Friday Fictioneers – Country Boy

(Author’s note: Still in the process of finding a job, but I am getting a bunch of looks. Hope to have something soon, even if it’s temporary. Gotta make money to spend money. Here’s tonight’s fictioneers!)

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© Jill Wisoff

Country Boy

by Miles H. Rost

“Get me outta here.”

Carl Baker wanted to go home. He wanted to be with his horses, apricot orchard, and all the things he loved.

His wife wanted to see the Big City. Rockefeller Center was the bullseye for the trip.

“Dang, honey. That building’s big.”

“It’s said that the family built it, then they sold it off.”

“Well, they kinda had to. After all, it was my family that cut them off in the depression.”

His wife looked at him strangely.

“Your family knew the Rockefellers?”

“We owned the bank. The Rockefellers were city slickers. Can we go now?”

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Friday Fictioneers – I Will Get To You

(Author’s note: Job hunting time is happening, which means that my current amount of blogging/storywriting will probably be what I get to. In Korea, if you’re an average teaching schlub, you have to renew your contract year after year. So, I am on the hunt for a new teaching job that gets me closer to Seoul. Otherwise, enjoy this piece that just popped into mind.)

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Enter a caption © Lucy Fridkin

I Will Get To You

by Miles H. Rost

“Do you remember the drill?”

Captain Paul Jacobson of the 27th Precinct grumbled at his makeshift partner, Captain Brock Kaplan of the NYPD Harbor Division.

“Get onto Government Island, get the girl, get out, no shots.”

“Do you remember what else you’re supposed to do?”

“Do you think this is my first rodeo, Kaplan?” Jacobson said, glaring hatefully.

Kaplan sighed as he gradually slowed the speedboat down. The plainclothes of the duo were covered in sea mist.

“This is my niece we’re talking about. And we’re not authorized.”

Jacobson looked down, shaking his head. Remembering his little Lisa, he steeled himself for the fight.

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Diamond Girls

(With thanks to Jamie Cross for inspiration)

Chelsea Paragovian, known to the rest of the world as Chelly Price, looked out the window at the brilliant lights of New York City. The twinkle of the skyline would be incredibly mesmerizing for a first-time girl in the big city. For someone who was there, it was a fading light that reflected the fading spark in her spirit.

Chelly Price was the main attraction for the new millennial musical movement, up there with the Demi Lovatos, Victoria Justices, and others of their ilk. Her first album, made when she was just 17 and a newbie in New York City, had gone platinum within 6 months. She was a hot commodity, and the various backing bands loved having her up front to bring the numbers in. After the concerts, she would swing through the party circuit. Sleep through the day, party all the night, press the flesh at music signings and celebrity appearances on TV shows.  Her second album didn’t do as well, but did hit gold within 9 months.

As she looked at herself in the mirror, as the sun came up on that September morning, she finally caught the realization of everything she had been doing. The lines on her face, the premature worry-lines, the stress and the wear of the road was finally getting to her. She had success, she had the money, but she had nothing else.

She had one person left who could bring her back to earth.

She held onto the cell-phone, the flat phone that kept only the most important numbers. She clicked through the hundreds of contacts until she found the one that she was looking for, listed under the letter Z. It had the name “Zero Hour” on it, and she knew that when she called the number, things would never be the same. She clicked the entry, and waited.

One ring. Two rings. Three rings.  *Click*

“Hello?”

“It’s me.”

“Chelsea? Sweetie? Is that you?”

“Yeah, Daddy. It’s me. I’m sorry for calling you so early. I know that it’s probably the middle of the night over there…”

She heard a big yawn from the other side of the phone, and started to yawn as well.

“No, no, sweetie. It’s alright. I haven’t heard from you, it’s been so long. So, how is New York treating you?”

“It’s…it’s…it’s alright, I guess.”

“Is there something wrong, sweetie?”

Chelsea hesitated. She knew that if she said the wrong thing, it could doom her future. She believed that if she said something, that it could come to fruition in ways that were never meant to be.

“I looked in the mirror.”

“What did you see?”

“I saw lines. I saw myself as tired.”

“How long have you been doing this stuff that you’ve been doing?”

“2 years. I am due to go into the studios here in the next month to record the third record.”

“What do you think? Do you think you have enough for another one?”

“They keep supplying me with songs, but they’re not really that good. I really want to expand my horizons.”

“Do you remember what I told you when you first left on that midnight plane to New York?”

“You told me that diamond girls aren’t made to grow old.”

“Do you feel old?”

“I look old. I feel tired. But, I know that there’s a spark still in my heart. I just don’t think it’s here.”

She chuckled, thinking that it was silly she was having this discussion with her dad, who was a simple wood-mill worker, not a big entertainment man.

“Maybe what they’re asking of you is not what you want. Have you thought much about what you want to do?”

Chelsea paused. Have I really thought about it? she asked herself, in her mind.

“I am not sure. I am thinking about leaving the parties and the other stuff behind. Maybe refocusing my music, in a way?”

“Honey, whatever you plan to do, I’m behind you 100 percent. Did you hear about Bernie Griffin?”

“Big Bernie? The guy who slung the slats?”

“Yeah. He got drafted by the Dodgers. He’s heading to Florida, I think. He’s gonna be in the minors now.”

“How did he get into baseball?”

“When you saw him last, he was on the high school team. He was at a company baseball gathering, and some guy saw him. Put his name in with a scout, who saw him work, and signed him almost on the spot.”

“Wow. Who would have thought?”

“People thought the same thing about you, Chelsea. They didn’t realize that you were being picked up for a recording contract. A 3 record deal was a big thing for the people around here.”

Chelsea thought about that for a moment, seeing herself like Bernie, and chuckling to herself.

“What I’m trying to say to you, Chelsea, is that you need to do what you think is right. Diamond girls aren’t made to grow old, and you’re my diamond girl. If you think that going a different direction will be a good thing, then trust in what your heart is saying.”

“Daddy, I just need time away from this city. I want to come home for a while.”

“Your bed is ready when you need it. We love you and support you, and if you want to come back at any time, just give us a heads up so we can pick you up at the airport.”

Chelsea started crying right there, on the phone. She knew what she was going to do, and it may have to mean paying the price of her soul with her career.

Out Of The Blue

Out Of The Blue
by Miles Rost

I wanted to see history, and I got more than I bargained for.

One of the biggest problems with schools in this day in age is that you can’t actually see history happen. That’s what happens when you’re being educated on a space station somewhere between Jupiter and Uranus. You can see some things happen, but they’re so miniscule that if you blink, you miss it.

It’s 2115, and I’m sitting in another boring history class. We talk about the 21st century and the 20th century, with theories about how and why everything went wrong. We hear about how our grandparents from Russia, the then United States of America, China, a united Korea, and India, all got together to start colonizing other planets. That was 2020. And in almost 95 years, we’ve been able to expand all the way out here. However, Earth went all wrong. It went sideways, and descended into madness just after people started moving to the Moon.

They never tell you when in history, the precise moment when everything went wrong for the world. They never tell you about the moment when something pinged, and the start of the fall occurred.

That’s why I decided to do something about it. Brilliant little me decided to create the first watch to warp the space-time continuum, to go back and observe periods of time. I don’t know what people are taught, but time isn’t as ball-shaped or timey wimey as people think.

It was October 9th, 2115 when I made the first jump. I programmed it into an important period of time in the 21st century. However, to quote an ancestral singer named Phil Collins, “something happened on the way to Heaven.” It took me farther than I cared to go, and it took me to a scene that I never wanted to see or go to.

I materialized at Park Pier 40, in New York City. It was a beautiful sight, a clear day that I can very much remember. I looked at my watch to see where I ended up.

8:45AM, Tuesday, September 11th, 2001.

I looked up at the sky, to the south, and I heard the great engines of what my teachers called an airplane. Before my eyes, within a minute, I saw the plane slam into a building.

I remember seeing this in news-snippets that they’d show us in class, but I really didn’t understand the impact until I could see it for myself. What I saw shocked me to the core, as seeing it in person is much more sense-based. I stood there for an hour, watching the second plane fly into the other tower, and both of them collapsing.

I suspected, however, that there was more to the story than a terrorist attack. That the reason for Earth’s complete breakdown of civilization was not held in the three buildings and 4 planes that were used to kill thousands of people and start a major factional divide between spheres of influence.

I was about to program my way back home, when I noticed a weird light on my watch. I looked, and before I could press anything, the whole entire landscape that I saw warped around me and twisted into a sort of vertigous mess of colors. I blacked out, as my mind just couldn’t process all the stuff going through it. I woke up sitting in a park, in a very green city, looking at people milling around. It wasn’t New York, I could tell you that much.

I walked around for a few minutes, to get my bearings and see if I could find a newspaper or something with a date on it. As luck would have it, I found what they called a newspaper kiosk at the corner of the park. I walked up and looked at the main newspaper. I apparently landed in Seattle, Washington, on November 25th, 1991. The paper, something once referred to as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, had for a sideline “Seattle’s Nirvana breaks top 10.”

I mused to myself that a musical band or event would like not be what ends up breaking the Earth 40 years in the future. Still, I looked at the people. Unlike 2001, the people in 1991 were a little jumpy but not really like the 2001 folks. They seemed to have a lot more hope in their eyes, though it seemed like there was a little fade. So, I spent the next 4 hours watching people and enjoying real Earth foods. Coffee was something I liked, but to actually have it brewed right there was a feat of awesomeness that I don’t think I could ever believe.

After the four hours were up, I was walking around when I heard a beep from my watch. I looked down and it was glowing red again. Uh-oh, I guess that coffee was going to come up after all. Again, a major vertigous spin occurred and I felt like a cat inside a washing machine. Until I landed, face first, onto a concrete sidewalk.

I looked up and I noticed that everything was clean. Really clean. The cars were very weird looking, they actually had a boxy definition and were very distinctive. I looked around, and recognized a landmark from where I was standing. I recognized the bright white of the Coit Tower in the distance, realizing that I was in San Francisco.

I looked around the area, and saw a newspaper that was rolled up in front of a storefront. It looked to be around 9AM or so, on a bright day, and so I decided to take a peek. The date landed me on April 17, 1946.

Wait. 1946?!?!

Nothing happened at ALL on this date. I scrambled around the area, looking for some indication that something big was going to happen. I passed a bookstore along the way down the street, but something inside told me to stop. It told me to stop and go back. I went back to take a look at the bookstore I had passed, as my gut was saying “You wanna know? Here ya go.” I looked all throughout the entire window display that was up and I saw a book, seemingly innocent and just sitting there. A small card underneath said “The latest for the home, to take care of the family.”

After I saw the title of the book, everything suddenly clicked. The start of the decline of Earth’s civilization didn’t start with a terrorist attack, or a musical interlude. It started with 4 words and 1 name:

It was called “Baby and Child Care”. The author was Dr. Benjamin Spock.

I looked at my watch, after it made a slightly different sound. This time, it glowed green. I knew that my adventure would come to an end, and the answers that I found were going to be unbelievable. However, I happen to think that I will finally be able to get an A on my history paper, and make some people question everything they know.

I just pray that I don’t get stuck somewhere on the way back.

Holding Back The Years

by Miles Rost

An old radio in the background of the bedroom was playing a quaint little song as Silvia Montgomery sat in front of her mirror. The head of the old money Montgomery family, she was an elegant lady who dealt with things bluntly. Sometimes too much so, such as the case of firing the head of the Montgomery Foundation in front of a televised audience.

She pulled a brush through her silky shoulder-length silver hair, as she counted the number of wrinkles on her face. She was pushing 55, and the stress of being the heiress of one of the biggest charitable foundations in the Western Hemisphere didn’t help much. The mirror betrayed this fact like a tattling child.

She put on her favorite earrings, the ones that got her notice with people. She looking in the mirror and smiled. It was a fake smile, to be sure, but she needed to keep up the appearance that she was a powerful force to be reckoned with. Wearing a long and black dress that hid the cellulite and the age in her previously envy-provoking legs, she took one last look before standing and pulling on her black arm-length gloves.

Grabbing her purse from the edge of the dresser, she slowly walked out of her room and down the ornate stairs of her palatial estate in rural Rockland County. She reached the bottom of the stairs, and looked around for her husband, real estate mogul Howard O’Connor. As she turned to look towards his study, where he spent most of his days instead of with her, she saw him walk out with a bored look on his face.

“How much longer are we going to have to keep this up, Silvia?” Howard asked her, “I really believe I need to get moving on with life.”

“The papers are being drawn up as we speak, they should be ready within the month,” she replied, looking straight forward with an Anjelica Huston-like smirk on her face.

The same song that was playing in her bedroom also played on the radio in the hallway downstairs. A song that neither of them cared for, but was quite appropriate for their current situation.

They looked at each other one more time, and they both walked out to the limousine that was waiting to take them into New York City. A charity affair featuring many of New York’s most wealthy was occurring, and it was one of the last places that Howard and Silvia needed to go to.

The drive down from the outskirts of New City into the bowels of the West Side was boring at best and tense at the worst. Howard sat with his hands on his Blackberry, sending off notes about new real estate holdings in Buffalo and Detroit that could net him some cash. Silvia looked out the windows, with a bored look on her face. She loved looking up at the buildings and the neighborhoods that were her home for such a long time in the past. The same drive, with no passion or love in her life, it showed a side of her that she didn’t really like.

The limousine pulled up in front of the center where the charity auction and ball were to be held. Howard and Silvia looked at each other, sighing at the difficulty of the display they would have to show. They then both smiled at each other, trying to put forth their best loving face, and proceeded out of the limousine. With the cameras flashing and the smiles going around, the couple walked up the stairs of the Benoit Center for the Performing Arts, and proceeded to meet with major donors and public officials.

After a while of putting on the airs, as everyone started to settle down, the couple separated themselves and proceeded to do what they usually did at events like this: Howard would work his way to the bar, find a couple of real estate minnows, and try to pry information from them by plying them with liquor, while Silvia would go around to the different tables and chat for a minute with people and get the information that would be useful to her bids down the line.

She would reach the table where she was supposed to be seated for the dinner, and put down her purse. She sat down, and sighed at the amount of effort that she had to put forth.

“It’s hard having to talk to people when some of them don’t even care for you,” she said aloud to herself, reaching for the bottle of champagne in the middle of the table and pouring herself a flute.

“I don’t usually care for most of them, myself. But, that goes with my territory.”

She whirled her head around and stared into the eyes of someone who she never usually saw at these charity functions. Someone who bore a stony frame, but had a simple and refreshing look in his eyes.

“I wonder how I got the same table as the New York City Police Commissioner. I never usually get law enforcement where I sit,” she said, with a little shock in her voice.

“I think the organizer put the folks who weren’t as happy to be here with each other. How are you doing, Silvia?” the commissioner said, looking at her from through spectacles he never really wanted to wear.

“Judging by what has been said so far, I think you’ve read me pretty well.”

“I’m trying to make my show of support here, at the behest of the mayor, then I am going to get out of here.”

“I wish I could join you.”

“You should wait until your divorce from Howard is final.”

She looked at him, with wide eyes.

“How did you…”

“…you know how I know.”

Silvia blinked for a second, then she shook her head with a slight smile.

“Your daughter. The ADA. She’s connected with the major attorneys.”

She smiled for the first time, genuinely, as she looked at the commish.

“I now realize why you’re so good at your job.”

“Really? Maybe you could tell me, because I still am wondering how I was convinced to take this job.”

Just as she was about to answer, a broad-shouldered man walked up to the table, and smiled.

“Ah, seems like you two are having a conversation. I’ll leave you.”

“No need, Barrett. Are we free to go?”

“Your obligation has been met.”

He stood up and gave her a mustachioed smile.

“You know where to find me when things are done.”

The commissioner walked away, as Silvia looked on in wide-eyed wonder.

“This shall be interesting indeed…” she said to herself, a sly look in her eyes. She downed the rest of the flute of champagne and poured another glass, thinking of the steely police commissioner of the Five Boroughs.