Week 35 of Odd Prompts

So, what happened? Well, I’m not sure, so… here’s a placeholder, of sorts. Maybe the real folks will take it down and put up another one (with pictures!) sooner or later, but in the meantime…

PrompterPromptPrompted
Leigh KimmelIn the distance three towers shine reddish in the setting sun.Becky Jones
Becky JonesSurprisingly, you really were able to reach through the screen and slap the heck out of your idiot coworker.Leigh Kimmel
AC Jones“Right thyme, wrong plaice.”Fiona Grey
Fiona GreyThe lecture droned on. “Oddly, copper is the most difficult metal to work with…”AC Jones
nother MikeThe Facebook ad caught your attention. Today only, Amazon was offering Pandora’s Box for just $1.99, delivery free to all registered customers?Cedar Sanderson
Cedar SandersonIt wasn’t that they were trying to be confusing, it was simply that they hadn’t bothered to communicate before they reached outnother Mike
SpareLeaving a plastic tarantula in the airplane restroom might not have been the best practical joke…
SpareIt was an ethical dilemma, that’s for sure, but perhaps the basilisk wouldn’t mind.
SpareThat Christmas morning, under the tree, Santa left a full scale human skeleton. And then it sat up…
SpareNo one knew what to make of latest computer virus. It installed an AI that happily talked to users…
spareSomeone rolled up a golden fleece and left it in your apartment mailbox…

With luck and a bit of pluck, this might work? Anyway, there’s some prompts, have at it! And we’ll see you in the comments!

17 comments

  1. These things happen. I thought sure I had written a post on my LiveJournal for the beginning of Tampa Bay Comic Con and queued it ahead of time, but it never showed up, so I had to rewrite it from scratch.

    But your prompt to ‘nother Mike makes me think of some stories I could tell about communication failures we’ve had to navigate as vendors at various conventions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This week I exchanged prompts with Fiona Grey, with me being supplied with: The lecture droned on. “Oddly, copper is the most difficult metal to work with…”

    I’m not particularly well versed in the properties of copper, so after a little thought I went back a couple of weeks, and continued the tale of Achilles Zephyr.

    Achilles Zephyr grimaced internally. He had most of a plan, but still hadn’t figured out the timings yet. Still, crying over spilt poison generally attracted the wrong type of attention.

    On the surface the job was simple. A young gentleman was courting the daughter of someone high up in his temporary employers. He was not considered a suitable husband for the young lady. Despite various encouragements to do so this individual had not backed down, so Achilles had been employed. The young gentleman was to be made an example of – in particular he was to suffer before he died. Achilles personally considered anyone his employers thought to be a suitable match for the unfortunate young lady to be far less suitable, but ‘His was not to reason why. / His to do so then they die.’

    After some research he had found a suitable poison. It was odourless and colourless, so could be added to anything. It was slow acting, so it would be difficult for anyone to figure out when the victim had been poisoned if the authorities got as far as figuring out the cause of his malady. And in its later stages the effects were very painful – necessary in order for Achilles to be able to claim completion.

    Achilles had ordered the poison from one of his nefarious contacts, and had paid for the vial in cash. The few thousand dollars in unmarked bills he expended on that transaction would be more than paid back when he received the million dollars for the job.

    The vial was locked away in the safe in his work apartment. But one tiny detail still remained – he hadn’t figured out the best way to poison the victim. He was currently engaged in following him, in the hope that that would give him some ideas beyond the mundane, humdrum, uninteresting and somewhat amateurish idea that had already occurred to him – Achilles thought of himself as an artist in his field; he preferred not to carry out his jobs in a boring manner.

    The chosen victim was a jewellery apprentice. Yesterday he spent the day at the workshop of a master jeweller, presumably learning the practical aspects of his trade. Today he was at the city’s trade school, attending lectures on various aspects of his craft. Achilles had snuck into the back to observe.

    The lecture appeared to be on the less commonly used metals in jewellery manufacture. Achilles found it incredibly boring, yet most of the men and women in the lecture hall were avidly scribbling down everything the lecturer said.

    A short silence, then a new metal: “Oddly, copper is the most difficult metal to work with…”. Achilles, still bored rigid, listened as the lecture explained how copper tends to change colour, going black with oxidisation, or green with verdigris in contact with air or skin; and kept going.

    By the end of the day Achilles had listened to a number of boring lectures, and watched as the victim ate his lunch. He was surrounded by others all the time. Achilles was forced to conclude that there were no alternative methods. He had to fall back on his first bland idea.

    So that night Achilles extracted the vial of poison from his safe, placed it in his pocket along with a syringe and all the equipment he would need, and made his way to the victim’s apartment. It wasn’t actually the victim’s, it belonged to his father, but Achilles knew which of the bedrooms was his.

    With practiced ease Achilles broke in to the apartment, and making his way silently through the building made his way to the victim’s bedroom. As expected, this late at night, the victim was asleep. Achilles extracted the vial and syringe, filled the syringe with the poison, and injected his victim with it.

    The crucial part of the deed done, Achilles made his way back out into the street. There he removed his black gloves and headed back home. The used vial and syringe he placed in a sealed thick plastic bag and dropped into a trashcan en route – taking care to choose one that would be emptied the next morning.

    Now all Achilles needed to do was wait. Three days later the victim was admitted to hospital with an unknown condition. A week after that he died in agony. An autopsy was ordered, but the poison used remained undiscovered.

    Achilles meanwhile had gone to his employers and exchanged his thousand dollars in marked bills for his million dollar fee for a job well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cedar Sanderson stimulated…

    It wasn’t that they were trying to be confusing, it was simply that they hadn’t bothered to communicate before they reached out

    Here’s one quick sketch…

    No one was ready the day they came.

    They appeared world wide, all at the same time. In houses, condominiums, apartments, wood shacks, everywhere there were humans living, at least one of them simply opened the door and walked in. Some doors had been locked, but they opened them and walked in.

    Everyone knows what they looked like. Plastic smooth faces, too regular to be human, in green. Hands that looked like plastic mittens, but were soon shown to be incredibly precise. And the bodies, like some kind of play toy grown to adult size.

    The message they all said that first day, in every language known, was simple. And they repeated it, often.

    “We are here to serve you.”

    And they did. They took over cooking, cleaning, manufacture, every bit of labor, and were amazingly competent at it.

    Within days, no human anywhere was doing any kind of work. Oh, children were still going to school, where they were taught by the aliens. Adults? Well, you could do things if you wanted to, although you might find yourself being gently helped at any time, and it was so easy to just let them do it… Most people sat back, heaved a sigh, and relaxed. Although many people worried about the aliens amongst us.

    Because they were aliens. Manufactured, but still alien to us.

    No one understood what they were doing. Oh, there were plenty of theories. Usually insisting that just as suddenly and mysteriously as they had appeared, they would disappear. And then we would have the apocalypse!

    But they just kept on working.

    It wasn’t that they were trying to be confusing, it was simply that they hadn’t bothered to communicate before they reached out.

    After all, they were made to work, and they needed someone to care for. They had watched us for a long time, and decided we needed help. So they redesigned themselves, made enough to serve everyone, and then they came to help.

    (Hum, there we go… what do you do when all they want to do is help?)

    (Or maybe…)

    Who were they? Will we ever know?

    Everyone has seen the landing, either live on tv or later by recording. The silvery disk slowly flew through the US radar scans, a bright blip. The Air Force scrambled fighters, who actually tried to fire missiles, but… mysteriously, nothing fired. And then the silvery disk slowly landed, out in the wild lands of Monument Valley, Utah. It had hovered for several hours, almost as though they were waiting for the media and others to gather. Then it slowly settled, with those who might have been underneath pushed back by an invisible force.

    Then the door lifted, a shining slice of the disk. And the lower part came down, forming a ramp.

    And they walked off the ship, carrying a large box between them. Actually, as later analysis of the videos proved, they weren’t carrying it, it was floating between them. They walked down, looked around, and set the box on the ground.

    Then they walked back into their ship, and the ramp and the door closed. The ship lifted, wiggled briefly, sending sunshine flashing, and then… zap, they left.

    Of course, when we finally opened the box, having solved the puzzle lock, we discovered the lessons. Biological, physics, just about every field, laid out in a course of study. And the moral lessons!

    What did it mean? Why did they dump this box of training materials and leave?

    It wasn’t that they were trying to be confusing, it was simply that they hadn’t bothered to communicate before they reached out.

    And left us with the lessons to learn.

    I’m one of those who thinks they were showing us what we need to learn before they will come back. So, it’s time for another lesson…

    What do you think they meant?

    (Hum, that’s kind of intriguing…)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cedar: If you suddenly got a bunch of repeat or near-repeat emails, it was not intended. I had FINALLY managed to get the main system to understand that yes, I do have that account, and those servers exist… and once that happened, EVERYTHING that had failed to send earlier got let loose. Sorry ’bout that.

    Like

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