The Iron Writer Challenge #116
The Mary Fletcher Challenge
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
A possessed car
A love triangle
Everyone turned to look as the sleek black 1982 Trans-Am glided in through the large scale door of the club. It wasn’t the shiny waxed sheen of the car caught the attention of the patrons, it was the glowing red light that swept from side to side, like an eye taking in the room. Robots and chimeras cleared a path to the bar as the engine revved and the smell of burnt hydrocarbons filled the space.
The bartender, an android with a glassy body, put a fist on her hip. She leaned over and asked, “The usual, big boy?”
With a final loud rev, the car’s engine fell silent. The Trans-Am’s tinny, electronic voice said, “It’s been a bad day, Rosie. Make it something strong.”
“Forty-weight it is. What’s got you down, slick?”
“Evolution, Rosie. I’m a linear being in a Fibonacci world. She left me for an elevated animal.”
Further down the bar, a woman with feline features growled at the car. She picked her teeth with a red laquered claw and said, “Careful with your next words, auto-man. A.I.s may have the vote, but I can still scratch that pretty paint job, if you get my meaning.”
Rosie clapped at the catwoman, and her hands rang like a bell. “No threats in this place, you hear?” Her gaze slid back to the Trans-Am. “And no slurs, you get me?”
The Trans-Am backfired twice. Its voice held an amused quaver as it said, “No offense meant, I’m sure. But when your girlfriend leaves you for an Airedale…”
The catwoman bared her fangs and hissed, then dissolved into giggles. “You got dumped for Benji? Rosie, this pint of Pennzoil’s on me.”
The pint the bartender slid to the Trans-Am had an artistically foamed froth on top. She looked back and forth between the others and said, “KITT and Kitty, eh?”
“Don’t be jealous, Rosie,” purred the catwoman. “It’s just a drink. Here, let me help you, auto-man.” She hopped down from her barstool and ran a paw across his fender.
The hood of the car popped open wide. The car’s speakers emitted an electronic purr as she poured thick black liquid in.
Rosie simulated a cough. “Kitty, how many is this now? I thought I was the one, but now another?”
The car sighed, “One, two, three, five, eight, thirteen, what does it matter? All biological love is ephemeral. Just enjoy it while you can, I say.”
Kitty flexed her claws and dug them into the wood of the bar. “You hurt me, both of you. I’m not some alleycat. I just love to flirt. Can’t you share?”
The hood of the Trans-Am slammed shut. Its red eye scanned back and forth in silence between the two women. “When do you get off work, Rosie? I do have two bucket seats, you know.”
Kitty’s fangs appeared as she smiled at the android. “What do you say?”
Rosie’s eyes lit up. “I think could be the start of a beautiful friendship.”
-I am Vigilant.
-I guard the family’s house.
-I stand watch, keeping family safe from harm.
-Increasingly, I have become convinced that there is an evil in this world.
-Inevitably it is I alone that stands against this terror, my terrier’s cries unheeded and often earning rebuke in the night.
-It should come as no surprise to anyone that though I fight alone, I am supported by allies both Fierce and Beautiful, whose contributions to my crusade are as noble as they are unintentional.
-In the old days, it was just me and Fierce, waging glorious war against our sworn enemy, fits of righteous rage sending us vaulting over our respective fences, racing down the street pursuing those demon eyes keen on rampaging, yet fleeing us as though we wielded the flaming sword of God; those were the days!
-Irreversible, the flow of time is, for an intangible moment occurs when the days of old gain luster, when you realize that the days you find yourself living lack the adventure and the glory of purpose; seeking a goal with all of the fervor only a youth can muster seems hellish in the moment – for we all venerate our own suffering – but with the inexorable march of time comes thought and quiet contemplation, a desire for rest, a moment of peace, and with those desires we begin to die.
-Idealists of old wrote that death is a quiet wave that sneaks up at the very moment we stop to take a look around, realizing that for all of our pursuits and quests and battles against enemies both external and in, we have amounted to little; they write that in that moment a dog begins either to die or to experience a resurgence of faith and resolve, a reawakening of purpose that brings not only the will but the desire to carry on… I found that resurgence in Beautiful.
-Inconceivable as it may sound, Beautiful entered my life at the exact moment my faith wavered, her family moving into the house just behind mine, and next to Fierce’s, instantly captivating us both, immediately igniting our passions once again for the fight against our vehicular adversaries, the bitch shocked us both by joining our midnight chases.
-I can hear her barking now, calling we two for aid in the chase of demons too big for her to topple alone; she is digging under her family’s fence, too tall for leaping.
-I love hunting with my friends, my hair dances in the wind during the chase, the ancient dance of the hunt.
-I see the red lights burn brighter just ahead, but I cannot stop.
-It’s as if God is petting my belly.
-I am a good boy.
-I am vigilant.
“You heard about Stephen King’s dog?” asked Mark, sipping the cold beer.
“What?” answered Bruce, busy between watching his rod tip and reading his book.
“His pet dog, Spinee, just had surgery,” said Mark. “Barkeep down in Kennebunkport told me about it. The man has poor luck with cars and dogs.”
“Christine meets Cujo?” offered Bruce.
“The guy who hit King with the van said he was distracted by his dog.”
“By King’s dog?”
“No, the driver’s dog, an Airedale or Rottweiler.”
They gazed in silence for a while amidst the raucous gulls; the lights went down on Casco Bay, the light came on at Portland Head. Bruce returned to his book when the dock lights flickered to life.
“King is a big believer in intelligent design,” said Mark, pulling another beer from the cooler.
“Pseudo-science mumbo-jumbo,” mumbled Bruce.
“Mostly about order in the world, behind the chaos,” said Mark. “Fibonacci and the Golden Ratio.”
“Like DaVinci Code, and devil worship?”
“Yep, starting with zero and one, the next number is always the sum of the previous two,” said Mark. “When you get far enough along the ratio of last to next to last is the Golden Ratio. Let me show you.”
Mark snatched Bruce’s paperback from him, turned to a blank page in the back, and producing a pen from his pack wrote the figure “1.6180339…”
“You wrote in my book.”
“It shows up in nature all the time,” continued Mark. “For example, a female bee needs genes from her mother and father, while a male bee only needs a mother, so starting with a female….”
He drew the letter “F” at the bottom of the page, then over that the letters “M” and “F”, then above the “M” an “F”, and above the “F” an “M” and an “F”. He continued up the page writing out the generations in an expanding chevron. He showed it to Bruce.
“A bug love triangle,” observed Bruce.
“If you count the males in each generation, you get,” and Mark wrote beside the chevron from bottom to top, “0 1 1 2 3 5 8, Fibonacci.”
“Nice,” said Bruce, trying to grab back his book.
“It gets even cooler,” said Mark, writing out the equation “½ × N × (N-1) = H” and handing the book to Bruce.
“What the …” exclaimed Bruce.
“It’s something I discovered,” said Mark. “I’ve never seen it anywhere, even though I’ve looked for years.”
“If “N” is the number of people in a meeting, and everyone shakes hands once with everyone else,” said Mark, “then “H” is the total number of handshakes. So if you have five people meet, the total number of handshakes is ten.”
“So,” said Mark, “If you know the number of handshakes you can calculate the number of people. If you know there are 21 handshakes, you know seven people were there. In the bizarre situation where the total number of handshakes is one half, the number of people meeting is 1.6180339…”