Read part one of this story here
Raymond Flint – Aka Rational Ray – and his trusted robotic companion Spark are en route to New York’s Hall of Science in Queens, after a series of texts from Salma Rivera – Aka Reason Gal – had alerted our hero to the increasingly hostile protests going on outside the building. Although a number of prominent friends and colleagues from the world of science were attending a meeting inside, it was the safety of those on the outside that concerned him more.
Raymond Flint, known to millions from his radio shows and books as Rational Ray, walked to the window and gazed down at the milling crowds in the street outside his building. His once fairly secret address was now besieged by the legions of the dumb. Bearing crudely made signs and bellowing barely-literate nonsense, they had become a daily irritation in the life of this quiet and unassuming science advocate and former martial arts star.
To many of his fans he was something of a superhero, a label he rejected, on the grounds he was neither super, nor especially heroic, but they seemed to need him to be one, so he was rather stuck with it, for now. The tagline Bruce Lee with a PhD also made him cringe, but it had become a catchy slogan for many.
(See Procrastination Man’s first adventure here, and the start of this adventure here)
As the flat door bursts open two dark figures rush in yelling and blasting away with automatic weapons. Having already broken the ceiling light with their earlier fusillade from across the street, the room’s darkness gives our hero and his visitor a slight advantage.
Crouched behind the sofa, PM steels himself and waits for Harry’s command as the bullets fly around them. He wonders briefly if a person can overdose on their own adrenaline.
(If you missed them, see PM’s first adventure here & part one of this latest adventure here)
Procrastination Man is prepared for any eventuality as he opens the flat door to the mystery caller. Well almost any, he muses. A guy dressed as a moose and carrying a chainsaw would not be on the list of ‘things I’m prepared for’.
The man he finds standing in front of him is thankfully neither dressed as a moose nor wielding any tree-felling equipment. He does hold a white plastic bag that emits a rather pleasing aroma.
‘Harry Ha’ says the man, a smartly dressed chap of possibly British-Chinese origin. ‘Pleased to meet you. I thought you might fancy a bite to eat’.
The telephone interrupts our hero’s rather late breakfast, a past its use-by date pot noodle made with cold water and a glass of flat economy-brand cola. Must get the shopping done and replace the fuse in the kettle-plug he thinks, pulling a sour face.
‘Hello, Procrastination Man speaking, how may I help you?’
‘Yes, hello, I got your details from your website, although I first got through to the Somerset donkey sanctuary who gave me the correct number. They sounded quite annoyed actually’
‘Ah yes, been meaning to get that sorted…’
There are a number of formats for short and ultra-short fiction online. A while back I decided to experiment with ‘my own’ format – fifty-word fiction. I quickly discovered this is not a new format at all (big surprise) and has been around for quite a while.
I wrote these as exercises, curious to see what could be achieved in so few words. Some might potentially blossom into fully-fledged short stories. It was certainly a challenging and quite enjoyable exercise, less daunting than delivering several thousands of words strung together with some vague degree of coherence. Continue reading