I’ve tried something new today. I have all manner of writing prompt books for this use and that, and I signed up for a writing prompt newsletter from Sarah Selecky. I got my first one today. “Start a scene with this line: “The boys wore open bathrobes and striped shorts.” End it with a stephanotis corsage.”
Well, then, I think I can do that.
The boys wore open bathrobes and striped shorts. They didn’t have to get ready for the funeral of their teacher at the Xavier School of the Performing Arts for another few hours. They didn’t see the point of dressing up in the monkey suits until they really had to. Until that time came, then they decided that it was better to be comfortable.
The holovision showed a replay of the planet’s CO cycle for the night. It promised to be a hotter day today, and Ted didn’t envy the migrant farm worker droids that labored in the fields. They planted the silkcotton, watered the proto polebeans, and spread fertilizer around the sextucorn stalks.
Bill looked over at his cousin.
“Ted, is it me, or is it hotter than the weatherNet promised it would be for today?”
“No, it isn’t. I think it has to be rebooted again.”
“That’ll take two days. We’ll never survive three days of this planet’s natural weather.”
“Three? You just said ‘two.’”
“Yes, I know, but weatherNet is so big now that it has to reboot in sections. It takes a day to pre-reboot.”
“Oh. Why so long?”
“The planetary politicians voted again the last three proposals to upgrade the system’s core memory. It keeps accessing swapspace, and that slows the whole thing down too. At the same time, they keep adding stuff for the weatherNet to do on top of what it normally does. It’ll crash one day. You watch.”
Ted glanced at his cousin, who shrugged. A bell chimed, and a Lens message popped up on the wall. It was Beth. She looked out at the boys from her enlarged position. Her face filled the window.
“Guys, why aren’t you dressed? We have to leave in ten minutes! The funeral was moved up.”
Ted gazed at the screen. He elbowed Bill to look, but continued talking.
“Why was it moved up?”
She stamped her foot in irritation and the sound carried through the connection.
“Technical problems. We have to move the funeral up, do the ceremony, light the casket, and load the hearse rocket before the clouds roll in. They’ve started to reboot the network, and you remember Professor Summers. He was an outdoors guy and always wanted a clear day for his funeral. Now get dressed and teleport over!”
“You’re one to talk. You’re naked as a jaybird.”
“How would you know? The camera is focused on my face.” She sniffed in disgust.
Bill popped up. “We know, because we can see your reflection in your mirror stand. Every bit of you.”
Beth squawked and her chat window disappeared abruptly.
The cousins grinned at each other and carefully sat down. Ted snorted a powder for a hangover from last night, and Bill tapped in an order for flowers to send to Beth.
“What kind, Ted?”
“Yeah, but what? We’ve already sent her just about every other flower in creation.”
“So send her something other than a bouquet.”
Bill thought for a moment.
“Okay, well, since Mr. Summers was an outdoors guy, and we’re going to be there anyway, I’ll send her this. Look at it, and I’ll go get ready.” He got up after he double tapped the screen before him and the wall opposite lit up. Ted inspected it as Bill left the room, and yelled after him.
“Good choice. She’ll like the stephanotis corsage.”
You could say this is flash fiction. Want to try it yourself? Hit the link above.