The Iron Writer Challenge #135
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
Mamie Pound, Vance Rowe, Cassie Ray Clark
Stopette (see video above)
Dudley Do Right RCMP
A nagging spouse
A sick pet
Cassie Ray Clark
She cringed as she heard him walk in the door. Walking into the living room, kicking off his loafers with a huff, he says “How was your day? Did you solve the world’s problems? Wait, no, you didn’t, you filed papers all day, right?” And it begins. “Honey, how was work? Did you make contact this time?” I ask, hoping to diffuse this before the nagging becomes too much to bear. “No, Maya, I didn’t, just some random symbols on the computer. Those idiots working with me are a joke. I can’t be expected to perform while surrounded by morons, can I?”. Bending to pick up their sweet little pup, Maxi, Maya begins “Joe, I accomplished something today that will change this little girl’s world. I took Maxi to the vet and they said she wasn’t as sick as we thought. She has allergies, the fix is as simple as changing her food.” “Oh great” Joe said, exasperated, “How much is this fancy food going to cost?” “I’m not made of money, this mutt has been more trouble than she’s worth.” Setting Maxi down and turning, taking Joe’s hand, Maya replied “Joe, it’s fine, really. The food is only a few dollars more than the other brand. She’s so precious, she’s worth it.” “Here” Joe says, pulling away from her and tossing the laptop onto the couch. “Take this, maybe you can decipher the code and win the lottery since you’re so brilliant today!” Hanging her head, Maya realizes there’s no point trying. Picking up the laptop and her fluff ball, Maxi, she heads for the bedroom. At least I can hide here and watch some mindless TV while waiting for him to pass out, she thinks. She turns the TV to the oldies channel, catching the end of an old Dudley Do Right cartoon. That ‘ol Dudley cracked her up when she was a kid. It was going to take more than that to make her smile now. Picking up the laptop, she opens his file, hitting play on the coded file. Next up was an oldie commercial for “Stopette” some sort of deodorant they used back then. But it wasn’t the product that held her attention, it was the men. They were kind, upbeat, polite. Everything Joe wasn’t. Still listening to the codes, she says aloud “I wish Joe were kind and happy like these men, happy men, happy wives.” There was a loud beeping from the laptop, then a cracking sound and a flash of light. The file was gone. Then Joe comes busting in the bedroom. Startled, Maya wonders what’s wrong now. However, he was all smiles “hey baby, come here. How about I take my girl out for dinner, a movie?” Who was this? Why the kindness? Then she remembered the silly commercial and her wish. Could it be? Could he have made contact without realizing it? Did the code just change her life, her man? Maya ran to Joe, said “of course, darling, I’d love to go out.” It appeared that at least someone had made contact today. And she’d found her smile after all.
Filbert’s Calm and Joy
Filbert X9 plopped down on the overstuffed sofa and then heaved a large, stress relieving sigh. He closed his eyes for a moment and a little smile appeared on his wrinkled, dirty face. His blue coverall jumpsuit was almost all black from dirt, dust, ash and sulphur. X9 works in the Adamantium mines. Adamantium is a precious metal that is the strongest metal known to man and cyborg, so far.
A few moments later, he reached for the television hologram remote. Filbert then tuned into one of the retro channels and the cartoon starring that wacky mounted Police officer, Dudley Do Right.
“Do Right, why on earth are you wearing that dress?”
“It’s the only one that fit me right, Inspector Fenwick,” Do Right replied, with a straight face.
Filbert chuckled along with the laugh track. The Dudley Do Right cartoon had finished and the station went to a retro television commercial for Stopette Deodorant Spray.
Filbert laughed at the way the bottle operated.
“That looks like a sinus medicine,” Filbert snorted, while laughing. “Those crazy earthlings. It’s a wonder that they survived as long as they did.”
“FILBERT? FILBERT X9, ARE YOU HOME?”
Filbert’s feelings of calm and joy suddenly ended as his body just jolted to life. The laughter and smiles turned to winces and grimaces as if he was eating a sour lemon. Television and relaxation time was definitely over now.
Filbert’s wife walked in and saw him sitting on the couch in his dirty clothes and began to nag him about it.
“Filbert. You are making a mess there. Why can’t you just change your clothes when you come home and then sit down. Do you know how much it is going to cost to get that sofa cleaned now? Money doesn’t grow on trees anymore, Filbert. Filbert, you have to work some overtime this week because the spider from Mars is at the vet hospital. Poor baby, is sick and they are going to try and find out why. You also need to work the overtime to get this sofa cleaned Filbert. Filbert, are you listening to me?”
“Yes…yES…YES, FOR THE LOVE OF VORTEK, I AM LISTENING TO YOU!” An irritated Filbert lashed out with, as he got up off of the couch. He walked past her and said, “I wish they made a spray for you. They could call it…Nagette. I would spray it on you and you would disappear for up to twenty-four hours.”
“Yeah, I bet you do,” Filbert’s wife muttered out.
As Filbert began to walk up the steps to the bedroom, he stopped, turned and said, “Hey.”
His dejected wife turned and said, “What do you want?”
“I love you.”
“I love you too,” she replied with a smile on her face.
Suddenly, a feeling of calm and joy returned to Filbert and he liked it even better.
From the edge of the galaxy, a glowing light headed straight for earth, Atlanta to be exact.
The object caused 911 calls across the nation.
“It’s just light bending around a stretchy universe, an anomaly,” astronomers said.
“Missile tests,” said NASA.
The front page headline for the New York Times said, “Cloud Formations”.
Then the cable went out and fear spread like kudzu.
Humans fled underground, into subway tunnels, storm shelters and basements. They boarded up windows, hoarded food, and shot each other over 9-volt batteries.
Way down in Macon,Georgia, a family was waiting it out in a prepper’s shelter, 20 feet underground. It was already fully stocked with end-of-the-world accouterment. They’d been expecting this since 1998.
“Look, I got something on the t.v.,” the boy called to his mother.
“That thing hasn’t worked in 40 years,” she said, bending over to get a closer look. “Sometimes you can get a clearer picture if you adjust the dial,” she said and turned the knob a little to the right. Like magic, Rocky and Bullwinkle appeared in black and white. Dudley Do Right was helping a poor old lady with her sick cat. Junior sat cross-legged in front of the tiny screen, mesmerized. Commercials about cigarettes, Aqua Velva and Stopette echoed off the walls. Lucille Ball whined and mimed at the camera.
“Mark, do you have to walk around with that holster on all the time?” she asked her husband.
“Never know when you’re gonna need munitions,” he said, kicking back on a stack of bottled water. And soon enough, he too was entranced by 1950’s t.v..
Weeks turned to months, and they remained hidden among cases of canned beans and bottled water.
Dudley Do Right’s Canadian accent replaced their Southern drawl.
Then one day the lights went out.
“Gotta be the generator,” he said, “I’m going to adjust the solar panels.”
“Out there?” she said.
“No choice, Darlin,” he said.
“Dad, I want to help,” said a voice in the dark.
“Junior, you best stay here. No telling what’s up there,” he reached out and tried to find the boys shoulder. But before he could, daylight shot through the opening up top.
“Junior!” his mother screamed. But he was outside.
“Where is everyone?” Junior said.
“Probably still below, like us,” he said.
“Dad, does it seem darker to you out here?”
“Brighter than below,” he said.
His dad shielded his eyes against the noon sun, high overhead.
“There’s something blocking the sun, like a net, or a shield or something,” he said. “It’s as far as I can see.” They stood and turned around and around.
“The grass is gone, and the trees are withered,” she said, poking her head up through the opening.
“They’ve built a shield,” he said. “To keep us safe.” His voice was weary.
“It’s almost like black and white out here,” Junior said.
“At least we’re safe, son,” the dad said and the three of them retreated back into the earth.
The sun shone as bright as ever, but no one anywhere could feel its warmth.
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