Tuesday’s Tale, 8/15/17.

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Surprise! I’m actually a bit early today, for me and blogging at least. I’ve got my coffee, got my solitude, and got my health for the moment. All that means it is officially writing time. So five minutes on the clock and away we go!

The only correct way to go was down, conversely. This he knew; while the gases would travel down and the ash would settle after, if he was fast enough he could take the subway and outrun both.

He had known, in the back of his mind, that he would fight all along. That’s why he headed for his car first.

The small bag wasn’t much, but under proper circumstances, it could save his life. He really should have taken it with him to the office, but it had spent years in the trunk of his car, gathering dust, out of sight and mind.

He didn’t waste time brushing the dust off.

Leaving the car, he jogged awkwardly toward the subway station, less than a block away.

And that is that. Total time elapsed is the full five minutes. By now I bet all of you have guessed “disaster movie” – but what kind? Anyone know? I assure you, it’s a specific one that could actually happen.

At any rate, see you next week with the next installment!

Tuesday’s Tale, 8/1/2017.

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Alright, late night, got my coffee, my dog is asleep and I’m not. Time to get some writing in. Five minutes on the clock and away we go.

He was on his third straight pot of coffee and his secretary had long since gone home. He had told her before she left; she was efficient and pleasant to be around and deserved a fighting chance.

She had looked at him, then burst into tears and fled. He wished her well.

It was his second day with no sleep, and the phone numbers were beginning to blur. His cell had long since failed, it;s battery drained. The last call had been to his wife. The mother of his son also deserved a fighting chance, fairness be damned.

He was on the phone, reiterating to some small town local police chief in Texas he hadn’t caught the name of that, yes, the order to evacuate was legitimate and it was time to leave even if he had to lead his entire town across the border into Mexico when it happened.

He felt the shaking through his feet, and even if he hadn’t, the pictures falling from the walls would have given it away. His phone call abruptly cut off.

Can anyone guess yet? If so let me know. Total time spent, four minutes 58 seconds. See you next week!

Tuesday’s Tale, 7/25/2017.

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Well, no one guessed. That’s fine because I have another installment regardless. I’m not sure this one will clear anything up yet, however. Another five minutes on the clock, and away we go!

“Sir, you need to evacuate. It’s a plan Zeta situation.”

At first, he was calm. “Evacuate what, the city?”

“No sir,” Smith answered. “You need to evacuate the country. And you also need to inform Canada to start their Zeta protocol as well.”

“It’s… that? Not just a dirty bomb threat?”

“Yes Mr. President, I’m afraid so.”

“Not a drill or a sick joke?”

“No, Mr. President,” Smith replied. “I’ve been over the data sent to me twice now. I can forward it….”

“But time is wasting. Alright, forward the data and then focus on the western seaboard. I’ll notify our allies and get all the balls rolling.”

“Thank you, Mr. President.”

“If this turns out to be a false alarm, you’re going to be drilling ice cores in Alaska.”

“If this is a false alarm, Mr. President, I’ll be happy to.” The phone went dead and Smith eased it back on the cradle before pulling out his cell and starting to speed dial his list.

There would be death, regardless of what he did, but seconds mattered.

And there we have it! Anyone have an idea of what’s going on now? Let me know if you do, and see you next week!

Tuesday’s Tale, 7/18/2017.

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Anyone care to guess where this is going?

At any rate, five minutes on the clock and away we go –

“How certain are you?” Mr. Smith asked as soon as Jenkins had left.

“Better than eighty percent,” Jones replied, clenching his hands.

“Evacuation plans?”

“Not for anything this big. We have some idea, but….”

“Do what you can. Start setting it all in motion, on my authority, and I’ll sign off on whatever you need.”

It won’t be enough, Jones thought; it won’t be nearly enough.

“What are you doing? Quit wasting time! get out of here and start calling. I’ll do the same from my end.”

“And the president?” Jones asked over his shoulder as he lunged for the door.

“I’ll let him know. You do what you can, you’re covered.”

“Yes, sir,” Jones said. The door closed and Mr. Smith fell into his chair.

“We’ll all do what we can,” he told the empty room.

And that’s where I have to stop… because have you ever had your dog come to you, whining, needing to go out RIGHT NOW? Because that just happened, and so I lost two minutes. Sorry, but there are no restarts on this train, we roll down the tracks with what we have. See you next week, and if you have a guess on where this is going, feel free to let me know.

Tuesday’s Tale, 7/11/2017.

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Alright, I’ve been missing some time. I’ve no excuse for it, and I apologize. But I’m back now and ready to go. So, five minutes on the clock and a new tale to tell:

He abandoned all pretense of control and dignity, hurrying down the hall at the best run his aged legs could offer him.

He drew stares of course, but they were pointless now; meaningless. He paid them as little mind as he did the secretary who was even now rising from her seat with a half-hearted “Mr. Jones, you can’t go in there, he’s in a meeting! Mr. Jones!”

He was indeed in a meeting, with a young man who still had the glow of idealism on his cheeks. For a murderous moment, Mr. Jones envied that young man.

He shut the door as the two fell silent; then closed the distance remaining to the old man who had risen straight-backed from his large chair, and bent to whisper in one gray swaddled ear.

Mr. Jones took some satisfaction in the way his words drained the blood from the other man’s face.

Mr. Smith, however, was made of stern stuff. “Jenkins, leave us.”

And there you have it: five minutes and a paragraph. I’ll be along next week to add to it.

Tuesday’s Tale, 6/13/2017.

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Would you believe I’m still sick? Well, it’s true, but I’m well enough this time to pull more words out of my posterior, so away we go!

The message was an order to avoid contact and observe. Oops. It also stated outright what he already knew – that the spectrometer readings of the samples he took were amazingly dense and would be very useful to the company.

Which meant it was time to tell them the bad news; He fired off his reply and report along with several scans and images taken of the new species he had found, documenting carefully that the insects (for lack of a better term) were both intelligent and either hostile or territorial.

Due to the way inter-species law worked, that would mean the planet were off limits unless or until the species could both sign a treaty or contract for mineral rights, and understand what they were signing; humanity remembered it’s own past, and if some alien race had mined all the precious metals and fuel sources on Earth before technology had developed, well, he wouldn’t be here.

Lastly, he set up a beacon; one that would only activate in order to send a message when a ship actually reached the atmosphere of the planet; the message would confirm the planet had been scouted, minerals had been found, but the planet was declared off limits due to the law none had ever seen employed before.

He smirked; no doubt his beacon irritate all those hordes of scientists that would be on their way.

A quick flip of a switch and the beacon fired, drilling down into the bedrock and out of sight; with a stable power source and no way to find it, there would be no way to shut it off and pretend it never existed. With the range shortened, there would be no way for future pirates to triangulate the signal and find the planet with it. He had done all he could.

A last look showed the insect family or whatever they were, still out there, watching. He gave them a salute out of the porthole and gently brought the engines up to power.

They took the hint and flew back, out of the way, though they stayed in visual range. He took off and sped away; there was another likely planet in this system, and it had an interesting, molten moon. He wondered what it looked like from its planet with the atmosphere filtering the light.

And there we have it, the end. I cheated a little, the time came in at five minutes and fifty seconds. Until next time, with another tale to write quick seat of my pants chapters on.

Tuesday’s Tale 5/30/2017.

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I missed another week, as all of you obviously know by now. I can only apologize and plead forbearance with my health issues. The conclusion of this little mini-tale begins!

There were two survivors, both in no shape to make war. One was a man missing a leg, the bloody stump of which I cauterized and sealed for him, and the other tried to charge me from behind some wreckage, a steel strut in hand. I relieved her of the strut and she rapped herself on the head in the process, so I took the opportunity to seal her suit.

I turned to the man again, only to find him beyond any help of mine, some of those needles from my alien insect friends buried in his gut. The girl had suffered the same treatment as soon as my head turned.

Well okay then.

I held my hands up, a gesture I hoped they understood and started backing away. For my part, my possible friends just buzzed around and watched me go.

Whether they understood me or not or just recognized me as different than the scum that looked much like me, I made it back to the airlock without incident. I breathed a sigh of relief at not getting stuck.

A red blinking light was on my console, indicating a message from the home office.

Okay, so I lied a bit. I couldn’t finish in five minutes, so I’ve got one more part – the fun part – to go. See you then!