January 21st, 2005


Fast Fiction 01.21.05

245 words by Stanley Lieber

Michael adjusted his cravat and stared the camera dead in the eye. The eye was dead. The eye was dead because as Michael stooped to retrieve a thousand off the ground, a round entered the iris of the camera and brought it's focus completely out of whack. Michael hadn't heard the shot, but was starting to notice something "not quite right" about the friendly little eyeball which normally winked in time with the plaza music. At once Michael repeated a common thought to himself that a hundred years ago, machines had the sand to complain verbally before they shut themselves down.

Others did hear the shot. Someone pushed between him and the teller machine, which set up a grand slam for another bustling shopper. Michael's papers and labels ended up everywhere, some of which seemed to have crawled under the rim of an automated security door, that, presently, came down like a piano cut loose from a dropship. The credit film!

On the ground again, Michael stopped trying to straighten his collar and turned to his watch, which promptly began barking at him, German syllables firing out from invisible stereoscopics in a shrill fugue that, frankly, was less pleasant than it had seemed in the showroom. The patterns of light played on Michael's cravat such that if he was deaf, or merely distracted, the shrill fugue could still get its point across.

Before long, Hometown Security showed up.


* license