwear; the hotel banquet hall hosted lavish parties in its expansive ballroom seemingly nightly.

“Expensive ballroom is more like it,” Shawn had said. “But the guests live in their own little world.”

It hadn’t taken long to find the guilty party; a gang of thieves had infiltrated the staff, even security. But recovering the jewels was another matter. The Reidels had staked out the delivery area, even the dumpsters. Somebody was delivering the stolen goods to someone outside the carefully-screened hotel property.

Donna hung on as Shawn pulled her at a seeming thousand miles an hour over the water; she had learned to waterski when she’d been undercover at a waterpark a year ago. She kept her eyes open. The song “Surfin’ Bird” was going through her head.

She saw it.

She waved at Shawn to circle back. She snagged the small plastic bag floating on the water’s surface. In it was a diamond necklace.

The clear plastic and glittery diamonds blended in with the waves. They would be picked up by one of the gang on a jet ski. Donna and Shawn called the police and the Coast Guard who managed to round up the rest of the gang and recover the jewels.

The hotel, of course, was grateful. They paid the Reidels their usual fee (daily, plus expenses) and even let them stay on another week free in the rooms they’d been put up in. They stayed away from the water skis, though. Blanket on the beach with an ice chest of bottled tea and each other under an umbrella was excitement enough.

 

—end—

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The Reidels first appear in my story “The Cutesey Bear Caper,” back on August 14, 2016. https://authorjeffbaker.com/2016/08/14/monday-flash-fic-cutesy-bears-and-intrigue/   After four years, it’s nice to have them back! —–jsb 8/21/20.

Posted in Fiction, Mystery, Short-Stories, The Reidels, Uncategorized, Writing | 1 Comment

“Innovation” has released! (With my story!)

image004

My story “The Alchemical Arrangement,” (as by Skip Hanford) is one of the flash fiction stories in Queer SciFi’s latest anthology: “Innovation!” I’m in pretty good company, including David Gerrold! Enjoy!

——–Skip J. Hanford, August 18, 2020

 

IN-NO-VA-TION (Noun)

 

1) A new idea, method, or device.

 

2) The introduction of something new.

 

3) The application of better solutions to meet unarticulated needs.

 

Three definitions to inspire writers around the world and an unlimited number of possible stories to tell. Here are 120 of our favorites.

 

Innovation features 300-word speculative flash fiction stories from across the rainbow spectrum, from the minds of the writers of Queer Sci Fi.

 

Series Blurb:

 

Every year Queer Sci Fi holds a flash fiction contest that solicits stories from writers around the world, and publishes the best stories as an annual anthology.

 

Non-Exclusive Excerpt:

 

“The fields are overgrown, have been for years with all the Bios underground. The wind kisses the grass in serpentine patterns long forgotten, patterns the Bios couldn’t imagine anymore. My mechanical hand stores the seed envelope in the mechanical pocket in my androgynous torso. In these suits, there is no gender. Gender is, always has been, in the mind. And I am finally, unequivocally, female.” —Seed, by Val Muller

 

“No one in the village knew what the Change would bring. They never saw it happen. They only knew what they had been promised: the Change would bestow three gifts.” —A New Way, by Rory Ni Coileain

 

“The girl kissed her, hard. Then backed away, grinning, teasing, drawing her to the end of the hallway and a flight of stairs leading downward. She took two steps and gazed back up at Lilian, one hand outstretched. Her brilliant red lipstick wasn’t even smudged. Her skin glowed in the harsh white torchlight.” —The Thing With the Bats, by Mary Francis

 

“Interspecies sex is outlawed on the Freespec Interplanetary Space Station. Politicians call it a safety measure. But I’ve been in the Medical Corps for half my lifecycle, and I call it criminally negligent prudery. Leaders would rather let innocents die needlessly—punctured by sperm darts and dissolved in sacks of voltaic pleasure mucus—than give them the knowledge to express their feelings safely.” — Are My Underwater Sperm Darts Normal?, Brenna Harvey

 

“The bell’s brassy gong echoes through the flat; the walls blush crimson. See, see! He’s at my door. The live feed shows him sniff his armpit; cup his breath. He wants to impress, but I’m impressed already. His lips softly part; he brushes them with stubby fingers, as he waits. Ugly fingers. Ugly hands. Scrawny neck. Milky eyes. But those lips, see, they’re perfect, just perfect. Plump n’ pale, a slither of my future.” —Just perfect, by Redfern Jon Barrett

 

“Lekke looked down over the valley, First People’s home for as long as any tales or dreams could tell. Now only Spirit Dreamer Manoot, neither he nor she but both, and Lekke, elder healer, were left. Lifetimes of Long-legs’ raids had driven First People to their deaths—or, some few, to the Way. If there truly was a Way.” —Going Back,” by Sacchi Green

 

“Savinna limped into her lover’s workshop, her hip still sore from tangling with the marabbecca which had knocked her into its well before she managed to kill it. Such was the life of a monster hunter. Not at all surprised to see Larissa hunched over her bench, hard at work tinkering with something, Savinna ghosted her hand over Larissa’s back.” —Those Who Hunt Monsters, by Jana Denardo

 

“The baby cried as Freya lowered the bartering bucket into the wishing well. Many had come to the tree-shrouded clearing to make exchanges—a bushel of azure apples for a sword, a woven blanket for a day of rain. The well had been the final creation of a thousand-year-old inventor. But dead wizards often don’t anticipate how their gifts birth consequences.” —The Bartering Bucket, by Diane Callahan

 

Giveaway:

 

Queer Sci Fi is giving away your choice of a $20 Amazon gift card OR a print copy of four of the other five flash fiction books in the series – Flight, Renewal, Impact, and Migration (US only unless you are willing to pay the shipping outside the US) with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:

 

<a class=”rcptr” href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47138/&#8221; rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”b60e8d47138″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_t1jpke15″>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

 

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47138/?

 

Buy Links:

 

Publisher: https://www.otherworldsink.com/book/innovation/

Amazon eBook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08D2M9NXX/

Amazon Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08DSR7H1M/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/innovation-j-scott-coatsworth/1137348374;jsessionid=B6173CB4BC3505B7042A4C867C2A0DCD.prodny_store02-atgap07?ean=2940164607074

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1523783080

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/innovation-24

 

Author Bio:

 

120 authors contributed stories for this volume:

 

  • Adrik Kemp
  • Alex Silver
  • Alex Stargazer
  • Allan Dyen-Shapiro
  • Andi Deacon
  • Andrea Speed
  • Andrew Vaillencourt
  • Ava Kelly
  • Barbara Johnson-Haddad
  • Barbara Krasnoff
  • Beáta Fülöp
  • Benoit Lafortune
  • Blaine D. Arden
  • Bob Milne
  • Brenna Harvey
  • Brooke K. Bell
  • L. McCartney
  • Cassidy Frazee
  • Chet Gottfried
  • Chloe Spencer
  • Chris Bannor
  • Christine Wright
  • Christopher Koehler
  • Clare London
  • J. Clarke
  • M. Rasch
  • David Gerrold
  • Devon Widmer
  • Diane Callahan
  • L. Harrison
  • Romeis
  • D.E. Bell
  • M. Hamill
  • Edie Montreux
  • Elaine Burnes
  • Eloreen Moon
  • Emilia Agrafojo
  • Emma Johnson-Rivard
  • Eric Warren
  • Evelyn Benvie
  • Gareth Worthington
  • Ginger Streusel
  • Howard V. Hendrix
  • Needham
  • Zachary Pike
  • S. Garner
  • Jade Black
  • James Alan Gardner
  • Jamie Lackey
  • Jana Denardo
  • Jasie Gale
  • Jeff Jacobson
  • Jennie L. Morris
  • Jet Lupin
  • Jon Miller
  • Jonathan Fesmire
  • Joshua Ian
  • Julian Maxwell
  • Kitts
  • L. Townsend
  • S. Marsden
  • KA Masters
  • Katelyn Cameron
  • Kellie Doherty
  • Kevin Andrew Murphy
  • Kevin Klehr
  • Kim Fielding
  • Kitt Harris
  • Koji A. Dae
  • S. Reinholt
  • V. Lloyd
  • LC Treeheart
  • Lee Jordan
  • Lee Soeburn
  • Lou Sylvre
  • X. Kelly
  • Maria Zoccola
  • Mary E. Lowd
  • Mary Francis
  • Mary Kuna
  • Matt Doyle
  • Mere Rain
  • Milo Owen
  • Minerva Cerridwen
  • Naomi Tajedler
  • Nathan Alling Long
  • Nathaniel Taff
  • Nicole Dennis
  • Nina Kiriki Hoffman
  • Noah K. Sturdevant
  • Patricia Scott
  • Paul Uebler
  • E. Carr
  • L. Merrill
  • Raine Norman
  • Ray Lidstone
  • RE Andeen
  • Redfern Jon Barrett
  • Rory Eggleston
  • Rory Ni Coileain
  • Rosalie Wessel
  • S S Long
  • Sara Testarossa
  • Sean Ian O’Meidhir
  • Shannon Brady
  • Shannon Yseult
  • Skip J. Hanford
  • Stephen B. Pearl
  • Stephen J. Wolf
  • Steve Carr
  • Stone Franks
  • Stuart Conover
  • Susan James
  • Sydney Blackburn
  • T. Thomas
  • W. Cox
  • Tom Jolly
  • Val Muller
  • Warren Rochelle
  • William Tate
Posted in Anthologies, LGBT, Promo, Skip Hanford, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Seeing the Summer Triangle

 

timelapse photography of stars at night

Photo by InstaWalli on Pexels.com

 

     Seeing the Summer Triangle

by Jeff Baker

Some things are constant regardless of what is going on here on Earth. The Summer skies put on their ancient show no matter what. This evening, around eight p.m. as the sky’s blue was deepening after sunset, I stood in a parking lot near my house and watched bright Jupiter and dimmer Saturn climb the Eastern sky, looking like a set of barbells; or like the ultimate social distancers. (Mars will follow in a few hours!)

Surmounting it all, higher in the sky, becoming visible in the evening’s dimming light; the bright stars of the Summer Triangle. Not an official constellation, the pattern has been called by this name since the 1800s (popularized by H. A. Rey among others!) and has been a noticeable star pattern since the days when Ancient Chinese astronomers took note and wove a story of to separated lovers around it.

The Summer Triangle is made up of three bright stars; Altair, Deneb and Vega. Each part of other constellations in their own right, and a part of this obvious asterism (and Vega fated to be the North Star again in a few Millennia when the Earth’s Axis shifts a little more!) which has become a familiar friend to stargazers from navigators to backyard astronomers across the Northern Hemisphere.

As much a part of Summer nights as the sound of crickets and locusts.

 

—end—

Posted in Essay, Stargazing, Summer Triangle, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Progress Report—and News! August 14, 2020 by Jeff Baker

Wrote both the Friday Flash Fics story (which I had doped out in my head) and a poem which I sent off to The New Yorker!!

And then, totally by accident, I found that I had one of my Queer SciFi columns reprinted on the Amazing Stories website! A helluva credit! In fact, I’ve had several columns posted there! Wow!!!

Thats it for now!

Posted in Progress Reports, Uncategorized, Writing | 1 Comment

Pagoda Of Shadows; Enter At Your Own Risk! Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker. (August 14, 2020)

Pagoda

     The Pagoda of Shadows

By Jeff Baker

 

 

“The gods have condemned this place. The Spirits have fled. And you should too.”

The old man cast a backward glance at the tall structure. Familiar, slanted roofs, dark windows, somehow more dark than they should be.

“How long have you been here?” I asked.

“Fifty years,” the Old Man said. “Since my youth. As my Father and his Father and his Father and their fathers before me.”

“And you have no one to take over for you?” I asked.

“This place has driven away all that is good,” the Old Man said. “The only reason to be here is to destroy this place and send the evil back where it came from.”

“Destroy it?” I said.

“The only way to be rid of this invading abomination is to destroy the building. The earthly anchor that keeps it on this plane.” The old man shuddered. “To do so would risk your soul. Your very being.”

“I am called here,” I said. “I must enter. It is my duty to confront.”

The old man took a deep breath.

“You must lay down all weapons outside the threshold,” he said. “For only your own power can defeat what is inside this place. Only the light that is within you.”

I had only the sword, sacred to generations of my family. I set it down in front of the door. Then the Old Man and I bowed to each other. I removed my shoes and walked inside the pagoda.

There was no furniture in the large room inside. Just carpeting and cool air. And darkness. There were squares of light on the floor but the windows looked outside to pitch blackness, even there in midday.

I stood in the middle of the room and raised my arms to the ceiling. The squares of light began to swirl around the room; the shadows blended with them into tendrils, surrounding me, groping me. I rose into the air.

I laughed.

“Father,” I said. “I am home. We are one.”

The darkness began to expand outside the pagoda.

 

—end—

 

 

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