Part of this blog is fiction writing. Today I’m chucking out a 700 word piece of flash fiction. Written in one sitting, 15 minutes, out for your perusal. Gives me a chance to stretch my legs. Serious content resumes Thursday. Thanks for dropping by today.
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The quiver in my finger got worse with every passing moment. One hour and sixteen minutes into the training and I’d already conjured a functioning WWI Luger out of thin air. It sat at the edge of my field of vision, close enough to touch if I chose, far enough away to be outside my view if I averted my gaze.
We were now configuring ports on the unit. The instructor, an affable sort, was one of those guys who read the manual to train. Is there another way? Yeah, with the group in the room you give them the document and have them skim it before you deliver a lecture on theory and topology. Instead, he was moving the mouse down the screen and reading all of the commands, internet addresses, and check boxes for a device that would take hours to configure.
That left me with an ugly choice. Did I conjure ammunition for the Luger and use it, or did I slip out the back of the room and make a break for the parking lot. I could always claim that I’d had a stroke and didn’t remember leaving, but if I wanted it to look realistic I should at least drag a foot, drool, or fake some kind of slurred speech before I stumbled down the hall. My coworkers were so deep in their training stupor that they’d never even notice my departure. If they did, it would only be a vague memory that conflicted between all of them when management questioned them.
A decision would have to be made soon: we were configuring controllers on the ring and attaching the special fibers that allowed us to establish a stacking ring. Hollow point or ball ammunition? Poison coated or razor openings along the sides to allow fragmentation? This was a tough call.
Then it came to me. Not the Luger. No; conjure a portal in the room and escape to another dimension where I could hang out with Sam Spade and stroll around San Francisco on a hot summer’s morning. The Luger wavered in and out of reality, finally winking away with only a small spot left on the desk where some lubricating oil had leaked out of the chamber. It was a bad choice anyway; Human Resources would have frowned on that path.
Time to create the portal. The best option would be to make it a bifurcated experience. One window, up in the corner of my awareness where the class could continue, kind of like a post-it note on the upper part of your computer monitor. The rest of the portal would be a virtual reality experience where I could smell the spices in China Town, ride the cable cars, and see what Sam was up to this morning. Who knows, I might even get a chance to walk the halls of that fabulous hotel where The Fat Man had his suite.
My attention was drawn to the “navigation tree” that popped up on the screen. Only 84 pages left in the document. It was getting bad, I needed to form that portal quickly or get that Luger to conjure up again. I was busting out of here one way or the other.
I sat with my eyes fixed on the monitor in front of me and started to conjure the waterfront in San Francisco that I knew best. It was a rainy morning, wind whipping and salt heavy in the air as the gusts off of the bay captured spray from the waves smashing into the pier. The coffee in my hand was cold, the salt water taffy in my pocket sticky and damp. Not the portal I wanted.
I closed my eyes and sought a sunny afternoon in China Town. The first tang of pepper and duck was striking my nostrils when I heard it as clearly as the ring of a bell on a cable car: “OK, that covers the provisioning portion of the lesson. Let’s take lunch. See you in an hour.”
No portal needed, my Explorer was waiting in the lot and I was already sprinting up the stairs. San Francisco could wait, McDonalds was calling. I was free for the next 58 minutes.