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Flash Fiction Month #2, Episode 3: Emergency Preparedness Edition

Another episode of the second season of Flash Fiction Month! How many of these are there going to be? (Hint: Probably five). Today’s installment is inspired by actual events… which I altered just enough for this story that I won’t have to pay anybody. Read the last installment here, and read the installments from the first Flash Fiction Month here.


“Aw, crud baskets! The power just went out!”

Joan didn’t really need to tell me. The sudden darkness and awkward silence that descended on the house were evidence enough. The lights flickered on briefly for a few seconds about a minute later, but then they were gone yet again.

“Guess we’d better call the electric company,” said Joan from downstairs. “What was their number again?”

“I think I wrote it down on a magnet on the fridge,” I responded. “Use your phone as a flashlight.”

“I can’t! I left it charging in the living room, and I can’t see anything! Can you help me out here?”

Luckily for Joan, mine was literally at my desk. I navigated down the stairs with some trepidation, but eventually I managed to make my way to the living room without breaking any important limbs. To my consternation, Joan’s phone was, for all purposes, a torch cutting through the total darkness of the living room, and I was wondering why she couldn’t use its reflection or other forms of luminescence to make her way towards it. I valued my life too much to actually express¬†these thoughts to her face, so I just grudgingly unplugged the the phone and brought it to her.

“Excellent! I’m getting that number and making a call. Just sit tight and we’ll have power in no time!”

Five minutes passed. The bastards at the electric company had apparently put Joan on hold. I made my way over to the window – it looked like all the rest of the houses on the block were electricity-free for the moment. Nobody outside, either – I guess they were just sitting tight and waiting for the power to come back on. But I’m better than that sort of passive behavior, so I had to find something to do.

It occurred to me all of a sudden that I had a mostly charged smartphone in the palm of my hands. When did that happen? No matter. I logged onto Facebook – my circle of friends was up to their usual shenanigans – pontificating, photobombing, pigging out, and so forth. Nobody else seemed to be complaining about a lack of power, which was further evidence for this being an entirely local problem. I started composing a status message.

“The power just cut out here. That’s super lame, and it’d better come on soon!” I ended up writing; now to wait and see what happens. Several minutes passed without the electricity being restored, but then…

Samantha just liked my post! Life is sweet. I mean, not the outage, but the rest of my life is still pretty good.

Harnessing the power of prepubescent girls and big corporations

Don’t worry. Despite the name I’ve provided¬† for this, it does not involve anything like state sponsored pedophilia – that would just be idiotic, and it’s probably more disturbing than what you might’ve thought of when you first saw the title. In addition, I think the majority of this might be cribbed from “The Dilbert Future” – if it is, it remains in my opinion a satisfying variant.

You people know how there’s an endless amount of children (mainly girls due to marketing?) falling for a seemingly endless cavalcade of pop music that is, at best, mediocre, and at worst, painful. At its most hardcore, it ends up medio-core, but that’s another story. Anyways, trying to ban the crap would be morally wrong, even by my standards. Trying to turn people onto better music is a good idea, but it’s unlikely that the vast majority of the population cares. But I had an idea…

What if we took advantage of said music’s popularity and harnessed it to create something useful?

For instance, the USA is trying to reduce its dependency on foreign fuels, especially petroleum. How about we set up large human-sized hamster wheels outside music stores, and offer various musical gifts to anyone who runs in them for a given amount of time? The hamster wheels would be hooked up to electrical generators and batteries to provide power for the business.

Besides providing the aforementioned electricity to the store, there’s other benefits:

1. The musicians who participate in such a program (most likely the pop musicians, anyways) would gain awareness in the eyes of the public, and ideally, some of the money that the buildings save on electricity.

2. It would provide considerable exercise to the overweight masses of this country.

Think about it, and then think of all the people who would run, or perhaps exercise-bike their way to seeing their idol of the month or getting free stuff as a result of it. There’s a good chance that you’re that sort of person.