19 June 2012

Tuesday Poem: Flash Fiction: The Giant Space Iceberg

Then the giant spaceship hit the giant space iceberg. The passengers all rushed to the poop deck with their smart phones and their digital cameras. "Look," they said, "a giant space iceberg!"

"It's called a comet, dummy," said the other passengers.

The giant spaceship began to list dangerously. People ran around in the foreground, while other people ran around in the background. The lifeboats, suspended on giant space davits, listed dangerously too.

The well-drilled robot crew put the emergency plan into action. "Everyone to the lifeboats," they cried. "Robots and little robots first!"

After the robots were seated in the lifeboats, there was still room for some passengers. "I am not sharing my lifeboat with a crew of mechanicals," protested one dowager. "They stink of machine oil."

So she didn't.

The lifeboats were launched. The remaining passengers aboard the giant spaceship looked a little anxiously at one another. Then they jumped.

The captain was the last to jump. He waited until the flash-frozen corpses were out of sight, then he got his spacesuit out of his locker, put it on, and jumped himself.

As luck would have it, he landed on the comet, the outer layers of which were now ablating severely. A chunk of ice the size of a fist broke off the comet and smashed through his faceplate. As the air poured out of his suit, the bacteria who had been inhabiting his body leapt onto the comet's surface and began to burrow inward.

“I wondered when you guys would turn up,” said the comet, and set a course for the third planet from the sun.

Tim says: Friday is National Flash Fiction day, so in honour of that, I have posted one of the flash fictions I've written recently, some of which have been published in the excellent Flash Fiction. (Not this one, though - this one is new.)

The Tuesday Poem: You can check out this week's flash fictions and poems at the Tuesday Poem blog.


AJ Ponder said...

Ah dear, I knew you'd have a good piece today - and that certainly didn't disappoint - very fun :)

Michelle Elvy said...

Love this, Tim. Alicia's right. This made me laugh and everyone in my family said, "What are you reading?" so now I'm about to read it aloud to them.

Penelope said...

That's just so totally titanic, Tim. Cliches lovingly given new life. Like the bacteria.

Elizabeth Welsh said...

Yep, I heartily agree with all that has been said above - I started giggling at the passengers crowding around with their smart phones, etc. and then didn't stop throughout. AWESOME.

Janis said...

I enjoyed this, Tom (and I like how Blogger is now asking me to prove I'm not a robot...)

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, everyone! It has been so long since I posted any fiction on this blog, let alone new fiction, that I'm especially glad you liked it.

AJ, Michelle, Penelope and Elizabeth, I envisaged this piece as a sombre meditation on the transience of existence and the deficiencies of space navigation systems - I never imagined anyone would find it funny ;-)

Janis, did you pass the Turing Test?

Helen McKinlay said...

You are kidding of course...about people not finding it funny ...
I must say I was singing the song at the end...'My heart will go oooooonnnn.'
Funny that because I don't like robots! But big and little ones had me melting...baby bots I suppose!
Also, strange how much ice is around
the blog at present. Is it a conspiracy?

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Helen.

I have been known to kid a little ;-)

I think the prevalence of ice might have something to do with winter ... that's my theory, anyway.

Penelope said...

And if I may be forgiven a second comment, there's something liberating about posting new material on one's own blog, isn't there. No pandering to the whims of editors.

Tim Jones said...

Yes! Let us smash the systems of literary production, distribution and exchange!*

*Offer only valid in applicable territories.