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  • Flash Fiction

    **a little piece I threw down on a challenge, as yet untitled. Suggestions and critiques welcome in the comments section.


    Straightening his spectacles, the man in the derby hat cleared his throat.

    Jasper looked up. "You startled me, Professor."

    "I am only checking in to see if our project is still on schedule."

    Jasper nervously glanced around the laboratory then back to his worktable. Schematics, gears, and tools littered the surrounding area. "Yes, Professor. I do believe we will be ready--and with time to spare."

    "Excellent work, Jasper. I'll be back on the 20th to give the presentation." The professor left the laboratory, and Jasper breathed a sigh of relief.

    One of these days, he's going to be shown for the fraud he really is, Jasper thought. This project had been one of Jasper's best ideas, a design he had sketched and altered over and over for two years until he felt it was finally perfect. Many of the parts he had invented himself, the remnants of his efforts scattered throughout the laboratory. The hydraulic system was a masterpiece of copper and brass, beautiful enough to be left exposed and tough enough to withstand the abuse the automaton was naturally going to endure. But the key feature was its unique "exploding" design: each major segment of the automaton was self-supporting and could function independently from the rest of the unit.

    Business moguls and governments worldwide were sending telegrams daily, keenly aware of the automaton's potential as replacements for humans in dangerous factories and mines, and on the fields of battle. Jasper’s childhood fancy was coming to fruition and was poised to change the world. As always, Professor Kinsberry was going to take all the credit.

    Or will he? A thought raced through Jasper's head, diabolical and delicious. As with any new invention, Jasper was creating two simultaneously, one as a control and one as a variable. This time, however, the control was in his basement laboratory at home. The professor wasn’t aware of its existence, or of the money missing from the project’s budget which funded the second automaton.

    He walked quickly to the cabinets to retrieve his collection of plans. About four revisions ago, he had discovered a weakness in the automaton's flexible joints. It had been a painstaking fix. Most of the newest hydraulic innovations came about to correct this flaw. All Jasper had to do was hide the newest revisions, and then undo the fix.


    Anonymous said...

    I like it, but coming up with a true title is tough since this is only a tiny piece of a larger story. You could continue the story at your leisure, this could be the first episode. As for a title, for now I suggest "The Future's Birth"


    Soo Mi said...

    I was a bit disappointed at how predictable it seemed to me after I wrote it. On the other hand, it was a challenge, not something I had given any thought to, and I was under the influence of mind-fogging meds.

    I have thought about cleaning up the beach piece from awhile back, adding more details on the setting, which seemed lacking.

    Anonymous said...

    But you have an opportunity to take this story in any direction. You are correct in that I would presume to know where it is headed, but you cut it off at a spot where you could take it any where.

    I suppose additional detail would be good for beach story but I think there was just enough for me close my eyes and be there. But I am a beach guy so I can imagine that setting rather easily.