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Six Further Flash Fiction Pieces
by Barry Ergang


"I need to get away from the base," Corporal Billingsley said. "Let's hit a bar in town."

When they were seated in a booth and had drinks in front of them, Billingsley sighed disgustedly. "I pulled a waste assignment."

"What's that?" Krale asked.

"Guarding nuclear and biochemical waste products from terrorists."

"Hazardous duty?"

"Boring duty. We ought to get tedium pay."

"That bad, huh?"

"All you do is sit in a room and watch a monitor, or patrol the outside of the facility looking for suspicious activity."

"Sounds pretty cushy."

"It's brain-numbing. Waste is a terrible thing to mind."

Published at Flashshot April 7, 2006



"Are you trying to ruin us?" the butcher demanded. "We've had a spotless reputation in this community for sixty years."

"Spotless?" With insouciant innocence, Chuck looked down at his stained apron.

The butcher pointed a tremulous finger at the young man. "That's what I mean--you and the wisecracks. You insulted a customer!"

"I only said with the size of her butt, she oughta be buyin' a rump roast. Then I asked if she wanted a pork roast, too."

"Exactly. Two times you were discourteous to her."

Chuck gestured dismissively. "I was kiddin' around. The roast man always zings twice."

Published at Flashshot February 10, 2007



"The customers are raving about the filet mignon, sirloin, T-bone and porterhouse," the butcher said. "What'd you do?"

"Marinated them," Chuck said, "in ground marijuana and hashish in olive oil. Extra virgin, of course."

"Are you crazy? That's illegal!"

"Not if we don't tell 'em. I won't if you won't."

The butcher shook his head incredulously. "Why would you do such a thing?"

"To differentiate us from every other butcher shop and supermarket out there," Chuck answered. "To distance us from the competition. It's a tough business." He smiled at the refrigerated display case. "The steaks are high."

Published at Flashshot May 21, 2007



"The one I like best is from Franklin Shick," Dawson said, pointing to a scale model on the table.

Wilmot, his partner, gasped. "You want to let Shick design a Las Vegas hotel?"

"Why not?"

"Eight years ago, Shick designed a development of modern--and expensive--luxury houses just outside of London."

"Well, look at how sleek and modern his model is," Dawson said.

"The houses were structurally unsound and literally fell apart within a few years."

"Are you serious?" Wilmot nodded grimly. "If you give him the job, our hotel will be built like a Shick Brit house."

Published at Flashshot April 27, 2007 



Peaceful, and desirous of commerce with other worlds, the dolphin-like denizens of the oceanic planet Piscinius were anathema to men's--and most aliens'--eyes. The snaky appendages that grew from their skulls made them hideous and, unwitting Gorgons, they turned their beholders to stone.

After three members of his team succumbed to the Piscinians' unintentional petrifaction, aqua-botanist Marlon Turbot discovered an indigenous flower, the distilled essence of which provided a serum the Piscinians injected to render themselves harmless to other beings. Their Prime Minister, the Duke of Manatee, subsequently established cordial relations with the Planetary Union.

When a plague erupted on Ungualium, threatening all life, the PU's president summoned Turbot and asked, "Will your serum cure this species?"

"No, sir. My medicine is strictly for Medusanal porpoises."

Published at Litbits December 2, 2007



"What're you thinking?" the resort owner demanded. "I ask for a first-class chef and you hire a race-car driver."

"Retired race-car driver," his president of operations said, "who's studied at some of the world's finest culinary institutes."

The owner snorted. "Yeah--he'll give the customers gas, right?"

"The customers'll be revved. Racing's popular all over the world. Drivers are superstars--including our boy. The novelty's a great shift for us because we can advertise a five-star restaurant featuring a dual-celebrity chef." He snapped his fingers. "We could rename the restaurant Grand Prix!"

"Which of you do I spin out of here first?"

"Neither. At least, not till you've lapped the fare. You don't know heaven till you've tasted his Lamb Borghini."

Published at One-Screen Stories March 15, 2008